Trial by Error

BY : Demonized
Category: +M to R > One Piece
Dragon prints: 1819
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece, nor do I make any money off of this work.

Sabaody Archipelago: Grove 33

"Yohohohohohoho! Thank you for this, your timing was exquisite!" Brook commented with a hearty laugh as he held on to his top hat, so that it nor the crown on it would come off due to the speed at which the Flying Fish was currently soaring through the air. Guiding the Fish was one of Duval's men, and behind them were two more members of the Rosy Life Riders as they now called themselves.

"We're here on Shakky-nee-san's orders," the Rosy Life Rider stated with a grin. "Your Nakama are waiting for you in Grove 42."

"My chest is about to burst from nostalgia and anticipation!" Brook grinned and then cracked the inevitable skull joke, "…not that I have a chest to burst in the first place! Yohohohoho!"


Grove 41

Sanji held the Baby Den-Den Mushi in his palm, Zoro standing nearby and looking around. He did his best to ignore the swordsman, whom (for some strange reason) he seemed to be rather hyperaware of. It didn't help that the muscle-brained brute looked at him every few minutes with that near pouty-looking frown of his. "That was the Grove 42 beach, right?"

"Yeah. We'll see you guys there." Came Franky's voice from the Baby Den-Den Mushi. There was a short pause and then a sigh. "Luffy's bro is on his way to meet up with you guys, so wait for him, will ya?"

"Huh? Ace?" Sanji blinked and wondered when Ace had come to Sabaody. He was also glad that Luffy's brother had made it out of the War of the Best alive. Maybe he was here to see them off? "Okay, we'll wait for him." The line went dead and he pocketed the Baby Den-Den Mushi.

"What's up?" Zoro asked, moving to stand closer to the chef. He hadn't been paying much attention to the conversation, instead focusing on what he had been sensing for quite a while. Luffy was nearby, and there was a mass of much weaker pirates where their Captain was.

"Weren't you listening?!" Sanji snapped as he turned to face Zoro. "Ehhm. Let's see. Marines… Coming… Ace… Coming… We… Ship… Run… You get it?"

Zoro's face contorted into a look of anger and his hand went to the hilt of Shuusui. "What do you take me for, a baby?! Speak in full sentences!"

Sanji grinned almost maliciously. "I figured that was the best way to get through to a guy with muscles for brains."

Zoro glowered at Sanji and stepped away from the chef, his hand tightening around Shuusui's hilt. "Right. You're getting slice up later," he grumbled and turned away. "What's all the ruckus over on that island, anyway?"

Sanji smirked to himself, pleased with how easy it had been to get under Zoro's skin. "Good question… That way… Noisy…"

"Luffy's that way," a voice stated from behind them.

Sanji and Zoro both turned around, both slightly tensed at first then relaxing at the familiar sight of Ace. He hadn't changed much since they had last seen him in Alabasta. There was something in the way that he carried himself that made him seem different, if only by a little bit.

"Shall we go see what my brother has gotten himself into?" Ace asked with a grin.


Grove 46

"Take him out!"

"Big Boss!"

"Looks like we've found one of the culprits already!" The large man standing a few feet away began.

Luffy turned to look at him, his gaze questioning at first as the man continued to address the crowd of assembled pirates. He turned back to Sanji and Zoro, a frown in place. "Zoro, Sanji! Do you know this guy?" The two of them stared at him a bit dumbly, so he pressed on. "Thing is, I ran into him earlier…"

"That's as far as you go, pirate scum!" A new voice cried out, drawing everyone's attention to the outer edge of the gathering. "Straw Hat Luffy, and all you minions! I suggest you come quietly!" They had cannons with them around the perimeter they had created, and their rifles were all aimed inwards towards the pirates. "We have sealed all exits from Grove 46! There is nowhere left for any of you to run!"

Luffy blinked, his attention now on the Marines that had surrounded them, and frowned. He had disguised himself perfectly, but here they were. "How did the Marines know I was here?" he questioned aloud, his gaze shifting to Zoro and Sanji.

"Huh?" Sanji glanced over to him, finally. He seemed irritated. "What are you going on about?!"

"Captain! Th… They have got us completely surrounded!" Zoro said in a tone that was rather uncharacteristic of him.

All hell seemed to break loose within the span of a couple of minutes as one of the pirates killed a Marine they had captive. The Marines all fired into the crowd and both sides charged into a clash. The pirates were calling something out that had Luffy frowning yet again.

"Why're they randomly calling me their boss…?" Luffy questioned, confused by the situation he suddenly found himself in.

"Like I said, what are you even talking about?!" Sanji snapped at him, but Luffy wasn't listening anymore.

The large guy that he had bumped into earlier started saying something, which was also tuned out. Instead, his attention went to the two Pacifista that appeared in the midst of the pirates. Those that were able to immediately scattered, trying to get away from the World Government's machines. Quite a few got blasted in the process. "Pirate Straw Hat Luffy identified. Bibip." Ah, that wasn't any good. He had really thought that his disguise would make it harder to find him. Apparently not.

One of the two Pacifista, he wasn't sure which, fired into the crowd again and took out a good number of the pirates that were still attempting to flee. All of them had either no bounty, or bounties that were low, at least compared to his own. From the murmurs he was picking up from some of the fleeing pirates, they were shocked that their captains or comrades were being taken out so easily. They obviously hadn't dealt with the World Government's military force before.

A cry went out through the pirates lucky enough to escape from the blast. They wanted him to take care of the Pacifista. The large pirate that had been up on the stage was nowhere to be seen, though he could sense that the man was out in the crowd and had been blocked off by another pair of Pacifista and someone strong. Well, compared to the pirates gathered here the person was strong, but Luffy could take him. Lost in thought, he failed to notice the ensuing commotion until the conscious pirates began shouting out one word. Fake.

"Huh?" Luffy blinked and looked at the large man, who had been knocked out by a rather familiar looking person wielding a huge double bit axe. The young pirate blinked and focused his attention on to what the axe wielder was saying. "He was pretending to be me?" He gave another blink and looked towards the retreating backs of the people he had thought were his Nakama. "That Zoro and Sanji too? Wow… I thought they seemed different, but they sure do look similar."

"The deceivers may be fools, but its over for you lot who were deceived as well! Every one of you is under arrest!" The axe wielder barked out, looking over the pirates with a critical eye. "…and what's more, by some crazy coincidence, it looks like the real Straw Hat is on this island as well! The PX-5 detected him as soon as he entered the Archipelago!" Many of the pirates looked baffled at this declaration, for they thought the real Straw Hat to be dead as soon as the fake was revealed. "Take him out, PX-5!" The Pacifista in question turned and locked on to someone towards the back of the crowd.

Luffy, however, knew what was coming and crouched down as the beam began to light up in the machine's mouth. Once the beam was fired he pushed off as hard as possible and somersaulted backwards to land up on the raised stone platform, his disguise now discarded, while the stage blew up. He scowled down at the Pacifista, his hand tightly clutching at the bulging bag of food that Hancock had given to him. Everyone turned to stare at him, most in disbelief. "Man, that was close." Nowhere near, actually, but that was beside the point. "What was that for?! All of my precious food is in this bag, you know!"

All of the pirates still able to freely move about seemed shocked. Unbelievably shocked. "IT'S THE FACE FROM THE WANTED POSTER!"

The imposter Straw Hat pirates all frothed at the mouth in their shock. "That guy… H-he was the real Straw Hat Luffy!"

"Brace yourselves, men! This is the man we came here for!" Sentoumaru called out, garnering a resounding 'Yes sir!' from the gathered Marines.

Luffy scowled and stood up, pointing down at Sentoumaru and the Marines preparing to charge at him. "Don't tell me you're gonna get in my way again! Ace-nii-chan told me to not cause any trouble 'cause it would get in the way of our departure!"

There was a murmur from the pirates at the mention of Ace, the whole world now knowing of his connection to the Mera Mera no Mi user, while Sentoumaru gave a disdainful scoff. "Departure! You're not going anywhere, Straw Hat!" He hefted his axe up and pointed one of the bit edges toward Luffy. "Kill him, PX-5! Then we can go after the rest of his crew and Fire Fist."

Luffy's gaze sharpened as it remained on Sentoumaru, and the look that crossed his face was dead serious. "You won't touch my Nakama or my nii-chan," he whispered in a low, lethal tone. Without even a thought he entered into Second Gear and vanished, his pack left behind on the stone platform.

Sentoumaru scowled but didn't show any outward signs of nervousness, despite not being able to sense where Luffy was. "Find him and kill him, PX-5! Let's show the Marines what we are capable of!"

The Pacifista looked around, trying to lock on to where its prey was, but it was all for naught. Luffy appeared behind the machine and it suddenly blew up. The explosion did nothing to faze the young pirate captain as he stood up and walked over to Sentoumaru.

The now full-fledged Marine was unable to move, and it wasn't from any lack of effort on his part. He was doing his best to try and move, but every single part of him refused to budge. Fear trickled through him as Luffy closed in on him, cracking his knuckles ominously. Blinding pain was the next thing to assault him, from all over his body, as unseen blows rained down on him and sent him flying back a good dozen feet to land in an unceremonious heap.

Luffy continued to walk toward Sentoumaru with the intention of beating him within an inch of his life when arms suddenly wrapped around his waist from behind. He subconsciously sent out a pulse of Haō-shoku Haki, only for it to clash against a familiar pulse of the same Haki from… "Ace." His relaxed into his brother's arms and closed his eyes so that he still wasn't glaring murder at Sentoumaru.

"He isn't worth it, Lu." The arms tightened around him slightly before he was finally turned around to face his brother. "Look at me." Ace's tone was surprisingly gentle, but his expression upon Luffy opening his eyes was serious. "We need to get going."

"Okay." A couple more explosions, which suspiciously sounded like Pacifista blowing up, sounded from around them and Luffy's gaze was drawn towards two familiar looking men. They had each taken out two of the three remaining Pacifista and were attacking the third together. "Sanji! Zoro!" His mood returned to its usual cheerfulness and he wriggled out of Ace's grasp. With a backwards glance towards his brother, and a thankful smile, he ran over to greet his actual Nakama.

Ace gave a soft sigh and shook his head before he slowly walked over to the battered form of Sentoumaru. The fire user crouched down, his grey eyes narrowed. "The next time you threaten any of my brother's Nakama I will let him kill you," he whispered loud enough for only Sentoumaru to hear. "Now crawl back to Akainu and tell him this…"

"Rayleigh!" Luffy called out from over by Sanji and Zoro, whom had started arguing about who had taken down the final Pacifista present. They stopped their bickering and looked in the direction that Luffy was waving, a cheerful grin on the captain's countenance.

"I stopped by to see how you were doing, Luffy." Rayleigh returned, smiling as he observed the younger of his two students. He paid Ace no mind, knowing exactly what the fire user was doing. He didn't blame him in any way, and from what he could tell Ace would be able to match the new Fleet Admiral.

"Thank you so much for everything you've done the last two years!" Luffy retrieved his pack, which was more of him extending his arm out and pulling the overstuffed bag towards himself than going to it, and pulled the straps on.

"There's no need for such formalities, now go and meet up with your Nakama." Rayleigh grinned and folded his arms over his chest.

"Rayleigh, I'm gonna do it…" Luffy gave a wide grin and pumped his arms up into the air. "I'M GONNA BECOME THE PIRATE KING!"

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