3 Chapter 3

Today was a very important day for Zoro.

He whipped his head around, surveying his surroundings. Now 10 months old, he could move his head freely as he wished. His vision had also improved significantly.

No one was around, and the atmosphere was quiet. He wasn't in bed but on the floor, well-fed and in good condition. It was a rare, perfect opportunity.

Carefully, he pulled his sitting body up, pressing his feet against the floor and pushing. Despite the lack of strength in his arms, torso, and legs, which made a straining noise, he didn't care.

Wobbling, with his feet sliding and legs trembling, Zoro slowly but determinedly stood up.

Lifting his head, he saw a higher perspective. Standing at 10 months old wasn't very tall, but it was still a significant change.


He had stood up for the first time in 10 long months without holding onto furniture or poles, all by himself.

Despite numerous attempts, this was the first time he had succeeded. Most attempts were stopped by Chie or Toji, deeming it too dangerous. This triumph came in a rare moment when both Chie and Toji were absent.

'Maybe walking is possible too.'

He cautiously stepped forward with his right foot, then carefully with his left. One step. Then another.

And then...

His right foot twisted, and his body suddenly lurched forward. His arms flailed, unable to find the ground in time. He braced for a tumble, calmly watching the ground approach.


Thick, solid arms appeared between Zoro and the ground, catching him.

Looking up, he saw a panting Toji. It was odd for him to be out of breath just from a little run inside the house, Zoro thought.

"Zoro, are you oka..."

Toji stopped mid-sentence, hugging Zoro tightly and checking him over. His eyes, lost, scanned every part of Zoro's body until he was sure there were no injuries, then he relaxed slightly.

Toji sighed and gently leaned his head against Zoro, a tremble even in that small contact. It was an odd behavior, like a large beast leaning on a much smaller herbivore.

"Don't do dangerous things when Mom and Dad aren't around."


"If you get hurt, both your mom and I will be sad."

Zoro knew that. Over the past 10 months, he had continually witnessed how much Chie and Toji cherished him.

Chie had been devoted to Zoro from the start, and even Toji, who initially found Zoro's presence awkward, gradually grew closer to him. Toji enjoyed playing with Zoro but never allowed or engaged in any activity that could even slightly risk Zoro getting hurt.

Like now.

'I couldn't have been seriously hurt even if I tried.'

The floor Zoro was walking on was covered with soft, child-friendly tiles, and all the furniture corners in the house were padded to prevent injury in case he bumped into them.

'It's an overreaction.'

He had no intention of getting hurt in the first place. If he did fall, he planned to cloak himself in Armament Haki.

Having become a baby, Zoro lost much of the physical strength he had built up in his previous life, but not his Haki. Haki was a power of the spirit, not the body.

'I'm not there with Conqueror's Haki yet...'

His Observation and Armament Haki were as proficient as in his previous life. And Zoro's mastery of Armament Haki was not so feeble that a mere fall would injure him.

However, that was something neither Toji nor Chie knew.

Zoro looked intently at Toji, who was breathing heavily as if he had just been pulled from drowning. Then, he slowly spoke up.

"So, rry."

Toji exhaled sharply and stroked Zoro's green hair.

"There's no need to rush. Whether it's walking or running, you'll be able to do it all in time."

You're especially quick, too… Toji's voice trailed off.

In fact, Zoro's physical development was remarkably rapid, to the point where a concerned Chie and Toji had taken him to the hospital a few times. Of course, no issues were found.

The reason Zoro kept trying to use his body was that he was dissatisfied.

'It's frustrating.'

Not being able to walk on his own? After ten whole months since his birth! Of course, for most babies, this was normal, but for Zoro, it was not.

Being reborn and unable to wield a sword was hard enough, but pretending to be a typical baby by just lying around was beyond Zoro's limited patience.

Toji tapped Zoro's head with his finger.

"You can't now, with your head looking like a mossy rock. Maybe when it's more like a mossy boulder, you can try walking on your own."

"Who's a rock?!"

"That would be you, my boy."

Suddenly, there was a sound, and Zoro looked down. Plastic fragments had fallen from Toji's hand, clearly pieces of something that had been whole.

Glancing at Toji, Toji awkwardly shifted his gaze and covered the fragments with his foot.

"It's nothing."

It was obviously something. Whatever he had broken was unclear.

Zoro had known Toji was strong and powerful, but he had never seen him break anything in their daily life.

'He usually controls his strength so well.'

He must have been too rushed coming here, completely unnecessary.

There was a sound of the door moving. Toji quickly shoved the pieces under the sofa and swiftly looked at Zoro. Zoro easily understood the meaning.

Keep silent.

Zoro nodded. The door closed, and Chie walked into the house.

"Zoro! Toji!"

At the sound of Chie's bright voice, both men looked up simultaneously. Toji picked up Zoro and approached Chie.

"Guess what I brought? Ta-da!"

From the black plastic bag Chie was holding, she took out a box of food that emitted a delicious aroma. Opening the box, steam rose, releasing a greasy smell.

"Toji's favorite, grilled intestines!"

A brief smile appeared on Toji's face. Zoro knew that the smile wasn't for the intestines but appeared after seeing Chie.

"Sounds good, let's eat together."

"Okay! Just a sec, I'll get something ready for Zoro."

It must be delicious. Zoro licked his lips at the sight of the intestines, but he was too young to eat it. He didn't have enough teeth yet.

"Zoro is still little, how about something else?"

Chie looked down at Zoro and smiled warmly. The memory of the first time Zoro had called out "Chie" and her face lit up like a sunflower overlapped with this moment.

Unlike Toji, who became more playful and comfortable with Zoro over time, Chie hadn't changed much from when Zoro was born to now. She always smiled brightly, was endlessly kind, and looked at him with eyes sparkling with affection.

Unconditional and consistent love is rare. For someone like Zoro, even more so.

Zoro watched her face for a moment and then nodded.

Suddenly, Toji spoke up as if he had just remembered something.

"Oh, Chie. This guy walked today."

"Really?! How did it happen?"

Despite agreeing to keep silent! Zoro glared at Toji ferociously. Toji looked back at Zoro and grinned, his lips moving.

'It was you who said to keep silent.'

It was absurd. So, he hadn't promised not to tell?

Zoro considered punching him in the chest but then thought better of it. With his current soft body, Zoro was more likely to get hurt himself. He wouldn't go as far as to use Armament Haki for this.

It's my fault for trusting him. Zoro let out a small groan.

"How did it happen? Did you fall? Wait, don't tell me you walked on the bed?"

"No, on the floor."

"The floor? But you were on the bed when I left."



You were supposed to keep an eye on him when he's on the floor! Chie smacked Toji's back repeatedly.

It was somewhat satisfying to watch, but the satisfaction vanished when Toji pretended to be hurt even though he clearly wasn't. Chie should know he's faking.

Regardless of how many hits Toji took, he stayed glued to Chie's side, holding Zoro tightly in his arms.

Zoro smiled faintly, listening to the back-and-forth between his parents. It was another typical, pleasant afternoon.

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