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Chapter Text

 “Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings’

In the seedy pirate town of Mocktown, a small figure walked briskly through the dirty streets, paying little mind to the ruckus around him. He stopped at the entrance of one bar, head tilted, as if listening for something.

Reaching a decision, the figure gave a firm nod and entered the dubious establishment. He was greeted by the scene of a pair of Ds making a simple food order into some sort of competition.

Smirking, the childlike figure took advantage of the noise and slipped quietly inside. Miraculously, he found an empty table with only some scattered bottles here and there.

The young man watched the competing duo closely, eying the larger man with an unkempt beard with a wary eye up until the unruly man finally left the place.

Suddenly, the doors to the bar slammed opened. The various rogues and misfits immediately looked over to the newcomer.

And paled. The entire floor came to a hush.

“Is the pirate with a straw hat in here?” demanded the big blond with a bad attitude.

The young man narrowed his eyes, the glare hidden beneath a curtain of hair.

Throughout the bar were refrains of “Oh Roger, it’s Bellamy!” “Bellamy? Heere?!” “It’s Bellamy the “Hyena”!”

“Hmm, so this is what someone with a 30 million bounty looks like these days? You are Straw Hat Luffy, right?” leered the loudmouth.

No one around them seemed to believe it. Not that he could blame them. Much. But, as his grandfather had taught him, some of the most dangerous pirates weren’t the ones in plain sight; it was the ones unexpecting ones you had to watch out for, whether they were shadows and puppeteers or the silent killers and ambush predators.

But always keep an eye on the silly and stupid ones, too, because they tend to be the crazy unpredictable sorts, his grandfather also has mentioned (pointedly staring at said kind of man eating all the rice crackers in the mess hall).

The guy offered to pay for Straw Hat’s drink while his crewmates forcefully acquisitioned some seats.

Just as the young man had figured, Bellamy was a big bully, albeit a dangerous one to an ordinary person. He made the offer, then destroyed the bar with the lanky pirate teen’s face.

Straw Hat’s crewmates didn’t seem to appreciate that too much as the one with the green waistband drew his sword.

“Hey, hey, what is it you think you’re doing, stick boy?” questioned Bellamy with nary a trace of apprehension.

Cold eyes stared back at slightly psychotic ones. “Don’t you think it should be asking that question?”

While the two were locked in a stalemate of wills, the teen slowly got up from the splintered wreckage.

“Oi, you still can stand up, Straw Hat?”

Their watcher hid a grin as the lean teenager got back up, challenge rolling off his tongue.

Then, the redheaded girl with them interrupted things by asking about the Sky Island.

A moment of silence…then…

“How to get to Sky Island?” “Is she serious?”

The entire room burst in mocking laughter.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” “Gyahahahaha!!!”

“Sky Island? Really? What are you, a kid? Sky Island doesn’t exist!”

Hahaha! Are you nuts? What a joke!”

The redhead blushed furiously in embarrassment. “What the hell are you guys laughing about? The log pose is clearly pointing up…!” she yelled.

Bwahahahaha! Your log pose really pointing up to the sky? Hahahaha!”

“Sounds like it’s just messed up. You know log poses screw up all the time, especially if you don’t take care with them!” At that, the navigator’s face turned red with fury.

Bellamy opened his big mouth once again. “Hehehe, I can’t keep quiet anymore! Hey, do you kids really believe in the “Sky Island”? Which backwater island in the four Blues did you guys hail from? Or what age, for that matter. Listen!”

Bellamy grinned maniacally and asserted, “One by one, the mysteries of the Grand Line are being solved! For example, the Knock-up Stream. It’s a vicious weather phenomenon blasting people into the sky where they fall back to the ocean from thousands of meters above. When sailors saw ships fall from the sky, they imagined there must have been some island up there, saying a whole another world existed up there. Bah! It’s impossible. All phenomena have an explanation. All “dreams” amount to nothing more than myths waiting to be disapproved or explained.”

The pirate shook his head in utter disbelief. He sneered, “To think, I considered testing you and maybe, maybe, letting you join my crew as a part of the “new era,” but you’re just some idiotic dreamer.”

Bellamy leaned forward intently as he denounced the era of pirates and dreams, deriding the people who had risked their very lives for their dreams.

The young man frowned deeply. He had a very strong urge to send this jerk flying. For a pirate of the Grand Line to mock not only their fellow pirates’ right to dream, but the existence of “One Piece,” the founding dream of their era? Disgraceful.

Overprivileged brat, sneered the young man in utter disgust. He definitely could hear his teeth grind when he saw the tall pirate bash Straw Hat over the head with a bottle. The whole bar burst in derogatory laughter as they mocked the two pirates who refused to be moved by either words or actions.

If he wasn’t interested before, he was now. The two took the abuse stoically. They were the true pirates in the room.

Their companion didn’t seem to think much of their decision, though.

“Luffy! Zoro! What are you guys doing? Don’t just take this! Fight back! Send these punks flying!” she screeched.

A white-haired Bellamy pirate with a huge knife sniggered. “Save your breath, lady. Those two are smart enough to know when they’re beat and are preserving their lives. Although, this course of action just proves how wimpy they really are.”

The young man had enough after seeing the pirates throw the two around then tried to pick up the redhead. He had to grin when Nami shot back her polite reply.

Thick blond curls parted slightly to reveal a sharp smile as the young man said, “You know, for a pirate not even halfway across the Grand Line, you’re pretty arrogant. But I suppose it’s natural; you probably only prey on people weaker than you to get such a big reputation.”

A beat of silent. Then:

Bellamy rounded, face searching the now very frightened audience. “I’m sorry? Which of you runts had the balls to say that?”

The people around him scattered. The young man tilted his head back and smirked. “Runt? I like to think everyone else is just abnormally tall. Then again, looks are just surface deep. Not that it matters either way in your case.”

Bellamy strode over to tower over the smaller blond.

“And,” he hissed, “exactly what do you think you’re saying, you bastard? You’re, what, nine years old? Pretty bold talk from some kid.”

The blond internally bristled at that, but outwardly retained his calm if mocking smile.

“I’m saying, you haven’t even made it halfway. Don’t go and act like your some sort of expert on how this insane sea works. This is the Grand Line, a place where the rules of reality need not apply half the time. If science understood everything, then where do devil fruit fit in with the laws of the world? Have you secretly had long discussions with some of the top travelers and scientists of the world? No? Not even the top brass of the World Government knows everything, so why would someone like you be so privileged?”

The stranger didn’t let the searing glare affect him, even daring to lean forward, grin broadening as his tone took a decidedly derisive edge. “Have you ever heard the story about the frog who lived at the bottom of a well? It had never known anything else, so it thought the well and the little circle of sky was all the world amounted to. Just because you’ve only seen a small part of the world doesn’t mean there’s much more out there than one can imagine,” he finished relaxing back into his chair.

Bellamy had enough of this smart-mouthed little kid. He drew back a fist and slammed it forward, but it clanged hard.

A shirasaya-styled katana was drawn and blocking his attack. Dark round eyes glared.

“Now, fellas, don’t you think violence is a bit unnecessary?”

“Excellent timing. Hey, you guys are finished here, right? Why don’t we leave together, ‘cause I do believe this audience has tired of our stay here, hmm?”  The orange-haired man threw the younger man an exasperated glance but drew back, sword resheathed.

The blond knew his companion could draw the blade in half a moment’s notice, maybe less depending.

The redheaded woman smiled faintly, still annoyed at her friends and these strangers’ quick withdrawal, but thankful someone spoke up for them. Even someone as odd as this guy.

Bellamy glared at the swordsman and the kid. “Another pair of cowards, huh? Are you too scared to fight like a real man? Pathetic. I’ll tell you what: I’m feeling a bit generous at the moment, so go ahead and leave with those dreamers before I kill the lot of you,” Bellamy threatened.


The redhead was still fuming and berating her companions as they left the bar. Then they had to stop due to the bulky man from earlier blocking the road.

“Sky Island does exist,” laughed the black haired large man. “Why are you so mad, sister? Didn’t you know? Your friends here won that battle. And that rejoinder of yours, yelling at those pirates was pretty gutsy, too! What bullshit those guys spouting... “New age”? Bah! Pirates will never stop dreaming! A true man’s dream will live on beyond him!”

The blond didn’t relax his stance but nodded minutely. “He’s right. That’s why I stood up for you guys. It takes guts to fight. But it takes even more guts to choose not to fight. If you have nothing to prove, why bother?”

“No truer words, brother. Oh, look, I’m standing in your way, aren’t I? Here, I’ll just take these pies for the road.” The pirate took a swill of his rum and parted with one last encouragement for the Straw Hat Pirates to make it to the Sky Island.

The blond stayed back a moment to watch the departing man’s back. He made a note to do some research later, and memorized the man’s face for future reference. Unlike most Ds the young man had met, this one was…different. Something about his presence was wrong, pleasant on the surface, but something flickered on the very edges of his awareness. Something…eerie and unpleasnt.

“Okay, Chrysalis, we should-”

The swordsman sighed as his blond companion suddenly ran to catch up the what could only be the Straw Hat Pirates.

The redheaded woman rounded on the blond. “Why are you two following us? I appreciate your help back there, but what do you want?”

“Two? Technically it’s me chasing you while my friend chases me. As for why…well, you said so yourself, you guys are looking for information on sky islands, right?”

 “Sky islands?” the redhead echoed, emphasizing the last s.

Nami scanned the strange child before her.

He was short, maybe 130 or so centimeters (4’3’’). He looked maybe nine, twelve at best and had thick blond curly hair hanging down almost to the shoulders, held back from his face by a black headband made up of two twined vine-like pieces and light purple flower with heart-shaped leaves. Those were the most normal features. Otherwise, the kid stuck out like a sore thumb in the crowd. He had bright red eyes (were they glowing?), had on some sort of loose black jacket-robe with oddly cut sleeves and a low-cut white shirt and black pants, wore fingerless black gloves and wristbands with some sort of symbols on the back and front, and didn’t have any shoes on.

If he’s just playing a trick on me…

 “Well, yeah. Here on the Grand Line, sky islands are rare but still number quite a few. Or so the stories say- hey!”

The navigator had grabbed the blond by both sides of his haori jacket.

“Kid, you better not be messing with us! Tell us what you know!”

“Hey, hey, Chrysalis will be more willing to speak if you don’t shake him like that!” said the swordsman from earlier, a bit flustered and uncertain.

He had shorn ginger hair not unlike her own, maybe a shade or two lighter, but mostly covered by a black baseball cap. He wore an orange-sleeved high-collared white shirt and dark blue pants tucked into a pair of brown boots. The most prominent feature of his though, was…

“Usopp?” chimed Luffy.

“Who?” asked the bewildered and unnamed swordsman.

“Yeah, that long nose does look like Usopp’s. But look more closely Luffy. It’s squared while Usopp’s is round,” pointed out Nami in exasperation.

“Ah.” He really didn’t. Why did Nami choose to follow this man as her captain, again?

The blond used the distraction to yank his jacket out of the woman’s hold.

“Yes, this is Kaku. I would be happy to tell you about what I know about the sky islands – which amounts to myths and stories I remember from my childhood about my mom’s travels, but hey, that’s more than what you would get from Mocktown’s residents, right?”

The young man shrunk as the orangette glared down on him.

“You still haven’t answered my question. Why do you care about that?”

“Because, traveling to a sky island sounds fun! I like to travel, but my grandfather doesn’t approve of my little excursions. Sooo… I ran off.”

“Not this is the first time I have,” the boy named Chrysalis quickly explained. “You see, my grandfather, or rather his people, have always managed to catch me and Kaku, whom I dragged along on these things, within a month’s time whenever I run off from home, but this time, we’ve been gone for over two months-”

“Which your grandfather will not be happy about,” Kaku reminded him.

“Exactly so!” continued the blond cheerfully. “Oh, forgive my manners. I forgot to introduce myself, didn’t I? Name’s Chrysalis, Chrysis for short, which I prefer, not that the square there would be amendable to that.”

Kaku shook his head and said, “It’s a respectable name, Chrysalis. My name is Kaku as you surely heard. I am his traveling companion doubling as his bodyguard.”

The straw-hatted teen canted his head. “Hey, how old are the two of you?”

“23. Chrysalis is 22.”

“Wow, really? But you talk old, and this guy is so short!”

“We get that a lot,” Kaku sighed, grabbing Chrysalis by the back of his haori before he could get in the teen’s face.

Chrysalis pouted, “Fine, fine, just remember we’re both older than the three of you. Anyways, like I said, I tend to run off from home for small bits of adventure. But, this year I figured I would finally go on a real adventure! The only problem is all the sneaking around I had to do. Can’t really find adventure if you’re creeping through places like Mocktown and hitching rides on the odd ship. I’ve seen a few interesting islands so far, but nothing like a sky island. If nothing else, I want to do something my mom did, visit a wild place I’ve only heard in those childhood bedtime stories and experience something I can make into a story of my own. So, here’s the deal: if you allow the two of us to accompany you on your travels to the Sky Island, we’ll help you get there. Sound fair?”

Kaku shook his head and protested, “Chrysalis! Are you trying to get us in more trouble? Especially with pirates!”

 “Why not?” the shorter man grinned. “They seem pretty decent, and they’re going to a sky island. Wouldn’t that be great place to explore? When would we have another opportunity to hitch a ride there? Ah, I don’t think I got the names of your two companions, Straw Hat Luffy.”

Kaku pinched the bridge of his nose but in these past years as the younger man’s constant companion had taught him what kinds of topics he could persuade the blond on and what he could not.

Straw Hat smiled widely. “Shishishi! This is Zoro, an awesome swordsman, and Nami, the world’s best navigator. And, sure, why not?”

“Luffy!” yelled Nami. “You shouldn’t decide on something like this so quickly! We don’t know anything about this guy and…”

Zoro said nothing, choosing to analyze the two men before him while Luffy ignored his navigator’s every warning and insisted the strange pair could come with them on their adventure. He recalled seeing the one katana, but he could see two hilts sticking out from the sheaths strapped to the man’s back.

“Nitoryu?” Zoro tried.

The ginger smiled. “Something I picked up, but I do have another preferred style. Maybe I’ll get the chance to show you someday.”

Nami finally threw up her hands in defeat. “Fine! But you have to convince the others, Luffy!”

In the coming months, Chrysis would regret a lot of things. This moment wasn’t one.


“What the hell happened to you guys?!” exclaimed a long-nosed teen aboard a very battered looking caravel. Huh, those three were right. He does have a long nose like Kaku’s.

“Your crew?” inquired Chrysis, voice light.

“Nami-swan! Are you alright? Did some bastard get the jump on you guys? If he touched one hair on your head…!” shouted a blond man in a two-piece suit, cigarette threatening to fall out of his mouth.

“Sanji, focus!” chided Long Nose. “Where did Luffy and Zoro get all those wounds?!”

A small, child-sized creature with antlers sticking out of a pink top hat panicked. “D-d-Doc-Doc-tor! Someone get a doctor!” he yelled.

The long nosed one went to knock some sense into the small guy. “Chopper, you’re our doctor! So, man up and give them first aid!”

Chrysis shook his head. Not even five minutes, and the crew already proved themselves a pretty crazy bunch. And are you any better? Reminded his subconscious. True. He was the one who tried picking a fight with a pirate twice his size.

Long Nose and the…reindeer?... didn’t seem very brave. Or maybe their navigator was just that scary. Then the final member of the Straw Hat crew arrived. Chrysis tilted his head in consideration as the infamous Nico Robin strode over. Beside him, he could feel Kaku’s emotions spike briefly, face still pleasantly passive.

Nami looked pretty fed up about the whole Sky Island thing, but Nico Robin didn’t look a bit bothered by her bad attitude. She handed the captain a map. Chrysis had to jump a few times to read it.

“Hmm, a map of Jaya? I’m guessing that X means something?” asked Chrysis.

“Aren’t you perceptive, and yes. The city where we are docked is on the left. The mark on the coast represents where a certain man lives: Montblanc Cricket. They exiled him because he kept talking about his dreams. Since we share similar interests, it couldn’t hurt to collaborate with him, no?” the raven-headed woman suggested.

“Sounds pretty reasonable,” agreed Long Nose. Then he finally took notice of the extra people his crewmates had brought to their ship. “Err, Luffy, Nami, Zoro, why do you have a little kid with you, anyways? And who’s that with him?”

“Oh yeah!” cheered Luffy. “This is Chrysis and Square-Nose. Chrysis is actually only year younger than Square-Nose, only a bit younger than Robin. Oh, and Square-Nose is his bodyguard or something, and he talks like an old man. But get this! Chrysis’s mom sailed to the Sky Island before, and the two of them want to come with us! Chrysis, Square-Nose, this is my crew! Sanji is the best cook on the seas, Usopp is a liar and our crew’s sharpshooter, Robin is our archaeologist, and Chopper is our reindeer doctor.”

“My name is Kaku,” the swordsman emphasized. Whether Straw Hat heard that would be up to debate.

Dr. Chopper also finally took note of their guest. He stood his ground well, but definitely looked ill at ease with the strange human his crewmates had brought with them for their next adventure.

“Reindeer doctor?”

“Y-yeah! What of it?” he squeaked back.

“Are you a mink, by chance? No, wait, you transformed earlier…Zoan?”

“Mink? I don’t know what that is, but yes, I ate the Hito Hito no Mi and became a human-reindeer.”

“Now that is something. Plus, you have a blue nose. Neat!” complimented Chrysis.

The good doctor blushed and did a weird wriggly dance. “Stop it, you bastard! That doesn’t make me happy!”

Kaku shrugged and noted, “Devil fruits are strange things. I’ve seen a weapon brought to life with a Zoan-type, so why not an animal become human like a human can become an animal?”

“Wait, there are more of those crazy things out there?!” exclaimed the one they said was named Usopp. Another Zoan weapon? How unusual. Maybe we can find out more…later. Right now, Kaku need not waste time fishing for information this early without some intel of his own.

Chrysis chuckled at the little reindeer’s antics. “To explain, minks are a race of bipedal humanoids with many features similar to a human but usually covered in fur. Think fishmen of the land beasts so to speak. I’ve heard from my mom that their home island is hard to find because it’s some sort of giant turtle or something.”

“Giant turtle? As an island? Impossible!” yelped Usopp, dread filling his insides as he noticed the lit-up eyes of his captain.

“Cool, I want to go there!”

“No way!”

It was pretty amusing to see the straw hatted captain simply laughing in response to his more cowardly friend’s attempt to dissuade him.

“Straw Hat-san, you may want to shelve the idea for a bit. Their “island” is a good bit further down on your journey,” advised Kaku good-naturedly.

Dr. Chopper eyed the newcomers with a wary eye, but maybe a little less so than before. “S-so, I don’t scare you? You don’t think I’m weird or a monster?” stuttered the timid human-reindeer.

Chrysis smiled gently. “Monster? Well, I would be quite the hypocrite if I judged by non-human appearances.”

To clarify, Chrysis flexed a special set of muscles.

The whole Straw Hat crew gaped as a pair of delicate wings slid out from the slits in the haori.

“Chrysalis!” groaned Kaku, hand over his face.

“What? If we get into a combat situation, I won’t be effective unless I use these.”

“Y-you have wings!” stuttered Usopp.

“And antennae.” The moth boy smoothed his hair down, spindly black appendages curling up.

“How interesting, are those moth wings?” inquired Robin.

The paired wings easily dwarfed the young man. The underside facing the pirates was a brilliant yellow with black stripes along the lower edge and a few speckles here and there. Chrysis folded them so they draped about his shoulder and sides like a cloak, revealing the long forewings with their mix of mottled black, white and brown while the hindwings retained the same pattern as the underside. He fluttered the wings slightly and let them fold into a more natural position against his back. The colors rippled as the wings shrunk before their eyes until they were of a more manageable size.

“What are you?!” shouted Usopp once he found his words again. “A devil fruit user?”

“Sidhe, actually. Or, rather sidhe-human hybrid. These wings are natural. Commonly referred in stories as fairies, nymphs, and the like, we’re humanoids who developed functional insect wings and various other insect-like features. Similar to fishmen and merfolk, we vary widely in physical type, although there are some common core characteristics. Originally, we had quite a few grounded and aquatic types, but most of those lineages died out a couple of millennia ago. And, roughly 900, 800 years ago, most of my people disappeared without an explanation. Those who survived into the modern age all shared the skills to easily blend in with the normal human populace like so. Which is good since my people and normal humans haven’t had the most consistent relationship with one another. But, I wouldn’t recommend trying to look for factual information on sidhe; the knowledge of my people’s history has all but vanished in the Blues and Grand Line save for the fragments held by a handful of survivors.”

Robin had a considering look on her face. “So, another piece of the puzzle. And yet, more questions,” she murmured, too quietly for her companions but clear enough for the sidhe’s rather sharp hearing.

“Say, why do your eyes look like they’re glowing?” asked Straw Hat blithely.

“Luffy, that’s rude!” reprimanded the navigator.

“I don’t mind,” Chrysis replied. “Sidhe share a few traits as a whole, and one of them is the tapetum lucidum in our eyes. Granted, it’s not an insect thing, but sidhe are mammals, too, nocturnal ones.”

“Tapioca Lucy?” inquired Straw Hat with a confused look.

“Tapetum lucidum,” corrected the doctor. “I read about it in some of my animal biology books. Some forms of nocturnal animals have these special structures in their eyes to help capture light in dimly lit areas or at night. It’s what makes a cat’s eyes appear to glow in the dark.”

“Ah. So, it’s a mystery power!”

“Right…” Chrysis chuckled.

Dr. Chopper peered cautiously from his hiding place behind the green-haired swordsman.

“W-wow. May I ask what kind of moth you are?”

“Death’s head hawk moth,” Chrysis replied.

Usopp paled considerably. He screamed, “Get away from him! Don’t you know they bring back luck and DEATH?! It’s practically given!”

“I do believe that is a superstition, Usopp-san. Although, there has been many reports over the years of people dying shortly after they allegedly seen a death’s head hawk moth,” Nico Robin informed the increasingly hysteric sniper.

“It probably has to do mostly with the skull markings all species of death’s head hawk moths have. But, my family don’t care too much for such stories. A sidhe is a sidhe, whether a dung beetle, a cockroach, a mosquito, or even a bad luck charm like me,” glibly replied Chrysis. He took no offense; Roger knew he faced much worse than superstitions. At his side, Kaku was scowling at the sniper.

That didn’t totally assure the other long nose (or the navigator and doctor), but at least they didn’t continue looking at him in outright fright.

Speaking of reindeer, Dr. Chopper finally gathered his courage and approached the sidhe, albeit cautiously. He reached out with a hoof, but hesitated until Chrysis took notice, inclining his head. The reindeer gulped but finally placed his hoof gently against one of his hindwings, running it along the edge.

“It’s fuzzy!” he exclaimed. Chrysis considered the reindeer’s size and personality and estimated him to be probably younger than anyone else here. Even if the captain acted like a five-year-old.

Robin chuckled. “I would imagine. Moths are “hairier” than their mostly diurnal counterparts. The “fuzz” itself is actually very loose scales.”

Chrysis smiled brightly. “On the nose, Miss Nico. Supposedly, the loose scales are good for quick escapes. Fliers’ equivalent of slippery slime so to speak.”

Straw Hat looked at the bright appendages in wonder. A distinct rumble suddenly sounded. Then he began to lick his lips. “Do moths taste good?”

Chrysis understandably took a step away from the hungry D. His wings withdrew entirely under his haori jacket. Kaku stepped forward, hand going to one of the paired katanas strapped to his back. A warning the straw-hatted boy ignored.

The chef made a noise of disgust as he huffed on his cigarette. “Insects can be a good source of protein, but most butterflies and moths are bitter. Some are actually toxic, especially the caterpillars. So, I’d better not catch you eating random shit, Luffy. Including Chrysis here.”

“Awww, but Sanji. I used to eat bugs and worms all the time when I was a kid, and I was fine!”

“I’m not serving you bugs and worms, shitty captain!” The tension running through Kaku faded and he went back to listening.

“I rather not be on the menu, either,” added Chrysis in good humor (he was NOT pale!). “And, Sanji-san is right. Sidhe sometimes develop the ability to produce toxins based on our diet. Which is why you shouldn’t try eating the things I do sometimes. I’m poison-tolerant, you are not necessarily.”

The reindeer looked at his hoof in horror.

“Wait, you’re fine, Chopper!” assured Chrysis but too late as the reindeer doctor ran off to rinse off and disinfect said limb.

He sighed and turned to the crew and explained, “One, I don’t know if I have the ability yet because it develops late in a sidhe’s development. Furthermore, it’s a defense mechanism. An aware sidhe can control the kinds of chemicals released into our wings . It’s how we can alter the color like so.” To demonstrate, Chrysis spread his wings out and had them turn into all sorts of psychedelic colors and patterns before settling them back into his normal pattern.

“Amazing,” gasped Usopp. The sniper looked back to where the little doctor had run off and shook his head. “Guess, I’ll go and tell him that.”

“Maybe, we should head for this Montblanc Cricket’s place?” suggested Kaku.

The rest of crew murmured their agreement, none of them minding having two more companions on their seemingly impossible journey to the skies.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings’

Chrysis looked on in amusement as Usopp and Chopper cowered behind the sea cook.

“So, you met some guy earlier around these seas, and you’re afraid he’ll show up again? The great ape, sorry, monkey, doesn’t sound too terrible of an opponent, to be honest,” observed the adventurer dryly. Chrysis turned back to the large ship heading towards them. “Granted, this guy would be classified as a great ape for sure. What would you say, Kaku?”

“He does make a darn good impression of one,” commented the redhead as he leaned casually against the rails, utterly laxed. Only a few members would be able to see the slight tension in his shoulders, the way his hands were still free to unsheathe his swords at a moment’s notice.

“Don’t be so nonchalant when you never met the guy!” shouted Usopp. “Luffy, tell him!”

“Oh, that guy? I sent him flying. I don’t particularly care if we run into those monkeys again,” said Straw Hat blandly.

“Luffy!”

“Yo! Lil’ Bros! Don’t you be mutterin’ quietly to yerselves, now. It’s pretty rude, ya know?” chided the green haired man masquerading as an orangutan (or is it the other way around?). He lounged on a wooden chair, completely at ease, not unlike the Straw Hat’s guests.

“What a weird face,” openly giggled Straw Hat.

“What species are you?” Straight to the point, Chef.

Homo sapiens, y’ idiots!”

“Geesh, it’s an honest question!” Chrysis shouted back. And just to be annoying… “For all we know, you’re some sort of orangutan mink.”

“Ah, Chrysis, maybe you should consider your words a bit more thoroughly? I don’t think he took the sentiment kindly,” advised Kaku as he watched the pirate captain with a wary eye.

Chrysis began to tune out the pirate as he ranted about the title of Shichibukai. Then Straw Hat had to mention he kicked Masira, the guy’s brother, off the ship earlier that day. Ah, Kaku, looks like it shouldn’t be me you should be complaining about. Chrysalis huffed a laugh when he heard exactly how Straw Hat dealt with annoyances.

The guy Shoujo went ape, pun nearly literal. He grabbed a mike from somewhere and began to sing.

Really horribly.

Sound Wave…Havoc Sonar!”

The pressure waves began to tear apart the Shoujo Pirates’ ship. Then they reached the Going Merry.

“Guys! We got to get out of range! The sound waves are tearing up our ship, too!” hollered a panicked sniper.

Chrysis put a hand on Usopp’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, Usopp-san. Looks like it time I start paying you guys back for letting me tag along. Leave this to me!” he said assuredly.

“You! What can you-!”

Chrysis snapped his fingers.

Silent.” A purple field bloomed outward from where Chrysis stood. The soundwaves dispersed the moment they entered the field. Kaku stood stoically by, not at all when the noise suddenly stopped.

“Wow! So, you did eat a devil fruit,” exclaimed Usopp.

“Did I say otherwise or something?”

The crew got to work, and they quickly escaped due to the Shoujo Pirates needing to repair their own ship.

“Great, another monster,” muttered Nami.

“And he wasn’t a monster with being part giant butterfly?” pointed out Roronoa Zoro. “Oi, what devil fruit did you eat, anyways?”

“The Nagi Nagi no Mi. I’m a soundless man, in other words. And, again, moth, not a butterfly, Roronoa.”

Usopp shook his head. “Soundless man? Doesn’t seem that great of a power,” the sniper observed. “Actually, it kind of sounds lame.”

“Many people would agree. Of the known Paramecia types, the Nagi Nagi no Mi is known as one of the only ones without a direct combat use. A rather lackluster power. But excellent for covert operations,” stated Nico Robin.

“Only if you are foolish enough to underestimate its applications,” remarked Kaku, eyes glinting with hidden humor.

Chrysis smiled ambiguously. “Lackluster? I suppose. Without combat capability? Perhaps not conventionally, but don’t count me out, yet, Nico-san. While this technique can only block pure sound-based attacks, I learned through study and trial-and-error how to expand on the term “Calm”. You’ll probably see how during our acquaintance.”

Straw Hat laughed and simply asked, no demanded, “You’re really cool! You’re not only a moth monster but have a really cool power and everything. Join my crew!”

“Luffy! Are you going to ask every weird person we meet that?!” exclaimed both Nami and Usopp.

Chrysis was taken aback but shook his head. “I don’t think that’s the best idea… I, mean, I did tell you I ran away from home. My grandfather will eventually send pursuers once he figures out I have no intention of being caught this time. It’s fine journeying with you guys short-term, but beyond that? I would hate to bring my trouble to you, plus Kaku here hardly approves of traveling with you as it is, never mind becoming an actual pirate!”

Shishishi! So? We’re pirates, we get in trouble all the time!”

“Luffy!”

The sidhe watched in amusement as the protesting crewmates tried to talk their captain out of inviting every strange thing on their crew. Apparently, this was a bad habit with the childish pirate captain. Chrysis shoved away any interest piqued by the invite

While the offer was tempting, Kaku would never willingly become a pirate, and Chrysis valued his friend’s companionship and approval too much to consider the offer as any more than that: a nice thought, but impractical in the long run.


He should have known the meeting with Montblanc Cricket would be anything but normal. First, they found out the guy lived in half a house, the visible part hidden behind a huge showy panel of a palace. Chopper and Straw Hat fell for it, though. They didn’t find Mister Montblanc, but did find the picture book Noland the Liar, a famous compilation of stories treated like fairytales in North Blue (where their chef apparently hailed).

Then Montblanc Cricket tried to drown the straw-hatted captain and picked a fight with Chef Sanji. He was pretty impressive all up to when he fell over from Diver’s Disease. The two primate clowns from the Straw Hats’ earlier encountered finally busted into the scene but calmed down when Luffy pointblank told the two they were taking care of the old man. Naïve of them, but the Straw Hats didn’t seem to act any better from what Chrysis could tell.

Turned out, the old man was a descendant of Montblanc Noland, the main character from the book. Whom, the old man proclaimed a man known for his honesty. For a man who ran away because he so despised his family’s legacy, he was probably the most dedicated to settling the score of Noland’s supposed lies.

The straw hatted-captain didn’t seem to care too much about learning about Cricket’s family history and plainly stated his desire to travel to the Sky Island. Instead of being offended, Montblanc Cricket seemed pretty impressed with Straw Hat’s determination.

He even offered to tell them about the millennium emperonimbus cloud which turned day into night.

A cloud where neither air currents nor rain may originate or pass. At this point, Chrysis chose to add his two-bits.

“He’s right about the Sky Island probably being on an emperonimbus cloud,” Chrysis informed them. “Like I told you guys, my mom told me all sorts of stuff about her adventures. Apparently, those types of clouds are said to hold the “essence of the sea” in them. There’s a variable sort of density about them, so one can treat them like land or sea, depending on the composition ratio.”

Cricket looked at the blond teen in surprise. “Is that so? I would like to meet this mother of yours. She seems well-traveled.”

Chrysis smile was tight. “She probably would have liked to meet you, too. She always admired the adventurers who went out into the yet charted Grand Line, including Noland. But she passed when I was younger.”

Cricket and the rest of the Saruyama Alliance bowed their heads. “Our condolences, then.”

Chrysis shook his head and gave them a small smile. “It’s fine. Again, it was years ago. Plus, I can use the knowledge she passed onto me to help you guys get to Sky Island like she did long ago.”

“Chrysis’s right! So, LET’S GO! Zoro, wake up! Everyone, let’s get ready to set sail for Sky Island! Thanks for the info, mister!” declared Straw Hat.

“LUFFY! How many times do we have to go over this?! We CAN’T go there until we know HOW!” Nami scolded the younger teen.

According to Mister Cricket, their best bet would be to risk their lives by riding the Knock-up Stream. Which tore apart huge galleons. On a mostly cobbled together caravel. No problem.

“We’re going to die,” despaired Usopp, face slack with dread. No matter what the marksman said, Luffy would not be persuaded from their life-threatening journey. Chrysis patted the sniper’s shoulder.

“Don’t worry, Usopp-san. I’m sure we’ll be okay,” said Chrysis soothingly.

Usopp exploded, “NICE FOR YOU TO SAY! YOU CAN FLY!”

“The kid can FLY?”

Gee, thanks Usopp. Well, it was mostly for not warning the crew from telling anyone. Chrysis pointed a thumb back.

Out, wings.

Proceed with gaping and then eyeroll.

Kaku shook his head as they joined the pirates for the inspection. “I agree with Montblanc-san to some extent. A new caravel would have trouble in these seas, never mind a beaten, abused, and old one.”

“Why, you-!” snarled Usopp, fire in his eyes.

Kaku just casually stepped to the side when Usopp tried to charge him.

“Don’t be so upset, Kaku knows a bit about ships since he dabbles in carpentry and woodworking. Even got some experience doing minor repairs to pay for our travels, so we’ve seen a lot of ships. You see, most ships sailing the Grand Line are built a great deal larger and sturdier to handle this sea’s inherent insanity from hazardous weather, to vicious battles with other seafarers, to monster attacks.

From an outsider’s perspective, it’s amazing you made it this far on the Grand Line. And you can’t deny Going Merry is in pretty bad shape right now,” reasoned Chrysis.

The sniper growled when Cricket added his two-bits on the Going Merry’s sorry state, but maybe his more muscular build intimidated the silently seething man.

Funny who the sniper thought was the bigger threat between the two men. If only he knew internally snickered the sidhe.

But, to the sniper’s anguish, the Saruyama Alliance offered to fix up their ship for their journey up. When Usopp began to bluster at the man with all sorts of accusations, Chrysis was surprised at the teen’s boldness to say all that in the old man’s face. But Montblanc Cricket had much thicker skin. Further than that, the man only expressed joy at meeting a bunch of foolish dreamers like them. He even offered to let them stick around his house for the night.


The Straw Hats and Saruyama Alliance captains partied hard into the night. At least, until Mister Cricket remembered something of vital importance: they needed to sail south.

In the Grand Line where no ordinary compass worked.

“You guys need to go into the forest, right now!”

“Ehhh?”

Cricket pointed to a large golden statue. “This bird, you have to go and capture it this instant! Elsewise, you won’t be able to find the Knock-up Stream!”

“What? Why?” questioned the collective group.

“Remember what I said earlier? Listen, up! The Knock-Up Stream will form directly south of this cape. So, how do you propose we’ll get there?”

“By sailing south, duh,” stated Straw Hat.

“Sailing south…in the Grand Line?!” Kaku quickly realized. “Because of the magnetic fields of all the islands, compasses won’t function correctly.”

“He’s right!” gasped Nami. “We’ve been able to rely on the log pose, but since we’re sailing to a spot in the open seas, it won’t work. But…how are we going to find the Knock-Up Stream, then?”

“That’s where the south bird comes into play. Some species of animals have an innate sense for magnetic waves for orientation,” elaborated Cricket.

Nami nodded her head. “That’s true…I’ve heard about homing pigeons and salmon reportedly have that ability.”

“Not just pigeons and salmon,” chimed in Chrysis. “Many animals who perform long migrations have such abilities. From sharks, to great sea birds, to many flying insect species, they all have reputable magnetoreception. Technically, I can navigate the Grand Line without trouble on my own, being moth-like and all; I can attune myself to the unique magnetic fields of the islands. However, cardinal navigation requires me to fly high to avoid the magnetic disturbances given off by nearby islands - right where the air currents can be unpredictable and knock me out of the sky.”

“Which he won’t be risking,” interrupted Kaku with a firm look thrown in the sidhe’s direction. Don’t even think of trying. Maybe his friend was thinking about the last time he tried. He got them to the right place…once Kaku fished the sidhe from the ocean. It wasn’t his fault some freak rogue gust decided to swing by…and burn up his wings *shudder*.

It still worked!

“Kid’s right,” grunted Cricket. “It’ll be too dangerous for him to fly when a Knock-up Stream is forming. Winds go weird and unpredictable.

What you need is that bird. The south bird is among the animals with the sharpest of these senses. Whether in the featureless desert or in the vastness of the seas, the south bird will reliably point south no matter what.”


The remainder of the night saw every Straw Hat and Chrysis tearing through the forest for the south bird. Said bird had no intention of leaving the forest.

“Man, it’s pitch black in here,” noted Roronoa.

“Guys, quit fooling around! We need to catch that bird, and then we can go back to drinking!”

“W-why d-d-did he have to tell us to go find it in the middle of night. It would be a lot easier to find it during the day,” whimpered Usopp.

“According to Mister Cricket, the bird can be identified by its appearance – i.e. the golden statue we saw earlier – and by its peculiar cry.”

“Isn’t that pretty vague? What did he mean by peculi-”

*Jyooooooooeeeeee!*

“…Did that answer your question, Usopp-san?” commented Chrysis sardonically.

“What kind of queer-ass cry is that?” exclaimed most of the Straw Hats.

The group split into three teams: Nami, Usopp, and Sanji; Tony Tony Chopper, Luffy, and Kaku (after Chrysis’s insistence he could handle some forest creatures); finally, Nico Robin, Roronoa Zoro, and Chrysis.

Chrysis frowned in thought. So far, a dozen or so giant centipedes have tried to ambush them. Not too much of problem for him, since he could easily dance out of the way of the reaching pincers, but Roronoa just casually beat them all up.

“Poor thing, it’s in pain,” noted Nico Robin. Indeed, one of the many centipedes to fall by Roronoa’s blade was writhing on the ground.

“More like, it’s a damn pain,” retorted the swordsman as he threw away another one. “What’s with their sizes?”

Chrysis shrugged. “Well, in dense tropical areas, insects, spiders, and other critters tend to grow to monstrous proportions. And, considering we are in the most improbable of seas, oversized insects are probably the least extraordinary of things we might see.”

“Do neither of you feel any pity for those poor things?” asked Nico Robin.

“Not really… I may be insectoid, but I have no qualms beating them off. Survival of the fittest and all,” replied Chrysis without a trace of guilt.

Roronoa’s response was a bit more empathetic: “Hey! Those things are attacking us, so I have every right to defend myself!”

A few moments passed in silence. Chrysis eyed the swordsman warily as he felt the man’s stance and intent change. Suspicious eyes regarded the two newcomers to the Straw Hat crew.

“I don’t trust either of you. Robin, you have yet to show your true nature, so I won’t trust you until then. As for Chrysis, you just show up and asked to accompany us to Sky Island, knowing a whole lot more about it than that old guy. You say you ran away from home for adventure, but how do we know what you say is true? We don’t know a thing about you and even less about that friend of yours. For now, I’ll have my eyes on all three of you.”

With that, the swordsman began to walk away…in the direction they came from.

It was official; the whole damn forest was trying to kill them under the supervision of that bastard bird. Chrysis tried to hone onto the bird with his five senses, but it was kind of hard to focus with a swarm of insects trying to knock his lights out and eat him. That was the downside of advanced physical senses; they tended to sense way too much, resulting in sensory overload if he wasn’t too careful.

“Yo, soundless man, can’t you shut that bird’s racket?!” snapped Roronoa as he cut down more mole crickets.

Said man snorted before shaking his head. “Doesn’t work like that, Roronoa. I can make a soundless barrier around us, but if the bird isn’t in the area, it can keep calling out the insects. Plus, keeping up a barrier takes a lot out of me, especially at the kind of size we would need.”

Plain tired of the relentless tide of bugs, Chrysis took to the air. Only to be entangled by several more of those monstrous centipedes.

Talk about being overconfident! It looked like the insects would be stepping up their game.

“Get OFF!” he shrieked.

Zoro shook his head and prepared to lend a hand to the trapped man who currently resembled a ball of centipedes in mid-air, but then the insects were suddenly flying through the air, soft bodies hitting the trees with a soft thump. They had a few scattered nicks, but relatively unharmed, if unconscious. The formerly trapped sidhe paid the dazed bugs no mind, examining the slight stain of green goo on the twin fans he held. They were relatively harmless looking: the ribs looked like they were made of some sort of dark gray wood, the fan of a bright silvery paper and had some sort of spiraling pattern.

“Sheesh, this is one crazy forest,” Chrysis muttered, disgust clear in his expression as he wiped off the sticky insect blood.

Zoro’s eyes sparked with interest as the younger man took a stance. This looks pretty interesting

“Sky Blades Style: Sky Wave.” The fans cut sideways through the air, sending out a solid blast of air and flattening the insects around Zoro and Robin. The impact knocked out every single one of the pests.

“Sky Blades Styles, huh?” noted Zoro. Chrysis nodded, wings folding back as he landed.

“It’s my family’s sword style. I adapted it to work with war fans.” Chrysis shrugged and proffered his weapons for inspection by the two curious pirates without further prompting.

Robin looked carefully at the war fans. “They seem to be made of wood and paper, but the texture is oddly similar to metal.”

Zoro grunted in agreement. “How do you keep from breaking them? They’re pretty thin and flimsy-looking.” Not unlike you.

Chrysis cheerfully enlightened them, “I had them for years. I visited to the country of Wano when I was little and fell in love with what they called tessenjutsu, or the art of the war fan. War fans are easy to keep on my person without being overt about carrying a weapon, and they’re well suited for agility-type fighting. My people may never win in a contest of strength, but we’re pretty proud about our precision and speed. As for why they’re in such good shape, it’s because of the material. The paper and ribs are both made from the wood of an Iron Tree.”

“Iron Tree?” inquired Robin for clarification.

“Iron Tree,” reaffirmed Chrysis. “Iron Trees are a special type of tree cultivated by sidhe in bygone days alongside several other species such as the Treasure Tree Adam. Iron wood mimics the several properties of metal but retains the ability to be pulped into paper. Only Adam wood is stronger, but Iron wood’s flexibility makes it a favorable material for less conventional uses.

Sidhe are great with plants, so most of our weapons and tools are fashioned from wood. I suppose that’s where the myths about sidhe being weak against iron originate, we don’t have much use or like to build things with it. Anyways, since they’re made of wood, my fans are nice and light and don’t impede my flying in any significant way.”

“Kind of girly looking though,” remarked Zoro. So, maybe the swordsman wanted to get a rise from the sidhe. It was easier to get a better read on people by seeing how they reacted emotionally.

“Well, tessenjutsu is more commonly used by women outside of Wan- you better not be calling me a girl!” shouted Chrysis, fans snapping shut as he used one to gesture angrily.

Zoro mused, “Butterfly wings, fairy… you sure you’re male?”

Several hands blossomed to keep Chrysis from slicing apart the other blade user.


They all finally met up with the others at a clearing. Not a single one of them had so much as spotted the belligerent bird.

Until said arrogant bird flew over to mock them. Nico Robin used her devil fruit powers to knock it down, and Chrysis shut it up with a single touch.

“Wow, why didn’t you guys do that before?!” complained several of the exhausted and irritated Straw Hats.

They both shrugged.

“I needed to be able to see it first in order to catch it.”

“Calm uses less energy than Silent but requires touch to affect a target. All the racket and creepy crawlies made it impossible to track the bird by sound. And, nocturnal sight isn’t very useful if I fall into another ambush, either. But now it’s quiet and will stay quiet as long as I will it. Luckily, unlike barriers, this sort of move is self-sustaining once I make contact, like a lot of Paramecia powers. Unless, of course, I am knocked out or dead, then, it would be free to make a fool of everyone again,” quipped Chrysis with a self-belittling laugh.

They returned to Montblanc Cricket’s place but found the remains of a fierce battle. Every single captain of the Saruyama Alliance laid bloody and defeated. Whoever did this left nothing unscathed, including the Going Merry. The poor ship was practically broken in half. Mocking them on the splintered walls of Montblanc’s home was the pirate mark toted by the Bellamy Pirates.

The old man spoke out against vengeance, but Straw Hat didn’t care to listen. His expression took Chrysis back. Gone was the usual goofy and nonchalant grin and pout. Before him was the pirate captain of the Straw Hat Pirates. They all watched as the man disappeared in the direction of Mocktown.

“Remind me not to make him mad,” remarked Kaku, more thoughtful than actually afraid.

Chrysis side-eyed the pirate mark.

“You know, if your crew wants to attract trouble, beating up the captain of the Bellamy Pirates may just do that,” idly remarked the sidhe. Kaku narrowed his eyes as he, too, turned to face the graffiti.

Roronoa snorted, “Him? He doesn’t seem that strong. Not like some other guys we’ve fought.”

Chrysis nodded. “I’ll grant you Bellamy himself does not hold much authority in these seas. But he and his crew aren’t an independent crew like yours, though.”

The green-haired man raised a brow. “What do you mean by that?”

“It’s not too uncommon in these seas,” Nico Robin clarified. “Many pirate crews will form alliances for mutual benefits or fly under the mark of another as their subordinates.”

“Exactly,” agreed Chrysis. “I saw the Bellamy Pirates’ ship docked at Mocktown. It has two marks. The one with the rude gesture is probably their own. But the smiley face…that belongs to a big name for even these seas.”

Usopp gulped. “I-I hate to ask, but whom?”

Chrysis looked at the mark again, eyes distant. “Under the law, all pirates are wanted criminals. Save for seven. The Royal Shichibukai. According to you guys, you’ve met one and already took down another. But Crocodile is hardly the strongest, especially with how lazy and overconfident he’s been these past few years. I doubt he even took you guys seriously enough to fight at his best. Mihawk’s power would probably mark him as one of the more powerful of the titleholders in terms of strength and skill, an extraordinary feat for a non-devil fruit user. But, it’s hard to say for sure how he and the others would rank against one another without an outright fight. That mark? It belongs to Donquixote Doflamingo, the Heavenly Demon. Commonly considered the most dangerous and influential of them all.”

“In other words, a bad person to get the wrong side of,” commented Roronoa, rather unconcerned.

“You mean, we could be making an enemy of another one of the Shichibukai?!” squealed Nami with a pale face. Usopp and Chopper looked worse. “We got to stop him!”

“It would be too late by now. I would say our captain would have already knocked Bellamy out, accruing vast amounts of property damage in the process,” stated Robin.

Strangely, the remark on property damage made the navigator more anxious than the thought of the repercussions punching out Bellamy would do.

“Don’t worry, Nami-san,” soothed the curly-haired blond. “Your crew is still little fish to a guy like Doflamingo. I’d be more worried about Bellamy’s health. A ruthless pirate like Doflamingo doesn’t care what his subordinates do. Unless, they lose face. If you have the confidence to bear another’s mark, especially of one of the bigger and crueler monsters of these seas, you better be willing to back it up. No, Doflamingo’s curiosity might be piqued, but who knows what goes through the head of a guy like him?”

Chrysalis’s helpful explanation didn’t do very much to cheer up the three cowardly pirates, but at least they weren’t running around like geese without their heads. Kaku sighed at his friend’s sometimes blunt and thoughtless words. That usually meant Chrysis’s head wasn’t in a good place right now. He drew the sidhe’s attention from the mark to helping the pirate captains fix things up.


By dawn, Straw Hat finally returned with a big sack of gold.

Chrysis eyed the Going Merry with outright speculation. Nope, I’m not imagining it. The three pirates had outfitted the Going Merry like some giant chicken.

“Chickens don’t fly,” he deadpanned.

“Not you, too!” snapped Nami.

“I’m sure it will be fine,” Kaku added, not too confidently.

Cricket saw them off with a few words of wisdom and adventure, and the Going Merry: Flying Edition set sail for the Sky Island.

It was like sailing into the mouth of the abyss. Chrysis kept his wings flat against his back as the wind howled around them.

“You know, Usopp-san, if I thought about it, I probably would die in this kind of turbulence!” shouted the sidhe as the seas rocked the ship like a leaf in the middle of a hurricane.

“Oh, yeah?” whimpered the sniper hugging tight around the Going Merry’s main mast.

“Yeah, kind of why eating a devil fruit and being unable to swim wasn’t too bad of a deal for me. Sidhe can learn how to fly in gales or power through bad weather since our wings are water-resistant. However, not a single one of us flying types can swim, at least not in the ocean. Sidhe have a chemical in our skin that makes us too weighty once it reacts to seawater. Plus, the saltwater is denser, more likely to waterlog our wings. If I get hit, I would drown for sure, devil fruit or no devil fruit power. Luckily, Kaku can swim pretty well.”

“A normal person would probably drown in this kind of weather anyways!” half-shouted, half-cried Usopp. Before the ship and their escorts turned an ominously large whirlpool of water. A mid-sized sea king swam – no, was dragged – by before disappearing below the surface.

Kaku gulped. He was seriously reconsidering why he let Chrysalis convince him to attempt this seriously dangerous venture.

From a safe distance away, the Saruyama Alliance waved their farewells and good wishes.

“You sentenced us to death!” “GAAAAAaaaahhh!!!” “When did a giant whirlpool become part of the whole getting to Sky Island deal?!” the three cowardly members of the Straw Hats screamed.

Straw Hat was totally undaunted. Then again, so was Chrysis.

“Here we go!” cackled the sidhe enthusiastically.

Now that he thought about it, not being able to swim never really stopped a member of his family from taking to the seas at least once in their lives according to family lore.

Some sidhe he knew back at home actually enjoyed risking life and limb for the thrill of battling it out in the worst of the Grand Line’s weather phenomena.

One moment they fell into the maw of a massive whirlpool, next moment the seas were calm.

“Guess this is where our journey to the skies really begins,” murmured Chrysis as he stared down. Unconsciously, he laid his feelers completely flat against his head. He began to let his wings extend to their full length to get a better read on the ominous vibrations echoing from the sea below them.

“Hold it right there, Straw Hat! Zehahahaha!

In a flash, Chrysis withdrew his wings from sight. Kaku stood next to him, both of his blades held loosely at his sides instead of sheathed, ready to be unleased at a moment’s notice.

The portly black-haired man from the bar and a handful of others rowed what appeared to be a giant log boat with a main mast and cannons.

“Don’t think you can escape from me, Straw Hat Luffy! I’m here for your 100 million bounty head!”

“…!? What is that guy going on about?” “Who’s that?”

“What are you talking about? 100 million bounty head?” asked a very dumbfounded Luffy.

The other pirate captain smirked. “Oh? You don’t know, do ya?” He presented two wanted posters. One was for Pirate Hunter Zoro, 60 million beli. The other stated for all to see that Straw Hat Luffy was indeed wanted for 100 million beli.

“What about me?” inquired Sanji. Usopp answered him negatively, resulting in a disappointed chef.

“Hmm” hummed Roronoa Zoro, demonic smile on his face. “60 million, can’t say I’m satisfied just at that.”

“Quiet you two! You’re not supposed to be happy about this! That thing in Alabasta sure came back to bite us!” agonized Nami.

Before Chrysis could retort on what she could possibly have thought the consequences for taking down a government-approved pirate would be, the sea began to bulge. Like a great water piston, the Knock-up Stream blasted them into the air, leaving the strange rival crew without much of a ship left.

Wrecks of ships from the days of old fell apart around them. A great sea king flailed as it lost hold of the current and tumbled out of the great gout of water. The Straw Hats grabbed hold of whatever they could to keep from falling after them.

For a moment, it seemed like they wouldn’t make it.

But their navigator came through. She directed them with every bit of confidence as an old sea salt. Do or die. The crew would make it to the world above or die trying to achieve their dreams just like the many crews described by Bellamy.

Chrysis’s grin sharpened as he surveyed the crew he foolishly decided to accompany. This is the crew who will make it up there and prove those naysayers wrong. And I’ll finally get a glimpse of the world my mom could only speak to me about in her last years.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings’ 

The ship barreled up into the dense clouds above. Everyone immediately began choking until the ship finally breached the skies above it.

*Cough, cough…! Gasp! Haaa…haha…*

“Wow! It’s so white and fluffy!” exclaimed Straw Hat once he caught his breath.

Eyes widened as they took in the pure white land around them.

“Amazing…way better than just listening or reading about it…” hummed the dreamy-eyed sidhe.

“This is impossible, but sure is neat!” exclaimed Kaku as he peered around. He bent and helped the sidhe back to his feet.

Nami pondered, aloud “How are we sailing on clouds?”

“Of course, we can sail on them. They’re just clouds,” the rubber teen stated so plainly, that it was obvious he believed his own words. The others weren’t so convinced.

Chrysis explained, “Not exactly. It’s because they are emperonimbus clouds. Like I said, these clouds are special. Some act like the sea. Others act like land. The exact science would an actual weather scientist's expertise.”

“Err, anyone want to help Usopp-san? I don’t think he’s acclimating very well. Or breathing,” pointed out Kaku as he looked over his fellow long nose.

“AAAaah! Someone get a doctor!” panicked said doctor.

“You ARE THE DOCTOR! Do CPR or something!”

Luckily, Usopp was fine. So fine, he had volunteered to try swimming into the white cloud expanse. Kaku volunteered to come alonh in order to scope out any dangers.

“Shouldn’t we have tied a rope to either of them, or something? I mean, they’ve been gone for a while now,” wondered the sidhe.

Nico Robin suddenly brought up a very valid point: “Just a thought but, … does a cloud ocean really have a seafloor?”

…!!!

“That idiot! We told him to be careful,” grumbled the sea cook.

“Oh for the love of Gaea, I think they’re somewhere over there! I can hear Kaku fighting something off, but Usopp-san seems to be falling!” the sidhe informed them, waving to a spot off to the side.

“Got it!” Between the rubber man’s stretching arm and Nico Robin’s duplicated eyes, the two were able to fish Usopp out.

“Careful!” warned Chrysis as he took out his two fans. “Kaku’s coming back up with company.”

As if to punctuate the blond’s words, several tentacles burst through the surface, an octopus head several times larger than the ship following after. Kaku was standing on one of those tentacles, slashes lagging minutely from what the sidhe seen from his friend. Then a good-sized fish-serpent lunged up.

With ease, Roronoa and Chrysis tore open one of the huge red tentacles bearing down on them with a great pop.

“Kaku, are you okay?!” exclaimed Chrysis as he helped the dual-wielding swordsman back up.

“Fine, just a bit winded. My body feels a bit odd up here,” explained Kaku as he huffed. “The cloud sea feels a bit odd, too and threw off my attacks.” Chrysis sighed in relief.

Sky fish were definitely something else. The crew gathered around as they admired the fish. They apparently came in flat or balloon varieties and sported sharp teeth and feathers.

“Why the hell do they have carnivorous teeth?” muttered the redheaded navigator.

“Makes sense,” observed Chrysis. “No seafloor, doubt plants are exactly a common thing. Sky islands can nurture plants, but seeds and their nurseries originate from the earth. Without soil, nothing can grow. It’s more or less an eat or be eat world in these bare seas. And feathers are a common feature of creatures up here. My mom said our family histories – what we have left of them – mentioned how sidhe coexisted with the ancient Skypieans– a formerly flighted race. We used to live here on the sky islands before descending back to the blue seas long, long ago.”

“Formerly flighted?” inquired Robin.

“Apparently they have angelic wings which have degraded heavily several dozen or so generations ago. Too small to ever take to the air,” answered Chrysis a bit distractedly. “Although, a tribe of flightless winged people once dwelled on the earth-bound seas, too. Probably another clan who share a common ancestor with them.”

From afar, another ship and a person were facing off. Chrysis frowned as he strode over to the good doctor who had caught sight of them in his binoculars.

“Oh, there’s a ship!”

“Dr. Chopper…? I don’t think this will end well…”

“Huh?”

Chrysis’s vision was good for color, not distance. But that’s where his natural gifts came in handy. He could feel weariness from the ship of the crew, quickly spiking into…anger and fear? His wings reflected his unease, stilling entirely. Kaku joined the two, eyes fixing on the distant ship.

The man confronting the other ship felt apathetic on the surface, but had a cold rage banked but ready to flare if given the right catalyst.

*Kaboom!*

Even from this distance, Chrysis could pick up the vibrations of whatever the person used to attack the ship just before the actual impact.

Chopper flinched, eyes wide with fright.

“Yo, guys, what’s going on? Chopper, did you say ship?”

“No…umm yes? There was one…but not anymore!” squeaked the distraught doctor.

“Eh? What do you mean?”

“We might want to figure out where we’re going soon!” interjected Chrysis, eyes not moving from the figure racing over to their ship. “ ‘Cause it looks like whoever did that isn’t satisfied with just one ship.”

Somehow the person in the tribal mask and skates totally outclassed the three heavy fighters of the Straw Hats and Kaku.

Granted, none of them seem to be able to fight or even move properly.

Chrysis narrowed his eyes as he stood against the man. “Looks like you’re not going to leave quietly,” Chrysis said softly. “Kaku, everyone, stay down and let me handle this.”

The man tried to slam his shield at him, but Chrysis easily slipped under the blow. He twisted about to send a kick into the man’s side. Somehow, the person managed to dodge it in time. Try dodging this! Chrysis unfurled both wings to their full lengths. He lunged.

Lunar Cycle.”

Chrysis pulled up, his fans slicing into a high arc past the man and left the impression of a crescent being carved into the sky. “Crescent Moon Rise.”

 The man staggered in surprise as he clutched his injured side, blood soaking into leathers; a perfect crescent was carved into skin and fabric.

The masked man snarled and swiped with his cannon, tearing a huge rip through one wing before Chrysis could fly away. The sidhe hissed and folded his wings on reflex, rolling to a crouch. In the background, he heard Kaku cursing as he tried to struggle back to his feet.

The sidhe glanced to the side. Nami, Usopp, and Chopper were paralyzed by fear, and Robin didn’t look much better than their main fighters. Chrysis would be fighting a physically stronger opponent by himself, but he had promised to protect this crew of misfits.

And sidhe did not break their word. He crossed his fans in front of him. But, before the young man could get back into the fight, someone else flew in to intervene: a strange polka dotted pink bird and an old guy in knight’s garb.


The Straw Hat main fighters sat/laid sprawl on the deck, trying to catch their breaths after the sky knight drove off the invader. Kaku had acted bullheaded, and pulled himself back onto his feet, leaning heavily against the rails.

“How could you guys lose? What was that out there?! And who the hell was that guy?” scolded Nami. “At least Chrysis-kun could hold his own against him, and he’s not a power-heavy monster like you guys! No offense.”

“None taken. I know my limits,” said Kaku, shakily.

“But his wing!” screeched Chopper in panic. “I-I need to tape the ends of the remaining appendage before he bleeds out!”

“Whoa, whoa! Doctor Chopper, take a deep breath! It’s fine. Did you think I somehow kept these wings intact when I’m randomly traveling from place to place, taking shelter in the roughest parts of whatever town or city I’m in? Even with Kaku’s help, I never came out of a impromptu trip without something going wrong. Luckily, sidhe have great regenerative powers. See?”

Chrysis shrugged off his haori jacket to reveal the damaged wing part. The torn edges had feathery tendrils reaching out and attaching to one another, the pinkish-green blood already stemmed. It looked someone sewed them together with white thread.

“Wow…” gasped Chopper.

“Yup! Handy power. I could tear them right off – not with a little pain, mind you – and they’ll regrow after a few hours. This? Flight-ready in several more minutes. Until then, I usually try to keep them out of sight and reach to prevent more damage. Unfortunately, they’re also what I use to extend my hearing range beyond what my ears detect – there are several hearing and mechanical receptors located there. Those take a bit more time to mend, but it’s better than if I were a real moth Zoan. Short of the Mythic-types, they heal like any other human.”

“But your power is not without costs,” Kaku added, tone heavy with disapproval. “You’ll need to eat something pretty substantial to make up for the fast recovery rate.”

“Yes, yes, I know that,” Chrysis stated dismissively.

The doctor turned back to their savior. “Thank you!” he said with a bowed head to the sky knight guy.

“Tsk,” muttered the chef. “How pathetic.”

“Aaa…I can’t really move too well…” gasped the rubber teen from his spot on the deck.

Nico Robin explained between huffs of air, “That’s…because…the oxygen is very scare here… Chrysis said his people…used to live up here…with the addition of flight, his biology is adapted to withstand extremely low pressures…”

“Eh?”

“It means Chrysis is meant to be up here, unlike us earth-bound folk,” Kaku clarified, breath easing.

“You all must be citizens of the Blue Seas,” noted the sky knight.

“Who are you?” demanded Nami.

The old knight introduced himself as the “knight of the sky.” Then he proceeded to explain differences between people of the Blue Seas and White Seas.

Like Nico Robin explained, the low air pressures and thin air 7000 meters above sea level could be brutal on normal human bodies. But, it was a good thing the Straw Hats were anything but normal. Straw Hat, Roronoa, and Sanji quickly managed to get back on their feet with only a few short hours to acclimate.

He offered a deal of 5 million extols for one of his emergency whistles since he lived off his work as a mercenary. This, of course, sparked a whole new conversation as none of the crew knew what an extol was in beli.

“Didn’t your ship arrive here through the top of the high west? Surely, you’ve passed an island or two before arriving here, right?”

“Not a one. Though, it’s nice to know we have some alternative path to take our leave,” mused Chrysis in thought. I wonder which route my mother took? From how his guardians talked about her, she probably opted for the nearly suicidal choice.

“Wait, wait!” interrupted Nami. “We could have arrived here some other way?”

The archaeologist chuckled, “I suppose our guide was correct in stating the existence of not one but many sky islands.”

The knight looked utterly flummoxed and impressed at the same time. “…! You don’t mean to imply-? You people actually traveled here via that monstrous stream?! I never knew I would meet people with such courage in my lifetime who would take that chance…”

Nami looked like she was tears at the confirmation the crew took a very different route to the Sky Island.

“Let me ask you this: did you lose anyone? Even just one or two people?” questioned the sky knight.

“Nope, everyone’s here,” replied Straw Hat.

The sky knight’s face took on a very solemn cast. “Amazing… the other routes, I feel obligated to tell you, are not like the one your crew took. To explain, imagine 100 people on a crew sailing to these seas. To make the attempt is to take a gamble with unpredictable odds of success. Most often, such crews lose people, not all, but at least a few. However, the Knock-up Stream is a different matter; either everyone lives, or everyone dies. 0 or 100 odds are not ones too many people are willing to dare, especially in these years of fading faith and courage. You must have a navigator of true mettle and talent to have made it here in one piece. I give you my deepest of respects.”

The Straw Hats truly made a good impression on the sky knight as the man willingly gave them one of the 5 million extols whistles for free.

“Fare thee well, people of the Blue Seas. As for my name, I am Gan Fall, knight of the skies! And this is my faithful and beloved companion Pierre. With the power of the Uma Uma no Mi, he can transform from a bird to a majestic Pegasus!”

Unfortunately, the expectations of the winged horse and reality fell short as the horse-bird hybrid retained his silly pink and polka dot pattern, face slack as a horse as when Pierre was a weird-looking bird. The two flew off into the distance.

The crew messed around with the dense land clouds before continuing through the White Sea to the waterfall they spotted earlier.

The sidhe sighed with regret as he lifted off. With his tendency to walk around barefoot, the cloudy ground felt pretty good. He took to the air, feet skimming the top of the cloud sea, while the ship sailed through the clouds with little trouble.

“Kaku, what’s is like to swim in that stuff?” inquired Chrysis as he drew back level with the ship.

“Hmm? Ah, well, I suppose it would probably feel similar to if one tried to swim through soap suds. Very light and airy, however surprisingly dense enough to support large swimming bodies,” described Kaku.

“I think I would have liked the opportunity to have even tried swimming before I ate my fruit,” sadly mused the sidhe. There was always the possibility the kairoseki-based sea wouldn’t have the same effect as true sea water since it was a mix of salt and water that turned flight sidhe like deadweights. Theoretically, a sidhe could also try swimming in freshwater, but their wings tended to drag and pulled them down like heavy clothes, never mind how water and insect senses meshed, at least with nonaquatic types.

Before Kaku could speak back up again, the sidhe darted away, skimming just above the cloud sea, occasionally dashing through the waves left in the ship's wake. The cap-wearer chuckled at his companion's antics.

At the base of the waterfall stood a gaudy and bright structure proclaiming itself as the Heaven’s Gate. Chrysis decided it was best to keep to the skies and watch what would happen.

And that was probably the best. The sidhe didn’t like how the watcher Amazon snapped several pictures of the Straw Hats and Kaku as they passed by the gate.

Kaku had his own reservations.

“So, if we neglect to pay the toll, you won’t do anything?” he questioned.

Amazon Lily shrugged, “I am but the watcher posted at Heaven’s Gate, neither guard nor soldier.” That doesn’t answer my question Kaku thought with growing unease. After all, what stopped her from calling those kinds of authorities?

Their companions, unfortunately, held no doubts. Kaku was rather tempted to scold the pirate captain when he corrected Amazon on their numbers being nine, not eight. So long as Chrysalis keeps out of sight, though, it should be fine. Then again, the sidhe tended to live up to his nickname.

Suddenly, a pair of claws snatched the Going Merry. Apparently, this was the Speedy Shrimp who acted as an express system to enter the Sky Island from the long twisting cloud river path. Like its name suggested, the crustacean could move very quickly. Kaku grabbed the rails and held on tight as they sped off.

The crustacean was quick, but not quicker than what a hawk moth, one the fastest fliers among insects, could fly with ease. Chrysis childishly relished the old hag’s look of surprise when the sidhe zipped past faster than her eyes could track, no more than a wild wind rushing past.

“Wow, this guy can move pretty quick!” shouted Chrysis as he flew level with the ship.

“Where have you been?!” screamed Nami. “None of us could tell the old lady where you were!”

“Exactly.” Chrysis’s sly grin disappeared as he explained, “I don’t like the vibes I got from Amazon. It can’t be that easy when they have a ridiculously high toll to enter. And what’s with the pictures? Don’t you guys feel even a bit uneasy about having photographic evidence of us floating around?”

Kaku nodded his head. “He’s right. She may not be a guard or soldier, but she could summon them if need be.”

“Wait, you mean we’re probably criminals here?!” cried Usopp.

“We’re already criminals the moment we set sail under a Jolly Roger,” the pirate hunter reminded him. “It doesn’t make much difference being criminals up here, too.”

Shaking his head, Chrysis further explained, “I kept well above you guys for a good reason. One, not a pirate. Two, I can probably sneak around Skypeia unimpeded since they don’t have a picture reference for me.”

“Good thinking, Chrysis,” praised Nami. “Either way, don’t bring any more trouble on us, guys!”

“Says you,” retorted the green-haired swordsman. “You would have tried to haggle the toll down or refuse to pay, anyways.”

“Don’t talk that way to Nami-swan!” yelled Sanji. The two tried to get into a scuffle until Chrysis decided to sweep both men off their feet with a flash of his wings before landing back on the ship. They were lucky the sidhe wouldn’t risk a harder strike when the ship plowed forward at crazy speeds.

Any sort of further argument was derailed as the Speedy Shrimp approached a whirled column of clouds. Mounted above them, a sign proclaimed the entrance to Godland Skypiea. A beautiful cloud island rife with greenery and civilization greeted them.

“Definitely better than I imagined,” breathed Chrysis. He smiled, watching the Straw Hat Pirates frolic about the clouds. He simply enjoyed the calmness of the moment. Something landed right next to the content man.

“Well, hello there, devil bird,” greeted Chrysis. The south bird danced about angrily, but unable to make a single noise.

“Alright, alright, hold still,” chuckled Chrysis. He tapped its beak. A slight purple aura appeared briefly before breaking apart around the bird. The now vocal south bird then proceeded to try and peck the sidhe, but Chrysis simply shifted his head, the bird’s attacks harmlessly flying past. Frustrated, the bird finally flew off.

Wings outstretched, Chrysis glided idly over to the island, just in time to meet the Skypiean natives Conis and Suu.

“Are you from the Blue Sea as well?” inquired Conis gently. “Strange, I’ve never seen anyone else with wings like yours.”

“Not surprising. My people did at one point live on sky islands long ago,” Chrysis answered. The sidhe gratefully accepted one of those hard fruits from Kaku and downed it in one go. Mmm, delicious! No doubt Kaku was making sure the sidhe didn’t overdo it after mending his wings.

Then sidhe’s freshly healed wings stilled briefly, then began to hum and vibrate.

“Someone seems to be driving quite quickly over to us,” Chrysis informed them as he turned back to the White-White Sea. He leapt into the air as Conis’s father nearly rammed into him.

“Ah…I-is anyone hurt?”

“Shouldn’t we be asking you that?!!” yelled Roronoa.


Conis and her father seemed like nice people. They even let Straw Hat and Nami try out using the dial technology of their waver. Unfortunately, Straw Hat - maybe I should just call him Luffy, he’s certainly too goofy for such formal address - utterly failed to control the waver and flew off of it.

“We probably should go and rescue him,” suggested Chrysis as Luffy arced into the cloud sea.

“Mmm, what would happen to devil fruit users in a sea of clouds anyways?” considered Sanji.

Roronoa offered, “Well, this place is different from normal seas, right? Maybe he can actually swim.”

“Does Luffy actually know how to swim, though?” considered Chrysis. “And didn’t I mention it before? These clouds do possess the “essence of the sea,” according to my mother’s stories. Some form of kairoseki if I had to guess.”

Hypothesis confirmed as Luffy sunk below the surface. Good thing Sanji and Zoro were both fairly strong swimmers, although Usopp had to dive in for their well-meaning doctor.

“Neither you nor I can swim, so why did you dive into the sea?” chided Chrysis. “Good intentions, bad common sense.”

According to Conis’s father, one had to have a good head for sea currents and waves to drive the waver well. 10 years of training for a normal person. However, no one on the Straw Hat crew was normal, were they? Nami took to the waver like a dragonfly to the sky. Chrysis narrowed his eyes as Nami began to drive further and further away.

“Guys go ahead with Conis and her father, please. I’ll keep an eye on Nami just in case. Besides, I could use a nice flight not involving weird arthropods. Kaku, don’t give me that look. I can fly and am a damn good fighter on my own. I’ll be fine by myself for a bit. Just keep an eye on things here. Think about it like this: the Straw Hats are our ticket back home.”

His friend still didn’t look appeased.

“Please, just endure a little bit longer, ‘kay?”

“Honestly, you’re always doing this, getting us involved in such situations,” sighed Kaku but he nodded reluctantly in agreement.

With that, the sidhe flew after the waver and driver. In no time, the moth sidhe caught up to Nami.

“Yo, enjoying the waver?”

Nami laughed, “Yeah, this is great! I wished the one on the guys picked up worked.”

“We could always ask around. I’m sure there’s someone in Skypiea who fixes that kind of stuff,” suggested Chrysis as he skimmed his toes over the cloudy water. “I wish I could swim. These sea clouds feel pretty nice.”

“Oh yeah, you mentioned that earlier. Sounds like it could make sea travel difficult for sidhe.”

“Not any more difficult than being a devil fruit user. Some grounded sidhe could swim – no wings to drag them down, you see, and they had a slightly different body chemistry, just what they had, the levels were low enough to let them swim. You see, the unique chemical composition in my skin are essential for making me lighter than normal for flight. Terrestrial sidhe don’t need that kind of adaptation unless they’re the jump and climb types, but, like I said before, you don’t usually see any of them today  with the occasional one or two cropping up once in a while. We sidhe have strong genetic memories, after all. Hmm, some hybrids can also swim, so I hear, but it’s a genetic lottery I lost.”

Nami looked over and gasped. Chrysis turned his head back forward to see what caught her attention. A huge forest rooted on solid earth towered over them.

“Well…that’s unexpected,” murmured Chrysis, wings swiveling liked a hummingbird’s wings to keep him hovering by Nami. “Maybe this is what the log pose locked on, considering magnetic fields are given off by, well, the earth.”

“How in the world did all these trees grow so tall? They must be ancient.”

“Probably. Most trees live for several decades, even as many as several centuries,” trailed off Chrysis, gaze darting over his shoulder. “Nami, I don’t think we’re alone anymore,” he murmured softly.

“Wha- who’s here?!”

Chrysis grimaced. “One not very nice person I’m 95% sure we’ve met before coming from the White-White Sea. And several people chasing after another person heading to the shore of this earthen island!”

As Chrysis predicted, the guerilla fighter zoomed on his skates right for them. Pirate, wanderer, and guerilla stared blankly at one another for a moment. The silent staring contest was broken when the masked man aimed his bazooka cannon right into the forest. The sidhe hacked from the thick gray smoke. A single person crawled out from the smoke.

“P-lease! Hey, can you help me?! Let…let me ride…*cough*! On your boat! Please! I’m begging you! I’ll pay whatever price if you would only…!” pleaded the critically injured man.

Chrysis and Nami looked at one another, expressions conflicted. The waver only had one seat. Chrysis could try flying the man, but realistically, the sidhe stood a couple of heads shorter than the guy. Sidhe were not fishman; they were physically weaker than the average human. His human side lent him an unusually vigorous constitution and strength, but he was still four feet and a bit and part-sidhe. Plus, the guerilla soldier guy was still there… Every hair on Chrysis body suddenly began stand up.

Like a judgement from the heavens, a pillar of light crashed right where the man laid. An entire section of forest was utterly devastated. Chrysis closed his eyes and used his sense to guide him as he darted down and towed Nami and the waver over to the side. Moments later, the group of people he sensed earlier neared the shore.

Chrysis dug his feet and hands into the earth to anchor him while Nami leaned back close to the earth wall. Both paled as they heard the mysterious group of people discuss a new group of eight trespassers from the Blue Sea. It seemed like if they didn’t do something, the whole crew would be put into the same situation as the guy who got obliterated!


Why did Chrysis think warning the others would be an easy thing to do? The Straw Hats, Kaku and a group of rather official looking Skypieans stood on the shore. Usopp in all his subtlety, told Nami rather directly they had to pay 9 million beli for their fines. Chrysis hovered just short of the shore, shell-shocked as the most rational of the Straw Hats rammed straight into the leader of the White Berets.

“Nami, I don’t think that helped things…” stated Chrysis tentatively as he landed next to the Straw Hats. Nami proposed they run away.

“HOLD IT~~!” bellowed the man Nami ran over. “How dare you… not only have you trespassers acted quite impolite to we, the White Berets, but you even had the audacity to assault an officer! Hindering a public official is a class 5 crime…! By the power granted unto me by the God Enel, I hereby sentence you all to cloud drifting!”

“Oh, is that all? Sounds pretty fun.”

Conis panicked, “Luffy, cloud drifting is a death sentence! You, your crew, and the ship will be set on a piece of island cloud and condemned to drift the skies until you die!”

“Still doesn’t sound too bad. We have Chrysis.”

The sidhe in question shook his head. “I might be able to direct the cloud with my Sky Blades Style. Or, the ship might fall off, the cloud could tear apart, or I may run out of stamina and plunge to my death.”

“Let’s save that as a backup plan, then,” deadpanned Kaku.

“You know I’m kidding, Kaku!”

“Are you trying to imitate Robin?!” cried Usopp.

“Hmm…that is most probably what happened to that galleon we saw fall out of the skies. It probably was condemned to that very penalty 200 years ago,” noted Nico Robin.

“Enough talking, criminals!” yelled the captain of the White Berets. “Men, get them!”

“Guys, you’ve got to get out of here!” pleaded Conis. The White Berets captain chided her on trying to help criminals. Chrysis frowned as he sorted through what he sensed from everyone here.

The White Berets nocked their bows and fired the oddest of arrows. Milky clouds trailed from them, making a path for the officers. Not that it mattered too much. Luffy easily dodged by using his Gomu Gomu powers.

Gomu Gomu no…Fireworks!” With an explosion of rubber fists and feet, every officer was knocked unconscious. The Straw Hats and their two guests went from level 5 offenders straight to level 2 offenders. Kaku sighed at that, hand going to rub his temple. Chrysis couldn’t blame him, their situation just turned way worse as they now needed to fight off god’s four priests.

“Priests of the Upper Yard,” repeated Chrysis. “I guess we found out the name for the group chasing that poor guy.” Nami was still shouting at Luffy for trying to get into trouble.

“What group of people?” inquired the Roronoa as he walked past the sidhe.

“Oh yeah, we forgot to tell you guys. I believe Nami and I stumbled on the Upper Yard earlier. It resembled a huge overgrown forest on an actual piece of land. The guerilla guy was there, too. Luckily, he was a bit distracted by the running man and probably the priests chasing after him. Anyways, the other criminal offender tried to convince Nami and I to give him a lift when out of nowhere, a huge blast of light struck down from the sky. The land where the guy stood looked like someone burned a hole in it.”

Nami glanced over. “That was right…wait, didn’t you guys just got through telling me that place is forbidden?!”

“Yep. I guess we were grade A criminals before the whole pummeling the public officer thing.”

Nami sighed, then called for the crew to pack up and leave since they shouldn’t bring trouble on Conis’s family. Nami, Robin, Roronoa, and Chopper headed back to the ship.


Everyone else had just finished packing away their things when Usopp yelled for their attention.

“Gah! That shrimp from earlier is taking the Going Merry!

“Not only that, it has a few friends chasing after them!” added Kaku, pointing to the horde of cloud sea creatures swarming the surrounding seas about the Merry.

It looked like the remaining Straw Hats, Kaku, and Chrysis would have to make their way to the Upper Yard as their crew became divided between those sacrificed at the sacred altar and those who would endure the trials to rescue them.

“Chrysis, Kaku, you know you’re not actually members of our crew,” pointed out Sanji as the sidhe packed away his haori to free his wings for better maneuverability. The sidhe shrunk his wings back to their smallest form, similar in size to the angel wings of the Skypieans.

“Hmm? Yeah, and…?”

“You don’t have to risk your life for our crewmates,” bluntly stated the chef. “You’re, at best, a guest our captain invited onto the ship. Same for Square-Nose, no matter how similar he looks to our own long nose.”

“Sanji!” hissed Usopp. “We kind of need all the help we can get if we’re about to go against *shudder* God himself!”

“Usopp, Sanji-san is right. I am not a member of the Straw Hats, so I shouldn’t feel obligated to save your crewmates. I agreed from sharing knowledge to offering my battle skills for a lift to the Sky Island. Technically, I never extended this deal past reaching the island. Nor did I explicitly state we would be accompanying you guys back to the Blue Seas. However, I won’t leave you guys to the mercy of some “God” just on principle.”

“Chrysis! Be careful, He might hear you!” panicked Usopp.

“Don’t care,” answered the sidhe, rolling his eyes. “To be honest, I’ve met way too many people who call themselves “Gods” or claim they’re better than someone else by grace of birth or chance to take that title seriously, anyways. Just because you have more power than someone doesn’t make you right; it makes you arrogant.”

Shishishishishi! Chrysis is right! No God will take away my nakama!”

Usopp begged Kami to take pity on his blasphemous friends. Kaku shook his head, but resigned himself to fighting a battle with unknown odds.


The group strolled through the streets of Angel Island. The citizens stared at them in apprehension and outright fear. However, Luffy paid them little mind as he oohed and ahhed at the various shop goods.

“Luffy-san, perhaps you should quit bothering the nice shopkeepers,” suggested Chrysis.

The sidhe strolled by in just his low-backed white shirt and black pants. His paired fans were secured to the arm sheaths he normally wore concealed under his sleeves. He had a strong hunch he might need to get to his weapons at a moment's hesitation.

Finally, they reached their destination: Angel Island’s port where several gondolas were docked. A deep red one with a bullhead figurehead particularly caught the pirate captain’s attention.

“Wow! That’s gondola is awesome! Look at the figurehead! I want this one!”

“Err, Luffy? Your gondola is over here…” pointed out Conis to no avail as Usopp joined Luffy in gawping at the showy gondola.

“You shitty idiots! Take this seriously! Robin-chan and Nami-swan are depending on us to rescue them!”

Their gondola looked…serviceable? The Karasu-Maru didn’t look as nearly as well-outfitted as the other gondola, but what could they expect from a family-owned gondola? Chrysis tried to placate Luffy, mentioning how it was rather generous for Conis and her father to lend them a boat in the first place, what with being convicted criminals and all. In the end, it took a show of brutality from Sanji to persuade Luffy away from the rental gondola.

Sometimes it still caught Chrysis off-guard with how childish the straw hatted-captain could be. He knew Kaku was for sure still taken aback by how casual this group of pirates was.

“Alright, you need to take the No.2 exit gate and merge onto the main milky road to get to the Upper Yard,” instructed Conis.

“…Hey, Conis…?”

“Y-yes?” stuttered the young woman.

“Are you sure you’re alright with this? You’ve been shaking since we’ve left your house,” observed Luffy.

“Even before then,” softly spoke Chrysis, only loud enough for Conis to hear.

“I-I…I have?”

Luffy nodded, “Yeah. Are you afraid of something?”

Sanji interjected, “Aww, my sweet Conis-chan must be worried about us! Don’t you worry, I’ll get the girls back before you know it~”

Usopp’s lips went tight as he considered Conis. “Luffy’s right. You’ve been very helpful, but will you be alright after this? Everyone else on the streets have clearly been avoiding us. Won’t you and your father get in trouble helping us out so much? You even went as far as lending us your boat…”

“It wouldn’t be too much for us to find our own way here,” Luffy told here. “You definitely don’t look too good. I wish I had Chopper here, ‘cause you look really pale!”

Conis shook her head and replied with a firm no. “I-I…”

“I doubt the eyes on us are helping,” noted Kaku calmly as he looked toward a nearby building. “Hurry up and come out. Your stealth tactics are sloppy.” The White Beret leader glared as he got onto his feet and came out from the building.

“Let me guess: there’s a law regarding the responsibility of civilians? Probably something like doing everything they can to aid in bringing criminals such as ourselves to justice? As those undergoing the Trials, it would not be favorable if we ran off and abandon our crewmates. This way, one ensures our arrival to the Upper Yard as quickly as possible,” concluded Chrysis with a blank face.

Conis broke down and sobbed, “He’s…he’s right! Please, guys, can’t you just walk away from this? I-I…I’m sorry! I’m the one who called the Express Speed Shrimp…!”

“Girl, shut up!” warned the White Beret, but Conis kept going. Like Chrysis had theorized, the people of Angel Island had no choice but to perform their “civic responsibility” and help escort them to the judgement ground or die. The crowds began to speak out, trying to drown out Conis’s words to no avail.

“You’re really stupid, you know!” yelled Luffy. “You didn’t have a choice, right…? Then…”

“WHY DID YOU TELL US?!” all the Straw Hats and Chrysis shouted. The sky began to whiten.

“Get away from there!” “It’s too late!” “No…!” “Watch out! A judgement is coming down!”

Just like before, the air faintly began to hum. Chrysis and Luffy both tried to grab Conis and run, but they both knew they wouldn’t be able to escape the blast zone.

Light flared. Chrysis closed his eyes against the sudden flash, but he didn’t feel anything except being suddenly pulled aloft. His eyes jerked open. The knight of the sky Gan Fall had pulled them to safety just in time.

“Don’t worry, they’re fine!” assured Gan Fall. “It is I! Gan Fall, knight of the sky! This is a service I render free of charge.”

“Oh, that strange guy came back…” sighed Usopp with relief. “I thought they were all goners!”

Without any fanfare, Gan Fall casually dropped Chrysis and Luffy, the former scowling as he dove down to grab Luffy before he fell and possibly roll into the giant hole.

Kaku walked over to his friend’s side and smacked him over the head.

“Hey!”

“Chrysalis, how many times do I have to say this?! Don’t go doing reckless stuff!” chided the square-nosed man, expression pinched and worried.

“Sorry, sorry. I get, I keep worrying you, especially since I make your job a whole lot harder. I’ll try and limit the stupid maneuvers, but my body acted before my mind…” Chrysis apologized, normally mischievous expression somber.

Kaku sighed and rustled the smaller man’s hair. “I suppose I should anticipate this kind of thing by now, kiddo. Just…try to limit the number of near-death experiences, if you can.”

“I know, old man. I promise to take better care,” Chrysis swore, batting away the older man’s hand.

Gan Fall looked at the pair for a moment before announcing, “I will take this girl temporarily under my protection. You people of the Blue Seas now know the true feelings behind the workings of this country as well as glimpsed the power of “God”. Do you still persist in defying him?”

Luffy huffed, “I don’t care about the politics of this country, but our friends are on God’s land. We won’t be stopped by even God!”

Chrysis nodded and stated, “No god has the right to so casually take out human lives, so I’m with him!”

“Brave words, my friends. Very well. I wish you luck on your quest.”

Finally, the four have climbed aboard the crow gondola and set off. Their destination: Upper Yard, the land claimed by “God”.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings’

 Slowly but surely, the gondola made its way to the huge forest Nami and Chrysis saw earlier that day.

“What the hell is up with that forest? It’s huge!”

“It is, isn’t it? Nami and I saw it when we were exploring,” Chrysis told them. “When we came here, the priests Conis’s father mentioned earlier were chasing someone before “God” decided to intervene and strike the guy down himself. I believe there are four of them and two animals. I heard part of their conversation. Those guys really enjoy hunting people down, so don’t trust anyone you don’t know on the island because they could easily be one of those psychos… are you even paying attention?”

The oversized trees had completely snagged the younger teens’ attention.

“Any idea how powerful they are?” inquired Kaku.

“Hmm, let’s just say their quite an observant lot. I didn’t get the vibe that they actually have a lot of power in of themselves, but Skypieans can be tricky fighters if the mask guy is any indicator. Their tech is pretty advanced.”

“Yes, those dials do seem to have a lot of potential if you change a few things around,” agreed Kaku. Only Sanji picked up on how the swordsman’s eyes sharpened after the smaller man’s report.

There was something these guys weren’t coming clean about.

“Hmm…I don’t see this forest marked on the map…” noted Usopp.

Sanji remarked, “The map is fairly old, even considering the man who had it hailed from two centuries ago. Forests like these take thousands of years to grow so tall.”

“Don’t forget the weird atmospheric conditions. It probably caused the vegetation to grow to abnormal proportions. Considering how the Skypieans value things of the earth, they probably left the trees alone and let them grow wild, too,” added Chrysis as he laid back into his seat.

They passed by the entrance with only Usopp protesting against continuing. A scene of wrecked ships greeted them. The sidhe’s eyes drifted up…then he suddenly made a quick grab for the steering wheel and jerked the gondola sideways…

“What are you do-?!”

…just as a huge scythe styled with a tribal mask attached to it swung by.

“Guys, grab the oars! Paddle faster! Aaaah! More are coming!” shrieked Usopp.

A whole slew of swinging scythes careened both in front of them and behind of them.

“Damn it!” cursed Chrysis as they barely paddled the gondola past another one of those monstrous death blades.

“What the hell is going on?!”

Kaku coolly stated, “I would say this is the welcoming committee’s way of greeting us.” He took out his two shirasaya katanas. In a move faster than the pirates could see, he struck. One of the blades heading for them crashed just short of the Gondola.

“Good thinking, Kaku. Think you can help me with the rest?” The sidhe drew out both of his fans and took to the air. As nimble as a bird, the young man easily danced around the deadly blades. Kaku on the other hand leapt out of the boat and right onto the blade heading toward their gondola.

“Now, why don’t we show our appreciation of their gracious hospitality?” Chrysis stated with a smirk. Kaku nodded his head sharply, eyes bright.

Sky Blades Style: Shooting Stars / Gale Slash.

Faster than the eye could see, shimmering thin blades of wind pierced through the chains, light scattering upon impact. But, before the blades crashed down, some about to fall right onto gondola’s path, the blades themselves were sliced apart.

Moments later, Kaku was swimming back to the boat, Chrysis gliding above him.

“Whoa! Good thinking you two,” cheered Usopp from the gondola.

Sanji took a long drag from his cigarette. “So, both of you can slice through steel like that Marimo. Not bad.”

“Err, thanks?” Chrysis drifted back into the gondola, wings resting against his usual white shirt.

*Swoosh!* A huge lamprey decided right then to take a bite out of the Karasu-Maru. But, Kaku, still in the river, easily sliced the monster in half.

“But you’re not useless like he is.” Sanji scowled at the spineless fish. “No more fooling around. If we’re not careful, we won’t be able to rescue anyone!”

“Right!” “Okay!” “You don’t have to remind me.” “As you wish Sanji-san.”


They rowed a bit longer until they finally came to a place where the river split, each branch marked by a doorway, a huge statue placed just above and behind them.

“Trial of Swamp? Trial of Iron? String? Balls?”

“Conis’s father did mention something about trials,” remarked Chrysis as he drifted closer and tried to peer through them.

Kaku’s fingers tapped. Do you sense anything?

“No luck, guys. Each one is a pitch-black tunnel.” Antennae flicked. Someone of power is stationed ahead of each – the so-called priests of God. String and Iron each have some form of animal companion.

“Does it matter which way we go?” whimpered Usopp.

Sanji took a whiff of his cigarette and frowned. “I guess God wants to play a game with us…”

“There are supposed to be four priests, thus four paths,” concluded Kaku. “Where shall we go, then?”

After a bit of arguing and clarification that no, you cannot vote more than once, they decided to journey to the least dangerous sounding of paths: The Trial of Balls

Chrysalis drifted along the side of the gondola, staring straight ahead. The agent eyed the sidhe silently, fingers tapping out a silent message.

Anything unusual about this one?

Antennae flicked out a response.

There are many animal presences but oddly muffled by some sort of barrier. One human, relatively weak as far as I can tell.

Should we put up one of your soundless barriers?

No. From how his aura is shaped, he has control over his own presence and can probably sense us by now. Tricks like Silent don’t work if everyone can’t guard their own presence. If Luffy wasn’t here, it wouldn’t be an issue, but right now I would have to use more power to obscure his life force. For now, be on guard.

Naturally.

Luffy and Usopp were arguing about whether or not they might have been tricked into falling off the island.

And, as if fate was taunting them, the gondola emerged from the tunnel, only to plunge down onto another milky road few hundred feet below them. Chrysis made a noise of annoyance as he dove down to catch up to the falling vessel.

Hundreds of white cloud balls drifted above them. The road ahead of them looked twisted and confusing.

“Usopp, Luffy-san, please do not jinx us like that,” sighed the sidhe as he glided past the gondola.

Huge clouds in the shape of balls drifted idly above them. After eyeing them with wariness, Chrysis volunteered to scout ahead for the exit considering the many twisting and splitting paths the milky road took. Kaku silently joined the sidhe, amazing the pirates with how gracefully he could jump from tree to tree.

They had just located the exit when something exploded. Chrysis somersaulted in the air before rushing straight back to where he left the Straw Hat Pirates, Kaku close on his heels. They found the guys in the middle of a mess of those cloud puffs from earlier. Furthermore, they were heavily bloodied and burned and no wonder; those clouds released all sorts of random stuff from harmless objects, to dangerous sky beasts and explosions.

Sky Blades Style: Sky Wave!” A large gust of wind sent the randomly dispersed balls straight back at a large prancing man.

“I suppose we’ve discovered the meaning behind “Trial of Balls”?” stated the young man flatly as he eyed the man who had managed to spring out of the way of the balls moments before they would have converged on him. Granted, the bastard did huff and puff quite a bit. “This is the priest?”

“Y- *huff, huff* - Yes, I am! And I being Satori of the forest of illusions! How dare you send my wondrous balls flying back to me! Luckily my Mantra is well honed for these kinds of things! Why don’t you enjoy these wonderful surprise clouds like your friends?”

Satori kicked a cloud toward the hovering sidhe. Instead of dodging, Chrysis only stopped it with a single finger. The cloud burst to reveal…a few skyfish the sidhe casually cut to sushi-shaped pieces.

“How did I do, Sanji-san?”

“Quit messing around, bastard!” yelled the fed-up chef. “And- watch out!”

Satori sent more surprise clouds spinning at the sidhe who had turned his back on the priest. But, to both the pirates and priest’s astonishment, the sidhe simply dropped down moments before impact, falling backwards to blow the clouds upward with his wings. They exploded harmlessly above him.

“Y-you! You have Mantra, as well?”

Satori gnashed his teeth and skipped to the side as Kaku came hurtling at him. The swordsman easily sidestepped the incoming surprise clouds the priest threw in retaliation

“Wait, you guys have that same crazy ability too?!” gaped a gob smacked Usopp who had finally dragged himself back to his feet.

“Mantra of the White Seas is not a power unknown to the Blue Seas,” conceded Chrysis as he and Kaku casually dodged the incoming surprise clouds. He swept his wings forward to blow several away from the Straw Hats watching below. “It’s what I used earlier today to locate Usopp. Kaku can use it to some extent, too, though I’m the more skilled of the two of us. We could try teaching it to you, but- hmm?”

Satori gathered several surprise clouds and made them explode all at once. Smoke blinded the two momentarily. At the same time, several more surprise clouds headed straight for their pirate allies. Kaku and Chrysis had little choice but to stop their pursuit of Satori and deflect the surprise clouds containing bombs, needles, and swords.

Suddenly, a huge dragon made of surprise clouds charged as the smoke finally settled.

“Behold! My Orb Dragon! Some of these clouds are bombs, and others are blades. You may also possess Mantra, but can you dodge them all?” taunted Satori.

“Chrysis, Kaku!” The sidhe and swordsman paused, poised to attack the annoying dancing marshmallow man. “Leave this to me!” yelled Luffy. The moth sidhe threw the priest a sharp look before acquiescing, wings folding back as he settled onto a branch.

It was probably for the best as Luffy grabbed hold of Satori’s tether and yanked the dragon right toward him.

“Luffy, that dumbass,” muttered the chef as the dragon’s “body segments” began to compress together upon impact.

Moments before the blast hit them, Chrysis threw his hands forward, palm out and shouted, “Quiet!” Knowing what was going to happen, Kaku dropped in front of the sidhe, blades held to guard.

An indigo barrier in the form of a shield sprung up before them. Out of the smoke, came the three men, a bit smoky and burnt, but otherwise fine. Because of Kaku’s attempt to guard him from the attack, the sidhe had sustained the least amount of damage out of the three.

“Now, who’s being reckless?” Chrysis weakly joked as he buzzed around front to examine the damage.

“What was that?” questioned Sanji as he examined his body. Aside from a few burns and scrapes, he wasn’t as bruised and battered as he expected. That explosion didn’t even send him reeling back when he stood so close to the impact zone.

The young man grinned and explained, “Quiet: a technique to block the physical damage from explosions and air blasts. Originally, I could only affect the ability to perceive sound, but then I considered studying the theory of sound to understand my ability better. Sound at its basis is a pressure wave traveling through the air. Form there I got to thinking; explosive damage consists of fire, some shrapnel, and smoke, yes, but also the physical impact of a blast wave. Basically, it’s a powerful pressure wave. So, I figured, why can’t I stop that like I can stop sound?”

Chrysis paused and looked around. “Where did Usopp sneak off to, anyways?”

“Never mind that,” replied Sanji. “That big meatball there is still floating there. Hey! Luffy! Don’t let that meatball man move an inch!”

It seemed Luffy had completely entangled the guy with his rubbery body. A smart move considering neither Sanji nor Luffy could move faster than Satori’s predictions and reflexes.

“Listen up! I don’t care particularly if I have to undergo this stupid trial of yours, and do you know why? It’s because two helpless women are waiting for their knight in shining armor to save them! This is a trial! A trial of love!”

“Is he serious?” Kaku felt compelled to ask.

Chrysis snorted, “Probably. We’ve known these guys for, what? A day? I already know they’re all crazy.”

It was pretty sappy, but effective in motivating the chef. Satori was completely helpless as Sanji slammed the heel of his foot onto the guy’s skull.

“Guys! Hey, guys!” shouted Usopp from far off. “Hurry up! I found the boat, but it’s about to leave the forest!”

“Usopp? I thought he was blown up ‘cause he disappeared after the explosion,” admitted Sanji, much to the sniper’s dismay.

“Oh!! He found the boat! Awesome, let’s go!” cheered Luffy.


While the sidhe and his bodyguard were relieved the sniper took the opportunity to find the boat (and keep out of the way of the fighting), both declined using the sniper’s whatever-it’s-called to reel himself over to the Karasu-Maru.

No, Chrysis did not snicker when the three Straw Hats bounced off several trees as the rope drew taut and dragged them haphazardly through the forest. Okay, maybe I smirked just a bit. And chuckled. Kaku was doing it, too (internally, but same difference)!

Chrysis told the others to hold their questions about Mantra for when they meet up with the others since he didn’t want to repeat himself. He did, however, share with them the general idea of how people learned Mantra while their dial boat steadily plowed through the milky road.

“Wow, so regular people can learn it, too? Not just Skypieans? Or winged people in general?” hastily added Usopp.

“I don’t recall Kaku being a sidhe or Skypiean, Usopp,” Chrysis reminded the sniper.

Usopp hastily went to apologize to the swordsman, but Kaku said he didn’t care.

He also added, “But, what Chrysalis didn’t tell you guys is that learning this kind of skill can take up to half a year. And that’s just to unlock it in the first place.”

Chrysis nodded then quirked his head to the side. “We have company again, it seems.”

A fast-moving group skated over them, one firing a cannonball right at the group after passing by them. Luffy’s Gomu Gomu no Balloon luckily bounced the projectile harmlessly away.

Usopp ducked and stuttered, “L-luffy! That’s the guy from before! That masked raider from the White Sea!”

“What the hell?! Do you want to fight Mask Guy?!” shouted Luffy.

The raider looked at them with distaste and warned them to leave the White Seas, threatening to treat them as enemies like Enel if they messed with this island. Luffy was undaunted as he tried to pick a fight with the warrior, Usopp desperately trying to pull the captain back into the boat.

“We have business here as well,” stated Chrysis crisply. “We’ll leave once we finish with that, no matter what you say.”

“Chrysis!” loudly whispered Usopp. The warrior regarded the Straw Hats and Chrysis coldly before running off, parting with an ominous remark of whether they could leave this place. Kaku eyed the disappearing forms silently, one hand still placed over his katana hilt.

“So, they’re enemies of God Enel, too,” speculated Sanji. “But what are they to us, then?”

“More enemies,” concluded Kaku as he looked afar at a point none of the pirates could see. “They are completely resolved in whatever brings them to this place. They wouldn’t bat an eye to eliminate us if we cross paths again. Their leader especially is a dangerous man.”

The chef snorted and simply stated, “…who cares? It’s none of our business, anyways. Let’s just keep going.”

They finally found the Going Merry just as the sun began setting.

“Nami-swan~~~! Robin-chan~~~! I’ve finally passed through the trial of love and found the two of you~”

“Trial of what? Was that the trial we had to pass?” Luffy asked in confusion. Kaku and Chrysis shook their heads but didn’t bother elaborating at this point.

“Hey, guys! Never fear for Captain Usopp is here! You can rest assure we’ll take on any other priest trying to get you!!!”


One of bastard priests had burned the Merry pretty badly, but luckily no one took fatal injuries.

After looking into the injured sky knight, the reunited Straw Hat crew decided to set up camp on the nearby shore. Between the crew and their guest, they rounded up plenty of roughage and beasts for a decent cookout.

“Everyone here? Good. Alright, thanks to everyone’s information we’ve collected over the day, I think we have a pretty good picture on what’s what. But, this point here is the most important thing we’ve learned today!” lectured Usopp, stick thumping just under the bullet point.

“To think, Noland’s city of gold was lost to the skies,” mused Chrysis as he took a seat on a nearby log.

“Hey, the shitty cook said you knew about Mantra, right?” inquired Roronoa with mild interest.

“Correct. To be precise, Kaku and I are both relatively proficient at Mantra, or what we call Kenbunshoku haki.”

“Say what again?”

“Ken-bun-shoku haki,” stressed Kaku, “can be seen as the ultimate extension of the five senses, almost a type of sixth sense. It’s the ability to perceive the “breath” or essence given off by all living things. Their presence, in other words. A type of energy that flows out and around a being. At the most basic, a Kenbunshoku user can detect the number or closeness of other living things. More advanced users such as that priest can read the flows to predict people’s actions.”

“And if you’re a natural like me, someone born with the power, usually you have an innate skill of empathy – the reading of emotions – at the start. But, that’s incredibly rare,” Chrysis added. “A lot of people tend to focus on certain areas, especially if Kenbunshoku isn’t their specialty. Kaku, for an example, focuses on general detection and reading the intent of someone rather than myself who can pick apart emotions and tell where they feed into the others or layer,” explained Chrysis.

“That’s pretty scary!” squealed Chopper. “It’s sound like you guys can read people’s minds!”

“Emotions, yes,  but it all depends on our concentration versus how strongly someone feels. People who distant themselves from their emotions are always harder to read than those who wear them on their faces. Say, like comparing Luffy-san to Roronoa. Your captain wears his emotions on his sleeves, but the swordsman probably learned keen control over himself from meditation and constant discipline.”

Kaku nodded and expanded, “You can explain the difference as such: razor focus requires control over one’s emotions, so they project a narrower, however their overall energy gives away what they’re about to do next. A more instinctive fighter broadcasts their emotions but can also swamp a user with conflicting intentions or too rapid changes to possibly predict.”

Chrysis looked very somber as he said, “You can say the worst fighter for a Kenbunshoku user to fight is a mindless one. They don’t think, just do, and do so with destructive power.”

“How do you fight someone like that?” questioned Roronoa. “Someone who can predict your next move?”

“Simple. Get them off-balance. Sanji, you saw what happened when Luffy fought Satoru. Luffy surprised Satoru so much with that explosion that his concentration broke, and he didn’t realize Luffy had snuck up on him until the last minute. Also, you could come at a user faster than one can react or limit their movement. Then no amount of predicting power can save them. Otherwise, you need haki just as good or better to fight.”

“Hey, I have a question.”

“Yes, Sanji?”

“You said Kenbunshoku haki and then referred to it as Kenbunshoku by itself a few times. You also said Kaku’s not specialized in Kenbunshoku, implying he’s good at something else. Are there then other types?”

Kaku and Chrysis exchanged glances. The former stated, “…Yes, there are. Two other forms. However, it may not be wise for us to teach you any form of haki.”

“Why not, they sound pretty useful?”

Chrysis sighed, “Because, you only really find haki users under maybe three circumstances. Here on the sky islands under the term Mantra. Among the elite of the marines. Or, commonly in the New World.”

“New World?”

Both men nodded.

“The New World. That’s what some refer to the second half of the Grand Line. A place infinitely more dangerous than this side of the sea.”

And Kaku certainly knew very well at this point. The undercover agent had thought he knew how the Grand Line could be pretty crazy as a native, but then he ended up on a bodyguard detail for a childish charge who tended to wander to the seas on either side of the Red Line.

In that sea, the weather could do everything and anything the imagination could consider and a few things beyond that. And the fighters there were several times more dangerous. Luckily, Chrysalis knew enough to never venture very far into the New World, but the agent had been pretty hard pressed protecting the younger man those times they did visit. Kaku very embarrassingly had to accept a good deal of support from the sidhe in order for them to even escape a few of the incidents they ended up in. It had become something of a necessity for Kaku to learn haki very quickly or resign.

“If that place is called the New World, then what’s this side called?” asked Nami.

“Paradise,” succinctly answered Kaku as he batted away the encroaching memories. More than a few were just plain embarrassing.

“Paradise?!”

“Well, yes. Because, compared to the New World, pirates find the first half a “paradise” in comparison. I believe the rate of failure for pirates crossing from the two halves is even worse than between the Blues and Paradise.”

“You, know,” considered Chrysalis, “we’ve gone way off topic, here. The reason why we’re reluctant to teach you any form is because they stick out like sore thumb in Paradise since only powerful marines and visitors from the New World use them really. Kaku and I have learned Kenbunshoku to the point of being able to blend back in with crowds of non-users instead of accidentally vanishing our presence altogether, but for Kaku, it took him at least a year of intense training to do even accomplish the basics. And that’s average for all three forms. As Kaku mentioned, it takes months to unlock any of the forms, and one of them is only accessible to one in a million people.”

The sidhe paused to mull over his next words.

“And you know, secrecy is kind of important for Kaku and I, if you forgot; my grandfather would be pretty suspicious if haki users appear among a group of rookie pirates. That’s why we’ve stuck to using Kenbunshoku sparingly. And only against other users. I could have used it to find that annoying south bird, but then, you guys would have loud questions later on, and we were still on an island where anyone can find out, too.

If we meet more users who know the others forms, we’ll certainly explain, but for now, please just focus on how to outmaneuver Kenbunshoku users. If all else fails, Kaku and I can handle them ourselves if need be.”

“Okay.”

“Luffy, don’t you think learning about such things could be beneficial for us later?” argued Nami.

However, the straw-hatted captain shook his head. “If Kaku and Chrysis won’t say, then that’s fine. There aren’t many people with weird powers in the first half, so we’ll be fine. And it’s not important for us to learn it right now, especially if they’re worried about telling us. We should trust their judgement.”

Such strange pirates Kaku thought.

Chrysalis had always been adamant that good villains could be as true as evil heroes. Are you not an example of that, Kaku-san? The sidhe had said to him once. The sidhe was also firm on his belief that decent and good were two very different things when it came to justice.

Upon the first day he was tasked to watching over the younger man, the sidhe looked at the then 18-year-old and said quite plainly, “Do what you need to do, but please don’t overdo it. CP9 agent or not, upholder of Absolute Justice or not, I won’t tolerate excessive measures unless they are really warranted. And only for the right reasons. Got it? Else, you’ll get a taste of my type of justice.”

Kaku was pretty flummoxed that someone who looked like a little kid already knew exactly what he was, and that’s was before the sidhe went rifling through the CP9 files in the office of the man whom Kaku would be reporting under for the next several years.

To the sidhe, CP9 agents were excellent examples of good members of the government as they always pursued Absolute Justice. Then there were a few like Chrysalis’s late uncle who were decent members who abided by their sense of morality, not the laws or statutes handed down by the World Government.

At the time, the agent had coolly told the sidhe to stop endorsing his ideals on him and that his only objective was to protect his newly made charge, not listen to him (although, his charge’s guardian, the one to override his chief commander’s authority, did warn the agent that one of the expectations of him was to provide companionship, so Chrysalis felt less likely to make trouble).

These pirates were different from the norm. They didn’t kill or even pick fights without reason. They didn’t raid islands or rape, or pillage. They implied they traveled as pirates for adventure, not for treasure solely. Then there were other factors to take into account.

For now, Kaku would hold his tongue unless it became pertinent. He didn’t have to make a report to his superiors for another month, so he had time. It was very likely they would leave the crew once they return to the Blue Sea.

Kaku examined the mortar he used to ground a few herbs for Dr. Chopper along with Sanji. Chef and bodyguard handed their fruits of labor to the doctor for inspection.

“Alright, alright, I get your reasoning. By the way you talk about your grandfather, I don’t think I want to meet the guy. So, onto bigger matters. City of gold, anyone?” questioned Nami.

This was met with enthusiasm (barring Chopper and Usopp).

They rehashed what they knew about the city of gold, Norland, and Jaya while they got to work gathering various supplies and ate dinner.


Kaku widened his eyes as he watched a rubbery arm stretch and snatch spoonful of stew – or attempt to. Most of the pirates seemed to have developed ways to cope with the food snatcher, from careful guarding, retaliatory attacks, or through threats. Kaku frowned when several scoops of his own food disappeared.

“Oi, Square Nose, don’t be afraid to defend your supper! This rubber-brained bastard will eat all of your serving if you let him, so don’t.”

Kaku shook his head and instead joined Chrysalis up on his tree perch, wings partially up and guarding against sticky fingers from even up here. Kaku thought the hassle of moving was worth it, as Chef Sanji’s food was mouthwatering good, much better than what he or Chrysalis could cook up on their own (then again, Chrysalis was a moth sidhe who adored either super sweet food, or very inedible fare that could kill anyone else).

Their discussion finally circled about to what had happened to the Merry and her passengers. Apparently, giant south birds saved Chopper, Gan Fall, and Pierre on account of the sky knight whom they dubbed “God”.

“God? Pardon, but isn’t the name given to the person we’re about to get into a tussle with?”

“Pardon, tussle, who says those things anymore. And, I think it’s a form of title for the Skypiean leaders,” explained Nami.

The straw-hatted teen didn’t quite get that. They then had to talk Straw Hat down from fighting their unconscious and injured patient.

The conversation finally arrived at their primary objective.

“Noland’s last words were about gold in the right eye. So, in short, Norland’s last words are typical of someone writing up to their imminent death,” concluded Chrysalis. Nami smacked him on the back of his head.

“I thought you were better than these dolts!”

Kaku sighed. The sidhe was probably restless and picking on other people again. He could be patient most of the time, but not after being hyped up from adventuring or heading into dangerous situations.

“He wrote: I saw gold in the right eye of the skull,” corrected Robin.

That gave them an idea. When they combined the ancient map of Sky Island with Jaya, a skull was revealed. With their navigator’s skill, they now had a definite location: the main compound of the Upper Yard.

That night they concluded with a great big bonfire. Kaku disapproved of it. Immensely. But Chrysalis enjoyed it; what he did not appreciate was the sniper’s remark on moths and flames.

“Come on! It was a joke!” cried Usopp as he hung upside down from a tree limb.

“Didn’t know you can make silk,” remarked Sanji. Kaku chuckled lightly. It wasn’t the first time the sidhe made this kind of thing on the fly; he quite enjoyed saboteur work.

Chrysis shrugged. “Kind of? I guess you would expect that kind of thing from me since my name is Chrysalis. All caterpillars can make a form of silk since they need the it to form their chrysalises, however the quality and amount differs. Since I’m not a type of silk moth – or a caterpillar – I can’t really make clothing-quality silk, but this is good for pranks and stuff. Overall strength depends on my diet and the time I take on it to mix up the chemicals. For example, if Usopp struggles too much more with this type he’ll-” *SNAP!* “-break the thread easily,” finished the sidhe with a smirk.

Gan Fall woke up sometime during their celebrations.

“Yo, Sir Gan Fall,” greeted Chrysalis as the whitebeard made his way to the circle.

Kaku nodded his head in greeting as he peered at his katanas. They may need replacing in a month or so after several years of wear and tear. At least I’m not back at base. There, Kumadori is always borrowing swords from the barracks, my collection, or Jyabura’s and ends up breaking them against his Tekkai. He may consider trying some of the sidhe’s wooden swords. Iron wood was an interesting material and lasted longer than true metal swords short of the legendary meitos.

“My, I suppose there isn’t anyone else who would dare make such noise right on Enel’s doorstep,” grumbled the old knight.

“Ah, you finally woke up. Should you really be moving about in your condition, though?” questioned Kaku as he put his swords down.

“Probably not,” quipped Chrysalis unworriedly.

Gan Fall chuckled a bit when the two dancing doofuses invited him to dance with them. He reassured them of Conis and her family’s safety, a particular reassurance for their love-cook. He then went on to explain why the Upper Yard was sacred; for a land of clouds, only true earth can give rise to green plants. For the Skypeians, the soil they all took for granted was their sacred Vearth, the pinnacle of admiration itself.

“I can understand that a bit,” mused Chrysalis. “Sidhe are creatures of the jungle and forests. Born with a green thumb, so-to-speak. The earth speaks to us on a primal level. My ancestors were said to have been able to read it like a living creature. When it dances, when it sings…when it bleeds, and when it dies. Some of first green plants of the sky islands were brought by my people when we traveled here with our old allies, the forerunners of the Skypiean race.”

Gan Fall nodded. “You did mention your race and mine existed together at one point.”

Nothing more needed to be said. The rest of the talk could wait for the morning. For now, the group partied heedlessly of the dangers awaiting them the next day.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings’

 “Soooo…you said someone came in the dead of the night and fixed the Going Merry?”

This was certainly a well-appreciated sight: their beat-up and burnt ship was fixed up – shoddily – but it was better than nothing.

But no one except Usopp saw who could have done it. And, the sniper adamantly swore a ghost fixed her up. Kaku was baffled, but he had some suspicions.

Well, they had to push aside those questions for another time. Right now, they needed to discuss how they were going to get the gold. Nami’s plan was simplistic in design: one team would trek through the forest, fend off the priests, and retrieve the gold. The second team would take the ship and sail around the island, doing their best to avoid capture or further destruction to their only ride out of Skypiea.

Exploring Team: Chopper, Roronoa, Luffy, Nico Robin, Chrysis, Kaku

Sailing Team: Sanji, Usopp, Nami, Gan Fall, Pierre

“Think they’ll be alright?” wondered Chrysis out aloud as the ship set off.

“Sure they will! They have Sanji, don’t they?”

“Then they’re really are doomed.”

“Zoro!” chided the little reindeer doctor.


Chrysis probably should have expecting something like this. Not long after the exploring team set off into the jungle, some force came along to scatter them. This force being an ancient snake with acid for venom.

Chrysis hissed as some of the venom leaking from the tree he just had perched back on splattered onto his wing. He swept it off quickly before the stuff could burn through the wing.

The sidhe flew off. And just in time as the snake struck right where he was crouching on the side of the downed tree. In the chaos of the attacking monster, every pirate was separated from each other, Chrysis included.

The moth sidhe frowned then flew higher into the canopy. He scanned the ground, physically and mentally. Each member surely and truly gotten themselves lost with the exception of Nico Robin whom Chrysis could sense striding forward without hesitation. The sidhe considered his options. One, he could go ahead like the archaeologist to their destination. Or two, join up with one of the others. Roronoa and Luffy lacked any sense of direction, especially the former. But Dr. Chopper lacked both the experience and the sheer power of the other two.

After observing where each person headed a weighing the pros and cons, Chrysis decided to go after the green-haired swordsman. One, the swordsman’s strength was key if they wanted to get the gold and two, he was somehow running in the opposite direction. At least the others were walking, meandering, or wildly dashing to the south. Besides, Kaku was with Luffy.

And, after their private talk last night, the agent hesitantly promised to allow Chrysis to handle some situations for himself. Normally, they didn’t have to talk about that after about five years surviving Chrysis’s crazy whims, but the pirates and the whole god thing had made the agent a bit more overprotective (and overbearing) than normal.

Chrysis wove his way through the jungle, his Kenbunshoku making it easy to avoid Skypiean militiamen and Shandian raider alike.

Chrysis arrived just in time to watch Roronoa duke it out with an elite Shandian warrior who used flash and wind dials. The guy was good; he lured the swordsman over to the river clouds where an eel sat in wait…

“Quit thinking about fried fish and dodge!” Really? Sometimes, I can’t take this guy seriously. Or understand how he gets lost.

*Flash*

*Clash! Clash!*

“Sorry, am I interrupting?” gritted out Chrysis as he flicked his left fan, throwing off the rollerblade of the raider.

The Shandian measured up his new opponent.

“You were definitely caught in the flash, but you easily swooped in to fend me off,” he noted blandly. “Mantra?”

“Naturally,” quipped Chrysis, eyes glinting with a hard gleam.

Roronoa panted, hand gripping his leg. “Damn!”

“You okay?”

“Nothing serious.” The wound across the Straw Hat’s thigh trickled a little blood. A shallow gash, hardly half a hand across. A very close shave from being debilitating. The sidhe cricked his head in confusion as the swordsman pulled his goggles down.

“Roronoa…those don’t look like they’re light blocking, or anything…”

*Face fault*

“Seriously?”

“Shut it! And stay out of this, you giant butterfly!”

Chrysis acceded, flying over to another branch. The Pirate Hunter suddenly leaped off to a grassy plain where several new sprouts grew.

“You sent off your only advantage only to try and run away?” questioned the Shandian as he chased after the swordsman. Chrysis quirked his head as the pirate explained the philosophy behind whatever tactic he was about to try out. Pistol versus…a cannon?

The Shandian mocked the swordsman as he charged forward. As a fellow blades user, it didn’t take long for Chrysis to connect the dots. His own style emphasized such techniques, after all.

36 Caliber Phoenix Cannon!

The Shandian took a direct hit. His body thumped face-first to the ground and laid still.

Chrysis wordlessly flew down to walk by the swordsman. After a moment, he casually remarked, “You pulled back.”

“Did I?”

“At that range, an air cannon would have killed him.”

“Hn.” The swordsman walked back into the forest.

“Roro-Zoro. The ruins are this way.”

“What? No, it’s this way!”


Chrysis dropped his head into his hands. The pirate had against all odds slipped away from him. From what the sidhe sensed the swordsman was three-quarters of the way back to the altar.

The sidhe gave up. He couldn’t just up and pick up the swordsman, could he? One, he simply lacked the physical strength to really carry anyone. Not for more than a few seconds unless they were Chopper’s size. Two, Zoro wouldn’t stand to be carried by the child-like young man.

So, he resigned himself following behind the swordsman. The two stopped for lunch briefly, a giant south bird landing right next to them. The bird looked pretty interested in Zoro’s meal (probably wise of him since Chrysis asked the chef to spice his food with some questionable ingredients). Like Chrysis figured, they wound up right back at the altar. Then, an amazing thing happened; the south bird actually carried Zoro off, saving the sidhe the trouble of angering his companion.

“Don’t worry, Zoro! I’ll make sure he won’t drop you!”

“Damn bird and bug! Why don’t you help me down in the first place?!”

Chrysis pretended he didn’t hear the swordsman’s yells to be let down.


Kaku sighed. Somehow, he ended up with the straw-hatted teen

“ ~Lalalala ~~~ The islands to the south are really warm~~~ their brains are meeelting ~ “

And he wouldn’t stop singing that strange song.

“Straw Hat-san, is singing really necessary?”

“But I’m a pirate! And pirates should sing!”

O-kay. Kaku reminded himself that knocking out – even temporarily - the probably strongest fighter of the Straw Hats would be ill-advised. He instead channeled his frustration toward knocking out another sheep-like warrior who had attacked them

“ ~ Lalala ~~~ The islands to the north are really cold~~~ their brains are freeezing ~ “

Kaku drew his katanas at the same time the straw-hatted teen stopped singing.

War Demon Wiper was only a few meters away from them. And the Shandian didn’t take kindly to their presence. Straw Hat once more surprised the undercover agent as the pirate captain’s reaction to learning the Shandian was a native to this land was to bow his head and give his apologies.

Before trying to walk off. At least if it’s Chrysalis, I know he’s being deliberately difficult, acknowledge Kaku as he waited a moment for Wiper’s response.

“Hold it!

“What do you want, now?!” yelled Straw Hat, in mild irritation.

Wiper wouldn’t be letting them go their merry way without a fight. Kaku and Straw Hat agreed on this one thing. Both men shot the raider a fierce grin as they prepared for a fight.

Kaku ducked behind the teen as the rubber man expanded himself, bouncing the cannon fire off his rubber balloon body. Take advantage of one’s allies’ skills and all that.

“Didn’t you learn this last time?” questioned Kaku. “Straw Hat can bounce back most artillery fire.”

“Can he? Then I guess it’s time I change strategies. A pity, I wanted to save this for one of God’s pests,” stated Wiper, sneering on the word “god”.

Instead of an attack, a rush of sulfurous smelling wind blasted into them.

Sulfur…?!

Kaku dove and grabbed the teen as he remembered the scent from his training days.

Just in time. A blue-white flame erupted, vaporizing a straight line through the surrounding forest.

Straw Hat and Kaku came to the same basic conclusion; they couldn’t risk a long-range fight. Both launched themselves at the War Demon.

Kaku groaned in pain. Straw Hat had tested his bazooka against Wiper’s and the blast had hurled the agent and pirate back through a tree. He coughed from the lingering fumes. The two tried to get up, only for the ground under them to suddenly give away.

They both looked around in confusion. The forest scene had been replaced by one of crushed and destroyed buildings everywhere, random flashes of gold objects shining here and there.

Kaku pulled the teen up only for sudden rocking to send both tumbling off their feet. And it happened several more times as the two tried to figure out how to get out of this “cave”.


“Gotcha!”

When the huge snake tried to take a bit out of the south bird, the avian wised up and sacrificed its passengers in the classic everyone for themselves maneuver. Good thing Chrysis was flying closely below them.

“Why’d you wait until after the damn bird dropped me?!” roared Zoro as Chrysis directed them into a controlled dive. A bit clumsily, he pulled out of it, both men tumbling onto the earth.

“And you couldn’t have landed better?” grumbled Zoro.

Chrysis snapped back, “We landed. Note the lack of “crash”. No harm besides some bruising. Though, I do believe that “damn bird” dropped us right at the start of a big battle. Interesting timing, no?”

Zoro bared his teeth in a dark smile. “Looks like there are bunch of strong guys, too.”

“Plenty for the both of us,” agreed Chrysis as he flared his wings. He turned to the Skypiean wearing glasses. “I suggest you surrender any gold you have, Mr. Priest.”

Zoro and Chrysis on one side. Gan Fall and Pierre taking the skies. The great big snake who didn’t seem very happy at this prospect. The Shandian who personally wrecked ships. And a priest of Enel and his pet dog.

Perfect.

The Shandian opened the fight with a very rude cannon blast. Then, wonders of wonders, the great big dog of the priest stood up on his hindlegs and threw a punch.

“This is just a place full of freaks of nature,” muttered Zoro as both member of the exploration team flipped out of the way.

“Sure, sure, they’re the freaks of nature,” huffed Chrysis as he danced back and around the dog. He opened up his haki and…

“Zoro! Chopper’s back in those ruins!”

“Ah, you know him? Then both of you must be citizens of the Blue Sea like him. Take care of your steps there, though,” intoned the priest ominously.

Just as the swordsman tried for the downed doctor, several spiny lines of clouds sprung out.

“What the hell?!”

“Didn’t I warn you? Those are iron clouds. Using milk dials, we can make something light as clouds but as strong and sharp as iron. I have hidden them throughout the ground. One false move, and they will cut you to pieces like that animal,” replied the priest bluntly, “although, I did wound him a bit myself.”

“They’re in the ground?” inquired Chrysis.

“Yes.”

Chrysis darted past everyone and swept the doctor and swordsman up off the ground. He couldn’t carry people for very long, but the wonders speed and controlled dives made up for. He pushed them over to a place that didn’t set his instincts alight. Then, he leveled with the priest.

“Wings. Usable wings,” taunted Chrysis, hidden eyes shining brightly. A challenge.

Zoro shook the doctor lightly, but the reindeer didn’t respond. He placed him gently down.

“Pitiful, all of you. Do not think mere tricks will do you any good. Will the both of you fight to avenge your friend, I wonder?”

The guys didn’t get it, did he? They wouldn’t fight to avenge Chopper. They would fight just on principle. And to blow off steam from the jerk’s actions.

Amidst the chaos of all-out fighting, two presences rapidly collided in the middle of the fighters.

“Nami-san?! And…a little girl? Both of you get out of here!” yelped Chrysis as he tried to regain height, one wing clipped by the waver when he couldn’t maneuver away in time.

With the torn wing, he couldn’t react in time as Pierre and Gan Fall rescued the girls, only to be swallowed whole by the snake.


Nami, Gan Fall, Pierre, and Aisa fell down the snake’s gullet and into a pile of rubble.

“Ugh, where are we?”

“I suppose, young lady, this is the snake’s stomach. It seems we’ve been swallowed alive. If we stay here too long, we’ll surely be digested, so we must find a way out soon.”

Nami grabbed Aisa as the little Shandian girl went from freaking out about being in a snake’s stomach to picking a fight with Gan Fall.

“Perhaps we could try and dig a hole through it?”

“Don’t think about, old man! This thing is huge! We’ll probably just piss it off, and it’ll freak out and crush us under all the debris in here,” she yelled.

“Huh? Is someone else here? Nami!”

A familiar pair approached the group: Luffy and Kaku.

“Wait, how did you guys get in the mystery cave?”

Kaku and Straw Hat sat down and listened as the navigator and Sir Gan Fall explained how they were actually in the monster snake’s stomach – Kaku grimaced as he noted what the stomach acid probably circulating through the moist air had already eaten up half of their clothes.

“Wow, so you guys were swallows by the snake?!”

“YOU WERE SWALLOWED, TOO, YOU RUBBER-BRAINED DOLT!”

“Wait, this whole mystery cave is actually a snake’s stomach?!”

“Yes, how many times do I have to say this? Haven’t you noticed your clothes have been melting?”

Straw Hat exclaimed, “Ah! You’re right. We need to find this snake’s butthole right now!”

“No way! I’d rather be digested than do that!” Nami exclaimed ardently, arms crossed in denial.

Kaku shuddered at the thought. While the practical CP9 agent in him said it was a logical way to exit the snake…it was still repulsive and preferably an if-all-else fails option. He could try sawing through the snake again, but considering how they almost got crushed the last time he tried to tentatively make an incision…

“Luffy, Kaku. You weren’t doing anything inside here that would infuriate the snake, did you?”

Kaku paled and casually rounded a bit further by a building as if it caught his interest. Call him a coward, but he knew enough from working with Kalifa that infuriating an angry woman was an unwise thing to do. And pirate women can be terrifying. He had the scars to prove it, too.

“Yeah, I tried using a rock to dig a hole, and Kaku slashed it a few times.” *Growl* “Nami, do you guys have any food? I ate my bento a while back, and there’s no food in here.”

“…YOU MORONS WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT RAMPAGING ALL THE DAMN TIME!!!”

“Sorry, Navigator-san,” murmured Kaku as he nursed his prominent head bump. Straw Hat had even more.


Meanwhile, outside the snake, things have taken a bad turn. The stupid dog triggered more iron clouds, creating a huge cage around the fighters.

“Nine men and two animals remain,” announced the priest.

Chrysis’s head jerked to the side, wings trembling. A half-dressed man came up to the cage where one of the raiders was trying to desperately inform her leader of something. Something the sidhe had a foreboding feeling about. His haki screamed to him. His senses told him the man reeked of ozone, burning things, and energy.

*CRASH!* A tremendous bolt of electricity struck the woman.

“Shit,” he cursed softly. “The Goro Goro no Mi. A thunder man.”

Yahaha, such a worthless person. She and her companions had the audacity to fight against godly me. And they paid the price. It doesn’t matter to me, whether a woman, a man, a hero, a villain, or an animal. God doesn’t discriminate, only judges,” derided the long-eared blond.

“ENEL!” bellowed Wiper.

“I’d stay and chat, but god has better things to do. I suggest you take care if you want to survive to the game’s end, yahahaha!

Enel vanished with a flash.

“Chrysis, get it together! He’s gone now, so let’s fight what is right in front of us!” shouted Zoro as he swung his two blades in front of him.

Chrysis shook his head. What was wrong with him? He faced more powerful people… But they aren’t usually trying to kill you. Plus, you had Kaku to help you plan out an escape his annoying subconscious reminded him. I also chose to follow this path knowing I will eventually have to fight such people on my own he shot back. I won’t let one man with only a single color at his disposal frighten me!

Dual fans opened with a snick.

One by one, their numbers decreased.

Zoro crossed blades with the iron cloud user.

108 Caliber Phoenix Cannon!”

The last priest of Enel fell to the swordsman of the Blue Seas.

Meanwhile…

Chrysis side-eyed the great yellow mutt.

“Sit?” The dog sat.

“Play dead?”

The dog promptly fell over, body slumped.

“Wow, that guy trained you to listen to any command. Hmm, knock yourself out?”

*SMACK! Thump*

“O-kay. That works for me.”

Zoro and Wiper once more charged the very confused snake.

Suddenly, Chrysis’s eyes bulged as his sixth sense rang.

“Guys!”

Too late. Lightning burned a path along the great stalk and shattered the earth beneath them.


Nami, Gan Fall, and Pierre escaped the snake’s stomach. Luffy, Aisa, and…Kaku?! Not so much. The capricious god roasted the snake, cutting down the sky king in his moment of sheer excitement.

Out of the original 82 who had fought on the island plus the others who joined in…only six remained.

“My, my, what a predicament. God can’t be wrong, so someone will have to be eliminated. Any volunteers? Will you fight amongst yourselves? Or, should I just decide?”

“Do you want to volunteer?”

“No, thank you.”

“Hn, me neither.”

“I don’t think I will…”

“I must say, I also refuse!”

All four (Nami was hiding with the unconscious Chopper) pointed their weapons straight at Enel.

“We’ve decided…”

“YOU WILL!” the last fighters standing declared.

“How impudent!” sneered Enel.

Chapter Text

 

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings’

God Enel was insane. Narcissistic, egotistical, cruel, amoral, but above all, insane. And shrewd. A dangerous combination.

All of this pain, this death and destruction…all of it so that a madman could travel to what he dubbed “Fairy Vearth”. And as for his followers? The citizens of Skypiea and the Upper Yard?

The madman declared that this country defied the laws of nature, that all things on this world had a place where they belonged. That he had the full intention of putting Skypiea back where it belonged: below the clouds. Enel had already begun his coldhearted work, silencing the hundreds of soldiers who worked for him on the Upper Yard once they offered no more use for the tyrant god.

Six…went to five as Enel casually shocked Gan Fall with thirty million volts of power. Thus, was the near invincibility claimed by the Goro Goro no Mi. The Logia-type of elemental lightning.

To the survivors’ outrage, the arrogant man had the gall to offer them a place on his Fairy Vearth as his new followers. Nico Robin was the first to speak against him. He struck her down.

Four…

Swords clanged against staff. A bazooka cannoned fired. The leader of the raiders took a terrible risk, pushing his limits with a final “Reject,” the kairoseki skate nullifying the sea devil’s power.

A heart stilled. Then…

Searing electricity pulses through nerves, jerking a heart into beating once more.

A hawk sheathed in lightning flew.

Three…

A flash and a wolf charged.

Two…no, three…

Wiper made one last stand, but a single man without fruit power, haki, or even a usable piece of kairoseki stood no chance against a trained Logia.

All throughout this sick affair, Chrysis could do nothing more than listen as Enel revealed his mad plans.

When they crashed here, the sidhe had found himself half-crushed under some rubble, wings torn off from being scraped and crushed against falling debris and rocks.

He was utterly helpless. The only thing he could do was withdraw his presence entirely from his surroundings until he was no more than an unconscious body to even expert haki users.

Nami left with Enel in a last-ditch effort to preserve her life, not that anyone can blame her. She didn’t have the men’s physical fortitude, a devil fruit, or Chrysis’s nonhuman gifts. Right now, all she can do is buy them a little more time.

Chrysis growled in frustration, tears at the corners of his eyes giving away how far the Straw Hats had gotten into his cautious heart. While the sidhe acted pretty sociable, he didn’t make friends easily. Too many secrets. Too few people he would want to befriend. And too little he could do to protect them if they fell ill of his past and connections. Just a day or two with this crazy crew, and he already dropped so many walls. Told them far too many of his secrets.

Heck, it took Kaku at least a year, before Chrysis showed off his actual devil fruit power, rather than continue letting Kaku assumed he was a moth Zoan. There was just something about these people that felt right to him.

And that frightened the sidhe the most. Two of the people closest to him died while he could do nothing. One of natural causes, the other by betrayal. That last one…it haunted him to this day.

/ A looming figure, more so by the small child curled in their lap. White, the color of promises and death. The click marking the end /

Loud noises broke Chrysis from his memories. Familiar sounds – of worn sandals slapping against stone and another pair of boots trailing behind

“Luffy-san?” he called out. “Kaku?”

“Chrysalis?! Where are you?”

“Chrysis!”

The sidhe closed his eyes.

“Luffy! Kaku! See the pile of rubble over by Robin? I’m under here!”

Rocks shifted and then flew away as the straw-hatted captain and bodyguard/secret agent easily swept them off the trapped sidhe.

“Th-thanks!” he rasped as they helped the sidhe to his feet.

“Wow, what happened to this place? And…ah! Your wings!”

“Don’t worry about it, Luffy,” Chrysis reassured him. “Remember? I can heal them.”

Chrysis focused on his various injuries, but especially those of his wings and organs. “Metamorphosis.” Torn remnants glowed a light green before white threads shot out. In a matter of a moment, new wings fluttered wetly against his back, translucent and fragile.

“Whoa!”

“How did he do that?!” screamed the little girl who had ran over to them. She looked him into the face and blanched a bit but then seemed to move past whatever had- oh.

His eyes. The normally bright red color was literally shining with an odd corona of green illuminating the nearly imperceptible pupils.

“Trade secret,” Chrysis rasped. A few flaps cleared them of the healing fluid. He wove some silk around the appendages to reinforce the delicate structures. “Sidhe always keep a reserve of energy – a fallback if we ever lose our wings entirely in the midst of a dangerous situation. I only have maybe a technique or two at most right now, but I can fly with these at least. And we might need them if we want to save every-”

Chrysis should have known better. The last time he had to use this technique, he nearly lost consciousness in the first few minutes from the sheer pain of forceful limb reconstruction, then really did for real an hour later. But he had to do it. Without his wings, he lost a lot of his natural mobility and speed, his one advantage in a fight; a lot of his best techniques required flight.

He blinked bleary eyes as he sat back up. Round black eyes were glaring at him.

“Ah, I actually fell unconscious this time. How long?”

“Only a few minutes,” answered Kaku with that too familiar clipped tone, eyes narrowed and mouth sharply downturned. “How many times do we have to go through this discussion? You should only use that skill sparingly.”

“I know, I know.”

“Will you use it again?”

“With probably thousands of lives on the line? I won’t regret it when the side-effects catch up.”

The redhead turned his black baseball cap further down and offered the sidhe a hand up.

“So, how’d you guys get out of the snake?”

“Funny thing about that…”

/ “Why the hell is everything shaking like this?!” screamed Nami as she clung to her waver.

“I think I can see a light! Undoubtedly the snake’s maw is gaping open!”

“This is our chance! Try to fly out of here, citizens of the Blue Seas and young Shandian!” intoned Gan Fall as he climbed aboard Pierre.

Nami commanded the trio to board her waver.

Unfortunately, Straw Hat had snatched the Shandian and long-nosed man up but made to grab the back of the engine. Instead of all of them getting out, the exhaust pipe blew out clouds. The rubber man let go, and the three were left behind with only Pierre able to go back for them /

“…so, from there, Enel zapped the monster snake to unconsciousness. Taking advantage of that, the four of you escaped finally from Luffy’s mystery cave,” concluded Chrysis with a small smirk. “Fwufwufwu, I can’t believe I missed seeing you guys getting blown off the waver.”

“Chrysalis!”

“Sorry, gallows humor and all. So, what happened after I conked out?”

“Robin told me everything,” Luffy said without emotion from said woman’s side. She looked barely conscious. “Stay here and-”

“No,” the sidhe said to the pirate.

Dark eyes hardened. “You’re too injured! Leave this all to-!”

“To you? Last I checked, I’m a hired guide, not a member of your crew. For that matter, I fulfilled my end of the bargain. I lent my aid to get your crew to the Sky Island. If I want to risk life and limb to a battle between devil fruit users, trust me to at least understand my own limits. I know I’m a mess. I can feel it. But, I won’t let some would-be god casually discard countless lives, never mind the lives of people whom I fought side-by-side, shared food, owe part of my dream to!” shouted Chrysis.

 In a quieter voice, “And I’m not just talking about walking the same path as my mother before me. Someday, I’ll do something to change the corrupt system we live under, show the world that segregating or mistreating people just for being or for something they can’t control is wrong. Race, gender, talent, culture, species, family, in the end people are people. And we shouldn’t be able to discount them so easily with only a few sentences. Or write off the deaths of thousands without batting an eye.”

The sidhe gestured toward the young Shandian. “How can I just stay put when people are risking their lives to save those of thousands of strangers? Ignore the plights of those around me?

I owe your crew too much, I owe my dreams too much. And my dreams would be meaningless if I didn’t go out myself and see the world I want to change. Make personal connections and conclusions of the people I’ve only read from stories and reports.

I will no longer be confined to a gilded cage, never able to see anything except for a carefully controlled construct of it. If I never met your crew, I’d probably have given up from the futility of it all, or my grandfather’s men would have found me sooner or later. I was weary of traveling around like a thief onto random ships before I came to Mocktown. And I don’t want to risk Kaku’s life and my own more than I already have with only the two of us traveling. I won’t back down now.”

Pirate captain and misfit wanderer stared the other down. Finally, the pirate captain nodded his head. Kaku’s gave nothing and everything away. He didn’t approve, but he understood.

Kaku was the one person who could claim to understand the sidhe’s true feelings and ambitions. Even if the logical part of Chrysis’s brain knew he shouldn’t trust the man charged with his safety above all else and was obligated to get along with him, Chrysis thought of the undercover agent – and that was something Chrysis knew at the beginning - as his best friend. His only friend, really. Other sidhe didn’t count when they were so few and rarely had time to visit him. Kaku had stuck with him even when the sidhe played pranks on him, tried to test his mettle by swinging by New World islands several times in the first couple of years, or drag him along on his unapproved trips around Marinford to sharpen his hide and seek skills. His support, however reluctant, mattered a lot to him.

Nothing more was needed to be said.


Chrysis and Kaku kept back, muffling their presence and sounds of movement as they snuck around the edges of the battlefield where two titans of power would duel.

Mortal against god.

Pirate captain against mad tyrant.

Paramecia against Logia.

Rubber against lightning.

Chrysis’s thoughts came to a screeching halt. Lightning is electricity! He wanted to smack himself. As if to confirm what should have been obvious to the sidhe, Luffy stood mostly unaffected against the El Thor Enel used to wipe out his opponents.

“Of course, Straw Hat is made of rubber,” hissed Kaku under his breath out of habit. Considering the rippling purple veil, it wasn’t exactly necessary to whisper.

“And rubber traps lightning rather than conduct it,” Chrysis reaffirmed.

The sidhe took the moment of distraction to silently glide over to Nami before snatching her arms, Calm keeping her shriek of surprise from reaching the two fighters. She quieted a bit once she saw who had lifted her slightly off the ground. Chrysis wasted no time in darting to a corner of the ship where Pierre and Aisa watched the fight, Kaku standing guard and once more frowning at the sidhe.

With a snap, he put replaced the soundless barrier and deactivated Calm.

“Chrysis?!”

“Hey, don’t shout! God Enel might hear you!” warned the little girl.

“No, he can’t,” Chrysis corrected her. “This is a soundless barrier. While there’s no point trying to hide your presences from him, I can give him less reasons to attack us here. Say if we started insulting him or cheered openly for Luffy to beat his godly ass.”

The ground trembling was the only indicator of the battle just around the corner of the wall.

“Chrysalis, please don’t test fate,” Kaku said, eyes never straying from battle between users.

Aisa turned back to the battle.

“How is he doing that?!” she gaped.

“Rubber,” explained Chrysis. “A product made from various plants, but more commonly from the rubber tree. I figure there’s not something a normal trader or traveler would bring up here since rubber is more of an industrial product than a horticultural or agricultural one. Anyway, it’s an important insulator used to control and isolate the flow of electricity, hence why Luffy isn’t taking direct damage. However, rubber melts rather well…”

“Which is why he’s covered in small burns,” finished Nami. “We might win this after all.”

They all cheered as Luffy’s punch landed squarely on Enel.

“Ttch, a lesson for anyone seeking the power of Logia. They might be considered the strongest class, but users who underestimate their opponents usually die young. Sometimes, it takes epic clashes between users to reveal the most surprising effects a fruit power has another,” Chrysis informed them.

Nami nodded. “It’s like Luffy is Enel’s one and only natural enemy!”

Chrysis shrugged. “Anything that grounds electricity could work. Metal dug into the earth. Rock-based users. Other insulators like plastic. Water can disperse a charge in a pinch. Sometimes, it just takes a really creative Paramecia to outthink a Logia.”

“Aren’t you a devil fruit user?” discerned Nami.

Chrysis pursed his brow in thought. “I don’t know how I could counter Enel myself, no. I’m already on my last legs, and the Nagi Nagi no Mi isn’t a direct combat type. A lot of a devil fruit’s power is based on creativity and a user’s interpretation. Originally, Nagi Nagi mo Mi users only used their abilities to affect the perception of sound. I managed to expand that by focusing on how the power affects sound – by cancelling out the pressure waves making up a sound. Or at least, that what’s my mind thinks and accepts, and it works. From there, I created skills based off what I can perceive as a wave. However, I never considered working against light. Although, light does function as a particle and a wave. I might be able to cobble something together, but probably nothing more than a token defense at the moment.”

“Okay… I only understood half of that.”

“I didn’t get any of it,” pouted Aisa.

Chrysis shrugged. “In short, devil fruits are pretty irrational. Their skill sets are determined mostly by how a user thinks their power should work. We can reason it all we want, but it all comes down to perception than any real science.”

“And it looks like Enel is taking advantage of creative use,” Kaku informed them.

Yeah, that is a problem. Enel had the acuity to take advantage of more than his devil fruit defenses. Mantra made direct combat a pain when one couldn’t get a hit on your opponent.

Chrysis winced as Enel pinned Luffy’s rubber neck against the wall. Luffy tried to counter, but Enel easily dodged to the side. The sidhe raised his hand and twisted it like he was turning a knob.

“Careful, I’m adjusting the barrier,” he breathed softly. Softly, then louder, the group could hear what was going on.

Thunder Alchemy!” With a crackle of electricity, the golden staff became a trident.

Chrysis jerked the imaginary knob counterclockwise.

“Yggdrasil and Gaea!” he cursed softly, aware of Aisa’s age. “He controlled the excess heat lightning gives off to reshape the metal. Clever, I’ll grant the egotistical maniac that,” the sidhe grudgingly admitted. Furthermore, Enel used his surroundings well, using the gold’s conductivity to hide before striking back. He turned the volume back on.

Yahahaha! Give up, it’s hopeless. If I feed more electricity like this into the trident, it’ll burn even hotter!”

“No WAY! Gomu Gomu no…” Luffy slung his leg straight up into the air, “AXE!”

Enel grunted in pain as the rubber appendage sprung down, hammering him into the floor.

“YOU…DAMN LITTLE BRAT!” he cursed.

But Luffy wasn’t finished. “Gomu Gomu no Machine Gun!!!” However, Enel’s Mantra let him dodge the blows, and he easily caught the rubber man’s arms.

Enel sneered, “You certainly had bad timing to visit this island of the sky just as my plans come to fruition, oh pirates of the Blue Sea. I am God. It is little matter to predict the future, never mind those punches of yours. After all, I shall be the creator of this new world! How arrogant for you to think such little power as yours can possibly measure up against mine. Why don’t you sit there and watch as I annihilate this miserable little country? Yahahaha!

He threw the devil fruit user to the side and walked over to where a pair of golden orbs on rods stuck out from the floor.

Max 200 Million Volts!”

“Hold on!”

Chrysis and Kaka held onto the two girls as the ship began to move.

“W-we’re flying?!” screamed the two.

“W-we need to do something!” yelped Nami as the ship listed a bit to the side before straightening.

Chrysis shook his head, eyes intent on the rising form of the captain. “Luffy’s not done yet, Nami. Something like a few burns and scratches can’t take the future king of pirates out of the game, yet, right?”

“R-right!” she agreed.

“Right,” reaffirmed Luffy. Chrysis blinked. Then looked around.

“Damn it! Must have lost focused and let the barrier go!”

“Don’t worry, you guys,” reassured Luffy. “You guys are the future pirate king’s friends. Leave this to me!”

“Pirate king?” asked Enel with a considering look. Lucky for them, Enel’s attention seemed entirely focused on Luffy. “And to what country does he rule over?”

Luffy stood up strong and proudly announced, “He is the king of the seas!”

Enel looked intrigued. He hummed, “Not a bad ring to it. Say, why don’t we finish this battle? In the skies.”

Luffy of course answered the challenge. Enel landed the ship back on the Upper Yard.

“This,” he gestured, “is what I call Deathpiea. In the midst of hopelessness, it shall be the savior of the world.”

“Nami, Aisa, Chrysis get on Pierre,” instructed Kaku as he took position in front of them. Enel paid the group little mind. Much to the agent’s frustration, the sidhe refused to leave.

Chrysis couldn’t stop his wings from trembling or his antennae from curling right against his head. The hyperactive sensory nerves and organs kept relaying something very, very alarming. Huge black masses of thunder clouds spewed forth from the golden ship. The huge discharge he could detect made his base instincts scream for the sidhe to head for cover, of a devastating storm not even the most devil-hearted flyer should test.

A bright bolt of lightning surged forth. Even from here, Chrysis could sense the sudden spike of panic in the direction of Angel Island.

The next stage in the two opposites’ fight… Chrysis was between whether he should yell at Luffy like Nami was, or pitch in a few crazy ideas of his own. At least the Gomu Gomu no Baka effectively substituted for lack of Kenbunshoku with pure instincts. And the random deflection of his octopus-styled attacks made it impossible to predict their direction.

And once Luffy pounded into the thunder user, Enel could no longer focus properly, the greatest danger for Kenbunshoku specialists.

However, the false god would not give up.

“Luffy!” shouted the watchers as gold streamed around the brawler’s hand.

“That’s not good,” noted Kaku worriedly and Chrysis in shock. “Definitely not good!”

Chrysis dove down as Enel contemptuously kicked the huge golden orb off the side of the ship. He wasn’t alone as Pierre followed behind, Aisa and Kaku on his back. But no Nami.

Of all the-! Didn’t Kaku warned those two to flee? But, no, Nami had stayed on the ship it seems, while Aisa took a deadly dive on Pierre with Kaku. Weren’t you supposed to run away as well? You’re a bit over your head here. Chrysis told his inner voice to pipe it.

Light swallowed his vision.


They didn’t die. Always a plus. Problem? The giant golden one stuck to Luffy’s hand.

“Can you cut it off?”

Chrysis shot the pirate a blank look. “Only if you want to lose the hand, too. Gold is softer than steel, but there’s still the fact it’s melted around said hand. And I wouldn’t try with this concussion since I’m having trouble skimming the air straight like this, never mind what it’s done to my aim. Some of my sensory organs in my wings are damaged, too. Which just compounds my injuries. I need more time to recover than what we can afford at the moment.”

“Chrysalis, you shouldn’t be flying then!” admonished Kaku. Chrysis just shook his head and gave his bodyguard a stubborn look.

Aisa dragged Pierre by his beak as Chrysis balanced on top of the golden ball before Luffy rolled into another ruin. He could at least do this much. Kaku looked at the scene with a huff of annoyance before running over and stopping the giant ball by hand.

“Hey, where is everyone?”

Chrysis quirked his head. “Well, everyone on the Upper Yard seems to be alive, just unconscious. Looks like Sanji and Usopp rescued Nami for us... I think Nico Robin – because she definitely got back on her feet – pulled everyone down there up to higher ground.”

“Wait, you can tell that? You have Mantra?!” gasped the little Shandian girl.

Chrysis nodded. “I take it you have inborn Kenbunshoku as well from how I’ve heard you describe it all this time. The “voices” you hear are the emotions given off by the “breath” of living things, their auras. With practice and time, you’ll probably figure out how to differentiate between someone legitimately dying versus sleep or unconsciousness.”

The trio of humans, sidhe, plus weird bird made it to the giant stalk. Aisa and Pierre tried to climb up behind Luffy but lost their grips. Luckily, Robin caught them. Chrysis, after checking to see that Luffy could support the orb with Kaku’s help, flew down to inspect the injured lot of pirates, Shandian, and the old knight.

“Hey, Usopp? Do you have that little satchel I asked you carry?”

“Yeah, why?”

Chrysis quickly took it from the sniper and opened it. Amid a few small knickknacks, there were also a few jars of different creams and one bottle full of purple-pink liquid.

“Spread some of this over their cuts, this on major bruising, and this one for cuts, then give everyone a small sip of the elixir. They should be fine in a bit,” Chrysis instructed the three Straw Hats who got to work. “As a horticulturist and homegrown apothecarist, these should help.”

On the vine, Kaku had caught the pirate captain’s arm before his grip slipped off again.

“Alright, I better go help them climb the vine.”

Chrysis reached the pirate captain’s side just as flurry of lightning strikes plunged down on the earth below. He could do very little but slow the trio’s sudden fall as their part of the vine ripped away.

The next sight would forever be embedded in the sidhe’s memory. Slowly, an ominous and large black of thunder clouds descended from the upper skies. It fell right on top of Angel Island. A bright flash of light consumed the area and left nothing but a huge gaping hole in the clouds. The sky island was completely destroyed. Chrysis’s wings stuttered, and he half fell before righting himself shakily. If all those people didn’t evacuate as quickly as they did… He tried not think about those who didn’t.

Kaku’s haki, while not as developed or as far-reaching, was still be enough to tell there wasn’t that many people there before the cataclysmic blast.

He could also tell that if the sidhe didn’t hate Enel before, he positively despised the egotist right at this moment.

“No one has the right to so casually wipe out an entire island like this,” Chrysalis whispered darkly, confirming Kaku’s suspicions. But it happened. It still happened, the agent knew that firsthand.

“-will ring the golden bell!”

Can’t think like this right now, Chrysis harshly thought to himself. They still had a vine to climb, a bell to find, and a good man to tell it all. Even if a god stood in their way, that bell will be rung no matter what.

Enel, that long-eared bastard, kicked Luffy off the ship again. Chrysis stood back with Kaku, knowing they needed to bide their time. He had enough for two big attacks before his injuries finally caught up to him. He had to make it count. At his side, Kaku watched and patiently waited for their opening.

And soon they thought as a second Advent of Thunder lowered.


Zoro raced along the beanstalk, katanas hacking through the woody plant. Several more slashes dug into another vine.

“Need a hand?”

The square-nosed man easily jumped over to the green-haired swordsman, dual katanas lashing another gaping wound into the great stalk.

Above them, Chrysis climbed higher, fans glittering dully as he carved a huge cut into the structure. Suddenly, he swept back around and made for the swordsmen.

“Hey!” the green-haired man yelled as the sidhe pulled him off the vine, Kaku taking his cue and leaping off. “What are-?”

Not a moment later, lightning crashed down on the vine where they were standing/fluttering by.

“It’s too dangerous to stay there any longer,” Chrysis wearily said as he guided the swordsman’s drop.

Chrysis looked back at the vine. “Seriously?! Why isn’t it falling over? I thought for sure we cut into pretty cleanly!”

At that moment, the giant snake jerked into motion, ramming right into the stalk. It shuddered, but only tilted to one side. Someone running quickly past caught the sidhe’s attention.

“Kaku, stay here for a moment and make sure Zoro doesn’t somehow get lost on his way back to the others.”

“…how can he possibly-?”

“He somehow backtracked to the altar when we got separated until a giant south bird picked him up and landed us near the temple proper,” the sidhe deadpanned. “Trust me, I think Zoro can somehow run left when going straight.”

“You damn butterfly, I can perfectly navigate on my own!”

“Uh huh, sure you can. Now, if you excuse me.”


“You really shouldn’t be moving so much,” remarked Chrysis as he coasted by the Shandian. He admired the man’s tenacity as he fired one last Reject into the other vine. He looped around and caught Wiper, lowering him safely to the ground in a controlled crash-landing. It was one thing to stabilize Luffy with the golden ball; it was another to try and carry someone much larger when his wings could give at any moment. The Shandian weighed more than Zoro.

Groans and creaks echoes above them. The stalk listed toward them. In the distant, he could hear everyone screaming for them to escape. Sweeping wings fully out, Chrysis sheathed one fan and lifted the other fan in both hands. Blue-black energy coated his arms to the edges of his weapon.

“Crap! Well, I don’t know about you, Shandian, but don’t think we’re dying here! Sky Blades Style: Maelstrom!”

He swept the fan in a wide arc. A huge wind wall slammed halfway up the vine. Instead of falling towards them as it threatened, the stalk collapsed in the other direction.

Luffy and Nami charged along the giant stalk that had now become a huge ramp for their waver. Once far up enough, Luffy jumped into the air.

Gomu Gomu no Fireworks…Golden Peony!

The Advent of Thunder broke apart as its charge dispersed.

 Maybe he did it instinctively. Either way, Luffy’s sudden barrage of attacks with the giant golden ball did its work. The lost half of Jaya was saved along with everyone on it.

Luffy’s arm with the golden ball twisted and stretched away. Before him was the lightning sheathed Enel.

“I am a god! You? You’re just some damned Paramecia who reaches too high for his lot in life. Who do you think you are, to challenge the deity of thunder?!” condescended the soon-to-be ex-god.

“Yada…god this, god that…blah, blah, blah! Like I said before, your thunder is useless against me!” retorted Luffy. “I don’t care if you call yourself a god, but this world is better off without a shitty one like you!”

Luffy squarely knocked the thunder god’s teeth in. But Enel wasn’t finish.

He sneered, “Did you forget? Thunder is not my only weapon!”

*Clang!*

The prongs of the trident were caught by Chrysis’s fan.

“You know what’s interesting about myths?” asked Chrysis in a conversational tone even as small bolts of electricity arced from the trident to his fans then to him. “They’re myths for a reason. And the most memorable ones aren’t the ones where gods win; they’re the ones where gods fall.”

Chrysis broke away briefly before disappearing in a sudden burst of speed. “Whirlwind!” Chrysis ignored the pain wracking his body and attacked, wind blades and fans slicing along the length of the trident. Like he said, gold was a soft metal. The iron wood cut neatly into it, shredding it into useless strips he promptly blew away before Enel could reform his weapon.

“You, you- INSECT!” snarled Enel as he fired an El Thor right at the exhausted sidhe scarcely a few meters away. Chrysis drew his wings around him in an effort to guard against the surge of electricity. Scales stiffened with superhuman power.

Someone leaped in front of him and shouted, “Wind Surge Wall!” Paired shirasaya katanas slashed a thick and strong wind wall clear in front of them.

Kaku, the idiot, had followed him up here.

When the smoke cleared, Chrysis was falling, wings burnt away, but the long-nosed man had taken the brunt of the attack, body covered in severe burns. If Kaku hadn’t blocked the attack partially, the sidhe would have sustained worse burns. Chrysis barely had enough time to curl one of his large wings around the swordsman as it was right before the agonizing attack hit.

 Again, who’s being the reckless one? Chrysis thought blackly. Red eyes stubbornly kept half slitted despite everything screaming for him to give in to the comforting darkness.

“LUFFY! Go! Defeat this wannabee god! RING THE GODDAMN BELL!”

Something grabbed the two mid-fall. A giant south bird had braved the lightning and stopped the sidhe and human from their life-threatening plunge.

“T-t-thanks,” he rasped. From there, he witnessed Luffy and Enel’s final clash, hubris and determination clashing.

And hubris always leads to the fall of the lofty.

Luffy’s golden ball hit with a shattering smack, and Enel slammed into the golden bell.

The bell resonated with a deep pure note. Chrysis smiled as he listened. He heard the south bird call out joyously as it heard the beautiful note of the bell. That note followed him into his dreams as the world turned black.


Red eyes opened slowly. Blurry. Then the world came back into sharp focus.

“Insect brat. Conscious?” grunted a familiar Shandian.

“Don’t call him that,” chided someone else.

“No, that’s why I’m looking back at you,” snipped Chrysis mildly. “Kaku, you look worse than this guy.”

It was true. The agent was covered in bandages, soaked in some sort of herbal burn treatment judging by the scent. He was also wearing a fresh set of clothes, namely a pair of black pants and slowly pulling on a black and blue-striped turtleneck shirt.

“Don’t move, Chrysis-san!” chided Conis who walked up to the pair of just-wakening patients. “Kaku-san, let me help you with that, you really shouldn’t be moving so much, either!”

“You! You’re from Skypiea!” snarled Wiper. Aaand, now I’m getting a headache.

“Don’t you move, either! All of you are badly injured!”

Chrysis and Kaku kept quiet when the Shandian chief began to speak to Wiper. The Shandians may have once lived on the Blue Seas, but the current generations have made a home on the skies. Skypiean or Shandian, neither people seem to think of going back to war as they joined hand in hand in celebrating the fall of their tyrant god and what looked like the end to generations of war.

“Wow, how are they eating like that?!”

Pirate captain and sidhe wanderer were mowing down their platters, Luffy a pile of meat, and Chrysis a veritable forest of vegetables, fruits, a plate of herbs (markedly on a red-colored plate), and some fish courtesy of his mother hen of friend. The sidhe wasn’t eating as quickly or as much as a time as the straw-hatted captain but no one could deny his healthier than normal appetite.

Kaku looked at Straw Hat in faint disgust. At least Chrysalis had manners, eating a lot of food quickly but tidily. Food scraps, saliva, and sauce flew all over the place around the pirate captain as he ate.

“Great, another bottomless eater!” complained the navigator as the blond took a large jug of something mostly golden brown.

“Ale?” questioned Roronoa.

The chef huffed, “Hardly uncultured Marimo. Chrysis gave me his family’s secret recipe for honeyed nectar tea. It’s basically half honey, half tea, and some herbs.”

“Wow. Chrysis is basically drinking sugar!” exclaimed Chopper. “Is that safe for him?”

Considering Chrysalis was guzzling the amber liquid, Kaku answered, “Perfectly fine. The sidhe have an insane metabolism rate from their high-energy lifestyle. Flight and regeneration can devour a lot of carbohydrates. Insects actually need to warm up their wings by buzzing them prior to flight, so that’s another factor to add. Most of the time, Chrysalis unconsciously uses his devil fruit power to silence the buzzing, so he can take off quietly. Adding all those factors together and Chrysalis needs to consume a lot of high-energy foods and sugars on a normal day. Those herbs somehow cause a reaction and makes the sugar more carbohydrate dense than normal. Haven’t the faintest clue how that happens, but it’s better than him consuming entire barrels of honeyed tea at a time.”

“Oh! That makes sense!”

Sanji lit another cigarette. “That’s why Luffy also needs to keep his hands off Chrysis’s food and drinks. Not only does that crazy butterfly eat poisonous plants and fungi, but the amount of sugar he eats every meal can stop a heart practically.”

Chrysis’s fork suddenly stabbed down, nearly piercing the rubber fingers inching over to his plate.

“But he still tries,” sighed the sidhe. “I suppose none of us can ever keep our eyes off him? If it’s during an adventure or after - maybe especially afterwards.”

All the surrounding pirates nodded in agreement.

Outside, former enemies pranced about the giant bonfire, singing and dancing, memories of the golden tone of the great bell still ringing in their heads.

God has fallen, and Skypiea was free from years under his tyranny.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings’

 It was their last day in Skypiea.

Robin approached the bell as she read, “Before the heart of truth there is no need for words. We are the recorders of history, existing in harmony with the sound of the great bell.

“Y-you can really decipher the ancient words,” gasped the Shandian chieftain.

“You can read Poneglyphs,” noted the sidhe as he drifted down to the raven-haired woman’s side. He eyed the stone.

Ancient weapon with a power so strong that…it was named Poseidon,” finished Chrysis. “You have a very dangerous talent. As to expect from someone who studied under the Tree of Omniscience. West Blue, correct?”

Several hands blossomed from his shoulders threateningly, but Chrysis paid them little mind.

“I wonder…how many lives have been lost on this path you have decided to pursue? Over the decades and centuries, hundreds of historians have met unsavory ends if they chose to try and unravel the greatest secret hidden by the government,” the sidhe murmured, tone solemn. He turned to fully face the archaeologist threatening his life.

“If you’re afraid I was going to have you arrested, I’m not,” he stated. Robin stepped back at the sight. Instead of bright red eyes, there wasn’t a trace of color left. Even the pupils had turned white. The decorative flower on his headband also has changed, going from a closed bulb to a fully opened blossom unlike any she’s seen before.

“We all have our secrets, Nico Robin. I don’t have your whole story, but I understand the darkness lingering in your eyes. I’ve seen it too many times in my youth and in my own eyes. Know this, I have no intention of helping the World Government ruin more lives if I can help it. If I did, I could have used these eyes to report your location long ago,” informed the sidhe cryptically.

The arms tightened around his neck.

“A curse or gift,” he continued. “These eyes indicate I don’t just have natural Kenbunshoku haki - I have an almost unique variant. Where life exists, I can perceive it. Anyone whom I learned their presence I can find eventually unless they can muffle their own presence beyond even my capabilities. And all it takes is one meeting. A single encounter to learn someone’s aura. It’s called the possessing the World’s Eye.

As for the Poneglyphs… I can hear the echoes of the people who wrote them, see glimpses of them speaking the words they inscribed long ago. Sometimes, I feel like I’m there, watching events unfold at their side.

A power that runs only in sidhe lines but not all. In fact, there are only a few families with that potential, mine included naturally. And, this is part of how the remnant of my people have survived the Blank Period. The World Government have helped protect my race in the hopes of a descendant with the power who will one day return the favor. Or so the rumors say.

Do you know what is considered the biggest weakness of a sidhe? It’s not our size or weak bodies. It’s our conscience. Sidhe do not lie. We are always honest at the moment we answer a question, give our opinion, or swear an oath. We might be proven wrong later, or our feelings may change, but we do believe in the words we speak when we speak them. In fact, if we make a promise, then a sidhe would be hard-pressed to ever break it on both a moral and psychological level. For us, promises are sacrosanct.

And one of the things every member of my race has sworn is that we will never use this power for selfish or malicious reasons. And never against innocents.

No one outside my closest family members know I have this power. And I have entrusted the knowledge of my Memory Sight to only two people in my life. But now you know.”

The arms retracted and disappeared.

Chrysis winced a bit when he moved his neck but kept speaking. “Believe me, or not, but I will protect your secrets until you wish to tell us yourself. In the name of my own dream, I will do so because I don’t believe in the lies told by the government and the ones who hold their strings.

And, one last thing. I know your people’s hope and dreams lives through you. But you also owe them and yourself to live,” counseled Chrysis.

Robin took a moment to compose herself, silencing broiled emotions. He knew. He knew who she was. He was a part of the government, however circumstantially. A loose end. But…the sidhe promised to not lead them to her, to keep her secrets to himself. She had a feeling there was a lot more to the petite young man than he indicated just now. After all, there weren’t too many people guarded by someone like Kaku. As an assassin herself, she could recognize the signs of another: eyes scanning discretely for enemies and traps, always moving to keep the “target” in sight, using charm to manipulate others into thinking you are no more than what they see.

And just exactly what did those eyes see? If Chrysis said he could witness the echoes of the past, would that also include great tragedies? And he already told us he can sense people’s emotions. Would this be included? Combined, that seems like a nightmarish combination.

The sidhe was lost in his own thoughts.

He took a big risk, even for him. Not even his grandfather knew of this particular aspect of his power. The tracking and seeing abilities inherent to World’s Eye, yes. Memory Sight? Never. Both this and his mastery over his devil fruit. The first because he didn’t want to put his grandfather in an untenable position, between his job and his family, and the second as an ace in case the worst happened.

The two silently agreed to let the matter stay between them. The Skypieans around them were a bit confused, but happy enough to know they have fulfilled their ancestors’ wishes, passing on the ancient knowledge.

 They walked together to where Chrysis indicated the rest of the crew had gone. When they finally found the other Straw Hats, the pirates had a lot of suspiciously filled bags. Somehow, they had roped Kaku into helping them with their spoils. The agent’s gaze flicked to him only briefly before relaxing slightly.

It took quite a few arguments to convince Kaku to stay here while he went to look for Nico Robin.


“O-kay. What are you guys doing?” Chrysis asked, flying ahead of Robin to see what was going on.

“Apparently purloining gold from a snake’s stomach. Stomach acid apparently doesn’t melt jewels and gold, and it actually made them pretty darn polished besides,” explained Kaku with an amuse lilt to his tone.

“Chrysis! Robin! Hurry up and let’s go!”

So, they were stealing the gold. Even though the Shandians didn’t really care for gold, save for the great bell. Well, Robin didn’t seem too concerned to correct their presumptions. The large crowd of people following them didn’t seem to help matters either. Next thing he knew, all of them were legging it from the large pursuing Shandians and Skypieans.

With Conis’s help, they sailed their ship off the island cloud. A moment after a shrieking fall, an octapallon grabbed them. Chrysis landed right on top of its head. He smiled at the crowd of people gathered still, and listened to the bell ringing a final farewell.

Before they left, the Shandians wanted to offer the crew a giant broken belfry column made entirely of gold. The sidhe had decided to save them the trouble of carrying it and told them it would be too big for their ship to carry it conventionally. He asked the Shandians to hold onto it, and he’ll send some other sidhe to retrieve it sometime in the next few months.

Chrysis frowned. He had settled down on one of the mikan trees as night fell when he heard a bunch of voices start shouting. Did someone say the octopus was…shrinking?!? The sidhe yelped as the ship suddenly plunged down. He watched as the sniper leaped off the ship and did something underneath it, slowing their fall. That was only a temporary fix as the ship suddenly began to free fall again.

But Usopp’s effort wasn’t in vain. Their ship splashed down, but didn’t plunge under the surface or break to pieces.

Chrysis sighed in relief…then his eyes widened, and he leapt off his perch in a hurry.

“Don’t relax now! We’re surrounded!”


Sirens blared to life.

 Several spotlights shortly shone on the Going Merry.

Everywhere, men in the blue and white of marines assembled, many more being roused from sleep. Weapons and cannons readied.

The pirate ship sat still in the water, the proud pirate mark on the sails proclaiming it the vessel of the infamous Straw Hat crew. But there were no signs of her crew.

From the forests on one short, the reindeer doctor was trying his best to hide from passing patrols.

A head of green hair bobbed from the water briefly before ducking under as a marine warship plowed over in his direction.

Tall grasses swayed with the night breeze, their lines broken by the redhead dragging her waver through them.

In another patch of trees, a small fire lit briefly, before a gunshot plunged into the understory. The pirate chef scowled, cigarette unlit and lighter pocketed.

The young captain swiveled his head back and forth, belly growling as he tried to figure out where he could find the kitchens.

Where a strange man was fishing previously, the sniper bent down to retrieve his goggles, his dark-haired companion keeping watch for passing patrols.

High above them all, a pair of men had somehow taken shelter at the highest point of the marine base where they somehow landed.

“Well, you have to admit, D’s have an interesting sort of luck,” joked the younger man.

Kaku rolled his eyes and replied, “And you don’t? Gosh, we just barely got a few days’ rest from our last adventure, and now we’re in the middle of a big hullabaloo. You saw the island’s shape, they have downright dangerous luck.”

Chrysis nodded his head absentmindedly. “Of all the places we could have landed, we so happened to have fallen right into the middle of what has been reputed as the Navy’s most strongly defended marine bases. Branch G-8. Navarone, the Hedgehog. Looks like everyone else had the same idea as us, and they ran who knows where. So, what should we do?”

“We could turn ourselves in.”

“Ve-toed. No way am I going home now.”

“Chrysalis,” snapped Kaku. “I agreed to accompanying pirates to a Sky Island, where we had little guaranteed of making it up there, never mind what we had to do to get back down. Isn’t two months enough?”

Chrysis shrugged. “In two months, that was really our only thing for show.”

“Fine, fine,” sighed the agent as he sat cross-legged. Chrysalis was stubborn at the best of times. “We could sneak off the base without anyone knowing. It wouldn’t be hard for either of us to find a ship to stow away on it. For that matter, we could just hitch a ride on one of the warships.”

The sidhe bit his lip as he thought. Kaku waited for his companion, familiar with signs of the sidhe coming to terms with what he wanted to do and what he could do.

“Kaku…can you really say you’ll be satisfied either returning home right now, or running off on our own?”

“…pardon?”

“How did we get to the Sky Island? Who offered us a ride, even though they really didn’t need my knowledge or your skills? They’re a pretty competent bunch if a bit quirky. But look at what they’ve done so far. An entire population nearly became extinct in an instant if a certain group didn’t choose to intervene.

We made it up 10,000 meters, plunged down the same distance, only to abandon them here? We stuck by them when “god” tried to eliminate everyone else, but we’ll sneak off in the night like no good rogues because there are marines everywhere? Because we ran into a problem? Hell, no!”

Red eyes didn’t flinch as the black ones bore into them. A silent argument waged between the two until the square-nosed man relaxed minutely with a long sigh. “…alright, we’ll help the pirates a little longer. What do you have in mind?”

Chrysis smiled brightly and patted the man on the back. “Good show, my man Kaku! Okay, so you know what is one the biggest problems we have? Knowledge. Here’s what we’ll do…”


The first rays of dawn greeted a new day surely to be filled with chaos and insanity.

Creeping along the rooftops, Kaku darted about, body bent low as much as he could. After spending the night keeping half a mind on the hiding pirates and the other on their mission objectives, the two had decided the agent would investigate where the Merry was being kept while Chrysalis would lurk around the base and try to mitigate the amount of unneeded chaos brought about by the Straw Hat Pirates (although, it was more likely the sidhe would be covering up matters than preventing them considering how crazy things got on the Sky Island).

While the docks were obviously at sea level, the patrols stationed in and at ground level were more prominent than any above. So long as Kaku paid attention, he should be able to vanish from sight before a marine could spot him.

Plus, one of the rooftops offered a variety of marine laundry hanging about, including some orange overalls the agent recognized as the ones the marine mechanics and shipwrights would wear. The agent gave a small smile.

In between sudden impulsive trips into the Grand Line, his young noble charge would attend to various hobbies or study if he wasn’t training. And one of those hobbies was carving things from wood. When he invited Kaku into trying himself, the sidhe was quite impressed by the wooden models of boats being made piece by piece. After a while, Kaku confessed to the sidhe that he used to dream of being a carpenter when he was very young, but his innate talents brought him to a different line of work.

The next day, several books on carpentry were laid stacked into a pile in their working space as well as several logs of wood and some proper carpentry tools. When Chrysalis said he dabbled, he was understating the fact that his friend neared a profession shipwright’s skill with just a lack of formal training and limited experience.

And it so happened, Kaku and Chrysalis had spent the night sweeping through records rooms and offices trying to piece together any useful intel on the structure and figurative cogs keeping the base as the marines’ most heavily defended bases. So, it shouldn’t be hard for him to blend in as one of the various apprentices to transfer into G-8 the other day.

Katanas stowed away (their location imprinted into his memory), Kaku dropped silently down into one of the corridors and pulled an appropriately confused and panicked look as he approached a lone marine.

“Oh geez! What is with this maze? Excuse me, fellas, I’m one of the new shipwright apprentices to transfer here the other night, but with all the hubbub of a gosh darn ghost pirate ship, I forgot how to get to the docks,” worried Kaku, orange hair frazzled under the marine cap replacing his black one.

“Oh, no worries buddy. We get that a lot, these corridors are really tricky if you don’t stick by a veteran’s side. Here, I’ll show you where to go, just where are you stationed?” offered the helpful marine solider.

Kaku sighed in relief, then flinched. “About that…of all the luck, I get to work on the same one with the ghost ship, too.”

“Say no more. Some of my buddies and I just escorted this other new recruit there. Dock 88, right?”

Kaku had quickly scanned a map of the base, and that dock should be pretty close to the side where the ship had landed. “Golly, that’s right. Thanks, man!”

Maybe Chrysalis is right that my old man speak tends to come out more if I’m forced to be friendly considered the agent as he kept up a stream of meaningless babble with the soldier.

When they arrived at the docks, the “new recruit” was none other than the Straw Hats’ sniper.

When the sniper saw him, he opened his mouth but promptly shut it when he saw the sharp look and cutting off motion the agent managed to sneak as the marine was busy talking to the head mechanic. Don’t break my cover!

Subtlety was definitely not in the Straw Hats’ dictionary.

“So, you’re one the new recruits? Must have missed introducing myself to you after that craziness last night. So, what can you tell me about this here ship?”

Kaku weighed his words carefully. “It’s a caravel with a jib and central steer rudder from what it looks like. Fairly old design as well.”

“And? You look like you had something else to say?”

Kaku hesitated but tagged on, “Despite how damaged it looks…I get the feeling the crew really respected their ship, just lacking in experience or a proper mechanic to fix it up.”

Mekao smiled. “That new recruit also said as much. And you have a good eye, there. What’s your specialty?”

“Carpentry,” Kaku promptly replied.

“Good, why don’t you work with those fellows who can give you the ropes of how we do things here. Right now, we’re trying to patch up that damaged marine ship that came in this morning. Poor fellows got caught by a nasty storm. They have several dozens of injured men, ship captain included. And their ships took a pretty beating as we-”

Kaku didn’t drop his casual stance as an officer and a complement of marine soldiers walked in and questioned Usopp’s presence down here.

The CP9 agent in him wanted to slap a hand down his face as Usopp fell for Lieutenant Drake’s trick. It was nice to try bluster his way as a disguised Special Inspector Shepherd…if another of the pirates disguised as him didn’t enter right at that moment. Kaku paid the sniper’s silent pleas no mind as he excused himself for his assigned work.

Not that he didn’t note the direction the marines dragged the sniper away. With the Merry now located, Kaku could now work on relaying that information to the pirates. But first, the matter of not one, but two pirates being caught.


Chrysis fluttered his wings out slightly, loose scales scattering. Their colors shimmered, and the very air around him distorted. In place of a conspicuous child-sized young man, a taller brunet with blue eyes was seen. With his wings drawn tight around him like a cloak, a flutter every now and again was enough to renew the Glamour, an illusion sidhe could produce through a mix of colors and pheromones.

He slipped through the halls, Calm muffling his footsteps. By the gossip he heard, a steady stream of injured marines was funneling into the base, but there seemed to be a problem with a deficit of doctors. Now, if I was a particular Straw Hat, what would I make of that?

Chrysis followed closely behind a knot of marine nurses…was that orange hair on one? Well, this makes things easier.

The infirmary was crazy hive of activity as nurses rushed in patients and tried to stabilize others. Chrysalis meandered his way to Nami and a Dr. Chopper who had taken the reins over this chaos, issuing commands like a real director of a medical ward. Chrysis eyed the slumped form on the chair with a questioning look. From what Chrysis could gather from the conversation between Dr. Chopper, Nurse Nami, and Dr. Kobato, the temporary director had…hemophobia? And a fear of injured patients?

“Now, that won’t do,” sighed Chrysis, the notice-me-not perfume dispelling, a white coat being slung on. “Why don’t I give you a helping hand? Hush,” he stated, touching lightly on the doctor’s forehead. A brief bubble of lavender flared around her head before sinking down.

“I-I don’t feel like fainting,” gasped the doctor. “You’re a devil fruit user?”

“Yes, and therapist who volunteered himself as a doctor. And that’s not the only thing I can do…”

Chrysis turned around swept his arm around. A lavender light arced out to hit each of the patients. “Hush. My other ability can put a full stop to all high-level emotions temporarily, but this is specifically for pain, grief, and fear. The devil fruit-version of an anesthetic. They can relax a bit more easily while we go and deal with the emergency cases. Think if I take off the worse edge, you can work with Dr. Chopper here?”

Chrysis smiled as the Zoan gave a rousing speech to the still hesitant and deeply uncertain doctor. With a new firmness to her gaze, the pediatrician took to her feet, striding to the emergency ward with the three trailing behind her.

The first patient was hard, but Chopper’s encouragement and Chrysis’s discreet use of Hush calmed her down enough to perform the first surgery. They couldn’t relax now, but they say the first step was always the hardest.

Over time, the sidhe lowered the effect of Hush bit by bit until Dr. Kobato was working entirely on her own will, the bitter scent of fear all but gone, replaced by determination. Very impressive. Chrysis’s opinion of her only increased as she refused the Lt. Commander or his soldiers’ interruption while they had patients in critical condition.


“You really are a quick learner,” complimented the old mechanic.

“Thank you, Mekao-san,” murmured Kaku as he expertly cut several large planks of wood, the last they would need to patch up this particular scrape on the marine ship’s hull.

“Genuine skill. Which, makes me wonder why your own ship isn’t in better shape. Then again, the early patches have touch of someone inexperienced but determined to make things work. The later patches are your work, I take it? A late recruit?”

His CP9 training flared, screaming for him to discreetly dispatch the old engineer before he could give him away to the marines. But, the old engineer didn’t look at him with anger, fear, or suspicion. An old sort of wisdom shown in eyes, like in some of the sea salts he had done temporary work with. Eyes that knew you were a gifted novice, but a novice nonetheless. Or pirate affiliate in this case. Yet, didn’t judge you for it.

Taking a chance, Kaku replied, “You can think of me as more of a…guest. Or a passenger. This arrangement is temporary.”

“But you’re down here making note of any further damages to the ship while refining the skills you have, subtlety directing your training toward what would coincidentally be helpful to redo some of that young man’s earlier work. Am I right? Also, some of your inquiries were telling.”

“I see.” His skills were getting sloppy then. I need to ask for some time off. Or maybe Chrysalis could come with him on some missions since the sidhe had accompanied the agent’s superior on lower level assignments. Which was about the level of CP9’s usual work, just with higher stakes.

“Now, I approve of pirates as much as the other marine mechanics, but I can’t deny the amount of love this ship has seen. You’re very fortunate for the crew you winded up on, but I wouldn’t mind if you come back some other time as a true recruit. For now, I bet you’re wondering about where your fellow long nose went. It so happens I’ll be running there in a second.”

Mekao left it at that and ran off. Kaku put down his tools and eventually, he, too, vanished from Dock 88.

As the CP9 agent had previously guessed last night, the lone island in the lake was the location of the base’s jail cells. The agent had used Soru to quickly gather his swords, discarding his disguise in favor of following Mekao. He stopped short of the entrance as he sensed two other auras nearby. Unfortunately, Kaku’s haki wasn’t as developed in this respect as Chrysalis’s. He could tell the auras were of the Straw Hats but not precisely who. He leaned close to the wall and dared glance around. The chef and the captain. Hopefully the more perceptive of the two had been enough to keep the other’s impulsiveness in check…most of the time.

Kaku lightly bounced his forehead off the rock way as he heard the teen start to yell for their missing members. The CP9 agent decided to let those two handle the actual extraction while he dealt with the mess brewing outside. Swords noiselessly slid out their sheaths as the agent darted into the ranks of marine soldiers.

Once finished thinning the reinforcements, movements too fast and precise for any of them to catch more than a glimpse of black and blue, Kaku ran off to where he felt a familiar knot of auras fleeing…in the wrong direction. Someone must have let Roronoa take the lead, concluded the CP9 agent with a weary sigh. He arrived in time to watch in horror at how the pirate captain taunted what could only be the base’s commander, a marine vice admiral. He said point-blank that they would be leaving the base now. Suddenly, a cannon blasted into the rock face.


In another part of the base, Chrysis was dealing with his own problems.

Some marine soldiers have arrived and told the director of the pirates possibly posing as doctors or nurses.

Instead of turning on them, Dr. Kobato urged them to run away before the false doctors could get them. And Chrysis could confirm she 100% believed in that. So naïve!

And, like the soft-hearts his pirate friends were, they told her the truth. Chrysis had a barrier up the moment he sensed the careless duo’s intentions. Dr. Kobato screamed in horror and fainted. Chopper and Nami looked around in fright.

“Guys, guys, remember me? The soundless human? The marines didn’t hear her, not that I agreed with revealing everything like that considering we just ran her through intense exposure therapy. But, what’s done is done,” he sighed.

“Thank goodness we have you around,” breathed Nami in relief.

When the doctor came to, she was understandably upset and confused, but she was also grateful to them. They had cured her of her fears. So, in return she offered to guide them to the docks where they probably kept the Going Merry.

Well, what do you know. Doing good things does pay back in the long run.


The four Straw Hats raced across the Straw Bridge. Unbeknownst to the marines hiding under the bridge, the pirates knew that they were there. When the members of Navarone’s “Hot-Blooded” unit jumped out onto the bridge in front of the and behind the Straw Hats, none were the least bit fazed. Usopp took shelter up in the railings, an orange shell with several holes at the ready while the Monster Trio charged forward, their bounty heads clearing the front while the chef swept away the ones in the back.

The leader of the unit frowned. Shouldn’t there be more of us up here? Where are they?!

Below the bridge, several marines were making their way from their hiding places when they were suddenly and relentlessly cut down.

The surrounding marines hefted their weapons (awkwardly, they needed at least one arm to hang onto the bridge), but the attacker was merciless. Marine after marine found themselves knocked into the water. The marines on shore found themselves rushing over to pull them back to land before they drowned. None saw the flashes of steel running the length of the bridge and taking out the ground supports.

Until it was too late.

*CREEEEEEAAAAK*

The marines on the bridge froze. Slowly, the portion of the bridge closest to the jail island began to tilt down. Yells and curses filled the air as many of the overly large soldiers lost their balance and tumbled into the sea behind them. As for the pirates, they took their cue. Usopp scooted down one of the wires and joined his crewmates in a headlong rush up the rapidly tilting bridge.

“Take this! Smoke Star!”

The marines reeled back as bilious black clouds exploded, obscuring their sight and stinging their throats. Unable to find the Straw Hats, blinded, and the ground literally collapsing right under feet, the marines dove off the sides and into the lake.

“Ha…ha…ha…” gasped Straw Hat. The four had dove off the bridge the moment sniper had thrown up the smoke cover, several pellets thrown off the side for good measure.

“Well, that could have ended worse, Square-Nose,” said Sanji as tried lighting his soggy cigarette.

“I’m surprised it ended as well as it did,” Kaku admitted, wringing his hat out.

The agent had managed to catch up to the Straw Hats off before they got on the bridge, warning them of the elite marine unit he saw earlier and identified as Navarone’s heavy combatants. Once they understand the trap they were heading into, Kaku proposed this plan: the Straw Hats would still charge over the bridge, but they would not give an inch back and keep going forward. Usopp was responsible for taking care of the marines hiding up in the upper portions, using the Impact Dial – which Kaku advised he take the time to locate right now – as a kind of shield should any of the marines get in close.

In order to keep down their opposition, Kaku would be cutting down the marines hiding right under the bridge while simultaneously compromising the bridge supports. From there, the sniper would provide a smoke cover, and the Straw Hats would make their way to shore from the lake below, their forward charge providing enough of a lead to make it a short swim. Naturally, with the bridge collapsing right over him, the redhead would also dive into the lake to escape.

Kaku took the lead this time and led them through the base to Dock #88.


Lt. Drake was not having a great time. First, his plan to chase the Straw Hats outside and trap them between his marines and the ones lying in wait didn’t work out due to the Straw Hats somehow slipping away in the corridors and the marines he had waiting outside had been knocked out, the only ones conscious were the ones who had arrived later. Then somehow the entire damn Straw Bridge had collapsed practically. From what the marine he got in there said, it looked like someone had carved through the supports while the pirates pushed forward through the “Hot-Blooded” unit.

To top it all, his special unit at the docks weren’t prepared yet, and the Straw Hats were tearing their way to Dock #88.

He just had to hope they were enough.

Kaku slowed and held a hand out.

“Another ambush,” he cautioned them.

“So? We’ll just blow them over like before!” declared Straw Hat before charging headlong along with Roronoa and Chef Sanji. Usopp stayed back behind the agent who resignedly followed after them.

When they burst out from the hall, lines of marines were assembled everywhere in the dock.

“Straw Hats, this is where your invasion of this base ends,” announced the lieutenant. “Sniper Team #7, fire!”

Bullets rained down on them, but the rubber man easily expanded and deflected them all.

“So, bullets are useless, as expected. Redraw. Cannon team, at ready and fire!”

Cylindrical ammo was launched. Before it could make it halfway, they were suddenly blown back.

Storm Blow.”

The marines reeled back as the gas was released. On the wrong side.

“ *cough, cough* Swordsmen unit, *cough, cough* attack!”

Lt. Commander Drake and his men strapped on their gas masks and tried to hold their ground as the pirates attacked. Without the advantage of the gas, the swordsmen were being cut down in droves. Not that he had as many as he hoped he would.

Gomu Gomu no Gatling / Santoryu: Tiger Hunt / Anti-Manner Kick Course!”

The marines were blown back.

“Sniper units, cover fire!”

Hissatsu: Lead Star!”

Several snipers fell back in pain as lead balls slammed into them.

Gale Slash!” The swordsman who had thrown their ammo back cut a straight line through his ranks.

“Damn you pirates,” cursed Lt. Drake quietly. “Are the net throwers ready?”

“Yes, sir!”

The pirates’ momentum stalled as a net shot into their captain.

“Luffy, what are you doing? Get out of there!”

“Can’t. Strength…disappearing…” panted Straw Hat.

“Kairoseki nets specially made net for devil fruit users,” Kaku observed as he went over to the downed pirate. The agent jumped back as another net shot in front of him.

“You’re right, pirate,” sneered the lieutenant.

He couldn’t see the man’s face very well due to his black baseball cap shading his face. Suddenly, the man tilted his head to the side as if listening to something.

The sniper who had stayed back yelped in pain as a group of people suddenly rammed into him.

“Oh no, Usopp!” shouted the…furry man? “Who’s the bastards who did this to you?!”

“That was you,” dryly replied the Pirate Hunter.

Lt. Drake’s countenance grew furious as the situation suddenly turned on him. That monstrous furry man had taken a doctor and nurse hostage. With little choice, he told his men to stand back. But he still had a few more tricks left.

If only the nurse didn’t suddenly lash at the marine trying to save her.

A nurse he would only later find out was a Straw Hat pirate in disguise.

And Mekao had to release their ship.

Between the unexplainable invasion, the special inspector from headquarters, the marines caught in a storm…why did they all happen at the same damn time?

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings’

Back on the Going Merry…

“Where is Chrysis?” Kaku was more than a little peeved.

“Err…I don’t know? He was with us in the corridors but then just up and left us,” explained Nami.

The other redhead pinched the bridge of his nose, other hand still supporting his right side. Straw Hat’s rubber abilities were all well and good for sling shooting himself, but the other humans onboard didn’t have the ability to rebound from being slammed onto the deck. Kaku didn’t have much warning to protect himself with Tekkai.

“Should we try waiting for him? And Robin is still missing.”

Kaku shook his head. “Chrysalis may have a reason for his delay. As for Nico-san, she should be landing…about now.”

And there she was, swinging on a rope of hands with a roll of paper tucked under her arm.

“They discovered your deception,” noted Kaku absentmindedly as he turned back to the base behind them, haki tentatively searching, trying not to alert the vice admiral of haki users traveling with the Straw Hats.

“Quite, Kaku-san. But I managed to find quite a few interesting things in their records rooms. A map of Navarone.”

“A map? Let me see that…”

Nami unrolled it fully. “Damn, I was right. There is only one exit to the ocean here. Alright, we need to force our way through the Sea Gate! Chopper, Sanji, the rudder!”

Chrysalis must have a reason. His CP9 training was scolding him for going along with the sidhe (not like this was the first time it flared at him for the same thing several times over the years). His primary objective above all else was to protect the younger man. Which, was infinitely hard to accomplish when his charge strayed from carefully laid out plans and did his own thing.

“Cannonballs!”

“Usopp, why aren’t we returning fire?!”

“Can’t! We’re clean out of any explosives or cannonball of our own!”

“Don’t worry, I got this!”

No cannonballs or explosives?

Nami had the same thought as she ran below decks. A scream shortly followed after.

“MY GOOOOOLD!!!”

Usopp had thrown up a smoke cover upon their attempted escape through the Sea Gate. However, the navigator refused to leave without that gold.

*Purupurupurupurupuru…*

Kaku reached for the mini den den-mushi hooked to his belt. Chrysalis had one himself, but the sidhe tended to use Calm on his, no matter how many times the CP9 agent had reminded him to remove it in between ‘stealth missions’, namely pranks and sneaking into his guardians’ office or marine bases.

*Gat-cha!*

[Hello? Kaku, you read me?]

“Chrysalis, where are you?”

[Sorry, I couldn’t risk calling you while surrounded by marines. And, sorry for running off on you, Nami, Chopper. It kind of dawned to me about marine protocol. I take it you found the ship cleaned out of anything suspicious, say any artillery and treasure?] astutely suggested the sidhe.

Kaku was shoved over, his speaker snatched away by the navigator.

“Okay, what do you know, Chrysis? Where is my gold?!”

[Good question. I have a few ideas, but-]

Bells were ringing.

[…did Nami make fog, or Usopp use his Smoke Star?]

“Uh, the latter.”

[Guys…move! Those bells tell marine ships how close they are to one another. Even through the den den-mushi, I can a warship is getting too close for comfort!]

Kaku held on tightly, as they swerved by several marine warships, barely keeping from scraping against a few of them. Nami declared hiding in the smoke way too dangerous with marine ships nearly crashing into them. But, the question was where they could go when the open waters would make them one big target of the cannons.

Chrysalis piped in [Robin, you brought some maps, right?]

“Yes. Do you have a suggestion Sidhe-kun?”

[Navarone used to host many more warships than what you have seen, however, over the years, their budget has been cut down several times. You get what I mean?]

“So? Navarone has fewer ships. This means…?” inquired Nami.

Nico Robin chuckled, “I believe our sidhe friend is suggesting we dock the Going Merry one of the abandoned docks. If I haven’t missed my guess, it is in one of those very shipyards he had taken shelter.”

[Good guess. I’m in the abandoned dock not far from where you guys are. Not only that, but I made a neat stockpile of artillery while you guys were making that uproar. There are also a few other matters I wish to discuss, but that can wait until you get here. Until then]

*Click*


The sidhe wilted as the ginger bodyguard glared down on him.

“…sorry won’t cut it, will it?”

“Chrysalis, you’re sticking with me until we get out of Navarone,” Kaku told, no, ordered the sidhe. His response was to duck his head in acknowledgement.

“Alright, we can punish him later, right now, we need to talk about important matters; namely, my gold.”

Sanji served them some food as they gathered inside the ship.

“Why do we need the gold so much?” questioned Usopp.

“Why else? The witch loves her money,” grunted Zoro as he leaned back in his chair.

“It’s not like I’m keeping it all to myself. Don’t you know, pirate crews divvy out their treasure?” Nami informed them. Kaku’s eyes brows went up while the others expressed their excitement.

“Of course, I’m taking 80%.”

As I thought.

“What?!” yelled the Straw Hats.

Nami smirked, “What? It’s not like I’m using it all on me.”

Several pairs of eyes blinked back at her.

“It’s for the Merry,” she clarified. “I know Usopp has done as much as he can for her, and Kaku’s been going over the damages since he joined us, but we can’t deny it any longer; the Going Merry won’t make it much farther without a lot of work. From professional shipwrights and mechanics.”

Chrysis nodded his head, but Kaku sensed something troubling the sidhe.

“So, that’s what I’ll be using the money for. And, don’t worry, Chrysis, Kaku, you guys are getting a portion for nearly dying getting us up there and back. I can’t imagine how much harder things would have been without your help.”

“That’s unnecessary,” insisted Kaku. “We didn’t accompany you to earn any beli out of it.”

“Who cares? You guys did really earn it,” chipped in Usopp. “Not that the Great Captain Usopp needed it!”

Luffy added, “Besides, you heard Nami. The treasure is divvied among the crew.”

The CP9 agent stared. Chrysis choked on his bite of food, bringing Kaku back into reality as he helped the other, pounding him on the back several times. Kaku turned back and addressed the pirate captain, “Pardon, but are you suggesting that we’re part of your crew?”

“Suggesting? Aren’t you guys joining the crew?”

“Luffy! Don’t go and assume that!” scolded Nami. The orangette turned to the two flummoxed men. “He does this. A lot. If you want, feel free to read some of the logbooks I keep in my room if you want a second opinion before being dragged into any more of our messes.”

Sanji pulled them aside and stage-whispered, “You guys might as well give up and accept it. Once Luffy gets it in his head you’re going to be a part of the crew, and not when he’s messing around, he won’t give up until you are. He’s just that kind of selfish bastard.”

Before Kaku could reject the pirate out of hand, Chrysis interjected, “Captain Luffy, while we’re flattered by the offer, we should discuss this perhaps after we arrive to safer waters. For now, why don’t we focus on Nami-san’s reasoning. You said most of the treasure would go toward ship repairs?”

She nodded. “Kaku and Chrysis did tell us back on Jaya that they were surprised we got as far as we have on the Going Merry. Think about how far she has taken us from East Blue. Don’t you guys think she deserves to be fixed up and maybe upgraded?”

Murmurs of “Yeah, she does deserve it!”, “It would be nice for her to be fixed up”, and “She is our ship and things are only going to get tougher” rang out.

“Hey, Square-Nose!”

“Yes, Roronoa?”

“You said you’re not a shipwright, right?”

Kaku shrugged and answered, “Not quite a fully trained one, but yes. One, I studied mostly of carpentry, though I have made myself familiar with every other area of ship repairs. However, I have had no formal training or as much experience to warrant being called one, personally. I can do some repairs fine, though a large-scale project like the Going Merry would be a bit out of my league to be honest.”

“Yeah, a shipwright would be a good idea to get while we’re at it,” remarked Nami. “Then we won’t have to search for a shipyard with people willing to work with pirates or hope Kaku and Usopp’s work will hold whenever our ship gets damaged.”

“Then it’s decided! We’ll look for a shipwright to fix Merry and recruit them!” declared Luffy.

*Thump!*

“Don’t forget the first thing we need to do! To repair Merry, we need cash to pay for the job!” yelled Nami, thumping the pirate captain on the head again.

“But how are we going to do that? We can’t leave the Merry like this, someone will eventually find her!”

Luffy advised them, “To hide a tree, put it in a forest. To hide a ship, put it among a lot of other ships.”

The group face-faulted.

“Just when he chooses to get serious, he says something like that.”

Usopp had a contemplative look on his face. “Hey, wait! I think Luffy has a good point. Look at all this wreckage and scraps. If we do this…”

Kaku frowned at their handiwork. He supposed for something they assembled in couple of hours, the ship could pass as a marine warship…from a distance and if the onlooker was poor of sight or just plain oblivious.

The group discussed their plans. Once the sun set, they would enact it. They had but two objects: one, get the gold, and two, retrieve Nami’s abandoned waver. From there, they’ll make their escape.


All of Navarone mustered as night fell once more. The pirates were still at large, and no one could let down their guard – outside of mealtimes, of course.

The group consisting of Luffy, Robin, Zoro, and Usopp had sliced their way into the multi-locked and heavily armored vault. Marines had them wedged between the vault and the themselves. The three fighters kept the soldiers back as Usopp released the final gear locking the vault door in place. With an eerie creek, the whole thing came crashing down. Inside, there was just a pile of junk plus a large elephant tuna proudly on display.

“Hah, did you think the commander didn’t anticipate this, pirates?” More marines streamed inside, several doors crashing to a close. Their leader ordered, “Stand down now. While your wanted posters say Dead or Alive, we at Navarone prefer alive.”

“Where’s the gold?”

“Somewhere where you won’t find it,” the marine stated.

Roronoa grunted, “Well, you can’t say I expected a different answer. That isn’t a problem.”

Shishishi, yeah! We’ll just look somewhere else and find the gold!”

The marine leader frowned as he thought the long-nosed pirate mutter something about “those two really are psychic”. What two to whom could he be referring?

Then that idiot Special Inspector had to order the gates opened and then try and show off.

The Straw Hats weren’t as stupid as to take advantage of the moron’s negligence and distraction of accidentally firing his oversized bazooka backward. He and his men dove to the ground as more missiles fired on them.

This is an example of headquarters’ best? The marine prayed headquarters’ usual disregard for their base – as much as he hated it – simply meant they also sent their politically-advanced marines and dredges rather than their actually competent soldiers.

“Alright, let’s get out of here, already,” Zoro said as he took the lead. “The big butterfly and Square-Nose are pretty perceptive.”

“Yeah, they knew already that the most obvious place to secure the gold is also one of least unlikely places to put it in the first place. Since we’re still considered rookie pirates, the marines probably would have never figured we had any members sharp enough to anticipate that kind of thinking,” Usopp stated, tone admiring.

“But, where’d they put the gold, then?”

“Kaku-san and Chrysis-san said they would check out a few places first. Everyone is to meet back up by the lakeshore.”

“But…how do we get there without being caught?”

They were lucky to meet with Mekao who directed them to the shortcut through the mountains: a cliff face. The group climbed to the tip where they heard the distinct rumble of Nami’s waver. And there was their navigator, Chrysis easily keeping apace of the waver by air.

“Where’s Square-Nose?”

“Don’t worry, he’s keeping an eye on his part of the plan. Luffy, you mentioned you guys met the commander by his personal rooms, right?”

“Yeah, why?”


Vice Admiral Jonathan frowned. He had reports come in that the Straw Hats have fallen for his vault trap, but Inspector Shepherd had ruined their attempt to box the pirates inside it. Now things were quiet. Too quiet.

*CRASH!*

Straw Hat and the woman who had most by the reports disguised herself as a nurse barreled into his office on a strange vehicle.

“Ah, guests.”

“Luffy, you sure this is the base commander?” questioned the organgette.

“Oh, yeah, this is the Stronghold Ossan I met before.”

“Ohoho? What an interesting way to enter, Straw Hats,” said the commander calmly. “I don’t think I’ve ever quite seen a vehicle like that before.”

“Oh, do you like it? It’s called a waver, and people on the Sky Island ride it. Though, only Nami can ride this one.”

“Luffy, will you be quiet, we don’t have time for chit-chat!” the young woman screamed as she berated her captain. What a unique crew, the Straw Hats. Too bad I must stop them here.

“I don’t think I have had the pleasure to meet you, young lady. I see you are the more upfront of the two of you. Welcome to my room,” greeted the base commander. “If you all weren’t such deviants as pirates, this could have been a much more pleasurable meeting. A pity.” Jonathan paused. “Strange. You two have come busting through my window, yet I don’t hear a sound outside this room. Furthermore, some of my men should have at least arrived by now.”

“Don’t act so surprised, Commander.”

The space by his door shimmered to reveal what appeared to be a marine soldier leaning against the door’s open frame.

“Some sort of devil fruit power? Or an illusion, perhaps. I take it the marines who should be here were taken down?”

“Yep!”

He hadn’t detected this person at all. Furthermore, why would this pirate feel compelled to wear a disguise? If he did have some sort of illusionary powers, then this may not even be his real appearance. This was all quite suspicious, though some advanced devil fruit users were said to be able to deceive even someone of his caliber. The marine commander very marginally narrowed his eyes.

“How interesting.”

“Why, thank you, Vice Admiral-san. Navigator-san, shouldn’t you two be picking up the gold?’

“Oh, right. You! Where’d you do with my treasure? Baiting doesn’t do any good without bait, right? We came so far, so you could at least do us the favor and show us where you hid it in plain sight!”

“…Nami, turn your head the other way, if you please.”

“…oh.”

Glimmering in a haphazard pile was the treasures his men had transferred earlier from the Straw Hats’ ship to an evidence vault, to his room earlier today. The pirate captain wasted no time bundling all of it into a large sack.

“Now, do you think I would let the three of you escape right in front of my eyes?” he warned them with an upraised eyebrow.

“Hardly. That’s why we’re doing this. Nami, how does the weather look tonight?”

“Looks like we’re about to experience some currents of cool and warm airs mixing together. Cool Ball. Heat Ball.

Commander Jonathan’s eyebrows raised up as red and blue bubbles emitted from the girl’s staff. Warm and cold? Cool and Heat?

“The forecast today calls for a severe fog. Mist Tempo.”

Streams of balls combined, and steam filled the room. Commander Jonathan stood up from his desk just as he heard something *shink*. Swords. And wasn’t there reports earlier of someone who had cut through the Straw Bridge’s supports other than the Pirate Hunter?

He walked around his desk and through the fog. He stopped just short of where he last saw the pirates. Right in front of his feet was a large hole carved through the floor. If he checked by the door, there would no doubt be a smaller one cut with the same fine precision. And the room below had a smashed window.

“Commander?! Are you alright sir? And why is it so foggy in here?”

“Report, if you will.”

“Yes, sir! Well, we sent several units to here earlier, but it looks like someone knocked them all out, including the patrols and soldiers normally stationed nearby your quarters.”

“So, they had sent in two other people here ahead of them. They are much cleverer than I thought. Though, no matter. It’s almost 9 o’clock after all.”


“I’m surprised it took them this long to notice us,” commented Kaku as the presences on the ship in front of them began to scramble about.

“I’m not. Marine command always had this sort of problem. Most of the elites are the genuine article, but some of the lower ranks weaseled their way into their positions by either money, politics, personal policies, or a combination of the above. Yo, guys, the jig is up. Time to get rid of our pathetic excuse of a marine warship!” called out Chrysalis.

They rammed their ship into the Pine Peak, breaking apart their disguise shell. The agent stood stoically by while the sidhe next to him laughed outright when the back end of their disguise rammed into the ship. He doubted that was in anyway planned, but it bought them some time.

As they approached the damaged Sea Gate, the marine warships behind them have started pulling in their sails and weighing anchor.

“Huh? Why are they doing that? Have they given up?”

“Strange, especially since they could pretty easily sink us from this range.”

Nami paid her crewmates’ chatter little mind, turning to the two men stationed in the shadows of the mikan trees.

“You guys are sure about this?”

“I’m positive, Nami-san.”

“Kaku may not be a mapmaker, but his memory and spatial recognition skills are top-notched,” reassured the sidhe.

Nami nodded her head and shouted orders for Usopp to turn the Going Merry 15 degrees to the left, and to slow them down by pulling in some of the ship’s main sail. Her crewmates looked in askance but did as she told them.

*Shoo. Shoo. SHOO.*

“Do you hear rushing? Like some sort of river…ah! Look down there! The water is rushing away! Na-!”

“I know already, Usopp. Go and get your Flame and Breath Dials ready!” she order him.

Chrysalis turned to the straw-hatted teen. “Luffy, you have the octopalloon I see.”

“Oh, this octopus?”

“Yeah, that’s the one.”

Kaku walked over to the sniper.

“Usopp-san, you stored plenty of power in the Impact Dial earlier, yes?”

“Yeah, why?”

“We’ll have to use it to escape.”

“Whaa?”

9 o’clock. The Straw Hats gaped as all the water from the lake drained out to the sea. However, due to Chrysalis and Kaku’s foresight, they managed to cut down the speed of the Going Merry so it didn’t scrape her hull too badly. Plus, Kaku had spent the first part of the night scoping out the lake bottom for the infamous “Fangs of Navarone”.

With an idea of where each group of sharp points of the reef was located, the agent relayed this information to Nami who directed their ship steadily to a small patch where the ship wouldn’t sustain as much damage when they ran aground. Now, they needed time to execute their escape plans.

“The Fangs of Navarone,” Nami explained, “are apparently the ace of this marine base. Kaku and Chrysis here had a hunch that if the commander seemed too assured at the time we infiltrated his room, then it would be a final proof that we would be heading out during low tide. Since water in here is regulated by the opening and closing of the Sea Gate, they can in a pinch drain all of the water out at low tide to strand boats ashore. With Kaku’s scouting of the sea bottom earlier tonight, the ship didn’t take as much damage as it could. Now we need to see about getting this ship out the last route we have. The sky.”

“Ah! That’s why you need the octopus balloon and dials…wait! If Kaku took my Impact Dial…!” realized Usopp.

“Don’t worry. Kaku is a lot stronger than you and volunteered, else we would have made you do it.”

Usopp paled at the implication and the dark looks in his crewmates’ eyes. They would have most definitely not give the sniper an out unless there was an actual volunteer. “…he can borrow it, then.”


The agent considered the small shell in his palm. For an ordinary man, the sheer force that could be stored in the device could break their hands or worse. He held it up to the small hole going through the hull. Behind him, Roronoa, Chef Sanji, and Straw were positioned to brace him against the force.

This is probably going to hurt even with Tekkai and Busoshoku the agent noted. He grinned slowly. Well, it’ll be a good indicator of how my training is coming along.

“Ready?”

“Ready.”

“One!”

“Two!”

“Three! Impact!” they all shouted.

The ship launched into the air. It was enough to land them on the other side of the gate, but they still had too many small breaches in the hull to sail.

“Once more!” Kaku shouted as the four of them got back to their feet. I’m definitely going to have something cracked by the end of this whole affair.

3, 2. 1…

Impact!”

 Finally, their hot air balloon expanded to its former bilious self. The second impact catapulted them into the air where they remained floating.

Chrysis stationed himself on deck in preparation of warding off the cannon fire threatening them from the rock walls they still needed to pass by. But, a certain inspector’s negligence to wait patiently made this unnecessary as he fired on his own people. Again.

Cheers rang out as they escaped into the skies.


Commander Jonathan sighed as his lovely wife punched out Special Inspector Shepherd. He went to explain to her that he had planned to use this defeat to highlight why the navy needed bases like Hedgehog to stand against the rising new generations. That, and he would have punched out the man himself if she hadn’t.

The vice admiral frowned as something shimmered in the wreckage his room had become. He walked over slowly. There was a small sack full of shells. His hand brushed by the apex of one.

The voice of the knocked-out inspector rang out, incriminating him as he shouted orders for injured men to set out against the Straw Hats.

“Well, well, isn’t this interesting, dear?”

“Mmm, indeed. If all these shells are like this, then I would say we have more than enough evidence for our case,” agreed his Jessica.

There was also a note with a strange emblem of a strangely familiar looking sun with crescent moon reflected underneath it.

Dear Vice Admiral Jonathan,

I hope you appreciate the consolation prize since I have no doubt the Straw Hats have somehow escaped the infamous Fangs of Navarone. You are honestly one of the better commanders I’ve seen from the marines regardless of your acquaintances. Ah, I wouldn’t worry about Inspector Shepherd, too much. With all the incriminating evidence, he will be hard-pressed to explain himself. My own testimony is also available from the green shell, but please hand that over to Vice Admiral Ashaya for processing. She’ll understand why if you tell her “Truth is not an ideal but a solemn promise.” Thank you for a most interesting time.

A guest traveling with the Straw Hats

“Hmm, what a cheeky kid, huh? Should I report him to command…nah. I suppose his wording is telling isn’t it?”

“What do you mean, dear?”

“Kid was never spotted in the base as himself, most likely. Probably didn’t want anyone from command to know he was here. And he called himself a guest, not a member of the Straw Hats. So, the Straw Hats picked up someone pretty infamous but is not technically a crewmate. If these 24 hours have told me anything, those pirates are too brash and proud to deceive us like this in a letter. For a temporary purpose, sure. But, the writer doesn’t seek like one to go beyond those measures. Either way, I’ll take his advice. Maybe Ashaya can tell me something, she’s a pretty remarkable marine on her own right, and one who has always supported Navarone’s existence.”

I wonder…how long will the term guest apply?

If Straw Hat was anything like his grandfather, the vice admiral probably should keep an eye on the news.

He never did learn their names, after all.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings’

 A purple light encased the lookout.

“What do you plan to do, Chrysalis?” Kaku started off, hands crossed in front. The sidhe had his back toward him, eyes fixed on the stars above.

“Straw Hat’s offer, right?”

“Chrysalis.”

“I know. Kaku, I have known of your true loyalties since we first met. But, you are also my friend and trusted companion of many years. I won’t do anything that makes you have to question your allegiances needlessly.”

“You like these pirates.” That wasn’t a question.

“Yes. For pirates, you must admit they’re pretty unusual.”

Kaku snorted, “Unusual? I would grant you they’re one of a kind. But, for goodness sake, pirates?

“They’re hardly that bad. Look at what they did for Skypiea! Or how about us? They let us on their ship and treated us like their crewmates. They’re no heroes, but they hardly act like some of the scum we’ve met. Did you start reading the logs?” asked Chrysalis, turning fully to the redhead.

Kaku nodded. He hadn’t gotten through the East Blue entries, but the what he read was telling. Especially with how nonchalantly Straw Hat had taken the threat from his future first mate. Taking down corrupt marines and beating up on other pirates who were in the middle of harassing innocents hardly sounded like what a normal pirate did. And Kaku had a strange feeling this set of logs were the least fantastic of the Straw Hats’ accomplishments. Kaku did have some suspicions about Straw Hat’s bounty rising so soon after Sir Crocodile was taken down by Captain White Chase Smoker. It couldn’t a coincidence, especially as Chef Sanji’s pantry carried spices and food exclusively available from Alabasta, an island not too far from Jaya by ship.

“Kid…”

“Not a kid, old man. But what?”

Kaku sighed. His superiors were going to have his head… “Chrysalis, I won’t object if we stay with the Straw Hats a bit longer.”

“…wait, you mean…?”

“On a temporary basis. If it looks like your grandfather caught wind of us-”

“We’ll bail. As fast their growth is, the Straw Hats can’t handle the kind of trouble I’d bring to them,” affirmed Chrysalis. “Plus, I know you’ll catch enough flak as it is for going along with this as long as you have, no matter what my guardian said and approved of in the past. I promise to not endanger them or ourselves so. If you say we have to leave, I won’t make trouble. But for now, we’ll just have to redouble our discretionary efforts.”

“No more confronting high-level marines?”

Chrysalis weakly chuckled, “Yes, Kaku. We were lucky Jonathan is probably the least rash of his rank; very calm and tactical. Especially since he probably figured out by now we must have some rudimentary knowledge of haki at the least. Anyone as high or higher we should avoid entirely. Shall we rejoin the crew then?”

They entered the crew’s kitchen/dining area.

“Hey, Kaku-kun, Chrysis-kun,” greeted Nami.

Well, that’s new, thought Chrysis with a smile. “And good day to all of you. We’re back on solid sea, and hopefully we haven’t somehow ended up forever and a half away from the next island. Luffy, Kaku and I have come to a decision considering your proposal?”

“Ne?”

“The one about us joining this crew, Luffy,” Usopp correctly suggested.

“Oh! So, you guys are joining?”

“On a temporary basis,” stressed Kaku. “We have some issues still about committing, but you can depend on us for as long as we sail aboard this ship.”

 Zoro coolly stated, “That sounds pretty sketchy, Square-Nose. And how do we know this won’t stab us in the back later?”

“Zoro,” Chrysis sighed, “there are some things about us that you guys can’t know for your own sake. If anything, we’ll leave if our presence will bring our troubles to you. If your captain objects-”

“It’s fine.”

“Luffy,” warned the green-haired first mate. The straw-hatted teen wave it off.

“You guys have your reasons, right? Zoro, I trust these guys.”

Chrysis nodded his head in acknowledgement. The rest of the crew reluctantly followed. A captain spoke for their crew, after all, at least in these matters.

Chrysis also decided to give them a summarized version of a sidhe’s psychological need to tell the truth and keep promises as well as about his World’s Eye ability, much to Kaku’s silent disapproval. Chrysis shot the redhead a look that said this is necessary and my own damn choice. The one thing he left out was the Memory Sight skill. It wasn’t a very relevant power, anyways. He also advised the crew to keep his true devil fruit powers a secret and just let people assume he was some sort of Zoan.

“Why do you want to do that?” questioned Usopp with a frown.

Kaku stated plainly, “Unless you want Chrysalis’s grandfather to have a clear idea of where his grandson is, it would be easier to hide Chrysalis’s identity this way. There may be only one kind of devil fruit power held by any one person at a time, but Zoans do have different models of the similar sort of animal. There should be quite a few different butterfly or moth models in existence, albeit not too many would willingly choose them.”

“Hey! Are you implying something, Kaku?” Chrysis accused, indignant.

Kaku ignored the outburst and continued, “Remember what he told you before: sidhe are incredibly rare. I know of maybe a handful of families in existent, and half of them have maybe a dozen members each. Chrysalis himself is the sole heir of his own family, his grandfather a human, and his grandmother far too old to have more children.”

“So, the kid’s pursuers won’t think he is a sidhe at first if someone reports a butterfly-winged devil fruit user,” astutely surmised Zoro.

“I AM A MOTH, NOT A DAMN BUTTERFLY, MARIMO!”

Kaku interrupted, “Anyways, Chrysalis probably will use his devil fruit minimally if necessary. Luckily, the nature of his devil fruit and the fact he doesn’t need it for combat usually makes this easier.”

“Shishishishi, okay, that’s fine with me!”

The others nodded their assent. They still had a few questions about how to work around the deception (and why, but Chrysis and Kaku were mum on that).

Once everyone was satisfied with the answers the sidhe gave, Chrysis turned back to the straw-hatted captain. “Luffy, if I may suggest, Kaku and I have concluded what positions we could fulfill. Will find accepting the pair of us as the crew’s lookout and ship guard?”

“Why those positions?” questioned Nami.

Robin chuckled, “Isn’t it obvious, Navigator-san? Those two’s Kenbunshoku haki would be most helpful for those positions. As our lookouts, they would be able to spot potential dangers far sooner than us. As ship guards, they would take it in their own hands to protect the ship as the first line of defense.”

“Correct. You can consider me the primary lookout since my Kenbunshoku is stronger. I will also be in charge of assigning watch since I can’t stay awake all the time, plus, keeping watch is a good way to train observation skills and spatial awareness.

Kaku’s a lot stronger than me, so he’ll be taking care of most of the duties of ship guard, dispatching anyone brave enough to mess with us. Together, you can depend on us to keep an eye for enemies and potential dangers,” declared Chrysis. “And don’t doubt we’ll take the security of the ship seriously. Especially in regard to preemptive measures. I have studied diplomacy and law on the side – pirate, marine, and of hundreds different countries. I’m also a trained therapist, so leave internal problems to me. As for Kaku, he’s pretty experienced as a scout and saboteur, so if the ship is secured, expect him to be scoping the scene. And, we’re both pretty solid on compiling information, so between the two of us we’ll keep everyone up to date on anything noteworthy.”

Shishishi, okay! We’ll be depending on you guys!”

“Luffy! Should we really place our lives in their hands?”

“Usopp, don’t you trust them? Plus, weren’t they doing that anyway? Chrysis was the one who warned us to prepare to make a break for it just before we landed. And Kaku’s been repairing Merry and helped keep her from getting really hurt. So, aren’t they already doing those kinds of things?”

The sniper sighed, “I really hate when you make sense.”

“In a Luffy sort of way,” added Nami.

Shishishishi, then it’s official! We have a lookout and ship guard, now!”


Several days at sea passed. The darn sea monkeys seemed pretty determined to pick a fight with them as they kept stirring up the waters and attacking. The only thing to really concern the Straw Hats’ temporary security duo was the stranded ship. Crews didn’t usually lose their strongest members or entire sails like that. If they had gone into a huge battle, the ship would show more wear and tear, at least some heavily damaged members of the lower ranks.

And the chaos aboard the rival pirate’s ship? Whatever happened to them must have affected them pretty psychologically on top of breaking down their chain of command.

Fog shrouded the seas. Slowly, an island came into view.

“A giant flat plain, huh?”

“We’ve been here before,” observed Kaku next to the him. Chrysis took another look at the island.

“Oh.”

“You guys been here before? Cool! What’s the island like? Can we find a shipwright here?”

“Calm down, Captain Luffy,” chuckled Chrysis. “If Kaku and I have this island right, you won’t find much here. This is actually a partially submerged island. For most of the year the land gives the appearance of a ring of ten islands, but once a year the tides retreat low enough to reveal the land bridges connecting them all into one huge, circular island.”

“They have some interesting wildlife and landscapes, though,” remarked Kaku. “For some reason, the mostly flat plains and extensive land bridges have encouraged the local wildlife to develop oddly elongated features. Some have long necks and limbs, while a few have extended faces. Even the plants and fruits are stretched out looking.”

“You can think of it like Luffy’s rubber powers but lacking the rebound. Surprisingly, you don’t see giraffes here. Which was a shame when we came here because Kaku here is quite fond of them.”

“There’s nothing wrong with liking giraffes!” huffed Kaku. “Anyways, you shouldn’t expect too much trouble from the natives. The ones we met were all nomads who rode horses across the land bridges.”

Since they have been here before, Kaku and Chrysis stayed back with the others while Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper went exploring.

should we have let the most naïve members go alone? In retrospect, that may have been a stupid decision, but what kind of trouble could they get-

The sidhe snapped open his eyes and turned sharply around from his post in the crow’s nest.

“Look alive, everyone! Galleon with a pirate mark heading our way! I’m sensing…a shit ton of people onboard!” Chrysis warned them.

Just as the ship launched the claw-like structures, a pair of blades flashed.

Crosswinds.”

Kaku sheathed his katanas, and the claws fell into the shallows.

“Hey, you bastards! What do you think you’re doing to our ship?!” screeched a woman dressed even more scantily than Nami.

“You shouldn’t expect us to simply stand by while you pull off such shifty tactics,” responded Kaku. “If I had let those contraptions land, they would have boxed our ship in. I’m a bodyguard, but for now I’m also a ship guard. This pirate ship’s safety is my responsibility, and I am a professional through and through.”

“Hmph! Whatever, Square-Nose! Just you wait until the signal is given!”

The Straw Hats all frowned at this.

“Signal? What for?”

“Why, to start our duel, of course!”

Chrysis narrowed his eyes. “I take it you’re the Foxy Pirates? Famous for challenging everyone you meet and taking their crew?”

“Taking their crew?!” inquired Nami. “What the hell does that mean?”

“Moth-san, you don’t mean the Davy Back Fights, do you?”

“Davy-what-fights?”

“Davy Back Fights,” explained Robin, “are a series of matches, usually three, that pits seven fighters from each crew. The whole tradition is said to have originated on the lost Pirate Island. They were a cleaner way to build strong crews since the winner of each round gets to take a crew member of the losing crew, and they have no choice but to swear loyalty to that crew.”

“Swear to another crew?” Nami repeated. “So, you’re saying we can lose our friends? Who would do that?!”

Chrysis shrugged. “Pirate tradition, Nami. The fights are honored by all crews no matter how shady. If our captain agrees and signals the start of a Davy Back Fight, then we have to participate.”

“Yeah, listen to the kid! Davy Back Fights are essentially a fight for human resources! That’s how we became a crew 500 pirates strong,” bragged the woman from before. “You can’t keep calling yourself a pirate if you go and break the rules because you swear on Davy Jones to abide by them! In addition to crewmates, the captain of the winning team can also choose to the pirate flag if he doesn’t want anyone on the opposing team.”

“What a cruddy game,” grumbled Nami.

“Perhaps, although, I’ve heard the stakes are worst when you have pirate alliances and subordinate crews mixed into the affair,” considered Kaku.

“Right, I’m going to pretend I understand where you got that information,” groaned Nami.

The strange pirate woman rolled her eyes and continued explained. “Boss likes to use the 3-coins format – i.e. three matches. Just remembers what we said, if you lose a match, you’ll lose friend, and the only way you can get them back is through another Davy Back Fight.”

“Is that why we ran into a ship without their main officers or sails?” inquired Kaku carefully.

Perhaps he shouldn’t have bothered. The woman very proudly stated, “Then you probably ran into the Fanged Frog Pirates – or what was left of them. These new guys were once a part of their crew until we won them in two Davy Back Fights.”

Kaku scoffed quietly as he heard how cheerful the pirate captain seemed to be about declaring his failure to keep his own crew together. These were more like the common pirates Kaku met and fought; that is to say, nothing like the Straw Hat crew, as much as the agent part of him didn’t want to admit.

Nami looked aghast and yelled, “What is wrong with you?! How can you be so nonchalant about losing your friends and swearing your loyalty to some other crew?”

“That’s just how it is,” Roronoa grunted. “I would rather die than break such a promise.”

“Same here,” agreed Sanji.

Kaku shrugged. Breaking his word didn’t appeal to Kaku, but he wasn’t going to join one crew and somehow wind up on an entirely different one he didn’t somewhat approve of.

“But, Luffy has Chopper and Usopp with him. Surely they won’t be stupid enough to let-”

*Bang! Bang!*

“-Luffy agree to something this stupid…”

“And that was the signal,” deadpanned Chrysalis.

Kaku nodded. “Each captain fires a shot into the air to declare their intentions and the beginning of the games.”


Well, while none of them particularly cared much for the Foxy Pirates – or Foxy himself – but they did know how to throw a festival. Food stands, and carnival-style entertainment were set up in a fairly short amount of time with the ease of someone who had done this quite regularly.

The Straw Hats and Foxy Pirates assembled in front of a stage.

The woman from earlier – Porche - walked up and announced, “Welcome all you dregs of the sea to the Davy Back Fight between the Straw Hats and the Foxy Pirates! The rules are simple: Rule #1, crew members and flags can only be won back in another Davy Back Fight; Rule #2, anyone chosen in the endgame must swear loyalty to the winning team immediately; Rule #3, once a pirate crew’s flag is won, a crew may never again sail under that mark ever again! These rules are held sacrosanct by Davy Jones himself, and any who defy them will be sacrificed to him as punishment! Do both captains swear to abide by these rules?”

“I swear!” declared Luffy (somewhat garbled through his mouthful of food).

“I do,” purred Foxy with sleek and oily confidence.

The coins tossed to Davy Jones signaled the start of 3-coin rule coming into play.

Foxy chuckled to himself as he surveyed the Straw Hats.

“Hm…~ fufufu, do you see anyone you would want, Boss?” asked Porche.

Foxy threw her a full-teethed smile. “Mmm~ there is quite a few to choose for such a small crew. A monkey, a swordsman, a navigator, a sniper, a cook, a lookout, a ship guard, and an archaeologist…? Quite an assortment of talents. Now…who should I choose? Perhaps I will wait a bit and see what kind of talents they have for myself~”

“Chrysis-kun, Kaku-kun, you guys know about the Davy Back Fights, right?” Nami inquired as the crew argued about who would participate in what.

“Yep! I also understand the rules of it pretty well, if a bit rusty. Actually…I do recognize what each of these games are.”

“Captain, perhaps you should let Chrysis determine the listing then,” suggested Kaku.

The paper was handed over to the sidhe who, after skimming over the list of games scribbled in the teams while he spoke about what he knew. Everyone nodded their heads, some still disgruntled about the groupings (Zoro and Sanji), but they still accepted the sidhe’s decision.

Round 1: Donut Race - Contestants: Roronoa Zoro, Nami, Nico Robin

Round 2: Groggy Ring – Contestants: Kaku, Sanji, Tony Tony Chopper

Round 3: Combat – Monkey D. Luffy

“What about you guys?” inquired Nami as she looked over the list.

“Usopp and I shall be your support group. We won’t be able switch for anyone if Foxy wins a crewmate, but don’t worry. Usopp and I will be doing our part to keep up the team morale.”

“Yeah! I, the Great Captain Usopp, can cheer louder than an entire coliseum crowd-!”

“That’s great, Usopp,” Chrysis kindly cut in, “but, we’ll be doing all we can to support our crew.”

“Eh?”

“I’ll explain later, it looks like they're done with the preparations for the first game.”


The Foxy Pirates were glaring at them.

Nami glared back.

“You didn’t build that canoe yourselves!”

Usopp scratched his neck a little as their glares went from the rather nicely made barrel canoe to the duo who made it. Before Zoro could even lay a hand on a saw, Kaku walked over and took it, gesturing for Usopp to give him a hand. Not that the other long nose really needed it; Kaku’s carpentry skills easily outclassed his own, with subtle differences since they escaped that marine base. If the sniper had to guess, Kaku really did work a bit with Mekao before going off to rescue them. If he had, then the sniper was definitely jealous, especially since the swordsman essentially abandoned him like Robin to a stint in the brig. Vindictive and a bit petty, yes, but that was how Usopp felt.

Nami at his side snidely answered the accusation, “So? Nothing in the rules says the contestants have to build the canoe. And quit complaining, you have two freaking fish for teammates!”

The Foxy Pirates seethed, but they knew the rulebook from back to front; the Straw Hats were technically correct.

The announcer flew high above them, den den-mush connected to a series of speakers spread across the location.

[Alright, despite the questionable abuse of the rules, we have our contestants: for the Straw Hat Pirates, Nico Robin, Roronoa Zoro the Pirate Hunter, and Nami, their navigator aboard the Barrel Tiger; for the Foxy Pirates, we have our beloved Porche and her assistants, Kapouti a swordfish fishman and Monda, a star shark aboard the Cutie Wagon!]

“You’re going down, Straw Hats,” chuckled Kapouti.

“We’ll sink that boat of yours!”

Nami fired back, “Yeah, right! Bring it on!”

[Wow, both teams are fired up! Everyone at the starting line? Get ready~]

The crowds roared.

[Listen to the crowd! Now, what you all are waiting for…at the end of the way, the winners will be bask by the glory of victory while the users wallow in the icy cold sea of defeat. This is a Davy Back Fight! The first round is the all-time classic the Donut Race and will begin shortly!!! Before we begin, however, I’ll read you the details. Their objective: something everyone should understand, once around the island, no crossing onto land!! Oh, and before I forget to mention…swords, guns, cannons, any weapon goes! This is a game for pirates, so you best act like it if you want to have a chance of winning!]

The announcer tossed a pair of eternal log poses to the teams.

[Here you are, eternal log poses so you don’t end up lost! Remember, stick close by the island and take care. Good luck, competitors!

Everyone, ready ~ DONUT!!!] *Bang!*

From the side of the Foxy Pirates, several cannons prepared to fire.

*Shing. Shing*

Only for something small to fire into the barrel of each.

A moment then: *KABOOM!*

“Good aim, Usopp!”

“What the hell did those bastards think they were going to do to my poor Nami-swan and Robin-chan?” seethed Sanji.

“As I thought. Davy Back Fights are never very clean affairs; pirates and cheating go hand in hand, hence the lack of many rules,” explained Kaku disdainfully. “Nice thinking with the mini explosives. Their cannons backfired on them quite nicely.”

Usopp chuckled, “Thanks! I, the Great Captain Usopp, am not the crew’s expert sniper for no reason! I- what the hell?!”

A huge boulder several times larger than the boat was falling on the Barrel Tiger.

“Aah! They’re done for!”

“I don’t think so,” said Kaku.

Several slashes flashed. The boulder fell part in pieces, rocking the pair of boats.

Santoryu: Raven Hunt.”

“Aah! He slashed right through that huge boulder!” screamed the surrounding Foxy Pirates.

Sanji grabbed the sidhe by the shoulders. “Wait, you were talking to Usopp before they had those barrels loaded up. Did you know they were going to cheat?”

“Of course. Foxy may have a lousy bounty-” Cue Foxy falling to his knees in a depressed slump. “-but there is a bit of intelligence on him. A 24 million bounty yet a 500 something crew. That is a bit interesting, isn’t it? A pirate as weak as he is would have had to be an expert in trickery in order to win so many members on the Grand Line where only the strong survive this far.”

“I suppose like people think alike,” concluded Usopp.

“I hope you included yourself in that score, Usopp,” Chrysis mildly warned the sniper who gulped as red eyes glared on him for a moment. “Anyways, the Davy Back Fights are a pirate-made set of games. And pirates are not called the scum of the seas for nothing. In fact, Silver Fox Foxy is well-known for knowing the ins and outs of the fights like a true crewmember-stealing pro.”

The sidhe stopped his explanation as said man invaded his personal space.

“My, you certainly are more knowledgeable than your crewmates. I am most flattered by those compliments of yours, too,” Foxy preened.

Kaku dryly pointed out, “I’m fairly certain Chrysalis’s last remark had an insult thrown in there. Also, shouldn’t you be worried about your own crewmates?”

“Eh? Those three seem fine-”

“Waah!”

The chef was soundly pummeling the crowd of Foxy pirates who had presumably launched the boulder in the first place.

“Oi, what do you think you’re doing?!” shrieked Foxy in outrage.

Chrysis rolled his eyes. “Don’t think I that’s against the rules, now is it, Captain Foxy?” hummed the sidhe.

Meanwhile, in the Barrel Tiger, Zoro had managed to counter the fishman’s Sea Splitter with his 36 Caliber Phoenix Cannon, but they still lost their lead as the boat tossed on the waves from the collision. Unlike the Barrel Tiger, the Cutie Wagon was being propelled by more than oars. However, they at least no longer had to worry about the fishman’s interference for a bit as Robin flung the man into the shark.

The swordsman eyed Nami who had pulled out a shell.

“Hey, isn’t that one of Usopp’s Breath Dials?”

“Actually, it’s one of Chrysis’s modified ones. He apparently bought or traded for quite a few or scavenged them off some of the people you guys fought.”

“Ttch, what a sneaky butterfly. Didn’t even see him do that. I suppose he must have at least one of those Axe and Flash Dials, then,” grunted Zoro.

“This is a Jet Dial, like the ones used in my waver. The Skypieans didn’t have a problem with Chrysis taking some of their more war-inclined or modified dials. He had Usopp look about making some sort of control mechanism, so other people can use it in a pinch,” Nami explained as she fiddled with a strange attachment attached to the mouth of the shell. “I’d have you test it, but I need you guys to keep rowing. Speaking of which, why aren’t you rowing, Robin?”

“But I am,” the dark-haired woman stated, gaze not leaving her book. Several arms were sprouted and manning the oars.

“Whatever. Okay, guys, brace yourselves! Chrysis said he had it charged the last time we got hit by a storm and-!”

Suddenly, the boat hurled forward through the water, easily passing by the Cutie Wagon.

The shark and fishman were not amused. Kapouti and Monda redoubled their efforts, and they managed to pull up next to the other boat.

Swords clashed as the fishman and Zoro crossed blades from their respective boats.

Suddenly, their Jet Dial stuttered and stopped.

“Damn it!” screamed Nami as the trio of pirates pulled ahead. “Guys, get back to rowing!”

“Aren’t you supposed to be rowing, too?!” Zoro yelled back.

Foxy snickered as he rode on Hamburg’s back. Once they arrived at the coral reef, he disembarked and drew out a bow. With a simple shot, Foxy turned the already dangerous obstacle into a blind maze, smoke billowing everywhere.

However, that backfired on him as the Barrel Tiger kept moving forward, their navigator not missing a single beat as she guided them through the reef.

“You bastards!” Foxy cursed. He could practically hear those brats laughing at him (little did he know)! To put the icing on the cake, she even guided them through the giant whirlpool and had them fly right over the Long Gap!

[Folks, the Straw Hats had amazingly pulled off an incredible lead on our own Cutie Wagon. Despite our dear Boss’s best efforts, their navigator fearlessly led the Barrel Tiger through the treacherous maze of currents despite their obscured vision, then boldly maneuvered their boat into the whirlpool, using the currents to slingshot them over the Long Gap!

But, what’s this? The Cutie Wagon isn’t out of this game, yet! The combined power of shark and fishman crashes through the corals unflinchingly!]

Nami pounded on the sign and the idiot who actually considered following the sign for a moment. The fake goal also got the same treatment, much to Foxy’s heartache.

The pirate captain growled as he saw the Kapouti taken down by another flying slash attack, this one hitting him directly. Porche’s Rose Shuriken were simply sliced and diced with hardly any effort.

It was up to him.

“Faster, Hamburg! We need to be at the finish line before them!”

“Okay, Boss!”

Foxy aimed his hand.

Noro Noro Beam / Scatter: Dazzling Dust!”

The beam shot against a glittering veil, scattering. Unfortunately, the scattered light hit everyone in range, Straw Hat and Foxy Pirate alike.

30 seconds. The Cutie Wagon got freed several seconds before the Barrel Tiger.

[30 seconds up, folks! That was a wonderful demonstration of the Boss’s power. Not sure how he figured out how to aim it like that, but it doesn’t matter in the end. Hey, where’d that Straw Hat come from? Oh well. Back to the race, our teams are neck to neck, as the two canoes charge for the goal. And the winners are…! Our own Foxy Pirates!!!]

Chrysis cursed as he finally got ahold of himself and fluttered down. Unable to move his wings, the effects of his Glamour technique quickly diluted, pheromones swept up by the slight breeze, and colors no longer shifting without the steady buzz of his wings to stimulate the chemical reactions.

“A shame. If the Cutie Barrel was just a shade closer, thus caught by my Noro Noro Beam sooner, your crewmates would have won that,” snickered Foxy as he strolled over to the sidhe. “I see you’re a devil fruit user. Some sort of butterfly or moth obviously. You tried your best, but you can’t out trick a trickster.”

A hand holding the sidhe back in warning announced Kaku’s arrival to the scene. It may have been the only thing keeping Chrysis from lunging at the annoying split-head.

“I take it you knew about the Split-Head’s ability?” inquired a solemn Zoro.

Chrysis shrugged. “Nothing solid. Just a bunch of hints dug up here and there. Foxy isn’t that interesting of a guy aside from his history of crew-stealing and trickery. At best, I knew he had some sort of light-based skill. I figured I could mess it up with my wings scales since they’re partially reflective.”

“Well, at least know what that guy can do, now. And that did work, just not very well,” pointed out Nami.

“Nami-san, perhaps you can grab some mirrors from the ship, then,” suggested Kaku. The navigator nodded. The Noro Noro no Mi could become a big hindrance if Foxy kept using it. But, Chrysis’s experiment did prove the so-called Noro photons were like any other light particle and bounced off of reflective surfaces or would partially refract.


Everyone gathered as the endgame spoils was to be announced. The Straw Hats stood tensely.

*Drum roll*

[As per the rules, the winning team’s captain may now choose a crewmate from the losing team. Boss, you may choose now~!]

Fuehehehe, very well! Who shall I pick? I choose…YOU!!”

Round dark eyes glared as the Foxy Pirate captain pointed at one of the smallest members of the crew.

“You! I choose the lookout, Chrysalis!”

Chrysalis for his part simply shot the rival pirate captain a cold look as he strode over to the stage, wings and antennae giving away his emotions. Both hung down limply.

Kaku growled low as Foxy went to stroke a wing.

“Wow, these things are really sof-”

*Thwack!*

The touched wing flared and smacked into the man’s face.

“Why you-!”

“Hands off the appendages, or I leave,” Chrysalis coolly responded.

“You can’t do that!” yelled Porche. “The rules of a Davy Back Fight-!”

“Also include a clause where the winning team must abide by the agreements originally made between the crewmate and their former captain,” interjected the sidhe. “As per my agreement with Straw Hat Luffy, Kaku and I are only on the crew on a short-term basis unless we renegotiate on that matter. Both of us are free to leave the crew if we feel our presence will endanger it. As big as your crew is, quality more than quantity is the determining factor in the Grand Line.”

“Hey, are you implying something?” seethed the female pirate.

“Enough Porche,” calmed Foxy. “The child is quite right; we are obligated to honor previous agreements. However, in the spirit of a Davy Back Fight, if you leave this crew, you can’t return as a pirate unless it’s as one of us…”

“Save it, Foxy. I know why you chose me; you hoped I wouldn’t be able to direct any large-scaled interference if I’m stuck with you guys. Don’t count out my crew just because they don’t have direct access to my knowledge of the games,” boldly asserted Chrysalis.

Kaku smirked faintly at that. The next game was sports competition including the agent, and he had every intention of winning by any means necessary.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings’

 [Welcome one and all to round 2: The Groggy Ring! After taking their linchpin, the lookout and Davy Back Fight tactician Chrysis, will the Straw Hats be able to pull this off?]

“Hell yeah, we will!” shouted Usopp angrily from the sidelines. The others boisterously agreed.

[Well, they seem to think so. Now, let me outline the rules for Groggy Ring! We’ll be playing using this court with a goal on each side. Your objective is to throw the designated ball into the enemy’s goal. However! In this game, we won’t be playing with rubber balls, no! Instead, each team chooses someone to be the ball!

Like Chrysis advised them when they first set up the teams, Chopper wore the ball sign hat. The Zoan steeled himself. Everyone, the moth-winged man especially, would be counting on him to be a man and help win this round. They couldn’t fail here!

[Alright, everyone has their respective “ball”? Well, would you listen to that! This entrance music is announcing none other than the Foxy Pirates’ reigning Groggy Ring champs! Never once have they’ve lost a Groggy Ring game, here come the Groggy Monsters!!]

Kaku stood nonchalant as he took in the Groggy Monsters. The three entrants easily dwarfed the three of them: Hamburg, Pickles, and Big-Bang, a rare hybrid known as a wotan – half-fishman, half-giant.

For a moment, Kaku smiled sharply, letting his suppressed bloodlust surface briefly. This was going to be fun. Because the agent had no intention of losing Chrysalis in a stupid pirate game like this.

Never mind that the sidhe could get out of this easily based on a loophole, the secret CP9 agent took personal offense at this latest turn of events.

The Groggy Monsters flinched briefly at the brief lash of killing intention coming from one of the Straw Hats.

Sanji spared the swordsman a brief glance. Dr. Chopper shivered slightly, animal instincts kicking in and warring with his duller human ones.

“Oi, Square-Nose, do all swordsman feel the need to act like some sort of beast or something?”

“Perhaps some,” Kaku answered honestly.

[Wow, the Straw Hats’ team seemed to be getting into the mood of Groggy Ring! Playing for their side, we have the man who brutalized our poor crewmates with his kicks, the Violent Chef Sanji! By his side is the man who single-handedly severed the beloved claws of the Foxy Pirates’ ship, temporary ship guard Kaku! Finally, playing the position of ball, the oh-so adorable Dr. Chopper!]

“Ttch, so, these are our opponents? They don’t seem that dangerous for our captain to specifically call us out for this game, right Big-Bang?” sneered Pickles. The wotan didn’t seem to quite hear him, and Hamburg seemed content to cover his mouth as he giggled.

They got into position.

Kaku raised an eyebrow as he heard Foxy declare his help wouldn’t be necessary this round. The referee came over and told him to leave his swords off the field since weapons were not allowed this round.

“Any chance they’ll abide by this rule?” asked Kaku.

The chef huffed, “Somehow, I doubt that.”

“But, Sanji, Kaku, the referee-!”

“Is a member of the other team. That puts his judgement questionable from the get-go,” observed Kaku.

Sanji took a long drag from his cigarette. “Hey, Square-Nose, you any good fighting with your bare hands? I don’t think I’ve seen you fight without your swords before.”

Kaku smirked, “Don’t worry. I fought unarmed long before I picked up swordsmanship.”


The agent and the chef looked unimpressed at the trio breaking into meaningless laughter.

[Ready to play everyone? No time limits! Whoever scores one point wins the game! Will the Straw Hats win back their butterfly friend…or will they keep losing members of their crew? The Groggy Ring match starts…now! Ready…BEGIN THE GAME!]

At the start, the heavy-set Pickles charged at Dr. Chopper. The human reindeer shifted to his equally large Heavy Point form and pushed back the man in a deadly match of strength. Sanji took advantage of the confusion and went for the Foxy Pirates’ ball.

Collier- what?” The chef’s attack simply slid off.

The man swung his arm, forcing Sanji to leap onto it.

“What the hell is wrong with your skin? It’s all slippery!” Sanji cursed as his feet kept losing traction.

[Ah, a brave tactic from Chef Sanji to try and end the game early. However, he couldn’t have accounted for our Big-Bang’s slippery skin due to his mudfish genes making it so slick!]

Speedy Punk Pass!” bellowed the wotan.

Sanji just barely kept from taking a direct hit, but he still got thrusted back onto the ground, crashing into Chopper, and breaking the two heavy fighters’ stalemate of brawn.

Hamburg charged onto all fours for the two flailing Straw Hats.

“Pickles take care of the other- Pickles!”

Pickles laid in a heap on the field, laid flat by Kaku who sat idly on top of him.

[What the hell happened? No one, not even the referee caught sight of how the usually soft-spoken member of the Straw Hats managed to defeat Pickles so easily! And- Hamburg, watch out!]

The distraction cost the apelike player.

Sanji and Chopper had tumbled to the ground unnoticed by the Foxy pirate. Without mercy, they punched/kicked the big lug, sending Hamburg flying off the field. Kaku kicked his own opponent to follow his fellow fallen teammate.

“Well, Square-Nose, you’re definitely not as useless as that Marimo over there.”

“What did you say?” Roronoa shouted from the sidelines.

“And fast. How did you defeat the big guy so quickly? Chopper and I were kind of distracted, and no one apparently saw what happened either.”

Kaku smiled enigmatically, “Trade-secret. Maybe I’ll tell you about it later. For now, let’s win this game.”

The three Straw Hats approached the mudfish fishman who stared dully at them. Suddenly, his expression took a playful cast.

They scattered as the man’s feet began to stop all over the place.

Toe Pad Dance!”

“Fucking bastards,” Sanji cursed as he caught sight of the blades carving deeply into the field. “How is that not a weapon? His cleats are basically shoes covered in swords!”

And the referee wasn’t doing a damn thing except whistle with his head turned the other way.

Foxy snidely remarked, “Fuehehe, you see, the referee can’t possibly see everything, kids.”

The chef lost his head and kicked the idiot.

“You asshole! Open your damn eyes! That guy has weapons on his feet!”

“I…didn’t see anything,” huffed the referee, “except you clearly assaulting an official. Sanji of the Straw Hats, this is your one yellow card warning! One more illegal attack, and you’ll be out of this game!”

“Sanji-san! We knew at the beginning of the match that the Foxy Pirates will be playing by their own rules! They’re surely a despicable lot, but we can’t let that get us in trouble. There’s more at stake than pride!” asserted Kaku as he rolled out of the way of another stomp, Dr. Chopper in his small form tucked under his arm.

“Ttch, fine!”

A giant axe from out of nowhere swung.

Sanji went back to yelling at their complacent and stubborn referee.

That is enough! Kaku threw Dr. Chopper safely to the side and slipped under the head of the blade.

Hidden, Kaku swung his legs up. “White Thunder!”

The axe split into two.

“Wha-?!”

“Hey! I thought I told you, no weapons!”

“He doesn’t even have his swords, see?” argued Usopp who had volunteered to keep an eye on the bodyguard’s two katanas. The referee looked like he swallowed a lemon but had to rule in favor of the Straw Hats.

[Incredible! Through some sort of unexplained technique, Kaku had sliced Big-Bang’s big axe in two! We all know the man can cut through steel with his swords, but he clearly doesn’t have a weapon in his possession! What kind of martial arts technique can do that?]

Sanji returned to field, but somehow, they ended back up running for their lives like they just were before.

“Okay, Chopper, Kaku, we need to end this cycle. That guy’s skin is too slippery for a direct attack, unless Square-Nose would kindly explain how he cut that blade without a weapon?”

“I’d rather not.”

“Fine, keep your secrets. Here’s what we can do then. From what I can tell, we need to strike the guy from his clothing. Gloves, boots, pants, mask, they should all be fair game…”

“Fine- Look out!”

All three of them leaped as the wotan slided on his belly. Unfortunately, they landed on the man’s slippery skin as he intended.

Loach Racing Circus!”

The world turned round and round as the two slid back and forth along the wotan’s skin.

“Square-Nose, Chopper, you better not let something like this get you off-balance! This is no different than skating!”

“I wouldn’t worry about me!” Kaku exclaimed as he leaped over Dr. Chopper who couldn’t get onto his feet. The poor Zoan’s eyes were dazed and unclear, fur beginning to stick in every direction from the fish slime.

[Here we are with Big-Bang’s Racing Circus! Watch as the competitors are forced to slip and slide along the giant’s back continuously! Oh, and what is this? Looks like Big-Bang bought enough time for Hamburg to return to the field. Unfortunately, his partner Pickles still lies comatose after the square-nosed pirate cruelly knocked him down, likely through some dirty means. And it looks like Team Captain Hamburg is coming back with vengeance enough for two as he puts on his iron elbow guards and gloves. Luckily, the referee sees nothing as he does some stretching exercises] announced Itomimizu, much to the complaints of the Straw Hats in the audience.

Pfufu, you guys are going to pay for hurting my friend!”

Busisisi! Okay, let’s see how you like this! Loach Coaster!”

The three pirates were sent soaring as they shot off the wotan’s arms. All three had dazed eyes.

Hamburg leaped in the air above the three. “Hamburger Hammer!”

All three slammed down into the ground.

*Cough, cough* “Damn cheating bastards,” seethed Sanji.

Kaku couldn’t help but agree with the sentiment as he pulled himself back onto his feet. Dr. Chopper was still too dizzy to properly react.

Punk Attack!”

The iron elbow guard crashed into them like a spike, and if Kaku hadn’t anticipated the attack and threw the other two out of the way, he doubted they’d be in any shape to counter. However, this would leave him wide open to receive the attack head on.

Foxy laughed. Chrysis regarded the man with a blank look.

“So, this is the kind of people you pinned your hopes on, kid? A shame, that one looked pretty damned murderous when I took you.”

“A shame? I don’t know what you are referring to, considering Kaku isn’t someone who would be taken down so easily by such a dumb attack.”

Foxy glared at his newest acquisition, but paled when Izomimizu reported, [Amazing! Kaku bravely sacrificed himself, kicking his two teammates out of the way in the last second before Hamburg and Big-Bang’s combo attack hit! Folks, I doubt anyone could have survived that- Hold on!]

Spitting out a trickle of blood, Kaku pulled himself back onto his feet, fixing his baseball cap back on his head.

His Tekkai didn’t do much more than take off the edge of the attack – superhuman power or not, iron being shot with a wotan’s strength would be devastating for any defense – but the agent could take harder hits before he learned Busoshoku.

[Unbelievable! This Straw Hat must have superhuman stamina to survive that attack!] exclaimed the announcer with a hint of admiration.

“Sanji, Dr. Chopper, let me handle Hamburg. Try and keep Big-Bang from pulling any more tricks,” ordered Kaku.

“You sure? That guy beat you up pretty good.”

Sanji sighed and accepted the square-nosed man’s decision after he nodded his confirmation. And he talked about my pride.

While Chopper and Sanji kept the loach-giant preoccupied, Kaku confronted Hamburg.

Pfufu, you sure about fighting me without backup?”

To answer, Kaku gave the Groggy Monster team captain a “come here” gesture.

Hamburg went into a headlong charge, elbow guard up. Iron guard met Iron Body as Kaku stood still, arm held up as his only guard.

Seamlessly, he pivoted, slamming his leg into the man’s head. His fist came up and landed a solid hit against Hamburg’s nose, breaking it.

“Owie, owie! You’d brode my dose!”

Dulled eyes widened as several more kicks slammed into him, iron elbow guards and gloves denting and breaking when he held them out in a desperate attempt to guard. As a last resort, Hamburg brought out his iron clubs. Kaku smashed them aside. Brutally, the CP9 agent sent the half-unconscious man flying overhead with a final kick. Hamburg flew.

Sanji and Chopper held their own against the wotan. The chef’s theory proved right as he could land solid kicks against the giant fishman’s clothed body parts. With Sanji’s guidance, he coordinated the two between fleeing from the bladed cleats and dealing a series of crippling blows. Unfortunately, both sides of Big-Bang’s ancestry were sturdy and had monstrous amounts of stamina. Things got worse when the annoyed giant brought out a pair of iron pans sized for the wotan.

“Chopper, stay clear of that!”

“Eek! Where do they keep getting those things?!” shrieked the reindeer doctor as the wotan began to chase them, pans smashing all the while. Suddenly, Hamburg landed squarely between the iron pans, getting as flattened as his namesake.

[The cruelty! To think such a kind-sounding person can be so bloodthirsty! Folks, I don’t think Hamburg will be getting back up after that. Will his teammates be able to avenge him?]

Teammates? Pickles, whom Kaku had taken care of earlier, had gotten back up, a pair of swords swinging. The CP9 agent within him was giving Kaku an earful about spending too much time among weaklings and softening up. Kaku cracked his fists. Bring it on.

“You cruel, cruel people! To do that to my team captain! That’s it! Big-Bang prepare to deliver a two-man Monster Burger!”

“Okey, dokey! Busisi, use the big pans and smash them in between~”

“And slice it up, Pickles~”

“Orange peppers~ yellow cheese~ and venison meat~!”

“Not on your life, you bastards!” Dr. Chopper growled. He held up a familiar yellow ball between his hooved toes.

“Ready for the final charge, Square-Nose?”

“Just don’t hold back on them,” Kaku replied.

“Hey, who said I’m the one holding back?”

“I’ll give you that, whippersnapper.”

“Quit with the old man talk and let’s fight!”

Pickles felt a trickle of sweat roll down his face as he and Big-Bang faced off against three pissed pirates. He hardly swung into his signature twister when something charged into him.

“Rumble. Roseo Colonnade!”

That’s right, the logs said something about this. The doctor’s seven transformations achieved by experimenting with his devil fruit and experimental drugs. The impressive power of Horn Point easily deflected the blades and sent the man into the air. Kaku was in the air seconds later, and struck the man downward.

“Take this you cheating bastards! You and the referee! Collier Shoot!”

The chef’s kick sent the large man right into the referee. The Foxy pirate tried to deliver the red card, only to have them stolen by Nami.

The three pirates turned to the last one standing.

“Hehehe…” Big-Bang giggled uncertainly.

He felt someone cut his feet out from under him.

“Arm Point! Kokutei Cross!”

Dr. Chopper’s attack hit the Wotan solidly against his chest despite the slick covering, sharp hooves digging in.

Sanji rounded the giant and aimed his Anti-Manner Kick Course to the back. The wotan lost consciousness and wobbled precariously.

All three Straw Hats tackled his head down, ball hat landing solidly in the life buoy.

A whistle rang out.

Kaku shot a too tired but victorious smile which they returned with a cheer.


Chrysis smirked, already flying over as his name was called by Luffy. He couldn’t help but stick his tongue out at Foxy childishly.

The final match: Round 3: Combat.

Foxy strutted over to their captain.

“So, it’s just you and me, Two-Piece!”

“…do you have to keep calling me that…?” muttered Foxy in his depressed stance. “Anyways, want to have a bet?”

“A bet?” repeated Luffy.

“A bet?” wondered the Foxy Pirates.

“A bet?!” shouted the Straw Hats.

“Yes. You guys seem pretty confident. So, why don’t we raise the stakes a bit? Your crew against my crew, your pride against my pride. Winner takes all. Each captain not only gets their choice of crewmates from the rival team, but they also get their flag. You seem pretty confident you’ll win, so it can’t hurt to make this little bet, right?” purred Foxy.

Nami and Kaku walked over and simultaneously shouted, “You can’t do this Luffy/Captain!”

Kaku shook his head and elaborated, “Foxy clearly won’t play fair, and with the odds tied and you as our tiebreaker, we needn’t bother to risk fate so.”

Shishishi! I kind of like the idea! Okay, Split-Head, deal!”

Every Straw Hat expressed discontent from groans and yells, but they couldn’t force the straw-hatted teen to take back the deal now.

The only person unaffected was Chrysalis. The CP9 agent stomped over to the young man’s side.

Before Kaku could speak, Chrysalis stated, “I had a feeling that guy would make such an outrageous deal. His aura practically oozed outrage, vengeance, determination, and confidence. He’s angry at us for making this one of the closest games he played but thinks he can still pull through the final round. I wouldn’t worry, though. Remember, this is Straw Hat Luffy. A guy who was brought to the brink several times when fighting a sand Logia in the worst place yet beat him all the same. I trust in Luffy’s will and strength.”

Well, that’s certainly true. Kaku nodded his assent to Chrysalis’s judgment.

Like with everything else today, the Foxy Pirates cheated with the Field-Choose Cannon, and the cannonball landed on their own ship.

When it came time for the competitors to prepare, Chrysis didn’t object to Usopp being Luffy’s coach. What’s the worst that he can do?

Apparently, it was to dress Luffy as some sort of funk’ed out boxer with a pirate skull painted across his chest.

Chrysis groaned as he saw most of the crowd, Chopper, and Sanji get caught up in the rubber man and Usopp’s pace.

“Kaku, remind me next time to just make you the coach. At least this wouldn’t happen.”

“…I’ve seen worst. I think.”

“It’s an afro, Kaku! And why are they speaking like that?!”

Well, regardless of the questionable coaching techniques, the two fighters began to rumble.

“Foxy is probably the worst kind of opponent for Straw Hat-san, isn’t he?” noted Kaku. Chrysis covered his eyes with a hand.

It was brutal. Luffy couldn’t get a solid hit in with Foxy taking advantage of his ship’s weapons and hidden tricks. Slowed, Foxy could casually deal several weaker punches, resulting in one big force crashing into Luffy after the 30 seconds. Below deck, the moth sidhe could clearly sense explosions ringing.

One gigantic explosion tore through the deck. When the smoke cleared, only Foxy was standing up.

But not for long. Luffy got pounded into the decking twice more. And twice more he stood back up.

“I honestly can’t understand how he can take such a beating,” noted Kaku with a trace of awe. Chrysis had to agree: even a trained agent like Kaku would find enduring a straight out beating like this difficult at best before he learned Busoshoku.

All Luffy had was a sturdy rubber body and a monstrous will to survive and win.

When Luffy last stood back up, he declared to everyone, “For my nakama, I’ll risk even my life to protect them!” Burnt in several places, bloodied, and stance a bit uncertain, the pirate captain rejected the possibility of losing to Foxy.

A final clash of fists pummeling at the other person. That pinkish light flared between the two. Chrysis widened his eyes.

“Clever,” commented Kaku.

The other Straw Hats looked at the two in confusion. They gasped as Luffy fell to his knees.

“He didn’t get hit,” Chrysis said, speaking for them.

Indeed, it was Foxy who couldn’t move even an eyelash. A mirror shard caught in Luffy’s afro perfectly reflected the beam back at Foxy. A final punch smacked point-blank in Foxy’s face.

7…6…5…4…3…2…1…0…

Foxy’s body warped as the impact finally registered.

They had won.


“That’s...I have no words for whatever the heck that is,” stated Kaku as he tried to hold back his laughter. Chrysalis was laughing outright as they inspected the Foxy Pirates’ new pirate mark: a poorly drawn recreation of their original that resembled a cartoonish teddy bear head with an attempt at a fox muzzle than anything.

Luffy accepted the Foxy Pirates’ mark but declined taking any of them nakama; instead, the sidhe brokered a deal involving Foxy handing over all his treasure, much to Nami’s delight, and to surrender some supplies to Tonji and Sherry, giving the two a sincere and public apology right in front of both crews.

The straw-hatted teen once more demonstrated how he wasn’t like Foxy by offering to return their sails with a new mark hand-drawn by himself; unfortunately, the two newest members discovered just how bad of an artist Straw Hat was. The Foxy Pirates sailed off with a promise of vengeance someday. None of the Straw Hats paid him any mind, depressing the pirate captain once more.

When they went back to Tonji’s hut, both haki users froze mid-step about halfway there.

“Kaku, Chrysis, aren’t you coming?”

The pair exchanged uneasy glances.

Chrysalis stepped forward and tried to speak. The normally sharp-tongued sidhe couldn’t get anything out. His hands trembled almost imperceptibly.

“Guys, we really shouldn’t head there,” Kaku tried to warn them.

“Why not? I need to give this to the old man as payback from Foxy. Plus, you also got them to give up all that food and stuff for the stilt-ossan, right?” Straw Hat looked at the two with a confused expression.

Indeed, Chrysalis had layered the charm and guilt tactics as he convinced Foxy that his underhanded move was far too below someone who had the reputation as him. Thus, the bags of food and various useful medicines and such Kaku was toting.

The sidhe looked at the long-nosed man helplessly and shook his head. They really didn’t have much of a choice; warning the Straw Hats wouldn’t do anything, not if that man wanted a word with the crew.

As promised, Straw Hat handed the flag to the nomad and his horse. The graze wasn’t bad, so Shelley would be back on her feet in a few days to a week at worst.

Kaku and Chrysalis stood firmly as Tonji rounded his hut and ran right into an unusually tall man in a white formal assemble, blue long-sleeve shirt, yellow and blue striped tie, and a blue-green sleep mask.

Aokiji. A marine admiral.

Nico Robin fell back. Considering what Kaku knew of her past – the real story that is – the agent couldn’t blame her for that reaction. The agent held no illusion about how this situation would turn out. None of the Straw Hats could stand against an admiral. Even Kaku could offer only token resistance at his level of haki. And that was if he went all out with every skill and trick in his arsenal. Chrysis had speed in his favor and technique, but he couldn’t keep up on a physical level.

And that was discounting the admiral’s elemental powers and the sidhe’s notably negative reaction to them.

“My, my, haven’t you’ve grown into a fine woman Nico Robin!” greeted the marine.

“Stay back, Aokiji!” spat Chrysalis

If Kaku wasn’t sincerely wracked with worry and an edge of fear, the agent would have laughed hysterically at the scene of the barely much over four feet sidhe threatening someone a lot more than twice his height.

“Ao-Aokiji?!” shouted most of the Straw Hats.

“Huh? Who’s he?”

Kaku spoke, eyes never leaving the Blue Pheasant’s, “Kuzan, codenamed Aokiji. He’s one of the elites of marine command. An admiral.”

“Well-informed aren’t you two,” mused Aokiji.

Not good. The two were making an impression when they shouldn’t be.


Admiral Aokiji was far from the worst the marines had to offer. He even helped Tonjit and Shelly get a head start on their journey to rejoin the rest of the nomads. Then he walked off to a meadow. The pirates followed warily behind him.

The marine knew how to keep them in suspense.

“Your crew has been making big waves since it first set sail, Monkey D. Luffy. So far, the government haven’t deemed you a threat. Yet. However, no one can deny your astronomical growth rate. With a handful of rogues and deviants, you have done no less than take down one of the Shichibukai and caused a civil war to end relatively peacefully in a matter of a day’s work. For a more discerning person, your crew can become a big issue if not culled at this stage.

What’s been going your favor so far is that you’ve only made big headways against other pirates with only a few marines caught in the crossfire or already of a corrupt and embarrassingly incompetent nature who have fallen through the cracks. But, who says you’ll always stay this way? Crews like yours are the exception, not the rule for a reason. And exception have a funny way of being corrupted in turn.”

“Does this monologue have a point?” questioned Chrysalis unheedingly of his crewmates’ pale looks.

“Well, kid, now that you mention it, my greatest concern is that woman you’re standing in front of. Demon Child Nico Robin. Bounty of 79 million.”

“You bastard! Are you threatening her? Trying to capture her? If you try, I’ll send you flying!” exploded the pirate captain. Kaku and Chrysalis stiffened. At least this isn’t Akainu, they both thought with a shiver.

“Hmph! Do you understand what that kind of bounty means, kid? A bounty is issued to reflect not only the physical threat one presents but also the less definable threat someone can present against the government. Nico Robin was only 8 years old when she earned her bounty. Make no mistake, she has well earned it. From childhood, she has fought to survive by any means necessary. Nakama? Crewmates? To her, they were nothing more than tools to be discarded when her past caught up to her. Are these pirates any different, Nico Robin?” coldly ked the admiral.

The tense atmosphere fluctuated between fiery rage and icy cold regard from the Straw Hat Pirates.

“You shitty bastard of a marine!” seethed Chef Sanji. “Why would you say things like that to a woman like Robin? What did she do to you?”

“Whether or not you believe me, is inconsequential. As for what she did to me…nothing. It’s more like what I’ve done for her; a long time ago I let her go free, but I don’t think you have a time for a boring story like that. Now, to get back to my point, I suggest you abandon the Devil Child while you still can before her curse befalls you like every one of your predecessors.”

“Say what?” “That’s a lie!” “What do you mean by that?!”

Admiral Aokiji scoffed, “What do you think? If you look at the records, or even ask her yourself, you’ll find Nico Robin has left a trail of destruction in her wake as every organization, group, and crew she ever joined has ended up completely annihilated with her as the only survivor. Isn’t that interesting, eh, Nico Robin?”

“SHUT UP!” both Paramecians shouted on her behalf. Kaku knew this was a particularly sore point with the sidhe. Being privy to so many secrets due to his status (and sneaky nature) and unable to act on it except indirectly always guaranteed a long rant whenever one of those secrets came into a conversation.

“Her past doesn’t matter!” Straw Hat continued.

Chrysalis hissed, “Who cares? And who says she earned such a reputation? It wouldn’t be the first time the World Government had manipulated the situation, twisted the facts until truth is lost in the retelling!”

The admiral regarded the pirates coolly. “I see. You’ve already have these pirates wrapped around your finger, huh, Nico Robin? They think they can trust you.”

Nico Robin lost it. She screamed, “Why? What do you think you’re going to achieve with this?! Treinta Flores!!

The sidhe cursed. This was definitely shaping into a worst-case scenario.

“Robin, let go of him!” screamed Chrysis.

Robin wouldn’t listen “Clutch!

To the ordinary person, Aokiji seemed to bend in half. Then he collapsed into a snow pile.

“UWAAHHH! He died!”

Usopp panicked, “Guys, this is bad, let’s just get out of here!”

“Listen to Usopp,” snapped Chrysis as he ran between the two. “He’s an ice Logia! Close combat is useless unless you want to experience first-hand what a freezing man can do!”

Cue the dramatic rise from the ice slush. Chrysis didn’t hesitate. Sorry Kaku. Before the man could reform all the way, the sidhe went on the offensive.

Sky Blades Style: Spiral Wave!

A spiraling blast ran right through the ice man.

“AIYAAAAHHHH!” screeched Usopp as the wind tore away most of the man’s upper torso.

“I said, run!”

The ice slush rushed across the grass and Aokiji leaped at the fan-user.

Ice Saber,” he intoned, ice reforming into the sharp weapon. Paired shirasaya katanas crossed and held the ice spear back. Another blade came down on the man’s head. At the same time, Sanji smashed the lance away with a kick.

Chrysis knew showing his wings in front of Aokiji of all people was a bad call, but he had little choice if he wanted to protect these two idiots. He unfurled both wings and pushed the two away just as Luffy rushed with a Gomu Gomu no Bullet, and Kaku slashed with his blades, haki sheathing the blades.

Ice blasted all three back. Luffy was half-covered frost, and Aokiji must have formed another spear in the midst of the ice storm as both katanas had been smacked away, a frozen bolt encasing them to the earth. Chrysis hissed in pain as his wings broke into crystal shards.

Those two doofuses wouldn’t give up. Despite seeing what happened to them, they still tried to physically block the ice man when he went for Robin. In his clutches, the woman frosted over into a frozen statue.

“ROBIN!!!”

Teeth gritted. “Focus guys, Robin’s still alive” the sidhe informed them. “The ice didn’t penetrate very deeply, but we need to act quickly!”

Aokiji eyed the strange boy. A Zoan, if the admiral had to guess. And maybe no more than ten or twelve years, the youngest of the pirates. And yet…he was the most knowledgeable about his particular abilities, and the least frightened.

“He’s right, kid,” confirmed the ice man. “If you thaw her properly, she should live with minimal short-term complications. However, her body is very brittle right now. One wrong move and she’ll shatter like your friend’s wings. For example, if I were to say…smash her like this!”

Luffy dove and held Robin out of the way. Surprisingly, Usopp ran in and grabbed Robin, carrying her over to Chopper. Soon, the other pirates regained their senses and squared off with the admiral.

“You guys, stop!”

Pause.

“Don’t fight him.”

“What, Luffy?”

“I said, don’t! I want to fight him alone!”

Zoro and Sanji withdrew reluctantly. They really couldn’t fight in their condition, half frosted over. Kaku and Chrysis exchanged no words, just a single look. They withdrew slowly, then ran off after their companions.

Luffy slammed a frosted fist into his palm.

“Just you and me, Sleepy-Mask!”

They came back for the captain to find him frozen like Robin, Aokiji nowhere to be seen.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings’

The crew spent several days to recover after their utter defeat by Aokiji.

Chrysis had a really awful feeling this wouldn’t be the last they heard from the marine admiral.

Things were pretty tense for the first few days as Chopper ran back and forth like a headless chicken, trying to mother hen the fighters who got frosted over. Kaku didn’t act much better after the sidhe collapsed halfway to the ship.

Fun little fact the CP9 agent had to explain to the hysteric doctor once the human-reindeer finished freaking out initially: sidhe and cold did not mix. They were an insect-based race with high energy demands. Their bodies simply didn’t retain enough heat unlike a human’s body, and their wings shatter under prolonged exposure or at low enough temperatures.

Something the agent didn’t care to elaborate on but did for the fact that the young Zoan was responsible for Chrysis’s health for the near future was that a sidhe’s body shuts down into a dormant state past a certain point unless immersed back into more tolerable temperatures.

Chrysis was a sidhe-human hybrid and a nocturnal type, so he didn’t suffer as badly as a full-blooded member, but he still had a strong sensitivity to the cold. And if one combined saltwater with cold, the sidhe would be worse than an anchor, consciousness instantly gone and body quickly frosting over.

None of which went over well with Dr. Chopper who had thrown a fit. As their doctor, he needed to know this kind of information. Kaku and Chrysis (once he was lucid) promised they would get the human-reindeer a medical book on sidhe once they could get the chance.

Kaku was amazed how quickly the crew seemed to perk back up from such a horrifying experience. Even the Captain was joking around, flour mimicking the frosted over state they found him in.

The agent leaned against the railing as he kept an eye on things on deck. Chrysis slept soundly next to him, body somehow precariously curled on top of said railing. Kaku glanced down to the sea. Then blinked. Something made of glass bobbed in the waves, sunlight glittering off of it.

He mentioned it to Straw Hat who ordered the sniper fetch it with his fishing rod.

In it, a letter proclaimed:

If you are a pirate among pirates among pirates among pirates,

Then gather your steadfast crew of nakama and set sail for our island.

The name of it is Omatsuri Island.

It went on to list what the island had to offer, from luxury spas and beauty salons, to a thrilling nightlife and ladies, to exquisite food.

His inner CP9 agent coldly noted how ridiculous the letter sounded, more than likely some sort of elaborate trap. Usopp was of the same opinion.

However, the Captain had no such qualms, enthralled by the first line of the letter. Kaku knew it was useless to argue once the stubborn teen got the idea of an adventure awaiting him, so he tried to convince himself a bit of time to relax would be good for the crew after their harrowing experience with Aokiji.


The eternal log pose guided them to an island with a deserted beach. The wild and barren scenery discouraged them, but the straw-hatted pirate insisted they check out the jungle.

Chrysalis seemed to be shaking his head, gait tipsy.

Kaku laid a hand to steady hand on the sidhe. Chrysalis blinked up at him, eyes a bit glazed over.

“Kaku? Oh, it’s you. How’s…your haki?”

Kaku frowned. “Now that you mention it, I can’t feel anything very strongly. Like it’s being…muffled.”

“So, I’m not the only one,” he murmured.

“Will you be okay?” worried Kaku.

Chrysalis shook his head, shrugging off Kaku’s hand. “We shouldn’t tarry. We might get as lost as Zoro if we stay here.”

Chrysalis didn’t look at all well, but the agent acquiesced, letting him walk on his own through the jungle.

Eventually, the jungle opened to a scene out of a fantasy. An enormous hotel-themed building loomed over a theme park. The gates swung open. A line of scantily-clad wo- no, okama, his keen eyesight definitely could pick out that much, stood on either side marking the way to the entrance. Strangely enough, they had leaves sprouting from their heads. He filed that little detail away as possibly important. Although, this was the Grand Line, who was he to say humans or some oddball tribe couldn’t grow plants on their heads?

Elephants marched forward with palanquins on their backs. The one at the head bore a man with an angular head and almost palm tree-like haircut plus a goatee-mustache combo.

What was most curious was the little yellow flower with a smiling face and a strange white fold that resembled a dining bib. It was…cute? Although…something about it made the CP9 agent very uneasy.

“Greetings, brave pirates, to our secret island! I am Baron Omatsuri. A pleasure to meet all of you,” rumbled the strange man.

All the questions bubbling in the CP9 agent’s head choked off as Chrysalis suddenly collapse. Kaku grabbed him instinctively, lowering the younger man gently to the ground, slightly panicked.

“Is he okay?!” worried several members of the Straw Hats.

“Aah! We need a doctor!” screamed Dr. Chopper.

Kaku was normally a fairly even-tempered guy, but he didn’t have it in him to be particularly patient at the moment. He harshly ordered, “Then tend to him, doctor.

The human-reindeer stopped racing in circles and knelt by the bodyguard.

“Hmm…temperature seems a bit higher than normal. But he doesn’t show the usual signs of an infection or virus. And he hasn’t been doing anything more than strenuous than usual,” diagnosed Dr. Chopper.

“He looks asleep,” remarked Nami with a worried frown.

The Straw Hat doctor sighed and told Kaku it would probably be best if they waited and let the sidhe rest for now. If the symptoms persisted for too long…

Kaku grip tightened before he consciously relaxed it. A childhood of learning how to control my emotions, and yet this kid is enough to ruin it. But, Kaku really couldn’t find it in himself to really care about that for the past couple of years now. The long-nosed man cradled the sidhe into his arms and went back to his feet.

“Well, I hope the little fellow will be better. I suppose you pirates have too much on your minds for my…ORDEAL OF HELL!”

Ordeal of what? Kaku narrowed his eyes, not hiding his irritation.

“Ordeal of Hell?!” echoed the Straw Hats, most notably the members of the Weakling Trio.

“Yes! Only the manliest of pirates have tried to go through with it, but none have succeeded!”

Nami, Chef Sanji, and Dr. Chopper weren’t really interested in that and asked the man where the promised spas and beauty salons, beauties and beverages, and exquisite food was. The Baron suspiciously kept echoing them as if having no idea what the three were going on about. So…this is either a poorly devised trap…or he’s being deliberately evasive, trying to make us lower our guards, Kaku noted, the bill of his hat hiding his dark expression.

As one, the disappointed trio turned on their heels and declared, “We’re leaving!”

“Wait, did you say…manly? Ossan, what’s the Ordeal of Hell?” excitedly asked the pirate captain, not at all listening to the three whom he had stopped from leaving.

Baron Omatsuri loudly announced, “The Ordeal of Hell is no less than a test of strength! Countless pirates have tried and failed. But, I shall warn you, your trust in your nakama must be absolute if you wish to proceed. Otherwise, I advise you leave this island posthaste.” How ominous. That was definitely a goad if the CP9 agent ever heard; a classic demonstration of reverse psychology.

Straw Hat Luffy grinned and stated, “That’s stupid! My nakama are the best, and we accept your challenge! Shishishi!”

No matter how much Nami and Usopp protested, they gave in to their captain’s will at the end.

Straw Hat turned to him suddenly, the look in his eyes a touch more serious as he suggested, “Kaku! You don’t mind keeping an eye on Chrysis while we take care of this, right?”

Kaku straightened and nodded his head.

“My, you have quite the spunk, kid! Very well. Set up for the Ordeal of Hell!”

Everyone drew back as their surroundings somehow began to rearrange around them. Suddenly, they found themselves on some sort of platform in the middle of the sea.

This is impossible! Grand Line or not, the undercover agent has never seen anything like this before. Something about the Baron’s grin when they accepted the challenge sent every alarm in his head buzzing.

The Baron raised his speaker and declared the contest would be…goldfish catching?

The agent narrowed his eyes. There must be some sort of catch, he considered, eying the pool of goldfish.

“See this net? The paper dissolves easily in water.”

Why did their “host” emphasize that particular point? Maybe I’m spending too much time with Chrysalis. In order to protect the sidhe, Kaku had to pick up on the sidhe’s tells, and pay special attention to the younger man’s phrasing. Sidhe were notorious for word games and vagueness.

“Alright, now for our champion of goldish catching! My most trusted confidante, Muchigoro!”

Kaku and the rest of the Straw Hats were not impressed with the young man with a distinctly fish-like appearance.

Usopp, surprisingly, was the first to volunteer. He stood confidently…all up until a giant goldfish with razor sharp teeth leaped out of the ocean.

“Straw Hats, meet my beloved pet, Rosario-chan,” proudly introduced the master goldfish catcher.

“Aren’t goldfish freshwater fish?” questioned Kaku out of hand. As he thought, the contest would be rigged. I hope this isn’t like the Davy Back Fight with Foxy. Kaku had enough of tricky weak pirates like the Silver Fox for the next few months.

“Not all of them, like Rosario-chan here. Well? I’ll give you guys the first chance to catch her,” offered the strange-looking human. Kaku took the time to examine the greenish-looking human. Like the rest of the people here, Muchigoro had a sprout growing out of his head.

Kaku sighed as the little net was passed from the sniper to Nami to Roronoa, until finally, the Captain took it.

It finally dawned to the secret agent. “Captain, wait-”

Too late. A Gomu Gomu no Pistol shot out to bash the fish’s skull, wetting the net paper. It dissolved as the Baron had warned them.

“Captain,” he sighed. “Baron Omatsuri never gave us any rules, did he?”

“Of course, he…”

“Actually, I think the only thing he told us after explaining how we won was about the paper dissolving,” interrupted Nico Robin.

“Exactly. This is like with Davy Back Fights, I take it Baron Omatsuri? For pirates, we play by our own rules,” Kaku revealed, tone accusing.

“Wow,” gushed Muchigoro, “you’re smart. However, that was your chance, so let a pro show you how it’s done!”

Muchigoro threw his net away and grabbed one proportionate to the goldfish’s size but apparently not as fragile.

With a great heave, the goldfish wrangler tossed the fish over to his giant bucket. Only for a huge net of hands to bounce her out.

Kaku widened his eyes as the fish went flailing over them. It looked like it was going to flatten them if they didn’t do something!

“Rumble.”

The little Zoan rapidly expanded into a huge puffball, his inflated mass easily bouncing over the fish to their bucket just as the timer ran out.

“We won!” cheered the Straw Hats. Kaku widened his eyes as he noted the Zoan’s expression.

Dr. Chopper wheeled around, eyes unfocused, and stepped off the platform. There went the Captain, Chef Sanji diving right after both hammers.

“Sheesh, we sure know how to pick our comrades,” Kaku sighed to the unconscious sidhe.

Once the two coughed up all the water, the Straw Hats went back to cheering with one exception. Kaku stared at the Baron from the corner of his eye. Muchigoro had fallen to his knees and started to sob. He didn’t need his still messed haki to understand the growing rage on the Barons’ face.

“E-NOUGH!” bellowed the Baron. “The Ordeal of Hell isn’t over yet!”

Nami wasn’t having it. She refused outright and marched into the jungle, her crewmates trailing behind her.

And yet…

“Welcome, brave pirates!”

They winded up somehow back to the Baron.


The next ordeal was a ring-toss race between two pairs of boats. They agreed on Roronoa, Sanji, Nami, and Usopp. So, basically all their non-devil fruit users besides Kaku who stayed back to keep an eye on Chrysalis. Their opponents were a set of four old small old people who closely resembled and sounded like frogs whom the Baron named the Four Wise Men (despite one being a woman, go figure).

While those four were competing, the others had free run of the place’s facilities.

Kaku looked up sharply as a young man in doctor’s garb offered to take a look at the sidhe. The agent politely declined. Sharp dark eyes watched the man walk away. Something about this whole ordeal thing had the agent on edge. There just was something horribly wrong here, but Kaku couldn’t say for sure what it was exactly. He stroked the sidhe’s curly blond hair, hoping he would wake up soon. As sidhe in general had an inclination for plants – Chrysalis himself being a prolific botanist and horticulturist - he may be able to tell the agent why that smiling and talking flower the Baron always had sent a chill through him.

Across from where the agent had the sidhe laid out, Nico Robin buttered up Muchigoro with alcohol. The agent made himself look busy with checking over the sidhe while discreetly listening in to the man’s drunken conversation.

“...looking for a unique flower. Would you happen to know of one on this island?” questioned Robin with a soft but purely inquisitive tone.

“A unique flower?” drawled Muchigoro as he tilted his head in thought. “Well, I know of one. It’s called…the Lily Carnation. You can only find it at the highest point of the island.”

“Lily Carnation?”

Before the archaeologist could question him further, the man paled, body trembling before dashing off for a restroom.

Lily Carnation. Something about that name sounded familiar. A faint memory trickled through.

/ Chrysalis thumbing through his bookshelf, and a small black book falling out. The agent had walked over and picked it up, reading the title aloud. The sidhe’s head snapped up at the third syllable and snatched the book from the agent. That look of pure fright when the sidhe examined the book he had taken. Fear and revulsion.

“Chrysalis? Do you recognize that plant?”

“Only by reputation. And only that, I hope. This is the one plant the world is all the better without. At least, that’s what my ancestors and the World Government could agree upon.” /

A plant the world is all the better without… Considering the sidhe liked all sorts of plants, usually the more dangerous the better, the one plant Chrysalis loathed, and his entire people had apparently made sure was extinct, being here of all places… Kaku’s grip on the damp rag he was using to cool the sidhe tightened until his knuckles turned white.

“Nico-san?”

“Hmm? Yes, Square-Nose-san?”

Always with the nose. “That flower…sidhe generally love working with all kinds of plants. I’m sure you’ve seen Chrysalis tending to Nami’s mikan grove, yes? Chrysalis loves all sorts of plants much more dangerous than those given his dietary needs, however there is one exception. The Lily Carnation he made clear should be extinct.”

“Yet, Muchigoro believes there’s at least one on this island. Very troubling.”

Silence descended on the two as they considered their own conclusions about what was going on with this island.


The second part of the Ordeal of Hell had finally concluded. Kaku looked around in worry. The Straw Hats’ doctor had left to explore the island, but he hadn’t return yet.

When the other pirates approached, Kaku noted the unusual tension between each pair of partners. He also could detect the slight hint of ash for some reason.

Between yelling matches, the agent gathered they had won when Usopp somehow hang glided down to nab the final Wise Man, but the navigator couldn’t stand the sniper now. Apparently, she was under the impression Usopp had deliberately abandoned her – something that didn’t fit with the sniper’s personality, coward or not. But, the young teen wasn’t really making much effort to make amends at all. In fact, it sounded like the sniper had said something he really shouldn’t have, destroying any chance of earning the redheaded woman’s forgiveness.

Then there were Roronoa and the chef. Both fought like cats and dogs at the best of time, but this felt different. Sharper, more aggressive, and lacked the general consideration the two usually kept in regard to the other’s safety. As much as they always looked like they wanted the other dead, they never genuinely expressed that desire in their overall stance against the other. Until now.

What is going on?! Normal pirate crews backstabbed each other, yes. But, the Straw Hats never gave up on one another, not when fighting against a mad god nor when surrounded by marines on all sides.

Kaku threw a worried look at the sidhe whom he had hefted onto his back. There was definitely something very wrong here on Omatsuri Island.

Several hours passed as the tensed group waited by the pool. The others had finally noticed their missing member. Yet, were still more focused on their anger against the other than the real issue.

*Drum roll*

“What? Here I thought you were all rather close to one another? Nakama,” chuckled the Baron as drums suddenly rose from the ground.

“Shut it, Baron. We don’t need to hear your wisecracks,” retorted Sanji as he puffed on his cigarette.

“Oh, very well then. Now, I present to you this dinner party to celebrate our two miraculous wins. Welcome to my outdoor iron griddle restaurant!”

The pool water parted to reveal the iron griddle, the chef standing sternly at the center. Fire rose to ring the stage.

“Wow, look at him spread the oil!”

Sanji grunted, “Yeah, whatever. That’s nothing special.”

“Look at how fast he is!”

“Ttch, so what? That’s not special, either.” Kaku had a rather bad feeling as the cook looked increasingly irritated.

“Mmm, that looks delicious!” More exclamations of appreciation rang out.

That was the final straw for the chef. Kaku peered from under the bill of his cap as the sea cook skated onto the griddle and challenged the other chef. His head jerked up in slight alarm as Sanji declared if he didn’t have the ingredients to make his own meal, he’d just take that of the other chef. That…doesn’t sound like him.

Kaku glanced over to the side. Nico Robin was going off somewhere. He turned to Nami, setting Chrysalis onto a chair. The navigator was chatting up Muchigoro.

“Nami-san?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you mind watching over Chrysalis for me? I need to scamper off for a bit. There’s an issue I want to take a look at, but I don’t think I should take someone sick with me.”

“Sure, sure,” dismissed the navigator. Kaku threw Chrysalis a worried glance before he ran off. Steps silent, he gave the Baron a wide berth and raced to follow the dark-haired woman.


“…never fought like this before.”

Fighting? Who was fighting?

More murmurs lost in the haze of ‘not right, screams, despair, silence!’ Then:

“We were once known as the Red Arrow Pirates…old Roger? We were nearly good as his crew…”

The Red Arrow Pirates? If Chrysis wasn’t mistaken, that group vanished long before Roger’s crowning and execution. And the pirate king died over 22 years ago. So, how would someone so young sounding known someone like Roger?

The sidhe struggled through the haze covering his mind. Something had disturbed his body’s equilibrium, making him more susceptible to losing control over his Kenbunshoku abilities. Normally, his mind had layers of shielding to guard his mind as his empathic gift never really stopped even with his haki inactivated.

“…storm.”

The voice had a distant, disturbingly haunted note. That was right, the Red Arrow Pirates were said to have been lost in a storm, one devastating enough to send them from the New World to Paradise, they say.

“…Lily Carnation.”

His efforts stilled. Dread filled the sidhe’s mind. Lil…Lily CARNATION?

His newly erected barriers bent. Memories not his own filled his mind.

Rain and wind whiplashing the ship. Darkness making the storm all the worse. Everyone screaming and running around, trying to keep the ship afloat as waves as large as sea kings battered them. Suddenly, the sea stilled. Horror filled his nakama’s faces. A cyclone more massive than anything they’ve seen before was a minute from hitting them!

Horrible crunching. Pain, agonizing pain!

Darkness of a storm turned to another kind of darkness…Baron Omatsuri…I’m sorry…

Pain disappeared. Then…there was nothing.’

Chrysis woke with a horrified gasp in time to see a stranger turned to a wilting mess.

Nami screamed. The sidhe stumbled to his feet and walked over, circling her with his arms.

Shhh, shhh, Nami. I’m here. Calm down.”

He applied a bit of power, just enough to help the navigator’s mind clear up to rein in her own emotions.

“Chrysis? Thank Kami, you finally woke up,” she sighed in relief.

What in Gaea’s name happened while I was knocked out?!

“Nami…where’s Kaku?”


“A ship.”

“Ah, Square-Nose-san, I was wondering when you would show yourself. Are you sure about leaving your charge all alone?” inquired Nico Robin.

The other man tipped his baseball cap and stated, “He’s not alone. Nami said she would look after him for me. Plus, she has the other four with her. Since Dr. Chopper has disappeared, I thought it would prudent no one else goes off wandering on their own.”

“Mmm, that would be wisest. However, it could be that we both disappear next. Square-Nose-san, what do you make of this ship? I would guess it would be the one the Baron used to sail here.”

Kaku’s eyes scanned thoughtfully over the wreck. “…from what little I can see of it, it’s an older design dated at least four decades or so ago. While the Baron would be about the right age to have sailed it here, several of the people with him wouldn’t be, including Muchigoro.”

“I see you do indeed have a sharp mind, Square-Nose-kun.”

He absentmindedly nodded his head. “…how do you suppose this ship got up here? In fact, these planks are well preserved but old. What happened to this ship was decades ago. Something terrible must have happened…”

“A storm from what it looks like. I figured the ship must have wrecked here, however I-”

“Aren’t the two of you clever?”

Both whipped around. There Baron Omatsuri sat on a piece of the wreckage, regarding the pirate and conditional pirate.

“Why don’t I show you it, then? My island’s secret flower.”

Both turned to look at in the direction indicated by the Baron.

Before the three, a huge shadowed shape loomed at the top of the mountain. It resembled a cornucopia, and was far larger than any flower has any right to be.

“Th-that’s a flower?!” the normally stoic woman gasped.

Kaku drew his two blades. “That doesn’t look like any flower I’ve ever seen.”

“Oh, but it is. The Lily Carnation – a flower of death and rebirth,” chuckled Baron Omatsuri darkly. “Would you care for a closer look?”

Both stumbled back as the man took out a bow and nocked an arrow he practically drew from the thin air.


Chrysis had been scarcely awake for an hour and everything was quickly dissolving around him.

Sanji finished cooking something pretty amazing but then refused to feed not only Zoro but also the sidhe for not cheering on him?

First, the chef never refused someone a meal as evidenced by the log books he and Kaku have been browsing. And Sanji wasn’t that vindictive or petty he would disregard his own principles out of hand for a little thing like a fight. Heck, he fed someone who had threatened his coworker’s life and then tried to feed men who would and had turned on their saviors in a hot moment.

Second, the chef was normally very sharp and logical. Refusing a sick person food, someone who had been unable to see or even comprehend his surroundings, never mind speak or cheer, didn’t make any sense.

And there was the matter of four people unaccounted for. No one has seen Chopper since earlier that day. Robin and Kaku had went exploring for a flower (please be a misheard word, and not what flower he thought he heard named). Then Usopp ran off after arguing with Nami.

Sanji was frantic and thinking illogically, prayed Chrysis as the chef turned to each person and shouted at them. He blamed Zoro for his negligence, Chrysis for being too incompetent and childish to find them with his special powers, and…

Sanji turned to their captain. “Luffy, we should have never come to this island! Look at what’s happening around us! Chopper, Robin, Kaku, Usopp…how many more people have to disappear? This…this is all your fault!”

The others went quiet with utter shock.

Then Baron Omatsuri arrived. His face paled as he saw the state of the one Nami named Muchigoro. He declared the Ordeal of Hell was to be resumed right now.

A kid appeared with Usopp’s hat.

Chrysis’s bright red eyes met equally glowing red ones. The sidhe drew back subconsciously.

“Alright, Kappa, what the hell happened to our friends? Where’d Usopp go?” demanded Zoro.

Not a kappa, ‘pu,” seethed the strange teenager after Sanji took back the hat. Black eyes returned, and the kid ran over to the Baron’s side. “Don’t worry about them, ‘pu. They’re still on the island, ‘pu, but their fates are in your hands, ‘pu.”

The Baron insisted he tell them nothing until the ordeal finished. Sanji backed a step then ran off in one direction. Zoro ran in the other.

Nami and Chrysis stared in horror as the Baron unveiled the name of the next contest. Shooting. The people lined behind their “host” each bore rifles. The tables have turned with the pirates as the prey, scattered and running about.

Luffy hadn’t moved since Sanji yelled at him, eyes downward.

Nami looked between her captain and the frozen sidhe, her words not reaching either.

She ran off like the others.

The sidhe trembled. His haki senses, dulled and pained suddenly rang anew with emotion.

‘Rage.’

“Give them back.”

“Pardon, young man?”

“I said…GIVE ME BACK MY NAKAMA!” Luffy charged.

Chrysis screamed in warning as the Baron drew up is bow, an arrow formed from manifested vines drawn back.

That horrible flower’s eyes changed into green crosshairs.

He released the arrow.

The sidhe and straw-hatted captain easily dodged it, but then the arrow stopped in place. Slowly, it changed directions.

“What in the world?!”

According to the gossip mill, someone else already had the devil fruit power to target people.

The arrow kept blasting into things and only stopped once Chrysis drew his fan and cut it right in half.

His smirk vanished as several more arrows fired.

*Boom!*

Quick as he may be, Chrysis couldn’t move as easily with his body as messed up as it was. Shortly, the sidhe and rubber man were tossed to the ground below by the force of the explosion. Chrysis yelped as he felt someone pull them down into the ground.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, visions’

“So, Captain, this man you met in that horror house?”

Luffy, Chrysis, and some short weirdo were sitting around a low table.

“Yeah.”

“Yes, I am Briefs, captain of the Toothbrush Mustache Pirates,” proudly greeted the man.

“Okay, that name is really lame but appropriate, I suppose,” noted Chrysis with a small smirk. One that disappeared as he remembered why they were there in the first place. “So, why rescue us?”

Briefs drew back a long breath. “Because, I want the two of you to become my nakama.”

“I already said no. I already have a nakama,” Luffy answered without hesitation.

“I think Kaku’s limit is one crazy pirate crew, never mind one as ridiculous-sounding as yours,” deadpanned Chrysis.

“Hey, how about I fix you guys up something to drink. Goat milk?”

“Actually, I’m not fond of-”

“Goat milk it is!”

“-animal products except fish. Okay, then.”

Luffy looked about the underground chamber. He went and pointed to a picture. “Hey, Ossan? Is this your nakama? Where are they, anyways?”

That was a good question. As shot as his haki was, Chrysis still should be able to read the vibrations of other people with his wings.

“Them…they were a good crew.” …were? “I’m the last of them, though. It happened right before my eyes. One by one, we were torn apart. The Baron…he took away every one of them.”

Chrysis and Luffy went still with shock. Does that mean what I think it means?!

“Chrysis, do you sense them? Any of them?” demanded Luffy, eyes hooded.

The sidhe shook his head. “I can’t hear anyone right now. The air around this island is poisoned. Pollen coming downwind from somewhere. That’s also why I fell unconscious. Normally, poisons don’t affect me too much, but this one was particularly toxic. Some sort of mood influencer, I think. Heightens negative emotions and while adding a doozy of paranoia into the mix – which would explain why practically everyone was attacking the other. Kaku has some poison immunity training. As for Robin and yourself, I suppose the both of you probably had pretty bad run-ins with poisons, right? Your immune systems might be touch more resistant, especially as devil fruit users.

Although, you did seem a bit more oblivious than usual… And I would guess our friend here has developed a tolerance if he’s been here for as long as these tunnels indicate. Anyways, my body shut down not because of the poison itself, but because of the strain of fighting off the poison. The drain of energy as my immune system fought off a new type of toxin shook my subconscious control over my haki. My mind opened up too much, and this island has a terrible atmosphere full of too many crews who had lost…well, everything. Isn’t that right, Briefs?”

The Toothbrush Mustache pirate morosely nodded. “Right. Not only mine, but countless other crews have fallen into the Baron’s trap. I don’t understand his reasons, but the Baron hates absolutely any pirate crew with strong bonds. He seems to hate the idea of nakama itself. His single greatest desire, no, obsession, is to tear apart our crews, break our bonds and hunt us down one by one. That’s why I’m asking you to become my nakama. The Baron can’t be fought alone.”

“The Lily Carnation,” whispered Chrysis.

“You know that name?” sputtered the man.

Chrysis let out a breath. “So, it’s true. I really hoped I misheard that.”

“Chrysis,” Luffy whispered, “what is that?”

The sidhe sighed, hands clenched. “…it’s a flower, aesthetically. A carnivorous and sentient one. It can manipulate the structure of other plants into whatever form it wants provided it has some sort of template. And, they often form symbiotic relationships.”

“Cymbal Tick?”

“Sym-bI-O-tic. It means the flower works with another organism for shared benefits. One helps the other. Usually the other becomes a host for the flower, the hands who gather the flower’s food.”

“Food?”

“According to the stories, the flower likes flesh and power. Humans and other sentient lifeforms are its prime fare.”

A hand slapped down hard on the table, causing Briefs to jump.

“I’m going. Chrysis, stay here.”

“You heard the guy, Captain. You can’t fight the Baron and his pet flower alone. And my people are actually not particularly liked by the Lily Carnation, especially since we more or less exterminated them several centuries ago.” Quietly, the sidhe murmured, “They’re my nakama, too, Luffy.”

Briefs bit his lips as the two slipped out from the tunnel behind his bookcase.


Tense hands drew out both war fans in a white-knuckled grip. The two had arrive to the top of the mountain. The Baron regarded the pirates with a sneer.

“Well, well, the two of you have returned. How foolish of you Straw Hat to have come back with only just one tiny child.”

“I am not a child,” Chrysis seethes, red eyes flashing crimson.

“Ossan, tell me where Chopper and everyone else is.”

“Chopper? I suppose he must be that horned river otter.”

“Baron. I have two things to say. First of all, Chopper isn’t a river otter, he’s a reindeer. Second, I’ll never let you hurt my nakama.”

Chrysis shudders at how cold Luffy sounded. The worst anger is the flame that burns coldly.

“So, you’ll never let me hurt them, eh? I wonder about that…”

“You better not be saying what I think you’re saying!” Chrysis warns, wings violently buzzing behind him.

“Excluding that one, you had seven nakama. Before your arrival, that number went down to six.”

Luffy slowly turns his gaze up, eyes wide in realization. Both of Chrysis’s antennae shoot up.

“What…what did you say?!”

The Baron sneers, “You’d best hurry and rescue them. Soon, the Lily shall devour them all.”

“What. Did. You. SAY?!”

Baron Omatsuri cackles at their anger. “You say you won’t let me hurt them? Fool, you’re a bit too late then.”

“Unforgivable.”

“Reprehensible,” growls Chrysis.

Baron Omatsuri didn’t look at all worried.

“I WON’T FORGIVE YOU!” both scream.

Luffy prepares an attack but an arrow flies and pins his right arm.

Chrysis rolls to the side and slashes the next arrow coming toward him.

“Luffy!”

“One arrow. Where did that spirit, that fury go? While you struggle uselessly, another of your precious nakama vanishes.”

“Robin!”

Chrysis struggles to get into the air, but a rain of arrows keeps him pinned to the ground as he is forced to dodge and slice, unable to gain the crucial seconds for lift off.

The black and blue form of Sanji’s begins to fade.

“Ah, the next one will be the cook.”

“Sanji!”

Luffy desperately tries to throw is other arm, but another arrow flew to pin it against a rock.

Chrysis cried out in alarm. He wasn’t imagining things; Luffy’s skin grew a little greyer with each arrow.

“Two arrows. Who’s next? Hmm, I see. The observant one with the angular nose. I believe he’s the little bug’s close friend, correct?”

“You-!”

Throwing away all pretense of caution, the sidhe throws himself into the air despite the dozens of arrows heading his way. He makes it most of the way, until an arrow somehow pierces through both wings.

Chrysis barely manages to control his sudden fall, wrenching the arrow out and barely hovering in place like that.

“Three arrows.”

“Leave him alone!”

Right leg swings and was pinned.

“Four. Another one is going. The one with the phallic nose.”

Usopp.

“USOPP!! USOPP!!” Luffy rages in denial and flung his other leg.

“Five. Now the other woman is swallowed. Straw Hat, you are now entirely helpless, pinned to that rock, and your little friend can just barely keep hovering in place there.”

“Nami…”

Chrysis wants to scream, wants to try and fling himself at the Lily, but he barely has the energy to stay afloat like this.

“It seems like the last of your nakama is fading away.”

“ZORO!!!”

In a sheer demonstration of will, Luffy tosses his head back and launches it.

Chrysis drew deeply on his reserves, green ring circling his indiscernible pupils, and he followed right after Luffy, arrows nicking his skin.

Amazingly, one of those arrows were caught in between Luffy’s teeth.

Both fell short as Zoro’s form disappears into the Lily.

Chrysis feels himself fall, just as Luffy’s head recoiled back.

“My nakama…give them back…” Luffy moaned quietly.

“Straw Hat. Your very last nakama there will not meet the fate of your crewmates. No, the Lily seems to hold a particular grudge against his kind. A sidhe, correct? I remember Roger used to play host to one on his crew. Did you know, the Lily Carnations are the one plant in the world that despise the sidhe. All other plants listen to them, but the Lily hate them with a passion. Not only inedible due to their habitual love of poisons, but the chemical makeup of a sidhe can be deleterious to a Lily’s health. In turn, the sidhe hate the voice they can hear from the Lily. I hardly think her voice is unpleasant, though. They are even said to be hyper-aware of the presence of the Lily, unprepared ones like him becoming overwhelmed by the Lily’s fragrance, I am told. The rivalry between the two escalated centuries ago to the point that no Lily seems to have survived the scourge. None but mine. So, instead of a mercifully quiet death, the sidhe will be pierced by my arrows like you have been.”

“No…”

“A slow death. Regardless of his health now, know that you are alone. Does the thought hurt?”

The Baron places his shoe against Luffy’s head.

“Stop!” Chrysis yells, voice hoarse as he desperately struggles back onto his feet.

“You have no more nakama. You’ll be all alone in the vastness of the Grand Line. No matter what you do, that fact will not change.”

“Shut up! Luffy, don’t listen to him! I’m still her-”

Despite his body’s protests, the sidhe forces himself to zip over to Luffy’s side as arrows slam into the spot where he just was.

“Determined pest. I’ll deal with you later. Now, as for your captain. What will you do? You’re in no shape to protect young…Chrysalis, was it? You can choose to live, live in the knowledge of true despair, that nothing you do will stop the loneliness or fill the ache in your heart. Or, you can choose to follow your nakama in death.”

Luffy collapses as if someone just cut his strings.

Chrysis hisses as the ma- no, monster lifts the teen’s head up.

“Let me make things a bit clearer. Almost every captain before you have chosen to die rather than live miserably alone,” the monster sneers. “That is the wisest decision for a single man cannot pirate alone.”

“Almost? I suppose you’re counted among the minority, then,” Chrysis rasped. “Baron Omatsuri of the Red Arrow Pirates. Your crew ranked high, nearly legends of your own right until your ship was caught in a terrible storm one night. By all reports, you and your crew should have died out there. From what it looks like, they did. Those people you call your confidantes, they’re caricatures born of your memories. They’re not your nakama, and they won’t fill the emptiness,” Chrysis coldly informs the former pirate captain.

An arrow flies, cutting precariously close to Chrysis’s face, slashing open a gash. More pierce his wrists and ankles.

“Straw Hat. Tell me, what is your decision. What will you choose? Life? Or death?”

Luffy didn’t say anything.

Baron Omatsuri regarded the teen dispassionately. He released Luffy’s head. “Your mind is already overwhelmed by their fate. I suppose I shall take your silence as an answer. Life will be too painful to endure alone.”

The Baron backed away, nocking another arrow.

Chrysis couldn’t move, and Luffy was insensible. Suddenly, he feels a familiar tremor. The earth gives away underneath them as Briefs pulls them back to safety.


“Luffy?”

The straw-hatted teen didn’t respond to the sidhe’s presence. Not even when Chrysis gently nudged him. His wings wilted, hanging down like rags at his sides. The family of four, the Tearoom Pirates (must be a family thing), were tending to him, but Chrysis could tentatively feel nothing but misery from his friend. Misery and guilt and horror.

Then Briefs charged over and shook the pirate, shocking his audience.

“STRAW HAT! Snap out of this! You can’t give up hope now! Straw Hat!” yelled the lonely pirate.

Luffy mumbled, “My nakama…I failed them…”

Failed…Chrysis had promised Kaku he would try and stop doing reckless stuff. To not make the CP9 agent’s job any harder than usual. Their usual, but still, he promised.

And sidhe didn’t break their promises lightly. The only reason, the sidhe hasn’t broken down was the fact that Luffy still needed him, and he had activated Hush on himself.

Kaku would probably nag the sidhe for taking the easy, all too potentially addictive way (No he won’t. Not anymore his conscience reminds him).

One traumatized young man was more than enough in this situation.

“Don’t you go spacing out on me, either, kid! Both of you better show me that determination. Straw Hat, you’re this kid’s captain, right? You need to stay strong for his, no, all their sakes. Your nakama are probably not dead yet,” stated Briefs.

Luffy finally lifted his head up. Chrysis was kneeling by his side.

“See this little girl? Her name is Daisy, and she says she can hear your nakama. Before even meeting you, Daisy here has been saying your name over and over again.”

“Yeah,” chimed in Daisy. “I can hear them chant your name. Luffy. Luffy. Luffy.”

“What?” Luffy didn’t hear a thing obviously.

Briefs shook his head and stated, “Unfortunately, I myself cannot hear anything like she can.”

The father looked at his daughter in awe. “Daisy, have you always been so good at listening?”

“Uhuh. I hear everything.”

“Wait…everything?”

Chrysis tuned out for a moment. This was reckless and stupid, but Chrysis slowly lowered his mental barriers. Through the haze of crimson and black and screams and denials, he could hear…

“Luffy, she’s not kidding. I think I can register their presence faintly. Or the pain is causing me to hallucinate, but I can hear them calling out your name.”

“Wait, how?” gasped the father and Briefs.

“Kenbunshoku haki. Probably born with it,” explained Chrysis. “That’s why I can hear it, too. As natural users, we’re more sensitive to these kinds of things, though time and practice has made my ability unbearable unless I learned to shut it down. The exact gifts can differ though. It looks like Daisy can use it to supplement her natural hearing. More commonly, natural users are empathetic, like myself. Untrained, she should be okay on this side of the Grand Line, I think.”

Explosions began to wrack the tunnels.

Briefs wasted no more time and succinctly outlined his plan. “Straw Hat, Chrysalis, you two are our last hope. Baron’s reign of terror over nakama must end tonight. If you go now, you still have a chance to save them. But remember!” Chrysis looked in a mix of surprise and amusement as the pirate raised a finger under his mustache. “I’m here supporting you, too!”

When Briefs went to yell at the confused Tearoom Pirates, the two Straw Hats left through the tunnels.


Luffy pops up from the ground and runs headlong at the mad former pirate captain. The Baron fired an arrow…

And the pirate dives back underground, popping back up and dodging again. No matter how many arrows the Baron draws on him, the pirate captain takes advantage of the Toothbrush Mustache pirate’s tunnels to avoid them. A sudden sparkling dust sends the next volley of arrows wide.

Scatter: Dazzling Dust.

“You little pest!” Chrysis weaves in and out of the arrows, slashing them as they fly past.

Baron Omatsuri makes a noise of frustration and turns back to straw-hatted captain. More arrows carve a line to cut him off, but the rubber man simply goes around or jumps.

More arrows fire and miss. When the Baron thought he hit the pirate…

“Hah! Fooled you!” laughs Briefs as he holds up the straw pirate figure.

Like a mole, the daring pirate ducks down and pops back up several times. Then one arrow gets lucky and blows up.

Luffy and Chrysis halt.

From out of the smoke, Briefs pulls himself out.

“You- don’t think so highly of yourself!” coughs the injured man as he climbs to his feet. “You think you can so casually break apart nakama? Know this! That man and his crewmate- I am one of their nakama!”

“Nakama?” chuckles the Baron. His laughter grates on the sidhe’s nerves. “Listen, closely, Straw Hat. This man who claims to be one of your nakama, he was a captain whose crew I annihilated years ago! However, he begged me to spare his life. A man who shook in fear at the thought of a life alone. Hah! Why would anyone want some pathetic worm as this to be their nakama?”

The Baron draws several arrows and let them fly high.

They arc down, only to slam into a rock Luffy holds up to shield the man. Chrysis stands at his side, a few arrows laid on the ground, their heads sliced off.

“Didn’t I tell you? I won’t let you hurt my nakama!”

Both men give the pirate captain his crew’s salute. “Mustache!”

Tears run down Briefs’s face. *Sniff, sniff* “Mustache!”

Chrysis stands back protectively by the fallen man while Luffy barrels on ahead.

Again and again, the captain knocks down the flower.

Something…isn’t right…his intuition whispers.

When Luffy turns back…

What they thought was the Lily morphs into countless arrows.

All them gaped in horror as the Baron’s shoulder flower transformed, her head become a pale white monstrosity while a growth grew to form the shapes of their lost nakama.

That’s- That’s-! Nothing could describe how horrifying this was.

In a great wave of movement, the arrows invert toward Luffy.

“Straw Hat. Be prepared! Each and every arrow represents a day I spent in utter misery alone, my nakama gone.”

They converge on the pirate. A field of black of arrows pierces the earth.

As for Luffy…

No. The arrows fly at his captain. NO. Seconds until… NO!

The Tearoom pirates and Briefs gasped as a strange golden glow flickered around the moth sidhe. Red bled into whites and a golden light shone at the center of each eye.

The child- no, man, shot over a moment before the arrows hit, using his own body as a shield. Countless arrows still hit Straw Hat, but half of them were taken by the sidhe himself. Yet, somehow the sidhe had batted a good many away from anything vital, hands faintly sheathed in black. The glow stuttered and disappeared. Chrysis dropped down woodenly, the ragged edges of his torn wings weakly brushing away some of the arrows on the ground.

Captain Luffy…I leave this to you… Chrysis was half-delirious as he saw the cowardly captain of the Tearoom Pirates fire an arrow right into the Lily’s gaping maw. He barely registered the arrows disappearing from his body as the Lily fell apart in a pile of guts and entrails. He only had eyes for his captain who found one last reservoir of strength and punched out the husk of a pirate.

Maybe it was his imagination, but he thought he heard the murmur of many voices calling for the Baron, welcoming the shadow of a pirate to his final rest.


*Blink, blink*

“Lu-luffy?” Chrysis rasped. A faint light illuminated the sky.

“Over here,” the captain gasped.

“You guys!” cheered their allies.

“Wait, where’s my nakama?”

Chrysis smiled as he carefully hauled himself up, a familiar green light briefly flashing around him.

“I think we’ll have our answer…now.”

*Yawn* “Hmm? What happened?”, “Where are we?” and other similar murmurs rang out. One by one, each of their lost nakama woke up and called out for the two.

Chrysis vanished and reappeared by Kaku’s side, helping the taller man up.

“Chry- What happened to you?” Ah, as perceptive as ever. Even though his sidhe skill of Metamorphosis healed all his major injuries, Kaku has spent enough time around him to recognize what all the tiny wounds and the sidhe’s stilted energy meant.

“Nothing for you to worry about. Hey, look! Sunrise.”

“Wow, that’s pretty!”

“Yes, it is quite some sight.”

Chrysis leaned against Kaku. The long-nosed man looked worriedly at the sidhe but let the matter go. For only right now in public, of course.

Before they left the island, Luffy and Chrysis silently agreed to move the strange yellow flower plant with the Baron’s goggles over to the mass graveyard where the remainder of the Red Arrow Pirates awaited. They did this as soon as they could slip away from their crew.

No matter how terrible his crimes, no one deserved to be alone.

Everyone boarded the Going Merry.

The looked briefly back at the Secret Island. Then turned back to their nakama.

Yes, a life with one’s nakama was best. Loss was an inevitable part of life, but that’s why one remembered not to drown in their loved ones’ absence but go forward with their last will. Loneliness was a transition, not permanence. For true nakama will never want you to stay alone.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, visions’

Chrysis sat on the edge of the crow’s nest, feet idly kicking against the wood as he stared blankly into the night sky. He had taken to keeping the midnight watch for the past several days.

A quiet thump announced someone catapulting his personal space. A small candle was lit, revealing worried round eyes. The furrow of his guest’s brow only deepened as his eyes skimmed the sidhe.

The CP9 agent expressed emotions as part of his cover, but never worry to this extent, at least not when it just the two of them like this. Wow, I must look like a mess.

After the whole Omatsuri Island incident, Chrysis have had trouble sleeping. Well, more trouble than usual for a nocturnally-inclined person spending most of the day awake. Trouble sleeping and eating. Whenever he tried eating any sort of plants, images of that kept popping into his mind, vanishing any appetite he had. And, considering the sidhe a vegetarian with the occasional fish thrown in (“Try some of this. You can eat non-meat and non-dairy products fine, and you really need more protein in your diet”), that left him skimping out on meals, or eating very little.

And, if he knew the plant was a type of flower? Like most herbs and broccoli for example?

The sidhe made himself absolutely scarce, sneaking out to fly several meters away to expunge whatever he even had in his stomach.

Sanji had already gotten on his case, and the sidhe knew his bodyguard wouldn’t bring it up until he caught the sidhe alone. Like now.

“Chrysalis, don’t try flying off this time,” Kaku warned him. Chrysis got the gist of his threat: try and fly off, and the CP9 agent would use Soru and Geppo and any means to keep him in the crow’s nest.

“Yes, Kaku?”

Dark eyes studied the sidhe with a large amount of disapproval and concern. “You haven’t been sleeping or eating well. And I know you’ve been avoiding Sanji-san about this, too. The former is pretty normal, you don’t need as much sleep as a normal human, and I still catch you catnapping on deck, just not as often as I should. Don’t think I haven’t notice you keep using Calm on yourself whenever you do sleep, though. However, what really sets off the warning bells is that you’ve been eating very little or missing meals entirely.

You never did that before if you can help it. At least, not until about a couple weeks ago. And I have a pretty good idea why. Tell me what happened on that deserted island. Why were we there in the first place? How’d you and the Captain get so injured? And where did the two of you scamper off to, the last few hours before we set off?”

Chrysis shook his head. He couldn’t stop the faint tremors coursing through his frame.

“Chrysalis, put up a barrier.”

He kept shaking his head.

“Fine.”

Before sidhe could object, Kaku grabbed him under his arm and jumped off, using Geppo to stop their fall. Chrysis mentally cursed out the older man, but he knew waking up anyone else would lead to uncomfortable questions the sidhe was not about to answer. A short distance away, Kaku settled them on a rock island they saw earlier from the ship.

“Kaku, put. Me. Down.”

The sidhe yelped as the older man let him tumble down onto the sand.

“Not like that, you bastard!”

Kaku wasn’t having the sidhe’s evasions anymore. Not this time. Black bruise-like marks shaded the younger man’s eyes, normally tanned skin shone too pale, and already lithe form was too skinny, almost bone-thin.

And that look. Whenever the sidhe was in a grip of a silent nightmare or was ruminating, bright eyes took on a pale, ghostly shade of red, almost transparent. Everything was not fine with Chrysalis. He looked even worse than after that incident some years ago.

“We’re alone. No one can hear, see, or even approach us without either of us knowing about it. Not even Nico Robin’s Hana Hana no Mi powers operate at this distance. Now, are you going to act like a stubborn child and keep quiet, or will you finally explain about that island?”

Chrysalis paled, mouth firmly clamped close.

“Chrysis, you’re a trained therapist. You know bottling up your emotions and shoving aside your problems is bad for your mental and physical health.”

Kaku never used the sidhe’s preferred name. But something in Chrysis’s mind still wasn’t quite listening to his conscience when he retorted, “Says the cold-blooded assassin.”

*Cr-ack!* The rock behind to the agent cracked from Kaku slamming his fist against it. Okay, that was low. Chrysis lowered his gaze.

“Learning to distance one’s conscience and mind is not the same thing, Chrysalis, and you’re still avoiding the question,” continued Kaku coldly, other hand reaching over to seize the other man’s chin and force those remorseful orbs to meet the other’s eyes.

Chrysalis still chose to say nothing.

Kaku sighed and said, “If you don’t want to talk about it, then show me.”

The sidhe was staring very intently at his feet, and his head practically snapped up at the final syllable.

“…are you s-sure?” asked Chrysis, voice cracking with emotion.

Kaku nodded. “I know what to expect this time.”

The last time…that was pretty bad, though. The cold look in the agent’s eyes was gone, replaced by steely determination. Chrysis wasn’t going to be able to talk him out of this.

Reluctantly, the sidhe placed reached up with his left hand. Kaku bent his head down low within his reach. Tentatively, he placed a single finger against the redhead’s right temple.

World’s Eye: Resonance.”

The more common sister skill to his Memory Sight. Chrysis could pass on select memories through his spiritual and mental energies, but it required a certain degree of trust between two people. Otherwise, the exchange could become twisted, subconscious desires and tensions leaking into the delicate transfer. That’s why sidhe with the skill only used it for personal matters, usually with close friends and family members.

That wasn’t the problem they had, though. Very few sidhe were born with Kenbunshoku haki; and none known with Chrysis’s level of power. The memories Chrysis experimentally attempted to show Kaku overwhelmed the unprepared agent with the level of sheer emotion pervading the sidhe’s mind all the time, even with his haki closed off. Kaku from when he first met him, emotions stunted and closed off, would have drowned, mind lost in the deluge. Kaku of a couple years ago shuddered violently, a big enough clue for Chrysis to shut down the connection.

And that memory was rather mild, one of the few (less dangerous) outings the sidhe’s sensei had taken him on in Paradise. What he experienced at that island would be hundreds of times worse, even with Chrysis unconscious for most of the day and evening.

Chrysis stood tensely, part of his mind locked on the memory as it filtered into Kaku’s mind, another part focused on the agent’s rapidly changing emotions and pallor.

‘Worry. Concern. Alarm. Anticipation. Horror. Fear. Relief. Worry, a hundred times worse. Revulsion and outrage. Helpless anger. Shame. Understanding. Hint of pride.’

Kaku kept his face rigid on principle; Chrysis’s haki would relay to him the agent’s emotions, never mind what the sidhe could glean from this intimate connection of minds. But, Kami, the agent wanted to yell at the unfairness of it all, of his utter helplessness.

 All the years of training to control his emotions – while admittedly rusty – bent to the breaking point with what he saw. Everything that happened – everything from meeting Baron Omatsuri, that damn trial, everyone fighting, the horror of that – but none of us remember?

And the two that did? They decided to keep the whole incident hushed. The agent couldn’t imagine what the sidhe must have been feeling himself, especially under that deluge of horror layering heavily over the memory, obscuring any other feeling. Except when his own body vanished into the Lily. ‘Fury and terror. Despair. Self-loathing and guilt.’

The faint white glow faded away as the last memory trickled away. Kaku looked at the sidhe intensely. Arms suddenly wrapped around the younger man, making the sidhe yelp in surprise.

“I’m glad you had the Captain with you, and you guys weren’t any worse hurt. But…don’t go and do something so reckless for me. I’m the bodyguard and ruthless assassin, not you.” I should have been with you went unsaid but not unheard.

Chrysis freed a hand and flicked the tip of Kaku’s baseball cap.

“And I’m the student of an assassin,” Chrysis softly pointed out. “And now a temporary pirate. I hardly have clean hands myself, either. And I don’t regret putting my life at stake to try and rescue you guys. No matter what, you’re one of my precious people, so I won’t hesitate to do it again.”

Kaku sighed, “Why do I have to have such a stubborn-hearted friend?”

Friend. After five years, Chrysis couldn’t recall the agent saying so aloud. Sure, the sidhe said it all the time since that incident but this was Kaku. A CP9 agent who shouldn’t form any permanent bond for someone who was part of his mission. It seemed almost taboo. Then again, just living with me required him to pretty much disregard most of his training if he wanted a chance to succeed in his mission.

“It’s okay now. I won’t be dying yet,” murmured Kaku, stroking a long-fingered hand through the sidhe’s unruly blond locks.

On Omatsuri Island, the sidhe couldn’t afford tears when everyone could be dead, and the young pirate captain was an even worse shape than him.

Here, with only Kaku as his witness, the sidhe let out all the despair, the horror, and uncertainty he felt on that island. In the middle of that hot pot of fear and grief, he also shed tears for the happiness and joy he just barely tamped down when his lost nakama finally woke up. The overpowering sense of relief as Kaku was okay and well.

They had to return to the ship soon before someone noticed their absence (or some marine ship snuck up on them). And there, both men would put on their masks, bury their secrets deep behind smiles and jokes.

But for this moment, it was just Chrysis and Kaku, bodyguard and charge. Two people bound by a bond any competent haki user would be able to sense. Friends.

Come morning, Chrysis would settle on deck, half leaning on Kaku as the swordsman sharpened his swords.

There still were nightmares; but they didn’t seem quite as vivid nor end quite as terribly.

Of course, he wasn’t the only one with nightmares. And, like Kaku said, Chrysis was a trained therapist. One versed in psychological and physiological traumas and bound by more than words to keep patient confidentiality. Chrysis made Kaku swear to keep away if the sidhe put up a Silent bubble, both out of sight and with his haki closed off.

One acted pretty stubborn about talking about it until Chrysis dragged them to the nest and told them explicitly what untreated PTSD symptoms could do in the worse of situations. Say, if they were in the middle of a fight and they kicked in. At best, the sidhe’s patient would talk out his emotions.

The other was not as vocal but just as closed-mouth. In the end, Chrysis shared some of his own nightmarish experiences to establish his own sincere understanding of personal demons. Not the most dangerous ones, mostly the near-escapes that left the sidhe still chilled with fear whenever he spoke of them.

If their nightmares got too bad, Chrysis was more than happy to use Soothe (although, sparingly, he didn’t want them to avoid the source of their issues).


It was another beautiful day. Everyone sat down to enjoy Sanji’s latest dish: potato paille. Chrysis steadfastly enjoyed it with a side of his favorite nightshade salad – a plant family that most appealed to death hawk moths not so coincidentally. He listened idly as Usopp recounted another farfetched tale of some monster with the same name as the dish.

“Is…that frog doing the free style?” observed Zoro as he peered over the railings.

Kaku widened his eyes and remarked, “That’s a pretty big fellow, too.”

“Would it taste good?” wondered Luffy.

Several similar looks were exchanged as their captain ordered everyone to drop what they were doing and catch that frog. Unfortunately for Kaku, he got recruited into the frog catching effort.

Chrysis paused mid-bite. Wings buzzed to life on his back and took him to the top of the mast.

“Guys?”

“Hey! That’s a lighthouse!”

“Hmm? Do you hear something?”

“GUYS!” shouted the sidhe as he silenced everyone else with a snap before dispelling his barrier right after. “We need to move it! Sea train heading right for us!”

“Sea-what?”

Kaku didn’t waste a moment as he spotted the tracks just below the ship. He ran inside and forced the ship to turn. The seatrain just barely missed them much to everyone’s heart pounding terror. The frog, however, held no such surprise. He stood resolutely facing toward the train, in fact.

“GEROH!” challenged the sumo frog as he sat right on the tracks before the barreling vehicle.

*SCREECH! CRASH!*

The frog was sent flying away

“Uhh, what just happened?” asked Usopp.

“Granny! Granny!” piped a little girl from the nearby station. “There are pirates here!”

Granny Kokoro, Chimnee, and Gonbe seemed nice if a little weird for a drunk station master, a completely carefree little girl, and her pet cat-rabbit thing (Chrysis was certain it was rabbit, but it seemed to think it was a cat). Granny Kokoro didn’t call the authorities on them, which was always a plus with civilians. She even helped to explain the sea train’s existence and give them a head start on finding a carpenter to fix their ship.


Water Seven.

Chrysis knew the place if only by reputation. There was hardly a more brilliant, if tragic tale as the one of Tom’s Workers and his bet to create a reliable transport to connect the doomed sinking island to the other ports. With the necessary supplies flowing to the island of ship builders, the seven main docks flourished.

What worried the sidhe was Kaku. The agent didn’t physically change his expression or stance, but his aura did withdraw mostly from Chrysis’s senses; a precaution only done when the agent tried to keep the sidhe from personally reading his emotions. A sign something about Water Seven worried Kaku greatly. Maybe it’s just about the call he needs to make? Chrysis knew the deadline for the CP9 agent’s next report was soon, but something about this situation didn’t quite mesh with that thought.

But, Chrysis trusted Kaku to tell him if he truly thought they would be put in danger.

A city of water. The sidhe oohed and ahhed with the rest of the crew as they sailed to the back entrance. Great fountains and canals connected every corner of the city. Madam Kokoro’s map was grossly simple but her letter of recommendation might come in handy once they found the ship builders’ headquarters.

Zoro stayed on the ship to keep an eye on things while everyone else went about for shopping or to accompany Nami on their gold exchange. Chrysis declared he and Kaku would be exploring the island for a bit. But, before that, Nami dragged him to a shop to purchase a pair of shoes for the still barefoot sidhe. Chrysis was rather glad he kept a small reserve of funds on his person from what he and Kaku earned over their travels, otherwise the greedy navigator would have charged them 200% interest.

As a starter.

They walked alongside the canals, Chrysis stopping to buy a few things like more clothes and some useful supplies. Kaku seemed slightly distracted.

“Kaku?”

No response.

“Kaku.”

Still lost in thought.

“Kaku!” *Thwack*

“Ow! What did you do that for?!” snapped Kaku as he nursed his new head bump.

“Bodyguard-san, you slipped into automatic. I can’t talk to you properly like that and since you only seem to register someone attacking you…”

Kaku blinked and shook his head. “Sorry about that.”

“No, no, it’s fine. You must really have something pretty serious on your mind, though. Normally, you’re fairly hyperaware when we travel through a metropolis as busy as this one. You want to talk about it?”

“No,” was his curt reply.

“Is it because this is Water Seven? Are you afraid you’ll run into some of your old acquaintances here?”

“Chrysalis!” Kaku hissed, “How do you kno- Never mind. With your bad habits, I shouldn’t be surprised. I suppose you found out by raiding your guardian’s office for reports again,” Kaku said, shaking his head at the sidhe’s audacity. At least Chrysalis had the perception to put up a barrier just before they began this conversation, the sound adjustment causing the barrier to be a lighter shade of violet than normal.

“Among other things. I may or may not have listened in to Rivera-sensei arguing pretty insistently with your boss to get you reassign to me because you were originally preparing for a very different sort of mission. Plus, haki, remember? While everyone has their own signature, auras come in layers with my level of skill. There aren’t too many people who give off the feel of a Rokushiki master. Then there’s that thin veil of coldness. Robin actually gives off the same kind of aura at times, not as badly you do still, and the Straw Hats have been chipping away at hers quite a bit, too. The feel of a trained assassin, one with a good amount of experience.”

Kaku let out a frustrated breath. “You’re just determined to make trouble wherever you go.”

“Kaku…relax. Remember my promise? I won’t break it, you know that.”

“That’s what I’m fearful of,” Kaku muttered to himself.

Sidhe didn’t break a promise of their own free will unless it butted heads with their sense of morality. And even then, the psychological effect looked excruciatingly painful. Chrysalis had done a demonstration for the then skeptical CP9 agent when he didn’t look like he would believe the sidhe would really make good on his promise.

Kaku’s buried humanity twinged badly as he watched over the shivering sidhe who couldn’t leave his bed for a couple of days after that, guilt and mental distress of breaking even a small promise hitting the sidhe to an extreme degree. Coldhearted as he was, as close to each other’s ages as they were, the CP9 agent couldn’t stand absolutely stoic through the whole affair. Chrysalis didn’t look any different back then (sidhe having a gift for long lives and extended youth, a curse when it meant they had a delayed puberty), and the sight of so one who looked so much younger spoke to the kindness and naivety of the agent’s buried conscience.

The only reason Chrysis didn’t suffer when he attacked Aokiji, like he promised he wouldn’t, was because he forcefully buried the nausea and pain through determination and fear.

Chrysis eyed his taller companion with a knowing look, being an empath and all. He decisively changed the subject, asking Kaku very noisily about whether he would mind making a stop at the money exchange place, then meet up with the others at Dock 1. The sidhe thought it might be nice to surprise the navigator and everyone with the extra source of funds courtesy of the Skypieans’ generosity.

That giant gold pillar should be worth quite a few beli after all.


Chrysis smirked widely as he and Kaku exited the exchange place. In a few months’ time, an expedition team backed by sidhe’s bankers would make their way to Skypiea and take part of the pillar back down to the Blue Seas. A part because that much gold in the market might actually break it. As it was, Chrysis arranged some of the money to go to paying for some of the rebuilding efforts for the survivors of Enel’s rampage, some to the Saruyama Alliance, and some for the inevitable travel expenses, commission, and the exchange fees.

The exchange agent (a sidhe descendent with the signature tapetum lucidum) couldn’t give them more than a rough estimate since the expedition members would determine how much gold they can bring back, but she knew and trusted the reputation of Chrysis’s family enough to give them the first payment on faith, all of which was safely deposited in an account for the Straw Hat crew specifically; his own accounts were subject to close scrutiny being someone right under the government’s eyes.

In a seemingly better mood, Kaku and Chrysis decided to take a rather scenic route to Dock 1. They returned their yagara bull, much to the confusion of the seller (since the two had transferred their shopping to large bags they hefted on their backs, Kaku’s being larger naturally).

“You sure you don’t need her anymore? You guys look like you have quite a bit of shopping to carry around.”

“Don’t worry about us,” Kaku insisted with a bright smile. “We’ll be fine like this.”

Chrysis chortled at the vendor’s face as Kaku demonstrated how they would make their way through the city now.

By springing right up onto a rooftop and flat out running across before making another heart-stopping leap. The sidhe easily followed, leaps higher and landings light due to his abnormal weight.

They were maybe halfway there when they nearly crashed into someone. Or, rather, someone nearly crashed into them.

Kaku skidded to a stop, easily adjusting his landing for the unexpected dodge to the side. Chrysis also did so. Their unexpected guest not so much.

“Ow! Son of a-!”

“Now, now, you didn’t suffer any severe injuries, so there’s no need for such language,” chided Kaku as he went over to help the other man up. The man was very slim and had a fair complexion. Whiskers adorned the sides of his face, and he had fairly large teeth. He wore a pair of necklaces, one rather rectangular and ornate and the other string of green beads. Chrysis held up the man’s hat, a fedora or cowboy-styled piece of headwear with a bright red plume.

“Oh, my hat! Thanks for that,” chuckled the stranger. “Sorry about that. I was so intrigued by the way you guys were getting around the city, I tried to see if I could do it myself. I suppose I’m lucky I didn’t fall right off the buildings. You guys don’t look familiar, so I take it you must be new to the city. Name’s Nero, a carpenter of Galley-La Company’s Dock 1.”

“You should definitely take more care, kiddo. I’ve had years of practice to make such daring leaps, and Chrysalis has a natural aptitude for acrobatics,” asserted Kaku. His disciplinary tone was a bit spoiled by the easy smile he threw as he complimented Nero on how well he did for a first try.

“Say, you said Dock 1, right?” inquired Chrysis. The man wore a burgundy shirt with the words Galley-La printed on the back. “That’s a coincidence since we’re heading right there. I suppose you tried to use the higher buildings but misjudged the distance since you nearly fell on us.”

“Yep! I’m actually acting as the temporary carpentry foremen due to the last one getting into a pretty bad accident several months ago. Iceburg-san is even considering making it a permanent position!” proudly announced the dockworker. “I’m actually coming back from an assessment, so you guys can just follow me there. That is, if you don’t mind me slowing you guys down.”

“No problem with me. I’m Chrysalis, Chrysis by everyone but this old man. Pleasure to meet you.”

Kaku threw him an exasperated look before smiling at the dockworker. “I’m Kaku, nice to meet you. I’m actual a bit of an amateur carpenter myself. Self-studied with an erratic amount of experience free-lancing at various shipyards.”

“Isn’t that interesting?”

Chrysis chuckled at the two, as they all started leaping the buildings again, albeit at a slower pace and at shorter lengths and heights.


They arrived at Dock 1.

Kaku made a noise of admiration as he saw Nero push the huge steel doors open to let them inside to find their crewmates – whom he had done the assessment for, it seems.

Kaku and Chrysis stayed quiet as Nero put it plainly: the Going Merry wouldn’t be able to sail with them anymore.

Chrysis was a sidhe. And the one thing sidhe valued most was plants. Many of them had a second sense for the energy of plants, actually leading to many sidhe developing Kenbunshoku geared specifically for horticulture, arboriculture, and any other plant-related discipline. The keenest of the sidhe could even sense the “temperament” and “essence” of dead plants. That’s why Kaku could easily study up on carpentry while with Chrysis; his family had several shelves about nothing but woodworking skills and techniques. Chrysis himself could sense the voice of their ship long before she made it to the sky, although faintly.

That and among other things painted a very grave picture for the two before they arrived at the city. They didn’t need Nero to tell them the Going Merry shouldn’t have made it as far as she has. Not with a cracked keel hiding under Usopp’s metal patches.

Then some government worker came by the dockyard. The Straw Hats and the foremen ducked out of the way. Kaku glanced around in worry.

“Guys, wasn’t Usopp supposed to with you?”

Screams pierced the dockyard.

Of 300 million beli they earned from their treasure, the 200 million they entrusted to Usopp (and who thought that was a good idea? For that matter, carrying 300 million in treasure or beli wasn’t too smart of an idea, either) was missing. Those weren’t even their suitcases.

“Hey, you.”

Kaku quirked his head in question as the foreman with the needle hairdo stared at him.

“I thought you had business with the Franky Family?”

Kaku blinked in confusion. “Franky Family? I only just arrived here with Nero-san and Chrysalis.”

“Really? I thought I saw that long nose of yours with them.”

“Long nose?!” snapped Nami. “That’s Usopp!”

Chrysis paid the conversation little mind as dropped to the ground, legs crossed. The closed bulb of his flower headband began to open. He ignored the odd looks thrown his way.

I need to find my crew’s marksman and sniper, Usopp. My friend. Where? His inner eye opened to the auras around him. Look deeper. Broader.

Fine streaks of light, the trails left by the living. Hundreds of thousands of millions of lines connecting all things of life. Each signature so faint, almost imperceptible.’ But not for a user of the World’s Eye. World’s Eye: Memory Sight. The faint traces rose to form phantasms. His mental eyes followed past Usopp as he wandered the shipyard. From examining the cannons to getting jumped by several brutes from the shadows. Them carrying off the sniper. ‘Cries of pain. Blood. Yet, the sniper begged and begged for them to leave the money alone. That it was for the Going Merry.’

Kaku narrowed his eyes as he sensed a wave of simmering rage slipping from the sidhe’s careful control. That will not end well for whoever laid a hand on the sniper. And maybe Kaku agreed with the sentiment. Somewhat. He caught a glimpse of white eyes quickly turning a deep red as the sidhe got up.

The agent dimly noted the Captain running off on Nami’s orders. Without taking the two people who could find the missing sniper with ease.

“Luffy! You should take one of- oh, whatever. He’s already too far to hear,” groaned Nami.

“It doesn’t matter too much. Luffy will be fine on his own. Let’s worry about our missing companion. I got a lock on Usopp, he isn’t too far from here by yagara, but we need to hurry. Kaku?”

The square-long nose turned to the blond shipwright. “I believe your name was Paulie, right? Please, if the Franky Family is a regular nuisance of yours, then you surely have a way to keep track of their movements, correct? If they’re a group of delinquents, then they must have some sort of hideout.”

“The Franky Family’s hideout? Well, yeah, the Franky House. From what you guys told us about where you dock your boat, it should be on the northeast coast of that rocky cape,” answered Paulie. “Wait, why do you need to know that if Long Nose is nearby? Are you going to get your money back from the Franky Family?”

The three’s expression turned grim. Chrysis stepped up and stated, “Usopp’s health is a grave issue right now, but as his fellow pirates, no, as his nakama, we will right the wrongs done against him. The money is hardly that important compared to that.”

The three set out quickly, Nami taking the yagara, Chrysis taking flight by her side, and Kaku leaping across the buildings along their path.

They arrived at the sniper’s location. Chrysis already knew what he would find, but the reality made him want to punch one of those thugs. Usopp was covered from head to toe in blood and bruises. Yet, despite the pain he must be in, the sniper sobbed not for himself but for the lost funds for fixing Merry. He kept saying he couldn’t face the rest of the Straw Hats after losing the money.

“Usopp-san…” Kaku looked at the sniper in worry as he went to work, taking out some silk bandages Chrysalis prepared beforehand. The sidhe had soaked them in a bitter medicinal herb solution, so they stung when applied. However, the cowardly sniper didn’t even flinch as the guard wrapped the worst of his wounds.

“Nami, we need to tell the others back at the ship,” quietly brought up Chrysalis. “Kaku, please stay with her and guard the remaining 100 million beli at the ship. I’ll keep an eye on Usopp. Right now, we can’t risk moving him with those injuries. He needs a proper doctor to look after him. I’m just a apothecarist at best who knows how to take care of severe damage long enough for a real doctor to arrive. But, I can keep him calm and somewhat comfortable while we wait for the others.”

“Okay.”

“…I thought you would argue with me.”

Kaku shook his head. He disliked the idea of leaving his charge alone with the injured man, but he also knew Chrysalis could handle himself and told the sidhe that.

A bunch of thugs were nothing to them, especially when the sidhe was angry.

Although, leaving behind an enraged Chrysalis didn’t sit too well with him. The sidhe, contrary to how he acted, actually had an iron grip over his emotions, rarely letting his anger get to that dangerous point. A truly angry Chrysalis was someone not even Kaku felt comfortable about whether or not he could handle the sidhe.

Chrysis grabbed the younger man as he tried to struggle to his feet, yelling at him to stay still or he would make his wounds worse.

But Usopp was adamant; he would retrieve the money no matter what.

Chrysis clicked his tongue, conflicted. On one hand, letting Usopp go to the Franky House would be a stupid thing at best. On the other hand, Usopp struggling with him like this was already doing a lot of damage considering how red some of the bandages had become. Stubborn, prideful idiot! We went to the trouble of stemming the bleeding and you go and open a bunch of them up anyway!

The sidhe glanced over in the direction of the Merry. Kaku won’t be happy about this but…


Luffy, Zoro, Sanji, and Chopper arrived to the Franky House. Flitting wildly about the even more broken form of Usopp was Chrysis, fairly bruised and bleeding himself, the lower half of one wing bent in half and the other wing cracked in a few places.

“Chrysis.”

“Guys, you’re here! Sorry, sorry, I couldn’t keep Usopp from trying to come here then I failed to keep the Franky Family from doing even more damage!”

“It’s alright. You did your best. Leave this to us!”

“But-”

“You’re still injured from before! Doctor’s orders, so stay here and rest!” Chopper insisted, his human form’s face stern and unyielding. Chrysis clenched his hands but acceded. He had to admit to himself, he wasn’t in the best condition to go picking fights quite yet, not with half of his reserves still depleted, and his natural healing ability still compromised from the wounds of that last battle and the poison. Another reason for why sidhe hated that damn flower – enemies by nature it seemed.

He took the medical bag from Chopper and went to work applying basic field aid to Usopp and himself.

Crashes and explosions rang from the eccentric structure standing just before a field of junk. Chrysis gave a vicious smirk of satisfaction as he felt several auras dim, more to follow. Until there was only three awake in a landscape of rubble, Chopper already back and taking care of the rest of the sniper’s wounds.

Kaku stood stone-faced next to an equally blank Chrysalis. Before them, two teens battled, one by trickery and the other with sheer brute strength.

Dial technology, rather dubious ammo, and some downright foul play wouldn’t be enough in the end. With one last punch, Straw Hat knocked the sniper to the ground. The downed man didn’t get back up.

Their captain then ordered them to pack up their things and leave the Going Merry to Usopp despite their original deal.

Cracking. That was the feeling Chrysis got from his depressed crew. First, Robin had vanished from even a Zoan’s keen sense of smell. Second, the news about Merry’s fate. Third, Usopp and his damn pride. If someone made trouble with the Straw Hats while they were like this…

Speaking of trouble, Chrysis narrowed his eyes as he felt a familiar aura dim greatly before running off. The sidhe went to pursue it.

By morning, the Straw Hats found nothing short of an uproar greeting the morning. Someone attacked Iceburg.

Only after the shock of the news worn off did they noticed something even more ominous: Kaku and Chrysis had disappeared without anyone knowing.

Nami and Zoro both reached the same conclusion, recalling what the two warned them at the start of their reluctant recruitment (if they thought it was temporary, well, Nami thought hers was, too). They would be loyal until their presence would bring danger to the crew. Then they would leave to prevent it from reaching their newly-made friends.

Luffy’s face gained that painful blankness signaling his anger and worry he didn’t want to broadcast to the more sensitive of his crewmates. No matter what their missing nakama thought, the straw-hatted teen wouldn’t give up on them.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

~ otherworldly entity ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, visions’

Black formal clothes. Disguise ready to follow after. Kaku’s hand clenched on the blue fabric as he recalled the conversation from last night:

/ Rushing through the city in the middle of the night, Kaku drew on his old skills, appearing as no more than the wind. Finally, he reached his destination: Blueno’s Bar. He slipped past the drunken customers to a backdoor indicated by the sharp-eyed bar owner.

“I see your skills haven’t gotten too rusty these past few years,” rumbled the smooth baritone of his generation’s strongest and the unspoken leader of the active CP9 agents: Rob Lucci.

“Hello to you, too. It has been a while, huh?” Kaku cheekily replied. The older agent’s expression didn’t change, but his aura did take a bit of a sharp spike before smoothing over. Stop channeling Chrysalis, the CP9 agent side warned him softly.

Hattori fluttered off the stoic raven’s shoulder and flitted to a closed door before returning. Kaku took that as his cue. He walked over, pulling the door open before closing it quietly behind him. As protocol, the room should be soundproof.

A den den-mushi sat on a lone table in the middle of the room, speaker off the hook. Kaku walked over and picked it up.

“Hello?”

[Kaku, it’s been quite a while since we last spoke] greeted a voice that made him cringe inside. Oh joy, his commander. [Anyway, I need you to cooperate with the others stationed in Water Seven. Remember the details of what was supposed to be your mission? Damn that annoying man, thinking he outranked me, the chief of CP9, I had to pull some strings to get someone else to fill in for you. Couldn’t take any of the others off duty since we do need a certain number to pull off all the other missions around here. It was quite the unexpected joy to hear Lucci had seen you in the city today because in a short 24 hours, the culmination of this five-year long mission will be taking place. Lucci suggested you take part, especially as it concerns a certain group of people you’ve allegedly associated yourself with. I do hope you’ve been taking your mysterious other mission seriously]

Kaku didn’t let his facial expression slip at the implied threat. “Sir, my involvement with the Straw Hat crew is a vital part of my mission, to be frank. But, doesn’t that mission take priority? I haven’t been taken off of it, have I?”

There was a shuffling sound from the other side.

[Kaku-kun, as cordial and astute as always. Don’t worry about that, I gave Spandam my go ahead for this. Chrysalis-kun is still your first priority, but he shouldn’t be too much of problem. Right, my student?]

“Rivera-sensei.”

Kaku didn’t bat an eye at the sidhe who had followed him inside save for a very pointed frown.

[Will you be giving your bodyguard a hard time when I order him to take you back home?]

Chrysalis stated tonelessly, “No, sensei. I did promise him I’ll comply if he wants to leave.”

A beat of silence. [You must have realized I’ve connected the dots so far. You sure made your grandfather’s life a headache this past month. G-8, really? But, I expected nothing less than chaos following your wake if you followed in the footsteps of your mother before you. Kaku-kun, go and fulfill Spandam’s orders so long as they do not conflict with your prior responsibilities. Chrysalis-kun please minimize your antagonization of the agents and their chief, please]

“I make no promises on that.”

[That’s understandable]

Another shuffle.

[UNDERSTANDABLE?! Look here, you little brat, if I had known I was sending Kaku to babysit-!]

[Enough, Spandam, you couldn’t do anything, we’ve been over this issue numerous times now. And it’s not like I can tarry here much longer. Anyway, the both of you take care]

*Click* /

Now he was here. Dealing with Luffy wasn’t hard, especially since the rubber boy was still off-balanced from the events the day prior and this morning.

When he unmasked himself alongside the rest of his coworkers, including one he didn’t recognize from before he left.

If he read the conversation with his superiors right, Nero was someone Chief Spandam had promoted hastily in order to fill the empty space his reassignment left. He wasn’t very strong, and Kaku doubted he would last long with someone as cold as Lucci handling the mission; their leader had little patience for the weak or inexperienced.

Nico Robin didn’t physically give anything away, but he could feel the waves of shock and hints of betrayal and bitter acceptance from her aura. He had no illusions that the Straw Hat – former Strat Hat - didn’t at least consider he was like her. She hadn’t evaded the government’s pursuers without honing the finely hone instincts of a professional.

Iceburg glanced around him in shock before fixating on him.

“I can understand Nico Robin’s presence, but I don’t get yours. Why would a member of CP9 be with a bunch of pirates? As infamous as they became, I don’t see why a government-approved assassin would be assigned to them.”

“That’s hardly any of your business,” Kaku coolly replied.

“Enough. Kaku, take his pulse.”

The agent knelt and did as asked. He listened as Lucci outlined his group’s finding on Iceburg’s background, from the wild goose chase the shipwright had led the two of them on, to his past as an apprentice of Water Seven’s legendary company, Tom’s Workers. An apprenticeship shared with one other: the very man whose house the Straw Hats had wrecked. Franky, or Cutty Flam. Someone, who Kaku recalled from his chief’s various rants, was responsible for maiming the CP9 commander eight years prior. The rapid pulse he could feel simply confirmed Lucci’s hypothesis.

Kaku was up and stoically looking down when he felt several familiar auras coming from two directions.

The wall and doors came crashing down.

“WHERE’S ROBIN?!”

“Luffy?!” And that was Roronoa who had casually slashed apart the doors.

Lucci looked at the intruders dispassionately. “Hmph. More hindrances.”

“Robin, I finally found you and-eh? Kaku? What are you doing here and in that get- wait…”

“Che, so, Square-Nose, I see you’re finally showing your true colors,” noted the Santoryu user darkly.

“Kaku-kun?! What are you doing here with these guys and dressed like that? And where’s Chrysis-kun?”

The blond man who had burst through the wall with the straw-hatted captain looked extremely agitated and in denial. “Wait, wasn’t Square-Nose a part of your crew and- Blueno?! Kalifa!! Nero!! Lucci!! What the hell are you guys doing looking like that? Tell me what the hell is going on here?!”

“I would like an explanation, too,” inputted Nami nervously from the doorway.

“Then, let me make this succinct. We’re actually government intelligent agents sent to investigate Iceburg. I know this must all be quite the shock to you, being friends for five years. I take it you don’t believe me so easily, so would it make things clear if I smash Iceburg’s face in right in front of your eyes?” offered Lucci in the same tone he would use to discuss ordinary matters.

The hot-headed shipwright attacked Lucci, but he didn’t have a fraction of the power necessary to meet the deadly assassin’s speed. A Shigan did the rest of the job, taking Paulie out of the fight.

“What the hell?! / What kind of power is that?”

Lucci looked at his audience disdainfully and explained, “This is Rokushiki. Through years of intensive training, this martial arts style can re-forge the human body into a weapon equal to the power of 100 men upon mastery. If you wish to survive intact, stand aside now.”

Straw Hat was never one to stand idly on the sidelines, and he had a promise to keep, too, it seemed. The rubber man grabbed Paulie out of danger, but he was no match for Lucci. Not as he was right now. None of them were.

Yet they still blocked the door. Even after Nico Robin told them she had betrayed their crew for her dreams.

Kaku huffed quietly as Blueno showed off his skills of Tekkai, Kami-e, Soru, and Geppo. Kalifa used Rankyaku, but the square-nosed agent had his hands full as Roronoa crossed blades with his own.

“We trusted you,” Roronoa growled around the meito clenched between his teeth, “but you’ve been a government dog this entire time. Was this just a game to you? And where’s the Butterfly-Bastard? Is he one of you, too?”

“I’m afraid neither of us are any of your concern,” Kaku coldly responded. He suddenly leapt back just as a Rankyaku flew right between the two swordsmen.

“Nero,” Kaku spoked softly – a warning. The younger agent looked unabashed as he rushed Roronoa.

“You, the weasel-bastard,” Roronoa noted. “You’re the one who did the inspection right? If you were an undercover agent, then…”

“Enough, about the Going Merry, Roronoa. I knew that ship’s fate before Nero’s assessment confirmed it. The Merry could no longer sail. I may not be a professional shipwright, but even I know what a broken keel would mean. I also have Mekao-san from G-8’s own assessment, if only by my description of the damages. Whether or not you lot make it out of the city alive, it shan’t be on that broken ship. Oh, and one more thing…Nero, he’s mine!”

Kaku kicked the younger agent out of the way and threw himself back into fighting Roronoa. He could feel the younger agent’s hate from here, but Kaku couldn’t care.

In fact, this was a kindness as Roronoa would have shortly taken care of the other if he had not intervened. Unfortunately for the Santoryu user, he lost his head worrying about Nico Robin and Straw Hat, leaving him wide open for a counterattack courtesy of a Shigan to the torso.

The moment Lucci indulged in his more feral instincts marked the end for the Straw Hats. The man’s natural ability with Rokushiki alone would have crushed the small group of pirates, but the sheer power of Lucci’s leopard hybrid form outclassed them in every way.

Roronoa and Straw Hat were sent flying out of the building. The navigator was tossed to the outside grounds. And the human-reindeer was the only one left mostly untouched compared to his companions. None of them bothered to do much more than tie up the shipwrights and leave them to the flames devouring the agents of darkness’s tracks.


“Our next objective is to capture Cutty Flam,” explained Lucci as they ran over the rooftops. “Blueno, he was seen in your bar earlier, yes?”

“Indeed,” intoned the large man, “but he left soon after looking for Straw Hat.”

“That’s too bad. It would have been easy if he had simply stayed put and waited for us to arrive. Now, how should we find him…?”

“Look there,” pointed out Kalifa.

“Members of the Franky Family,” Blueno dryly noted. “How unfortunate for them.”

Kaku considered for a moment to tell the others he could probably track the shipwright himself; he may not be a true tracking type like Chrysalis, but a cyborg gave off a pretty distinct aura with the slightly different pattern given from nonliving components. However, Kaku was not in a particularly forgiving mood tonight; that and he still had a score to settle against the ship dismantlers.

He kept his expression blank when the failed shipwright hopefuls snubbed Lucci’s questions, but may have been more vicious than the refusal warranted.

Now, it was time to go and meet up with the infamous Cutty Flam who had permanently damaged their commander’s face nearly a decade ago.

Kalifa stepped forward when two women with the same square-cut hairdo opened the door. They didn’t fare against the CP9 agent for any more than a few seconds after refusing their entrance. Franky looked aghast at his unexpected guests, but the one with him was nothing short of dumbstruck.

“K-Kaku?!” stuttered Usopp.

The man in question cocked his head to the side. “Usopp-kun. I must say, I didn’t expect you to take shelter with the man responsible for most of your current wounds.”

“W-what are you doing here? And where’s Chrysis, I thought you guys were-”

“Chrysis. He was the young boy traveling with the Straw Hats, correct? I do wonder why the Straw Hats are so convinced you wouldn’t be that far from him,” questioned Kalifa as she adjusted her glasses.

“That doesn’t really matter,” Kaku calmly stated. He addressed the former Straw Hat. “As I told the others, nothing before matters anymore. You would do best to forget about the both of us, in fact. That is, if you survive.”

Kaku dodged to the side as the blue-haired man charged forward, only to be intercepted by Blueno, both men gripping the other’s head.

“Look, I don’t care about the drama between pirates, but you bastards attacked my poor little sisters who aren’t even of age yet,” snarled the half-metal human.

Blueno came very close to eliminating their last link to the Pluton plans when Franky pushed the insults. The cyborg was very lucky they needed him alive to tell them as Lucci intervened and took over the interrogation.

“Kaku, I don’t understand. Why are the people from Galley-La here and this weird guy?! And why are you acting like you know them pretty well, even wearing the similar outfit as them?!”

“Usopp-kun, I told you you’re better off not knowing some things,” Kaku warned him softly.

There wasn’t much the pair could do against four masters of Rokushiki (Lucci had told him from the get-go that Nero was by all rights a junior agent if Spandam hasn’t rushed his promotion). Four forms weren’t too bad, but also not within the standards of a true CP9 agent. Nero also didn’t give off much of a physical presence, a hallmark of someone not monstrously strong like the top fighters of the Straw Hats. Even his charge could probably beat the agent despite being physically weaker than a normal human if he neglected haki and his more powerful moves. Probably weaponless, too.

Kaku sighed inwardly at Usopp’s one act of short-lived courage. But he didn’t hesitate to strike the Straw Hat down.

“Kaku, I take it from your conversation that this man is a member of the Straw Hats?” asked Kalifa.

Kaku shrugged, “Technically he was, but he got into a fight with Straw Hat and was expelled.”

“Well, if he is no longer a Straw Hat but still pursuing the path of a pirate, then we should take him with us, I suppose,” considered Kalifa. With the go ahead from Lucci, the sole female member of their group went to tie up the sniper like she did Franky.

Kaku turned to inspect the Going Merry. “Out of professional interest, how did you manage to get part of this ship torn off like this already?” the agent asked with a mild tone.

“Sheesh, what did he do to it?” Nero remarked, walking alongside the older agent. “I know it was pretty patched up before, but this is a bit too much.”

Kaku ran a hand down the hull.

~ …sorry… ~ Kaku nearly flinched. What was that?

“Hmm, well, we may have been undercover, but we are professionals nonetheless. Now…”

Kaku shook his head, party at Nero and partly at the quiet whispering in his head. “Allow me.”

He ignored the sniper’s protests as he walked over to a lever. With one pull, the water rushed out, taking the Merry out to sea in the middle of the season’s most dangerous tidal phenomena.

MERRY! You bastard! I-no, we trusted you!” screamed Usopp, tears of rage, betrayal, and despair in his eyes as his final nakama disappeared from sight.


They met up with the various government agents and marines called into Water Seven earlier that day, Nico Robin already on board the train.

“Damn it, let go! Let go!” shouted the trussed-up pirate. His shouts suddenly cut off from a single touch on his nose.

Blueno stopped short, eyeing the only Straw Hat still missing during the entire affair of this night. A young man who seemingly was able to drift back and forth on the air.

“Chrysalis, stop showing off.”

The young man nodded once toward the square-nosed agent and suddenly let his weight fall to the ground. He looked at the dangerous assassins with amusement. “Buzz,” he explained, “a form of Geppo and Soru condensing the effects of the latter in very small movements. Basically, I was tapping the air with my feet faster than the eyes can track to appear as if floating on air. Neat, huh?”

“So, this is Chrysalis,” noted Lucci, “and he knows at least two of the six powers. Kaku?”

“He was the reason for my mission reassignment,” Kaku replied evenly. “I was given a bodyguard detail with an emphasis on taking discretionary action should it be needed. I am still on assignment, technically, but so long as Chrysalis is not in danger, I am free to fulfill our chief’s orders as well. He’s coming with us and then I am to escort him to Marine Headquarters as per orders.”

Lucci eyed the sidhe critically. “Was he the reason you were with the Straw Hats?”

“Yes,” Chrysalis interrupted before Kaku could answer. “I insisted we stick around these guys, but only temporarily. But Kaku never really wanted to be around these guys like I did. However, I know, like Robin, what the consequences would be if I stayed any longer. Why don’t we hurry things along, yes? If we stay too much longer, one of those huge waves building up from afar will drag us out to sea.”

Usopp’s gaze darted and back between his two former crewmates. His mouth opened several times without any success of being heard.

Kalifa adjusted her glasses as she regarded the phenomenon. “Devil fruit power?”

“Yep. Well? Are we boarding the train or just going to quibble here?”

“I suppose this young man’s attitude would explain some of your own,” rumbled Blueno with a bored tone. Kaku didn’t acknowledge the statement with any more than a tilt of his cap.

Chrysis sat crisscrossed on top of the back of the seat where Kaku sat. Before boarding, Chrysis had removed the effects of Calm on Usopp, gagging him and stepping away before the sniper could get out a single word. Nero was regulated to sitting in the car behind them. The man himself thought it was an honor to act as one of the last line of defense before the other members of CP9, but Chrysis knew it was more of a test to see if the Sea Weasel was really worthy of going to the Justice Island as a full-fledged member of CP9.

Antennae still hidden in his hair very subtly flicked.

What are you going to do about our guest?

Kaku’s aura shifted. ‘Deep thought. Slight sense of conflict. Acceptance.’

In the end, the agent would do as the mission would require of him.

Although, that didn’t mean he would reveal any of the other skills he learned while with the sidhe. Both haki users tracked the movements of the lone Straw Hat as he made his way through two cars, taking the sniper and ship dismantler with him to the top of the train.

The sudden removal of auras could only be explained by the trio either killing the marine soldiers and agents in one great and fast attack, or by unhooking the two cars from the rest of the train. Kaku pegged it to be the latter as confirmed shortly after by Corgi. If he was still a Straw Hat, Kaku would be pinching the bridge of his nose as he sensed the other long-nosed man scaling the side of the train and into the first train car.

Three, two, one…

Wanze came flying through the cars just as Franky pounded Nero through the roof. The former was truly knocked out cold, but the younger agent shortly got back up. Chrysalis was glowering at Lucci as the man approached his comrade. Or former comrade as the dark assassin sent the other flying into the stormy sea.

Merciless thought Kaku. They all were, but that cat Zoan especially.

“Kalifa, make a note on the report stating that the new guy was too weak, nothing but worthless trash who couldn’t take down one thug,” denounced the cold assassin, “which is why Kaku should have been on this mission at the start.”

“Understood.”

“So, these guys are supposed to be agents of justice? Pretty certain they’re even more evil than us,” remarked Sanji as he took a drag of his cigarette.

Chrysalis naturally agreed (well, Kaku agreed as well to some extent). “That’s the point, Sanji. CP9 are the government’s hands who mete out Dark Justice from out of sight. Evil done in the name of good. Follows the end justifies the means philosophy courted by Absolute Justice.”

“Chrysis? Oi, what are you doing with these guys? I don’t quite understand what the hell is going on with you two, but since you’re not an agent-bastard, hurry up and get your ass over here!”

“No. I told you guys at the beginning that our arrangement was temporary. You guys don’t have the power to stop what kind of danger I can bring to you,” Chrysalis firmly stated. “At least, that what Kaku thinks, and I have to say from your other crewmates’ performance earlier, he may be justified then.”

“Do not move from Kaku’s side,” warned Lucci as he coolly regarded the two interlopers. “I suppose you are here for Nico Robin?”

“Fine, fine, you Shitty Butterfly. But you’re going to come with us to at least tell our shitty captain that yourself!”

“How presumptuous of you,” sneered Lucci. “And I’m afraid that won’t be happening. You little pests really don’t understand the situation, the sword hanging over that woman’s head. There are some people in this world who should not have been born or are better off dead, people whose very existence sows chaos upon this world. For example, if one person had the power to awaken a sleeping beast more than capable of destroying the world, even if she was but eight-years-old at the time…then our course if clear: we should do everything in our power to eliminate her for the sake of the world.”

“So? Your point?”

“Simply to enlighten all of you of Nico Robin’s original crime. Now, she had reaped many more crimes to her name, but before, her very existence became a sin! Her death can only serve to bring justice and peace, that is the fate she has no choice but to accept.”

“But only after the World Government is finished making use of the power you have feared being in her hands,” interjected Chrysalis softly, tone simmering mostly with frustration. “If you can make use of someone so condemned, then why shouldn’t you? That’s why CP9 has gone around making deals, right? After all, there are only a small number of individuals who have the power to awaken the ancient weapons. In anyone else’s hands, they could mean the world’s destruction, but surely not if wielded by your superiors.”

He didn’t flinch when a flying Shigan narrowly missed his cheek, splintering the window across from him.

“Chrysalis, quiet,” hissed Kaku under his breath. The sidhe didn’t react beyond flicking away some of the strands of hair split by the attack.

Sanji didn’t care for the assassin’s words, nor the implications of the sidhe’s. He attacked. A door slammed open. The room went still.

Nico Robin’s entrance drew everyone’s gaze on her. With a cold look, she threw Usopp off her. Kaku arched his eyebrows slightly as he took in the sniper’s getup. Ah…a compromise between a man’s pride and a friend’s worry. A very poor mask to hide behind, but whatever worked. He turned back to look at Robin. The dark-haired woman looked back blankly.

“What will it take for you people to understand? My words seem to do nothing to convince you, nor do my actions, so what must I do to make this clear: give up on me and leave me alone. This is my choice,” Nico Robin stated without a hint of emotion.

Chrysis gritted back the words threatening to bite as the dove and leopard-bastard laughed at his former crewmates’ shocked looks.

“Franky!! Go and cut the third car loose!” commanded the chef as he turned to the cold regard of the CP9 agents. The others no doubt informed the other blond of what kind of foes they were facing.

“What? Why?!” questioned Franky.

“So, we can get the hell away from these crazy monsters!” answered Sanji, exasperated.

Pink smoke suddenly exploded from the “Sogeking’s” Smoke Star. Chrysis dodged out of the way of the hand darting for him, easily alighting onto the back of another seat.

“Usopp, just get over here!”

The pirates and cyborg boarded the other train car then Franky disconnected the two cars.

Suddenly, black thorny vines hooked into their car.

The CP9 agents horribly outclassed and outnumbered them all. As a last-ditch effort, Franky charged, ramming the door and wall of the car into the other.

A nice gesture but only that. An Air Door courtesy of Blueno’s Doa Doa no Mi powers, and they had Nico Robin back in their hands.

The Air Door closed and with it the hopes the two pirates could pull off the rescue by themselves.

Kaku ignored the slight pang of his conscience as he joined the sidhe on the back of the car seat.

“That won’t be the last we see of them,” the sidhe whispered under his breath.

Kaku inclined his head softly in acknowledgement. Knowing the Straw Hat Pirates, they would be foolish enough to travel to the last place any other pirate would go: Enies Lobby.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

~ otherworldly entity ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, visions’

A short period later, the sounds of crashing waves and rain fell away. Light replaced darkness.

Five years, considered Kaku. He looked distantly on the distant island surrounded by eternal daylight. Enies Lobby, the Nightless Island, the final stop before passing into the worst places criminals could enter. Beyond Enies Lobby was Marine Headquarters and the infamous prison of Impel Down.

An island that has yet to fallen due to its guardians, CP9.

800 years and each generation has unfailingly warded off all opposition.

As he watched the island gradually come closer into view, he couldn’t help but recall the day he last left it.

/ “Sir? Kalifa said you needed to see me?”

It wasn’t unordinary for their chief to talk with them individually, but Kaku had only finished speaking with the man earlier this morning. It was nighttime – as much as Enies Lobby had a nighttime – and the commander looked worse for wear. A vein in his forehead was popping out, and he was gritting his teeth.

“Yes, I did, didn’t I,” growled the man. “I’m afraid you won’t be going with the others to Water Seven.”

“Excuse me sir for my presumptuousness, but why not? If it’s a matter of age or experience-”

Chief Spandam waved away Kaku words and stated between the grinding of his teeth, “I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do. This matter apparently goes over even my head. I’ll get someone else to cover for you, but you won’t be staying here nevertheless. One of the higher-ups is looking for a CP9 agent to do a mission for them. Very hush hush, not even I know most of the details beyond the fact that’s it’s work above this agency’s level technically.”

“Above our level?” inquired Kaku with an arched brow.

“Don’t ask me, you’ll find out shortly yourself. The ship leaves in an hour, so hurry up and pack your stuff. Your overseer for this mission said it’ll be an extended one like your original mission and to bring your katanas, too.”

Kaku paused in question, but the chief simply waved him to leave.

Kaku looked out at the sight. The marine ship he had boarded had brought him to Marine Headquarters. Strange. He’s been by this place before, but always because they had something to personally bring to the higher-ups here. Most of the marines didn’t much care for the dark hand of the law, after all.

He followed a marine into the building. The marine stood to wait outside the door as the voice inside called him inside.

A simple looking man with dull brown hair and blues eyes glanced up from a mess of papers strewn about the room.

“Kaku, pleasure to meet you. I am Rivera, co-commander of Cipher Pol 0,” the man introduced himself as.

CP0? Kaku never heard of them. At least his own agency was known as a phantom told by citizen and rogue alike with hushed fear.

As if sensing Kaku’s questions, the man explained, “CP0, also called Aigis 0, is the agency in charge of the New World, and specifically the affairs and interests of the highest authorities of our world: The World Nobles. Hmm, you’re not familiar with the colloquial terms for Grand Line, are you? The New World is the name given to the latter half due to it how much more dangerous it is compared to the first half. This part of the Grand Line also has its nickname, but I’ll leave that to Chrysalis-kun to explain.”

“Pardon? Sir, about my mission…”

“Oh, yes! Your mission is a bodyguard detail. Unconventional, I know, but it’s important work! Watch over your charge, don’t let anyone make off with him or harm him permanently, and make sure he doesn’t get into something over his head. Simple. In theory. Because the person I speak of is part of the World Nobles, normally a member of CP0 would watch over them – which has been me for most of Chrysalis-kun’s life. However, I may not look it, but I’m in my mid-sixties. And in charge of coordinating my own subordinates’ missions on top of the ones I personally carry out.

When Chrysalis was younger, this wasn’t much of a problem since he had relatives who could watch over him after his mother passed away. However, my charge has gotten…precocious in his teenage years. He refuses to listen to his grandfather or me. At least, not completely. This mess is actually a result of an impromptu fight he had with one of my agents earlier today. My agents sometimes take care of him, but do not care much for him on a personal level, nor he they. I rather not have this kind of mess being escalated if I officially assign one of them to him, thus we have you.”

“Sir, not to demean my own abilities, but wouldn’t someone else be more suitable? Both Jyabura and Rob Lucci are much stronger than I am,” protested Kaku.

“I know that,” Commander Rivera stated calmly. “I’m actually responsible for scoping out members of the other Cipher Pols for potential CP0 recruits, and I do yearly assessments on CP9 members specifically. Before Spandam and Spandine, I was the chief of CP9, although I rather you not compare me to them, either. I did work as a field agent prior to that. My point is that both agents may have the physical power, Rob Lucci especially, but their personalities are less than desirable.

As I said, my charge is precocious. And highly preceptive. With my agents, Chrysalis-kun can barely stand any of them, and anytime I ask one to watch him for me temporarily, they end up losing track of him, and Chrysalis-kun goes and either pulls a prank on several of the marines around here, snoops into places he shouldn’t, or outright goes off to another island or several until we can spare someone to fetch him back. I personally don’t care about his hijinks, but upper command cannot have him wandering around alone. That’s where you come in. Befriend him.”

“Lucci and Jyabura could certain earn his-”

Commander Rivera interjected, “No, they can’t. Not with their kind of personalities. For all that they can put up a good-guy front, Chrysalis would see through it instantly. That’s an inherent skill of his, you see. They’ll give off too much bloodlust and coldness no matter what they do. You, on the other hand, may have the best shot. You might not like hearing this, but Chrysalis should be able to see through your mask; he’d be able to tell that you won’t be faking it if you choose to act genuinely nice. And don’t deny it, you’re naturally predisposed as a fairly polite and honest young man. Plus, Chrysalis-kun is only a year younger than you, so that’s in your favor since most of my agents are quite a bit older than him. And ones who are not…rub him the wrong way.

And if you’re still unsure of your own power, let’s just say simply being around Chrysalis-kun and his shenanigans long enough should help you progress rather quickly. The young noble is also my martial arts student, so feel free to distract him from any unwise action by sparring with him, that usually can keep him occupy. If you can convince him from running off, good, but as long as you’re with him if he does, then that’s fine, too.

I’ve cleared your living expenses and needs, and you’re free to wander both Mariejois and Marinford when Chrysalis is staying in either area. Feel free to take a look around this place while you’re at it.”

And that was a clear dismissal as the agent went back to his scattered paperwork.

Kaku didn’t know what to make of his new mission. Bodyguard detail? And for a World Noble? He wasn’t sure whether this was a promotion, or a degradation of his abilities as an assassin. What kind of trouble can a Tenryuubito get into? Only fools attacked the World Nobles. And how would Kaku get along with this guy? Normal nobles were pretentious, but World Nobles were said to look down upon anyone below their station.

“Hi!” Kaku nearly struck at the speaker who had somehow appeared behind him. He turned and saw a young child, maybe twelve years old at best staring back at him with blatant curiosity.

“I heard there was someone interesting nearby. Are you a Cipher Pol agent since you’re dressed pretty darkly and formally compared to the marines here? Would you care for a game?”

Kaku sighed, “Look, kid-”

“Not a kid!” the kid pouted. “I bet you’re not too much older than me, old man!”

“Old man?” Kaku couldn’t help but scoff. “Just because I’m older-”

“And talk like it,” added the annoying brat.

“-than you, doesn’t make me an old man. And don’t you have someone else to play games with?”

“Hmm, I suppose, but Sensei said no to bother his subordinates or drive them crazy again. So, would you like to play a game of Tag and Seek?”

Kaku agreed if only so the kid would quit pestering him, but he had an uneasy feeling about this. Especially after the kid started to grin rather evilly.

“Oh, and by the way, Kaku-san, name’s Chrysis, spelled like you removed the “al” in Chrysalis. Pleasure to meet you~”

Kaku spent the next several hours chasing the not-kid/apparent charge. He had to admit, he didn’t consider martial arts instructor meant the kid knew some Rokushiki, never mind the variations he pulled off. Including a Soru too quick for even his eyes. The kid had even pushed him to panting after the impromptu chase through headquarters.

It seemed like Chrysalis had led him to an empty sparring room. Kaku noted during their “game” how the younger man - and this tiny kid was really 17? - took paths that never intersected with that of another marine somehow. That should have been impossible even if he knew all the patrol routes since there should always be the errant marine running about the base since this was their headquarters. Chrysalis had stopped here and proposed they have a match to see how they ranked against each other.

Kaku was confident in his abilities, but that didn’t work so well if he couldn’t get a hit in. Plus, there was something off with the other’s body. His few connected strikes pushed the sidhe much farther than they should, and the kid was way too light altogether.

“Okay, I’ve decided!” announced the kid as he backflipped over him. Kaku felt a sharp sort of satisfaction to see the other looked more worn down than him. He stopped in his tracks when the teen didn’t fall back down but fluttered in place. Fluttered because he had a pair of large insect wings reminiscent of a moth’s wings firmly attached to his back.

He’s a devil fruit user?

Well, a Zoan was a Zoan, and that category of fruit always lent their users a boost physically. Even if the model was of an insect. It also explained the lightness since insects tended to be built in mind for speed, not power. Chrysalis touched down lightly in front of him.

“So, what did you decide?” Kaku inquired hesitantly after a few moments of staring.

“Why, I decided I’ll let you come with me when I run rampant!” he cheekily replied.

That didn’t sound too reassuring.

Especially a few days later when the agent found himself on a ship heading for some island in the New World, his newly-made charge hiding somewhere in the galleon’s bowels /

From there, Chrysalis gave the agent a crash course tutorial into haki and why they called this side Paradise. In retrospect, Kaku must have really impressed the sidhe since he actually accounted for where that ship was heading, and the power level of the crew that they eventually fought once they realize they had stowaways after docking. They weren’t that strong save for their basic knowledge of Busoshoku and Kenbunshoku, the latter becoming something the agent loathed until he awakened his own power.

But, despite the constant trouble Chrysalis brought on them, the times he nearly got both of them killed, and this latest fiasco, the CP9 agent couldn’t say he regretted any of it. The agent thought about their current situation. Somehow, the agent knew things won’t be the same as when they casually traveled around the Grand Line for what the sidhe considered an interesting adventure.


Spandam looked as annoying as the sidhe recalled, though the face mask at least made him more interesting now.

“Welcome back! Lucci, Kaku, Blueno, Kalifa,” greeted the disfigured man.

“That’s sexual harassment,” stated the woman in question.

“Wha- Just by saying your name?! And…YOU! Christopher!”

“Chrysalis, though I prefer Chrysis,” stated the sidhe coolly, “Spanda.”

“It’s Spandam, you brat!”

“I’m sorry? Did you Pandam?”

The roguish looking man on the couch outright laughed.

“Why you little brat-!”

“Spanda, Pandam, I think both sound better. And, you could probably work out a better life as a cross between an herb and a bear. Both have better morals than you,” Chrysis snidely remarked.

“Grr…fine! Whatever. I’m not about to succeed in my dream only to be black-marked because of you!”

Jahahaha! So, why the brat here anyway?”

Kaku threw Chrysis a look and explained, “Chrysalis is a part of my own mission, but I have been cleared to work this one simultaneously. I am first and foremost in charge of his well-being, though.”

Jyabura took one look at the child-like young adult and burst into laughter. “JAHAHAHA! Really? Babysitting duty, Kaku? And here I thought you’ve been wherever the cat bastard been. How’s the job working out then?”

“It has been quite an adventurous and enlightening experience,” Kaku curtly replied.

“And speaking about pussyfooting, how it’s been Lucci? Your flat mug hasn’t changed a bit!”

“The same can be said of you, Jyabura. Perhaps you should try fighting Kaku’s charge first before picking a fight with me, hmm? I think he’s more of your level.”

“Enough, enough! Chief Rivera is certainly not someone I would mess with as my predecessor’s predecessor! Jyabura, stop picking on Kaku and don’t you dare lay a hand on his charge. Let me make this very clear; I don’t want to die, so no funny business any of you! Because, if the kid somehow dies en route, it’ll be on all our heads!”

Chrysis blinked. That…probably was the smartest thing he heard from Spandam’s mouth. Too bad he ruined it when he went on to list each “criminal’s” list of crimes.

Suddenly, the green-haired, ball-shaped man with a zipper mouth (how did one get a zipper for lips and teeth exactly?) flew into Kalifa, Blueno, Kaku, and Lucci. The latter smashed him right toward Chrysis. Annoyed, Chrysis unfurled his wings to give him some altitude before diving down for a kick.

“Chyapapa!” exclaimed the strange man as he hurled straight into the floor, cracking the tiles. Said man spared the sidhe a scowl before going back to whatever he was doing.

"Rokushiki Ryuugi!!! Teaswase! Using a typical armed marine as a standard of 10 douriki your strengths can be evaluated as…

Kalifa at 630 douriki. Blueno at 820 douriki. Kaku…! 3500 douriki, wow, that’s amazing! And Lucci…huh?” The man’s eyes flew open. “Amazing! 4000 douriki!”

Jyabura, the large man who was lounging on the couch and spouting off his mouth, didn’t look or sound all too happy. “Are you kidding me, Fukurou? 4000 douriki?! That’s a ridiculously high number! I’ve never heard anyone with anything like that before!”

“He’s gotten stronger, chyapapa! They’ve all gotten stronger!” Fukurou shot the sidhe a disbelieving look. “If you’re mad about that, then get this! The kid is at 2190 douriki!”

If the suddenly materialized scoreboard was right, that was 10 more points than Jyabura.

“Is he now?” purred Lucci, dark eyes gleaming. Chrysis didn’t waver his own stare, even under that predatory scrutiny.

Jyabura practically exploded in anger. “Seriously?! Not only is the cat-bastard and Square-Nose ranked higher, but this little punk, too? Forget the cat-bastard for a moment, how the hell are those two stronger than me?!”

Chrysis and Kaku’s eyes darted to one another for the briefest moment. Sometime soon after Kaku learned the basics of Busoshoku, the agent brought up a very valid point; how did learning haki affect a power reading?

If the sidhe had heard it right from his mentor, it would indeed have some effect considering Busoshoku was mix of physical and mental strength, so such a power reading would not only pick up on the physical implications of haki mastery but also a touch of one’s spiritual energy. Thus, the enhanced number flirting closely to the much scarier Lucci. There was one other thing, but Chrysis didn’t think that would help Jyabura’s apparently touchy opinion of his own standings.

“Yoyoi! Kaku has been very~y diligent while he’s been go~one,” Kumadori drawled. “Pe~erhaps, his young friend there was ke~ey. He must be ve~ery important to the commander’s supe~eriors.”

“Hell no! Especially to some butterfly and square like them! Listen, Kaku, don’t think because your rank is higher means you’re stronger than me! The Teawase only measures physical strength, excluding the boost I get from my devil fruit!”

“Does it matter?” Kaku noted calmly despite the angry wolf Zoan shouting at him. “I don’t particularly care what you do, Jyabura, nor about who’s stronger.” Especially since I know for a fact that no one outside of CP0 in the collective Cipher Pol agencies were taught haki except for me.

In a true contest between them, this would give Kaku quite an advantage since Chrysalis had an interesting trick of bypassing Tekkai without effort with small doses of his Busoshoku asserted just so. And unlike the frailer man, that discipline was Kaku’s specialty, although his Kenbunshoku didn’t fall that far behind.

Jyabura snarled and asserted, “And I’m sure a pathetic butterfly doesn’t compare to me!”

“Says the mutt,” Chrysis shot back without his usual brand of sarcasm and amusement layering his tone.

Jyabura looked at the sidhe with the serious thought of whether he could get away with mauling the brat. Just a little, nothing permanent.

“Enough. Neither of you should bother with the barking of a mad dog,” sneered the leopard man.

Jyabura growled, “Say that again, Lucci?! Who are you calling a mad dog, you feral cat!”

Both men transformed, growls and snarls erupting.

An image of Roronoa and the Straw Hats’ chef fighting suddenly popped up in Kaku’s mind. A snicker and a quick glance told the agent he wasn’t the only one reminded of another infamous pair’s constant fighting.

Kaku shook his head of the imagery and joined Kalifa in telling off the two Zoans.

Jyabura seemed to calm down – or rather have his anger redirected – when Fukurou opened his big mouth about his breakup with someone named Gatherine, which the agent had spread across all of Enies Lobby apparently.

Kaku inwardly sighed at the antics of his coworkers. It’s like we’ve never left the island.

“Would you lot quit with the ranking thing! It doesn’t really matter long-term. Once you all completed your Rokushiki training, you’ve all gain superhuman power. Even at 500 douriki, you can topple armies,” reprimanded the chief.

Fukurou unzipped his mouth and stage-whispered, “The director’s douriki is only 9, though. He’s weaker than the soldiers, chyapapa!”

“Shut it!” the lavender-haired man sputtered. “Why does it matter? I’m only your supervisor, plus I have my sword should I need it!!”

Kalifa adjusted her glasses and stated, “That’s alright, chief. Everyone knows your pretty weak.”

“Now, Kalifa, no need to be so honest…”

“That’s sexual harassment, sir.” After a moment, Kalifa spoke up again, “Sir..”

“Umm, what?”

“That’s sexual harassment.”

“What?! Just for my existence?!”

Chrysalis wasn’t even bothering to hide it anymore as he burst into high-pitched laughter, wings flutteringly wildly out and flashing different shades of a neon rainbow.

Their commander glared at the hysterically laughing sidhe.

“Commander! Yoyo, Kalifa, you shouldn’t disrespect our leader so…! Sir…I…I’ll commit seppuku to atone for my colleague’s actions!” cried out Kumadori. He thrust the end of his staff toward his torso only for it to deflect off his Tekkai.

 At least it wasn’t a katana – those shattered and usually came from the ginger’s own collection after Kumadori was banished from the armory’s collection. The pink-haired assassin looked disheartened as he bemoaned, “Why can’t I die? Is my mother in heaven stopping me from dying?”

“Kumadori-san…I’m pretty certain I saw your mother hale and hearty and a bit bloodied in Rivera-sensei’s officer a few months ago. Pretty certain it’s not possible for her to stop you from heaven if she’s down on earth,” pointed out Chrysalis.

“KUMADORI! Go and die already if your mother isn’t the one stopping you!” screamed Jyabura.

Chrysis visualized his emotions and shoving them into a box which he threw into the darkest part of a lake in his mind’s eye. If he didn’t, he may try to kill Spandumb for being an abusive bastard after he stomped on Franky and started to monologue about this whole awful plot. Then Spandam punched Robin, admitted he wouldn’t keep to the spirit of his deal with her, and started to beat on both prisoners.

His vision burned red.

Kaku flinched as waves of rage much sharper than the previous ones back at Water Seven burst from the sidhe sitting on his chair arm. Chrysis’s eyes shined that telltale red, meaning the agent had a second before-

*CLANG!*

Kaku kept his crossed katanas steady, just barely stopping the sidhe’s sudden lunge. What Chrysis lacked in traditional strength he more than made up with explosive speed. Simply blocking the black-edged fans with his own haki-enhanced blades forced him to skid back, only a foot away from being rushed into the chief. With the sidhe’s momentum stopped, Kaku could now bear down against the smaller and not nearly as physically strong man.

“Chrysalis, yield!”

Blank red eyes flashed darkly before the color swirled back into their normal mix of shades. The agent relaxed his grip on his swords as Chrysalis’s conscience returned. Black turned back to gray as the evidence of Busoshoku faded from both of their weapons. At the same time, both blade users set their weapons down at their sides.

“Wha- What is the meaning of this?!”

Kaku didn’t turn around as he stated emotionlessly, “The reason why a fully-trained agent of our caliber or higher is needed. One to protect Chrysalis. And two, to protect Chrysalis and others from himself. Chief, not to criticize your methods, but I suggest we move along this discussion. Kid’s small, but if you really peeve him off, I’m not sure if I can stop him before he maims you.”

For once, the commander listened to reason and quickly closed things, though not without preening a bit in their accomplishments. This was something Kaku was not sorry to leave behind again once the convoy ship arrived; he liked being an assassin, but he could do without listening to his chief’s rants, self-congratulations, or fits of random rage.


Chrysis canted his head to the side. After listening to Jyabura’s admission of being a secret intelligence agent who believed in stupid superstitions about devils and some sort of battle royale, the sidhe had taken to studying Chief Spandam’s surprising gift to the two agents: a pair of devil fruits. Chrysis frowned as he considered how a toady like Spandam could have possibly gotten his hands on them, devil fruits were extremely hard to get even on the black market. Since the sidhe has browsed several different devil fruit compendiums owned by his grandfather and CP0 guardian, these fruits were indeed undocumented ones.

Rob Lucci offered to host them in his room while Kalifa and Kaku debated about eating the devil fruits.

“Such a strange power they emit…to think such fruits originate from this world at all. It’s almost like they’re drawing me in to eat one,” Kaku remarked, expression drawn into a mix of a frown and a look of anticipation. “I don’t recall seeing either in my picture encyclopedia either. Chrysalis?”

The sidhe shook his head. “Nor any of the ones I’ve browsed on my grandfather or Rivera-sensei’s shelf.”

“And not an unexpected response,” noted Kalifa. “Devil fruits do not get their name for nothing.”

Chrysis disliked the guy, but Rob Lucci was quite an eloquent and sharp guy. One of the greatest concerns with consuming these fruits was that one would learn the name of one’s fruit by the power it gave but as rare as they were, the powers of the devil fruits were practically anything one could name; it was a test of luck whether or not the power they got would be worth losing one’s swimming ability. Choose wrong, and one ended up with a weird power and the disdain of most of normal society. However, devil fruits rarely interfered with the innate powers or proficiency of their users, that was true. It was doubtful they would get another chance to find a fruit if they declined this one.

“Kalifa, Kaku, don’t eat them! Don’t you know how awful they taste? Like shit, I’d tell ya!” yelled the wolf man. He and the other two were lingering by the doors for some reason.

Fukurou inputted, “Chyapapa! Jyabura is just jealous! He doesn’t want Kaku to power up!”

With a sigh, Chrysis offered his hands out to Kaku. Without a word, Kaku handed over the almost magenta colored bananas.

Chrysis close his eyes. Traceries of white light slowly enveloped the fruit. His antennae quivered before lifting up from his mop of hair and reaching out above the fruit. He hummed, “Interesting. Well…it’s a Zoan type for sure.”

“Hold on, what is the kid doing to your fruit?” Jyabura scowled in confusion.

“Examining it,” the sidhe deadpanned. “The energy given off reminds me of this one Zoan in particular – a really scary one, too, even if he was an herbivore. I can say for sure it’s probably a ruminant of some sort. Of course, that could be any number of 200 some species of mammals. The only other thing I can see that might be significant is the sense of a really hot and dry place and trees.”

Kaku accepted back his fruit.

Kalifa eyed the sidhe carefully before handing her own fruit over.

“Hey, hey! Why are you entrusting your fruit to him? He could try and steal it, or eat it, or something!”

“Jyabura, didn’t we just go over why eating a second fruit is the pinnacle of arrogance? Or is that too many syllables for your mutt brain?” drawled Lucci.

The sidhe ignored the two Zoans and focused on the purple fruit. “Hmm. Paramecia. Harder to say what exactly but I would guess it belongs to the same family as Tsuru-sama’s fruit.”

“Family?” inquired Kalifa. Chrysis absentmindedly nodded his head, wings rustling along his back.

“Yeah. My family likes to categorize fruits according to a slightly different system, usually according to shared or similar traits. Zoans for the most part remain with each other except for the mythical Zoans like the phoenix one. Some fruits cross over families, but we’ve made a pretty thorough list for the Paramecia types with some of the Logia crossing in at times. For example, the earth category would include mineral shifters who are Paramecia types who shift their skin into rocky material and also Logia’s like say the Suna Suna fruit since they all share a similar mineral-based composition,” Chrysis explained, words sharp and clear.

“Okay, so Tsuru…wait, that name sounds familiar…”

“Vice Admiral Tsuru, I would say,” Kaku contributed. “She’s a washing human, isn’t she?”

“Yep. Quite scary since she can even threaten to clean evil from the victims of her powers. So, Kalifa’s fruit would be related to water and/or cleanliness,” Chrysis hypothesized.

The glasses-wearing agent didn’t look displeased about that as she took back her fruit from the sidhe. “A vice admiral? Well, if she had managed so far with such a type of fruit…” She then asked him, “How are you able to identify devil fruit attributes?”

Instead of answering directly, Chrysis simply alluded, “How do animals sense danger, or my former crewmate know precisely when a storm is about to rain hell on us when the sky is crystal clear? It’s something of a mix between inherent power and experience. That and advanced senses. These antennae are more than show; I can literally scent the hot and dry smell form Kaku’s fruit, and the bitter-sweet aroma of some sort of washing product from your own. As for the other things…I suppose you’re free to guess as you will.”

“Yoyoi! What an inte~eresting, chi~ild, you’ve had the pleasure of me~eting, Kaku.”

“Interesting? He’s being a damn brat and not answering any of our questions directly!” complained Jyabura. “So, what are you guys going to do? Are you still going to eat them knowing kind of what powers they’ll give you?”

Kaku weighed the pros and cons in his head. On one hand, a Zoan no matter it species would endow him with better close-combat power. On the other hand… not being able to swim would suck. Especially if he went back to traveling with Chrysalis. The sidhe wasn’t like Straw Hat, but there had been times it couldn’t be help but for the younger man to dive into the sea, depending entirely on Kaku’s ability to reach him in time before he drowned.

Chrysalis gave the agent a tiny smirk, antennae twitching. Go ahead. I'm not holding you back from this opportunity.

Then with a careless shrug, he peeled back the skin and took a bite of his fruit. Next to him, Kalifa did the same.

Everyone watched as the two stoically ate every last bit of their respective devil fruit. Only at the end did they display the most horrified faces and reactions…because of the taste every user agreed was honestly the most terrible thing they’ve ever had the displeasure to encounter in their lives without fail.

“If you did not like the taste, why bother eating so much of it?” mused the sidhe aloud with a knowing look. He shuddered in memory of his own fruit. “I noticed a lot of devil fruit users do that…you do know a single bite is enough, right? The rest of the fruit becomes useless, a disgusting mush you voluntarily eat.”

He pointedly ignored the searing look Kaku threw him. Kaku deadpanned, “So, you decided to withhold that information until we ate the final pieces of the fruits.”

Brat all members of CP9 agreed as the sidhe grinned in response and stated, “Well, that look on your faces was kind of worth seeing for myself.”

At some point, Blueno slipped out of the room.

How much do I want to bet he’ll be dealing with the crazy idiot over there who’s mowing down marines and agents by the hundreds? And by the time anyone else noticed his absence, they were being swarmed with reports concerning invaders charging across the other island.


Chrysis felt a mix of happiness and horror.

Standing across the void, all in a line, were the Straw Hat Pirates.

While the crew was powerful…there was still the fact they were blatantly challenging the World Government on their own turf!

Sure, it was a flattering gesture to know they cared so much…but the sidhe agreed with Nico Robin on this score; he didn’t want to deliberately put his crazy former crewmates in danger.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

~ otherworldly entity ~

[Den-den mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, visions’

They arrived on the balcony in time to hear Robin’s vehement denial of ever wanting to see any member of the Straw Hats again; of her desire to become a martyr for her nakama’s sake.

Something in Chrysis’s chest clenches when he heard that.

Criminal and noble.

From different places in society, different backgrounds.

But both sharing in a childhood filled with painful silence and loneliness; both striving to save their precious people by letting them go.

How many times has the sidhe driven off someone by acting his most obnoxious, so they would never have to be caught up in the unforgivable circles the sidhe have navigated since childhood? Act like the kid he appeared to be, and a real bratty one?

And of those who did stick around for him?

They usually had ulterior motives and tried to betray his trust.

Or they were too kind for their own good and suffered the consequences of being friends with him.

Or worse, their own light became tainted, hollow things. Then the sidhe had a choice: let them go, corrupted as they were, bury them using the system he loathed…or end it all before someone else gets hurt.

The sidhe is too lost in his own thoughts to pay attention to Franky’s loud argument against Robin’s admission.

Then Kaku stepped in with a sudden kick, sending the blue-haired rogue crashing against solid stone.

That certainly caught the sidhe’s attention as he ran over to check on the captive duo, looking over his shoulder to scowl at the redhead before going back to his friend – former friend - and…whatever Franky was.

There, across the from the Tower of Justice, is Straw Hat.

Should it be any more surprising to see how lax the straw-hatted captain could be in the face of the World Government’s top shadow agents short of the Aigis 0?

Nose picking in a serious situation seemed to fit Luffy’s nature too well, Chrysis sighs mentally.

The explosion behind him just made the scene all the more memorable in the sidhe’s mind. Or maybe it was simply too horrifying to look away from his former comrades’ reckless actions.

One after another, each member of the Straw Hats assembled onto their side of the bridge. Even “Sogeking” who flew in from above.

Maybe calling it flying would be an over exaggeration Chrysis huffs, rolling his eyes.

Spreading out a wing, he slashed at the ground right where the free-falling man would land, cushioning the sniper’s crash-landing with another explosion. Usopp might be a little bit dusty, but the sniper should be fine, knowing the man had taken harder knocks on the head from Nami.

The director of CP9 is less than pleased with the sidhe’s unexplained action. Spandam could glower all he wanted at him, but Chrysis could honestly care no more about some bureaucrat’s feelings on his small rebellious action than what he usually felt from the flak he got from the higher-ups back at home.

Once every Straw Hat stepped up the edge of the roof, Luffy declared, “Robin! Listen to us! I don’t care what you want or say, if you choose to die or live…!!! But whatever you decide, I want you to say it when you’re back here with us, your nakama! Chrysis, I know you promised to only stay until you felt like you would put us in danger, but we’re your nakama! I don’t know Square-Nose’s deal, but you’re both our friends!”

No member of CP9 reacts at that statement beyond a slight eyebrow raise from Jyabura. Kaku resists the very Chrysalis-like reaction to roll his eyes at the unspoken question.

He examines the Straw Hats’ presences and frowns.

Just a few scant hours since he had last seen them, yet the pirate crew seemed…more collected. Stronger of will. And utterly determined to save the Devil Child. Even if it would cost their lives. The three Chrysalis jokingly dubbed the Monster Trio gave the CP9 agent an uneasy feeling. It was more than likely those three in particular have been unable to use their full potential until now.

As for the others, they’re less noticeably different beyond the weight determination has left on their significantly weaker presences. But their skills are less reliant on brute strength, so understandable. That device in the navigator’s hands could be troublesome if the sniper had successfully finished the upgrades with the Skypiean dials as he had planned.

And Kaku has seen enough of Usopp’s skills with his normal slingshot to not underestimate the cowardly pirate at long-range.

In short, based on Kaku’s overall assessment, the Straw Hats’ current power and skill levels could prove very trying if his coworkers once more underestimate the pirates and play with them like he knew they wanted to do. He could feel it, slight ripples of disdain and bloodlust oozing out from two of them in particular. If he could, someone whose Kenbunshoku skills weren’t his strongpoint, well, that wasn’t reassuring at all.

More damning is how stilled the normally fluttering and buzzing energy of Chrysalis is, which is usually as much as a sign of acknowledgment of how dangerous someone has become in the sidhe’s eyes.

Obviously, his superior has an inexplicable inability to read a situation for what it was.

As usual.

WAHAHAHAHA! You damned idiotic pirates! Don’t you all realize that this changes nothing?! Behind me, I not only have the full support of the assassin group CP9, the mighty Gates of Justice no human can force open, but moreover I have this!” bragged Spandam as he brandished something that glinted in the sunlight - a golden den-den mushi. “Behold, the golden den-den mushi! With this, I can call in the Buster Call! Ten battleships, and five vice-admirals will come here to obliterate you! But Nico Robin should know very intimately what that mean, no? After all, her very own hometown of Ohara was erased from the following year’s map twenty years ago.”

“No don’t!” screamed Nico Robin. “You have no idea of the power you will invoke if you do that!”

The chief sneered, “Oh? I don’t? Sounds like a challenge, Nico Robin. Perhaps…I should trigger the Buster Call if only to satisfy my curiosity. Is that what your implying, Nico Robin?”

“Don’t do that!” she cried out. “You really don’t get it, do you?! What will happen if you trigger that.

“Eh? What do you think would happen? With a just one press, one little button, and I can render your friends’ chances of rescue…to zero. Why shouldn’t I?” asked Spandam, tone sugary and insincere in its concern.

“You blind man! It isn’t so simple as that!”

The infamous Devil Child collapsed to her knees, voice trembling as she stated, “You don’t see them, do you? You say Ohara was erased from the map, but does a map show you the human lives lost on that forsaken day? Only someone without a heart would think that way! The Buster Call…it’s a merciless force that has lost sight of the purpose it was invoked upon, a demon in of itself.” She curled in to herself as the memories came like a roll of film, each series of images burned into her mind.

Chrysis shivered as his Memory Sight showed him a once proud giant tree burn. A ship of civilians incinerated. A man who still understood the meaning of justice becoming a frozen statue, smiling even in death.

Why…why do some of the better people in this world smile at the end? Another image, summoned from the depths of his own mind, threatens to rise, but Chrysis has too much practice pushing it back down.

Now is not a time for a memory trip into his own nightmares.

“If…if you invoke the Buster Call, not only you but all of Enies Lobby will be blown up…!!!” Robin continued.

“What?” Spandam exclaimed, tone colored in complete disbelief. “Ridiculous! Why would our own allies’ attack blow us up? Don’t speak such absurd things!”

The man really did think that.

Chrysis couldn’t take this level of blatant arrogance and self-willed ignorance anymore.

“Are you that short-sighted!” hissed the sidhe, wings flaring out. “The Buster Call is a horrible power, one you shouldn’t abuse on whim! Ohara’s disappearance was a tragedy!” Chrysalis growled. “Andd Enies Lobby will no doubt face the same fate if you trigger the call. That is the meaning of Absolute Justice: to conduct justice utterly and without mistake, leaving not even the minimum possibility of evil escaping to wreak havoc another day.”

“Oh, and would you know that yourself? I always wondered why you’re special enough to be escorted about by such a top-level agent ever since Chief Rivera first presented you at that meeting between the Cipher Pol chiefs. You were such a snot-nosed kid even then!” mocked the chief of CP9. “Although, I liked you better back then; you at least were small and cute. Now you’re small and annoying.”

Kaku had to Soru over and grab the sidhe before he could lunge at the disfigured man. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the first time the sidhe tried to attack the CP9 chief, but the agent gave his commander a pointed look. Didn’t we go over this?

Spandam was going to push the sidhe too far sooner rather than later, and Kaku might not be able to intervene a third time.

Only once the sidhe looked a little less murderous did the agent go back to standing with the rest of CP9, Chrysalis still fuming but positioning himself back behind the agent.

Robin had taken advantage of the distraction to continue her point. “Don’t you guys get it now? I who have spent two decades running, never making friends or living in any one place to call home…now I have you to lose! My precious nakama…that murderous weapon is now aimed toward you! I can’t risk you! No matter my own feelings, if you continue journeying with me, my own cursed fate will drag all of you down with me!!! Whether the Blues or Grand Line, no matter where I go, I will never be able to escape from this, because my enemy is no less than the world and its darkness!

Look at what has happened already! First Aokiji, then the affair at Water Seven, and now you all have come here! No matter how pure-hearted, the darkness I carry will eventually wear that down until one day, you, too, will think me nothing more than a burden to betray and abandon! That is my greatest fear…! Why I pled for all of you to escape this fate while you still can! If it’s just my life to lose, then I’ll gladly sacrifice it for your sakes, I’ll be happy to die right here!”

Never once during Robin’s pleas for their nakama to leave did any of the Straw Hats’ resolve waver. They were not afraid of the consequences their stance here would inevitably draw.

Chrysis smiled, a mix of sadness, pain, and resignation, and spoke softly but firmly, “I know this is a bit belated, but I do formerly request you guys forget about ‘rescuing me’. I came here of my own volition. Let me warn you, if you guys keep insisting I stick around your crew then the might of the World Government’s forces might really come for you. Let’s say CP9 is only the tip of the iceberg of the means they have to drag me back into the fold. To them, I am an existence that belongs to them when all is said and done. They would dog your crew’s heels to the very end of the world.”

“So, what?” shot back Luffy. “You’re my friend and crewmate! My nakama, like Robin! The World Government can’t keep either of you!”

“Are you stupid? Look up at that!” Spandam cackled, pointing up at the government flag flying high above them. “That mark boasts of the power possessed by the World Government! In the Blues, the Grand Line, the whole of the world! Do you pirates know what kind of enemy you’re making? Just how big of an organization this is? Over 170 countries have pledged their loyalty to the World Government! And what do you pirates have? Maybe a few dozen allies? It’s useless! Even this brat knows it, so why don’t you take his advice and surrender quietly?”

Luffy’s response to Spandam’s absolute faith in the World Government’s power was absolute in its own way.

The future king of the pirates ordered Sogeking to fire on the World Government flag flying high atop Enies Lobby. It went down easily in smoke and fire.

The Straw Hats declared for all here their intent to war with the World Government for the sake of two (or is it three a rebellious part of the sidhe whispered) newcomers to their crew.

The sidhe couldn’t decide whether to be proud and happy, relieved, or feel a panicked sort of resignation. Somehow, this kind of reckless move seemed just typically Luffy of his former captain.

When asked again by Luffy, Robin broke down and sobbed, “I-I wanna live!!!”

Chrysis shook his head as he darted into the air, hovering in front and to the left of Kaku. “Captain Luffy…while I appreciate the sentiment, there are still some things about me that you don’t know. And I’m a man of my word; talking it out with Robin is all and well, but your words won’t change my mind on this matter no matter how you insist.”

“What does that mean exactly?” muttered Spandam in the background.

A hand tugging on Chrysis’s wing drew the sidhe back onto the balcony. Kaku wore a painfully blank look on his face. Ah, I suppose he’ll go back to yelling at me if we get five minutes alone.

He also didn’t like the implications of whatever Lucci was feeling, either. ‘Curiosity. Blood lust. Satisfaction. Determination.’

Luffy’s dark eyes told him nothing of the thoughts churning within his mind; Chrysis blinked as he saw the faint glimmer of understanding flash before the straw-hatted captain nodded with a grin. “Okay then! We’ll get all our nakama back, no matter what! Everyone, let’s go!”

Kaku’s eyes drifted to each of the determined Straw Hats before fixing on to Roronoa’s for a moment. There was a decisiveness that sent a slight chill through him. A battle against him would not be easy after their adventures together and the numerous times both men sparred. If they fought now…things would be different. Serious.

But Kaku couldn’t deny the jolt of anticipation knowing he could fight the Santoryu user at full power.

The epic showdown met with delays as the bridge refused to lower after someone ordered the lowering mechanisms destroyed. Chrysis rolled his eyes. Nothing was ever simple for the crew, huh?

Franky, A.K.A. Cutty Flam, bought the Straw Hats some sorely needed time. He had everyone’s attention as he presented what could only be the blueprints to the world-ending weapon of Pluton.

“Pluton for the underworld, Poseidon for the sea, and Uranus for the skies,” murmured Chrysis, too low for even the Zoan right in front of him to hear properly.

The sidhe shuddered very slightly. The longer he stared at the blueprints, the more they drew out his secret power despite his iron grip on his mental shields. Flashes of knowledge seeped into his brain, mind’s eye locked onto visions of past battles, fields of the dead, and a hulking ship behind it all.

Three Ancient Weapons to change the tide of war’ his mind whispered in the darkest depths of his subconscious.

This was what really frightened Chrysis about his power. The secrets it revealed to him. Willingly or unwillingly. And all the things he didn’t know about his power. While other families did have their users, none came close to the level of his own gift. And Chrysis knew there must have been something more to the power than what scant knowledge his people held or what his grandfather had told him:

The true reason why the World Government protected the sidhe race from total extinction.

Of course, these thoughts were furthest from his mind with the pain and sheer volume of knowledge flooding his brain.

The crushing pressure in his skull suddenly vanished. Chrysis found himself half-supported by Kaku and greeted by a very alarming sight: Franky had torched the last records to rebuilding the Ancient Weapon Pluton. Stupid and bold. But still stupid considering what happened next.

Spandam, the sore loser he was, pushed the cyborg off the balcony. The Straw Hats followed after him, much to CP9’s hidden bewilderment.

The reason for their plunge to death become very apparent with the distinct humming and crashing sounds the sidhe could hear from here. Keen vibrations traveling through the air became a roaring explosion as a demonic sea train hurled from the building to catch the falling people and crash into the Tower of Justice. That was the last glimpse the sidhe had of them as Kaku led him back inside, Lucci already beginning to plan out how they would handle their pesky guests.


Zoro licked his lips in anticipation as he let Kitetsu’s mounting bloodlust lead him through the countless stairways and halls until he came upon one door in particularly. It was partly open. The Pirate Hunter slipped inside.

Kaku waited in his room, his katana sheaths lying next to his chair rather than on his back. As he looked over them, he had the strangest feeling it was for the best.

He didn’t look up as the doors slammed open.

“Square-Nosed Bastard,” Roronoa greeted him.

“Interesting. You somehow headed straight for here despite your disability,” Kaku remarked with a smirk. “I was concerned since in the Courthouse, you had to essentially carve through several stories to make your way to the rooftop. Of course, the Tower of Justice is not so easily cut.”

Roronoa grinned darkly, “Well, of course I could find you; this one’s been craving your blood since we first met.”

“Oh?” Kaku hums, “How ominous. Sounds about right, though, from someone with such a beastly aura as you.”

Roronoa narrowed his eyes and demanded, “Just tell me. I know the butterfly brat genuinely care about us by the way he spoke to Luffy, and how he argued with that masked freak, but what about you? Was everything planned? Did you befriend us knowing you’ll betray us? Were you even our friend?” Zoro questioned darkly.

Kaku quirked his head to the side. “I’ll admit, traveling with all of you was pretty fun, but I believe I’ve told you all this at one point; I’m a professional. My first duty is to my mission as a member of CP9,” Kaku asserted, tone still light and casual.

Zoro snorted, “You’re avoiding the question. Fine. I’ll get my answer out of you with my sword. But first, do you have Robin’s key?”

“Like I told you, the time spent with you no longer matters now that I have been revealed. I’m a consummate professional in all that I do. If I am ordered to stop you by any means necessary…you won’t be leaving this tower, no this room alive. I certainly won’t tell you if I have Nico-san’s key, much less just hand it over.”

“Shut up. And drop the act. Chrysis had you way too wound around his fingers for that to be a complete act. Just like how he hangs on your words even when you two are arguing.”

Kaku raised an eyebrow at that insinuation, but his fellow swordsman barreled on.

“You could have killed us back at Water Seven. Or when the guys tried that stunt on the sea train. Heck, you’re a decent Kenbunshoku user, right? So, why didn’t you tell your pals about Iceburg being alive, or stop Usopp from having a heart-on-heart with Robin?”

“Fine, continue with whatever delusions of friendship you perceived we had,” Kaku replied with a stiff tone before a smirk grew on his face, “but, can you not regard this a golden opportunity all things considering? If you haven’t figured it out, I’m the best swordsman in all of Enies Lobby. Why don’t we take the time to see how the best swordsman of East Blue and the vice-captain of the Straw Hats fares against me, shall we? Especially since we can now finally spar without interruptions, without limits. Without having to hold back our true strength.”

Without another word, Kaku met the Pirate Hunter blade to blade, Soru making him vanish briefly only for his katanas to clash with Roronoa’s pair.

Zoro for his part just barely deflected the high-speed attack. Gone was the mild man and a cold-blooded killer took his place. They kept exchanging blows, neither opponent yielding an inch. The swordsman classic Oni Gari crashed against Crosswinds.

Again and again, they locked blades before separating.

“Oi, Square-Nosed Bastard!” Zoro called out between his clenched teeth.

“Roronoa, calling me by my features is hardly endearing, but what is it?”

The Santoryu user smirked, “I guess when you were bluffing back then. You’re just a Nitoryu user, huh?”

Kaku pushed the other swordsman back with unexpectant strength and lashed out with Rankyaku from each leg. “Oh ho, ho, is that right? I thought you were more perceptive. It’s actually Yonto!”

“Hn, I see,” Zoro replied with a toothy grin, blood trickling from where the air blades just grazed his arms. “I forgot you CP9 bastards can use your entire body as a weapon. That’ll just make things interesting. I take it this Rokushiki thing is the secret to how you took down those idiots unarmed? From Split-Head’s little game?”

“Naturally, though I must admit it was bad form to lose my temper in those instances. Although, if I had fought full force, they would be dead in the first minute. Without Rokushiki,” the assassin explained. He narrowed his eyes and huffed, “Don’t take me so lightly, though, Roronoa. However, I agree that this battle is much more exhilarating than any of our spars. Let’s see how you keep up.”

The 72 Caliber Phoenix Cannon exploded against the blade of White Thunder.

A storm of Rankyaku courtesy of Kaku’s Ran technique tore apart the floor. Yet Roronoa still survived.

“You bastard,” Zoro hissed as he stood stubbornly defiant, only a few nicks here and there. The pain was negligible, but a warning of what could have happened if he didn’t dodge in time.

Kaku chuckled, “My, my, not bad at all. As I expected of you. Perhaps I should admit I did feel something of comradery toward you and your crew, so I am limiting myself to the skills of an assassin rather than a veteran of five years in the New World.”

“Limiting? Hey, I thought we agree to fight with our full strength,” he growled. His instincts were stirring, telling him something was about to happen.

“Roronoa, you should be thankful I’m not. Do you not recall how much trouble you and your fellow pirates had fighting Enel’s priests? Added to Kenbunshoku, I have one more ability I have yet to properly show you which augments my combat skills several times over. Unless you also learn it, I shan’t use it now, either; consider this an acknowledgement of my respect for you as a fellow swordsman to fight with you with the pinnacle of the skills earned in Paradise. But, I will oblige you a bit more by showing you a new power I recently acquired,” Kaku stated as he stood up from the rubble pile.

Eyes widened as the body of the swordsman began to deform and stretch.

Unfortunately, Kaku miscalculated, and his mistake was too much for the already battered room.

The floor below them broke, spilling the Marimo swordsman and a giraffe onto the two combatants one level below.

“Whoa! Crap!” exclaimed Kaku as he flailed, all neck and legs. “Aargh! I tried to go Human-Beast hybrid form, but I overstepped it and went full giraffe!”

“Aah! It’s talking! A talking giraffe is falling on us!” yelped the masked sniper.

Gyahahaha! This is hilarious, Kaku. I love your new power there!” hooted Jyabura.

Kaku scowled down at his fellow agent as he climbed back to his feet. And the wolf continued to laugh.

Gyahahaha! Seriously, Kaku? Ushi Ushi no Mi Model: Giraffe! You’ll be cursed to be a giraffe-man for life, you know! You can’t say the kid didn’t warn you!”

Said giraffe man growled lowly, “What’s wrong with giraffes? I happen to like it!”

Roronoa called out, “Yo, giraffe man, how long are you and the dog-man going to go at it? I’d like to get this over with. I don’t have a lot of time here! Otherwise, why don’t I cut you down here and now like this?”

Kaku glared down at the green-haired man. “Don’t you go underestimating me as well, Roronoa! Behold the destructive power of a giraffe! Transform…! Human-Beast Form!” In his head he could hear Chrysalis saying, “Is saying that aloud really necessary?”

It is if I want to focus enough to shift into the correct form. That was how he ended up a giraffe instead of his hybrid form. None of the experienced Zoans had warned him that the first few times he transformed would be tricky until his body acclimated. Whatever. “Behold! My newly reborn power!” declared the newly-transformed Zoan.

The giraffe had shrunk down, body more compact in the hybrid state. Large floppy ears turned down. Squarish body from nose to torso. His clothing fit oddly, stretched to emphasize his angles.

“That looks even more ridiculous!” proclaimed Roronoa. Jyabura burst into even greater full-bodied laughter.

“What did you just say?!” growled Kaku. “And Jyabura? Don’t you have something better to do than laugh? I-”

Kaku stopped mid-sentence as something gray and metallic suddenly flew and landed…on Roronoa?

“What the hell?!” Roronoa growled.

A pair of kairoseki cuffs was clamped around one of his wrists.

“Sorry Zoro-kun! I found what I think must be a pair of kairoseki cuffs, so I thought they could be really useful against our enemies since they’re devil fruit users!” apologized the sniper who was wearing that silly masquerade mask Kaku saw earlier.

“Yes, so why did you snap one of them onto Roronoa?” Kaku inquired patiently.

“Wait, Kaku, is that you?! Well, I was originally aiming for the wolf guy…but then I misfired ‘cause…Imaybesortathoughtyourfacewaswaytoofunnyandlostcontroloftheslingshot! I’m sorry, don’t kill me!” whimpered the sniper.

The expression on the giraffe hybrid’s face took a frightening cast of frustrated and embarrassed rage. “…THAT’S IT! Rankyaku…SKY SLICER!”

By taking advantage of the momentum generated by swinging his massive neck and legs, Kaku’s Rankyaku attack grew exponentially stronger. With ease, he could slice apart the walls, the Tower of Justice itself!

“Sheesh, you’re still such a kid! Don’t you know it’s bad form to show your emotions so easily?” Jyabura chided him.

“Shut up, Jyabura, not like you don’t do it all the time. Shall I remind you of the two altercations between you and Lucci in the past few hours? Or the countless times I’ve seen you two fighting over the years?”

“Yeah, yeah,” the wolf man waved off.

*Purupurupuru*

Kaku sighed in annoyance before reaching around to unhook his baby den-den mushi he kept under his jacket.

“Eh? You have a den-den mushi on you?” Kaku ignored him.

*Purupuru-Gat-cha!*

[Yo, Kaku! So…anyone want to tell me why the whole building felt like it was about to come down on us?] In the background, the chief’s voice could be heard yelling at the sidhe. [Shut it, panda-face! I’m already indulging in your stupidity to wear these handcuffs and only because Kaku said I had to wear them. Though, I kind of hope whoever has the key better not lose it. Exactly why any of you thought including mine in the set of five was a good idea…]

“Chrysalis, didn’t I tell you to quit ruffling the director’s feathers?”

[It was strongly suggested] Kaku could imagine his charge’s pouting face. He’s such a child sometimes. [Anyway, I have a guess it was you who did that, since I definitely hear the whistle of an air blade flying and you being the best Rankyaku user and all]

“Hey, I’m not so bad, either, kid!” Jyabura grumbled.

“Shut it, Jyabura,” Kaku quietly reprimanded his fellow Zoan, discreetly elbowing the older man.

[Plus, the reports Spandam just got just now said the building is literally split in half! Seriously, why? Is it because of your mysterious new power you insisted on practicing alone in the training room? What kind of Zoan did you become, anyways? Whatever you are, it has a lot of potential power if you’re wreaking casual destruction like this]

“If you call being a giraffe powerful, sure,” chuckled Jyabura, earning another glare from the redhead which the wolf Zoan paid little mind.

[Giraffe? Well, it suits Kaku, at least]

There was a pause, the sound of yelling indiscernible over the connection.

[Sorry about that, Lucci is pulling me along now because I keep lagging behind everyone when I’m talking on the den-den mushi. Back to my main point, we’re all still in the building, you know. One more big attack like that against the walls and things will start to fall apart! Plus, I doubt Kalifa-san would appreciate her room suddenly sliding off the base structure entirely. Though…don’t you guys usually live here off-mission? Building this entire tower isn’t going to be cheap, you know]

*Click*

[…I hate to ask, but what just clicked shut?]

“WHAT THE HECK? WHY DID YOU LOCK THE HANDCUFF TO YOURSELF?!”

“IT’S NOT MY FAULT! You rushed into me when that guy was bringing everything down on us, and the other half of the cuffs was still open!” Usopp defended himself. “It’s your fault for bumping into me!”

Kaku shrunk back into his human form and shook his head as the two pirates kept bickering.

“Those idiots…” he sighed.

“And those were the pirates with whom you chose to tag along on that brat’s whim? So, what should we do? Our prey is now connected,” Jyabura pointed out.

“I can see that. Well, you can just sit back, and I’ll take care of them both…”

“EH! No way am I letting you seal my prey, you herbivorous bastard!”

“I like meat, Jyabura. And what else do you propose we do? Would you rather fight together?”

“No way in hell!”

“Exactly! Honestly…those morons… Roronoa! Usopp!”

“I do not know who this Usopp is, but I am Sogeking, the king of snipers. My story is a long and very brave tale of w-”

Usopp,” Kaku repeated in warning, “quiet down and listen.” The sniper wisely clamped his mouth shut. “Now, why don’t one of you just tell us what’s the number on your handcuffs?”

“Number?”

Patience, you’ve been stuck with Straw Hat for hours in the forest and then in a snake’s stomach, you can deal with this much easily. “Yes, number. You didn’t think we would keep handcuffs with separate keys without some sort of labeling system, did you?”

[He’s right] Kaku blinked. His den-den mushi was still on and currently taking shelter on a rock. [Take a look near the hinge binding the two cuffs together. If one of them has your keys, it should be easy for one of them to unlock it. By the way, mine is No. 1]

“Oh! Okay…it’s the No. 2 handcuffs! Please open it for us!”

[Neither of you have it, do you? That…complicates things] Chrysalis helpfully commented.

“You’re telling me, kid,” huffed Jyabura. “By the way, looks like I have your key.”

“And I think that’s enough time chit-chatting. Chrysalis, if that is all you were going to ask, I think I’ll hang up the den-den mushi now.”

“Hey, I have a question for the Butterfly Brat!” Roronoa suddenly shouted.

[I’m all ears, Zoro]

“What you told us before about why you left…you really meant what you said.”

[That doesn’t sound like a properly-phrased question, but yes, so what? I’m a sidhe, I always mean what I say]

“Just making sure,” Roronoa answered with a slight smirk. “I think I have all I need to know now. Try not to get into any trouble until we can get to the two of you. Butterfly brat.”

[MO~TH. M-O-T-H, spells moth, you lunkhead swordsman. And I’m older than you, so stop calling me a brat!] the sidhe yelled.

“Whatever you like to think, Butterfly Brat.”

*Ka~Click!* Kaku snapped the speaker back on curtly.

“So, it looks like we’ll need the wolf bastard’s key for sure if we want to free the Winged-Brat from his own pair of handcuffs. At least we have one less key to figure out,” Roronoa observed. “Oi, Giraffe-Bastard! If I beat you, come back to the crew and at least convince the brat to stay with us.”

“I do believe Chrysalis said something differently on this matter. Multiple times, in fact,” Kaku coolly responded.

“That’s fine. If you’re with us, then Chrysis won’t have any reason to stay away. That’s how the deal you made with us and the promise between the two of you works, right?”

“Oi, oi, Kaku! Are you considering going rogue on us?”

“No, I am not, Jyabura. Don’t question my loyalty! And shouldn’t you be more worried about this situation?”

“Oh, that reminds me… I still can’t believe you bastards got us all hyped up about being freed when neither of you has our key!” Roronoa snapped.

“Um…do any of you know which of the other CP9 agents would have our key…?” Usopp tentatively asked.

Kaku shared a look with Jyabura.

“I suppose we have no choice.” Both Zoan transformed and lunged. “I propose whoever kills the both of them first, wins!”

“No complaints about that!” snarled Jyabura.

Chapter Text

 “Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

~ otherworldly entity ~

[Den-den mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, visions’

Chrysis was not happy. He knew one day he would leave the crew. Just…he didn’t expect it to be so soon or in the midst of betrayal.

Watching the despair in his former crewmates’ eyes as the CP9 agents made their big reveal pushed something in Chrysis, an irrational desire to explain himself but for the stone lodged in his throat.

They didn’t deserve this. Robin being pressured into leaving them in the most heart-wrenching way. Losing not one, but what they would consider three nakama.

Hell, Franky didn’t deserve to be here, as much as the sidhe didn’t particularly like the man.

But there was nothing Chrysis could do to change the past or the future. Nothing he would be willing to do, that is.

“Keep up, you little brat!” wheezed the insufferable chief of CP9.

Chrysis didn’t bother to hide his disgruntlement or obvious dislike of the CP9 duo as the group of four trudged on through the secret underwater passage between the Tower of Justice and the Bridge of Hesitation.

Spandumb lived up to his various nicknames as he kept on ranting about his achievements, oblivious to their little spy from earlier and the commotion starting up behind them. Rob Lucci no doubt detected their small stalker before she disappeared off, but for whatever reason chose to ignore her.

Apparently, Kaku and Chrysis were not the only ones annoyed with the purple-haired sycophant; Lucci gave his reason for not informing the chief on this based on a “lack of orders”. Very petty but understandable given how badly Spandam was handling the whole invasion, to be honest.

Chrysis shuddered violently as something…ominous touched upon his haki senses.

Rob Lucci looked over in his direction. The sidhe recomposed himself and shot the dark-haired man a withering look, daring him to ask.

*THUD!* The sound echoed faintly, but deeply through the underwater corridor.

Robin hesitated on her next step, turning her head back in the direction they came. Chrysis discreetly nodded to her. You’re not imagining things, Nico-san.

“The two of you better keep walking! Especially you, sinful woman!” ordered the disfigured man. Chrysis chuffed in annoyance but complied as Lucci grabbed both of them and hauled them forward.

Spandam twisted his face into a sneer and cackled, “Oh ho? Is that a look of hope? Don’t make me gag. It’s useless to think those pirates have followed us this deep. That big clamor earlier must have been a fluke! Why don’t you quit your daydreaming and think about this: with each step, we come close and close to the Bridge of Hesitation. From there, we’ll be able to see the Gates of Justice. And once pass the Gates of Justice and they close, every bit of hope you feel will shrivel up for naught. To atone for your sin of existence, you will spend the last days of your life being useful for once, in the name of the World Government. From this forward, your life is at an end! What don’t you get about that, woman?”

“You sure know how to blather on,” sighed Chrysis. “I should warn you, those who savor victory before they cross the finish line shouldn’t be surprised when the taste turns to ash in the next moment. We’re not exactly sailing through the Gates, you know.”

Echoing through the passage, a scream rang for Robin, and Chrysis raised his voice above it all. “And one should never doubt the will of a D! For those bearing the initial are stubborn as hell and just as full of potential.”

“Impossible!” gasped Spandam, eyes and mouth gaping comically wide. “Wha- whose voice was that just now?! Hey!!!? Who was that?!”

“Monkey D. Luffy, captain of the Straw Hat Pirates, duh,” Chrysis chortled, smirking up at the bewildered man. “Guess I’m right, huh?”

“Chief, please take those two on ahead. I’ll handle this,” Lucci calmly advised, eyes cold and hard.

Chrysis glowered, but dutifully followed after the Cipher Pol chief and his former crewmate.

They had reached the stairs up to the bridge. Robin wasn’t making the trip any way easy on the pathetic chief. Chrysis’s eyes flashed wide as he saw the man dig out a den-den mushi that gave off a distinct gleam.

“You idiot, don’t-!”

They all gaped at the den-den mushi the chief held in his palm, glittering in all angles and gold. The one he accidentally grabbed instead of his normal one.

The one he just activated.

“Of all the moronic things you’ve done-! You’ve triggered the Buster Call!!!” Chrysis yelled, wings thrumming.

Spandam finally found his baby den-den mushi then had the gall to try and play it off as something he did on purpose. He even had the audacity to ignore all the countless lives he just put at risk when the five battleships came to burn down all of Enies Lobby as dictated by the terms of a Buster Call. This guy truly embodied everything Chrysis hated about the corrupt powers running the World Government.

Once Spandam finished his tirade, Robin kindly pointed out the chief’s mistake in leaving his den-den mushi off the hook.

“Good job, there, once more Span-DUMB,” he couldn’t help but snark.

“Everyone, listen to me! You need to evacuate immediately! Get off the island! The Buster Call is directed at Enies Lobby; if you stay here, you won’t survive it!” Robin screamed into the snail’s still unhooked speaker.

Chrysis quickly shuffled Robin to the side as Spandam raised his hand to slap her brutally, bodily shielding her.

“Out of my way, bug brat,” Spandam growled.

Chrysis snipped back, “You’re worse than an insect, Spandam. You’re a good-for-nothing arrogant piece of dirt who thinks of no one else’s life. What kind of representative of Justice slaps around a helpless woman whenever he loses his temper?”

*Crack!*

The sidhe stood defiant even with the crimson imprint of a slap marring the side of his face. He could have dodged it, but Chrysis knew there were some things not worth moving for. “From tormenting women, to picking on people younger and smaller than you. You’re pitiful, Spandam.”

Chrysis prayed for the survival of all the innocents and brave soldiers just doing their duty. For his former crewmates, he knew better than to pray; they were too stubborn to fall now.


Kaku couldn’t stop his huff of annoyance as the announcement ended. “Guess our time’s running out.”

“Yeah,” agreed Jyabura. “We need to end this soon and get the hell out of here.”

The two went back to chasing the two idiots who had for some reason unknown tried to use their partner as an extension of a sword in a poorly humored effort to work around the situation.

“Hana Harashi” indeed.

*Purupurupuru…*

“Again? Well, go ahead and answer it,” growled Jyabura as he made a few lazy swipes at the cornered pirates.

*Gat-CHA*

“Chrysalis, we don’t really have any time for this.”

[I know, Buster Call idiotically and prematurely triggered. I just needed a quick confirmation on something: no one in CP9 are secretly Awakened, right?]

“Awakened? Lucci would probably be the closest who would be, and he hardly showed any sign of it,” Kaku answered, rather confused.

“Awakened? What are you two talking about now?” asked Jyabura, a trace of irritation for being out of the loop.

[And unless you’re some sort of genius beyond the scope of anyone I know, you’ve haven’t achieved that state, either. Are you sure?]

“Well, Jyabura is our only other Zoan user, and we know he isn’t anywhere close to that point, yet.”

“Hey!”

“Anyways, why do you ask?” Kaku continued on.

[…because I’m at least sensing something like an Awakened Zoan suddenly blaring through my haki even from here. I’ve traced the aura of said user crawling up the tower a little while ago, but it seemed to have crossed into one of the rooms a level or so above you. And when I say, “like an Awakened Zoan”, I mean it practically oozes with primal anger, pain, and single-minded thirst for destruction. Pure instincts and blind rage wrapped in a very hostile bundle. In fact-]

Jyabura and Kaku’s heads snapped up as something roared just outside the room. Suddenly, a huge beast barreled through the wall.

Kaku’s eyes homed in on the distinct pink hat with the white cross symbol.

“Dr. Chopper?” The tanuki-like reindeer’s blue-lit eyes held no trace of conscience or thought.

It seemed Chrysalis’s supposedly newly Awakened Zoan was the Straw Hat’s little Zoan.

The monstrous new form looked like a bizarre mix of the doctor’s various transformations then buffed up and enlarged. The monster threw his head back and roared. Kaku resisted the urge to cover his sensitive ears from the painful and somewhat mournful sound.

“Now, that’s something! Where did that monster come from? Kaku, you called him by name, so I suppose he must be one of the pirates, huh?”

[WHAT IN ROGER’S NAME WAS THAT?!]

“Dr. Chopper, I presume. While I agree his presence resembles an Awakened Zoan, it’s rather peculiar. Unstable.. His new transformation is completely reliant on animal instincts like an Awakened Zoan, but not quite as controlled or even have a tentative hold to one’s sanity,” reported Kaku, eyes fixed on the stilled monstrous form. “If I had to guess, this might be some sort of side-effect from that drug the good doctor uses to unlock more of his potential as a Zoan. I’m going to have to end this call now, Chrysalis. Thanks for trying to warn us, but we’ll handle things from here.”

[Kaku, don’t you-!]

*Click*

Monster Chopper hardly paid the CP9 agents any mind as he charged after his comrades.

There was something definitely wrong. Whatever the doctor did to access this form gave him access to a lot of power, but it was highly volatile. If a fraction of what Kaku’s senses were reporting was correct, the Zoan’s stamina was rapidly depleting. At this rate, his heart might give.

Both Zoan agents faced off against the monster in their hybrid forms, ready to put the out-of-control beast down.

“No, you don’t!” denied Roronoa as he thrusted a air blast at them, forcing the two away from the monster.

Suddenly, Franky arrived at the scene and for some reason pushed the enraged Zoan out of the tower and into the sea, the blue-haired shipwright jumping in after him.

“…wise move,” said Kaku after a moment of consideration. “By forcing Dr. Chopper into the water, you’ll most likely force him out of that form, thus stopping the life-threatening drain and stress on his body.”

“Oh, I guess that makes sense,” Jyabura reluctantly agreed as the two turned back to face their opponents.

…Just in time to see three separate figures in the smoke.

Zoro grinned darkly, finally able to draw his blades in each hand. On the ground was the discarded Kairoseki handcuff.

The giraffe Zoan huffed, “Fufu, so, you’ve managed to get someone to retrieve your key, huh?”

“Laugh while you can Giraffe-Freak because that was your missed chance. I’ll promise you that was as close as you’ll get to catching me off-beat. Now, shall we fight seriously, now? Eh, dirty and underhanded attack dogs of the “World Government”?” remarked Zoro, his bloodlust palpable.

“Like I said before, let’s see who’s the better swordsman,” smirked the square-nosed bastard.

In between Jyabura’s ranting, the giraffe Zoan had left briefly before coming back down, swords kept on the sidelines until now. The shirasaya katanas glinted against the sunlight, both held in a reverse grip.

Playtime was over. Time was running out and neither party could afford to lag this out any longer than they needed.

A single breath.

Both swordsmen leaped into a flurry of clashing steel and wind blades.

Kaku tested Roronoa’s skills, taking his measure. In sheer strength, the younger man had him beat. Perhaps.

They were both highly experienced swordsmen of their own right, both with sketchy and none too proud backgrounds from what the CP9 agent gleaned from his discreet background checks on the Straw Hat crew and from the logs. He was an assassin who worked the government’s dirtiest jobs; Roronoa was a former bounty hunter with a trail of blood left in his wake, only recently turning a new leaf – if only on behalf of the younger and naïve members of the crew.

Both agreed silently to fight “fairly” with their pride as swordsmen and fighters (and something more) on the line. Either the World Government or piracy would win this night, and Kaku was fully aware his own battle would be the deciding factor.

Perhaps for more than the reason in his jacket pocket.

“Not too bad, Giraffe,” smirked Roronoa. “But, are you sure you have the hang of that ungainly body of yours?”

“Ohoho, don’t doubt an agent’s ability to adapt to all sorts of unforeseen situations! With years of training in Rokushiki, I can fully control my muscles to freely maneuver my neck. Be the first to behold the evolution of my power: Bigan!!!

Kaku twisted his neck around the next sword thrust, deliberately cocking his neck back before rocketing it forward. Roronoa’s teeth clenched hard as he had to use all three of his swords to block. Just as I suspected. By delivering Shigan with his nose, he could magnify its powerful several times over. His neck size might be a pain to defend, but it could also make for a fine weapon at a pinch. Like when Roronoa deliberately tried to slash it.

Kama Kirin.” By stiffening the muscles in his neck and using the speed of Soru, Kaku effectively turned his neck into a club perfect for counterattacks there. Roronoa was a might too slow and got slammed back into a pile of rubble. The stubborn swordsman refused to stay down, though.

“Aren’t you the defensive bastard?” gritted out the green-haired swordsman.

“Is that all you learned from that?”

“Yeah, is there anything else I should know of any worth? You have temper when it comes to people mocking you for your devil fruit power, and you are edgy when it comes to that long neck of yours. Even you know it could quickly become a burden if you don’t properly defend it,” pointed out Roronoa.

Kaku huffed, “Is that right? Then…I shall show you differently!”

To the side, Nami, Usopp and the wolf Zoan watched the duelists with awe and/or appreciation.

Gyahaha, not bad, Kaku. That kid sure has come a long way since he was a snot-nosed brat,” chuckled the wolf Zoan.

“Brat?” gulped Usopp as he finally remembered the highly dangerous agent who had targeted him earlier.

Whom he had temporarily forgotten was still here with them.

“Oh, hell yeah. He was such a skinny and small guy back then. He became a member around his sixteenth birthday. He was all arms and legs, so I thought he would be nothing more than trial-basis fodder. And his personality didn’t help change that view: too cheerful and kind for a CP9 agent by all appearances!

Then it turned out “appearances” was just that, gyahaha! He could be just as a coldhearted bastard as any of us on the drop of a dime. And he had always been there, power lagging just behind my own.” Jyabura very deliberately didn’t think about his amended position in the rankings of CP9.

“I thought he had been with Lucci and the rest all this time, actually. He was originally assigned on that mission since he has some of the best social skills out of all of us. Heck, he’s pretty much the most “normal one” out of everyone, too. But then it turned out he’s been babysitting that kid, a former comrade of yours, too, right? Doesn’t look like much, but he sure winds up the chief darn good. Smart mouth, too. A bit too rebellious for Cipher Pol, but Kaku’s always been for “befriending” those types.”

The Zoan paused as he thought of something. “You know, if Kaku wasn’t so uptight and had certain standards, you’d think there be something a little more between the two with the way they banter back and forth.”

“More?” croaked Usopp. It was either answer with something or risk the giant wolf assassin from remembering his current job.

“Yeah, you know. More than friends?”

Usopp blushed. Nami beside him snickered.

He really didn’t need to know that detail.

At all.

Or have that image in his head.

Nami had a wicked glint in her eye. “You know,” she started casually, “Chrysis-kun is only a year younger than Kaku. So, there isn’t really anything stopping them except for themselves, of course. They have been rather close lately, especially after that weird random trip we had to some semi-deserted island.”

Over by the two fighters, Kaku mentally cursed his inattentiveness as Nami’s remark was very much picked up by his enhanced senses. It nearly cost him a very nasty gash into his (arguably) admittingly long neck.

“That little brat is that old?! You’re kidding me!” exclaimed Jyabura, utterly skeptical.

Usopp shrugged, playing along with the navigator. “Yeah, Chrysis reminds us all the time. His height’s a genetic thing. Most of his family is unusually short like he is.”

“Hmm. Well, not so unusual considering this is the Grand Line and all. If normal humans can be born crazily large, why not short like some sort of fairytale creature?”

Usopp tried not to give away how very close that statement was to the truth.

Jyabura paused and made to check his nonexistent watch. “Hmm, time flies while watching giraffe-boy and your Pirate Hunter fight. Here.”

Nami and Usopp gape as the wolf presented his key, tossing it onto the floor between the agent and the two pirates.

“You guys want the brat to come back on your crew? You’ll need a way to unlock his cuffs - the Chief wanted some reassurance the kid wouldn’t attack him again, with Kaku staying back and all. He’s a feisty little guy, you know. This here is the key to his handcuffs. Don’t bother asking me who has Nico’s key, we didn’t bother telling each other that,” explained the wolf Zoan.

“W-why would you? Aren’t you CP9 bastards all for completing your missions? Killing people like us?” rattled off Usopp, immediately paling as he registered his own words.

He didn’t need the angry and fearful hiss from Nami to know he just said something pretty stupid.

The Zoan looked at them downcast. “I didn’t choose this life, you know. I actually hate violence and bloodletting. Go ahead and take my key. I didn’t see those two together for long, but if anything, my wolf instincts tell me the oversized deer will follow the kid wherever he goes. And not just because he is obligated as the kid’s bodyguard.”

Usopp really wanted to trust the Zoan’s words. Mostly because neither he nor Nami could take him on in a straight battle. With a nervous laugh, the masked sniper walked over and grabbed the key.

Only to suddenly tumble to the side as the floor broke and partially rose underneath him, coincidentally saving him from a nasty sneak attack as the wolf bastard’s claws shot past him.

Nami was on her feet, staff held out in defense.

“Sogeking!”

“Usopp?!”

The wolf turned and glared at the fighters. The ruining of his grand deception was done by none other than the square-nosed assassin whose use of his hard head and neck like some sort of demented game of whack-a-mole had sent a crack right in their direction.

“Kaku, you bastard! Watch what you’re doing!”

“A bit busy, Jyabura! Just hurry up and finish things up, will you? Time’s a-ticking. Besides, I have thought the doubling of your prey would have sated your requisite bloodlust needs?” yelled the assassin as he performed Parallel, stomping down with both feet to send two straight shots of Rankyaku.

His opponent barely dodged in time, but he had been forced to leap out of the way. Kaku growled in anticipation; he could hardly miss with Roronoa stuck in the air mid-leap!

Zoro cursed aloud as the oversized Zoan pulled his neck back for Bigan. If he guarded, the attack would slam him back into the rubble when he didn’t have any ground for traction.

Instead, the swordsman thought with his head and managed a weak 36-Caliber Phoenix Cannon, the giraffe’s attack only clipping against his leg and sending him spinning.

He still crashed, but the smaller bruising beat the cracked bones a direct attack, even guarded against, would have done.

“Clever, Roronoa, like any foul beast. But, mere tricks like that will not save you from your demise!” promised Kaku as he readied himself for their next clash of blades. “And I suggest you pay less attention to your comrades at the sidelines and more to the adversary before you; I will not hold back my full power with you unhindered!”

“Unhindered?” Zoro questioned, barely groaning as he flipped back onto his feet from the pile of rubble. “Seriously, what is with that old man talk of yours? Get with the times!”

He barely rolled in time as the giraffe used that speed technique and nearly took off a limb.

“How should I put it this…? I’ll tolerate Chrysalis’s remarks, but I will take your own as a slander against my character!”

Oversensitive much? Maybe those guys’ meaningless prattle was actually hitting on the mark.

Not that Zoro overly cared that much either way; it was just confirmation of what he need to get done to reunite his crew.

But, Giraffe-Bastard had a point, damn it. If he didn’t keep his head, the other swordsman will no doubt be right there waiting.

But those guys won’t last five minutes against the Wolf-Bastard!

“Roronoa, quit worrying. It looks like someone finally decided to join us, isn’t that correct, Chef-san?”

Jyabura barely had time to register the words as a foot slammed into his face just as he lunged for the sniper after giving his big lamb, shepherd, and wolf metaphor.

“Shitty Giraffe, that Haki of yours is a pain,” remarked the blond and well-dressed pirate as he took a drag of his cigarette. “You ruined my gallant entrance in saving Nami-swan.”

“And who the hell are you?” snarled Jyabura.

Sanji gave the Zoan a deadpan look. “The hunter.”


Wisely, the weakest Straw Hats took the chef’s advice and ran off with their collected keys as the Doors of Justice had finally began to open.

Sanji and Jyabura left for a large battlefield.

It was just Zoro and him.

Santoryu clashing with Yontoryu.

Ideals versus reality.

Rogue against law.

Beast in the form of man versus a man in the form of beast.

Considering his well-hidden bloodier and violent tendencies, maybe less so of the last sentiment…but eh, Kaku really didn’t care about semantics.

Flashes of silvery metal. Gouges carved into stone floors and walls. Geppo and astounding feats of mere human leaps taking the battlefield back and forth between levels (however unsteady the upper one was).

In short time, both Kaku’s room and Jyabura’s became demolished wrecks of themselves.

Kaku had to give the swordsman credit; he somehow took the rain of air blades when Kaku tried out his Tekkai-enhanced new configuration with a every bit of stoicism any swordsman worth his steel could project and hardly faltered. He even managed to beat back the agent’s own sheer strength of his Bigan with brute force.

Kaku’s refusal to use Kenbunshoku played a large factor in his near slice-up during their next parry of attacks. Even his Tekkai wouldn’t have held up if Roronoa actually made contact.

Kami-e became very useful (if somewhat limited since Kaku couldn’t quite managed the grace and fluidity of his human form’s execution of the move).

Both swordsmen huffed from their exertions and various wounds (the green-haired one had plenty more, but Kaku’s constitution was not quite on the same level as the man who constantly trained everyday without fail and with steadily greater challenges urging him to get better fast. Compared to him, Kaku had hardly been challenged prior to his stint as Chrysalis’s bodyguard, and even then he had the other fruit user backing him up through the worst of it.

To put it simply, Roronoa had a much sturdier frame by nature, and was nearly as big of a relentless training fanatic to the extremes as Lucci.

And Kaku hated to admit it, but his mind was still adjusting to his new body, and he couldn’t quite control it as well as he liked, some of his Rokushiki putting strains on muscle groups being pulled in unusual ways.

They eyed on another, a tense silence standing between them.

Suddenly, Roronoa spoke.

“Hey, Giraffe-Bastard? I guess you aren’t quite as coldhearted as you made yourself out to be.”

“Pardon me? I must have misunderstood your meaning, Roronoa. I hope you are not implying I am weak,” sneered the assassin, tone light, shaded eyes not.

“Just an observation. Don’t government-types like you appreciate that sort of thing? But that wild attack of yours back then…I guess you really do have bad aim since I swear I was on the other side of you when you went and busted open the floor. Coincidentally saving Usopp there.”

Kaku stood silent. It was just a stupid impulse. Jyabura’s ridiculous sadism just got him.

Nothing more than that.

Memory flashed to a scene from the past. Of a whole village population crowding around him in thanks.

/ Kaku sighed internally even as he smiled and humbly told them all this fuss wasn’t necessary.

And it really wasn’t.

There were just some weak grunts, minor bandits stirring up trouble at a remote island that the two wanderers just happened to land upon.

It was just his luck Chrysalis had gone off deeper into the forest to forage for food and some medicinal herbs when Kaku stumbled on the captive village.

The sidhe asked him later why he saved them when he could have just leave the matter as it was. They could have just flagged the nearest outpost of marines once Chrysalis’s pursuers caught up to the duo.

Kaku scoffed at the implication that the agent was going soft from the younger man and said the bandits were just too annoying and reckless to leave as is. Besides, the marines had better things to do then take care of some low-level nuisances.

“If you say so,” Chrysalis murmured.

And no, Kaku did not secretly care for those weaker than him. A ridiculous notion among people raised to be above the masses, the dark hand of justice that saw to countless innocents and bystanders dead for the sake of the world and their mission.

Even if there were several children not much larger than the sidhe among them.

And just as fragile when the winged man was physically /

“I am not weak nor weak of heart,” Kaku hissed between clenched teeth once he batted away the distracting memory.

“Definitely different from those cold bastard comrades of yours,” Roronoa continued. “One last bout. Winner take all, no holding back. I win, you finally get it in your head to come with me and bust the Butterfly-Bastard out from under the masked freak. You win, I’m dead, obviously.”

“Fine.” If only to get Roronoa to shut up.

Kaku did not care about his enemies, his targets. Not even if they were frie- no, he was just playing a role as Chrysalis’s bodyguard. There were no feelings lost in the betrayal. None at all.

He was CP9, a weapon for the World Government.

A sword stained with blood.

Nothing more.

Not even human – no, better than human.

And he would show this to that grinning bastard.

Kaku hauled himself back onto one hand, spinning his entire body in preparation for his strongest attack.

Rankyaku…

Roronoa took a new stance.

The Zoan shivered, the more intimate, animal-like part of his mind shuddering. His Kenbunshoku, even inactive, whispered a warning of something.

A flashback to one of their earlier clashes. The image of something truly demonic overcasting the other swordsman.

“Kyutoryu Asura…”

He needed to attack now!

Sky Slicer!

Too late.

His attack shattered into a glittering film. Appropriate considering…

One Mist Silver!

That.

For a single moment, Roronoa’s blades had the faintest trace of a black edge, the manifestation of the man’s resolve.

Should I really be surprised? Given the time and acknowledgement of the possibility, the man learned to cut steel.

Haki is born of will sharpened by the mind and powered by the body.

And it seemed the backhanded hints of haki as the true potential of the human body was enough to direct the swordsman’s training toward this.

It was a glimpse, the faint not-quite awakening but hint toward Roronoa’s own potential should the swordsman maintain his demonic willpower and steely focus.

Tekkai didn’t stand a chance. Deep slashes carved into his large body.

The giraffe-hybrid became a man once more.

Kaku fell onto one knee, blood dripping from his torn body, and he coughed up blood.

“N-not…bad, Roronoa,” he wheezed.

In the end his own arrogance blinded him, not unlike his fellow agents whom he knew the Straw Hats had already defeated.

With his fall, there was only one last true obstacle standing: Rob Lucci, the strongest CP9 agent in their entire history.

“Ttch, you showed me more of your true skills, but even now you’re holding back on me despite your handicaps,” Roronoa sneered. “Your swords have no heart behind them, and don’t go preaching about that assassin bullshit. I know you can put even more power behind your swordplay; so why don’t you?”

Kaku glared at the younger man, baseball cap doing nothing to hide the sharpness.

Roronoa mercilessly kept pushing, not at all impressed. “Do you really want to return back with the kid to whatever life you guys led? I’m not blind. The Butterfly-Brat looked pretty miserable up there with your CP9 buddies and the masked bastard. We both know how Chrysis is, and if he’s some sort of high-profiled guy wanted by the World Government, then I guess he’s going to be stuck under the thumb of more bastards like your chief, right?”

“And so?” replied Kaku, tone soft, controlled, and cold. He recalled the various events the young noble had to attend throughout their acquaintance, the only times the sidhe didn’t, wouldn’t, even try to avoid. Surrounded by the various other nobles, dignitaries, government elites and marines, the blond stood among them, forced into an unflattering stiff outfit and the hated shoes, resigned. Eyes held down lest his eyes betray the utter loathing he had for most of guests, defiant words held back by years of having the role and duties and manners of his station embedded into mind and muscle.

Kaku standing nearby, a silent guard and unspoken comfort after the first couple of years of his assignment.

“You don’t like the idea any better, but you have to suck it up because they’re your bosses. Because you’re part of them.”

Kaku scoffed, the effort turning into several hacking coughs. “What are you getting at, Roronoa?”

“I’m just saying what do you want for the little guy? Not as his bodyguard, not as a CP9 agent, you. You’re the guy’s best friend, his companion for what, five years? He has known of us for all of a few months. I don’t really expect Chrysis to stick around our crew without at least getting your permission if not approval; he’ll come after us if we have you prisoner, but I’m sure he’ll act like the Butterfly-Bastard he is and cause trouble to free you. Then we’re right back to where you guys run off back to the government.”

Kaku frowned, easily picking up Roronoa’s meaning, but his mind stalled on exactly the swordsman was getting at.

“I don’t do flowery shit like that Ero-Cook, so I’ll make this short; do you want to rejoin this crew? Both you and Chrysis?”

Black eyes darkened with indignity and anger. “Roronoa, didn’t I just get to defending myself in front of Jyabura? CP9 is my life! Chrysis is just a mission, a person of importance to the World Government.”

“…you called him Chrysis instead of his first name.”

“…”

“You care about him a hell of a lot more than simply a mission. Shall I remind you how you acted back when that bastard Foxy tried to steal him from the crew? You didn’t act like a bodyguard then, and I’ll kiss the damn chef if that wasn’t genuine hate you had for Foxy right then and there. Give me a straight answer, Giraffe-Boy. I leave you here, and the both of you return to whatever you were doing before; or, you can willingly come with me and talk things out with Chrysis and the crew.” Roronoa drew closer, voice like steel. “Don’t think I forgot the promise you two made concerning becoming our crewmates; do you think any of us would back down from whatever shit from your past is coming after you? After we just up and challenged the government like this?”

Kaku sighed, rolling from his kneeling position to sitting with his legs crossed over each other.

His wounds twitched in painful protest.

The CP9 agent in him balked at the accusations, but the very human heart of his he tried so hard to bury when his mission and personal opinion clashed agreed with Roronoa’s words. He hadn’t known Chrysalis that long, but the sidhe was…he was someone special to him.

If he had to choose between him and the rest of CP9…

Now, that wasn’t exactly a decision he had to think very hard upon, if at all.

Chrysalis saw through him, understood the dark world of a CP9 agent as the student and occasional tag-along in the much darker affairs of CP0, but he still chose to accept Kaku as his bodyguard over the agents he had known (and antagonize) for most of his life.

He considered Kaku a friend long before the agent realized he considered Chrysalis a friend, too.

But, was that enough to justify defying the World Government? To abandon the only life he knew aside from his stint as a pirate, as temporary as it was in proposition?

Was Chrysalis’s happiness worth it?

Kaku recalled how Chrysalis looked before they met the Straw Hat Pirates.

/ Frustration as the sidhe silently observed the arguments during the various meetings he had to attend but never give his real opinion.

Looks of intense longing at the sea when they were traveling, invisible chains always there, a gilded cage awaiting them at the end of every adventure.

Wings sagging to the ground as the smaller of two followed the marines back to Marineford or the place the sidhe reluctantly called home.

Rants against his heritage, against the corruption of nobles and marines alike.

Against the World Government as a whole.

His own anger as the elites of their society looked down on the sidhe, many only knowing Chrysalis was an unacceptable and barely tolerated burden they had to endure. Chrysalis’s fellow nobles giving him snide looks and the offhand remarks when they thought the sidhe or agent couldn’t hear them (none of them were exactly the brightest or caught on to Chrysalis’ astounding hearing even neglecting haki senses) /

Kaku’s face was hidden under his cap’s visor, silent. Several minutes passed.

Zoro allowed the agent to ruminate on his words, waiting for the agent’s final decision.

He wouldn’t be surprised if the agent had spent years denying just how much he depended on the sidhe’s opinions just as the sidhe did for his.

Or his own damn feelings, though the swordsman didn’t care how deep the two’s relationship really went, unknown to both - if the idiots couldn’t see how they much they cared for one another, it wasn’t exactly his place to tell them.

Kaku finally spoke.

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

~ otherworldly entity ~                                                                                                                      

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, visions’


Chrysis hated a number of things – his so-called birthright, his fellow nobles, corrupt government officials and callous marines…the list went on in a similar trend.

Spandam was quickly rising to the top of the list of people the sidhe couldn’t stand and openly despised.

The purple-haired bastard embodied a lot of traits Chrysis loathed, from privileged egotism, to self-willed ignorance and utter heartlessness. He was boastful when winning, but he would turn into a spineless weakling when things got tough.

And this clown’s supposed to one of the leaders of the World Government?

Chrysis met the last chief, too, and the phrase “like father like son” was pretty dead-on in this instance. The only real difference between the two was that the elder was a bit less incompetent and weak-willed.

Still a jerk and all-around egotist.

Seriously, as much as Chrysis didn’t like CP9’s modus operandi, he knew most high-end governments had this sort of force in order to keep an eye on the underworld that came hand-in-hand with opulence and progression. Having them headed by two generations of overly ambitious, self-righteous morons was just condemning on the part of the World Government when the previous generations were fully competent and could handle missions themselves as needed.

Oh, how the secret agency has fallen in such a short period of time.

Although, granted most of Chrysis’s level of care may or may not stem from his best friend being part of said organization, its strongest generation, even. Yet the power was squandered under the directive of the organization’s weakest commander in 800 years.

This mental rant had started up ever since Lucci left the three in favor of fighting Luffy. Specifically, since Spandam tried to act all superior by nearly gutting the raven-haired woman with his Elephant Zoan weapon.

Chrysis was outraged and just barely stopped the blade in time with a hastily put up Tekkai around his hands. As it was, the force slammed both of them down the stairs and into the wall.

“I see. You talk big, brat, but you really can’t do much on your own, huh?” mocked the soon-to-be-former Cipher Pol chief.

Chrysis didn’t answer right away, opting to help R- Nico Robin stand back up.

“The both of you are better left gone from this world. You should show some more respect to the World Government who can still make some use out of you,” the idiot ranted on.

“Shut. Up,” the sidhe warned, red eyes flashing as his haki seeped into the air slightly. “I may have made a promise, but I do have a limit for idiocy, Spandam. Just because kairoseki renders me weaker doesn’t mean I am actually weak, unlike someone who relies entirely on the power of others to fight for you,” the sidhe practically spat, wings humming ominously behind him.

“Y-you-you-!” sputtered Spandam, most likely choking still on the heavy air. With an indignant huff, the purple-haired man turned on his heel and stomped forward, yelling at the prisoner and guest to follow.

Kaku so owed the sidhe for putting up with his boss for as long as he did.

So, Chrysis chose to glare instead of beating up the man as they silently made their way across the Bridge of Hesitation.

Robin looked curiously at the strange child-sized man. He had a very obvious connection to the World Government, a grudging loyalty only coming through when he had to choose between his morals and his obligations.

And hadn’t the sidhe had mentioned several times his grandfather was someone important? A high-ranking government official? A marine officer?

He didn’t want to be here any more than Robin, that was definite. And Chrysis has come to several compromises, not helping Robin escape but making sure neither she nor any of the others for that matter came to harm if he could help it.

He really was an interesting puzzle, the sidhe with a past he only revealed in fragments if at all.

Chrysis cursed in his head as Robin suddenly collapsed.

No doubt a last-ditched effort to delay the inevitable.

Sighing, the sidhe watched silently as Spandam raved some more at the increasingly desperate archaeology.

He didn’t move when Spandam stopped to haul her up by her hair.

What could he say at this point? They were literal meters away from the dock.

It was over.

Seeing the tears in Robin’s eyes nearly made the sidhe lose the last bit of iron control he had.

Right now, he couldn’t risk another tantrum, not without someone who can pull him back.

As much as he hated Spandam, Chrysis had a very narrow and poisoned mindset when he was like that.

He rather spare Robin from more pain than she already experienced in her twenty years as a fugitive.

“The Battle of Ohara will finally be over! You’ve lost!”

“No! I’m still here!”

Was his vision tinting red again…?

An explosion set off back at the staircase as the purple-haired demon promised.

Chrysis frowned as he saw the cyborg man tumble into the sea.

He didn’t have much more time to consider what was going to happen as Spandam began to run, jerking both him and Robin across the bridge.

Chrysis stumbled as he tried to help Robin back onto her feet or at least help her avoid getting more scraped up.

His wings fluttered out as he caught a familiar ringing noise.

Spandam yelped as the chain connecting to the cuffs sliced cleanly down the middle. The man rolled forward a few times before landing on his front and face.

“Wha-?”

The sidhe pulled Robin back as an explosion hit the CP9 chief dead-on.

The bridge erupted into chaos.

“Did anyone see that?”

“Where are they?”

“Find them! They have to be hiding nearby!”

They aren’t.

Standing proudly on the Tower of Justice was the masked warrior Sogeking.

Next to him, leg still raised from the controlled Rankyaku, was a familiar baseball cap wearer.

Kaku?!

Kaku, ever-loyal to his ideals, straight-laced as they came (if sometimes a bit weird about his own tastes and speech), taking a very deliberate and public stance against the World Government?

Against the institution that practically raised him to be nothing but a soldier from childhood?

Chrysis barely registered Robin fleeing until the marines started to shoot.

Luckily, he didn’t need to make a move.

Franky had made his way back up and deflected the bullets.

[Franky-kun? Franky-kun, this is Sogeking]

“Oh yeah, Nami gave me this den-den mushi…” grumbled the cyborg-man.

[You should see a red-clothed bag somewhere nearby. It has the keys we’ve recovered, including Chrysis-kun’s No. 1 key]

“Got it. And with these…”

[We have the complete set including the ones you have on you]

“No! Impossible! That would mean…!”

“You guys did it,” Chrysis whispered, awed. A rookie crew of less than year on sea period and not even a dozen men total had triumphed over almost every member of CP9.

Excluding Kaku, they were some of the strongest of units based about Paradise and the Blues if you discounted haki users.

And this rough group of maybe a few dozen at most had more or less tore into every layer of Enies Lobby’s defenses.

Was this why the elders feared the initial D? Chrysis wondered, and not for the first time. How far will the Will of D take Luffy? And who will be caught into his strings of destiny?

Chrysis blinked as something silvery came his way.

“Kid, hurry up and free yourself while I help Robin here.”

“Oh, sure.”

Thank Roger for unusually long and slim fingers. The cuffs came open with a clink.

Robin’s own cuffs also fell off.

Wings twitched as clicks echoes behind them.

At the same time, Chrysis confiscated den-den mushi (currently in Spandam’s slimy mitts) rang.

“…are you going to answer it, Span-dumb?”

The commander of the Enies Lobby Post bared his teeth but mechanically complied.

“Hello? If this is Kaku…”

[Chief]

“Why, you got some nerve! After this stunt, you’ll be lucky to escape execution!”

[I know that. I’m just here to tell you I just remembered something from back when I first started my long-term mission]

“And you’re telling me because…?”

[My first priority should be Chrysalis, no matter what you say or order. Not just Chrysalis’s well-being, but to also help him when he needs it. Even if what he needs conflicts with what the government wants]

“Excuse me? Are you kidding me-! Kaku, you better careful because your skirting treason charges as it is!”

[Then consider this my formal resignation from CP9. I’ll still complete my two weeks with Chrysis, though. Afterwards, well, we’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it. But there’s one bridge a certain pair won’t be crossing any time soon]

“Kaku-!”

“And snatch!” Chrysis chirped as he darted back to Franky and Robin. His smile fell as he regarded the snail in his hands. “Kaku…”

[We can talk about this later. For now, I think there’s a Buster Call we need to stop]

“Right…but first things, first!”

Chrysis turned to the very frightened man less than a few meters away.

“Robin? Franky? How do you feel about payback?”

“Hey, stop-!”

The sidhe disappeared in a blur. Unarmed or not, he could still turn his body into a weapon. Maybe not as effectively as for assassination skills as the CP9 members, but these soldiers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference with their weapons sliced to pieces just before they all fell unconscious with a swift chop to the vertebrae.

Spandam backed away, slowly.

“Mother…” the stupid man squeaked.

Chrysis turned to the ships approaching the fence.

They started firing.

Not surprising, the Buster Call valued efficiency over losses.

The cannons aiming high were going to be a problem, though.

Hovering slightly above the ground, the sidhe twisted his wings oddly, shaking them free of any loose scales. Then he started to bat them away.

No-See Storm!

Cannon after cannon exploded before they reached their destination.

“Kaku, get everyone out of there!”

At most, Chrysis could buy the Straw Hats at the Tower a few more minutes before he ran out of scale dust.


The Zoan acted. He hauled Usopp over his shoulder, despite the sniper’s squeals of protest, and leaped straight off the rooftop.

He tried not to think about the other agents; they will be fine, they survived worst.

Luckily, their most mobile fighter was taken out early. If anything, Blueno could get them all into his door dimension by himself.

Just before they could go splat on the ground, Kaku thrust a foot down, the Rankyaku-Geppo combination easily halting their momentum.

The so-called Sogeking didn’t appreciate the controlled fall, though.

“Areyouinsane?” sobbed the man.

Kaku deadpanned, “Would you rather we’d stay up there in time for that-” cue the top half of the Tower of Justice to be blown right off, “-to happen?”

Usopp wisely shut up.

The group headed into the underground tunnels, headed by Kaku.

He must have been more out of it from his fight with Zoro than he thought not to register what the rushing echoes were.

The two groups met in the middle.

“Shit.”

Even if he didn’t eat his fruit, he would drown long before he reached the surface since Soru had inconsistent results underwater (water was denser and require more force per kick, not adding in the water pressure and currents).

Vision darkening, Kaku thought he saw something pink and scaled…


Chrysis rolled the handle of Spandam’s devil fruit sword.

Between the three of them, they easily overwhelmed the convoy’s escorts. Now, if they could just keep the vice admirals’ ships from blowing their last ticket to freedom out of the water…

Chrysis could really do with some food, too, Kami knew the sidhe burned through most of his reserves courtesy of a certain purple jerk he tossed at one of the far-off ships earlier.

The sidhe stilled as he felt the consciousness of the Straw Hats, Kaku, and others flicker.

Then they began to rapidly approach.

“…!”

Chrysis drew closer to the side. He could hear something faintly from under the surface…

“-DIE!”

He fell backwards as mermaid Kokoro surfaced

…well, he’d seen worst to be honest.

The sidhe clucked his tongue at the merfolk’s antics and went to administer first aid to his half-drowned companions.

“Oi, you all knock it off!” the sidhe complained. “And welcome aboard, Kaku. Yes, you’re not imagining it, Kokoro-san is a mermaid, an icefish-type it looks like.”

“NO-!!”

“Sanji, knock it off!”

“But, then!!! Why do you have two legs? Mermaids don’t have legs!” Usopp protested. It was a valid point. However,…

“Young mermaidz are born with tailz, yes. But, at the age of 30, our tail finz split and we can live a life on land. We’re a pretty myztical tribe, eh? You’ll zurely zee that yourzelves should you ever travel to Fishman Island,” Kokoro enlightened them.

Usopp and Sanji looked at each other and went into denial.

“Geez, what a show of gratitude, guys.”

Kaku laughed, making the sidhe scowl hard at him instead.

Usopp and Nami shot the two knowing looks.

A raging inferno engulfed Enies Lobby. According to the reports, everyone on Enies Lobby should have died by now.

Franky went still.

“Franky-san, they’re okay,” Kaku went to reassure the cyborg.

“And how would you know?!” the half-clothed man snarled.

“Because we can sense their lifeforce, so to speak. They’ll be fine. Trust your precious nakama,” Chrysis answered, eyes trained on the battle still raging on the prop not too far off from them.

All they could do now was survive until the straw-hatted boy who led them to this point finally returned from his battle with CP9’s strongest.

More explosions rang through the smoke-riddled air.

In the ruins of the first prop, the crew could finally see the battle between their captain and the leader of CP9. The Straw Hats exploded with cheers of encouragement.

“Luffy!” “We’re all here on the bridge! All of us got here safely!”

“Luffy-kun, don’t hold back! Worry about yourself, and we can take care of this ourselves!”

“Luffy, we got Robin-chan back safely, too!”

“Luffy,” called out Chrysis, “give the leopard bastard hell for us, got it, captain?”

Cries calling for Lucci’s defeat rang out. This was a battle between the strongest, and they couldn’t, wouldn’t, interfere.

And as epic as the battle was, they had their own worries.

Two battle ships pulled up beside the convoy and the bridge.

The scene erupted into utter chaos as Straw Hat and Franky fended off their marine foes. Several fruit users were among the unending tide.

Chrysis breathed in deeply. Then he moved. The sidhe fluidly twisted around his opponents. Suddenly, he disappeared in a flurry of movement. The surrounding marines automatically pulled back as they felt something brush their heads.

Stop: Balance.”

When the inner ear canal cannot receive vibrations, vertigo ensues.

The marines stumbled and collapsed against each other as their worlds turned without their permission.

Attacks went wide and wild. In this dense crowd, the threat against allies were minimized, and between two haki users, non-existent.

To the side, Kaku swept his long neck, slamming dozens of marines into the waters below.

A few swordsmen unwisely tried to go for the seemingly unprotected target.

Their swords bent instead.

Swiftly, steel sang as a certain moss-haired rival cut them down.

“Thanks,” Kaku huffed as he shifted into his human form to fight against the quickly scattering knots of marines.

His control wasn’t good enough to fight in his hybrid or animal form in close quarters with others.

Yet.

But for now, he could fight just as well as himself.

It was more than enough for the normal marine foot soldiers.

The upper ranks however, were another story.


“LUFFY!”

“Usopp?” gasped Chrysis in bewilderment as he sent several marines back into the sea with a sweep of his wings.

“LUFFY! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING? GET UP! LUFFY!!”

Usopp did something both stupid and brave. First, he outright lied about only coming here to rescue Robin. Two, he went on rant about fighting Lucci.

That suicidal moron! Lucci didn’t really take Usopp’s words seriously, that much was evident. However, he had no interest in fighting Luffy anymore. He began to walk towards them. Towards Usopp.

“Usopp, don’t provoke him!” yelled Kaku as he downed a dozen more marines. “Lucci may not care about fighting the weak, but he’s thorough. If the captain is down for the count, then he’s going to look for fresh prey to satiate his bloodlust.”

A~and, that was what the sidhe was afraid of.

“SHUT UP, USOPP! I’ll fight him! I’ll take him down!” cried Luffy as he struggled to his feet.

“Then, why are you still lying around there for? STAND UP! STAND UP RIGHT AWAY!” screamed the hapless sniper. “Stop acting like you’re about to die!! That’s not who I chose to follow from East Blue! There might be smoke everywhere, but we can still see the sky! We can still see the ocean.”

Zoro cut down several more marines. Hands blossomed into deadly traps. Lightning blazed. Bullets rained on marines and iron fists slammed into those who got too close. Rankyaku attacks slashed into the crowd. Bursts of wind tore through the ranks of soldiers.

Yet, still they came.

“Right now…this isn’t hell, Luffy! So, stop acting like it is and get back into the fight! …DAMN IT! Will you quit making me worry about you!” shouted Usopp through his tears.

Damn it all!

“Kaku, cover me! I’m about to do something reckless!”

“What? Chrysalis!”

The sidhe folded into a cross-legged position, trusting his friend to back him up.

He ignored the screams around him, the whips of razor wind just narrowly missing him.

He needed to focus for this.

Deep within his core, the sidhe drew forth his last reserves.

Pure white eyes stared unseeingly into the battle.

World’s Eye: Tree of Life.

Strange reddish-white apparitions of trees rose around the sidhe. Suddenly, they spread their ghostly appendages out. None of the surrounding marines could see them. None but those with awakened Kenbunshoku haki.

Even those handfuls could do nothing to hack away the ghostly limbs. They didn’t do anything obviously harmful, so after a while the vice-admirals and their few haki users ceased their strange actions. They also refrained from warning the other marines of something they could do nothing about lest they cause a panic.

That’s what they thought, but the sidhe knew otherwise. This was a forbidden technique. Those attachments very minutely drained away vital energy.

Nothing that could be detected or become detrimental for healthy people, but in a large crowd like this, it was very effective. With World’s Eye, the sidhe could sense the living energy of all things no matter the distance and even perceive the traces they left behind. Not unlike the more powerful Voice of the All Things. But, it could do one other thing.

Chrysis discovered as a child he could tap into those energies and redirect. He couldn’t drain much more than a few drops at a time from each victim, but it would be enough for Chrysis’s purposes.

Luckily, this technique didn’t really compromise fighting ability to any notable degree (or else the marines would be on him even worse than the suspicious ones attacking the person just sitting in the middle of a battlefield), and Chrysis had more than enough presence of mind to avoid already seriously injured people.

Over by Luffy, greenish white roots latched on, hundreds of them. As his captain fought, Chrysis fed him a little bit of the leeched energy, just enough to give him an edge. Especially considering the inevitable side-effects his crazy techniques were costing the straw-hatted teen.

Luffy knew his limits, but he would bulldoze them anyways. Why shouldn’t Chrysis do the same thing?

The World’s Eye took energy from him to use these advanced techniques because he sent out his own energy across the network connecting all life in the world. The more he tried influencing those pathways, the bigger the cost.

When both vice admirals started to approach, the sidhe cut off the technique. Wobbly and unsteady or not, he needed to help Kaku fend them off a little bit longer.

Bright and burning and frozen.’ The cold fire of a heartless murderer. The presence jerked and fluttered. Until finally…the flame of consciousness guttered out. Lucci had fallen. Luffy had beaten him, the most promising agent of CP9 in centuries.

“ROBIN! CHRYSIS! KAKU!” Luffy yelled. “WE’RE GOING BACK TOGETHER!!!”

Chapter Text

 

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

~ otherworldly entity ~                                                                                                                      

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, visions’


He did it.

Luffy had defeated the undefeated Lucci, CP9’s strongest agent of his generation. And the crew had successfully freed Robin and himself.

So, it was time to go. However:

On a positive note: the people of Galley-La, the Franky Family, and the giants had survived.

On a negative note: Luffy could barely wiggle his body, much less move from that one spot. If the sidhe had not supplied the captain with minute traces of energy, he may not have been able to do even that much. The sidhe couldn’t invoke the Tree of Life again because of the initial energy cost needed to even access the technique. As it was, Chrysis was painfully aware of time running out on his end as well. Even now his vision was going in and out of focus, everything framed in gray.

Then the marines finally decided to blow up their only means of escape, the convoy.

So…things did not look all that bright right now. Marines and endless water surrounded them, their captain laid stranded and helpless on the other prop, and they had no way to escape.

Everything looked pretty damn hopeless.

“Ch-Chrysis! You can fly, right? Go save yourself!” whimpered Usopp.

“I c-can b-barely s-stand, Usopp! And what in all my p-past actions tells you I’m t-that c-cowardly?” the sidhe hissed, not bothering to censure his tone.

It’s been a long night, okay?

The former CP9 agent was too aware how dim their prospects looked.

The assault carrying through probably a good half of the night took a major toll on them all, but Kaku and Chrysis were probably in the worst shape since they deliberately drew the attacking vice admirals by flaring their haki intermittently.

Compared to a bunch of rookies, they as haki users would be the number one priority of people to take down first.

Kaku was pretty sure if Roronoa didn’t already crack something, the fight with the marines definitely led to things being broken.

Chrysalis fared no better, worse really. The Tree of Life technique was the sidhe’s emergency last resort to pull someone through near-death level of trauma to the body. The price showed in the barely conscious body leaning fully against him, wings wilted and crumpled around their owner rather than neatly folded against the sidhe’s back. His clothes had tears everywhere, and any wound occurring after the risky technique wouldn’t be healing anytime soon.

Not with the sidhe’s stamina stripped bare.

The rest of the Straw Hat crew wasn’t in as bad shape, but their energy had begun to flag from a night straight of fighting practically with only a brief interlude between the two major fights with CP9.

All in all, Kaku had little confidence they’ll be getting off the island so easily.

Not without a ship.

Usopp cried out in frustration and went back to join their comrades in yelling for Luffy to get back on his feet. At best, the rubber man scooted himself just a little closer to the edge of the prop, and that much closer to the deadly waters below.

“…impossible…”

Kaku looked down on the sidhe…who was looking off toward the direction of the first prop. However, he wasn’t looking at Luffy but rather at something unseen below the edge.

Taking a chance (and a little curious himself), Kaku opened his haki senses.

There…what was that?

The next person to catch on was surprisingly (or not) the sniper.

“Luffy, everyone…JUMP INTO THE OCEAN!!!” the sniper shouted, eyes wet and shiny and voice hoarse with unspoken emotion.

“Usopp?!”

“What do you mean, “jump into the ocean”? Including Kaku-kun, we now have five devil fruit users!” snapped Nami as she fended off another group of marines (it wasn’t like the two warships’ crews stood idly while the Straw Hats tried to rally their captain).

“Just trust me! Robin, please listen! Can you drop Luffy into the ocean?”

“Leave it to me,” the archaeologist replied without hesitation. With a cross of her arms, Cien Fleurs: Delphinium created a path of arms to slowly roll their captain to the water. The others yelled in protest.

In the midst of the shouting, a single voice, bellowed over them, “Listen to what Usopp says!”

The Straw Hats stared at the sidhe in bewilderment. Usopp was one thing, but Chrysis?

“YEAH! WE’LL SURVIVE THIS, GUYS! SHE CAME TO SAVE US!” declared Usopp as tears began to trickle down his face. He turned to Zoro who had walked up to him and sobbed, “W-we still have one more left! One last nakama!!!”

Chrysalis stumbled for a few steps until Kaku scooped him up in an indelicate princess carry.

“KAKU!”

“Just bear with it, Chrysalis,” chided the bodyguard. “You can’t move like this any better than Captain Luffy.”

The sidhe frowned but refrained in his squirming.

Without any hesitation, Kaku jumped over the edge.

The remaining Straw Hats looked at one another and followed suit after.

Right below them sailed the proud ship of the Straw Hats: the Going Merry.

Kaku landed in the crow’s nest with a soft thump. Everyone else dropped onto the deck with less elegant flair, but they were all aboard the brave little ship that weathered storm and warship to come here.

Everyone! I’ve come to take you home!’

“How is this possible?” breathed Kaku, awed. “That ship shouldn’t be able to sail on a calm day with all that damage...Aqua Laguna should have marked its watery grave…”

“The world is a vast and mysterious place,” Chrysalis reminded his companion.

Impossible things were very possible. Just look at them, all of CP9 defeated, a major government outpost on fire, and soon the wrath of the world will be turned on them. Yet they were still here and well.

Robin looked around and smiled. Chrysis never saw such a bright smile from their dark scholar. “Thank you, everyone.”

“Okay! We should probably flee for our lives now, though. Before these guys wise up to our escape!”

“Like what Chrysis-kun said, everyone to your stations!” Nami ordered. “Let’s get out of here, already!”

No sooner than she said that then the marine vessels began to turn.

They had completed their one goal: rescue their kidnapped nakama. However, they didn’t have time to celebrate yet! Several marine warships had survived and aimed their cannons right at the Merry. Chrysis was pretty sure Spandam had lost it since the sidhe was certain Aokiji wouldn’t have ordered Robin dead, and Rivera would have Spandam’s head for this.

Yet, impossibly, all the cannon balls missed.

If Chrysis’s body didn’t practically thrum with pain, he would try to investigate. As it was, he lost the fight for consciousness.

Just for a few minutes, the sidhe silently pled as everything disappeared with one last ring of cannon fire.


Kaku tucked the slumped body against the mainmast. Chrysalis would be safer in a cabin, but the CP9 agent really didn’t trust the sidhe completely out of his sight or reach. He reached into his coat once more and withdrew a familiar pair of fans. He set the closed weapons at the sidhe’s side. Chrysalis fought best with weapons considering his frail body.

Kaku narrowed his eyes, thumbing the damaged katanas at his side. The wear over the course of the past couple of months had worn them to their final edge.

The fight against Zoro would be their last major battle. They were irreparable at this point, barely holding together even as Kaku favored using his Rokushiki during the subsequent scuffle here.

If worst came to worst, Kaku could always use Funkfreed whom Chrysalis had grabbed earlier and refused to leave behind, something about how Spandam shouldn’t be trusted with a pet, much less a sentient sword.

Behind them, the Gates of Justice had almost finished closing, once more blocking the currents and turning the seas into a minefield of whirlpools.

Chopper and Nami manned the ship’s navigation while everyone else focused on keeping the damages to the ship nonexistent. Kaku had no doubt one blow could send the dying ship to the depths along with them.

Somehow, the chief could find it in him to keep running his mouth even after being soundly beaten by Nico and Franky.

“Damn you filthy pirates! Damn you all to hell! I rallied the entire might of Enies Lobby…the Buster Call itself, and yet you still have the audacity to survive? Why can’t any of you idiots succeed in capturing just one woman from those lousy pirates…!!? It’s all that damn insect’s fault! If he hadn’t interfered so much, going so far as to turn one of my valuable agents against me-!!”

The assassin went eerily still, aura drawing close.

The purple-haired man screamed, reeling back as two slashes rent open his sore face.

“Ahh!”

Kaku wasn’t the only one itching for reprisal.

Several hand blossomed about the screaming man.

“ARGH! D-don’t!” the leather-face man cried. Robin only glared coldly at the man who tried to remake her childhood nightmare.

Clutch!”

*CR-ACK!*

Kaku hardly batted one of his long lashes as Robin ruthlessly broke his boss’s back in half.

Honestly, this could have been averted if he and his fellow agents didn’t have to appease their commander’s whims all the time and just do their damn job. Shucks, if Jyabura would quit picking fights with Lucci and him, they could have wiped out a majority of the Straw Hats, and probably overwhelm the strongest of their fighters if they worked together for five minutes.

They were assassins, they didn’t really need to play fair or offer the real keys as the prize.

Enies Lobby has stood as the undefeated gateway of the World Government, protected by Cipher Pol 9 for 800 years. And it was brought down in one night by a single crew plus their handfuls of allies.

The Buster Call may have done the physical destroying, but the pirates, rookies at that, were the ones to defeat the assassins of the World Government.

Coup de VENT!”

The ship suddenly flew off into the horizon.

Kaku took one last look back at the burning buildings and smoke-wreathed skies turning the eternal day of Enies Lobby into dusk.

This was the price of their overconfidence and arrogance.

Perhaps the World Government will shape up their standards for commanding officers Kaku idly thought.

Knowing how the system functioned, it was highly unlikely – there would always be another Spandam ready to botch another operation with their own ambitions over justice.

In a few more seconds, the island of Enies Lobby disappeared from sight.

A beat. Then…

“THIS FIGHT IS OUR VICTORY!!!” cheered everyone aboard the Going Merry.


After a little while of sailing on their own, Chrysalis groggily came to and announced, “Galley-La.”

As the sidhe said, a massive ship with the name Galley-La Company stamped proudly on her sails came to the side of Merry.

And none too late.

Suddenly, the front half of their beloved ship gave out.

Merry!”

“Guys! Get off the ship!” shouted Kaku. He pulled Chrysis up to his feet since the sidhe’s glare told him he wouldn’t be as sedate if the long-nosed assassin tried to carry him again. “It’s time! We need to leave!”

The inevitable denials. The harsh cries of anger. Even Chrysis, Kaku and Robin, the ones who had sailed on the ship for the shortest period, could feel parts of their own hearts break with the ship.

But…like Iceburg-san said, they needed to give Merry her earned chance to rest.

Their ship had gone above and beyond her capabilities. Most would have said an old caravel would never be able to sail Grand Line Waters. Yet theirs had weathered this and even the sky seas’ currents.

Everyone climbed aboard the rowboat. The people on the shipwrights’ ship lined up on deck to pay homage to the Going Merry’s last voyage.

“Merry, we’ve been on some good adventures, haven’t we? The bottom of the seas is dark and lonely, so we’ll see you off here. I’m sorry Usopp’s not here to see this, but maybe that’s for the best. He probably wouldn’t be able to handle this. Thanks for everyone you’ve done for us, for carrying us through the seas to here…goodbye…Merry.”

With a single touch of the torch, their most loyal of nakama caught alight.

A strange snow began to fall.

Chrysis frowned as it fell on his wings, still draped over himself like a cloak.

It wasn’t cold to the touch.

/ A ship dressed like some sort of chicken.

“Chickens don’t fly,” he deadpanned.

“Not you, too!” snapped Nami.

Soaring into the skies.

Damages being fixed overnight…Chrysis’s first confirmation of the manifestation of the ship’s soul given life by the hearts of her crew.

When the crew planned to fix Merry.

However, the sidhe stayed inconspicuously silent. He ran a hand across the wall nearest to him.

“Repair job, huh?” he said softly. Very faintly, he could hear a sad humming in answer. “Just a bit more,” he soothed /

I’m sorry!’ the soft voice cried out. ‘I wanted to carry you all just a little bit further. I’m…so sorry! I wanted to keep going on adventures with you! But I…’

“Don’t say that, Merry! You don’t need to apologize. It’s our fault! I’m bad at sailing and crashed you into an iceberg! I even broke you mast and tore up the sails a couple of times!” cried the Captain of the Straw Hat Pirates. “Sanji and Zoro are always fighting and act like idiots, so they broke a ton of shit, too! We even let someone burn you! Usopp tried so hard to fix you, but he’s no shipwright and more or less just bandaged you together!!! WE’RE the ones who should be sorry!!!”

But…I was happy to be a part of your adventures. Thank you for taking good care of me until now. You guys…really made me happy!’

Even the coldhearted CP9 agent was touched, eyes a little bit too bright. He was an assassin by profession, yes, but he knew the old ship lore, worked tirelessly over ships whenever he had the chance to practice his favorite pastime. A part of him, the child long lost, always believed a little in those old stories.

And he was a tad bit sentimental at heart; he had left his damaged shirasaya katanas on board the sinking ship.

Most of the others had tears in their eyes, too (some outright sobbing like Dr. Chopper and Usopp).

Even those without haki could sense the sheer joy and sorrow the ship emanated.

Chrysalis shook his in denial, haki going frenetic. Kaku only had enough time to see a single sudden streak of green light flash between the sidhe and ship before the latter fell back into him, unconscious.

After several more cracks, the ship sunk.

In Chrysalis’s clenched hand was a single shining seed. Kaku made sure to tuck the object safely into his jacket pocket.


Two days passed since they returned to Water 7. Both Luffy and Chrysalis were unconscious since then.

Kaku had found a pot of dirt to plant the seed made from what looked like the last bit of the Going Merry’s life.

He kept it by the unconscious fae.

Unlike Luffy, the sidhe was on a modified drip (instant regeneration meant they had to be careful and use material irritating the sidhe’s immune system to discourage skin growth over the equipment). The teenager could eat in his sleep, but the sidhe couldn’t move even a little bit, conscious or not, after overexerting himself.

But a sidhe couldn’t go without food for more than a few days at most, or else they would literally starve themselves to death because of their overactive metabolism.

So, a drip.

Everyone was still kind of depressed after the crew’s first official ship sunk.

They perked up a little since most of their things were located off the ship and recovered by the citizens of Water 7.

They all were resting again in the living space provided by Iceburg (sans Usopp who was still staying away from the rest of the Straw Hats, not unlike Kaku who had taken to spending a large amount of his time helping out with the city repairs when not watching over Chrysalis. Even the elephant Zoan had taken a spark to the Franky Family and was seen frequently helping out with the reconstruction of their house).

Then a certain pervert in a tropical shirt busted into the room with his two ‘sisters’.

“F~franky! Ow! Are you guys all su~per? Good to see all- well, most of you here. Well, that’s fine! Guys, I have something to say to all of you!”

Without so much as asking for a by your leave, the cyborg started his story.

“On an island of never-ending war…”

Sanji took a whiff of his cigarette and interrupted, “Did you just come barging in to tell some shitty folk story?”

“Hey! Shut up and listen! It’s important to what I’m trying to tell you!” the disgruntled ship dismantler grumbled. “Now, as I was su~per saying… There was this huge tree that never fell. Bullets would rain against its trunk. Explosions rang high into its branches. People died and left the island…and still the tree remained. People always came back to the tree, using it to rebuild towns and nations. There were only a handful of trees like that in the entire world…the strongest of which were called-”

“The Treasure Tree “Adam”,” a sleepy voice finished. Chrysalis sat up in his bed, the drip line going taut, but the sidhe knew enough of medicine to know he shouldn’t tug it free (mostly because a certain pair of Zoan would probably give him an earful later, devil fruit powers disregarded).

The blue-haired man tilted his head in acknowledgement of the sidhe’s. “That’s right, Butterfly-bro. Adam. Every so often, pieces of Adam wood would show up on the black market for sale. I’ve always longed to buy some, but the prices for them is exorbitant at about 200 million beli…then you guys came here with a shit ton of money on you.”

“Which you robbed us of, precisely 200 million beli to be exact,” Kaku snorted. He could see where this conversation was going pretty easily. “You bought Adam wood with it. Illegally, mind you.”

“YOU USED OUR MONEY TO BUY THAT CRAP!!” Sanji exploded at the former shipwright.

“Hey, hey, hear me out!”

“You should calm down,” Chrysis sighed. “Don’t you want to know why that wood is so very priceless? It’s something the World Government forbade trading by either public or private domains for a reason – ships made from Adam wood are the best kind of wood to use for building a ship on the Grand Line. No matter the weather or sea condition, a ship made of Adam wood can sail through it all.”

“Little bro’s right,” Franky said, nodding his head. “Long ago, I made a decision to quit building ships. But…I couldn’t stop myself from designing one last blueprint because there was one person whom I’ve always looked up to and wanted to impress just once…”

Franky slammed his two fists into the floor as he bowed his head down and declared, “My dream is to make a “dream ship”, a ship made with the Treasure Tree Adam that can cross any and all the seas!!”

He looked each pirate in the eye. “I now have the parts to make that ship reality. I’ll get to building it, and when I finally finish, I want you guys to sail on it, the ship I made!”

“Is that so?” Chrysis stated, eyes glinting ruby. “So, following in your mentor’s footsteps fully and completely, I’d say. If I recall, your shipwright master was Tom who built the Oro Jackson, Roger’s ship and the only one to sail across the whole of the world, from the same stuff.”

“That’s right! Nothing will make me happier than knowing you guys will be sailing on it, my greatest and most su~per masterpiece! Besides, it was your money in the first place~”

As quick as the sidhe’s smile appeared, it faded, replaced by a pale whitening face.

“Chrysis-kun? Is something wrong?” Nami questioned as soon as she saw the sidhe go pale with fear.

“Everyone, incom-!”

The wall shattered. A large man with aging white hair stood in the middle of the wreckage, lines of marines standing behind him.

“What’s going on?!”

“Who is that?”

“Are we under attack?!”

“MARINES!!!”

“Ho…you are the Straw Hat’s crew, right?”

Black eyes narrowed as a figure blurred before them.

“Vice admiral…I’m surprised you came here. Aren’t you posted New World-side? Paradise is usually a bit too tame for you, after all,” Chrysis noted aloofly, smile full of teeth.

“Senny’s grandkid~ You look well for a runaway brat,” the Marine Hero grinned back.

The sidhe dropped all pretentions. “Guys, stay back. Garp’s on whole other level, even for a vice admiral.”

Kaku nodded his head solemnly. “A normal vice admiral would be hard-pressed for any of us to fight alone, but Garp-san is far more dangerous.”

“Seriously? I don’t care who this shitty old man is! If he thinks of hurting the shitty capt-!”

Garp was never a patient man. He bypassed the pirates easily, walking right up to the unconscious pirate captain…

…and proceeded to administer his famous “Fist of Love”.

“OW!”

Sanji cursed. He recognized this as the unnamed technique the two haki users hinted at a few times but never really elaborated on.

What did the sidhe tell him and Marimo-head that one time they were training together? The power to fight a devil on even grounds or something like that? At worst, it could bypass devil fruit defenses of any type as long as it was strong enough. Against normal opponents, it could deal massive damage.

Ever since then, Sanji would see the Marimo doing some weird training exercises after fighting Kaku or Chrysis. He asked one time and the swordsman only said he had a gut feeling about doing that crazy shit.

If Sanji could learn the same thing, he’d do that crazy training thing, too, if it meant he could have a rat’s chance in the cathouse to stand up against the powerhouse right in front of him.

“G-grampa?!”

Grampa?! All the Straw Hats barring Kaku and Chrysis thought with dumbfounded looks.

“Wait, wait, this is Luffy’s-!”

“Grandfather, yes,” Chrysis answered with a small snort. “Everyone, meet Monkey D. Garp, the ‘Hero’ of the marines, vice admiral, and my own grandfather’s biggest headache.”

“Oh? Does someone else need a little ‘Fist of Love’?” Garp grinned.

The sidhe paled. “N-no, thanks, Jiji. I’m quite fine…and you shouldn’t really attack people on bedrest, you know.”

“Nah, a little bit of love doesn’t hurt anyone, right?”

Chrysis shot Kaku a ‘save me from this crazy man’ look.

Sighing, the assassin stepped between the two, hands out in surrender.

“Now, Vice Admiral Garp, Captain Luffy and Chrysalis are really in no shape to be sparring, much less your version of family affection anytime soon. I’m sure you have other, more important things to do. Such as whatever reason you came to visit in the first place.”

Kaku was an excellent voice of reason (even if D’s as a whole rarely listened to that nonsense in the wake of their instincts or whims).

“Can’t an old aging man visit his cute trouble-making pirate grandson?”

“Absolutely not,” the sidhe stated with utter conviction. “You never do, at least. And didn’t you say something about bringing someone else here especially for this visit?”

“Never mind that now. Luffy, Chrysis, don’t you boys have something to say for yourselves?”

The sidhe snorted. He had an inkling what this was about.

More than an inkling, more like a bad feeling he knew just where this conversation was going.

Luffy’s crew was understandably still uneasy about this all.

“What the hell?” Sanji snapped. “Luffy’s grandfather is a marine vice admiral?”

“And not only that but Garp ‘the Fist’, the ‘Hero’ of the marines!”

“Yes, yes, Garp is the last person any of you should pick a fight and et cetera.”

“Wait, you know about this?”

“He and my grandfather are old friends, so I do know the guy personally.” The sidhe grimaced. “He talked a lot about his grandsons, though I didn’t know about their actual names until I met Luffy. They do share a surname. Combined with Luffy’s monstrous strength, it was an easy connection to make. This guy actually babysat me way back when…and half-killed me in the meantime.”

“Oh, he made you train with him, too!” Luffy exclaimed. The two Paramecians shared a commiserating look shared between victims of Garp’s idea of ‘training’ for children their age.

The crew’s jaws dropped lower as Garp explained exactly what kind of training they went through: pushed over bottomless cliffs, sent flying by balloons, and left to survive in the wild overnight with no additional instructions.

Kaku looked incredulous even though he knew all of this already (Chrysis did a version of this to the CP9 agent in retrospect. But he didn’t exactly leave the guy high and dry like Garp, and Kaku knew how to fight already and was the same age as Chrysis himself so…yeah).

Garp shook his head. “First Ace, now his brother and even Chrysis here. I trained you boys to be strong marines!”

Luffy screamed back, “I ALWAYS SAID I WANTED TO BE A PIRATE!!!”

Chrysis added to that, “And I said I hated the World Government and would never work for it directly or indirectly as a career. Its bad enough I have family obligation and stuff, I don’t need to be an actual paid soldier for it, too.”

Neither Luffy nor Chrysis backed down as Garp’s suffocating aura surged.

It still surprised the sidhe Garp didn’t personally have Haoshoku haki or the potential like Luffy for all the man’s obnoxious presence.

“I swear, it was a bad idea to let that damn Red Hair influence you, Luffy! As for you Chrysis, I told Senny letting Rivera give you so much free reign would be bad. And now you’ve turned worse than delinquent on us. How do you think those fussy old men will react to the news?”

Sanji and Nami shared a look. It was obvious by the way the sidhe talked he was some sort of nobility, really powerful or important one, too, if the World Government considered him personally their property practically. He admitted his family line was among the very few to carry that World’s Eye gift, and just added to the mystery.

Just who was the sidhe’s grandfather exactly? This “Senny” guy Garp knew so well?

“They’ll probably say something like they always knew I would bring trouble just like my parents. I bet those nobles would look down and say they were right about me being a troublemaking commoner in disguise and add something about bad blood. Then again, they do have such a way to show how much they resent or outright hate my blood, on both sides of my family. And don’t get me started on my grandparents and father, either,” Chrysis huffed. “I’m the black sheep, an outcast they can’t just quietly lock away without creating a big uproar. No other heirs, and my regent can’t take my place forever. He’s not of my people for all he’s related to me.”

“Then you know you can’t keep messing around, you damn brat! After this you have no choice but to-!”

“Don’t have a choice?” Chrysis smiled none too kindly. “I make my choices. Always have, and this time won’t be any different. Tell grandfather he can keep chasing me all over the Grand Line, but if he tries to threaten the Straw Hats in the name of my capture…well, I do know a lot of things. I bet I can do a lot of damage before you guys can nab me, ne?”

Garp looked at the sidhe. Then burst into loud guffaws, tension dispersed.

Bwahaha, you’re no better than that idiot son of mine! Just like your mother, huh? Alright, I’ll tell Senny that. You know that won’t be the last word between the two of you, right? And the Elders will definitely be unhappy with this resolve of yours. But its not my place to drag you back. Not that anyone could stop me, not even the former CP9 agent there.”

Kaku frowned but didn’t contradict the marine; it was the truth, after all. He may have five years of haki study, but Garp was a legend rivaling Gold Roger, and he only traveled the milder islands of the New World for all of his companion’s wanderlust (Chrysalis wasn’t dumb by any means and knew two haki users alone weren’t enough to recklessly go wherever they wanted in those unpredictable waters).

“By the way, Kaku, Rivera isn’t too happy about this turn event, either, but he won’t reprimand personally…for now. Just keep doing what you’re doing, and maybe those Cipher Pol guys won’t throw you to the dogs. The guy also still wants reports, too. But if you get caught…

“I understand and take full responsibility for y actions,” Kaku gave his clip answer.

Kaku expected Chief Rivera would be a little worse than displeased with him after letting Chrysalis run rampant about Paradise and get involved with pirates, become a pirate along with himself basically.

“Grampa, I don’t know what you guys are talking about, but no one is taking my nakama away.

Luffy’s eyes blazed.

Garp just laughed some more and mumbled something about “cute grandsons” (Chrysis had an inkling he was included in that score. Stupid Garp-jiji).

Then he grabbed Luffy as his good mood turned a one-eighty.

“But don’t talk to your grandfather like that, you brat!”

“I’ll talk however I want, ‘cause I’m a pirate!”

“This is all the Red Hair’s fault my grandson turned so rebellious!”

“Leave Shanks out of this!”

Chrysis remained calm even as Garp seized Luffy by the collar.

One…two…thr-

Both fell fast asleep.

“E~eh?! They fell asleep?”

“How the hell did they fall asleep while arguing?” Sanji pointed out.

Chrysis snorted. “Well, they are D’s, the two of them. For some reason, a lot of people with that initial develop a form of narcolepsy and other sleep issues. Big appetites, too. Although, there are a handful of somewhat normal members, too.”

“And exactly what qualifies as normal?” Nami questioned quite smartly.

Chrysis went to answer, but then Garp came to.

“You little brat, falling asleep while I’m disciplining you-!”

After that, Chrysis zoned out a little (he did just woke up from a healing coma, essentially).

He only roused back to complete awareness when he sensed Zoro approaching rapidly.

“Sir, Pirate Hunter Zoro is rapidly approaching! The one with the next highest bounty on Straw Hat’s crew?

“Oh, is that so? Luffy’s nakama huh?”

His right-hand man, Chrysis easily read from Garp’s expression. His grin boded ill for the swordsman.

“Alright then. Fellas, have at it.”

Chrysis raised an eyebrow as the two significantly stronger marines out of the bunch broke away, one dashing for the swordsman while the other kicked Luffy.

…they failed completely in their respective attacks on the Straw Hat pirates.

Apparently, Garp’s subordinates were old friends of the two from back in East Blue.

If Chrysis recalled from the reports back then, Helmeppo was the name of the son of the former Captain Morgan who was dishonorably discharged and arrested…then escaped from the vice admiral standing in front of him.

Didn’t he earn his rank after ‘supposedly’ taking out some important East Blue pirate (didn’t Luffy take that guy out, too?).

Well, at least the guy wasn’t as hopeless as his disgraced father.


Kaku, good-natured as always, went over to help Garp and his men repair the hole in the wall (his friend was such a perfectionist, sometimes).

“Oi, Luffy. I heard you met your dad not too long ago,” Garp said through a mouthful of nails.”

“Eh? I have a dad?”

“Captain, everyone has a dad, biologically-speaking,” Kaku tried to explain while holding up another plank to nail in place. “I’m an orphan, but I did have parents at some point.”

Kaku winced as he watched Garp pick at his nose.

“Oh, so that good-for-nothing son didn’t even bother to introduce himself, did he? He saw you guys off at Logue Town!”

“Err, Garp-jiji, maybe you shouldn’t ment-” Chrysis tried to warn the man. He knew exactly what Garp was talking about…

“Your father is pretty well-known, actually. His name is Monkey D. Dragon. The Revolutionary.”

Chrysis blanched as the last part sounded more like a footnote than what kind of impression it should warrant.

Kaku nearly dropped the piece of wood in his hands.

Everyone had a more normal reaction at the name-drop. They freak out.

To put it mildly.

“Captain,” started Kaku, eyes still wide. “You really don’t know? Dragon is a man the World Government truly despises and will do everything they can to capture him.”

“Oh… Robin, what are they talking about?”

Even the ever stoic archaeologist had a few sweat drops on her face as she contemplated her next words. “As pirates, we don’t actively attack the government or the marines. However, there exists a force out there that does. The Revolutionary Army. They actively work toward overthrowing the World Government, and every member is considered a wanted criminal. At their head stands Dragon. Their reach had spread across the seas of the world. Many kingdoms have erupted into full revolutions and many countries have fallen as a result of their influence.

Of course, the government cannot ignore such a dangerous enemy. They pinned everything on Dragon and labeled him the ‘Worst Criminal in the World’ and have diligently searched for him ever since. He is a very mysterious figure with not even his surname known, less if he has any family…”

Kaku nodded. “I can confirm that. CP9 has been sent on many wild goose chases on the rumors of that man or to quell rising rebellions provoked by Revolutionary propaganda. In fact, the other three agents back at Enies Lobby had recently returned from one such operation.”

“So…my dad is dangerous.”

“Yes, you can say that,” chuckled Robin and Chrysis together.

Typical plainspoken Luffy.

Garp belatedly remembered the people around him.

“Ack! Oops? I guess I’ve said too much again. Heh. Okay, everyone here, forget what I just said!” ordered Garp. Predictably, this was not how things worked.

“Garp-jiji, that’s not how memory works.” Chrysis sighed, scrubbing his face in a “you’re hopeless” gesture.


Garp decided to stick around for a while. Luckily, he stayed away from the Straw Hats for the most part.

With Chrysalis awake, Kaku went over and drew the straw-hatted captain away from everyone else for a moment, the sidhe popping up as expected.

“Captain…about our actions before Aqua Laguna and at Enies Lobby…”

“Eh, what about it?”

Kaku bowed on his hands and knees, the sidhe following as both intoned, “We’re sorry!”

Kaku lifted his head slightly. “I know there isn’t really anything we can do to make up for it all, and we understand if you don’t really want us to travel with you any-”

Shishishi, you guys are talking weird, again! Why wouldn’t I want you guys to travel with us? You’re nakama, right?”

Chrysalis shook his head. “Luffy, we did attack crew members. Kaku even fought Zoro with the intent to kill, no matter how half-hearted in retrospect. Most crews would see the lack of repercussions at attempt betrayal as weakness.”

“Then we’re not like most crews,” Luffy stated easily.

Chrysis blinked at the wisdom and simple truth in that statement. He exchanged a look with Kaku.

“I suppose we aren’t.”

“Good. Now, come on, it’s nearly lunchtime! Chopper will get all upset if we miss it!”

“Captain, now I’m sure the others will save plenty for us, too,” Kaku pointed out, a small smile on his face.

The Straw Hat Pirates really weren’t like any other crew, were they?


Everyone seemed to get in a spirited mood when they confirmed the straw-hatted captain was awake for real.

A simple poolside barbeque evolved into a full party with all of Water Seven in attendance.

Chrysis stood alone for once. He watched the interaction between Robin and Admiral Aokiji silently from a nearby tree.

“Nico Robin. Who would have predicted she would have made such strong allies… and lifetime friends?”

The sidhe glared at the man suddenly occupying his tree, then relaxed once he realized who it was.

“Sensei.”

His teacher was quite extraordinary in how ordinary he looked. His brown hair was cut simply, conservatory, and his blue eyes weren’t particularly bright or remarkable. He wore simple clothes, a tee and pants combo probably taken from local Water Seven fashions.

Chrysis was sure the man had more outfits packed away somewhere to wear before and after he left Water Seven.

“Garp passed your regard to your grandfather to me as well. You really are as stubborn as Celeste-sensei.”

“You can call her by her actual name. You know, like she always told you to do.”

“Mmm, nah. It’s an old habit, and she can’t begrudge me about it now. You really are your mother’s child.”

“Even though I’m a pirate now?”

“Yes, well, we’ll get back to that. I’m just here to check up on things. I see Kaku-san was a good influence on you.”

“I’d bet his coworkers and superiors would think the opposite,” Chrysis huffed with amusement.

“Am I not his superior?”

“You’re also my godfather and always a bit more lenient than you have any right to be as the Chief of the World Government’s most dangerous and prestigious of their cutthroat agencies: Cipher Pol 0.”

“True, true,” Rivera-sensei agreed quite amicably. Chrysis didn’t let his godfather’s gentle façade fool him; he went on enough missions with the man to know how ruthless and coldhearted he could be, had to be, as leader to the Celestial Dragons’ bodyguards and voice.

One had to cultivate an uncaring mask when working with people who degraded everyone below their rank whom one had to follow their orders without hesitation.

Some days, Chrysis questioned whether he truly loved or hated his teacher, the one who ingrained some of his most important (and some of his most loathed) lessons on how to survive in this world.

“Rivera-sensei, what do the Gorosei want?”

As expected, the kindness in those blue eyes sapped away, and they made a dramatic change into the impression of sharp ice.

“They are postponing judgement…for now. Avoid using your non-sidhe assets or connections – I know asking you to refrain from contacting your people altogether will just elicit a series of trouble no one wants from the sidhe. No one was told of your status or exact relations, but please don’t push them too far. And if you are caught…once you arrive at Marijois, there won’t be a second chance to escape. You’ll still be expected to make the events your cousin can’t properly represent you at, though, but you’ll be granted a certain level of immunity then.”

“Understand.”

The ice melted. “Chrysis-kun, as your mentor, I don’t approve of you disregarding several of my lessons in this foolhardy pursuit of yours. Speaking of which…”

Chrysis nodded. “I know. Avoid teaching the Straw Hats too much too soon. No worries, I’m not really the appropriate teacher for any of them, anyhow, though Kaku and I might try to see if any of them would like to learn Rokushiki – if even lower ranked marines know some techniques, I don’t see why they can’t, either,” the sidhe offered.

“Alright. Your grandfather won’t be that pleased, though.”

“He’s never happy when I’m doing stupid and reckless things.”

Rivera-sensei leaned over and ruffled the blond’s hair, dislodging Chrysis’s headband a bit but careful of the antennae.

“As your godfather, though…I wish you luck and support your growth as a man and leader of your people. Don’t get caught.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Chrysis replied to no one.

Rivera-sensei had left the second after he spoke.

The sidhe huffed. “Show-off assassin.”

Chapter Text

“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks; or “if someone is speaking scarily”

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

 [Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, visions’


Several days later…

“Guys! Looks like the log pose finally set, but…”

“Whatz wrrong?”

Nami frowned and explained, “While the log pose is set to the next island, it seems to be pointed a bit downward.”

Kokoro laughed and explained, “Ngagaga, of courze it izz! That meanz the next island izz Fishman Island, ze pahradize under the sea!!

“EEEEEH? F-F-F-F-FISHMAN ISLAND?! Finally~” exclaimed Sanji, steam flowing out of both nostrils.

Nami looked a bit ambivalent towards the prospect. “Hah,” she sighed. “Fishman Island? I’m not sure how I feel really about going there.”

Luffy nodded in a rare show of comprehension. “Yeah, I guess that would be hard since what happened to your village…”

Zoro added, “But those were fishman pirates, right? They can’t all be like that.”

“Fishman Island? Sounds great! I never been there myself, but I had a friend who was a fishman,” grinned Chrysis. “He’s was really something, and a pirate, too. I tried to sneak off and visit him sometimes. Of course, I was a little kid at that point…and I didn’t have my devil fruit power then, either, so I usually got caught half the time.”

“He wasn’t an Arlong Pirate, was he?”

“Nope, though the name kind of sounds familiar,” Chrysis said at the same time Kaku mentioned, “There are more than one all-fishmen crews out at sea. They’re just uncommon.”

“Ttch,” stated Zoro, not really responding either positively or negatively at that.

Sanji really started to wig out over the opportunity to live his other dream of seeing real mermaids. At that point though…

The blond chef froze and turned back to face Kokoro - the actual mermaid in the room.

His face turned dark and morbid.

“God damnit! I’m a pirate, damn it! Why can’t I at least keep dreaming about it?!”

Several of the others winced in sympathy at the memory.

Kokoro yelled, “Zhey have young mermaids, too!”

Chrysis snickered, “Geesh, Sanji! You do realize merfolk and fishmen come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, right? Kind of like humans but more extreme – like sidhe, actually. Except, sidhe rarely grow taller than five feet whereas some of the sea folk are larger than some giants while others are as small as the dwarven folk on the Tontatta Tribe. You shouldn’t judge them all by the example of one, you know.”

“Ze kid is right. Merfolk can be a varied lot. Our princezz and king are zed to be giant-zized! But, that izz not the important part. It’s how you get to ze pahradize that’z the problem. Take a look at zhiz!”

The frontpage told the sorry tale of yet another rash of ships to disappear into the ghost sea, the Florian Triangle.

“You zee, to reach ze pahradize, you muzt brave ze waterz of the devil. Zhey zay more than 100 ships sink in zhoze waterz each year. People even tell of how zhey come across ships without zheir crews or worze! Zhey encounter ze ghost ships full of the dead!”

“Ghosts?! Scary!” whimpered Chopper as he pulled his pink hat down to hide his face.

“We can meet living skeletons?!”

Zoro, Chrysis, and Kaku sweat-dropped at how ridiculous the teenaged pirate captain was being.

Nami didn’t care much better about Kokoro’s tales than Chopper. She changed her tune quick enough once Robin mentioned “treasure ships”. Sanji didn’t put much stock into the ghost stories, Zoro seemed only interested in finding a new sword to replace his rusted over one. Kaku was contemplating his own empty sheaths.

Chrysis made a note to be on a lookout for quality shirasaya katanas. Kaku’s mastery of blades in general and Rankyaku were good, but he knew the giraffe-man preferred swords over any ol’ knife, and he seemed fond of those swords in particular.

Suddenly the Square Sisters, Chimnee, and her pet Gombe burst through front door.

“Pirate Bros!” the sisters huffed in between breaths.

“Oh, you guys. What’s up?” inquired Luffy.

“It-it’s done! Big Bro Franky did it! He finished your ship!”

Suddenly, the ground started shaking with the approach of a lot of stomping feet.

The Straw Hats looked in askance as the rest of the Franky Family marched up to their temporary accommodations.

“Franky Family? What’s the rush? What’d you guys running here?”

“Straw Hat-san! *huff, puff* Did you see *huff, puff* the newspaper this morning? I…have a favor to ask you guys. But first…the latest wanted posters!”

“Wanted posters?” asked the various pirates, excitement and comprehension lighting in some of their eyes.

Zambai nodded and exclaimed, “Straw Hat-san! Your bounty has increased by a ridiculous amount with the stunt you pulled at Enies Lobby. So, has Roronoa-san’s. In fact,… every member of your crew is a wanted outlaw now!”

“What, really?” enthusiastically inquired Chopper and Sanji.

“What, no!” gasped Nami.

“Don’t believe me? Here, see them for yourselves!”

The ship dismantler brandished the wanted posters in his hands, letting them fall onto the ground to show their contents to the gathered crowd.

Straw Hat Luffy. 300 million.

Pirate Hunter Zoro. 120 million.

Devil’s Child Nico Robin. 80 million.

King of Sharpshooters Sogeking. 30 million.

Cat Burglar Nami. 16 million.

Black Leg Sanji. 77 million.

(In the background, Sanji wept frustrated tears as he took a good first look at his poorly drawn bounty poster).

Cotton Candy Lover Chopper (pet). 50.

(“Waah! Fivdy verrbies?!” sobbed Chopper. Typical marines. Nobody seemed to have connected the dots about Chopper and his monstrous possibly proto-awakened form).

The next poster caused Kaku to purse his lips in grim acceptance.

Kirin Kaku. 110 million.

“Not bad of a start, Kaku,” Chrysis chimed. “Kirin. Not a bad epithet. A double entendre.”

“Double-what? Is it edible?”

“Captain, it means a word or phrase with two deliberate meanings or interpretations. Kirin can be a literal translation for my Zoan form, a giraffe,” Kaku explained.

“And I wouldn’t exactly discount that seeing as how some marines can be lazy about giving criminals a good epithet,” stated Chrysis, recalling the easily forgettable Bellamy pirate whose epithet was something along the lines of “Big Blade” or something to that effect. Boring and uncreative, in other words. “Most of the time, a double entendre’s second meaning is sexual in context, but I don’t think that’s the marines’ angle this time.

“A kirin is also a mythical animal,” Robin clarified. “They’re known to herald the coming of sages and rulers as well as judge the hearts of men as good or evil and the executioner of the wicked. So, one could interpret the epithet as a mockery of Kaku-san’s previous occupations as Chrysis’s bodyguard and member of CP9.”

Kaku sighed. He thought as much himself but hearing it aloud made it much more real. His expression hardened at the next poster.

Fallen Angel Donquixote Chrysalis. 250 million. Wanted Alive Only.

“Well, isn’t that interesting?” the sidhe smirked with false cheer. “Fallen, huh?”

“Donquixote? Hey, didn’t you say one of one Shichibukai had that surname?” Sanji recalled.

Robin looked at the sidhe inquiringly, answering for him. “Yes. The Heavenly Demon Donquixote Doflamingo, considered one of their strongest members. I believe Chrysis mentioned him back in Mock Town.”

“You can almost look at their epithets as inversions of one another,” Nami noted, contemplative. “Wait…are you related to that guy?”

“Yes, and I believe that’s what whoever ordered this to be on my wanted poster intended to be the impression. The Fallen Angel-thing is also the World Government’s attempt to make a subtle jab at my decision to become a pirate.” The sidhe shrugged, pointedly showing how he didn’t really care for the intended effect.

Kaku frowned and discretely nudged his companion. The sidhe threw him a look before continuing.

“If you haven’t figure it out by now, I am from a noble family, one not held highly among my own rank, but noble nonetheless,” Chrysis explained, eyes narrowed. “This however, is a bit too much. I would wager a higher authority than my grandfather finalized my poster. Roger know, neither sensei nor he would ever allowed this to be published otherwise.”

“Chrysis, who is your grandfather? Garp kept talking about some “Senny” guy,” Nami remarked.

The sidhe shrugged. “Well, I guess I might as well actually named the guy, it can’t be that much worse compared to Luffy’s lineage...his name proper name is Sengoku.”

Jaws dropped. No words came out.

Then:

“WHA~AT?!!”

Chrysis winced as the screamed jarred against his sensory system.

“I don’t get it,” pouted Luffy. “What’s so special about that? Isn’t he a marine or something like Grampa?”

“Oi, Luffy, you can only be so oblivious!” Nami yelled at the captain, voice going up several more octaves than normal. “Sengoku is the name of not just a marine, but the marine. Sengoku the Buddha, fleet freaking admiral! He’s about a hundred times scarier than a normal admiral!”

“Ttch, so even the bug has some troublesome family members,” Zoro remarked.

Chrysis gave the swordsman props for maintaining his cool demeanor. Then took them away when he realized the Marimo just called him an insect. Again.

“Does that mean-?!”

“No,” Chrysis interrupted Nami curtly before she started to hyperventilate or something. “He won’t be coming after us personally or anything; I came to a sort of agreement or understanding earlier with him via my teacher. Consider this poster an answer; I’ll be treated like another member of your crew and pirate worth my bounty rather than a runaway noble of a very prestigious lineage. As you can see, none of the higher-ups want me dead, though I figured as much. I just need to be careful to never be captured. Otherwise, this won’t doesn’t really change anything, at least I hope so.”

It was rather inconvenient, both the name, the bounty, and the picture.

Exactly what are they trying to do with this?

Surprisingly, Sanji was the first person (Luffy and Zoro didn’t count) to accept the sidhe’s words.

“Shitty Butterfly, you better not act like Luffy and casually drop things on us like that all the damn time. I see you don’t mention how you and Doflamingo are related, but it’s none of my business anyway. Whoever you are, you’re just another member of the crew. Shitty giraffe, you have any crazy relatives?”

“No?”

“Then we’re good.”

The others quickly accepted this new information. Chrysis suspected Zambai and the sisters were less accepting (or rather, still recovering from the information overload).

But there must be something pretty heavy on the man’s mind as Chrysis could see the struggle the man had to push away his confusion and utter astonishment.

“Okay, whatever, I’ll panic later, but this is what I really wanted to show you guys!”

The crew turned back to Zambai who slapped down another wanted poster.

Cyborg Franky. 44 million.

“Franky-bro!” gasped the twins. “He’s a wanted man, too?!”

Zambai nodded grimly. “That’s right! Somehow, none of us from the family or Galley-La got pinned with a crime, but bro’s a wanted criminal!”

“Makes sense, he would have been a criminal for years if he wasn’t legally dead at the time,” Kaku pointed out.

“But he wasn’t, but now he is!” Zambai shouted, pulling a little at his hair in frustration.

“That’s terrible! / What’ll we do?!”

Zambai regarded the assembled Straw Hats with a desperate look. “Please, Straw Hat-san! If Big Bro stays here in Water Seven, the marines will come here and take him away again. And this time, I’m afraid we won’t be able get him back out! But, Big Bro worries about us here, and he won’t leave this city of his own free will…we got together and came to one decision. I’m begging you, do what you have to do, use force if you have to, but please! Take Franky-bro out to sea with you! He’s already the son of pirates, after all!”

They all turned to the straw-hatted captain.

Shishishi, he’s a shipwright, right? That’s what we came here for, anyhow, so sure~”

Zambai warned them, “It won’t be so easy, Luffy-bro. Franky-bro is stubborn. He’ll fight you tooth and nail to stay here. If it comes to that, don’t be afraid to use force!”

Luffy frowned.

Kaku considered the notion and Straw Hat’s recruitment history. If he remembered rightly, the young captain never had to make someone join like that. Bribed, blackmailed, accidentally, and bargained, yes. But forced? It wasn’t in the young captain’s nature to make someone do something they didn’t want like that. At worst, the captain just made a stubborn nuisance of himself until his future crewmate finally accepted the offer. But, still, they did it of their own free will, so part of them must wanted to join in the first place.

“We can think about this later, for now, don’t we have a ship to see?” Chrysalis pointed out. “We can hash out the details later.”


They all went inside to grab their things before heading off.

Franky recruitment aside, they also had another crewmate on their minds.

Usopp, their former sniper.

This was murky territory, and Chrysis agreed with Zoro; no matter their personal feelings, Usopp had willingly left their group, had even challenged the authority of the captain. They couldn’t just accept him back with no hard feelings, else Luffy’s respect as a captain would be lost.

In a crew, the captain was the final law. They had to be when the safety of the crew was at stake. If any crewmate could take advantage of friendship to go against their leader, chaos would ensue, and it would tell other pirates their captain was only a figurehead.

Weak.

Right now, it was up to Usopp to fix the rift he dug between him and the crew. No one else could do that for him.

I hope he understands that, Chrysis thought, recalling what he heard from the few times he checked in on the marksman.

Sanji, meanwhile, still laid sprawled on the ground as he bemoaned his wanted poster.

“Seriously? Sanji, it’s not the end of the world if they didn’t take your picture. Mayhap you were a hard subject to capture, or they flubbed up the shot so badly it was even worse than this.”

“Ha! Says you Mr. 110 million beli man! Your picture looks cool with you in your old CP9 get-up!”

“That’s hardly relevant. Just work to earn a higher bounty, I’m sure they’ll get a better picture of you by then. Wouldn’t that be swell?”

“I guess…but the ladies’ idea of me will forever be tarnished by the first impression!” Sanji despaired.

“Kaku, leave the idiot alone,” Zoro called out. “I don’t know what’s he complaining about, it looks just like the spiral-browed cook.”

“WHA~AT?!”

“Good job, Zoro,” Chrysalis snorted.


Wood, metal, and other remnants of crashed ships piled all around them.

Fitting for a place call Shipwreck Island.

They all headed over to the huge thing covered under a tarp with various shipwrights strewn around the area.

“Hey there! Franky!!! We’re here for our ship!” shouted Luffy.

“Nmaa, hello Straw Hat.”

“Ice-ossan! Where’s Franky?”

The shipwright boss shook his head. “Welcome everyone…unfortunately, Franky has disappeared somewhere. But, the ship is ready. If you would allow me…I will show you it.”

Iceburg looked up at the tarp-covered ship with a proud smile. “I have to admit; this ship is quite amazing. When I saw the blueprints, I was stunned. I assure you, this ship will be able to cross any sea and make it to the end of the Grand Line easily. Now, Franky left a message-”

“Ice-ossan, quit talking! We want to see it!” interrupted the starry-eyed captain.

Iceburg chuckled and pulled the tarp down as he recited, “If you will be the pirate king one day, then set sail with the ‘King of Beasts’!!!

Everyone gasped.

For one, the ship was enormous.

Iceburg smiled at the crew. “Originally, Franky planned for a smaller ship with the wood he had available, but it seems he had a generous donation courtesy of your crewmates there.”

“Donation?” Nami questioned. She turned the two crewmates Iceburg pointed out, her expression thunderous. “We already had Luffy spend nearly the last of our beli, if you guys-!”

“Oh, that’s right,” Chrysis interrupted her, ignoring her murderous glare. “We never got to telling you guys what Kaku and I were up to in the city that first day.

Do you guys recall what the Skypeians were carrying when we all scrammed for the ship? Back on the sky island?”

“You mean the giant cannon?”

“Captain, it was covered in a tarp,” Kaku pointed out. “I never thought it was a cannon, for one the shape wasn’t right, and there were no one positioned correctly to fire it if it was one.”

“Ooh. Then what was it?”

“One of the pillars used to keep the Light of Shandora up. It probably wasn’t made wholly of gold – the stuff is pretty but heavy - but that’s still a lot of gold. They wanted to thank us for our help by offering it up to us since it got damaged during the fighting.”

Nami stilled ominously.

“T-they wanted to give us all that g-gold…and we left it behind?!”

Everyone winced at the rising volume. Suddenly she rounded on Kaku and started to shake him (Chrysis wisely staying aloft and out of her reach).

“Why didn’t you say anything?!”

Kaku held his hands up defensively.

“Nami, you guys were pretty adamant about leaving. Besides, why don’t you let Chrysalis finish talking about how Franky obtained the additional wood?”

Nami finally relented, releasing the much taller man’s collar.

“Chrysis, you better explain!”

“I am,” the sidhe replied, eyes alit with mirth “We wouldn’t have been able to carry all that gold, anyhow. So, when Kaku and I went into town, I headed to an exchange place with a sidhe representative. We sidhe actually keep our own banking system, separate from the World Government. There I commissioned an expedition group to cut out some of the gold and bring it down. No, Nami, I had them only retrieve part of it since I don’t want to break the monetary system. Too much gold flooding the market all at once would lower its value significantly, kind of like with rare stones and gems. They couldn’t say for sure how much gold they’ll bring back down, but since I was a trusted person, they did give me a first payment on faith. About 600 million beli, to be exa…Nami?!”

Chrysis fluttered over to the fallen pirate.

“I think you broke her,” Luffy unhelpfully pointed out.

The sidhe fumbled for something in his shoulder bag, pulled out a small vial, and held it up to Nami’s face.

The reaction was immediate; Nami woke up abruptly, made a face, then nearly banged her head against Chrysis’s.

“Si-six hundred million belis?!”

Chrysis nodded. “Yeah, I put it into an account for safety, but recently took out roughly 250 to pay for additions to the ship, including more Adam wood and some kairoseki. I do believe you were quite interested in hearing about how lining the bottoms of ships wards off sea kings, right?”

“Hmm? Oh, it does, does it?” Nami questioned innocently.

“Right. Well, that stuff is costly, but we’ll be able to safely maneuver around sea king nests now without a fight on our hands. The New World has several pockets of them outside the Calm Belt, and they sometimes move locations every so often.”

“Nmaaa, well I don’t know about the sea king thing for sure, but it was novel to work with so much kairoseki at once. Apparently only the World Government-commissioned shipwrights can make those adjustments to their warships. It was a valuable experience for me and my shipwrights here. All the specialized tools to cut it were provided by your crewmates, so they’re yours. As you can see, Chrysis-kun procured enough wood to build your new ship about half again bigger. The extra space helps accommodate for the additions your crewmates suggested after handing over the wood and other supplies.

Although, I still wonder where you managed to get so much Adam wood after Franky bought the last shipment of it on the black market.”

“Well, you see…hey, guys, take a look at our new figurehead!”

Iceburg raised an eyebrow but shrugged off the unsubtle change in subject. He didn’t need to know, to be honest, just curious.

“Wow!”

“What kind of flower did he base the figurehead?” inquired Robin.

Several of them sweat-dropped and Kaku finally said, “Um, Nico Robin? I don’t think that’s supposed to a flower. A stylized lion perhaps. It would make sense with the message…”

“Guys, hurry up and get on!” laughed Luffy.

Chrysis flew up. He smiled brightly as he saw the sprawling green lawn decorated with several trees and some bushes. Nami’s favorite fruit trees taking up a prominent place, of course. He kicked off the sandals he got from Galley-La (his other new pair somehow got displaced during Aqua Laguna. Chrysis wouldn’t be surprised to hear he left them on the sea train or something), and then walked across the springy greenery.

“Whee!” shouted Chopper as he tested out the slide.

Nami admired the brigantine-style sails with glee. This style of sail will definitely improve their maneuverability plenty.

Chrysis smiled as he heard the others exclaimed about the special features. For Sanji, it was the huge fully outfitted kitchen with a securable fridge and pantry. Zoro seemed pretty happy about the gym – or as much as the stoic man got.

But one of the most fantastic changes to the ship’s design was the foremast.

“Is-Is that a tree?!” gasped Nami as she walked up to the mast. Large roots arched in a dome-like fashion before anchoring somewhere below deck. If one looked closely, they could actually see a few small pathways through the roots leading up to a hidden building, sunlight somehow reaching down from the trunk above it.

“Hmm, that grew in pretty well,” admired Chrysis. “This is a legendary type of tree called an Aegis Tree. Rumors has it they’re born from the souls of dying ships, although no one really remembers how they were first created. Nowadays, ships with Aegis trees are held sacred and kept strictly in sidhe hands. This tree is young, though. It grew from that seed I got after using the Tree of Life technique on Merry there at the end. I guess that's one great mystery of the world solved. You can call this beauty her child, in a way. They’re quite hardy and their trunks and branches can be grown by a sidhe such as myself into all sorts of amazing shapes and designs as you can see.

Do you see that light under there? This tree has an odd ability to filter sunlight from those leaves high above us to the trunk and roots below. You won’t normally see these outer roots bioluminescing, but the ones deeper glow pretty nicely, huh?  There are also a similar sort of mangrove tree with the same sunlight filtering ability near Fishman Island – the rumors say their ancestors were crossed with an Aegis Tree long ago. Isn’t it great? The naturally filtered light is great for plants, so I asked Franky to build a greenhouse under there. We’ll have a supplementary collection of fresh produce for longer voyages – or if Luffy somehow eats everything. I’ll be growing herbs, a few kinds of vegetables, and we even have a tree nursery with some Dwarf Adam Trees. Considering how the much larger variant is nearly extinct, these ones are exclusively raised by sidhe. There’s also another garden in that domed pyramidal structure. It has a lot of poisonous and dangerous plants and various mushrooms plus a Fairy Silk Tree. That’s where Kaku and I will probably sleep if we’re not down in the Men’s Quarters.”

“Wait, POISONOUS PLANTS?! That’s dangerous!” shrieked Chopper.

Chrysis chuckled and explained, “Not at all. Fairy Silk Trees are special for two primary reasons. One, their lower sprawling broad boughs and soft bark and leaves make them ideal for bedding. Two, the Fairy Silk Tree has an extraordinary power to purify the nearby air, especially in a contained area. Any dangers from poisonous fumes, pollen, spores, and such are neutralized by the tree’s peculiar perfumes and pollen composition.”

“Really? I never heard of such a thing!” exclaimed Chopper excitedly.

“Then you’re welcomed to come up and study the tree and all the other plants,” offered Chrysis cheerfully. “I’ve also asked Franky to outfit small bathroom units here and in the sick bay for convenience and in case either of us suffer from contamination to irritants as a precaution. Don’t worry, I already have fully stocked antidote pantry, and the building functions as a secondary lookout post, so I have a panic button also installed up there just in case.

Fairy Silk Tree products are like nothing else, though. Their fruits are good for bolstering the immune system and neutralizing the effects of many poisons, too, but they only grow in a single small bunch maybe once every few months. I’ll harvest and dry them for medicine if I spot some. The leaves are edible, too, and good emergency nutrition, taste like cotton candy, actually…”

Chopper happily followed the sidhe up to the secondary lookout and what the sidhe naturally dubbed The Fairy Garden.

Chapter Text

 “Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks; or “if someone is speaking scarily”

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

 [Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, visions’


When Luffy inquired on Franky’s whereabouts, Iceburg explained how the shipwright had anticipated Luffy’s recruit attempt and preempted it by hiding. Apparently, Franky didn’t feel like he could look them in the eye and reject the request. As far the cyborg shipwright was concerned, he probably wanted deeply to sail with them on the very “dream ship” he always wanted to build. And he truly liked hanging around them.

“A shame. Franky got it in his head that he is obligated to stay on this island forever because of some perceived “duty” he has here.”

Iceburg seemed to agree with the Franky Family; the Straw Hats had to decisively take matters into their own hands and drag Franky aboard to be their shipwright.

Luffy shook his head, face conflicted. On one hand, Franky wouldn’t regret being their crewmate. On the other hand, forcing someone to be nakama wasn’t how these things usually worked.

Chrysis could proudly state none of them were like the split-head of the Foxy Pirates; they didn’t need to use dubious means to recruit crewmates.

But, needs must.

The next hour passed in a blur. The Franky Family’s bright idea to get their leader to leave the island with the Straw Hats…was to steal his speedo.

Chrysis perched on the rooftop by Kaku as the whole Backstreet erupted into chaos. A streaking shameless cyborg tended to do that.

“Are we really, truly, seriously doing this?” muttered Kaku as they watched the proceedings. Chrysalis laughed outright as Kaku’s face gradually got redder. Indignant, the older man ducked his baseball cap lower.

Fufufu, you’re too much of a gentleman, Kaku!”

While he had traded his CP9 clothing for some of his casual (and not ripped) wear, he kept his favorite black baseball cap after the navigator reluctantly offered to clean up the holes his animal forms left. Chrysalis graciously (and without so much as a warning) also commissioned him some specially fitted clothing meant to accommodate Zoan users’ extreme transformations (It didn’t bother Kaku much before, but Chrysalis’s offhand comments when he watched Kaku practice made the Zoan self-conscious, and it showed).

Chrysalis waved off all protests by stating he already had the clothes order sent, and even had some of Kaku’s old clothes also refitted. He even went and ordered some for Dr. Chopper who didn’t give him this hard of a time, so the giraffe-man should quit arguing with him already.

As a race with their own particular and various clothing needs, sidhe designers had an eye for making clothes to accommodate the transformations of Zoans and the inevitable wear-and-tear of being traditionally close combatants. All Chrysalis needed to do was take a few mental measurements from all three of Kaku’s forms and send them off to the nearest ones he knew. Good thing they worked fast and did one-day deliveries.

Along with a pair of blue pants and black boots, Kaku had a new black jacket similar to his old CP9 one, but with several hidden pockets and a small design of orange-brown spots on the ends of the sleeves.

Chrysalis also had a bit of a wardrobe change (there was no getting blood out of most of his clothes not torn and riddled with dirt and a few holes from too-close encounters with bullets). His haori jacket was more or less the same but lined with purple on the inside and along the edges and worn loosely. He also wore a backless thin white shirt and black pants with yellow skulls along the bottoms underneath.

Franky’s pants (pathetic excuse of swimwear really) traveled back and forth from Franky Family member to Luffy, then finally Chopper. That was their cue.

Chrysis sent a wave of scale dust down to temporary distort Franky’s vision, carefully laying down the glamour.

So, the cyborg didn’t notice a thing until Zoro and Sanji pushed him into the cannon.

*Boom!*

Kaku grabbed the reindeer in hybrid form and Soru over to the Shipwreck Island before Franky could recover in time. Chrysis touched down at his side while Luffy shot himself over via a Gomu Gomu no Rocket.


“FRANKY!” yelled Luffy from their ship. “If you want your shorts, then join our crew!”

Sunglasses on his forehead, Franky looked at them dead in the eye and intoned, “Give me my pants back, Straw Hat.”

“No!” adamantly refused Luffy. “If you want them, then be our nakama!”

Franky chortled, “Don’t be absurd…look, just because you stole my shorts don’t you just assume I’ll be your nakama!”

Kaku choked as Franky posed in all his nude glory as he recited some sort of poem. Chrysalis remained unaffected.

“How are you able to look at this with a straight face?” exclaimed a scandalized Kaku.

“Hah, this is hardly the worst I’ve seen, you know Kaku. Don’t you remember the sidhe festival I took you to, once?”

Kaku redden further as he remembered. Compared to some of the sidhe he saw there, Chrysalis’s shoe quirk was extremely mild.

“Please, please, don’t remind me,” Kaku pleaded, baseball cap completely over his eyes, and face pulled further down into his collar.

“We are a very nonchalant race when it comes to appearances. Comes from being a very nature-orientated and nomadic culture. Maybe I should bring our crew to the next one-”

“Gah!” Kaku threw his hands up and faced away lest he turn into a tomato instead of a giraffe.

Then Robin stepped in and took the issue in…err, hand.

!!!!!!!

The squeal of unmanly pain had Kaku turning right back around.

“EEEHHH? Robin?!”

“AAAah! She really grabbed them!”

“Eeek! Robin, don’t! You’ll smash them to pieces!”

“AAAAAaarrrrgh!!!” shrieked Franky in a very unmanly howl.

“Robin! I need him to be a man!” yelled Luffy. “Just make sure they don’t come off!”

Kaku stared aghast. CP9 agent or not, that was just cruel. And as a fellow man, the sight made him cringe.

Chrysis’s wings stood out straight as he reeled in pain from the sympathetic feedback of pain. Curse his inconvenient haki-born empathy powers! And Robin’s short and brutal ways! There was absolutely no warning from the woman about how far she was willing to go!

“Owowowowowow!” he whimpered, curling up on the lawn floor. It hurt too much to think, much less put up a proper mind block.

Iceburg finally got through the stubborn cyborg – the exact details were lost on the sidhe who couldn’t focus well enough from the unexpected acute spikes of pain.

“Chrysalis? Chrysalis, we need to prepare to leave soon!” said Kaku as he shook the curled up sidhe. Chrysis opened his haki senses back up and-

“Aaah! Everyone move! Garp-jiji’s ship isn’t moving quickly, but it’s definitely moving towards us! And he’s feels just like when he decided to test my battle flight reflexes – he’s warming up for cannonball practice!”

Franky finally joined them. Which, if he hadn’t after all the pain Robin had put both of them through, Chrysis was going to turn him into a silken mummy and hang him from mast for several days.

Now, they only had one last loose end. Chrysis had climbed up the main mast and onto the crow’s nest above it. The crow’s nest was a large domed structure doubling as a gym. There was also a smaller set-up above in case someone was training. It was on top of this the sidhe took a seat on top and waited.

Kaku leaned out the arched openings lining the lookout post and called out, “Are you sure you want to wait there?”

Chrysis nodded without looking away. “You might not want to get too comfortable. Things are going to get hectic. Guys, brace yourselves! Cannonball heading for the starboard side! The right, Luffy!”

As expected, Vice Admiral Garp was here to sink them. Chrysis could also detect Aokiji, but it figured the admiral was simply being lazy and hitching a ride with Garp.

The sidhe narrowed his eyes. He unstrapped a multifunctional scope from under his haori jacket (he purchased it in the city from his last shopping trip before all things went screwy in order to aid in his duties as the crew’s lookout).

Kaku looked up in concern as the sidhe yelled in a panic.

“BRACE FOR MULTIPLE IMPACTS!!” he bellowed.

Chrysis lunged out into the sky, Kaku following with Geppo, drawing out a pair of his new shirasayu katanas he had purchased in Water Seven. They weren’t the same quality as his old ones, but it was better than nothing.

A cannonball blasted into the shoreline of Shipwreck Island. A warning shot.

“He’s throwing the cannonballs like they’re baseballs!” Zoro growled.

Chrysis did a double take. “Kaku, are you seeing what I’m seeing?”

“Unfortunately, yes.”

Marines were wheeling in racks and racks of cannonballs over to Garp.

“Captain! Garp-san is prepping for Meteor Stream! If we don’t tighten our defenses, the ship will sink faster than a devil fruit user in the ocean!”

“Meteor Stream? That doesn’t sound good,” said Sanji. “Or look good. Marimo, Shitty-Captain, incoming!”

Between the four blocking below and the two slicing cannonballs above, most of the shots never made it to the ship, but it was still a close thing. And it was also a matter of time before Garp got tired of using these small ammunitions and resorted to his signature attack.

Chrysis’s head suddenly jerked up. “Well, you sure have some timing.”

“USOPP!”

The sniper shoved his way through the watching crowd and risked a fall from the top of the broken staircase to the wrecks below.

Luffy said nothing as Usopp kept dancing around the issue sitting heavy between them. Until:

“I’M ZOOOOOOWWWWRRRRRRYYYYY!!!” sobbed Usopp. “I’M ZOOWWRY! I know I was a soubborn ass!!! So, bleease! I WAS WRONG! Blease, forgive me!”

Usopp fell to his hands and knees and pleaded, “I know my actions were unforgiveable, that I shamed myself by acting like a child. And I said I left the crew…but…I’M ZOOOWRRRY!”

Tears streamed down the sniper’s face. “C-can…can I take back what I said? What I’ve done? Can…can I come back? Please! Please let me come with you guys! Please…!! PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE ME A PART OF YOUR NAKAMA ONE MORE TIME!”

A rubbery arm extended.

Once more, they were together.

“Chrysis, Flying Monkey! You guys need to get down from there. We’ll need to take in the sails,” instructed Franky.

“I am a giraffe, not a monkey! And…what?”

The amateur shipwright and sidhe stared in confusion. “Take in the sails? While we’re being shot with cannonballs by a vice admiral?”

“Who’s the professional here? Like I told these guys, trust in me and the ship!”

Meanwhile, Straw Hat declared that they needed to name the ship.

“Really, Straw-bro? We kind of are in the middle of something-”

“Exactly,” chirped the rubber teen. “All right, everyone! We need to come up with a cool and powerful name for our ship. What about…Bear!! Polar Bear!! Lion!!

Usopp screamed, “That’s not an appropriate name, Luffy!”

“Then…Tiger Wolf Lion! Squid Scorpion Ape!”

“Luffy, why I like you have a…definite theme, I think we need a bit more meaningful name than that,” advised Chrysalis, eyes and scope locked on the buzzing about of Garp’s crew.

More names were suggested and rejected.

Franky smirked, “I – or rather Bakaburg – had some ideas, too. He wanted to call it the Thousand Sunny!”

The crew loved it better than “Lionel the Boss”, “The Darkness”, and “Monsieur Sunflower”. Or Franky preferred New Battle Franky: “Lion Gang Champion”.

They now had officially named their ship. Now…how were they going to get away from the cannonball-happy marine firing on them?

Then Luffy just had to give his grandfather one last smart-aleck comment.

“You idiot!’ snapped Chrysis as he peered back at the marine warship. “Franky, anytime! Before we sink, if you’d oblige us!”

Garp did not take Luffy casual deflection of his cannonball or his remark of them running away very well. Chrysis could feel the surrounding seas trembled as something huge was hauled. A giant cannonball larger than the Sunny by a few times.

“Where the hell did that come from?!”

Kaku stood still, facing the incoming projectile. While he and Chrysalis could avoid this shot with just their basic Rokushiki, the sidhe wouldn’t abandon their crew, and neither would he.

The ship-sized cannonball launched into the air. Not that he felt a very real shiver of fear run down his spine as the cannon ball got bigger and bigger as it came closer to the ship.

Several screams rang out. The cannonball was so huge, it seemed to blot out the sun as it came down on the Sunny.

“Coup de…BURST!”

The ship hurled into the sky.

“AAaaaah!”

“It-IT’S FLYING?!”

“This is amazing!” gasped Kaku as he hung onto the railings, hand keeping his cap from flying right off. Chrysalis struggled to clasp his wings against his back while simultaneously clinging to a root, curly hair nearly flying free if not for his headband.

“Super, right?! Normally, this would consume about two barrels of cola, but the kid’s super-charged herb infusion improves energy consumption by a third! Whatever the Going Merry could do, this ship will do it several times over! Her strong will and brave spirit will live on in the Thousand Sunny!” proclaimed Franky without a trace of doubt.

The crew cheered as they welcomed their seventh member. They had their shipwright and weapon specialist.


The news of Enies Lobby and the declaration of war by the Straw Hats spread to all the seas. In East Blue and Grand Line, the friends and families of the Straw Hats celebrated.

The Bartie’s chefs broke out the wine and grog as they toasted to their fellow chef’s (unfortunately) widespread notoriety, his badly drawn illustration hanging proudly on the dining room’s wall.

The villagers of Foosha Village cheered and feasted in honor of their favorite young man and one of the most successful pirates to come out of the East Blue. With only the notable exception of the crotchety mayor who told off said partiers.

In the Syrupp Village, a band of mini pirate-hopefuls scrambled over to Miss Kaya with a wanted poster held out. “Look! Look, Kaya-san! This nose is proof! Sogeking is Usopp! Our Usopp!”

The young woman laughed as she told them her plans to finish her studies as a doctor and to one day be there for Usopp and any injuries when he returns.

Knots of young boys lined up with their practice swords at the local dojo of Shimotsuki Village. They clamored for information on Zoro’s training here at this dojo. When confirmed, they begged the old man to teach them.

To be pirates, though.

“Boys, we don’t teach people how to become a pirate,” chuckled the old sword master. He looked into the distance, wishing his student the best on the path he has chosen. Criminal or not, the old teacher hoped Zoro would continue his excellence and diligence as a swordsman.

A huge blown up picture of Nami’s wanted poster was hung in the office of the sheriff of Cocoyashi Village. He didn’t even blush when confronted on the matter of why he would hang a picture he thought was indecent. Nojiko and Genzo smiled gently at the image. In it, Nami looked proud and strong. And most of all, happy.

The newly dubbed Sakura Kingdom was hard at work making themselves the same respectable kingdom under the former king’s kind father. Or even better. Dr. Kureha, the tough witch of a medical doctor, cried softy tears of joy as she took a first look at Chopper’s poster. Even with the mistaken report, Chopper did have a bounty, and all it mattered was that they knew he was living the life of a pirate like he always wanted.

Other parties of interest also noted the rookie crew’s rise of fame.

From the revolutionaries’ base on White Soil, Vertigo, Monkey D. Dragon went out onto an eastward-facing balcony.

“Luffy…live the life you want, my son. From now on, the world will be watching you. Times will only be only harder with each milestone you tread upon, each accomplishment you add to your infamy. Don’t ever let your resolve waver… use every opportunity and every bit of determination to question the world! Someday, we will meet again…”


At St. Poplar, a certain group of renegade agents widened their eyes at unexpected bounty poster.

“Chyapapa! Why does only Kaku have a bounty out of all of us, chyapapapa?”

“Who knows,” replied the gruff wolf Zoan as he sat down in their shared apartments.

“it might be because he fought those marines and left with the Straw Hats. A condemning move on his part,” observed Blueno. “An undeniable act of betrayal compared to our failure. Although, I wouldn’t doubt the World Government is also looking for us.”

“Yoyoyo! Peeerhaaaps, there’s mooore to this story. Wouldn’t you agree?” slowly drawled the pink-haired assassin Kumadori.

The blonde-haired woman corrected her lenses, eyeing the newspaper with careful thought. “Well, we can’t really do anything about it but keep an ear out for news of him. Right now, though, we need to focus on raising the funds for Lucci’s operation as well our own bills.”

“Yeah, Kalifa’s right. Besides, the giraffe bastard can take care of himself,” the wolf Zoan growled. He wasn’t at all surprised if he read the long-nosed idiot right. He may have once served the government mindlessly the same as all of them, but love had a record for turning even the staunchest hearts to other paths.

No matter if the idiot in love in question didn’t even acknowledge his feelings in the first place.

All the agents present agreed, each silently wishing their comrade well in whatever life he chooses to lead.

After this whole mess, their generation of CP9 was finished (but that didn’t mean they were finished with the world or the World Government).


Meanwhile, a particularly large pair of dark eyes widened even more as they scanned the latest newspaper.

“Miss Goldenweek? You all right, darling? You’ve been staring at the same page for the last ten minutes.”

The redhead nearly jerked off her seat. Her blonde former teammate looked on in worry.

“Are you okay, sugar?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Miss Goldenweek brushed off her skirt. “We’d better get ready for the next rush…you wanted to prep the batter for more dessert sandcakes, right? I’ll go get it started.”

“O-kay then. If you’re sure you’re all right.”

The former Miss Valentine watched as the little girl darted into the kitchen, still clutching today’s news article.

She vowed to grab her own copy later to see what all the fuss was about, jotting down the page number into her order notebook.

As for Miss Goldenweek, she felt a numbing mix of elation and anticipation. Who would have thought those weirdos would have met up with him?

Maybe it was time to start traveling again. Working at the Spider Café was fun, but a true artist never let herself stagnate, mind always set not on the blank canvas, but on the images she could see painted with every line, shade, and color. They didn’t settle, they inspired and were inspired by the world in turn.

Her eyes wandered the same kitchen, only a little dusty (hazard of living on a desert-dominated island).

Yeah, it was time to see what else the world had to offer for her vision and dreams.

And if she so happened to run into the very person who inspired her to paint just by being, then taught her the power in color, all the better.


In a city of extreme extravagance and equal amounts of corruption, several family heads got together in secret. The topic of their meeting? The wanted poster of a blond pirate “kid”. It was a rare shot of the sidhe with his wings fully spread in their original markings.

Arguments broke out as the people tried to figure out how they were going to handle this clear and public betrayal of their society.

It wasn’t like the person of interest didn’t have a history of similarly-minded predecessors to pin the blame on or use as evidence to his unfitness. However, this was one person they couldn’t really afford to kick out.

So, what to do about him in light of everything?

Either way, they fully expected he would return into their hands…

Willingly or unwillingly.

Chapter Text

A Haunted Beginning


“Speech; laugher, emphasis”

Thoughts

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, traces’


“I still can’t believe how amazing Thousand Sunny is,” commented Kaku.

In Franky’s original plans, he included an aquarium for keeping fresh fish, a dining room, a library, a fully outfitted sick bay for Chopper, and workshops for both himself and Usopp.

With the additional berries, materials, and the sidhe’s input, the shipwright made Sunny much bigger to accommodate several new additions.

For example, Chopper’s sick bay also a room set aside for pharmaceutical and chemical research, and Chrysis had his own small therapy office doubling as the medical records room.

Much to the hybrid’s further glee, they had a formal records hall located by the library for important paperwork, receipts, some of Nami’s finished maps, any souvenirs they had from past adventures, copies of their wanted posters, and a special sea prism stone-based locked filing cabinet to keep any and all intelligence kept by the resident spy trio (Kaku, Robin, and Chrysis).

They even had a soundproof room with a separate speaker set-up from their intercom system, set aside for that musician Luffy always wanted (Chrysis had no doubt they’ll be getting one in the sometime near-future). There were several shelves and stands for different instruments.

Chrysalis and Kaku’s room, the Fairy Garden, was lined with all sorts of brightly colored plants, everything from the beautiful and ugly, to the fragrant and scentless. And most importantly, all dangerous.

Thankfully for the sidhe and Zoan’s enhanced senses, including their sense of smell, the Fairy Silk Tree did a good job keeping the room pleasantly aromatic for them rather than a cocktail of conflicting and pungent odors. At worst, they could open up the wall partitions and aerate the room, the winds from their height carrying the chemical mix away from everyone below.

Much to Chrysalis’s delight, Franky had lined the room’s walls with specially reinforced one-way glass. This offered the sidhe a perfect 360-degree view without anyone able to tell the lookout was up there watching. And if need be, they could draw over some wooden panels to block the light.

All in all, Franky had more than a few reasons to preen over his creation.


Several days at sea, and nary a loud commotion or violent confrontation. Even the weather was behaving.

Since they had some downtime, Chrysis asked Kaku if he wanted to experiment some more with his devil fruit, this time on the main deck. The Zoan had been practicing his transformations in their room (the fact they could freely open up the roof or swing open the glass walls was perfect for the size needs of the Zoan’s animal model), but there wasn’t enough space to properly stretch out and train.

The moment Kaku went into full animal form, several curious eyes popped up out of nowhere to watch.

“Wow! Shishishishi! I didn’t know you ate a devil fruit!”

The new Zoan blinked but was used to his captain showing up out of the blue. “Well, yes, I ate it sometime before your crew arrived at the Tower of Justice, Captain Luffy.”

“That’s really recent!’ piped Chopper, intrigued.

If Chrysis recalled correctly, neither Luffy nor Chopper were any shape or position to see Kaku use his devil fruit during the invasion of Enies Lobby.

Speaking of a certain monkey, the sidhe buzzed up into the air and shooed off Luffy who tried swinging onto Kaku’s neck. He suggested loudly how some fresh fish would taste pretty good for tonight’s dinner. Luffy took the bait easily, bouncing away to find Usopp.

That left only the napping Zoro by the rails, Chopper who had stayed to watch, and Nami sunbathing on the next level.

“Alright,” Chrysalis started with a clap, “let’s see what you can really do, Kaku! …Hmm, how well do you think a four-legged Geppo would work out?”

Kaku eyed the ocean around him warily.

“Don’t worry about drowning. We do have a few non-devil fruit users around. Then there’s me, the fastest Rokushiki user around,” Chrysalis remarked with a smirk.

Kaku huffed. The sidhe could be so proud sometimes.

“Weren’t you still having trouble carrying people when flying?” he reminded the smaller man. Feather wings stiffened and flared as their owner puffed up in indignity. “You could barely carry Nami, never mind a full-grown man.”

“Yeah, well…! Just focus on gaining air, not distance,” Chrysalis grumbled. “It probably wise for you to practice as much as you can until we come across one of those non-magnetic islands we find every so often. Then we can watch you flail around like an idiot all you want.”

“I’m hardly a beginner, Chrysalis.” Kaku did a few quick stretches, eyes glinting with determination. He took a solid breath, stepped back to the farthest end of the stretch of lawn, and jumped.

First attempt ended with the agent falling into a mess of legs (he shot a weak Rankyaku at the sidhe who had toppled over laughing which the fey easily dodged).

Second attempt, not much better. At his fifth attempt, Kaku managed a few wobbly steps before stumbling back down, nearly missing the deck but for Chrysalis’s helpful air shove.

Kaku made a noise of annoyance. Walking on four legs on the ground came naturally, but his Zoan instincts left him when he tried the same thing on air. He had to consciously strike hard and fast with his hooves. Moving in any direction was a mental mess on its own. For quadrupeds, the limbs fell into different patterns of footfalls depending on the desired speed, something their brains naturally did without really thinking about it.

According his research, giraffes walked with each side’s set of legs moving in sync after one another. To run or gallop, the back legs pulled forward ahead of the front legs with each stride.

Now, when one added the unnatural addition of what amounted to flight…well…

Four-legged Geppo was going to be a challenge until Kaku consciously knew how to walk and run in his new animal form.

After another aborted attempt, Kaku switched to hybrid form else risk damaging something or someone on landing.

Reviewing his progress, Kaku concluded he should probably switch to working out the basics before he tried experimenting any further.

I should first determine my full range of motion.

Chopper frowned at his fellow Zoan’s attempt at what appeared to be some sort of yoga or contortionist act.

“You shouldn’t do that!” the doctor warned the giraffe-man. “You’ll pull a muscle, or tear something!”

“But this worked back in the tower,” protested Kaku, frustration starting to show. “I don’t know why I can’t stretch my neck like before or retract it.”

“You did what, now?” Chrysalis inquired, head canted to the side, resting on the palm of one hand. “I never did get the exact story of how your fight with Zoro and the guys went.”

“Well…”

Kaku eyed the reindeer doctor with raised eyebrows as his fellow Zoan paced around the deck, gesturing and muttering to himself.

Dr. Chopper suddenly jumped around to face them, eyes lit with a familiar sort of light Kaku recognized from whenever his own companion came across something new and intriguing from their journey or from working with his plants.

“Rumble balls!” declared the human-shaped reindeer.

“Pardon?”

“That’s the answer to your problem,” Dr. Chopper explained. “You took your devil fruit fairly recently before fighting, right? You probably experienced a small adjustment period as your fruit and body synchronized. As a result, you probably could access abilities you wouldn’t be able to access normally. If I’m making the right inferences, the way you could twist and shape our body so freely before probably resulted in special transformations like my own. If I could make some Rumble Balls to alter your transformation wavelengths, you probably will be able to use them again. You might even be able to take even more forms~”

Chrysalis and Kaku shared a similar look of bemusement as Dr. Chopper started to mutter to himself about the physical and biological implications and formulae he might need.

Out of habit, Kaku tried to politely decline the offer, but Dr. Chopper rejected the idea.

“We’re nakama, so you won’t owe me anything, Kaku! I want to do this for you,” the blue nosed reindeer insisted, voice uncompromising for all its child-like pitch.

“Gosh, you’re as stubborn as molasses,” Kaku conceded with a wry grin.

“I don’t know why you bothered to protest in the first place,” Chrysalis remarked, unsympathetic to his friend’s situation. “Now…why don’t we see about an actual combat scenario? Bet you I’ll win!”

“Chrysalis, didn’t Nami say none of us are allowed to spar on deck?” Kaku pointed out.

“Who says we’ll be sparring on deck? You’re probably still a dead flying duck if you fought in your full animal form off the ground, but you already used Geppo in your hybrid form, right? Plus, I’m sure Dr. Chopper will gain a lot of insight from a fight between us.”

“…you’re just bored, aren’t you?”

Chrysalis nodded solemnly. “Right as always! I need to properly stretch these wings, too! They finally fully recovered.”

That Kaku could agree on. The wings didn’t have the telltale paleness they retained until the cells built back up beyond the minimal framework necessary for the sidhe to fly. Things had settled down for a fair while without Chrysalis having his wings torn or fully regenerated, so they had returned to their normal level of strength and vivacity.

It wasn’t like Kaku minded indulging Chrysalis’ moods anyways. And it would be nice to watch the sidhe use his wings to their full capacity without injuries or risk of tearing from previous rounds of regeneration to hinder him.

Without warning, the sidhe took wing, followed by the air-skipping giraffe-man. The sky soon became a battlefield of sword clashes, aerial maneuvers, and winds blades.

A few hours later, the Zoan and Paramecia users collapsed into their respective “beds”, Chrysalis flopping onto the cottony branch pallet while Kaku went for the more traditional hammock bunk.

“You need to work on your maneuverability and reaction speed a bit more,” was heard muffled through leaves.

Kaku sighed and nodded his head in agreement. The new bulk of his body threw off his movements and attacks slightly, not something most people from the Blues or Paradise could take advantage of, but a speed demon and New World veteran like Chrysalis did with enthusiasm. His newly bandaged cuts attested that much.

“Seriously. I really almost did beat you this round.”

While Chrysalis was faster by the Zoan, normally Kaku could overcome that gap through the power and range of his attacks, quickly overwhelming the other as he tired from an overactive metabolism.

This time, however, they ended in a draw, Kaku’s katanas locked with the sidhe’s fans while Chrysalis had his wings folded around the two of them in a deadly embrace.

In a single movement, the sidhe could easily cut Kaku into pieces by vibrating his wings with high speed Rankyaku attacks.

However, the sidhe’s haki and Tekkai wouldn’t be able to measure up if Kaku had forced forward.

Sidhe were distance fighters, after all, weaker and less developed musculature unable to guard against most power-based attacks past the first push.

“Mayhap that was the case for the present, but once I get my devil fruit mastered…”

A pillow was thrown into the long-nosed man’s face.

“Shut up, old man.”

“Good night then, kiddo,” Kaku chuckled.


Chrysis lounged on the very top of the Fairy Silk Tree, wrapped simply in a makeshift “sleeping bag” he made of the branches and puffy leaves, a pillow clutched over his face and the panels pulled closed to shut out the sun.

Black antennae and his one loosed wing twitched up despite the nocturnal watchman’s strong desire for sleep.

There was a large commotion somewhere down on the main deck.

Red eyes reluctantly slit open.

Well, I’m up, so I might as well see why everyone is in a tizzy internally grumbled the no longer sleeping pirate.

Chrysis had just got outside via the secret trapdoor built in the bottom of the secondary lookout post when something bright red shot past him.

“A flare?!” the sidhe yelped, tucking his wings (the thing nearly singed them!) close for a dive, billowing them back out just before he reached the ground.

“Who the hell shot a flare? When did we get warning flares, anyway?”

Nami and Usopp quickly filled him in.

Apparently, they found a barrel marked Treasure and tried to open it…supposedly in the hopes of sake.

“So, instead of sake, you activated some sort of mechanism firing off that signal flare,” Chrysis tutted in exasperation, deliberately giving Kaku a look. He should have known better than to let them crack the mysterious object open.

The former secret agent had the grace to look embarrassed at the lapse of foresight or caution.

“Gosh, I did warn you guys it probably wasn’t what you thought it was. Besides, you know how the captain is.”

Chrysis had to agree; Luffy always got his way in this crew of misfits and crazies. He’ll give Kaku a break…just this once.

“This can be construed as something or nothing,” inferred the archaeologist. “A prank perhaps, however…”

“Someone could now be on our tails faster than a cat on a mouse,” Kaku finished. “The sign lured us into opening it, so we would give away our position. So, whoever set this up will know exactly where we are.”

“Really?! Isn’t that bad?” cried Chopper, the beginnings of a panic working its way.

“Chopper,” Chrysis stated. “Calm down. We need to focus and take this situation step-by-step. The best thing we can do is keep watch for enemies and wait. So, don’t worry.”

“Right, this isn’t a time to panic. Everyone, to your posts!” commanded their navigator. “We need to sail this ship south-southeast! A raging storm is about to swoop in on us while we’re worrying about some imaginary enemy!”

Because they didn’t have other things to worry about.

Chrysis hoped the old adage of things coming into threes won’t be rearing its face after this.

The ship flailed as headwinds hit from all directions.

“Chrysis, if you can affect waves, then can’t you stop the ship from rocking?!” screamed Usopp as he nearly got swept off deck if not for the semi-waterproof thread of moth silk wrapping around his middle.

After their adventure on the White-White Sea, Chrysis made sure to spin several spools of the stuff whenever possible just as a precaution. The stuff was similar to spider web and could be made especially tough and fibrous with extra effort. Right now, they had a bunch of the stuff threaded throughout the deck as emergency nets for their lighter companions being thrown about the deck.

“Do you want to be stuck here, too?! Ships travel on wave motion! Plus, the size of the barrier would be way too much! My powers will give out before this storm does!”

His longer-lasting power involved touch and considering he was a devil fruit user, there was no way he would dive down there and smack every wave heading their way. Not without giving Kaku an absolute apoplexy from worry, if the Zoan didn’t outright tie him to the mast.

“Then what good is it?!” yelled Nami as powerful gust nearly sent her off her feet. Sanji cursed before grabbing a loose silk rope and throwing it out for her to grab.

“Okay, Nami-sis! Leave this to super me! Take up the sails, guys, it’s time for us to use the paddles! Soldier Dock System!! Channel 0!!”

“Alright, everything is set here, Franky!” called out Kaku as he finished taking the sails in.

“Good here, too! Ready to release!”

“Super! Cola engine, prepped. Paddle Ship Sunny – GO!!! Charge forward, no matter how rough the seas!”


Finally, the seas settled.

Chrysis looked uneasily around. The sky had turned entirely blue-black and gray. His wings shivered on his back as he could feel the cool air rushing about, sustaining the eerie fog surrounding them (following his devil-may-care declaration to Garp and his teacher, Chrysis opted to not bother hiding them anymore since there wasn’t any point in it. How the World Government was going to spin this was no longer Chrysis’s concern – not after they posted a bounty poster with his wings so prominently displayed).

“This doesn’t look good,” he mumbled. The crew have entered the dread seas of the Florian Triangle.

It sounded like Usopp had already began to whip himself up in a frenzy of fear. Chrysis held up his scope, eyes trying to pierce through the thick fog bank.

“Guys? Guys! … LOOK!!”

 “~Yoho Hoho~”

“Was that you C-chrysis?” stuttered the sniper.

“The yelling, yes. The singing? No. As I was saying… ancient galleon coming up behind us!”

“AAAAAAAAaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!! GHOST SHIP!!!” screamed everyone below. Chrysis huffed as he searched with his haki.

“Huh?” Red eyes widened. “Hmm, that’s new.”

There on the deck just casually sipping tea while he sung was a skeleton. A living skeleton. With an afro.

~…Go and deliver…Binks’ Brew…~”

“For the last time, whatever we saw wasn’t dead,” Chrysis explained. “As messed up as my senses are right now, I could tell that much at least. Though, you should probably count on Kaku’s haki more than mine for now.”

This wasn’t dissimilar to that island from not so long ago. This whole place rung with too much conflicting and very dark emotions for the sidhe to easily pick out anything. While it wasn’t quite outright violent and a pit of misery and suicidal despair, it didn’t exactly do the sidhe any good. He could pierce through the miasma of dark energies…but only in very short bursts and for things close by. The thought of digging deeper sent his instincts skittering, and he trusted his instincts.

Their chef had a flat look on his face. “So, what you’re saying is what we saw was probably some crazy mass hallucination.”

“No, Sanji. I don’t get tricked by illusions so easily, you know. Maybe the skeleton was alive?”

“Ridiculous,” denied the chef.

“Perhaps an investigation is in order then,” Kaku suggested, hand drifting toward his katanas.

“Not it!” Nami and Usopp declared.

Unfortunately, only one of the two escaped from following their captain, Sanji, and Chrysis aboard the giant and heavily damaged ship.

Before they climbed all the way up, the skeleton peeked over the side, nearly causing Nami to let go of the ropes on reflex as they all screamed in fright. Chrysis rolled his eyes and flew up after settling the orangette securely back.

“Yo, skeleton guy. Quick question: you are alive, right? You feel kind of off, but not dead-dead off. And if you’re not too busy, care to answer a few of our questions?”

“Very well, please feel free to come aboard~”

“Friendly, aren’t you?” the sidhe asked rhetorically. Chrysis did a flip and helped the others climb aboard the ghost ship.

“Why, hello, how do you!! Yoho—hoho!” greeted their mysterious skeleton. “Pardon for my rudeness, but it has been such a long time since I entertained guests, I’m afraid I was at a loss for words of greetings!”

“Wow, he has an afro! An afro-wearing talking skeleton!” exclaimed Luffy with stars in his eyes.

The skeleton gentleman chuckled. “My, yes, I am quite the sight, but so are you in this lonely place. It has been nigh decades since I last set eyes on another friendly face – if I had eyes – skull joke, yohohoho!”

Chrysis sighed, “Ah, quite the comedian, I see.”

“And such lovely people, too! A couple of young men, a strange winged child, and…my, my, my! What a lovely young lady to grace my decks! Nnnn- Beeaaauutttifful!”

Nami shook her head and waved her hands in protest, blushing lightly.

“Perhaps…if you would be so kind…would you show me your panties?”

“As if, you lecher!” roared Nami, punctuating her protest with a solid kick against skull, rage giving rise to a faint hint of black haki.

Well, at least there’s that. Maybe if Chrysis set Nami against whoever the idiot who angered her on a particular day, she’ll learn haki faster. If not, it would be a good way to get her more used to close combat.

Then Chrysis blinked at a very odd sight. “…how would a skeleton get a head bump swell exactly?” Devil fruit. Had to be one, nothing else in the Grand Line suspended belief and all sense of logic like devil fruits and their users.

Luffy added, “And more importantly…do you poop?”

“There are a ton of questions to ask before that!” reproached Sanji. However, to Sanji’s impetus, the skeleton did answer yes to the question.

“Don’t answer those kinds of questions, shitty skeleton!” screamed Sanji. The chef calmed down after a moment. “Okay. First!!! How does someone made of bones move without nerves or muscles? Second, what the heck are you, some sort of monster? Why are you here? Why is this ship basically a floating wreck? What happened here? You better explain everything about what happens in these waters!”

“Shouldn’t I be asking these questions?” wondered Chrysis aloud. “You know, being the crew’s unofficial intelligence officer and-”

Luffy cut the sidhe off and asked, “Before all of that…would you be my nakama?!”

“Okay. Yes, I accept.”

So quick! Thought the other pirates.

“Luffy, can we talk about this?” Nami tried protesting.


They didn’t. Instead, they brought the skeleton back to the ship.

Kaku joined the pirates in staring at the skeleton. He seen a lot of impossible things, but the living undead was pushing it.

“Hello, aren’t you a beautiful woman. May I see your panties?” demurred the skeleton after catching sight of Nico.

*Thwack!*

And a perverted one at that. Then again… Kaku looked at the Straw Hats. Sanji who fawned over every woman he met, and Franky who wore nothing but a speedo and a thin shirt he always left open. And there was Chrysalis whose sense of fashion was…very unique. And colorful. And usually shoeless and backless whenever possible. And there was Zoro who went shirtless a lot because of training or a particularly harsh battle.

The skeleton probably would feel right at home with the crew, on second thought.

“Weren’t you supposed to be there to keep him from doing this kind stupid and reckless thing?” scolded Zoro to the three pirates who had gone along with their impetuous and stubborn pirate captain.

They ducked their heads in shame.

Kaku shook his head as his fellow long-nosed pirate tried to ward off their guest.

“Usopp…I doubt crosses and garlic work on ghosts or possessed skeletons,” the sidhe sighed, joining the CP9 agent in watching their crewmates’ outrageous antics.

First the skeleton invited himself inside their dining room. Then he demanded dinner. A meal trying on their resident gentleman’s patience as Brook very noisily and messily ate. And it took them this long to finally ask for his name.

Brook.

The sidhe scratched his head in thought. Brook, Brook. It sounded familiar. Then again, the sidhe had read a lot of stuff from his grandfather’s office while said relative went to yell at Vice Admiral Garp for destroying either part of headquarters, another marine base while visiting (his excuse was something along the lines of “teaching these brats how to be great future marines” while Chrysis just thought Garp was just reckless plus he missed his grandsons so he used their recruits for substitutes), or for skiving off his reports again.

Hmm, I think I saw him on some of the grandfather’s collection of outdated wanted posters…

After a certain period of time, the wanted posters and files of pirates inactive for more than three decades were set aside from the others. Chrysis spent a day in Marine Headquarters’ records room once, sorting them out as a punishment (they were fascinating to read, though, and Chrysis just made worse trouble afterward).


“Yomi Yomi no Mi?”

They had finally finished with dinner.

Kaku watched in silence as the strange skeleton explained himself. Through the power of the mysterious fruit, Brook had returned to life after dying several decades ago.

It still amazed the agent about how versatile and diverse devil fruits can be. Chrysalis’s was proof of that. The CP9 records of the Nagi Nagi no Mi and some of the devil fruit books he browsed didn’t list any powers similar to Chrysalis’s expanded repertoire on that particular fruit. It didn’t even hint about non-sound-based uses. Actually the entry was pretty bare in every case.

(Then again, Chrysalis rarely showed off his devil fruit if he could help it. Or if the situation forced it like back when combatting vice admirals or haki users who could work around the sidhe’s own abilities).

And now they had a fruit that defied death.

Sometimes, Kaku envied Paramecia-types for their strangeness and unique powers. Zoan-types were the best overall for close combat but left little room for creativity. They all worked along the same principles, more or less. Then there was Logia, but even they weren’t invulnerable. Look out how his own captain had defeated one because of a poor match-up and the guy’s own ego getting in the way.

Brook went on to explain how he sailed on this ship with his crew as a pirate in his own right. But their journey came to a tragic end as they fought an enemy not willing to go down alone. The battle ended with a Pyrrhic victory, the enemy dead and Brook’s remaining crew following them into the grave.

While his fruit was essentially useless during his life, it did draw his soul back to this plane after the man’s death. Unfortunately, his soul somehow wandered lost in the fog for a year, finally arriving to the skeleton they saw before them.

Kaku didn’t envy Brook’s power too much after hearing that. Once revived, didn’t that leave him but a walking skeleton without the ability to swim?

Chrysalis hummed in thought. “Hmm. Revive. Not an easy interpretation as devil fruits go. I suppose since you’re a soul anchored to bones, you should be relatively safe from death unless you “lose” your anchor.”

“So, he’s what, indestructible?” wondered Usopp, voice trembling.

“No, just a bit harder to kill if you’re an ordinary person,” corrected Chrysalis as he eyed the skeleton in thought. “Although, that begs the question how “alive” you are. If your “body” is damaged, is there a way to repair it? Do you still grow? Are the cells of your bones even active? If your soul had secured your body prior to degeneration, would be functionally a rotting corpse or an eternal human? And is it just one rebirth? I suppose if someone killed you while under the influence of the sea, you would die…but does your soul still have a link to the underworld, I wonder…?”

The sidhe was a lot of things, from assassin apprentice, to botanist and horticulturist, to noble and therapist, but Kaku swore the younger man was a scientist at heart, specialty being devil fruits. Speaking of which, he probably should distract the sidhe. Chrysalis tended to get a bit sidetracked (and a little obsessed) when thinking about devil fruits and their applications.

“Err, how do you still have hair and nothing else?” someone finally asked, thankfully interrupting the sidhe’s disturbing train of thought.

Good point. That is kind of weird, Kaku considered. Everything else had degraded in over 50 years, yet the skeleton somehow retained a giant afro firmly connected to his bare skull.

Brook blithely replied, “I have strong roots, see?”

“Okay…? Yeah, whatever.”

“Hair is fibrous,” the sidhe mumbled in thought, clearly still thinking about the Yomi Yomi no Mi.

Nami and Usopp weren’t convince on the skeleton’s sincerity and innocent intent. The latter kept waving a cross at Brook while Nami made her fear of ghosts clear. Then…when she showed Brook a mirror to see his own frightening appearance…

Kaku widened his eyes. The skeleton didn’t reflect in the mirror! And when everyone looked down, the skeleton didn’t have a shadow either!

“IS HE SOME SORT OF VAMPIRE?!”

Brook calmly sipped at his tea.

“How can you just sit there? We’re freaking out because of you!”

According to the skeleton, Brook met with someone a few years back who stole his shadow. Because of that, the skeleton could never again walk into the sunlight without turning to dust.

The skeleton adamantly refused to tell any of them the name of his enemy.

An unfortunate decision for the crew, especially after he pulled out his violin. The captain’s eyes nearly popped out. The skeleton also happened to be the musician Captain Luffy always wanted. However, Kaku strongly suspected this wouldn’t be an easy fight to make the strange being a part of the crew. Then again, they nearly disabled Franky’s reproductive ability for life to make him one of them. Let it not be said his crew wasn’t more stubborn than a sea king with a bone to pick.

Suddenly, the skeleton leaped back. Kaku toppled out of his chair and rolled to his feet, swords drawn from the sheaths he had strapped to his back as he spotted what had frightened their guest. What could only be described as a ghost peeked through the wall.

The ship shuddered. Brook leaped out of the dining room.

“…you wouldn’t have happened to have picked up a barrel on your way into the Florian Triangle, would you have?”

The captain answered readily, “Yep! Didn’t have beer, but instead it sent up this really bright red flare! Hey! When did that island get here?”

“Yeah, why is that Mr. Lookout?” snarked Zoro.

Chrysalis leveled the swordsman with a glare. “Again, haki is out of commission right now. I need to focus just to hear anything out of the clamor I constantly have thrumming around in my head. I can understand why my mom called this place the sea of spirits.”

“Y-you mean there are ghosts? And that’s a ghost island?!”

“Not exactly, Usopp,” groaned Chrysalis, rubbing his temples. “It’s my World’s Eye aspect acting up; there’s too many memory traces for me to use my normal haki without being overwhelmed after a certain distance or time. I think I can gradually desensitize myself, but right now Kaku is the only one here with fully functioning haki.”

“Oh.”

“Well, Usopp-san is not incorrect. This is in fact a “ghost island” referred to as Thriller Bark,” stated Brook.

Kaku and Franky exchanged side glances. Traditionally, barks were a type of ship with three or more masts.

But…this was an island. Or was it? That…that had a very terrifying implication if Kaku’s was following this conversation right.

A ship’s size often corresponded with the size of the crew even if only the bare minimum needed to steer it.

And the reason the log pose didn’t register the island was because it was originally from West Blue. Hmm, that’s another interesting note. How does one bring an entire island to the Grand Line? The Red Line would make the feat impossible…unless one crossed the Calm Belt. If it was basically a mobile island, it might make it past the Sea Kings…maybe.

Then Brook suddenly skipped over to the figurehead as he exclaimed, “How lucky is today! Not only have I finally met some people, but I have been brought one step closer to my dream!”

Today – or rather tonight – was such a wondrous experience. For so many years, Brook’s world was a lonely place surrounding by figurative ghosts (then literal ones among other things after he became one of the many victims of Thriller Bark).

Then he met this ship full of lively and strong pirates who reminded him so much of his own dearly departed companions.

It was enough to make his own missing heart beat anew. But he couldn’t let his new acquaintances meet the same fate as he and so many others had. They needed to leave, and he needed to win back his shadow!

“Going so soon, Brook-san? I’m not sure about you but challenging one of the Shichibukai and whatever minions he has by yourself isn’t too bright of an idea.”

Brook had bent his legs in preparation for jumping into the water. At the sidhe’s sudden question, the skeleton was sent off-balance – mentally and physically. His arms flailed desperately to regain his footing.

A hand tugged on his coat and pulled him back onto the ship.

“Careful there, buddy. You’re a devil fruit user, so should you be trying to take swan-dives off a ship?” chided the long-nosed man in dark clothing as he helped the skeleton back up after his flying companion safely dropped him onto the deck. “Chrysalis, you need to stop startling people like that.”

“Yeah, yeah, Kaku.” The moth-winged not-child looked anything but repentant. The look on his face reminded the revived-man fondly of a similarly-minded young charge of his who never took no for an answer or only nodded along with whatever someone was saying.

My, Brook would say he nearly had a heart attack…if he had a heart, that was, Skull Joke! However, right now he was too startled to make such commentary.

“Ah, yes, that would be a most unfortunate second death. However, I am very light as I am naught for bones; as long I can run quickly, I can travel over water, you see,” Brook explained while thanking the named Kaku and Chrysalis. “Chrysalis, is it?” The child-like young man made a noise of affirmation. “Yes. You mention something about Shichibukai?”

“Perhaps, we should have this conversation back inside,” Kaku suggested. “I doubt the island will be going anywhere, yes?”

Chapter Text

Rise of Distress


"Speech; laughter, emphasis”

Thoughts and dreams

Attacks (only when being used); simultaneous / attacks

/ Flashback, memories /

*Sounds, motions*

~ melodic tune ~

[Den den-mushi]

Writing

‘emotions, true feelings, traces’


“Gekkoh Moria?” Usopp repeated, face paling. “Another Shichibukai?!” The sniper is visibly starting to tremble, knees knocking loudly against each other.

“Yep,” Chrysalis answered somewhat flippantly. “That’s who Brook is challenging by going after his shadow. Any of the Royal Shichibukai can be hazardous to one’s health, even one of lost standing.”

“That would…honestly fit. He’s the user of the Kage Kage no Mi if I recollect,” Kaku mused aloud. “He’s quite dangerous.”

Normally, the members of CP9 didn’t receive much information on the World Government’s supposed allies among pirates, but Kaku’s recent duties opened a lot of doors and new avenues of information gathering just by proximity to the snooping sidhe youth. Who regularly browsed classified CP0 files, he might add.

“What do you mean, lost standing, though?” Nami questioned.

“How to put this…” They all gave the sidhe annoyed looks as the sidhe deliberately paused in thought just for dramatic effect. “Sheesh, alright. Gekkoh Moria back in the day was a powerful man who earned his place among the rest of the Seven. However, then he fought him. A monster of monsters, the Yonko Kaido…  The price he paid to escape with his life was his entire crew. Perhaps Kaido pitied him. Or wanted him as a living example of what happened to any and all challengers.”

“And how did him staying alive do that?” Zoro bought up.

Chrysalis’s expression darkened. “Rivera-sensei told me the guy not only lost his nakama, he lost a part of himself; Gekkoh Moria became a broken, excuse me for the unintended pun, shadow of himself obsessed with never ever suffering a loss like that again. In doing so, it’s commonly agreed his new ideology had critically weakened him as a contender for the crown.”

Some would call it a kinder fate as there are rumors concerning what that monster does to pirate captains who continue to defy him.

Chrysis had only ever seen snippets of those files before Rivera-sensei locked them back up.

The reports he glimpsed hinted at abject suffering awaited those not executed out of hand.

There were few if any signs of anyone escaping the mad beast.

Thoughts of mad captains inevitably drew the sidhe’s thoughts back to the pirate captain who similarly preyed on other pirates.

But he was a broken man whereas Kaido was a cruel one completely in control of his own actions.

“Wow, to lose not just one but every last member of your crew,” Sanji muttered, blowing out a smoke ring. “I can’t begin to imagine how horrible that must have been for the guy.”

Kaku kept his eyes on the sidhe. Undoubtably, the thought of Gekkoh Moria reminded the sidhe of the other captain to lose everything.

And that man didn’t exactly turn out…sane as a result.

And as the old saying went, desperate men did desperate things. The same applied to the people twisted by loss who never resolved their trauma.

In some ways, evil and amoral people were better to fight. They were predictable whereas unstable minds and madmen could do anything when cornered. Surrender, fight, or say screw it all and decide to leave with a bang.

But the next bit of information set the Baron Omatsuri and the Royal Shichibukai firmly apart.

Chrysalis continued, tone carefully controlled, “Nowadays, Gekkoh Moria has no one to call nakama. He has firmly rejected the idea in its entirety, only surrounding himself with people he finds useful or powerful. Rumors say his number of actually living “crew members” can be counted on one hand, and even they could be discarded. So, I take it your shadow is in the possession of some carcass, yes?”

“…WHAT?!” shouted most of the crew.

Kaku smacked a hand to his face. Chrysalis was doing this on purpose. The former CP9 agent didn’t know whether the sidhe meant to use levity to distract himself or if he had planned to startle their crewmates like usual (probably the latter).

Brook nodded his head, skull incapable of much expression, but Kaku could feel the solemnity of the gesture.

“You are correct. With the power of the Kage Kage no Mi, Gekkoh Moria has the power to steal people’s shadows to empower the corpses of others. However, the overall power of such “living undead” is determined by the “strength” and “personality” of the shadow’s owner plus the quality of the “Mario”, that is, the body being animated. For example, a strong swordsman in the body of a weak child won’t be nearly as good a match as putting the shadow in the body of a professional fighter. Although, the copy won’t compare to the original as you can imagine, yohoho, but they do make for a powerful soldier…”

“L-living un-undead?” trembled Usopp. “You don’t mean…?”

“Zombies,” Chrysalis answered. “Or corpse puppets to be accurate. Gekkoh Moria has been spending the last decade or so refining a method to create undead soldiers to fight on his behalf.”

The long-nosed liar very deliberately turned to the captain.

“Luffy?”

“Yeah?”

“Ihavethezombies-freak-me-outsyndromesoyouguyscanhandlethiswithoutmeright?!” rushed the cowardly pirate.

Translation: I have the zombies-freak-me-out syndrome, so you guys can handle this without me, right?

Answer…

Nami jerked Usopp to the side by his garlic garlands. “If I’m probably going to be dragged into this, we’re all going into this horror film. Together, understand?”

She shook him for good measure.

“Y-yes, ma’am!”

“I must protest! This is my problem. None of you should be involved and, in fact, you should be more focused on escaping!” argued the undead pirate.

Brook had already lost one crew. He couldn’t look at himself in a mirror if he led another to their deaths for his sake.

“But, you’re our friend, right?”

Brook stilled, empty eye sockets directed at the enthusiastic young captain. There was no fear, no anxiety. Only boundless determination, excitement, and resolve.

Dark eyes so full of hope and reminiscent of the look of another captain.

“…we’ve only just met, Captain Luffy.”

“So? You’re our friend, and I want you to be my nakama! I’ll get your shadow back and beat up this Gecko-Man if he tries to stop me!” Luffy promised.

Brook couldn’t feel much of anything as a skeleton, but he could still tell hot and cold, damp and dry, from one another. So, it quite startled him to feel the wet and cool trail of salty tears running down his face.

“...o-okay.”

“Great! Then let’s go and get it back!”

“Whoa, wait, Luffy! Shouldn’t we figure out a way to get his shadow back? If some c-cor- body has it, how do we get it back out?”

“The witch makes a good point. Maybe if I slice it up?” seriously considered the green-haired swordsman. Kaku resisted the urge to slap a hand to his face. While ruining the “vessel” sounded good in theory…he could have put it a bit better. But Brook shook his head in answer.

“No, that won’t work out quite. Simply slicing the bodies won’t release the souls except maybe if rendered into many fine pieces even the shadows can hold together or be contained, I would surmise, but that’s a bit disrespectful thing to do to the dead. Not to mention time-consuming. No, the solution is quite simply: salt,” Brook explained.

“Salt?” Sanji echoed, disbelieving.

“Yes, exactly. Salt can purify the bodies, sending the lost shadows back to their owners.”

“Hmm,” the sidhe hummed. “I suppose it might be due to salt being a traditionally cleansing substance used in western medicine to exorcise spirits…or because it’s a key element in seawater. Or because it’s just how things work with the Kage Kage no Mi. A very interesting weakness…”

“Focus, you winged nutcase,” Sanji interjected, jogging the sidhe back into reality. “So, it looks like I need to go into the pantry. How much salt do you think we need?”

“Ah, well, there are quite literally hundreds and hundreds of zombies scattered across the island, although we should focus on their main fighters, the General Zombies and the Mysterious Four. Incidentally, my shadow is among the General Zombies, the Mario of an ancient samurai of the Wano country.”

“Samurai?” Zoro wondered, eyes gleaming. “Hey, Chrysis, didn’t you say something about your “sword” style being from that country or something?”

“Yes,” Chrysis answered with a nod. “I once visited Wano when I was very young, and the one who designed my fans came from Wano originally. The land is famous for their quality of swords and swordsmen, the samurai being the most prestigious and powerful of social classes.”

It had been a long, long time he had visited. Not since he was a very small child, in fact. He wished he could visit since then but…politics and pirates and nobles didn’t mix well.

“Interesting. Okay, I’m going after Brook’s shadow then.”

“Hey, Zoro, don’t go deciding on things on your own!” Nami yelled.

Luffy giggled. “Shishishi, sure, if there’s a really cool swordsman zombie, then Zoro should fight him, right?”

“…did Luffy just make sense?” gaped Usopp.

“Luffy, are you okay?” Chopper exclaimed at the same time, reaching over to feel the pirate’s forehead.

Kaku looked at his crewmates and shook his head. He should be used to these antics by now.

“Brook-san, do you know anything about the capabilities of the “Mysterious Four”?” the Zoan asked the skeleton-man, bringing everyone’s attention back on them.

The skeleton gripped his cane firmly. “I haven’t personally fought any of them directly, but I heard things – even if I have no ears to hear, yohoho – from the zombies and the people there.”

“People?”

The skeleton nodded. “Yes, Thriller Bark hosts a number of victims of Moria’s powers whom either were sent to drift in the Florian Triangle but managed to make their way back or escaped before they could be sent away from the island. I don’t know much about them for it has been five years since I last came to this place and lost my shadow. I would imagine they are still here somewhere.”

“They could become possible allies or at least a source of information then,” noted the former secret agent.

“Yes, I imagine they would want their shadows back and revenge on Moria for all the years he sentenced them to darkness,” Brook agreed. “Now the Mysterious Four are living people as opposed to Marios, and they command the General Zombies and soldiers. One is said to be a beast of an invisible man, another creates those strange ghost-things, although I never had the pleasure of meeting them, the third is responsible for restoring corpses into viable Marios, and the fourth is Moria himself.”

“Restore corpses?” asked Chopper, face paling underneath his fur and eyes wide. “You don’t mean…?”

“It would be the only logical conclusion,” Chrysis stated plainly. “For the most part, even fresh corpses are usually in some state of deterioration. Imagine the bodies of the Generals, people who probably perished in battle like many strong people. I know that’s how samurai prefer to meet their end. At the very least, they would need a mortician-certified doctor, and a very good one if the bodies don’t just fall apart after so much time being animated. I imagine unlike the Yomi Yomi no Mi, the Yagi Yagi no Mi wouldn’t exactly keep restore the bodies. They would at the very least need to be further preserved.”

“A doctor?! B-but, that’s-!”

“I actually know the name of the this one,” Brook interrupted, deep in thought and memory “Ah, yes, I believe it’s Dr…Hogback? Yes, a Dr. Hogback.”

“DR. HOGBACK?!” the small Zoan screeched. “That can’t be! He’s the most famous surgeon in the world! He saved hundreds of lives with his miraculous surgeries. I can’t…”

“Genii are often plagued by three things: madness, greed, and pride,” Chrysis murmured. Then gave Nami a sheepish look when she elbowed him. He probably could have handled that a bit ore delicately, he’ll admit it.

“So, which are you?” Sanji questioned. Kaku eyed the chef with a glint of annoyance in his dark eyes.

Aiming a sidelong look at his longtime friend, sidhe shrugged and decided to ignore the odd behavior. Maybe Kaku still had reservations of their official pirate crewmates? But as for Sanji’s question…

“Madness maybe?” the sidhe mused. “Gaea knows Kaku had to pull me out of one situation or another because I got a bit too into some project or studying something then caused some sort of chaos in the wake of it all. As for Dr. Hogback…if I recall, he may have the skills of a great doctor, but he didn’t exactly do charity. Only the rich and famous employed him…or people he really liked for one reason or another. I remember there was this one really pretty actress he kept harassing…”

Chopper looked like the two Paramecians just tore his world apart.

A moment later, the blue-nosed reindeer’s face hardened. “I-I-! I go and find out then! And if Dr. Hogback…my hero really is that kind of person, someone who does that kind of thing, I’ll stop him!”

“Okay, Brook and Zoro are obviously going out to confront the General Zombies. Kaku, do you mind going with Chopper? I’m sure the good doctor will have several General Zombies on standby, anyways.”

The bodyguard frowned. “What about you?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be working on something else with Nami here. We won’t be taking part in the fight directly.” Nami smirks in the background while Usopp gives her a sour look. “Luffy-”

“I’ll beat Moria!” declared the captain.

“Well, I figured as much. Sanji-”

“I want to fight this “invisible man”.”

Can I not finish my sentence here?

“Fine, whatever.”

“You won’t have to wait long,” Kaku mentioned casually. “I can sense someone approaching. I would hazard to say he’s this “beast of an invisible man” Brook-san described. He has a very odd presence, human but almost like someone cobbled it with various other things. It’s oddly animal like.”

Sanji frowned. “What, like some sort of Zoan user?”

Kaku shook his head. “No…it’s as if stitched together as opposed to a Zoan’s natural fluctuating mix. Think something more akin to a chimera. Zoans’ auras are a smooth transition of their life force when transforming. This feels like taking different things and forcing them to mesh together. Unnatural, if one could consider devil fruit abilities in any way ‘natural’.”

“A thousand belis says the good doctor did some sort of freaky enhancement surgery or several on the guy,” Chrysis wagered, wings shuddering along his back. “I wouldn’t be surprised; the World Government has some projects following the same or similar vein of thought.”

“You know, I don’t want to know,” Sanji muttered. Louder, he stated, “So, he’s going to be yet another beast for me to slay, huh?”

Brook looked a little lost at the unexplained context, but he impressively carried on the conversation. “Yes. I also heard he has an awful habit of bothering young beautiful women, not unlike our own resident beauties. Such as peeking on them in the shower or even manhandling them and-”

Brook paused as the chef nearly set himself aflame.

“WHAT?! Okay, that’s just another reason to beat the living shit out this Frankenstein’s monster!”

“We might as well just deal with him now. Sanji, after you’re done venting whatever grudge you have with Mr. Invisible Beast, go with Robin to see if we can rally some allies to our side at best, or at minimal, gather information on our enemies. Brook, what should be expect of the ghost user?”

“She’s a difficult one,” the skeleton stated pensively. “Those ghosts can bring about intense despair in anyone, although I have not personally encountered them myself during my last visit to the island. I learned this listening to some of the people who live on the island.”

“Right…okay, then Usopp, Franky, you’re going with the swordsmen duo to help take down the remaining generals. I’ll see if I can do something about the ghosts…maybe haki? I could cast Hush, too, but I need to help Nami, too, can’t leave her on her own with this many enemies around us. And who knows if that will work? Devil fruits interact weirdly, especially with Paramecian types…plus, Hush is only temporary and needs to be renewed every so often…”

“Uh…Chrysis?”

The sidhe looked up from his mumbling. “Yeah, Usopp?”

“If it’s okay…leave this ghost girl to me!”

Chrysis tilted his head, curious. “If you’re sure…”

Usopp didn’t look sure, but he nevertheless nodded his head in answer.

“Captain, approval of our plan of action?”

“Sounds good to me!”

“Okay, if everyone understands their roles and missions, let’s begin!”


Absalom grinned as he approached the large ship. With a vessel this size, here had to be some decent bounty heads they could use to make more General Zombies. Maybe he’ll even find his future wife!

Hazel eyes (one of the few features he could call his own) twinkled with dark mirth as he beheld the unknowing crew.

Their master will be ecstatic! It was hard to tell from the shore (one of the downsides to living in the Florian Triangle), but that was unmistakably the insignia of one of the increasingly infamous rookie crews, the Straw Hat Pirates. They didn’t have many members, but almost all of them had decent to extraordinary bounties.

The lion-faced man nearly salivated as he thought of two posters in particular: the Devil Child Nico Robin and the Cat Burglar Nami. Dark-haired older woman or the fiery and buxom youth?

So caught up in his musings, the invisible man didn’t react to the pirate – some no-name blond he didn’t recognize – meandering right behind him.

Until he was sent flying into one of the weird tree roots coming from foremast.

“Shitty intruder, don’t make that kind of face!”

“Sanji, you can’t actually see him, how do you know what kind of face he is making?” someone else remarked.

“Instinct,” the chef answered back.

“Really,” someone snorted. “Or is it just experience, Love Cook?”

“Shut it, Marimohead!”

“Shitty Cook!”

Absalom scrambled back to his feet with a wordless snarl on his lion-like lips.

“Y-you-!”

He built up a powerful burst of energy and fired.

Only to have his blast cut in half.

The blond man glared at the swordsman who had destabilized his attack.

“I said to stay out of this.”

“Oh?” the Pirate Hunter said with an arched eyebrow. “Alright, next time, I’ll let the next enemy blast you off the ship.”

“This shitstain wasn’t going to blast me off the Sunny, you idiot Marimo!”

“Doesn’t look like he was going to miss, though.”

Angered at being so blatantly ignored (momentarily forgetting the man earlier sneak attack), the lion-faced Mysterious Four member lunged, figuring the blond man wouldn’t be much of a fighter considering he didn’t even have a bounty.

And got a kick in the face for his mistake.

“You…you made several big mistakes, buddy…” the blond man spoke in a barely calm tone, cigarette flicking in his mouth. “One, tormenting all those poor women in the past. Two, coming here and probably thinking about messing with the ladies here. And three…taking the one devil fruit I would have gladly gave up my swimming ability to have!”

Zoro made a ttch noise as the shitty cook went on a rant about how the guy’s devil fruit was the only one worth having.

Perverted chef.

The showdown was short and brutal. Perhaps if Absalom fought Sanji prior to Enies Lobby incident he might have had a better chance.

Unfortunately for him, Sanji in the past month at sea had plenty of time to improve his techniques against two New World veterans, including Kenbunshoku.

Compared to the heavy-set Rokushiki-using Zoan on the crew, the smaller and less experienced Absalom’s hits were much weaker, and Sanji could take them head-on, faint traces of Busoshoku glinting erratically around his legs and shoes.

 And it didn’t help when Absalom chose the wrong words when Sanji formally introduced himself.

Nothing else short of someone hurting a lady quite infuriated the chef like a remark of his artist’s rendering of a wanted poster.

When Sanji had finally finished, the rest of the crew had gathered on deck and watched as the comatose invisibility user faded into sight, body mostly battered flesh and broken bones.

“Good job there, chef-bro! Judging by the few times the guy actually managed to get an attack in, I think I have just a heavy-enough set of chains to tie him up.”

“Alright, we’ll secure him and leave him on shore rather than leave him on the Sunny,” Nami suggested/ordered. “We’re nearly to the docks. Once we land, everyone knows their parts?”

Everyone except for Luffy stood by their partners.

Nami nodded toward her captain. Luffy grinned wide.

“All right, let’s go beat up Gecko Mort and get Brook’s shadow back!”

“Gekkoh Moriah,” Kaku corrected. The young pirate captain just laughed at him.


The denizens (willing, resurrected, and unwilling) of Thriller Bark would always remember this night (for good or for ill and nightmares).

The night the whole island was set in absolute chaos.

The night the Straw Hat crew set foot on the ship-island and destroyed the fell ruler’s plans for kingship.

Zombie hordes and monsters fled as salt-laced weapons slashed, bit, and exploded.

The General zombies were laid to waste.

Even the Mysterious Four were no match.

“Ack! They have salt!”

“Is that…oh god, they took down Lord Absalom!”

“Retreat?”

“Are you mad? There’s only a handful of them against all of us!”

“Oh yeah…charge!”


“La-la-lady! Lady Perona!”

The pink-haired goth girl made a pouty face. “Ugh, such an ugly Mario…what do you want? I only want cute and adorable zombies here.”

The zombie soldier cowered as several ghosts appeared and began to giggle.

“Uuh…Lady Perona, I have terrible news!”

“Yeah, what? Don’t tell me someone lost their leg again?”

The zombie shook his head in denial. “Well, someone did a few times not counting now…wait, that’s not the message! Lady Perona, we’re being invaded!”

The girl whipped around, expression going from pouty to incredulous. “We’re what?”

“It’s-it’s him! The Humming Swordsman had returned, and he brought allies. They’re all armed with salt. We can’t hold out for long despite our greater numbers! They’re just too good!”

Perona, unfortunately, had no idea of how much havoc Brook could cause since she was asleep during his assault on his last visit to the floating island.

“Geez, you guys are useless…whatever, why don’t you go and wake up the General zombies. Against those legends, those guys stand no chance, and Moriah-sama gets some powerful new soldiers if those guys are the same crew we spotted a little while ago,” commanded the imperious self-styled ghost princess. “Well? Don’t just stand around, go! Unless you want to have a salt ball jammed into your throat?”

The foot soldier voicelessly shook his head. Turning around, he practically fled the castle garden.

He wasn’t the first of the zombie messengers sent to tell the big bosses. When he reached the cemetery crypts, the other member of the Mysterious Four Dr. Hogback was already rousing the generals, several separating to guard the doctor while the others went to the field where the zombies reported enemy movements.


“My, my, this is quite something,” the morbid doctor quipped. “A night of battles and skirmishes. But, with the brilliant combination of my wonderful Marios and Lord Moriah’s shadow ability to make an immortal army, we will be victorious!”

The zombies said nothing. They may be dead and powered by the shadow of other people, but they understood some things, and none of them were quite that careless with their unlife to contradict the man who could take them apart as easily as put them back together.


The former samurai of Wano hummed as he leisurely strolled through the forest just outside of the graveyard.

Then paused as he heard the telltale song of metal being drawn.

Yohoho, what is this?”

Two swordsmen stood in his path, one familiar, and one with familiar-looking swords.

One face determined (but wasn’t it like that the last time?).

One face smiling in toothy anticipation (such a young man, but his aura…very promising).

“Well, yohoho, isn’t this interesting?”


Usopp wanted nothing more than to hide on the Sunny. But here he was with Franky, firing salt balls and salt-laced rounds like there was no tomorrow into the hungry…menacing…reaching hordes of ZOMBIES!

“Why me?!” he sobbed/screamed while firing several salt balls with Kabuto.

“Hey, Nose-bro! Less yapping more zombie slaying!” Franky shouted as he downed a line of zombies with his Arms Left.

“Why does zombie slaying have to be a thing in the first place?” Usopp yelled, jumping like some game character over a group of undead.

They collapsed as several white balls fell into their gaping mouths.

Even if some wised up and clamped their mouths shut, the force usually pierced through their decayed and semi-preserved flesh.

Apparently as long as it breached past the skin and reached the shadow within it, the salt would do its thing and expel the captured shadows.

Soaking them probably would work, too, the part of Usopp not half-hysterical or frozen in terror thought. But they didn’t much time if they wanted to bring the fight to Moria’s gang.

Besides, it seemed just the two of them were making quite the dent. They were just outside some gated enclosure, actually, within the castle proper.

Suddenly, the hordes of human-like zombies gave way to…

“What the hell?” Usopp muttered, eying what looked like a child’s demented and oversized collection of stuffed animals. Well, if those same toys were stitched together, several much larger than even Franky…and held weapons.

“So uncute. Creating a ruckus and disturbing my beauty sleep…” a floating girl muttered, hands on her hips as she looked down on them.

A salt ball accidentally slipped from Usopp’s frozen fingers, and he could only watch in horror as it flew into the Mysterious Four’s face…and phase past it.

“Did-did you really try to shoot me?! The beautiful and precious ghost queen of this island?”

“Umm…itwasanaccidentsorry!”

Black round eyes narrowed, pout turning into a frightening leer. “Well, then, I treat you to the same favor, right? Negative Hollow!”

Remembering Brook’s warning of the ghosts, the two men dove for cover as the apparitions swooped down on them.

“I said I was sorry!”

“Nose-bro, don’t apologize to the enemy!” Franky yelled, arm firing as the zombies took this as their cue to continue their assault, bolden by their reinforcements.


Dr. Hogback hummed as he tended to his masterpiece, the most powerful of the Marios.

“My, isn’t is glorious?”

“I’ve seen enough, Kaku.”

The doctor nearly fell over from his perch by the ancient giant. “What? Who’s there? Cindy, did you let strangers into the castle again?”

How did they find my secret lab? Or the underground chambers leading to Oars? His fingers tightened against a pistol he kept stashed inside his doctor coat.

Before he could draw it, something slammed him off the platform, causing him to take a bruising tumble into the stony earth.

“Ack! My body!”

Through cracked lenses, he watched as a four-legged figure approach.

A…reindeer?

Someone fell behind him, landing softly unlike him.

The reindeer suddenly transformed into a tiny human-hybrid.

A Zoan user! And…he’s that pet of the Straw Hat crew!

Craning his head back, Dr. Hogback paled. Behind him was the infamous rogue member of Cipher Pol 9, said to be one of their deadliest members yet.

“I-I-…c-ca-can I help you gentlemen?”

The reindeer-human growled. “Don’t play nice with me! I saw everything! The lab, the journals, the shrine-! That poor girl you reanimated!”

“Cindy? What did you do with Cindy?!”

His precious former actress! She was supposed to be waiting outside for him! If these ruffians-!

A cool voice answered, “Don’t bother yelling for help. Dr. Chopper and I took care of all the General Zombies outside this chamber before we arrived.”

“Doctor…then you must know of me, young man! The Great Doctor Hogback, greatest surgeon of our generation!”

A very sharp hoof descended scant edges from his face.

“Don’t,” warned the Zoan, normally kind eyes a hollowed out black, “ever make that claim again! A doctor helps people! They should value life, not shackle it and force it to their wills!”

Dr. Hogback desperately cried, “Shackle? But look at what I’ve done! I’ve given these poor beings a second chance at life, a new purpose!”

“No. You took a part of other people to turn the dead into your slaves,” Kirin whispered, his voice echoing loudly. “Shades of themselves twisted to serve your selfish desires.”

“Like you’re any better than me, young man! Isn’t Cipher Pol 9 the worst of the worst in the World Government? Allowed to do virtually anything in the name of Dark Justice! How many lives have you ended? At least I’m giving them back a semblance of it!” the surgeon sneered before yelping as a pressure pressed into his back.

Kaku pressed the heel of his boot down before relaxing his stance. “Dr. Chopper?”

“Kaku, let him go. I’ll deal with him…on my terms.”

The swordsman nodded his head then suddenly leaped back as something lunged from above, nearly catching him.

Dr. Hogback suddenly sprang up toward the ceiling.

“Whoops! Sorry Doctor, but hey! We got you away from these guys.”

The two pirates glared up as a large cross between an ape and a spider grinned down at them, the demented surgeon tacked to the center of its web. Several smaller spider monkey hybrids giggled at them, whispering about how pleased their master will be with their latest catch.

“I’ll deal with the small ones, while you tackle the large one?” Kaku asked.

Dr. Chopper slammed his forehooves together with an audible clack. “Dr. Hogback, I’m not letting you get away with this!”


Out in the furthest forests of the island, a group of normal humans (more or less) gathered.

“Okay, so first thing, I call this meeting of the Thriller Bark’s Victim Association to order! First thing on our agenda…”

Captain Lola of the Rolling Pirates growled, as a stray breeze stole her meeting outline sheet from the makeshift podium they made from a tree trunk.

“For the love of- eh?”

A hand extended from the tree trunk podium and neatly placed it back.

“It looked like you needed a bit of a helpful hand.”

The hodgepodge group turned to see a tall dark-haired woman leaning against a tree at the edge of their field. Across from her, a blond man in a neat suit sat against the tree opposite of her.

“C-captain Lola! Those are the new people who landed on Thriller Bark! It’s the Straw Hat Pirates!”

The blond man blew a trail of smoke and turned to regard them with a single revealed eye. “Hmph! So, these people still get news all the way out here, huh?”

“Well, Mr. Chef, it only makes sense. How else would Moriah know the skill level and strength of his potential victims if he didn’t keep up to date.”

The man jumped up immediately and did a weird dance as he complimented his raven-haired crewmate.

Who was the hell this guy?

Giggling, the raven waved this Mr. Chef away, turning to the TBVA assembly.

“I’ve heard we have a mutual foe. Care to exchange information on him?”

Captain Lola felt a small smirk form on her lips. Maybe these pirates will be different. No crew ever escaped Moriah’s grip unscathed…but these Straw Hats did the impossible a lot, didn’t they?


Luffy brushed gore off his salt-covered hands. Fighting zombies could be fun but messy work.

Looking at the large doors in front of him, Luffy grinned, winding up his arm in anticipation.

“Gomu Gomu no…


Darkness and screams.

The sleeper on the bed stiffens as they fall deeper asleep.

“Captain, get out of here!”

“No, no, no.”

Blood splatters. A name, half-choked, dies on the man’s lips. His eyes widen in horror.

Everything, everyone…!

There is no one. Nothing but scarlet earth and a looming shadow of a man.

He was the master of shadows, he should have been able to do something-!

A gravelly chuckled. The shadow changes. A form larger, more horrifying than the beast of a man takes it place. A gaping maw draws near. The behemoth lands-

"-PISTOL!"

His bedroom doors hurl from their hinges, crashing into the no longer sleeping Shichibukai.

A pasty white face thrusts up, mauve lips set in a disgruntled look, anger slowly growing (no, there is no sweat clinging to his brow, the shadow of an age-old fear echoing from his eyes).

“What is the meaning of this?!”

“Leek-Head! I’ve come to defeat you and take back my new nakama’s shadow!”

The warlord sneers at the tiny, lanky form of the teenaged pirate captain.

“Oh? And what poor soul would that be? Not that I would personally remember, there has been so many over the years,” Moriah drawls, pointedly leaning over the pirate.

Already, his Shadow Doppelganger subtly stretches forth, ready to snare the naïve fool and add yet another pirate captain to his collection.

And this pirate captain? His shadow will be the crown jewel of his army.