Coup de Burst!
THOUSAND SUNNY (SOMEWHERE AT SEA)
March 22, 13:38
As how all disasters tended to begin, that fated day started out as a regular one.
"I see it!" Usopp declared as he looked through a pair of binoculars. He grinned widely, leaning forward more and more as his excitement grew. Never before had such a thin strip of rugged terrain seemed so promising. But the promising sight disappeared before his eyes in a matter of seconds as a hand swiped the binoculars off his face. "Luffy!" he cried in dismay, watching his captain bring the instrument to his own face.
"Let me see!" Luffy insisted, grabbing hold of the binoculars and peering through with a wide grin. "Ah! I see it too!" The grin on his face grew wider, splitting his face in half, and he turned away from the binoculars to look at their navigator who stood behind with her hands at her shapely hips. "Is that it? Hey, Nami — that's it, right? That's Green Rock Island, right?"
Nami moved to take the binoculars when Usopp's hand suddenly swiped them back. She clenched her hand into a fist and slowly brought it back to her side as she sighed impatiently. A little behind her on deck, Robin turned a page in her book and chuckled lowly.
"We've been on this course for weeks and we haven't strayed off from it at all," Usopp said, peering through the lens. "That just has to be it!"
Chopper trotted across the deck and waved his hooves in the air. "Let me see! Let me see!" He received the binoculars from Usopp and looked through. He suddenly gave a noise of delight and grinned. "Look, it's got that green glow on the shores from the algae, just like the old man said!" The binoculars were passed back to Usopp before it went back to Luffy. "Is it the same as the one on the map?" Chopper asked, his hooves clapping together earnestly.
Nami tapped her foot loudly. "With all of you hogging the view, I can't exactly tell you if it's the same or not, now can I?"
Chopper and Usopp both gave her a sheepish laugh as they inched away.
Luffy only rubbed the back of his neck and grinned as he handed the instrument back. "Nami, wanna see?"
"Yes, please," the redhead said sweetly, taking her binoculars. Then she brought a fist down on the top of his head, the force enough to make him crash onto the deck. "Of course I 'wanna see'! I'm your navigator!" she raged, waving a fist threateningly in front of them.
"Yes. We're sorry," the three of them said solemnly, kneeling down and lowering their foreheads to the floor in front of her.
Nami waved them away and placed the binoculars in front of her eyes. "Let's see, now…" she said evenly, changing the focus of the lens and closing in on the rugged strip of land that lay before them. She identified the green glow of algae that surrounded the island, and caught sight of the shimmering forest that lay beyond; that was where most of the island's population was, according to the old man from the last island they were on almost two months ago.
"Well?" asked a sleepy voice that could only belong to Zoro. He'd woken up at the sound of Nami's raging voice and was still lounging on the lawn deck while Brook happily tuned his violin. "Is that it, or not?"
"Ah? Zoro?" Luffy turned his attention to the swordsman on the lawn deck. "You're awake already?"
Zoro grumbled something about hearing a witch's voice before dozing off mid-sentence. Overhead, the door to the kitchen opened and Sanji emerged onto the ship, holding a silver ladle in his hand.
"What's with all the noise outside?" the blond drawled as he stepped up to the railing. "I can't hear myself think with all you screaming…"
"They've spotted land," Zoro replied from below, blinking his eyes sleepily. "Rock Island, or Algae Rock… something. It's an island covered with green algae, so I guess that's why it's called whatever it's called."
Back near the helm, Nami pulled the binoculars away with a grin. "There's no mistaking it! It's Green Rock Island, for sure!" she said with a definite nod.
"Finally!" "I can't wait!" cheered Usopp and Luffy at the helm while swinging a giggling Chopper between them.
Despite the jovial attitude of the others beside her, Nami's look of assurance quickly pinched to an unsettled expression. "But to think that we're here already…" She gave her binoculars to Chopper's awaiting hands. "The winds were stronger than usual for the past few days…"
Usopp's cheery mood settled at her words. "Do you think a storm's been brewing?"
"It's possible. The wind these past few days wasn't exactly reassuring," Nami responded. "I'm going to have to take a second look up on the Crow's Nest."
Luffy wrapped his rubber arms around his worried crewmates. "If a storm is coming, I hope it'll be a big one," he said with a laugh. "Maybe it'll make things interesting."
"Not if we don't get out in time," Nami grumbled, shaking Luffy's arm off her shoulders.
Luffy wasn't worried in the least. "We've got the best navigator and the best shipwright," he declared. "We'll definitely get out in time!"
Holding back a grin, Nami knocked her fist against the top of Luffy's head affectionately. "As captain, don't you think you should be a little more concerned about taking precautions?"
Luffy's expression fell. "I do," he scowled. "But there's nothing wrong now."
Nami sighed. "There's nothing wrong now, but we should always be alert. Right, Usopp? Chopper?"
"The algae attached to the side of the ship is glowing!" Chopper exclaimed, peering at the ship from over the railing.
"Chopper!" Usopp called out, his back turned to the rest of the group as he fiddled around with something. He turned around and shoved his face covered with a glowing green substance, shaped and molded to resemble a full beard and mustache, into Chopper's shocked face. "I'm the Flyyying Dutchmaaaaan! Whooo!"
"Gaah!" Chopper screamed, scrambling to get behind a laughing Luffy. "Get away!"
Nami rubbed at her temples while Luffy laughed freely, lifting Chopper onto his shoulders and running away from the "Flying Dutchman" on board their ship.
On the other side of the Thousand Sunny, Sanji smoked on the upper deck and watched his crewmates fool around. "Huh. That stuff's really glowing."
"Doesn't that make it radioactive?" asked a voice still laced with sleep down below.
"Oh? Using such big words… You sure that's alright for you to do so soon after your nap? You'll put your brain in overdrive."
An irritated scoff was his only answer.
Sanji looked thoughtful as he blew out a stream of smoke before he stretched out his hand to tap the ashes of his burning cigarette.
They fell down to where Zoro was sitting on the grass deck, the ashes tickling his nose and making him sneeze. Awake from his nap, Zoro itched his nose and looked up with an expectant glare. "What."
"You should be the most thrilled out of all of us to be here. An island surrounded by green algae…" Sanji grinned. "Maybe you'll find a little brother here!"
Zoro's glare focused on Sanji's grinning face. "…You pickin' for a fight or something, shit-cook?"
"I don't think kicking around a moss ball is much of a fight…"
The sharp kicks and sounds of steel swords was all that was present on the grass deck of the Sunny, as the crew gathered at the helm to watch the incoming shoreline.
Robin had left the upper deck entirely, relocating instead to sit on the swing and listen to Brook playing his violin. Franky was still below deck, tinkering around with Sunny's defense system for a weekly maintenance check before moving on to working on new additions.
"Maybe I should add disruption of peace to the list of fined acts." Nami voiced her thought aloud and listened gleefully at the silence that came abruptly. "I can make it a fined act of ten-thousand beli anytime you'd like."
Luffy, Chopper, and Usopp peered at the duo on the other side of the ship from behind Nami.
"They've stopped like statues!" Chopper exclaimed in a hushed tone.
"I don't think I've ever seen them so still before," Usopp said in awe.
"I have," Luffy interjected, and broke off into laughter before he could clarify. Then he leaped up to the railing of the upper deck and took off his hat. "Sanji!" Luffy called suddenly, breaking the temporal peace and waving his straw hat in the air to grab the blond cook's attention. Once he had it, Luffy placed the straw hat back onto his head and pointed at Sanji's right leg. "Your pants leg is cut."
Sanji immediately looked down, surprised by the accusation and — lo and behold, there was a clean tear in his pants leg that ran down the side from his mid-calf all the way to the bottom. He picked his head up and appeared to be studying the sky. "Zoro." He plucked the cigarette from his mouth and exhaled a stream of smoke. "You owe me a new pair of pants."
There was a moment's pause in which the two remained motionless and unspeaking. Without warning, the atmosphere changed and another fight erupted. Steel rang and kicks were thrown again.
"Like hell! You should've dodged, curly-brow!"
"It's your shitty aim that's to blame, plant-head!"
Usopp waved a hand to Nami. "Ah, sensei, the children are acting up again…" Somehow, a ladle came shooting out from the furious fight between Sanji and Zoro, and clanked loudly against Usopp's skull.
"The ladle!" Chopper cried out, startled. "Did it fall from the sky?" he exclaimed in shocked wonder.
Nami gave the squabbling duo an exasperated look. "Maybe I can get my peace if they knock each other out, then…"
At that, Luffy broke out into a grin again. "That sounds like fun! Hey, Usopp!"
"Don't you dare!" Usopp warned, brandishing his newly acquired ladle as a weapon in front of him.
"Oi, you!" Sanji spared a quick glance over his shoulder at the marksman. "Don't use that as a weapon! I use that to make your food, idiot!"
"You're the one who used it as a weapon in the first place!" Usopp shouted, throwing it at Sanji with all the strength he could muster.
Anticipating it, Sanji kicked the ground and propelled himself to the side to leave Zoro wide open for the incoming kitchen utensil. As it came, Zoro used Sandai Kitetsu to knock it back across the ship, and quickly blocked Sanji's incoming overhead kick with Shusui.
"Trying to get a cheap shot in, shit-cook?" Zoro sneered as he forced Sanji back with Shusui.
Sanji stood with his hands in the pockets of his pants and gave Zoro a pointed look. "Did you even think about what you were doing to my ladle, you shitty marimo?"
"Not really. It got in my way, so I sent it back." Zoro closed in between them with both swords and got in three swipes before Sanji propelled himself up and landed an overhead kick to Zoro's back.
Coughing and grumbling in between, Zoro gave the blond cook a menacing stare. There was a small brown figure flailing in the distance, somewhere on the other side of the ship, and it was only then that he picked up on Chopper's panicked shouting.
"Ah! The sky fell! And it hit Usopp! What do we do? What do we do? Doctoooor!"
In the temporal pause of their fight, Sanji took a long drag on his cigarette. "Congratulations." His voice was dripping with sarcasm. "Your horrifying aim knocked my ladle into our sniper."
Zoro turned back to Sanji, not looking concerned at all. "Usopp's strong. He'll be fine."
"That's not the point!" Sanji cried in frustration. "You knocked my ladle out with your sword! Your sword, that's been used to cut through human flesh! You've contaminated it and—"
"Why did you even have a ladle with you?"
"I'm the cook!" Sanji kicked at Zoro's head, missing when the man ducked and swung to the left. "What do you think I could be doing with a ladle? Are you that stupid?" he shouted, renewing the vigor in their fight.
At the helm again, Chopper stood over the dazed sniper. "Usopp! Usopp, can you feel any pain? Is your vision blurry? What do you see? Can you see me?"
"I see stars," Usopp mumbled nonsensically. "They look like you, Chopper…"
Luffy laid himself out on his back beside him and studied the blue sky intently. "Really? I don't see any stars. Maybe you're talking about clouds…?" He suddenly thrust a finger up to the sky. "Look! There's one that looks like a whale!"
Chopper followed Luffy's finger and took in the sight of a large white whale swimming in the sky. "Oh, it really does look like a whale… Gah! Don't distract me when I'm working!"
Chopper's stern shouting, Usopp's pained groan, and Luffy's guffaw mixed with the clashing and clanging between Sanji and Zoro not too far away. The sounds floated down to be weaved with the wavering notes of a violin, the unique, delighted laughs of an old, pirate skeleton, and the annoyed grumblings of a redhead passing by.
From her place at the tree, Robin could hear a distant clanking and whirring below deck, where Franky had started building up parts of the ship again and singing an old tune as he immersed himself in his work.
It was a peaceful day, she thought with a distant smile. And things were looking up. The Thousand Sunny had been out sailing for ten weeks since their last rest-up at a small island, and those weeks had passed without any sign of trouble. There had been concerns about sighting a pirate ship in the distance, its flag being too far away to be distinguished, but that had only turned out to be a band of trading merchants heading for another island, and the next sightings were of whales breaching the surface and dolphins swimming merrily in groups.
Everything was moving along smoothly. Robin turned a page in her book just as a rush of hurried footsteps stormed down the steps.
Almost too smoothly, she thought, closing her book as their navigator suddenly shouted:
"To your stations! There are two storms brewing at our sides, and it won't be good if we're caught in between. We need to jet out right now!"
Her warning quickly dispersed the commotion on board and left everyone on deck scrambling for their places. Brook tucked his violin away to join Zoro and Luffy in taking care of the sails, while Sanji hoisted Usopp over his shoulder, cursing the marksman for getting knocked out by a steel ladle, with Chopper following closely at his heels.
Nami clutched a den den mushi tightly in her hand. "Franky!" she yelled into it, "are you ready?"
The snail relayed Franky's cheery response; "Waiting for your go, Nami!"
Robin crossed her arms in front of her just as the sky above blackened. "Cien Fleur! Shield!" At her command, hands began to sprout from either side of the Sunny, all stretching and grabbing hold of one another to seal shut across the top of the ship like a roof just as the blackened sky burst open with pellets of rain.
In just that moment, the waves sloshed relentlessly against the sides of the ship as the sea turned into a ship-hungry mouth of angry water.
Nami clutched the small snail. "Now, Franky!"
Franky's voice cranked out of the snail in her hand; "One Coup de Burst, coming right up!"
Before Nami could thank him, the back of the ship exploded and sent the Thousand Sunny rocketing forward, shooting across the water and out of the waves that was rapidly turning in on itself to swallow things whole.