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.

Ace was at a loss for words while Luffy seemed to stare off into the distance, a fierce scowl on his face. He had hated Kuma once, and while that had been during the time when he had been under the perceived notion that the giant of a man had killed his Nakama. Now, though, with the news from Franky at just how much they owed to the former Revolutionary, he could only feel angry for Kuma. Angry for him, and so very thankful to him. He had saved their lives, protected the Sunny and even took on a very dangerous mission in Sabo's stead. "We'll do everything we can to help him, Sabo." That was even if there was any way of restoring Kuma's mind to his body.

Ace glanced at Luffy over the top of Sabo's head, currently barren of its usual dark top hat. The rubbery captain was having one of his very rare moments of thoughtfulness, rather, he was fully thinking things through than blazing through on instinct. Maybe it was more of he didn't care about what happened to himself, but he would move heaven and earth for every single one of his Nakama, consequences be damned. "Leave it to you to say the seriously deep and thoughtful things." He gave a faint smile, one that even Sabo tearfully joined in on, while reaching over to knock the straw hat aside and ruffle Luffy's hair.

Sabo stiffened suddenly and stood up a little straighter, his gaze on something in the distance behind them. With a small touch of Kenbun-shoku Haki he outright scowled and nudged his way out of his brothers' embrace. "Guys, we have trouble." He spun on his heel and stuck his head into the aquarium to look at the gathered Straw Hats. "There's a ship following us and they're gaining speed. We need to prepare in case they mean us any harm."

As soon as the words left his mouth there was a flurry of movement and the Straw Hats all rushed out of the aquarium to join the three brothers out on the deck. There wasn't a clear view of the ship behind them, but they knew well enough that this was no joke. The ship was still a little ways above them too, and Usopp rushed to the stern railing to get a better look of their tail and the crew on board it.

"They don't look friendly!" he cried out, adjusting the binoculars he had minutely. "I don't recognize them."

"What's that pulling the ship?" Robin asked, a brow arched as she observed what appeared to be a giant sea cow.

"MOOOOOOOOOOHH!" the sea cow roared as it and the ship it pulled closed in on the starboard side of the Thousand Sunny, close enough that the bubbles enclosing both ships were nearly touching.

Sabo and Ace were the first to move, jumping down onto the lower main deck of the Sunny, as this was a tactic that they were familiar with. "They're going to try and board the ship!" The brunet called out, dark blue flames crackling to life on his skin. This resulted in the air immediately heating up and then quite suddenly a cold burst of water poured down on him, surprisingly extinguishing the flames.

Nami joined them, her Climatact in hand and a cross look on her face. "Fire uses up oxygen! You're going to use up all of the air in our bubble and suffocate us all or worse!" she yelled, giving the Fire fruit user a pointed look.

"Oh, right…" Ace grinned weakly while Sabo groaned and gave a shake of his head.

"That means no fire moves for you either, Sanji!" Nami snapped out, gathering the attention of the blond chef who swooned.

"Nami-sw-ack!" Sanji rubbed the back of his head and turned to glare at Zoro who just so happened to be next to him, looking out at the sea cow with a curious expression on his face. "What was that for, moss-for-brains?!"

"Because you're not focusing," Zoro growled out, glancing at the chef from the periphery of his right eye. "Doesn't that cow look familiar?" he added, to throw Sanji's attention off of him.

"It's Mohmoo!" Nami gasped, recognizing the all too familiar sea cow as the former pet of Arlong and his pirates.

Mohmoo turned to look at the person who called out his name and stared at the orange-haired woman for a full minute. In the meantime, someone had crossed over through the bubbles and more were getting ready to follow. Mohmoo finally recognized Nami and turned his frightened gaze to the rest of the crew, recognizing another two distinct faces that he would never, ever forget.

"Oh no you don't." Sabo moved as fast as lightning, sending a Busō-shoku Haki infused punch at the man, as a standard attack, that sent him flying back through the bubbles and onto his own ship. It was right in that moment when Mohmoo gave out a terrified cry and hauled the other ship away from the Sunny while the crew manning the other vessel cried out for the sea cow to stop.

"That certainly went well," Robin commented with a smile, having taken up her usual seat on the stern mid-level deck. She brought out her newest book and opened it up to begin reading for as long as they still had light.

"We should have expected something like that," Franky tossed in, lumbering his way down to the main deck so he could take up the helm.

"I can't believe Mohmoo was all the way out here," Nami mused as she joined the cyborg shipwright at the helm and studied the Log Pose on her wrist.

"I never did get to see what he tasted like." Luffy sighed and dropped down onto the grass of the built in lawn, his stomach immediately growling. "Hey, Sanji, cook us something!"

Sanji, who had been tearing into Zoro for once again hitting him on the back of the head stopped mid-rant and turned to stare at his captain in something akin to shock. "Didn't you eat already?!"

Luffy, who was now looking at the chef upside down, blinked and gave a grin. "I had a snack, but I'm still hungry. I want meat!"

"Actually, I could use a little something to eat and it's been a long time since I've had anything as good as your food, Sanji-san," Ace cut in to prevent the chef from blowing a blood vessel over Luffy's unending hunger. "I'm sure we could all do with a little something to eat."

Sabo, who knew that both Ace and Luffy had insatiable appetites glanced at the elder brunet with a questioning look. "Have you actually learned portion control?" he asked in a low mutter.

"Er, no?" Ace had never had to worry about running out of food before, especially with how large the stores had been on the Moby Dick. In comparison, the Sunny was much smaller, and now there were eleven mouths to feed—that was if the skeletal Brook was still capable of eating. "We should…"

"I'll make a snack for everyone, but that's it," Sanji announced, unintentionally interrupting the conversation Sabo and Ace were having. "We have eleven people and limited food storage on the Sunny. Thankfully we are fully stocked right now, but we need to keep in mind that we can't have a feast for every meal." That wasn't counting the fact that they could continually fill up the aquarium with catches from the sea, but he wanted to stress the importance of portion control now. "Also, with the new recipes I learned, it won't be necessary to have such large meals," he added, eying a now morose Luffy.

"Money will also eventually be an issue if we don't watch how much we eat," Nami called out in a tone of warning, one that the original Straw Hats knew very well.

"Fine," Luffy groaned out and rolled over onto his stomach.

"Hey, Nami…" Usopp joined the navigator and the shipwright at the helm, glancing around the now clear outside of the bubble before looking at Nami's Log Pose. "Are we heading in the right direction? We're a little off course according to the Log Pose."

Sabo, interested in the conversation and being a bit of a navigator himself walked over to join in. "Actually, how we're going is fine."

"Exactly," Nami said with a smile. "There's a whole bunch of currents down here, and if we get caught in the wrong one…"

"We'd be smashed against an underwater mountain, and if my count is correct, we have six devil fruit users and five…uh non-fruit users in the crew." Sabo watched as confusion etched onto their faces while they mentally counted the crew members.

"Luffy, Ace, Chopper, Robin and Brook makes five… Who is the…" Nami frowned and stared at Sabo before she quickly gasped in realization. "You're a fruit user too!?"

"Wait, what?" Usopp looked from Nami to Sabo and then proceeded to stare at the blue-clad blond as well. "What is your fruit power?"

"Sabo has a devil fruit?" Luffy asked, scrambling up from the deck while Ace watched on in curiosity. Zoro was paying no mind while Sanji had gone off to cook food, so he was missing out on this conversation.

"Er… Yeah. I do have a devil fruit power." Sabo looked a little sheepish now and smiled weakly. "But that's not important right now! We should be putting on coats because it's… Wait… Ace, can't you heat up the air in the bubble without using the oxygen up?"

Nami, who had been smart enough to already put on a coat, shook her head to answer the question for the elder brunet male. "I rather not risk losing any air in our bubble just to keep us warm enough that we don't have to wear coats. It will get really cold down there, but if you really don't want to… I guess you could always cuddle with him?" She said it teasingly, and watched as Ace went beet red while Sabo sputtered and Luffy clung to Ace.

"I'll wear a coat." Sabo left them to go into the men's quarters and fetch coats for the male members of the crew.

"Hey… I want to see Sabo's devil fruit power," Luffy pouted, disappointed that Sabo was keeping it a big mystery.

"In due time, Luffy," Ace stated while he dragged the rubbery captain away so Nami could finish explaining the undersea currents. They headed up to the prow of the ship where there was a strange and wonderful sight to behold. Within the depths of the water, and descending much further down, it looked like a huge waterfall. "We've reached the downward current plume!" he called out, just as Nami had begun to explain Saline Density to Usopp, and Chopper who had wandered up.

"Oh wow!" Chopper ran to the rail and pulled himself up to get a look at it. "It looks like a giant waterfall!" There was something more though, that he spotted, and he gave a shriek of terror when he saw it. "MONSTER!"

"M-m-monster?!" Usopp stammered out and crept up to the railing to peek over it. He too screamed when he caught sight of it and bolted.

Sanji, who had finally finished making snacks for the crew, nearly dropped the plates he was carrying as he came out of the kitchen only to be greeted with the sight of a legendary Kraken. Luffy was whooping with joy and clinging to Ace, having climbed halfway onto his shoulders. Usopp and Chopper were running in circles on the lawn deck, screaming their heads off while Nami and Franky stood at the helm, frozen in place. Brook was cowering off by himself while Robin sat there calmly in her seat and read her book. The plates were set down on her table while he noted that Zoro had drawn his meito Shuusui and had a feral grin on his face.

"I've just had a great idea!" Luffy cried out, a large grin that meant trouble for them on his face. "Let's make that thing our pet!"

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