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 had expected that exact statement to leave Luffy's mouth, but he hadn't been prepared for the overly dramatic reactions of their crew mates. Usopp and Chopper were both screaming their heads off and running about the main deck. It was almost pathetic.

"What did you just say, Luffy?!" Usopp had finally stopped running around, utter horror on his face as he looked from the gigantic Kraken to his Captain.

Luffy grinned wide. "Let's tame that big octopus and have him pull our ship!"

Ace couldn't disagree with that thought, but to tame the Kraken would require fighting it. To do that, they would need to use Instant Flutter-Kick Coating, which Rayleigh had the forethought to supply them with. He didn't say anything just yet, instead sliding his gaze to Sabo who was also observing Luffy and his crew mates. It seemed he also had the same idea.

"Don't be stupid!" Ace's gaze went back to Usopp at this exclamation and a deep frown marred his face when the sharpshooter had the nerve to grab Luffy by his jaw. "Look a-"

"Let him go, Usopp," Ace interrupted with a tone of warning, a steely glint in his eyes. Everyone stopped what they were doing to watch him as he walked over to join Luffy at the starboard rail, his gaze remaining on the sharpshooter.

Usopp was at a loss for words, his mouth opening and then closing several times in succession as he tried to think of something, anything to say. He did do as he was told and backed away from Luffy by several steps, his fear of the Kraken momentarily forgotten in lieu of Ace's almost threatening countenance.

"He didn't mean anything by it, Ace…" Luffy nearly whined, honestly not bothered by Usopp having grabbed him.

"It was disrespectful and rude." Ace glared in Usopp's direction for a moment then turned to look out at the Kraken. "And having the Kraken tamed and getting it to pull the Sunny would be smart. We could get to Fishman Island much quicker that way."

"And how would we be able to tame it? We can't attack it from within the Sunny's coating." Nami, one of the two original voices of reason, spoke up, a trace of concern and worry on her face. It was likely due to Ace having snapped at Usopp.

"Instant Flutter-Kick Coating. It's a coating that acts like a diving suit, and I know Rayleigh-san gave us some." Ace only received confused looks from the Straw Hats, with the exceptions of Robin and Franky. He figured that Robin had likely read about it and Franky had been told about it due to him being the Sunny's shipwright.

"There's some cans of it down below," Franky mentioned, only to have said cans set at his feet by Sabo. "Oh look, here they are. Thanks, man!"

"I figured we'd need them once Luffy started talking about taming that thing." Sabo shrugged it off, and the fact that no one had noticed him leave the deck to go below for the cans of coating.

"I wanna go out!" Luffy started bouncing up and down on the spot, the wide grin back in its place on his face while he stared out at the Kraken.

"Luffy, it's…" Ace paused and frowned. Luffy wasn't going to take no for an answer, and would go out despite the danger of having bubble the coating would create popping. He knew that he couldn't go out himself, since his fire abilities would eat up the oxygen in his own bubble. "Just remember that you're underwater, okay?"

"We'll go out too," Zoro said as he stepped forward with Sanji in tow. The cook looked a bit put out by being volunteered when it was likely he'd have offered to go out as well, but he didn't say anything about it.

"That should be enough people to tame the Kraken," Sabo announced, having refrained from offering to join them for nearly the same reason as Ace. His own fruit ability wasn't suitable for underwater fighting, at all, even though he could use Buso-shoku Haki. It would only slow down the effects of the water, not stop it completely. And like Ace, he knew that it was impossible to tell Luffy no.

It took several minutes to get the three of them enveloped in the Instant Flutter-Kick Coating. In that time Luffy hadn't stopped bouncing around for even a second, which is why it had taken so long to apply the coating. Luffy had broken a few of his bubbles. Ace was getting ready to give Luffy a rope to use as a lifeline, but before he could even open his mouth all three coated crew members shot through the Sunny's coating and out into the open ocean.

His heart felt like it shot up in his throat once the realization hit him, and he ran to the starboard railing, rope still in hand. Sabo was quick to join him. "LUFFY!"

"YOU CAN'T GO OUT WITHOUT A LIFELINE! YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO MAKE IT BACK!" Nami yelled after them as she came up on Ace's opposite side. "Can one of you go after them?" She turned to Ace and Sabo, her question directed to them. They had the most experience with diving.

"I can't," Ace admitted softly, for once wishing he hadn't eaten the Mera Mera no Mi.

"I'll do it. I'm a Zoan, so as long as I don't transform I'll be fine." Sabo put a hand on Ace's shoulder and squeezed gently. "I'll make sure he doesn't do anything too reckless."

In the time that it took to get Sabo enveloped by a bubble of Instant Flutter-Kick Coating Luffy had already reached the Kraken. He immediately inflated his right arm to the size of a giant's, which exposed nearly his entire arm to the ocean water. It quickly took on black color, signifying that Luffy was using Buso-shoku Haki.

The Kraken watched Luffy with narrowed eyes, then seemed to glare at the rubbery captain that was invading upon him. It started to reach out a tentacle to grab its target, using the pause in Luffy's attack to its advantage.

"Urghhh… The sea… Is draining… My energy…!" Luffy tried to move his arm, but was momentarily immobilized by the water working against him.

Sanji was quick to notice what was happening and without a thought on the matter he dashed straight out of his bubble. The crushing pressure of the water was absolutely nothing as he moved at speeds that rivaled even a Fishman's. As he closed in on the tentacle that was heading for Luffy he ignited his right leg, using his Diable Jambe, and delivered a punishing kick to the larger section of the tentacle. The surrounding area of the monstrous limb blackened with marks crisscrossing over the skin of the tentacle and Sanji grinned at himself. He hadn't been sure that the move would work underwater, but now he had confirmation.

This angered the Kraken, and he began to swing an uninjured tentacle in Sanji's direction. Zoro, who was actually within range of this new limb struck at a blindingly fast speed with his swords. The limb was removed and sliced into long ribbons almost instantaneously, but what was miraculous was that Zoro's bubble of coating did not pop.

"Hold it, Zoro! Sanji! Stop chopping off its tentacles!" Luffy grit his teeth and forced his arm to start moving. He couldn't let the Kraken get too badly hurt, and if it lost more tentacles then it wouldn't be able to pull the Sunny. "Gomu Gomu no Elephant Gun!" His arm stretched as he put everything into his attack. It took all he had to throw the punch, and when it connected he sent the Kraken flying. That wasn't all. "A shark?!" Luffy grinned and eyed the shark that had come out of the Kraken's mouth while Zoro and Sanji came up next to him.

"That's a pretty big shark," Zoro commented as he sat in his bubble, swords resheathed.

"Is that shark wearing clothes?" Sanji seemed to be the only to notice this, because Luffy certainly hadn't brought it up.

"Guys, you really need your lifelines," Sabo stated in a chiding tone as he came up behind them. He had three extra ropes with him and started to move closer to the three to give them the ropes when it happened.

The Kraken had been holding on to the edge of the precipice when Luffy had sent it flying. Now the creature was loose and being sucked downwards by the waterfall-like downward plume. The shark, which seemed to be unconscious, was dragged down after it, and lastly were Luffy, Zoro and Sanji.

"Luffy!" Sabo tried to reach for his brother, for any of them, but it was too late. He could vaguely hear Ace screaming for Luffy from the Sunny, as well as the cries for Zoro and Sanji. Sabo didn't even notice that he was being dragged back onto the Sunny by a desperate Ace and Franky. He went sprawling onto the main deck as he passed through the Sunny's coating, which took away his Instant Flutter-Kick Coating.

"Everyone hold on! We're going after them!" Nami announced as she raced to the helm. She angle the rudder for them follow after their crew mates and Captain. It didn't take too long for them to enter the downward plume themselves, the extremely powerful current tossing them about like they were rag dolls.

Down, down and down they went, until the Sunny slowed considerably and a near pitch black darkness surrounded them. There was a glimmer of faint glowing spots around them, spots that moved around in the vast darkness. Just about everyone had been thrown around, save for Nami who had clung to the helm, Ace and Sabo who were still at the starboard rail and had clung to that, and Robin who had used her Hana Hana no Mi powers to keep herself steady.

"I can't seem to find them," Robin stated in a slightly worried tone.

"I can still sense them." Sabo moved away from the starboard rail and looked up out into the darkness. His pupils became more slitted as he did an extremely controlled transformation. Even with his enhanced sight he could barely make out anything here in the depths of the Grandline. "I can't see them," he admitted after a long moment of searching, a frown marring his face as he noted several large indistinguishable shapes.

"I have a light function built in to my body," Franky offered once he had regained his footing. Within seconds two lights pierced the gloom, making Sabo wince slightly at their brightness. "Nipple Lights!"

The blond shielded his currently sensitive eyes before turning away from the lights while Usopp asked what kind of place was that to put lights. Considering that Franky was a self-made cyborg he could sort of understand. Given how Franky thought, it totally fit in with his personality. "Guys…. We're surrounded." He stated as he looked back out into the still mostly dark waters. Franky's nipple lights helped him to see a bit better, and the massive shapes he had noticed before were more clearly defined.

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