Crocodile leaned back in his chair hand tapping against his hook as he absorbed all the information he’d just heard.
The more general events after den den mushi being eaten were…well not unexpected, after all where his kids were involved he’s pretty sure nothing is unexpected.
But those 3 facts the kids had told him.
1)People fleeing Alabasta due to lack of resources, caused by a sever lack of rain, and rumours of a civil war, things he had heard nothing about and that is very concerning.
2)Merchants from Alabasta delivering dance powder, to a group in Alabasta, the kids hadn't got a name but found out there had been a lot of deliverers all throughout the last month.
3)People in Alabasta thinking Cobra, of all people, is the one receiving and using the dance powder. Which may be the dumbest thing he's ever heard...but seems actually be working.
With these 3 facts... it doesn’t take a genius to see what’s going on here.
Someone is trying to turn the country against the royal family…and they appear to be succeeding.
Which it really ridiculous and anyone who knows Cobra knows he would never even consider it...but the people that are being targeted are the ones who don't know him, and that's intentional he's sure of it.
He supposes it makes sense that, he being, would be the main suspect after all after the royal family he is most powerful person here.
Honestly this whole thing...it’s a damn good plan, it seems like a more fleshed out version of the plans he’d had in the works before the accidental adoption of Vivi and subsequent destruction of all those plans.
The use of Dance Powder is really inspired.
And that would have given him an advantage being able to control the rain so he’d been able to use his powers without worry of rain.
It is a good plan.
Still that doesn’t matter now.
What matters right now is why this group is doing this?
Also the fact that he doesn’t know who they are is really pissing him off who the hell managed to infiltrate his territory?
Because that is annoying and insulting, and well…there will, most likely be murder.
Especially, since these idiots decided to mess with his kids.
That is 100% happening.
But, first things first.
“So” he says looking up at his kids, their crew and the two marines all who look equally deep in thought. Most notably the marines, which makes sense he highly doubts they’d had all that information before, the pair are clearly reassessing the situation. “Whoever this is, is clearly trying to target the royal family, or at least make them the scapegoat” he glances at Vivi and bites back a smile, she doesn’t look scared or sad no, she looks completely furious.
Murder will be happening today no question, though he may not be the one doing it and he is ok with that.
Sabo leaned back against the desk flicking through the notepad he’d been holding were he’s recorded everything “yeah…but what we couldn’t figure out was why?” his brow furrowed “I mean everyone in Alabasta loves them, we all know that” he gestured to the still seething Vivi and Cobra’s den den mushi “you guys are like you know actual good leadership… targeting you like that it doesn’t make sense”
“Unless the people aren’t from Alabasta” Smoker speaks up still looking thoughtful “an outside group would make more sense”
Sabo nodding a little but his frown stayed in place “Maybe, but…but” he glanced back at Crocodile looking even more confused “but why go after a country with a Shichibukai in it?”
“Right” Nami spoke up eyes wide in understanding “I mean Alabasta’s not the only country dust powder could have worked with there are other countries with the same climate, a lot of them actually…why would they attack a country that have one of the Shichibukai there are only seven right? So finding any other area without a Shichibukai would have been easy…”
The female marine spoke up eyebrows furrowed “then why go the trouble of attacking here when it wouldn’t be hard to find another similar country with far fewer problems”
Ace nodded at that looking confused “Yeah, literally any other country would have been way easier and less risky it’s a super dumb move” he paused eyes lighting up in realisation “unless”
Sabo caught on and finished the thought “there’s a reason why it has to be Alabasta” his frown deepened as he finished that thought “…but what?”
Crocodile felt his breath catch and heard the same response from Cobra over the den den mushi.
That would explain it.
But how would they…
He groaned and put his head in his hand…right if she was involved then…
That makes way to much sense.
The chorus of “Dad?” and “Uncle?” from all four of his kids pulled him out of his thoughts.
They were all looking between him and the den den mushi clearly having heard and noticed their reactions “there is something isn’t there?” Vivi asks her fury now more contained, bit by no means gone and Crocodile would feel sorry for whatever fool she finds first from this organisation but he doesn’t.
Crocodile nods and looks down at the den den mushi “Cobra?” he asks question clear in his tone.
There’s no response for a long moment, Cobra clearly in equal amounts of shock, well more so as he doesn’t know about how they could know…perhaps in hindsight he should have told him…maybe?
Hindsight…is kind of a bitch really.
But telling him could have lead to more problems.
Besides he can’t change anything now, and he has far more important things to think about right now then second guessing past choices.
“you…you should all get here as soon as possible, we have to…I” Cobra trailed off overwhelmed and Crocodile can't blame him.
“I’ll get us all there soon can you call everyone for me and let them know everything if these people are going after” he paused glancing at the marines “that then they’re going to do it with a big distraction and I’m betting it’ll be a violent one”
“Right, I’ll let the guards know as well… just…just keep her safe” he said and ended the call, Crocodile rolled his eyes.
He wonders ideally how long it’s going to take Cobras to realise Vivi doesn’t need anyone to protect her, she hasn’t for a long time.
“Um sorry?” Sanji asked eyebrow raised and suspicion clear “but what did you mean by ‘that’?” the majority of the straw hats, minus his kids, and the marines all looked more on guard after that.
Crocodile just shook his head standing up “It’s…not really my place to say” he’d promised Cobra with their initial agreement not to tell anyone about the Poneglyph, at least that Cobra didn’t agree to. All of his crew knew after all they’d all helped guard it at some point but Cobra had never agreed to the kids knowing because he hadn’t wanted Vivi to know and the kids would have told her…or maybe because he knew Luffy wasn’t great at lying “it’s best if Cobra explains it to you” he finishes as he begins walking to the door.
“Um excuse me Mr Sir Crocodile” he heard a small voice and glanced down to see the little deer looking up at him confused with big eyes and…how old is this kid? Do deer’s age differently? Is this a deer or some weird Zoan fruit user? And no! No! No need to worry the kids would not recruit a child onto their crew…well Vivi and Sabo certainly wouldn’t…he hoped.
Knocking that train thought off the rails for now he instead nodded down at the little deer, he’s very sure it’s a deer, just looked up confused “ um isn’t the palace really far away?”
He couldn’t help the smirk that slide across his face and he heard chuckles from behind him “don’t worry Chopper” Sabo said reassuringly “that’s not an issue”
“YAY SANDSTORM TRAVEL!” Luffy yelled grinning widely and he ran to the door, Crocodile catching him the hem of his jacket before he could run out giving him a long Luffy pouted “…I know no rubber powers while in the sandstorm” he glanced up seeing his dad’s expression he added with a grin “ I promise”
He let Luffy go and sprint outside shaking his head, he’d learnt after the first time travelling with Sables after Luffy got his powers fast manoeuvring sandstorm and rubber powers ended up with your youngest child thrown wildly in some random direction at a very high speed.
The straw hat pirates were all ushered out by Vivi and Sabo all of them with confused and still cautious expressions, glancing over his shoulder he saw Smoker and the other marine still standing awkwardly on guard Ace was looking between them all, Crocodile just smirked at his eldest son “well I’m not letting them stay in my casino unguarded” he says with a shrug and walks outside.
He doesn’t hear what Ace says next but he does hear Smokers angry shout, and the Ace follows after him with a large grin followed close behind by the marines, Smoker looking even more annoyed.
Crocodile holds out his palm with a nod to his kids who are all grinning.
“You may want to brace yourselves” Vivi calls out still grinning and quickly grabs Nami hand, making the other girl blush slightly “this can be a bit disorientating the first few times”
“Brace ourselves for what?” Zoro barely manages to call out before Crocodile yells.
There’s a cacophony of cries of alarm as the sandstorm picks out around all of them moving quickly in the direction of the palace.
They arrived with little fanfare, and a lot of very dizzy pirates and marines.
“Please never do that again” Usopp pleaded and he cloappsed on to the floor, followed soon after by his fellow straw hats.
Sanji groaned trying to sit up holding his head “or at least give some warning”
“I said sandstorm travel” Luffy said tilting his head as he kneeled down by the dog pile made up of most of crew.
“Yeah but” Sanji began but stopped himself and just flopped down in defeat still clutching his head.
Crocodile swallows down a laugh at that, instead his attention is drawn to the little deer whose stumbling about legs unsteady…and the baby deer joke doesn’t go unnoticed, he sends a wave of sand to steady him, the little one let’s one a small “thank you” as he leans against the wave of sand.
The doors swung open and Cobra stood there eyes wide and panicked, as soon as his gaze landed on Vivi he was running to her side and pulling her into a tight hug.
“Hi dad” Vivi whispered voice raw and full of emotion as she hugged him back
Cobra made a small sobbing noise that cut off.
Neither moved for what felt like an eternity before.
“…Dad, I’m a pirate you can’t ground me”
“Just watch me”
Crocodile cleared his throat breaking up the reunion his eyes locking with Cobra’s and the other man blinked his tears away face morphing in a worried expression again.
“I think we have some explanations to give” he said nodding in the direction of the others.
Cobra’s shoulders just sagged and he nodded, giving a cautious look at the marines and Crocodile understood the sentiment but…as soon as they mentioned all the details as soon as they reported back the government would easily be able to figure out why…at least this way they might understand why broadcasting about the Polneglyph was a utterly awful idea.
He really hopes this isn’t a mistake.
Locking eyes with Cobra he just gives a small nod and the King takes a deep breath.
“Do any of you know about the Polneglyphs”
He REALLY hopes this isn’t a mistake.
They end up sitting in the meeting room everyone still processing the idea of Pluton.
“At least we know why you wanted to invade Alabasta originally right dad” Ace says jokingly, though the tones clearly a little forced.
“Wait what?" the majority of the straw hats, Smoker and Tashigi all say in response eyes widening and turning to Crocodile, who just gives a small nod to Ace's question and completely ignores the others looks.
Ace just waves them off “Originally dad gave up on that years ago” he said dismissively.
He see's some of them still with mouths open clearly still wanting more answers but Vivi cuts them off.
“Ignoring the fact we basically live on top of a weapon of unimaginable horror” Vivi says in a voice that is much calmer than she is actually is, Crocodile can still see the rage present beneath her composure “how did this group even find out about this?” Vivi pauses glancing at him thoughtfully “Uncle how did you find out?”
Crocodile felt all the eyes turn to him again, he just gives a small shrug “good informant network” he says it as nonchalantly as he can.
He has no desire whatsoever to go into exactly when he got the lead, or anything about his ‘family’ history…also he’s nearly positive another family reveal like that would overload the brains of his kids crew.
Cobra gave him a small glare that Crocodile didn’t even acknowledge, the king eventually looking away and rubbing his temples “yes well…that still leaves the question of how this group knew about it”
He cringes internally this…will not be a fun conversation.
“I…may have an idea” he says at length, and he just feels the look Cobra is sending him.
“Anyone here heard of Nico Robin?”
That’s about the reaction he was expecting.