Rose can only stare at the photo of the One Piece version of herself and try to process the new information calmly. She knew that it was possible for her to meet her doppelganger on her journey with the crew, but she never expected it to happen so soon. Most of all, she never thought in her wildest dreams that this version of her would join up arms with the same government that she despises!
She shakes her head from the distressing news of having to be the marine's enemy, and calms herself down by remembering the guidelines that she and her family made involving doppelgangers. “We’re not the same person, we just have the same face. And I guess the same voice too…”
The wind girl sighs at the weird discovery, but she can’t deny that this is a perfect way to blend in the base. With that in mind, she makes the best of the situation by grabbing the makeup kit from the trunk, and going through it for things to make herself look exactly like the girl in the photo.
She finds an arrangement of color contacts in one of the compartments, and can’t help but be impressed by the vast collection. She scans over the rainbow of lenses for the green ones, but stops when she sees that a pair of purple contacts are missing. *Her friend mentioned that she was wearing contacts. Did she wear the ones that match my eyes?*
The brunette holds herself back from laughing at the irony before she gently picks up a pair of dark green contacts that match the photo’s eyes. She goes to the wall mirror and forces herself to pry her eyes open until she got the contacts on each eyeball.
“Ack!” She grumbles in irritation while she blinks the tears away. *How the crap does this girl wear this?!*
She lightly rubs her eyes to help get used to them before she looks to the mirror to see that her purple eyes morphed into a pair of green orbs. “Whoa, that’s actually pretty cool.”
She looks through the kit until she finds some cover up for her freckles. She lightly applies the foundation onto her nose and cheeks, then puts the kit away before she grabs the photo. When she looks in the mirror, with her face next to the marine’s portrait, she sees an exact replica of the doppelganger’s appearance. Even their bangs, and hair color match to the point where she’d doubt anyone could tell them apart.
The fake marine chuckles in satisfaction of the new disguise, and looks out the window to see that she still has time before the sun comes up. “I’d better go.”
She makes sure that her necklace is hidden under her shirt before she puts away the makeup kit and photo, then places her regular clothes in the trunk as payment for taking the uniform. Before she closes the box though, she looks to the two stuffed envelopes and takes them out of the bunker with her.
The wind girl casually walks around as if she knows where she’s going until she sees some officers walking in her direction. She gives them a small grin as she walks up to them to test the disguise. “Hey guys, can you help me?”
The two boys stop walking before they give the imposter a grin. “Sure Lily, what you do need?”
She holds back from flinching at the fact that her doppelganger also has a flower name, as she looks around. “I need to go to the library, but I forgot how to get there. Can you point me in the right direction?”
The officers were taken aback by the information before they start chuckling.
Rose raises an eyebrow at the laughter and wonders if she said something out of character. “What?”
One of them calms down and gives her an apologetic grin. “Sorry, we’re just surprised that you of all people forgot where the library is.”
The other one nods as he points to the hall behind them. “I guess keeping your nose in the books when you walk could do that. Just go down this hallway until you find a staircase. Then go down a floor and head straight until you find the giant doors. You can’t miss them.”
Rose nods to the instructions as she walks past them. “Thanks, I’ll try to remember from now on. I’ll see you around.”
They wave her off before they go off on their way.
As Rose follows the directions to the library, she can’t help but chuckle at the new discovery about the marine she’s copying. *So, this Lily’s a bookworm. That’ll be helpful to blend in the library.*
The wind girl grows more curious about what her doppelganger’s like and looks down at the envelopes that she stole from the marine’s trunk. She takes out the contents of one of the parcels and sees that it’s a letter.
How has training been? Are they treating you right? Honestly, Water Seven just hasn’t been the same since you left. Almost everyone who walks in the shop asks about you, and are almost as worried about you as we are. Even so, we know you’re going to bring out the best of the navy. We can’t tell you how proud we are in that you’re pursuing your dream to help others. Hope you can write back soon. We’d love to hear about your life as a marine.
If there’s anything you need from us, just say the word.
Lots of love from home,
Mom and Dad
Rose stops walking, at the entrance to the staircase, as she finishes reading the loving letter from Lily’s living parents with a small cold breeze flowing off her for a moment, before it changes to a light, warm, gust. Her frown changes to a small grin from the news that they’re still alive in this world and looks through the other envelope. “So, they’re from Water Seven...”
She chuckles at the irony in that her copy is also from a big city, before she finds that the other envelope only holds some photos. She skims through them to find pictures of Lily and her dad posing for the camera.
She hums in thought as she takes note of the father having the same dark brown hair and scrawny physique as her own dad. However, he has no glasses to hide his brown eyes, and no freckles on his pale face. *Looks like she got most of her dad’s features. What about her mom?*
Rose looks through the small pile, but she can’t find a single image of the doppelganger’s mother. The wind girl furrows her eyebrows at the missing picture. She can understand if she was the one taking the pictures, but it doesn’t stop her from being disappointed in not finding out if her mother’s doppelganger is there.
She grumbles to herself before she puts the photos back and stuff the envelopes in her pocket. *Now’s not the time to be thinking about that theory. I need to get going.*
The pirate shakes her head and starts going down the stairs.
Meanwhile, on the floor below, a pale marine girl storms out of the training room in a huff. The cadet adjusts the rifle on her back and the sword on her belt, to make sure that they won’t fall from her fast pace, as she grumbles to herself. “I can’t believe weapons training got cancelled, but not tomorrow’s close combat training! I couldn’t even get a post on the ghost ship…”
The brunette pouts at not getting the chance to meet a ghost, and looks ahead to see the corner she needs to turn to get to the library. She grins at the new opportunity to learn about the supernatural, and barely pays attention to her surroundings as she rushes to turn, but instead bumps into Rose.
The wind girl steps backs from the hit and bows her head to the marine. “Sorry about that, I-!”
“Who the heck are you?”
Rose widens her eyes at the question and looks up in horror to see her doppelganger sharing the same shocked expression that she has.
Rose looks closer at the girl to see that she’s right in her assumption that Lily is wearing purple contacts, but what surprised her is that she used makeup on her cheeks to make it seem like she has freckles. *Oh my god, it’s like we switched faces!*
She bites the inside of her cheek to keep herself from laughing when she sees Lily about to scream. Before she could though, Rose covers her mouth with one hand and wraps the other arm around her torso to easily drag the struggling girl through the closest door.
Thankfully, it was an empty supply closet, so Rose can relax as she releases her hold to turn on the light. “Please calm down, I promise I’m not-!”
Lily cuts her off as she pulls out her sword and swings the back of the blade, but drops her jaw when her sword goes through her. She stumbles forward from the phased hit, goes through the wind girl’s body, and hits the closed door with her face.
Rose takes a deep breath to keep herself from laughing at the failed attempt to hit her. “S-sorry about that. If you calm down, I can explain.”
Lily rubs her aching nose and glares at her attacker. “Don’t bother, I know exactly what’s going on.”
The wind girl tenses up at her glare, before she clenches her fists to get ready to throw a punch. “Y-you do?”
The marine only nods before she sheathes her sword.
The pirate raises an eyebrow at her putting her weapon away, then grows more confused when she sees the marine’s lips curl up into a goofy grin while her eyes beam in excitement. “Of course I do! You’re a marine ghost! You were captured by those pirates and got caught up in the haunted ship’s curse!”
Rose sweat drops at the assumption, but she doesn’t have the heart to tear down the guess when she’s practically glowing with innocence.
So to play along, she gives her a chuckle and floats in the air with a smile. “You guessed it! You don’t need to worry, I’m pretty friendly.”
Lily giggles in excitement as she tries to poke the floating girl, but Rose swats her hand away as she lands on her feet. “Please don’t poke me. It’s rude.”
The marine blinks at the complaint and rubs the back of her neck in embarrassment. “S-sorry, I was just really excited.”
She stops when she realizes that she managed to hit her and looks at the ghost in confusion. “Wait, how are you able to hit me?”
Rose casually shrugs as she gives off facts about herself. “I can be solid. I can also eat regular food to sustain myself.”
Lily hums in interest as gets a closer look at her face. “But I don’t get how you look like me. You even have my eye color.”
Rose raises an eyebrow at the comment, as if she doesn’t know her real eye color. “Aren’t your eyes purple?”
“No, I’m wearing color contacts.”
Rose scratches the back of her head in thought. “Well, it’s hard to say exactly why we look the same. Are you bothered by it?”
Lily shakes her head. “No, it’s amazing to find a ghost that looks like me. What are you doing wandering the halls anyway?”
The pirate freezes when she remembers her goal. “I’m heading to the library to do some research on how I wound up here.”
The marine knits her eyebrows on why she doesn’t know how she got here, until she comes up with a theory. “I see, you have amnesia. From what I’ve read, that can happen to people when they suddenly die. Why would the archives have your answer?”
“I heard from your commander, Jonathan, that Hell’s comet might have something to do with the pirates’ disappearance, for at least one of them. I want to see if any other incidents have happened in the World Government.”
Lily nods in understanding. “I get it, if you find similar incidents, it could trigger something in your memories. Would you like some help?”
Rose widens her eyes at the invitation and shakes her head. “I appreciate it, but I don’t want to trouble you. Besides, don’t you have training?”
“Tonight’s session got cancelled, because of the ghost ship’s arrival. I was actually heading to the library myself.”
Rose knits her eyebrows for a way to get out of this mess before Lily pats her shoulder. “If you’re that worried about troubling me, then how about this? I help you get the books you need, and while you’re researching you can tell me any stories that you know as payment.”
The wind girl blinks at the deal, and can’t seem to find anything wrong with accepting her offer. Keeping her close can keep her from getting discovered by the crew. Also, getting to know her doppelganger and finding out more about the comet is like killing two birds with one stone.
With that in mind, the impostor grins at the offer and extends a hand for her to shake. “You got yourself a deal. My name’s Rose by the way.”
Lily matches her smile as she shakes her hand. “I’m Lily, let’s get going before anything happens.” She cautiously opens the door and looks outside to see no one around, so she motions for her to follow her.
Rose keeps close to her as they head down the hall and through the large blue doors with a sign above them that shows that it’s the library.
When they go inside, Rose marvels at the amazing collection in this large, empty, library.
Lily looks at her guest’s astonished face and grins at her before she points to a far end of the library. “There’s a secluded sitting area that no one really goes to. You can hide there while I get the books.”
Rose nods in agreement as she runs off, while making sure that she’s not noticed by anyone.
Meanwhile, Lily walks further into the archives for someone who can help her. The marine looks through each shelf until she hears books shuffling in the next aisle.
Lily scurries to the shelf to find a short, skinny, old woman on a ladder, and organizing the books. “Excuse me.”
The elder stops what she’s doing and looks down at the new patron. A wide grin spreads on her ruby lips once she recognizes the familiar face. “Well, if it isn’t my favorite bookworm!”
Lily grins at the nickname as she steps back to let the old lady leap from the ladder and land on her feet in front of her. “I see you’re as lively as ever Wanda.”
The old lady lightly cackles at the comment as she looks up to the girl who’s twice her height, then beckons for her to follow her. “Can’t be relaxing with all this excitement going on. So, what kind of mythical creature do you want to research this time?”
Lily chuckles at the usual offer as she follows the librarian to her desk. “I’m not looking for myths this time. I’m looking for any archives that we have on incidents involving Hell’s comet.”
Wanda immediately stops from hearing the taboo name before she turns to the taller girl with a look of disdain. “And why would you be needing that?”
The cadet gets taken aback at the complete change of attitude, but in fear of Wanda calling her insane for explaining that she’s helping a ghost, she makes up an excuse. “Some of the other officers heard the commander talking about Hell’s comet being involved with the ghost ship. I’m hoping to see if this crew’s disappearance was the first. Is this comet something bad?”
“It’s very bad, it’s something that you should never mess with! We don’t have anything about that monstrosity here!” Wanda yells out as she looks around to make sure that they’re alone.
Lily takes the hint from the fake scolding as she stays quiet while Wanda stands on her desk chair and grabs a giant book.
The sneaky elder waves her hand for her guest to approach her, which Lily obeys.
The librarian snickers at her friend’s curiosity as she whispers to her. “Now listen, you gotta keep what you find about the incident quiet. You see, this comet really is dangerous, and a lot of people don’t want to talk about it.”
Lily nods in understanding as she watches her scramble through the index book, that holds the location of where every piece of information is stored in this library.
Wanda finishes scouting through her index and on a separate sheet of paper, writes down a list of books along with the indexes of where they can be found in the room. “These books should tell you all you need to know about the incident. I also threw in a geology journal about crystals. Trust me, you’re gonna want to read it.”
Lily happily grins at the help as she grabs the paper. “This is perfect! Thank you so-!”
She’s cut off when the librarian whacks her on the head. “You know the rules, keep quiet!”
The cadet quickly nods as she goes off. “Right, sorry, and thank you!”
Wanda quietly sighs as she watches her run off. “I swear this girl’s curiosity is something else.”
She shakes her head with a small smile as she closes the index and goes back to her task.
Meanwhile, Rose managed to find herself a nice table a corner of the room and took out a book to make herself look like she belongs here.
As she reads the devil fruit index, she can’t help but smile at how things turned out for her. Not only for how she’s so close to finding more answers about the comet, but also from becoming friends with her doppelganger. The marine may be naive, but all in all Rose can tell that she’s a kind hearted girl.
Unaware to her, a light, warm, breeze flowed out of her body while she was reading, and managed to hit Lily just as she was going to join her with three books in her arms.
Lily tenses up at the warm wind, but immediately relaxes when she experiences the pleasant feeling of her troubles melting away from the breeze. She allows herself to enjoy the warmth for a few more seconds before she speaks up. “Is this wind you?”
Rose snaps out of her daze from the cadet’s voice and cancels out her wind. “Sorry about that, when I feel strong emotions, I sometimes make a breeze without knowing.”
Lily happily grins at the new discovery as she drops the books on the table and looks at her in excitement. “That’s amazing, what emotion were you feeling?!”
Rose giggles at her curiosity as she closes her book. “It was probably happy. I honestly can’t thank you enough for what you’re doing for me.”
Lily blinks at the gratitude before she puts her rifle on a chair, then goes to the bookshelf behind her. Once she grabs a book on supernatural myths, she sits across from her guest with a grin. “I should be thanking you for making tonight interesting. After you find some answers, can you tell me more about this ability?”
“Of course.” Rose says before she grabs one of the piled books, and begins their long night together of research and storytelling.
Under the cover of night, just outside the base, Robin and Usopp keep themselves hidden on the top of a small cliff, where they can see the Merry in the middle of the water.
The archaeologist takes this chance to figure out the situation by sprouting hands onto the mast with ears attached to them.
“Man, why do we have to be guarding the ghost ship?”
The officer’s friend couldn’t agree with his disapproval more as he looks at the water. “Tell me about it, I don’t know which rumor’s worse. The crew disappearing through Hell’s comet or dying because of cursed gold.”
The other officer groans at the two choices. “I don’t know, but in either case, I hope we don’t share their fate by messing with their stuff.”
He feels like they’re being watched and turns around, but he finds nothing but a few pink petals on the deck. “Hey, where did these flowers come from?”
The other officer looks at the petals and shrugs it off. “Must’ve flown in from the trees.”
“Y-yea, I guess so.” He still can’t shake the feeling that they were spied on, but he doesn’t let it get in the way of his duties.
Meanwhile, Robin hums in interest as she opens her eyes and looks to the Merry. “It looks like they believe it’s a ghost ship.”
Usopp drops his jaw at the assumption before his shock turns into rage of them insulting their beloved ship. “A ghost ship?! How rude!”
He opens his mouth to yell out to the marines, but hands sprouted onto his body and covered his mouth before a single sound could be made.
“Don’t give us away Long Nose-kun. This can actually give us an advantage.”
Usopp can only nod before Robin releases her hold on him and looks to the ship. She begins to sprout hands onto the mast of the ship and reaches them towards the officers.
The poor men didn’t know what was coming until they felt their shoulders tapped. The two of them nervously look over their shoulders and drop their jaws in fright of the sprouted hands. Before they can run, they find themselves being surrounded by dozens of hands sprouting out from every part of the ship they can see. “G-GHOSTS!”
As the screams fill the air, Usopp shudders at their fright and sees Robin grinning towards the ship. “What did you do to them?”
Robin giggles at the tenseness in his voice as she cancels her power. “I didn’t kill them, I just scared them badly enough to knock them out.”
He sweat drops at the blunt answer as the archaeologist looks to the ship curiously. “It’s strange though. I can understand them pinning the rumor on the gold, but what’s this about a Hell’s comet?”
Usopp immediately freezes at the question involving Rose’s research, but gets taken aback more by Robin not knowing. When he remembers how upset Rose was when she saw him, Nami, and Sanji react to her research in Alabasta, he can understand why she doesn’t want to talk to the newest member about it yet.
As a way to make up for how he acted, the renowned liar chuckles at the question and turns away from the cliff. “I have no idea, but I wouldn’t worry about it. You know how marines like to exaggerate. I mean they’re calling our precious Merry a ghost ship for crying out loud! Should we really be wondering about comets right now? Let’s get out of here before someone sees us.”
Robin grows confused about his explanation, but she knows that he’s right in that they can’t waste time standing in the open. She reluctantly agrees to drop the matter as she travels under the dead of night with Usopp. However, just from seeing the sniper casually brushing off a subject, instead of normally being worried about it, she can tell that something’s amiss and makes a mental note to look into it.
Hours have past and the sun begins to slowly rise and shine within the windows of the fortress’ library. The only sound that’s being made is the pages being flipped from the table Rose and Lily refused to move from.
Both of their tired eyes stay open as Lily reads her own book on vampires while Rose reads through the second book Lily gave her, which is the geology journal.
No matter how tired the pirate is getting, she refuses to stop after coming so far. Just from the first book on the incident, she’s learned that the night is known as the ‘spiriting night’ for how the victims were spirited away from this world. The fruitless search for the missing people was led by Vice Admiral Tsuru for a year, until it was called off when the World Government learned that they’re no longer in this world. Ever since that night, there were multiple other nights noted of when the comet showed up. From looking at the dates, Rose can tell that the comet arrives almost every eight years.
To avoid more ‘casualties’, as the World Government is calling the victims, the marines forces the civilians to stay indoors on the nights when the comet arrives with their doors and windows covered. From what Rose can tell, it’s just another way for them to raise propaganda against the comet because they can’t leave without a crystal.
She shakes her head from the fact, and rubs her forehead to give herself a break from reading half of the large journal. “Man, all this info is crazy...”
Lily chuckles as she stops her place in her book. “I’m surprised even ghosts get tired. Did you find anything in that book?”
Rose quietly sighs as she keeps her hand on her forehead. “Not yet, I’m sure some type of crystal is involved because of what happened in the spiriting night. But I’m not finding anything that fits the description of what those geologists looked into.”
Lily nods in understanding of her frustration. “It must’ve been something really top secret for one of our divisions to be studying it.”
She grins in reassurance as she looks at the book. “I wouldn’t worry though, Wanda is the best librarian in the world. No matter what I’m looking for, the books that she refers me to always hold the answer, so these will have what you need.”
Rose grins at the girl’s confidence, but her smile fades when she sees that the sun has begun to rise, and reminds her that the time with Lily needs to stop now. No matter how much she doesn’t want this to end, she knows that this friendship will only last until she sheds her disguise, so she wants to cause as little trouble for her as possible in the meantime.
Lily raises an eyebrow at the newly worried look on her friend’s face and follows her gaze to the window. “Is everything alright? You’re not one of those spirits that only come at night, are you?
The astronomer chuckles at her question before she shakes her head. “No, I’m not going to vanish in the sunlight. I feel like I should apologize though. It looks like I’ve kept you up all night.”
Lily widens her eyes at the apology and hastily shoots it down. “Don’t be silly, this has been a lot of fun! I didn’t know that constellations could tell so many stories, so I should be thanking you!”
Rose giggles at the appreciation for the astronomy stories she gave her last night. “It was my pleasure. If you need to go to training, you can go. I can stay hidden while I work here.”
The cadet tenses up at the mention of training when she remembers that she has close combat training today. She groans at the most hated form of fighting she has to deal with, but with all the craziness with the ghost ship, she might be able to avoid it if she stays here.
She grins at the plan as she looks to Rose. “Don’t worry, I’m sure today’s training is cancelled because of that ship. I feel like I can do more by helping you anyway.”
Rose tilts her head at the claim. “And why’s that?”
“If we can bring back your memories, then we can find out more about the evil crew that caught you.”
The pirate stiffens up at the mention of her crew as Lily continues. “I’m sure those ghost pirates are still here because we have their ship. Once we know more about them, then we can use that to our advantage when we crush them.”
The wind girl widens her eyes at the doppelganger’s clenched fists and looks at her as calmly as possibly. “Lily, why exactly did you become a marine?”
Lily blinks at the random question before she answers nonchalantly. “Why else? To help people and destroy criminal scum.”
Rose freezes at the answer and realizes that she has a hatred for outlaws, that’s possibly worse than her own hatred for the World Government. She can’t defend the pirates without revealing herself to be one, so she goes back to her book to hold herself back. “I see, I’d better get back to work then.”
Lily blinks at her friend’s retreat before she comes with an idea to look into exorcism for the ghost pirates. She takes her myth book and starts going back to the aisles. “I’ll be right back, I might know of a way to fulfill our goal.”
Rose can only nod as she watches her walk off from the corner of her eye. When she knows that she’s alone, she breathes out in relief. *I can’t stay here anymore. I’ll check these books out as Lily and find the others.*
She starts collecting the three books that Lily gave her, before she accidentally yawns.
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen you pull an all nighter.”
Rose looks to see Wanda walking up to her with a cup of warm coffee, a dish with scrambled eggs and a scone, and utensils on the plate. “Eat this before you go to training. You’re gonna need all the energy you can get.”
The pirate happily accepts the generosity as she takes the breakfast from her. “Thank you.”
The old woman nods, as she takes the books just before the door slams open. “WHERE IS SHE?!”
Lily freezes from her spot in the aisles and carefully looks over a shelf to see a high ranking marine officer storming in. *Oh no, Lieutenant Noah!*
She keeps herself hidden in the aisle as the middle-aged man walks past her aisle, and toward the spot where she was working with the ghost. *Rose, get out of there!*
Rose finishes her breakfast then pales in horror to see an angry, muscular, officer, with a red goatee and mustache to match the fiery red hair under his hat, storming towards her. What really surprises the wind girl though, is that this man has a grey metal right hand, showing from his marine jacket sleeve instead of a pale hand to match his left one.
Wanda however is unfazed by his intrusion as she goes to grab a bag and scowls at the officer. “Remember that you’re in a library Lieutenant Noah.”
Noah ignores the command as he approaches Rose. “I finally found you!”
The impostor rushes to stand in front of the red-haired man as she puts on a nervous smile and salutes him. “Good morning-!”
He cuts her off when he grabs her by the ear with his metal hand. “Don’t think you can slip away from me today!”
The wind girl grows more confused by the minute as he’s dragging her with him by the ear. *What the fuck?!*
She keeps up with his pace to ease the pain and sees Lily hiding in the aisles.
The doppelganger quietly mouths out an apology to her as she stays hidden from the angry marine.
*What the hell did she get me into?!* Rose gets tempted to fight the officer when Wanda runs after them with a small blue backpack.
Noah stops, but he doesn’t let go of his cadet as the librarian gives Rose the backpack. “These books were from the table you were reading on. You can give them back to me tonight. Good luck with close combat training.”
*Close combat training?!* Rose widens her eyes at what’s going on before the lieutenant drags her to the door.
“You’d better wait until tomorrow Wanda, I’m not letting her out of my sight today.” Noah grumbles out as he refuses to give his catch any leeway.
“You got it!” Wanda says as she waves them off.
Lily drops her jaw at what she just witnessed and puts a hand over her mouth to hold back from laughing. *Oh my god, when they realize that she’s a ghost, they’ll freak!*
She contains her laughter to light giggles before she gets back to the task at hand by searching for books on how to exorcise the pirates, but keep her new friend around.
Rose grits her teeth at the weird situation of being dragged by the ear by a cyborg-like marine lieutenant, when she hears giggling. She moves her eyes to some of the nearby cadets as they talk to each other.
“Looks like Lily can’t escape this time.”
“Poor kid, even though she’s great with swords and shooting, the lieutenant won’t go easy on her.”
“That’s what she gets for being so lame at hand to hand combat.”
Rose widens her eyes at the comments that can easily sum up that her copy can only fight with weapons. *That explains why she went straight for the sword last night…*
Her eyes glance around for a way out of the mess, before she grins at the tall man who’s threatening to tear off her ear. “Excuse me sir, but may I use the bathroom before we head to training?”
Noah scoffs at the request as he refuses to let her go. “Nice try, but I’m not falling for that. You’re going through it today.”
He goes through the door to the training hall to see dozens of male and female cadets stretching to warm up.
Rose can’t help but smile at how similar this looks to her martial arts club when Noah throws her forward.
The pirate stumbles to catch herself, and rubs her aching ear as she sees the lieutenant calling out to the unit. “ATTENTION!”
The entire unit stops what they’re doing and rushes to stand before him. Rose barely has time to think as she joins them in saluting him.
Once Noah’s satisfied, he looks to one of the cadets. “Private, what unit are you in?”
A tan, lanky man steps up. “I’m in the weapon’s unit sir!”
“And what’s the purpose of the weapon’s unit?”
“To build skilled marines who are adept to all fighting arts from guns to ninja tools!”
He nods in satisfaction before he steps in front of Rose. “And you tell me, what would you do if you lost your weapon in the middle of fighting a pirate?”
Rose blinks at the question before she tries her best to answer like a marine. “I’d punch the shit out of them sir!”
Noah and every other officer are shell shocked at the crass answer, for not once have they heard a childish girl such as Lily curse.
Rose nervously looks around to realize that she completely messed up her answer. *Dammit, I should’ve said KICKED the shit out of them!*
Her mind races for a way to fix this when booming laughter erupts from the lieutenant.
When everyone sees the usually strict leader actually laughing, they allow themselves to laugh along with him until he relaxes.
Noah keeps a small smirk on his face as he looks down at Rose. “You finally gave me a decent answer.”
Rose immediately relaxes her shoulders in not being caught yet, and keeps her saluting position.
The lieutenant doesn’t end there as he continues his speech to the division. “As she said, when we lose our weapon, we need to rely on our fists as a last resort! It doesn’t matter how good you are with a weapon, without basic martial arts skills you’re as good as dead! I want everyone to give it your all in polishing your close combat skills today! Do you read me?!”
“SIR YES SIR!”
Everyone immediately goes off to train with newfound motivation. Rose stays in her spot as she surveys the room to find the soldiers are either doing muscle training or jumping into sparring matches.
She starts going to muscle training to avoid suspicion, but Noah stops her by grabbing the back of her shirt.
Rose stops and nervously turns around to see the lieutenant scowling at her. “Don’t think your answer will get you out of sparring. You’re not allowed to go to lunch until you win fifty matches. Not just participate, but win. Do you understand?”
While the wind girl knows that she has to act like someone who’s reluctant to spar, she can’t resist accepting the fun challenge as she salutes him with a large smile. “Sir, yes sir!”
Noah blinks at the cadet’s eagerness as he watches her put her backpack to the side, where she can keep an eye on it at all times, then run off to the sparring mats. He raises an eyebrow at her enthusiasm, as he watches her approach a lanky man who’s just as tall as she is.
The officer about to fight the pirate chuckles in satisfaction of having to face her as they get in a white circle, then gets in a stance. “Don’t worry Lily, I won’t be too hard on you.”
Rose nods with a small smirk as she matches his stance with clenched fists. *Damn, I can barely contain my excitement! I gotta make it act like I narrowly won-!*
She snaps out of it when she side steps to dodge the man, then does a spin around back kick so hard to the solar plexus that he falls on his knees while he clenches his stomach and catches his breath.
The lieutenant and everyone who was watching the fight immediately drop their jaws at the quick victory.
Rose notices the shocked stares, and tries to act shy about it by scratching the back of her head. “Hehe, must’ve been a lucky kick...”
She extends a hand for her opponent, who finished catching his breath. “Sorry about the hard hit. Will you be ok?”
The marine nods with an excited grin as he takes her hand and gets back up. “Yea, that was great! How about two out of three?”
“You got it!” She happily grins in excitement as the two opponents get back in a stance and begin the second round of their match.
As the nearby officers watch the fight between the two marines, they can hardly believe that this girl is the weapons only fighter that they know. It even looks like she’s holding herself back as she takes a few hits and returns them easily.
Noah doesn’t know what happened to the cadet, but he will happily accept the improvement in contrast to how against hand to hand combat she was in the past. Now that he knows that she’s not going to run, he continues with his duties by supervising the rest of the unit and keeping tabs on the progress that each cadet is making.
As Lily has her nose in an exorcism book in between the bookshelves, heavy footsteps begin to fill the air.
Lily looks out from her hiding spot in the aisles to see Lieutenant Drake storming to Wanda’s desk with a team of five officers. *What are they doing here?*
Curiosity gets the better of the cadet as she watches the exchange between Drake and Wanda.
“Has anyone been here looking into Hell’s comet recently?” Drake asks with Lily freezing at the question.
Wanda raises an eyebrow at the newly popular topic, but knows better than to break her code as a librarian. “Sorry, but that information is classified.”
Drake grits his teeth at the woman’s stubbornness. “We don’t have time for these games. We have reason to believe that this has to do with the ghost ship!”
Wanda sighs at his anger as she looks to her index. “I can point you to where we hold the archives and you can set up surveillance. I doubt you’d find anything missing since this subject isn’t popular.”
He accepts the compromise as he allows her to lead him away from her desk. However, when he spots a brunette trying to leave from the corner of his eye he stops moving. “Hold it right there cadet!”
Lily tenses up at the order, but she knows that she’s not in trouble because she doesn’t have the books, so she turns to him and salutes him. “Yes sir!”
Drake walks up to her and narrows his eyes at the resemblance between the girl in front of him and the drawn poster of the wind pirate. “What’s your name soldier?”
Lily blinks at the interrogation, but she doesn’t have a problem with answering. “My name’s Sarona Lily.”
The rest of the team and Wanda join the confrontation.
The librarian is slightly shocked in how the cadet got out of training under Noah’s watch, but she’s more confused about Drake’s confrontation.
Drake ignores the stares as he keeps questioning her. “What unit are you in?”
“I’m in the weapon’s unit.”
He raises an eyebrow at the answer. “Isn’t that unit 18?”
Lily knits her eyebrows at the question. “No sir, if I remember right, that’s the supply unit. If I may ask, what’s this about?”
He takes out Rose’s wanted poster from his pocket. “Just that we know that you’re a Straw Hat pirate Wind Rider! Men, arrest her!”
The rest of the team surrounds her with swords pointed at her, and scares both Lily and Wanda.
Wanda is the first to speak in her defense. “Hold on here Lieutenant! I know this girl, she’s been in this base for four months now!”
Lily timidly nods as she looks to the picture to see that the pirate has purple eyes and freckles. “Yea and I’m wearing contacts!”
Drake and his team look at Lily in confusion, then quickly become disgusted when they watch her poke her right eye with one finger to expertly take out a contact. She blinks away the irritation before she shows her right eye as green while her left one still has the purple contact. “See? I’m not some disgusting pirate!”
The lieutenant blinks at the weird contacts, and finds no reason to suspect this girl anymore now that Wanda has vouched for her. He scowls at the development before he sighs. “Very well, I apologize. You’re dismissed.”
“Thank you, sir.” Lily puts her contact back onto her eye and shows Wanda her book. “May I take this exorcism book with me?”
Wanda can only nod as she watches her run away from the library.
Lily refuses to look back as she goes into the closet, that she spoke to Rose in, to recollect herself from the scary experience. *I can’t believe that happened! How could he think I was some-?*
She stops her train of thought when she remembers reading the poster to see that the pirate’s name is Rose. Her blood runs cold at thinking that her new friend could be a pirate, but she shakes her head to get rid of the assumption. *No, that’s not true! Rose is a ghost, she has the same color eyes as I do, and no freckles! She’s too sweet to be some dirty pirate…*
She frowns in guilt of having the ghost take her place in training, but freezes her stomach growls loud enough to echo in the room. “I’ll go to the training room after I eat. If Rose is still there, then we’ll switch and ask her to meet me here.”
Lily nods to her plan as she heads out of the room and off to the dining hall.
Meanwhile, Drake storms the halls to go to his leader’s office after he left his men to conduct surveillance in the library.
He manages to make it to the office to see Jonathan at this desk with a chess board.
Vice Admiral Jonathan grins at the intrusion as he beckons for him to come in. “Ah, lieutenant, you have perfect timing. We caught Roronoa Zoro.”
Drake widens his eyes at the news before he approaches his desk. “That’s great sir, but we have a problem.”
Jonathan raises a thick eyebrow at the claim. “And what problem would that be?”
“My team and I were in the library when I saw a female cadet. She has a striking resemblance to Wind Rider, but Wanda confirmed that she’s one of ours. It’s possible that the pirate could be imitating her.”
Jonathan hums in interest as he crosses his arms on the desk. “Do you know anything about the cadet?”
“Her name’s Sarona Lily and she’s in the weapon’s unit. What’s the schedule for them today?”
Jonathan strokes his chin before he thinks about the training schedule for the unit. “If I remember right, they have close combat training all day under Lieutenant Noah.”
Drake immediately turns to leave when Jonathan calls out to him. “Hold on a second Drake.”
The lieutenant stops at the command as Jonathan grins at him. “I believe it’ll be wise for Noah to take care of this. I’ll notify him of our situation. I would like for you to interrogate Roronoa for some answers.”
Drake nods in understanding. “How would you like me to proceed?”
“I’ll leave that up to you. Try to find anything you can on how they arrived here.”
“Yes sir!” He salutes him before he walks off to begin his interrogation on the pirate.
Jonathan chuckles at the new development as he picks up a white knight chess piece. “Seems like our second catch will be here sooner than we think.”
He puts the piece on the board and grabs his den den mushi to contact Noah. When the snail is answered, it’s changed to a smiling snail with red facial hair to match the scruffy hair hiding under his cap. “Hello sir, what can I do for you?”
The commander raises an eyebrow at his usually stern lieutenant’s happy mood before he responds to him. “Are you alone?”
“Yes sir, I stepped outside. How can I help you?”
Jonathan chuckles at his enthusiasm. “You seem to be in a good mood lieutenant.”
“Hard to not be sir, one of my cadets has gone from being the worst at hand to hand combat to actually enjoying herself in the fight. She’s finally understanding that while weapons are her main expertise, it’s good to know all forms of combat.”
The vice admiral starts to feel guilty for having to burst his bubble, but he knows that it has to be done. “This cadet wouldn’t happen to be Sarona Lily would it?”
Noah blinks at the question before he answers. “Yea, how did you know?”
“Drake just informed me that he interrogated a girl who seems to be her.”
The lieutenant widens his eyes at the news, as he realizes that one of the pirates has been under his nose this whole time. His happy mood immediately fades as he angrily scowls at the snail. “What are your orders?”
“Don’t act just yet. I want you to keep an eye on her. This girl could actually be your cadet.”
He scoffs at the leniency. “I doubt it, like I said Lily’s the worst at fighting hand to hand.”
He freezes when he comes up with an idea and smirks at him. “Sir, when I find the right moment, may I have permission to test my new arm?”
Jonathan nods to the idea. “Very well, but don’t kill her. We need to interrogate her for answers.”
“As you wish sir!”
The snail falls asleep after he finishes and chuckles at the development. “My, what a lovely fishing day this is turning out to be.”
He grins in thought of how his plan is falling into place before he goes off to the dining hall. Once he’s at the mess hall, he walks through the hall, and listens to the raving reviews of the new top chefs’ cooking from the nearby officers.
His wife Jessica, the head chef of Navarone, happily works in the kitchen when she sees her husband heading to his private table from the window to the dining hall.
She looks to see her new chef working nonstop and makes an order. “Sanji, I need one of your best meals for table 8.”
Sanji salutes her with a bright smile and hearts in his eyes. “As you wish my sweet Jessica!”
He works at lightning speed with ingredients flying in the air and catching the attention of everyone in the room.
Luffy, who snuck into the kitchen with the chef practically drools from just the tasty aroma alone as he and the marine chefs watch the show.
Sanji smiles in pride of his work as he applies the finishing touches to the dish and reveals it to the audience. “Here you are.”
The crowd gapes at the amazing looking meal when Luffy goes to grab it. “I’ll take it to the table!”
“If you eat any of it then you won’t get any meals!” Jessica calls out, but the pirate in disguise barely listens as he runs off into the dining room.
Sanji get back to his work along with the rest of the staff before he turns to the closest chef. “This guy must be really important for Jessica to be paying attention.”
The chef chuckles at the assumption as he watches Jessica working hard than before. “She’s always like this when her husband comes in for a meal.”
The pirate in disguise widens his eyes in shock that the beautiful woman is already married. “What?! Jessica is married?!”
He nods as he works with his head down to avoid Jessica catching them chatting. “Yup, and not just anyone could win her heart either. He’s the commander of Navarone.”
Sanji drops his jaw at what he said and stops cooking. “The commander?! Then that means...”
He looks in horror at the door to the dining hall and stops cooking to go after his captain.
He rushes past the dining marines eating and barely notices the girl with her head in an exorcism book as she’s eating at her own table.
Lily blinks at the rushing blond man going towards the private dining room for high level officers and shrugs it off. Instead of worrying about strange chefs, she finishes the amazing meal and goes to put her empty dish on the cleaning rack. *It’s too bad cadets can’t take meals out of here. Oh well, I’d better get Rose out of there.*
She grins at the looks on her unit’s faces when they find out that she switched with a ghost and leaves the dining hall.
She gets back to the book as she walks but stops, when she suddenly hears crashes from the dining hall!
The marine runs back to make sure nothing serious happened, when she sees a crowd of hundreds of marines going into the dining hall. Before she can leave though, two boys dressed as marine cooks storm out of the room and run in her direction.
The one with dark hair immediately notices the cadet and happily smiles at her. “There you are Rose!”
Lily’s purple eyes widen at the name when Luffy stretches his arm towards her. “What the-?!”
She yelps in fear as the captain’s arm loops around the girl’s thin waist. Before Lily can react, she gets pulled to him so fast that she drops her book and lands on his shoulder in a matter of seconds.
The marine looks around in horror to see that she’s being kidnapped, and tries to struggle to get down but he won’t let her go. “Put me down! Who the heck are you?!”
Luffy raises an eyebrow at her distress, but he doesn’t put her down. “What are you scared about? It’s just us!”
“Idiot, she’s scared because she doesn’t recognize us! And I keep telling you to carry her like a lady!” Sanji says as he takes off the marine disguise as he runs to reveal his three piece suit. “There’s no need to fear Rose-chan, see? We were just in disguise.”
Lily becomes more frightened by the minute when she realizes that these men aren’t marines at all. However, her face doesn’t show it as she stops resisting, and gives the chef a grin. “Oh, glad you guys are ok.”
Sanji smiles back at her and doesn’t see through her act at all.
Luffy however, looks back at the girl in confusion, but can’t see her face so he doesn’t know that she’s not blushing in his hold. He still thinks something is off though, because he would usually feel happier with having Rose close to him. But, he doesn’t feel any different from when he was separated from the wind girl to now as he has this marine on his shoulder.
He doesn’t bother with it right now, because he knows that the others are waiting, so he looks ahead as he keeps running.
When Lily sees that they don’t know that they took the wrong girl yet, she grins in relief. From what she can tell from Drake’s interrogation, a pirate crew truly did invade Navarone with one of them looking exactly like her. She doesn’t want to believe that her ghost friend is this Wind Rider, but she won’t stop this chance from being wasted.
As much as she hates to act so underhanded, if it’s to stop this crew from hurting others then she’ll gladly play the part of the pirate to gain their trust and stop them when the time is right. She happily grins at her simple plan as she clenches her fists in determination. *These pirates won’t know what hit them!*
TO BE CONTINUED
After the crew stole the gold from the island, and escaped the island on the Merry, the crew began to relax as they sail the white seas towards the exit at the east end.
Rose grins in satisfaction of the arc finally reaching its completion as she jumps off the crow’s nest and cushions her fall with a gust of wind. Once her feet touch the deck, she sees that Conis and her father are catching up to them on a small crow boat.
Nami grins at the guests as she waves over to them. “Hey, what are you doing?”
“We came to see you off, and help you go down to the blue sea safely.” Conis says as her dad pilots the ship, so that they’re sailing right next to them.
Robin walks up to the railing and looks over their companions curiously. “How can you help us?”
“You’ll find out right now. We’re almost at the exit.” Conis points ahead to show that she’s right, for they’re going to be approaching a large, majestic gate that says ‘Cloud End’ at the top.
Zoro raises an eyebrow at the seemingly easy exit. “So this path just takes us down?”
Conis nods as her boat stops moving. “This is as far as we can go. Good luck!”
“Thanks for all your help!” Nami says as she waves them off.
“Until we meet again!” Sanji says as he waves at them with the others.
Pagaya sees that the crew’s sails are open and calls out to them. “I’M SORRY, BUT YOU SHOULD CLOSE YOUR SAILS!”
“THANKS FOR THE HEADS UP!” Rose yells back as she flies up to close the sails.
“We should put the gold away too!” Chopper says as he goes into heavy point to carry some of the gold inside while Zoro and Luffy help him take in the rest.
As the wind girl finishes tying up the sails, she sees what’s ahead just as the crew is about to pass the gate. When she remembers what’s about to come, she chuckles to herself as she sits in the crow’s nest and grabs onto the edge. “You guys might want to hang onto something!”
The others stare up at the cautious seventeen year old in confusion, just when the guys come back outside, before they all look ahead to find that they’re about to fall off the edge of the cloud.
Every last one of them, except for Robin and Rose, drop their jaws in horror of the sight of the world below them just before they free fall to the blue sea.
Conis giggles at the terrified shrieks from most of the pirates as she grabs a whistle. “Time to help out, balloon octopus!”
She blows the whistle so loud that it can be heard throughout the depths of the white sea. Once the shrill sound was finished, a giant pink and purple octopus jumps out of the water, just above the ship.
Nami, Usopp, and Chopper scream in fright of the sea creature while the others, except for Rose, get ready for a fight. However, before they could do anything, they collapse on their faces because the ship’s falling slowed down exponentially.
Rose chuckles at the catch from her spot in the crow’s nest, as she lifts her head to find that the giant octopus caught them and is using its body like a parachute by gathering enough air to give the Merry a gentle descent.
Knowing that they’re safe, she allows herself a moment to relax and take in the breathtaking view of the world around them from their place in the clear afternoon sky. “I freaking love this place...”
Luffy laughs at the catch as he looks at all the giant tentacles that are holding onto the ship. “This is so awesome!”
“I’ll be damned.” Sanji says as he grabs his cigarette and lights it up before he heads to the kitchen to walk about the gold.
Robin only grins at the birds flying past them before she and most of the others start going inside.
Rose however, takes a moment to photograph her surroundings from her seat on the crow’s nest, as she thinks of what’s to come next. *Going by the manga, we should be heading to the Davy Back fight after we reach the ocean.*
She quietly sighs to herself while she puts her camera in her bag and remembers the crew’s encounter with the Foxy pirates and Aokiji. *Man, that arc’s gonna be a pain in the ass... At least seeing afro Luffy makes up for it.*
She chuckles at the exciting thought of Luffy fighting in an afro before she vaults over the crow’s nest. The wind girl creates a gust to land on the deck before she starts walking below deck.
Before the brunette can reach the door though, Luffy opens the kitchen door and waves her over. “Hey Rose, come inside!”
Rose grins at the invitation, before she points to her door. “In a minute, I gotta take care of something first.”
He nods in agreement as he goes back to the kitchen to demand to buy a bronze statue.
As Rose heads inside though, she’s unaware that her comment was overheard by Robin. As the archaeologist sits down at the table, she closes her eyes and creates an eye on the hallway wall to see where her crew mate is going. When she finds out that she’s just heading to the bathroom though, she cancels out her power and leaves her alone.
Rose however is planning to perform her experiment in the private room, so she doesn’t take any chances as she locks the heavy bolt on the door, that Nami had Usopp install for privacy. She even inspects the entire room, along with herself and her backpack, for any of Robin’s spying appendages. Once she knows that she’s alone, she sits cross legged on the floor, opens her bag and gently carries out the tied up box that holds her samples.
She feels more like a child opening a Christmas gift than a scientist right now, as she rushes to untie the handkerchief that she wrapped around her stone box. As soon as she takes off the lid, her smile couldn’t get any bigger while she stares at the two red and black gems that hold a blue luminescence thanks to the Timore comet’s power. *Alright, I should only need one for this.*
The brunette gently sets the small container on the floor, before she makes sure that her dark grey glove is covering her hands. With a look of determination, she takes a deep breath before she clears her mind and keeps it from thinking about the many worlds out there. With her mind blank, she slowly touches one of the gems, that’s a little smaller than the other, and waits for a reaction.
When her body isn’t taking in the comet’s energy, she lets out a breath that she didn’t know she was holding, and plucks the jewel from the box. *So, touching them doesn’t automatically do it. At least when I don’t have a desire to leave. It might be because I’m wearing gloves too.*
She grins at the new theories before she puts the lid back on her box and stares down at her necklace. Her eyes move from one crystal to another, before she touches the jewel she’s holding to the one she’s wearing around her neck.
After a moment, she takes the glowing crystal away from her necklace, but no changes were made to her family’s treasure. “The radiation isn’t transferable between them on first contact either. Long term contact might do it, but that can wait.”
The excited girl shakes her head to help herself get focused on the real test as she gently places her sample on the floor. She goes into her backpack and pulls out the letter, that she made for Naomi, Timothy, and Bobby, and scans over the long note to make sure that it holds everything that she wants to say.
As she reads over the reassuring words to her friends with a soft grin, something in the back of her mind tells her that something is missing, and she knows exactly what that is. She digs into her bag until she pulls out the envelope of photos that she made from her adventures in Skypiea.
Rose shuffles through the pictures until she reaches the one that Luffy took of her sitting alone on top of a palm tree and giving him the peace sign. She nods in satisfaction as she takes the picture out of the stack, then piles both that and the stone onto the letter.
After she puts her memories back in the bag, she rubs the palms of her hands together to steel her nerves before she takes off her gloves and bandages from her hands. When her cream-colored fingers can be seen, she hesitantly reaches for the crystal with one hand. As soon as her middle finger touches the gem, a shiver unintentionally runs through her whole body from the icy cold stone.
The astronomer mentally notes the feeling, then puts two more fingers on the jewel, moves her thoughts to the restaurant that made her last few years in New York less painful, and talks under her breath. “Please go to La Bella Pizzeria on 12th street in New York City, USA…”
She stares at the stone intently, as she keeps her fingers on the freezing gem, but nothing happens at all. She feels an awkward silence fill the room before she groans in frustration and picks it up. *What’s missing from the night I left?*
The astronomer keeps the cold stone in her warm hand, and examines it for a way to make it work until the door handle starts shaking. She jolts at the noise as she fumbles with the gem until she catches it with both hands, and turns to the locked door. “Give me a minute!”
Rose starts to relax when she hears Zoro’s voice from the other side of the door and goes to her sample’s container. “Don’t get your boxers in a bunch, I’m almost-!”
She stops when she feels the chill growing in her hands, then looks down to discover that the stone’s blue glow is starting to flow out of it and is spreading onto her hands!
“HOLY SHIT!” She throws the crystal onto her letter and photo, before she jumps up from her seat on the floor to wash her hands with hot water.
Zoro widens his eyes at the frightened yell as he tries to push the door open, but it won’t budge. “Oi, what’s going on in there?!”
When Rose notices that the radiation from her hands is fading away, she lets out a breath of relief, and calls out to her crew mate. “I’m ok, sorry for the-!"
She stops when she sees that she has no time to relax, because the blue radiation from her stone is spreading onto her photo and letter. “Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap!”
She frantically uses her wind to lift up the three items before the energy can spread onto the floor and ignores Zoro’s worried calls. She continues to ignore the door’s loud banging as she keeps the three piled items levitating a few feet in the air.
While her focus remains on her experiment, her wide eyes marvel at the fascinating sight of the comet’s energy spreading onto the papers.
Once all three items are completely covered in a sky blue luminescence, and with nothing else for the radiation to spread to, all three of them begin to vanish just when the swordsman slashes through the door with two of his weapons.
Zoro widens his eyes at the floating blue objects before they disappear in a matter of seconds, as if they were never there. He blinks at the crazy sight, but he can’t find any traces of the glowing items.
He sees Rose still in a stupor from witnessing such a beautiful sight, as she leans back against the sink to keep herself from collapsing. “Oi, what the hell happened?!”
The astronomer finally snaps out of it and sees that the box on the floor is still sealed. She feels relieved that he doesn’t see that her second sample is the same crystal as her necklace.
However, she knows that she’s not off the hook yet, so she nervously looks at him and waves her arms around frantically while she talks a mile a minute. “Dude, did you see that?! It was fucking crazy! I got this weird rock back on the island and when I was holding it, my hands turned blue! Then when I threw it on the ground to wash my hands, it made the things it touched turn blue! I made them float, so it wouldn’t affect anything else, and then poof!”
She throws her arms into the air for dramatic effect, to make it seem like she’s lost her mind. Thankfully the tactic works, for he can only stare at her blankly before he sheethes his swords. “I got nothing from that except you finding weird rocks...”
He notices the stone box on the floor and widens his eyes at the blue glow leaking from the cracks of the container. “Wait, is another one in-?!”
He cuts himself off when they hear the others screaming outside before the two of them, along with every movable object in the room, suddenly fly up until they reach the ceiling!
Zoro groans from the rough flight as he pushes his torso off the ceiling, but they’re still pinned. “What the hell are you doing Rose?!”
Rose scowls at the complaint before she uses her wind to push both herself and the swordsman off the ceiling, but they can only get a few inches of distance. “This isn’t me, the ship’s falling! Come on!”
She uses as much wind as she can muster up, to keep the two of them off the ceiling as they escape the bathroom and heads to the deck.
Rose barely has time to think about her backpack and sample that she left in the bathroom when the pirates make it outside, just to have to hold onto the doorway to keep themselves from flying off the ship.
“WHAT THE HELL’S GOING ON?!” Zoro asks as they look up to see the night sky above them instead of the octopus balloon.
“THE OCTOPUS JUST UP AND SHRUNK!” Luffy yells as he holds onto the small octopus with one hand while the other holds onto the railing.
“YOU’RE THE ONE WHO CAUSED IT BY JUMPING ON ITS HEAD!” Sanji yells as he and the others hold onto the railing for dear life.
Rose mutters a curse as she lets go of the doorway and gets herself flying on her own gust.
As Rose flies down next to the ship and goes towards the bottom, Usopp calls out to her. “I ALREADY PLACED WIND DIALS DOWN THERE TO HELP DELAY THE FALL! TRY REUSING THEM WITH YOUR WIND!”
She widens her purple eyes at what he said and realizes that she saw Usopp do this in the anime, but not in the manga. She holds off on thinking about it as she keeps going down until she’s next to the bottom of the ship.
She creates as strong of a gust as she can manage under the ship, to refill the four empty wind dials that are lined up on the keel of the ship, until they’re at full blast again and helping her to ease the Merry’s descent.
The wind girl grins in satisfaction that the ship is falling at half the speed and glances down to find that they still have twenty feet to the ocean.
“YOU OK DOWN THERE ROSE?!” Nami calls out as she peeks her head over the railing.
Rose doesn’t move her eyes from the water yet, as she keeps descending with the ship, and uses her wind to keep the wind dials at full power. “I’M FINE, I’LL BE BACK UP IN A-!”
She stops herself when she’s able to get a close enough view to see exactly where they’re landing. A part of the ocean that’s mostly surrounded by a small, mountainous, island. However, this island has been modified by the marines to be one of the strongest fortresses on the Grand Line. *OH HELL, WE’RE HEADING TO THE NAVARONE FILLER!*
She tries to create a stronger gust of wind, to get the ship flying, but the vessel is too heavy for her powers to carry it. “DAMMIT!”
The others become confused at Rose’s distressed yell as the wind girl flies up to the railing and grabs on just as the ship hits the water in the middle of the crescent like island.
The rest of the crew hangs onto the ship to keep themselves from collapsing on the deck.
Luffy laughs at the fun ride as the others try to recover from the crazy landing. Rose however, doesn’t take a break as she starts flying to the sails. “Guys, we need to get out of here! Turn the ship-!”
She cuts herself off when her nose starts tickling, but before she can stop it she sneezes off the ship and lands in the nearby forest.
“ROSE!” The others call out to her, but before they can do anything, the sound of the base’s sirens begin to ring throughout the air.
As the searchlights, that are perched at the top of the island’s walls begin to direct their lights onto the Merry, the pirates begin to understand why Rose was in such a rush for them to leave.
“Everyone, split up!” Nami says as she grabs her waver from the back deck and jumps off to sail to safety while the others rush to get off the boat.
As Luffy stretches his arm to the first tree he sees, Usopp pulls a grappling hook out of his belt buckle and launches it towards another tree.
Zoro decides to try another way as he dives into the water to avoid being caught.
Sanji grabs onto Luffy while Chopper and Robin grab onto the sniper just before they go flying into different parts of the woods.
However, the doctor loses his grip mid-flight, and screams as he falls into the trees below him.
“Chopper!” Usopp calls out, but he doesn’t get an answer as Robin jumps off the sniper just before he crashes into the tree.
Robin manages to swift land on her feet before she watches Usopp land on his face. “I’m sure doctor-kun and the others are alright. For now, we need to hide.”
Usopp reluctantly agrees as he gets up and runs deeper into the woods with Robin.
Meanwhile, the wind girl flies on the same level as the trees until she reaches the coastline. When she sees the ship starting to be surrounded by lifeboats full of marine officers, she knows that she’s too late. Once flashlights start flashing towards the island, she hides in one of the trees and sits on one of its thick branches as she glares at the distant officers in frustration. *Damn, with my research in there, the World Government’s going to find out! Hold on…*
She starts calming down when she finds out that if the base holds any record of the night that the researchers disappeared, then this can be a perfect opportunity for her to uncover more of the comet’s mystery. With that possibility in mind, her lips begin to curl up into a smirk. “I don’t know if I’m being lucky or unlucky, but this is going to be interesting either way.”
She snickers to herself when she sees that the officers are no longer flashing lights onto the shore, as they focus on inspecting the ship. She takes this as her best chance to infiltrate the fortress as she uses the darkness of the night to fly towards the fortress.
As the pirate flies towards enemy territory, she surveys the area below her and spots a lone fisherman walking towards the base, so she keeps close to the trees as she watches him go inside. Once she knows that she’s safe she flies up to the building, then glances in each window until finds an empty room and invites herself inside the stronghold.
As the thousands of marine officers scramble around the fortress to close the sea gate and trap the new pirates inside, a lieutenant is going to the command room to understand the situation.
The middle-aged man, with brown muttonchop sideburns on his face, keeps a deep scowl on his face as he enters the command room. “What are we facing?”
The dozen subordinates in the room rise from their seats to salute them as a young man explains what they know. “Lieutenant Drake sir, from what we’ve gathered, the Straw Hats have invaded the base.”
Drake widens his eyes at the news before he re-composes himself. “Where’s commander Jonathan?!”
The marine, who spoke up nervously stares at the door before he gives his commanding officer his answer. “Well sir, none of us know where he is…”
The lieutenant grits his teeth at how his nonchalant leader would be missing at a time like this before he turns around. “Of course, he is. Keep me updated on any news.”
“YES SIR!” The men immediately get back to work as Drake storms off to search for his leader. However, he didn’t have to search for long because as soon as he reached his commander’s office he finds the man, that was fishing outside just a moment ago, approaching the office. “There you are commander! Don’t tell me you were out night fishing again!”
The orange haired man with a thick, dark brown, eyebrows and mustache only gives him a calm smile as he walks inside with his subordinate in pursuit. The muscular commander takes off his fishing gear as he stares out the window. “You shouldn’t be so worried; night fishing isn’t a waste you know?”
“You shouldn’t be out fishing at a time like-!” Drake stops himself when a knock is heard at the door.
Both officers stop their conversation as they see one of the officers entering the room. “Commander, I have a report from the watchmen and maintenance men.”
Jonathan nods to him as he goes to his fishing pole to do maintenance on it. “Go on.”
The subordinate has no idea on how to explain the report without sounding crazy, but in fear of getting scolded by Drake he speaks as much of it as he can. “The crews reported that they saw ghosts. They’re saying that the ship fell from the sky, but before any pirate can be seen there was no one there. There was also rumors about hands sprouting off the ship, a monster with a pink hat, and someone flying through the air.”
Drake grits his teeth at the claim as he bangs his hand on the desk. “DO YOU EXPECT US TO BELIEVE THAT IT’S HAUNTED?!”
The officer resists the urge to flinch from the outburst as he keeps his posture. “Those are the claims from the others sir.”
“I didn’t ask for ghost stories, I asked for reconnaissance! And don’t come lying to me about a ship falling from the sky!”
Jonathan chuckles at his subordinate’s irritation as he finishes adjusting his fishing rod and goes into his bounty drawer. “Now take it easy, the part about it falling from the sky is true. And about the flying person, I’m sure it’s one of the crew members.”
Drake and the subordinate look at him in confusion before Jonathan shows them Luffy, Zoro, and Rose’s wanted posters. “As I said, night fishing isn’t a waste.”
Drake reads over the three posters and stops at the drawing of the lowest bounty of the trio, who has an epithet that can prove that she can fly. “So you’re saying this Wind Rider Rose brought the ship here?”
Jonathan shakes his head as he gets up. “I wouldn’t say that, she could have something to do with the crew escaping. In any case, we should find more information about them at the source.”
Drake raises an eyebrow in confusion until he understands that he means going to the ship, so he follows his leader out of the base and on a lifeboat to reach the caravel that’s caused the base so much trouble.
The navy officers onboard are already in action as the men and women start photographing every section of the ship.
As soon as Jonathan and Drake reach the deck, they immediately head to the kitchen to find eight empty coffee cups set out on the table with a pot of coffee on a cold stove.
Jonathan takes the pot and pours the contents into a cup to see that the liquid is still hot. *So, they didn’t leave for long…*
He and Drake get approached by a marine who’s carrying an arm full of the crew’s treasure. “Sir we found something!”
The commander hums in interest as he examines the ancient gold. “The pirates must’ve stole them from some ancient city.”
Drake scowls at the treasure before he turns to the soldier. “Get them to the lab!”
“COMMANDER!” Drake and Jonathan freeze at the high and low voices calling for Jonathan, before they turn to the door to find a man and woman pair running into the kitchen in a frenzy.
The man is still catching his breath while the female officer points outside. “Sir, there’s something you need to see in the bathroom!”
The two superiors hum in confusion before they follow the lower level officers below deck. What they find in the bathroom astonishes them both, for on the tile floor, is a red and black gem with a blue glow and is surrounded by fragments of its broken container.
Drake goes up to the crystal and crouches down before it. “What kind of a rock is this?”
He goes to grab it, but before his fingers can touch it, Jonathan swats his hand away.
Drake rubs his hand before he looks up to his superior. “What’s the matter sir?”
Jonathan keeps his narrows eyes on the crystal as he remembers what his mentor, Akainu, has told him about it. “Drake, have you heard of a taboo known as Hell’s comet?”
The lieutenant knits his eyebrows in confusion before he shakes his head.
The commander nods in understanding before he spots the red backpack that’s lying on the ground. He goes through the contents of the bag until he pulls out Rose’s golden colored journal. With one glance at the notes, he can easily tell that the owner is investigating the comet that caused so many people to disappear over twenty years ago. “It appears that this crew has an astronomer who’s studying it...”
The lieutenant raises an eyebrow at the cryptic answer as he gets up. “What does this have to do with anything?”
Jonathan’s eyes move to the stone before he puts the book down. “It’s rumored that red and black crystals, such as the one on the floor have the ability to absorb radiation. Combined with the power of Hell’s comet, a group of them caused an entire research staff to disappear into the underworld, because they were messing around with them. It could be that our ghost pirates shared the same fate.”
Drake doesn’t believe a word of it as he approaches him. “You can’t be serious.”
“Oh, but I am.” Jonathan looks to the two officers at the door, who are staring to the tiny gem in horror, before he speaks to them. “Get me a small box and see if you can find some tongs in the kitchen.”
“Yes sir!” The two officers rush to get the requested items before they return with the objects.
Jonathan takes the silver tongs and the small, tin, box in his hands before he kneels in front of the stone. He carefully uses the tong to pick up the stone and drop it into the open box before he closes it tight, and hands it to the female officer. “Please bring this to the lab with the rest of the gold.”
“Y-yes sir!” She rushes off with the mysterious item while her partner gets back to searching the ship.
Once the dangerous jewel is gone, Jonathan turns to his lieutenant with a grin. “Let’s see what else we can uncover.”
Drake hesitantly agrees as he follows him through the bedrooms, and then back to the kitchen where the officers are piling books onto the table.
As Jonathan searches through the cooking equipment, he can easily tell that everything is in perfect condition. When he sees all the books on the table, he approaches them as he listens to another officer explain.
“We found a collection of medical, history, and astronomy books here. They’re all in good condition too.”
He hums in interest as he picks up one of the books. “It seems like our ghosts study a lot.”
Drake holds back the urge to roll his eyes as he scowls at his superior. “Please tell me you don’t believe in ghosts...”
Jonathan chuckles at Drake’s disbelief before he goes outside and claps his hands to get everyone’s attention. Once he knows that every male and female officers’ eyes are on him, he gives them a relaxed grin. “You’ve all done wonderfully, I need you all to remain vigilant on this investigation of the ghost ship.”
The officers begin to murmur to one another nervously about his claim that it’s a haunted ship. However, the commander acts like he couldn’t care less as he goes to his life boat. “Back to work everyone.”
“YES SIR!” The officers salute their commander as Drake joins Jonathan on the boat and sails with him back to the base.
As soon as the two men reach the base they’re joined by two captains as Jonathan leads them through the halls. While they roam the halls, as if it’s a casual meeting, Jonathan voices his findings. “It appears that the crew made it through Jaya.”
The others look at him in confusion as he keeps explaining. “The coffee aroma can only be made from the beans in Jaya. Also, legend has it that there is a city of gold in Jaya.”
One of the captain’s widens his eyes at the assumption. “So you’re saying it’s not-”
“I don’t know what the crew’s doing here, or where the members are, but that boat is just a pirate ship from Jaya.” Jonathan says without missing a single step in his stride.
“Then what about the speech about Hell’s comet?” Drake asks which makes Jonathan stop in his tracks, with the others following suit.
The commander scowls at what he’s heard of the taboo as he turns around to face them. “The story about the researchers disappearing is true. One of these pirates is an astronomer that is committing the taboo of studying Hell’s comet. However, if the entire crew was to disappear, then they would’ve left in the kitchen or on the deck. If this person was working in the bathroom, then they were conducting the experiments alone. Either that criminal is long gone by now, or they were about to start working but stopped when the ship came here.”
The three male officers, glance to each other anxiously for a moment before one of them speaks up to his superior. “So why did you tell the others that it was a ghost ship?”
Jonathan chuckles at the question before he starts walking again with a relaxed grin, while the others follow. “To be honest, our men are too inexperienced to handle something like this. If we tell everyone that the infamous Straw Hats have snuck into our ranks, it’ll cause chaos. So for now, we keep calling it a ghost ship, understand?”
“Yes sir.” The two captains say, but Drake goes up next to him.
He keeps a stern look on his face as he voices his opinion. “With all due respect, I suggest we form a small unit to search for the pirates.”
Jonathan stops again just as they reach his office and turns to his men. “Now don’t be hasty, our defenses have to be our top priority.”
Before Drake can object, Jonathan faces one of the captains. “You, go reinforce security at the gate as well as the coast.”
“Yes sir.” He salutes his commander before he goes off to do what’s asked of him.
He points to another one to give him his orders. “I want the ammunition storage and passageways secured. You have my authority to handle the task as you see fit.”
“Thank you sir.” He goes to the ammunition storage to get started.
Jonathan sees that Drake’s unsatisfied with the order and raises an eyebrow in confusion. “Is there a problem?”
Drake bites back his complaint to not doing enough before he keeps his head down. “No.”
The commander nods in satisfaction as he opens the door to his office “Don’t worry, the night’s still young. Their movements are restricted by the darkness. When dawn strikes you can assemble a team to track down the Straw Hats. I suggest starting to investigate in places where people gather.”
“Where they gather?” Drake asks with his superior nodding.
“Yes, because it’s difficult to tell one person from a crowd. Especially when it’s rather easy for the pirates to pick up some of our uniforms.”
Drake immediately understands what he means when Jonathan looks at him seriously. “It’s not that I don’t trust my officers. It’s that we’re searching for some rather clever enemies.”
Drake clenches his fists at the situation, but he understands what his superior is saying. “I’ll get started as soon as dawn breaks.”
Jonathan nods with a carefree grin as he goes into the room. “I recommend the dining hall first, as well as the archives in case our astronomer is still around.”
“Yes sir!” He salutes his leader before he goes off on his own to get to work.
What neither marine knew though, was that up in the air vents above them, Rose has been tailing them since Jonathan explained that it wasn’t a ghost ship and stealthily listened in on their conversation.
As soon as Drake’s gone, Rose quietly army crawls in the vent as she glances in each room she passes, in hopes of finding a bunker.
While she’s searching for the room, she doesn’t know whether to be happy or worried about what she heard. At one hand, it seems like they didn’t discover that she’s the one studying the taboo. With Jonathan wanting his team to search the archives, she knows that the information she’s looking for is here too. If she can make it to the library in a uniform before dawn, then she won’t have any problems.
On the other hand, it could raise more questions from Robin if she hears them talking about her work. Also, the wind girl can tell that Vice Admiral Jonathan will want to uncover the mystery of who’s the one studying the taboo.
She holds herself back from groaning as she travels the vents while she tries to remember what she knows about the filler arc. *Ok, so Luffy and Sanji are gonna be together in the kitchen. Nami will be here soon in a janitor disguise then dressed as a nurse. Zoro winds up getting caught with Usopp following him when his disguise doesn’t work. Robin manages to impersonate Condoriano, and Chopper passes himself off as a surgeon…*
She knits her eyebrows in thought of how she goes about surviving the base. She knows that everyone won’t be in until morning, so for now she needs take this chance to get a disguise, and visit the library for any knowledge on the Timore Comet’s incident.
If she can’t get in, then she just needs to blend in as much as possible without getting caught. That can’t be too hard right?
She shudders at the many possibilities that she can get caught if she tries to blend in, so she silently hopes that she can get to the library when she hears two female voices giggling below her. She stops and looks through the grate to find two girls talking to one another as they’re adjusting their uniforms.
The pirate couldn’t see either of their faces thanks to the thick grate, but she can clearly hear them.
“So, it’s true that the pirate ship’s haunted? How did it get here?”
Rose immediately freezes up at the navy officer’s voice, because it sounds almost exactly like her own voice. *What the hell?!*
She pushes her face as close to the grate as she could, but she can’t get a clear view of her face as her friend speaks to her.
“I heard that the ship fell straight from the sky!”
“Really?! That’s so cool! Think we’ll meet the ghosts if we can take a post there?!”
Rose couldn’t stop herself from smiling at how bubbly her voice sounds from the officer as she barely sees the figures grabbing their rifles.
The second girl chuckles at her friend’s excitement as she straps the gun to her shoulder. “Maybe if you do well with training tonight then you can ask for a post there. By the way, I like the color contacts but what did you do to your cheeks?”
The marine with Rose’s voice casually shrugs as she straps on her weapon. “Just practicing my makeup skills in case we ever need disguises. Do they look real?”
Rose raises an eyebrow to what ‘they’ really are, for she can’t see them, while her friend heads to the door while she answers in an approving tone. “If I didn’t know you, then I’d have thought they were natural. Let’s get going before we miss dinner.”
The officer silently agrees as she follows her out of the room and turns off the light.
Taking that as a sign that there’s no one else in the room, Rose pulls the grate out of the vent, and jumps down to get into the room. Once she’s locked the door and turned the lights back on, she surveys the orderly room to see that it holds ten bunk beds, each with two trunks in front of them.
She immediately goes to the bed where the two girls were talking and opens the trunks to find that the one in her right has clothes that can fit her. As she grabs the uniform and changes clothes, her mind begins to drift to the unknown marine who shares her voice.
The navy officer sounded so similar to the pirate’s tone, that it was like she was listening to herself talk.
Rose shakes her head to snap out of it as she finishes changing and puts her hair into a ponytail. *Now’s not the time to be wondering about voices!*
She grabs a cap from the trunk and puts it on before she looks inside for anything else for the uniform, but that’s all she needs as she finds another uniform neatly piled in the corner, while on the other side of the box holds a makeup kit, a stationary, stuffed envelopes, and a small mirror.
She reaches inside for the mirror, to make sure the blue neck scarf is straight, but stops when she notices that the reflection isn’t moving with her!
She silently gasps when she realizes that it’s not a mirror, but actually a photo of the marine who has her voice.
The wind girl can feel her blood run cold as she stares at her own face, with only two differences between her and the marine in the picture. The first being that Rose’s freckles are nowhere to be seen on the girl’s pale complexion. The second being that instead of a pair of amethyst eyes staring at her, big, dark green orbs take their place. “You’ve-you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me…”
With a trembling hand, she reaches for the photo of the brown-haired girl, to get a closer look in hopes of it being a joke. However, as she holds onto the image, there’s no denying what this means for her. *MY DOPPELGANGER’S A MARINE!*
TO BE CONTINUED
Rose quietly sighs at the fun memories as she softly grins at them. "You know though, it's good to see that not every cop is corrupted. He still chases me around, even when I'm a total shithead to him. He could easily let me go and not bother, but I think he really cares for us little guys. If I'm still in this world when I'm eighteen, I'm gonna come clean to him when I persecute Rick. With Bobby taking the case, I'm sure it'll be a fair trial."
Robert widens his eyes at the praise, and couldn't believe that this sentimental kid is really the sassy brat that he's been chasing for the past five years. Even though he knew something was up with her, he honestly didn't want to believe that such a happy looking girl was suffering. If he had caught her just once, maybe he could've changed things.
He tries not to feel too guilty about the situation, as he watches Rose shake her head from her little speech and give them the peace sign. "If I was being mushy, I'm sorry. I just didn't want to end the feed on a bad note. I'll see ya later, whoever you are."The video ends at that with both policemen being shell shocked at what they just watched.
He thinks back with a grin at the times he's enjoyed her performances on the roof, and sometimes tutored her in the guitar. "A few weeks ago, when I watched her play her guitar on the roof, she always goes there after she gets kicked out. Since it's been pretty quiet, she must've ran away. Good for her!"
The policemen blink at the happiness in the Russian's voice as they watch him walk back downstairs, just when the door opens.
As soon as Rick opens the door, he widens his eyes at the two cops in front of him, before he nervously grins at them. "Hello there, what can I do for you?"“Are you Rick Murphy?” Robert asks with the man nodding.
Naomi leaves the kitchen when she hears the loud noise, and widens her brown eyes at the sight of Rose's foster sisters running around the room to avoid her son's soda shots.
Timothy doesn't notice his mom's arrival as he stops shooting and glares at the spoiled women. "If you bitches are still calling her that then you haven't learned anything! Give me one good reason to hire you!"Laura steps up to him with a seductive smirk as she leans over the counter and bats her eyelashes at him. “With a pair of beauties like us, we can bring you in way more customers.”
Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed this new chapter. It looks like I'm finally out of my funk now that Skypiea is done!
I would like to announce that the next chapter will be a filler for what happened in New York after my favorite wind girl disappeared. If you guys don't want to read then I suggest waiting until the following chapter. I'll try my best to make sure that you won't be lost if you skip.
I believe that's it on the announcements so have a SUPER evening!
Please comment and let me know what you think. I don't own anything but the OC. One Piece belongs to Oda.
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