Kogane Kingdom, a shining beacon of hope in the western world. Most recently, they had come into contact with the eastern archipelago known as Grand Jipang. One member of the royal family had to go there as a diplomat.
The waves lapped against the harbor as the group made their way to the ship.
“Princess, it’s too dangerous,” an advisor said. “Especially right after the death of your father.”
“I want to see and help this country, not rule it,” she said. “The Grand Jipangese should be able to reason that I come in peace.”
“But, dissidence has been mustered against the Long Lands and the Thriller Company,” another advisor said.
“All the more reason to show them that not all foreign lands are out to exploit them,” the princess spoke, tucking her brown hair behind her ear.
“Then, let me come with you, princess! I can protect you!” a young man said.
“I’m sorry, brother…but, I can’t let that happen,” she said. “If you, a man of military history came on a diplomatic mission, people may think we are coming to invade the country.
The princess looked out upon the sea that stretched out into the unknown world.
I look forward to see what kind of a country Grand Jipang is~!
Oyabun Luffy Historical Special: The Case of the Sheltered Princess and the Strange Nun
It bears similarities to another land in another time.
But, don’t worry about it, it is a special, after all!
It was a usual day at the Pinwheel restaurant, all of Onami-san’s regulars were there: Blue Nose-sensei, the town’s reindeer-human doctor, Hocker-san, the pet-food store owner, Boodle-san, a tradesman and friend of Hocker-san, Totsan, the local barfly, Misuta Matthew, a gaijin from the West and famed gunman in town, Blizzard, a former shrine dog turned police dog, and, of course, Oyabun Luffy, the local policeman. Sanji, the cook was working overtime, pipe in mouth.
“Sanji-kun!” Onami said as she waited the tables. “We have another order of teriyaki beef over rice for the deadbeat table!”
“Hai, Onami-san~!” Sanji cheered, happy with his lot in life.
“Hey! At least I pay!” Misuta Matthew said.
“Yeah, like once a month!” Onami yelled at him.
“Well…it’s hard to get work when all you know is how to shoot a gun,” Matthew muttered.
Blizzard snickered at Matthew.
“You say that, Misuta Matthew,” Boodle-san said. “But, your Japanese is improving.”
“Oh, domo arigatou,” Matthew bowed. “It’s really all thanks to Blue Nose-sensei.”
“Oh, don’t compliment me, you Western bastard~! You won’t make me happy if you do~!” Blue Nose-sensei said as he danced happily.
“That’s probably because Blue Nose-sensei can talk to beasts,” Onami said, disdainfully.
“Aw, don’t be so harsh, Onami!” Matthew groaned.
“Maybe once you perfect our language,” Oyabun Luffy said. “I can get you a job as a cop.”
“Oh, that’s the last thing we need: cops with guns,” Hocker said.
“Yeah, you’d probably shoot up the town,” Boodle agreed.
“That was a long time ago!” Matthew shouted in defense.
“Well, don’t sweat the small stuff, time has changed,” Oyabun Luffy said.
“OYABUN! YOU’RE IN TROUBLE!” a voice shouted from the street.
“That sounds like Usopp,” Luffy said.
Just then, Oyabun Straw Hat’s long-nosed partner ran into the Pinwheel.
“Oyabun! What are you doing here?!” he shouted.
“I’m eating lunch,” Luffy said.
“You’re supposed to be at the harbor!” Usopp shouted. “We’re supposed to be standing guard at the arrival of those gaijin coming in from the West!”
Oh, right, we did have to do that, Blizzard said as he got up from his sleeping spot.
“Genzo-oyabun said if you don’t get back in ten minutes, it’ll be you neck!” Usopp shouted.
“Oh, man! I better get going!” Luffy said as he gobbled up what was left of his food and stood up. “C’mon, boy! You better come with us!”
“Arf!” Blizzard barked happily and followed after Luffy.
After they left, Onami came out of the kitchen.
“Huh? The gaijin are sailing into here?” she asked.
“Huh? How do you know about it, Onami-san?” Blue Nose-sensei asked.
“It was in the papers,” she said. “It turns out a crown princess from some foreign country is coming over here for a tour. She might even head a company here.”
“A foreign princess~?” Sanji shouted, his eyes turned into hearts. “She must be gorgeous~!”
“Another foreigner?” Matthew said. “Great, maybe I won’t be that much of an oddity here!”
“I wanna go see them~!” Blue Nose-sensei said.
“Well, it is a slow day…and it can be a good place to sell some of our wares!” Onami says.
“That settles it,” Matthew said. “Let’s head their way and see this new arrival!”
* * * *
In recent years, Grand Jipang had come into contact with the outside world. Every month, new arrivals to Grand Jipang would arrive on black ships. This one came from a particularly wealthy country from the West, Kogane. However, many countrymen of Grand Jipangu weren’t too happy about the foreigners coming into their countries. Some people believed that the foreigners were bringing in too many of their own customs and were trying to erode Grand Jipangu’s own customs and cultural identity.
Thankfully, people like police authorities and Shogun Cobra were friendlier with the foreingers.
Everyone from town was at the harbor when the ship pulled in.
“Make way! Make way!” the royal guards said as they disembarked from the ship.
The procession showcased many exotic treasure chests, filled with gold and jewels, fine foreign horses, and, of course, many unique dishes from Kogane.
“Wow~!” Luffy-oyabun shouted, drooling. “Looks delicious~!”
“It does~!” Nami cheered, her eyes turned into ryoberis.
Finally, the main attraction arrived on the street. The princess was draped in yellow satin, with a white veil draped over her face.
“Oh, damn it~!” Sanji moaned. “Her beautiful face is hidden!”
“Gyahahaha~! Such a flashily fabulous parade~! How come we weren’t invited~?”
The regulars from Pinwheel turned around to see their archenemies, the Clown Gang right behind them, led by Buggy all dressed in his kabuki regalia.
“So, it’s you, you bastard,” Luffy-oyabun growled.
“Now, is that anyway to talk to a person you’ve known for so long~?” Buggy chuckled.
“What are you guys doing here?” Matthew asked.
“Watch your tongue, gaijin,” Cabaji growled. “Don’t look down on us Grand Jipangese.”
“Oh, for crying out loud,” Nami groaned. “Don’t tell me you’ve joined up with the Nationalists, have you?”
“We’re working for them, but many of their ideals appeal to us,” Mohji said.
“Such as the fact where there’s more businesses for us Grand Jipangese to take over,” Buggy grinned.
“Damn opportunists…” Matthew growled as his finger turned into a pistol’s barrel.
“Ah, ah, ah,” Buggy said, waving a finger. “It would be hardly seemly to fire off that gun: we are in the presence of royalty, after all.”
Sure enough, Oyabun’s friend, Princess Vivi, was greeting the foreign princess, along with Shogun Cobra.
Oyabun Luffy placed his hand on Matthew’s gun hand. If he fired and caused an incident, it would make things more difficult for them. It could even start a war.
“Really? You’re not going to fire?” Buggy asked. “How about me, then?”
He suddenly drew a pistol and aimed it into the air.
“Don’t you dare!” Sanji shouted, clenching his pipe in his mouth.
The pistol went off with a crack and everyone looked right at Buggy’s direction.
“Welcome~! Welcome~! One and all to today’s Grand Jipangese Donation Drive~!” Buggy shouted as he shoved forward past the cowering crowd.
“That shithead,” Sanji growled. “Telling us not to do something crowd-disrupting and then doing the exact same thing.”
“Now, to collect the first donations….ALL OF THE TREASURE FROM YOU INVADING FOREINGERS~!”
“How dare you!” Princess Vivi shouted. “These people have come to our island in peace; they only wish to trade with us!”
“They want to get money and power just so they can buy our country and make it their own!” Mohji shouted back as he advanced on his massive lion, Richie.
The crowd fled in terror of the mighty beast as it growled at Princess Vivi and her guardians.
“Every man, woman and child who is a true Grand Jipangese should take up arms against these gaijin,” Cabaji stated, readying his shirasaya.
Two of the best swordsmen in the Shogun’s court; Chaka “the Dog” and Pell “the Falcon”, stepped forward as Princess Vivi’s protectors.
“How dare you bare your fangs at Princess Vivi?” Chaka growled as he began to draw his sword.
“We will not let you lay a hand on this country’s rulers or this country’s guests!” Pell said as he gripped his sword.
“STAY YOUR BLADES!”
Just at that moment, a man dressed in a foreign suit and a long coat landed between the foreigners and the advancing gang.
He had sharp, brown eyes and dark brown hair. On his left ear, he had a cross dangling from it. But, what really drew everyone’s attention was the sword he wielded in his hands. It looked like a Grand Jipang katana, but it was sharp on both sides. It also had a silver cross guard and pommel and a blue hilt with black cloth running a pattern through it.
“I will protect Kogane’s princess with all my strength!” the foreigner shouted.
“A gaijin using one of our swords?!” Cabaji yelled, drawing his own sword. “It’s a sin that must be punished by the Grand Jipangese!”
“Onami, Sanji, Blue-Nose-sensei! Try to get the ground quieted down and keep from the rest of the Clown Family getting in here!” Luffy shouted. “Matthew and Usopp! As my deputies, try and escort the princesses out of here!”
“It’s only around times like this, that deadbeat starts pulling his weight!” Onami muttered.
“Seriously,” Matthew chuckled.
He then turned to his K-9 unit.
“Blizzard! We’re helping that gaijin defend his people!” the detective said. “You take Mohji and Richie! I got Buggy!”
Leave me with the beast and the beast master, as usual, Blizzard chuckled.
Blizzard ran over to face the lion and his master, growling defiance. Luffy leapt in front of Buggy and took his jutte out.
“In the name of our Shogun, you’re under arrest.”
Just then, Cabaji attacked the foreign swordsman with a quick strike. The foreigner easily blocked the strike and then drove his sword up Cabaji’s slicing at his face. Cabaji leapt back to keep from getting his head chopped in two. Unfortunately, he had not avoided getting a cut on his cheek.
Cabaji brushed the blood away from his cut.
“He’s good…for a gaijin…” he growled.
Cabaji and the swordsmen locked blades and they got into each other’s face.
“Where the Hell did you get that sword?” Cabaji asked.
“Why does someone like you want to know?” the swordsman responded.
“That’s a Grand Jipangese blade,” Cabaji said. “A gaijin like you shouldn’t even be holding it!”
“Tch, if you defeat me, maybe I’ll tell you,” the swordsman smirked.
Cabaji grit his teeth and shoved the swordsman back.
“I will defeat you!” he shouted.
“I’ll see it when I believe it,” the swordsman smirked.
Meanwhile, the lion and its tamer attacked Blizzard. A massive, clawed paw swiped at the smaller animal, which easily dodged out of the way.
He’s way too big, Blizzard thought. His speed is a joke.
Divine Twister Fang!
He spun his body like a top and launched himself at the lion with his jaw opened. His teeth bore into the lion like a drill and launched him into a nearby building.
“He, that’s my store!” a bystander shouted.
Oh, crap, Blizzard whined.
Just then, Richie charged out of the wreckage, straight at Blizzard.
Whoops, looks like he’s not out of it, yet…
The police dog turned to Richie and licked his chops.
I’ve still got some tricks up my sleeve.
As the massive lion charged at Blizzard, Blizzard ran straight at Richie. He ducked under the beasts fore paws and slid in the dirt, slamming his body into both of Richie’s back paws. Richie lost his balance and crashed to the ground.
Blizzard stood up smiling as the crowd cheered him.
“Nice one!” one of the crowd shouted.
“Smart dog!” another cheered.
That’s right~! You know you love me~! Blizzard though, smiling.
“Look out, Blizzard!” Sanji shouted.
Just then, a massive weight slammed into Blizzard’s side, flinging him into another building.
Blizzard let out a yelp of pain as he fell from the building.
Wh-what was that? He thought as he pulled himself to his feet with quaking paws.
Richie was looming over Blizzard once more, growling hungrily.
“Richie’s had enough of you, dog,” Mohji growled as well. “He’s not just going to kill you…he’s going to eat you!”
This might be a little more difficult… Blizzard thought.
Blizzard charged at the lion with his head lowered.
The lion roared at Blizzard as he charged him. Once he shut his jaw that was when Blizzard launched himself at Richie with head outstretched.
A loud crack emanated from Richie’s head once they connected. The lion groaned and fell to the ground, its brains scrambled by the head butt.
“Richie! What’s wrong?!” Mohji shouted as he tried to wake his unconscious pet.
Blizzard snickered at his accomplishment.
Looks like I’m done here! He thought.
Meanwhile, as Luffy tried to fight Buggy, the kabuki klown kept separating and flew away from his fists.
He’s not staying to fight me? Luffy thought. Is he just going to run away again?
Buggy smirked and his eyes darted over to the princess that was being escorted away by Matthew and Usopp.
“Enough of the show…” he chuckled as he drew his pistol once more. “How about the finale?!”
He aimed his pistol at the princess.
“NO! DON’T!” Luffy shouted.
The gun thundered and the princess was struck and fell to the dust.
“PRINCESS!” the swordsman shouted as he ran to her aid.
“DRIVE OUT THE FOREIGNERS!” Buggy shouted. “THEY THREATEN EVERYTHING WE HOLD DEAR! KILL ALL THAT INVADE OUR LAND!”
Some of the people in the crowd were frightened, others were concerned, and some were fired up. Buggy’s words had reached them in their hearts. That was the worst possible thing that could occur.
“Yeah! Kick them out!” a man shouted.
“This is our country! Not theirs!” a woman shouted.
“Boss Luffy! Arrest them!” another shouted.
“You can’t be serious,” Luffy sighed.
That was when they started to throw stones in the direction of the foreigners.
“Quick, Usopp! It’s not fatal, we need to get her out of here!” Matthew said.
“R-right!” Usopp said as he helped Matthew lift the princess up.
The royal guards escorted Matthew, Usopp and the Princess as the swordsman fell back with them.
“Princess Vivi!” the swordsman said. “We need to escape to the castle! We’ll be safe there.”
“I agree,” Vivi said. “Chaka! Pell! Boss Luffy! We’re retreating to the castle!”
“Damn,” Luffy cursed. “I hate running away from a fight…but, we gotta retreat, guys!”
“Fall back, everyone!” Sanji shouted.
“They’re defending the foreigners!” a man shouted.
“They must be arrested!” a woman shouted.
“Execute them!” a child shouted.
“Dammit,” Luffy growled as he escaped with the others.
* * * *
Once they were safe at the castle, Blue Nose-sensei got to work on the princes.
Half an hour later, Blue Nose-sensei came out of the room he was treating the princess in.
“IS THE PRINCESS ALRIGHT?!” Sanji and the swordsman asked the instant he came out.
“Yeah, she’s fine…” Chopper said, wiping his brow. “She was only struck in the shoulder.”
“That’s a relief,” Princess Vivi said.
“Yes, it is,” the swordsman sighed in relief.
“By the way…” Usopp started. “Who exactly are you?”
“My name is Chris,” the swordsman answered.
“Kurisu?” Nami asked.
“Um, no, Chris,” the swordsman said again. “I am our Kogane’s prince and captain of the royal guard.”
“Oh, so you’re her brother,” Sanji said, blowing a smoke ring.
“Yes,” Chris said. “I gave up the crown and have devoted my life to protecting my little sister. When she was given the diplomatic mission to Grand Jipang, I had heard about the country’s growing distaste for us westerners. So, I took it upon myself to visit the country with her.”
“Yeah, we haven’t had that many nice foreigners in the past,” Usopp sweated a little, remembering “Silver Fox” Foxy and Thriller Company.
“But, the princess and her people have come here in peace,” Vivi said. “They only want to open trade here with our country and provide jobs for people. They may open a language school, but they do not wish to do away with our culture.”
“However, after that fracas today, Grand Jipang’s gonna be a tough place for us foreigners,” Matthew groaned, rubbing his head.
“You’re a police officer, aren’t you?” Chris asked Luffy. “Couldn’t you convince them that we haven’t come here to cause trouble?”
Luffy sighed and scratched his head.
“It’s not that easy,” Princess Vivi said. “I’m a servant of the people as much as the police are. We must respect our people’s wishes…even if they are detrimental to our country.”
“Then, doesn’t that mean our country should protect its standing along with its people?” Chris asked.
“Man, this is just too confusing…” Luffy groaned, rubbing his head.
“Oyabun doesn’t have much of a head for politics,” Blue Nose-sensei chuckled.
The others chuckled despite the serious situation we had.
“You were all so strong at the harbor…” Chris said. “I want to ask a favor of you all.”
“Oh? What’s that?” Sanji asked.
“I want you to help me protect my sister until the end of the next week,” Chris said.
“Huh? Why do we have to wait until then?” Usopp asked.
“That’s….classified…” Chris said.
“Figures,” Matthew sighed.
“Well, don’t worry! We’ll all help protect the princess,” Luffy said. “I have about three other friends who could help out as well.”
“This would be easier if that marimo monk was with us!” Sanji growled.
* * * *
Somewhere in Grand Jipang, a green-haired monk sneezed loudly.
“Someone must be talking bad about me…” he groaned.
Zoro, the wandering monk was wandering to an area he knew well. It was on the outskirts of the city; a nice, sunny glade at the top of this hill that was a perfect place for napping. He had a particular tiring day of running away from the authorities for begging in the street. Now, he could kick back and relax in the-
“WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!”
The glade had been taken over by a strange new building. It was pure white with a black, high-pointed roof with a bell tower on top. A large cross hung over the doors of the front entrance. Children ran about the building screaming and playing.
No one was going to be taking a nap here.
“What is this thing?!” Zoro said as he approached the building. “This wasn’t here before!”
“Hey, look at the weird monk!” one of the kids said.
“He has green hair, too!” another said.
“Is he here to help with Sister Victoria?” another asked.
“Let’s play with him!” a little girl shouted.
“YEAH~!” the little children shouted as they attacked the monk.
They clambered onto him and pulled at his ragged, dark green clothes. One of them got a hold of his hair and started to pull on it.
“Ah! Cut it out!”
“Oh my! Who’s this?”
The monk turned around to see a woman standing behind him.
The woman was dressed in black clothes that covered most of her body except for her hands and face. Across her forehead was a white headband holding the headdress she was wearing. She wore a gold cross that hung from a gold chain around her neck. She had fair skin with brown eyes and a soft face.
Needless to say, she looked attractive.
Zoro blushed as he saw her.
“Sister~!” the children shouted as they jumped off the monk and ran to the woman.
“The nice, green-haired onii-chan was playing with us!” a boy said.
“Oh, how kind of him!” the woman smiled sweetly.
“Wh-who are you?” he asked.
“I am Sister Victoria,” she said. “And this is my mission.”
“Your what?” Zoro asked.
“Why don’t you come inside and have some tea,” Victoria said, taking his hand.
Soon, he was having tea inside the strange building.
“So…” Zoro said after receiving the information. “This church is like a temple?”
“And an orphanage,” Victoria said. “A priest from my country, Kogane, founded it here a long time ago.”
“Oh, so you’re from the West,” Zoro said.
“You’re not shocked?”
“The teachings of the Buddha free ourselves from the restraints of earthly strife,” Zoro said. “That includes how different we are.”
“Well, I hope you don’t mind being in the house of another god,” Victoria said.
“I…was actually hoping to get a nap here,” Zoro said.
“Oh, well you can use one of the cots to sleep,” Victoria said. “The children are too busy playing outside to sleep.”
“I appreciate that, Sister Victoria,” Zoro bowed.
Zoro laid down in the bed and shut his eyes to sleep.
He’s very handsome, Victoria thought, smiling at his sleeping face. Maybe he can help me…
* * * *
Meanwhile, in another part of town, Buggy and his gang were walking down the slums, looking for a particular home.
“He should be here…” Buggy said as he led his men.
He soon came to the shack he was looking for.
“You guys wait out here,” Buggy said.
He went in and shut the door.
A man smoking a lit cigar was waiting for him.
“Well?” the man asked. “Did everything go as planned?”
“Yes, my rich friend,” Buggy chuckled evilly. “The princess has been wounded and the people of this country are howling for her blood.”
“Excellent,” the man chuckled. “With the countries at odds, Kogane will look for a new leader, a more militaristic leader. Once I am chosen, I can smooth out relations with both our countries and I will instate you as Shogun.”
“And then, we shall have everything!” Buggy cackled. “Gyahahahaha~!”
The fool, the man thought. He and his men are only a means to an end.
* * * *
When Zoro woke up in the cot sometime in the afternoon, he stretched and yawned.
“Good nap,” Zoro said.
However, Sister Victoria was nowhere to be seen.
“Huh? Where is she?”
He looked out the window and saw her trying to chop some wood. Zoro was on his way outside when she raised the axe above her head. Just then, the axe’s weight shifted and Victoria started to fall back.
“Whoa! Hold on!” Zoro shouted as he ran over to her.
He caught her just before she hit the ground.
“Ah! Th-thank you, Mr. Zoro,” Sister Victoria said, blushing a little.
“You’re welcome…and it’s just Zoro,” he said as he lifted her up. “Don’t you have someone to do this sort of thing?”
“Well, the priest is in the hospital,” Sister Victoria said. “He got sick from the way foreign food is. He’s had stomach pains for three days.”
“Well, how about I take care of this?” Zoro asked.
“Oh, I couldn’t-!” Sister Victoria began.
Just then, her gaze wandered from Zoro. She saw a man that was just entering the building.
“Um, actually yes! You can help me!” she said, handing the axe to him.
“Good,” Zoro smiled. “Besides, this kind of work suits a man like me best.”
As he began to chop the wood, Victoria ran into the building after the man. She found him lighting a candle with the others lit by the children.
“Ah! Mr. Trentino!” Sister Victoria said, surprised.
He was a tall man dressed in a finely tailored suit. He was surprisingly good looking for a man in his early thirties. His jet black hair was slicked back, out of the way of his dark green eyes.
“Hello, Sister Victoria,” he said in his deep voice.
Trentino was a man from Victoria’s country. As a businessman, he established a company here in Grand Jipang, the first of his country to do so. A kind, but shrewd man of the market, he hoped to bring jobs to Grand Jipang.
“I’ve just stopped by for a quick confessional,” he said.
“Well, I apologize, but the priest is still sick,” Sister Victoria answered.
“Oh, such a shame,” Trentino said, disappointed. “Then, is it alright if I pray to God and confess to him?”
“Of course, that’s fine!” Sister Victoria said, smiling.
“Thank you, Sister Victoria,” Trentino said as he walked into the pews.
He knelt down at the pews and began to pray.
Dear God, he prayed. It has been a week since my last confessional. I have not sinned. However…it is a sin of the mind.
He glanced up at Victoria who was lighting the candles around the altar of the church.
I…have recently developed lustful feelings for…Sister Victoria. I understand she is no longer a woman of the world, she is one of your flock and a woman of God. However, if after my dream is realized…you may grant my prayer to take her as my wife. Amen.
He stood up and brushed his knees off.
“Oh? You’re finished already, Mr. Trentino?” Sister Victoria asked.
“Yes, it was a miniscule sin,” Trentino said. “I wish I could wash it from my soul, but I’ll have to wait for the priest to get back.”
“Here, let me walk you outdoors,” Sister Victoria offered.
“Thank you, my dear.”
Victoria blushed at these words.
As they walked out the doors, Zoro came back, bare chested and hefting a set of logs on his shoulder.
“I’m all finished, Sister Vic-”
That was when he was face to face with Trentino.
“Who the Hell are you?” he asked.
“Well, I am Trentino, owner of Kogane Textiles,” he answered, turning his nose up.
Zoro glanced at Sister Victoria’s arm around Trentino.
“Who is this?” Trentino asked Sister Victoria.
“Th-this is Zoro, a local monk,” she said. “He arrived here and I’ve decided to hire him as a helper around here until the priest gets better.”
“Are you sure it’s a good idea to accept a heathen here in a church?” Trentino asked.
“Mr. Trentino!” Sister Victoria gasped. “You give these ‘heathens’ as you call them jobs.”
“Well, jobs are one thing,” Trentino said. “But, accepting them in a sacred place such as this…completely different.”
“Our Lord speaks of compassion to all people,” Sister Victoria argued.
“The Lord also says ‘Thou shalt not have any other gods before me’,” Trentino retorted. “I have heard that the Grand Jipangese worship three gods at a time; a god of fortune, a goddess of love, and a god of success! Not only that, there are hundreds of other gods in their pantheon; each for a different occasion. They act like the divine can grant any wish they ask for!”
“We pray to our gods in order to gain a sense of hope and placement in the universe,” Zoro growled.
“Well, it speaks,” Trentino said, shocked. “With such an impertinent tongue, as well.”
“Um, Mr. Trentino,” Sister Victoria said. “I thought you were going to be leaving?”
“Oh, yes,” Trentino said. “I am late for a meeting at my company. Goodbye, Sister Victoria.”
And with that, the businessman left.
“What an ass,” Zoro growled.
“Now, Zoro, be nice,” Sister Victoria said. “He’s…passionate about certain things…”
“By the way,” Zoro continued. “What was that business about being hired by you to help?”
“What, you don’t want to help me?” Sister Victoria asked.
Zoro blushed a little.
“N-no, I’ll help,” he said.
* * * *
Meanwhile, back at the castle, Luffy-oyabun, Blizzard, Blue Nose-sensei, and Misuta Matthew were standing guard around the room where the princess was resting.
They had been decked out in the traditional samurai armor of the Nefertari family, to make them look more imposing. However, Blizzard’s helmet was too big and kept slipping down over his eyes. After seeing this, Matthew was the only one who decided not to wear a helmet. Besides, he told Vivi his hat suited him much better.
“We will not let anyone pass by us! Isn’t that right, men?” Luffy-oyabun asked Matthew, Blizzard, and Blue Nose-sensei.
“No, we won’t!” Matthew and Blue Nose-sensei responded as Blizzard barked his agreement.
Just then, Sanji and Onami came out of the room, both carrying huge platters of rice balls. The people helping them were Franky, the local carpenter and inventor, and Brook, a musical, sword-wielding skeleton that Luffy-oyabun had saved from a bad crowd with Thriller Company. They were willing to aid the gang in their protection.
“Guys! I made snacks to keep your strength up!” Sanji said.
“There’s plenty for everyone!” Onami told them.
“I heard they’re super~!” Franky cheered.
“Yes, I hope to have some as well,” Brook smiled, which was easy for him.
“But first…” Luffy-oyabun said, untying his helmet. “We’ll make sure these snacks don’t get by their expiration date~!”
“Yessir~!” Blue Nose-sensei and Matthew said as they ate the rice balls.
Blizzard pranced over to the food where they finally took of his stifling helmet and let him eat some dinner.
“Oh, wait!” Blue Nose-sensei said. “I just remembered, I have a patient at my clinic!”
“Oh? Who is he?” Luffy-oyabun asked.
“He’s a priest from the west,” Blue Nose-sensei said. “In fact, I think he’s from the same country as the princess. I should probably check on him. Onami-san, could you please take over my shift?”
“You go on ahead after you eat,” Onami said as she tied her sleeves up. “I’ll take over!”
She grabbed a nearby naginata that was resting in an urn nearby and stood strong in the courtyard.
“No one can stop me from protecting the princess~!” she said, proudly.
“Wow, Onami,” Matthew said. “I didn’t think you’d be so gung-ho about protecting the princess.”
“Of course I am!” she said, her eyes turning into ryo-beris. “If we protect her, we’re sure to get a reward~!”
“I…should’ve known…” Matthew groaned as he ate.
“That greedy side of Onami is cute, too~!” Sanji swooned.
“So,” Chopper said as he licked his hoof clean of sticky rice. “Why do you think the princess needs to be protected from?”
“Other than Buggy and the townspeople who hate foreigners?” Luffy said with his mouth full. “No idea, really.”
“I think the prince isn’t telling us everything we need to know…” Matthew said, juggling a rice ball.
“That’s putting it mildly,” Onami groaned.
Meanwhile, in the room, Prince Chris was watching over the princess as she slept.
“I’m sorry you had to get involved in this…” he muttered to the sleeping princess.
“Get involved with what~?”
Chris turned around and prepared to draw his sword at the stranger.
The intruder standing behind Chris was a dark skinned woman with purple eyes, dark, straight hair wearing a dark green kimono with a floral print near the bottom. In her hands, she was holding a single, leaved reed.
She was Robin, the Nefertari family’s spy and woman of mystery.
“Oh, did I scare you, foreigner-san~?” she asked teasingly.
“How did you sneak up on me?” Chris asked. “Are you one of those ninjas?”
“Well, I’m something like that,” Robin said.”
“Why are you here?”
“The better question is: why are you here?”
The prince-turned-swordsman froze in his place.
“What makes you think I would tell you?”
“Because I represent the Nefertari clan and, to an extent, the country of Grand Jipang,” she stated, looking at him with a sharp gaze. “Our country’s school of military thought is that ‘misinformation is needed for allies as well as enemies’. However, these are times of peace, not war. So, you will tell me.”
H-her gaze is like a bird of prey… Chris thought, stuck in his place.
He slowly lowered his sword to the floor and turned the whole way to face him.
“Fine, I’ll tell you,” he growled in defeat.
* * * *
The next day, Zoro woke up and headed over to the chopping block to get the wood ready for the bath later that night. As he was walking there, he saw Sister Victoria hanging the laundry, she was humming and singing happily to herself.
Her voice sounded soft and sweet, like a ringing bell. She wasn’t singing a particular song, exactly, but the tone and the spirit were there. Zoro stood there, as if in a trance. Her singing was like a siren, leading him to the shipwreck of his heart.
“Oh, Mr. Zoro! Good morning!” she said, smiling.
“G-good morning,” Zoro said, blushing at her smile.
“Did you sleep well?” Sister Victoria asked.
“Yes, very,” Zoro nodded.
“Hey, after you chop the wood for the bath, how about you and I go into town and shop for some ingredients to make dinner for the kids? We can make them sukiyaki, even!”
“Oh, that sounds great!” Zoro said.
“I make really good sukiyaki,” Sister Victoria smiled.
“I can’t wait to taste it!”
* * * *
They were both carrying the groceries back to the mission when Sister Victoria remembered something.
“Ah! I should check on the priest; the clinic he’s staying at is on the way to the mission.”
“Well, then we should visit him,” Zoro said.
As they made their way to the clinic, Zoro noticed something.
“Blue Nose’s clinic?” Zoro said.
“Oh, you know him?” Sister Victoria said. “He’s really cute, isn’t he?”
Once they went in, Blue Nose-sensei was ready to greet them.
“Hello, Sister Victoria!” he said before he noticed Zoro. “Oh, hey! It’s the monk!”
“Hey there, Blue Nose,” Zoro grinned, seeing his old friend.
“So, you’re here to see the priest?” Chopper asked.
“Yes, is he alright?” Sister Victoria asked.
“Oh, he’s fine,” Blue Nose-sensei said as he got up and walked towards the beds where he kept the patients. “He just needs to rest.”
The priest, a man with sparse, white hair, a round, reddish nose, and a kind, soft face, was lying back in the clinic bed.
“Are you feeling well, father?” Sister Victoria asked.
“Oh, I’m fine, my child,” the father smiled. “Really, I have the doctor here to thank. If he hadn’t found me collapsed in the street and taken me in, I would be in trouble.”
“Oh, don’t compliment me, you holy jerk~!” Blue Nose-sensei said happily.
“But, I should be out of here in three more days.”
“Oh, wonderful! Then, you better rest up and build up your strength.”
“I just feel sorry for putting so much on your shoulders.”
“Oh, don’t be. Besides,” Sister Victoria said as she pulled Zoro over to her. “I’ve got an extra pair of hands to help me out at the church~!”
“My, he looks strong!” the father said, adjusting his glasses. “He looks like a fighter, too!”
“Oh, don’t be silly, father!” Sister Victoria said. “He’s a monk, not a warrior!”
Zoro looked a little embarrassed at this statement.
Once they had checked on the priest, they headed back to the church.
“He seems like a nice man,” Zoro said.
“He is,” Sister Victoria said. “He came to this country ten years ago and he fell in love with Grand Jipang. He wanted to offer God to them, so he started a mission. But, to be honest, he just prefers to be in this country with its people, regardless of whether they visit our church. He also saw many of the orphans in the city and he decided to give them a home by making the church an orphanage as well.”
“Quite the humanitarian,” Zoro said as he carried the groceries to the church.
“Well, you don’t have to worry,” Sister Victoria said. “Once he’s better, you’ll be free to go.”
“Uh, yeah…great…” Zoro said, halfheartedly.
* * * *
Throughout the next three days, Zoro did his best to help out with the church. He chopped wood for the fires, he helped Sister Victoria cook and serve the meals, and he even played with the children at the orphanage, however, he that was his least favorite way to help out. His favorite ways to help out was when he was close to Sister Victoria.
She had this warm, glowing, nurturing but dignified air around herself. Not only that, but she had a lovely voice.
Part of him wanted to stay, but he knew he didn’t belong in a foreign temple, or any temple for that matter. He belonged on the road, wandering from town to town.
He knew that once the priest came back, he probably would never see her again.
* * * *
On the fourth day, the priest came back. The children were happy to see him, Sister Victoria was happy to see him, and Zoro was happy to see him.
But, not really.
He had only been a hired hand, so he snuck away during the reunion to leave.
However, someone didn’t want him to leave yet.
Zoro glanced over his shoulder to see Sister Victoria standing a good distance from him.
“If you ever come by this way again, please visit us!” she shouted to Zoro. “I want to see you again!”
Zoro smiled at her and turned back to his path.
“Sure, why not?”
Sister Victoria smiled at his answer as he left down the hill path.
* * * *
“Buggy-oyabun, are you sure we can trust that man?” Cabaji asked.
“Come now, Cabaji,” Buggy said as he drunk sake, lounging in the room the family chose as their meeting place. “This man isn’t some treacherous skinflint like ‘Silver Fox’ Foxy. He’s a legitimate business man. He rewards all he works with.”
Just then, the sliding door opened and the dark figure was on the other side.
“Is it time?” Buggy asked before he downed the last of his sake.
“Yes, time to initiate the plan,” the figure answered.
* * * *
The next morning, Luffy, Brook, Matthew and Franky were asleep when they heard a scream come from behind them.
“THE PRINCESS!” Blue Nose-sensei shouted.
“Huh? Wha-?” Luffy-oyabun asked groggily.
“Sounds like Blue Nose-sensei,” Brook said as he yawned.
“Something about the princess…” Franky and Matthew said.
“YES! SHE’S BEING KIDNAPPED!” Onami-san shouted over Blizzard’s frantic barking and growling.
“KIDNAPPED?!” the four sleeping morons shouted as they leapt to the feet.
They grabbed their weapons and charged into the princess’ room, breaking down the door.
Sure enough, Buggy was floating in the air, carrying the princess and cackling.
“I’ve got her now, Straw Hat!” he shouted as he flew out of the room to his minion holding his feet.
The two men then hopped the wall and escaped into the city streets.
Onami and Blizzard instantly gave them a verbal, and in Blizzard’s case physical, chewing out.
“WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DUMBASSES DOING?!” Onami shouted.
YEAH! Blizzard screamed in his mind as he bit the three of them. YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT THE PRINCESS! NOT LET HER GET TAKEN AWAY!
“CAN’T YOU IDIOTS JUST FOLLOW ORDERS?!” Onami roared.
“We were following orders!” Luffy whined in his defense.
“Whose orders?” Blue Nose-sensei asked.
“That dark-skinned beauty from the castle,” Matthew said.
“She told us to go ahead and go to sleep last night,” Brook said. “She told us that she would watch for us.”
“Well, I may have lied~!”
“EEEK!” Onami shrieked as she leapt back from the woman who had snuck up on her.
“Good morning, Onami-dono~!” the woman said.
“Who are you?” Onami asked, panicking.
“I am the intelligence officer for the Nefertari clan,” she answered. “However, you should be directing those sorts of questions towards our guest.”
Just then, Chris came forward, being led by Princess Vivi and flanked by Usopp and Sanji.
“What’s she talking about?” Onami asked.
Chris growled as Sanji gave him a shove.
“Turns out the Prince has been withholding important information from us,” Sanji said as he puffed his pipe.
“The thing is,” Chris started. “The princess is not our country’s ruler.”
“What?” Matthew said, surprised.
“Our father, the king, died not too long ago,” he continued. “In his will, he stipulated that if his daughter is not married in two months, she shall rule the country. If she is married, then the man she married would become king.”
“That doesn’t seem Buggy’s style…” Sanji thought.
“Yeah, he wants to rule, but not another country, this one’s fine with him,” Usopp said.
“It’s quite possible it’s someone from our country,” Chris stated. “If anyone wanted to rule our country, it would be someone who craves power…”
“Like a business magnate?” Robin asked.
“More than likely,” Chris agreed.
“If it’s a foreigner, I have a pretty good idea where he’d want to get married!” Matthew said.
* * * *
Meanwhile, at the church, the priest was praying at the altar when Sister Victoria patted him on the shoulder.
“Father, someone is here to confess,” she told him.
“Very well then, I shall soothe his soul,” he said. “You bring the children in for lunch.”
“Of course, Father,” Sister Victoria smiled.
The father made his way into the confessional and sat down.
“Bless me father, for I have sinned,” the man on the other side said. “It has been three days since my last confession.”
“What are your sins, my child?” the priest asked.
“Well, to begin with…it’s taking this church hostage.”
Suddenly, the curtain for the confessional was thrown open and a bunch of goons in kabuki makeup were aiming their weapons at the priest on the other side.
The man in the confessional stepped out, revealing that the man was none other than…
“Mr. Trentino!” Sister Victoria shouted.
Trentino took out a pistol and aimed it at the priest.
“Hello, my dear Victoria,” he smiled as he lit a cigar. “I hope you don’t mind if I borrow your humble little church as a place to host my wedding.”
* * * *
“There’s a western church up this hill?” Onami asked as they ran up the hill path.
“Yeah! I attended here a couple of times! The nun there became a friend of mine! It’s the only Christian church in the city!” Matthew confirmed as he lead them up the hill.
However, as they made their way up the hill, they were stopped in their tracks by Richie, Mohji and some members of the Clown Gang.
“Well, looks like we’re on the right track,” Usopp chuckled.
Just then, a white blur leapt from the group and landed in front of the monstrous lion.
Blizzard barked at them and nodded them onward.
“Looks like Snowy here can take care of that big cat,” Franky grinned.
“Then, let’s let him! Blizzard’ll kick his ass!” Luffy-oyabun shouted as the crew looped around the Clown Gang.
So, Richie growled. You’ve come back, you little white shrimp?
You won’t get the drop on me this time, you overgrown alley-cat! Blizzard barked.
The crew finally made it to the top of the hill and found Cabaji waiting with the rest of the crew, including a mounted cannon.
“Stay back, you straw hat bastard!” Cabaji shouted, drawing his sword. “If you take one more step towards this church, we’ll blow you away with the special Buggy ball!”
“A Buggy ball?!” Usopp shouted, panicking. “That’s enough to take out a town! We’ll be obliterated!”
“Oh, no we won’t!”
Matthew stepped forward and smirked at Cabaji.
“Any man who’s fought with me knows,” he said. “There’s no man that can best my Blue Cannon!”
He stretched out his right arm, steadying it with his left hand, and it grew, turned blue, and transformed into a massive cannon.
* * * *
The explosion rocked the hill and Mohji looked up at the smoke.
“Looks like that moron Cabaji messed up,” he growled.
You may have taken those humans out…but not me, you mongrel, Richie growled at Blizzard.
All of Mohji’s men were lying unconscious on the ground, taken out of the game.
Blizzard glared at Richie and then turned around and ran down the hill.
Oh? Running away, huh?! Richie roared.
I lost to him at the harbor because I was cocky and underestimated his strength, Blizzard thought as he kept running down the hill. It’s something unseemly to do during my age in dog years…
He stopped at the bottom of the hill and turned around.
No matter how strong I get…there will always be someone stronger than me.
He suddenly took off up the hill like a rocket, sailing to the sky.
Stronger for Luffy-oyabun…stronger for our friends…and stronger for my country!
He launched himself straight at the lion.
Like a firework during matsuri…
The dog slammed his skull straight into the lions face, causing a crackling sound, like sparks exploding from a firework. Lights danced in both their eyes as they fell to the ground.
Like the Evil at the beginning of the New Year’s Spring… Blizzard thought vehemently as he watched the lion topple. Be cleansed and disperse…
The dog laid on the ground, watching the clouds move in the sky.
Dammit… he thought. I haven’t even tested the damn attack and here I go using it full blast as if I were a young pup again…I can’t even move…
Just then, a foot slammed into the defenseless dog’s chest, almost causing him to throw up.
Oh, right, I forgot about you, animal man… he thought, groaning.
“You’re gonna pay for what you did to Richie,” Mohji growled as he raised his staff. “I’ll crush your windpipe lick a twig!”
Just then, a punch knocked the fur-covered wild man out and on the ground.
“There’s a special place in Enma’s Hell for those who abuse poor animals.”
* * * *
The explosion rocked the inside of the church, stopping the ceremony for a bit.
“They must’ve gotten pass Cabaji-niisan!” a member of the Clown Gang that was witnessing the wedding shouted.
The Clown Gang also guarded the children who had come in with Sister Victoria as hostages.
“Calm down, men!” Buggy shouted. “They can’t attack us in this church!”
“Keep going, Father!” Trentino shouted, poking the priest with the gun as he faced his bride and spilled ashes on the altar.
How could this happen? Sister Victoria thought as she helped the father conduct the wedding.
“I-if there is any party here who sees fit that these two must not be wed,” the priest said. “Let them speak now or forever hold their pie-”
Just then, the door flew off its hinges and Luffy-oyabun’s gang charged in.
“Buggy! You are under arrest for the kidnapping of a foreign dignitary!” Luffy shouted. “Come along quietly or we will use force, ya big-nosed bastard!”
“Who are you calling big-nose, you straw bastard?!” Buggy shouted.
“Trentino!” Chris shouted. “I had a feeling it was you! You’ve been vying for power in Kogane for years!”
“And now I have it!” Trentino said triumphantly. “I’m only minutes away from marrying the crown princess of Kogane, making me King!”
That was when Chris grinned for the first time since he arrived in this country.
“That would be true…if that bride was the princess,” he said.
The entire chapel was quiet as a tomb.
“She’s not the princess,” Chris repeated.
“Huh?” Luffy and his gang asked.
Just then, Trentino reached over to the bride and tore off the veil. Behind it was a beautiful woman with red hair and blue eyes.
“Y-you’re not the princess!” Trentino shouted.
“No!” the woman responded. “I am the princess’ sister and bodyguard, April. In order to keep the princess safe, I came here in her place. The princess herself…is hopefully far away from here.”
“You bitch!” Trentino shouted, slapping her to the floor.
“Kyaaa!” April cried as she fell to the floor.
He aimed his gun straight at her head.
“If you’re not the princess…I have no use for you!”
Everyone in the church turned around to see the voice coming from Sister Victoria.
“Stop this…right now…” she said, quivering. “If you want the Princess so bad…I’ll tell you…”
“No, don’t Victoria!” the priest shouted.
Sister Victoria tore off her habit, revealing short, brown hair.
“I am Princess Victoria I of Kogane!”
The entire church was blown away as Chris cursed under his breath.
“I came to this country to see its wonders and to promote peace between our people…not to cause pain and suffering…”
“Oh, this is fortunate…very fortunate for me!” Trentino grinned.
Suddenly, he thrust his left hand out at Victoria and a gold chain leapt out from his sleeve and entwined her. He yanked her back to him and grasped her in his arm.
“Priest! I want to change my wedding!” Trentino shouted. “I want you to marry me to Sister…no, PRINCESS Victoria!”
“But, I can’t in good conscience-“
“DO IT!” Trentino roared as he aimed his gun down at April. “Or I’ll kill the girl.”
“Bastard!” Sanji shouted as he stepped forward.
Just then, the Clown Gang stood up and drew their weapons, aiming them at the children.
“I don’t think so, Straw Hat!” Buggy cackled. “You’re not stopping this wedding!”
“Matthew? Can you take him?” Luffy-oyabun whispered to the gunman.
“….I don’t wanna risk it…” Matthew growled in defeat as his accent seeped out. “Not to mention…I got a thing against shootin’ in a church…”
They all looked at Victoria, who smiled despite the situation.
“It’s alright…let them do what they want and we’ll be safe…”
“That’s a good girl,” Trentino growled. “To be honest…I’ve had…certain feelings and urges for you, Sister Victoria, so this is like a bonus!”
“D-dearly beloved…” the priest started.
I wish this didn’t have to happen, Victoria winced. Trentino’s a handsome man…but, he’s ugly on the inside…I have to do this to protect my brother and sister…the father…the children…and the people of this country…but, if I had to marry someone…
“THREE TEMPORAL WORLDS: 108 EARTHLY DESIRES!”
Just then, a burst of wind flew by everyone’s heads and struck Trentino right in the chest, slashing him and sending him crashing against the crucifix.
Everyone turned to the door to see the monk with three swords and a white shrine dog hanging over his shoulder.
“Sorry I’m late,” he said, despite having a sword in his mouth. “I had to pick up three of my friends.”
“The monk!” everyone shouted.
“Mr. Zoro!” Victoria gasped.
Zoro set Blizzard on the ground and stepped toward the frozen crowd.
“I always thought you were an ass, Trentino, but I didn’t know you were this big of an ass.”
“You heathen bastard…” Trentino growled as he stood up. “You’ll pay for slicing me, you Grand Jipangese ape!”
He thrust his gun in Zoro’s direction and squeezed the trigger.
Zoro zoomed up in a flash of green and steel and his swords easily sliced his gun to pieces.
Trentino released what was left of his gun and true fear showed in his eyes. Zoro flipped his swords to the blunt sides and swatted them into Trentino’s face, leaving marks where he hit. He then flew back against the crucifix, knocking it down onto his head, stunning him.
“Now, oyabun,” Zoro grinned. “We only have a church full of criminals and hostages!”
“Right!” Luffy cheered. “Everyone! Kick ‘em out!”
Luffy’s gang made short work of the clown gang and kicked them out.
“Retreat! Retreat!” Buggy shouted.
“Hey! Big Nose!”
“Who the Hell?!”
“I’m not done with you yet!” Luffy-oyabun shouted. “Now…
The fists, combined with the metal jutte sent Buggy flying.
“Thank you for all your hard work!!!” Buggy screamed as he flew into the sky.
Back in the church, Victoria helped her beloved sister to her feet. Victoria hugged April as Chris came up to them.
“I’m sorry for all the trouble I put you through,” Victoria said.
“I should be saying that, Vic,” Chris chuckled as he hugged her.
“This was all my decision, my fault,” Victoria said.
“It still turned out well, didn’t it?” Zoro asked. “Besides, I like your hair let loose.”
Victoria smiled at her green-haired savior.
“Thank you for coming in at the last minute,” she said.
“Isn’t that what a hero does?” Zoro chuckled. “So, now that that ass Trentino’s out of it, you gonna go back to being a princess?”
* * * *
A week later, Luffy-oyabun and the regulars were back at the Pinwheel. Poor Blizzard rested by the door in the shade with his rattled head wrapped in bandages. They were due to come off the next day. Everybody else was taking about the developments of the past situation.
“So, the people have agreed to accept Kogane Kingdom into the country?” Onami asked Usopp.
“Yep!” he grinned, relaying what his boss, Kohza-sama, said. “Turns out when they were able to put a face to the best and worst of foreigners, they made their own decisions.”
“So, that means Trentino’s company’s finished after his arrest, and Victoria-sama charmed everyone with her speech~?” Sanji asked, glaring at Trentino and swooning at Victoria.
“That’s…about the size of it,” Usopp sweated a little.
“Still, I can’t believe she chose to go back,” Blue Nose-sensei said.
“I agree, we only just met her,” Brook said, drinking his milk.
“Well, it was her decision,” Luffy-oyabun said, looking out the window, into the sky. “Maybe we’ll meet her again one day…”
* * * *
After the ship pulled into Kogane bay, the prince and princess disembarked to run their country.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us, sister,” Chris said in his new uniform.
“Yes, we do, brother,” Princess April smiled as she brushed her red hair out of her face.
“Well, let’s do work to make our diplomat proud of us,” Chris smiled.
The two of them marched to the royal palace of Kogane.
* * * *
Zoro climbed up the hill and found that strange, but comforting church in the glade. The priest was painting the walls after the confrontation.
“Oh, hello, Zoro-kun!” he waved cheerfully. “Finally back to fix your damages?”
“Yes, father, I’ll take care of them in a bit,” he smiled back.
He followed the screams and giggling of the children to behind the church.
“There you are,” he said, grinning. “Should I call you Sister or Princess?”
She smiled as the wind blew her light brown hair into her face.
“Either one sounds nice to me.”