20 Chapter 20 A dragons struggle

A 'fierce' battle was taking place in the original training ground of Kal's crew, gaining a closer look one can see a man desperately trying to land a hit with a dagger-like weapon, but the White-haired teenager had an advantage. Making what would probably be an even fight turn into a mockery. The clown-faced man went for a quick stab aiming for the man's neck while the teenager merely tilted his head before slamming a foot into the man's stomach sending him flying 20 meters into a tree.

"That's not going to work Corazon, your speed isn't high enough to win like that, You ate the calm fruit correct," Kal said, annoyed as he flashed next to him with a boot already against the man's chin sending him upwards into the air. The man slowly got up with blood dripping from his nose, he scowled and merely offered a nod.

"Well the only way you'll have a chance is to do the opposite of your fruit's ability," I offered him the only piece of advice I cared to as I charged back in.


Still in the same place I was before, I allowed the pair of Law and Corazon to leave and talk over how they should proceed now that Corazon's plan to rob me has failed. Realistically I could've killed him right here in this bar for his actions and still walked away as the 'good guy'. But after realizing that the relationship between Corazon and Law has already strengthened to such a degree it would be a mistake to act hastily.

'Hell the kid spent 13 Years planning revenge on the Doflamingo after he killed him, even crazier he made an alliance where he would have to fight an emperor to have Luffy help him beat Doflamingo. Absolutely insane, but pretty normal when you remember he's a member of D' I thought with a sigh before continuing the debate.

'The most problematic option would be to just let him walk away, possibly giving him info on Doflamingo's spy in the marines, Vergo. A risky proposition considering I'd only have his word he won't spill the beans to the fleet admiral. He may be an objectively 'good man' considering what he did for Law, but I don't trust the Dragons. Not even 'former' ones' I finished that option with a scowl as I quickly scrapped that plan.

"I guess the most asshole option would be to kill him and make it look like Doflamingo did it, feeding Law's desire for revenge as well as guaranteeing his loyalty once I promise to help. It's the cleanest option, a little deception and I'd have a Law's loyalty unconditionally. Good thing for them I'm not crazy, hell, I'm sure it would get found out eventually then I'd have my best member become my worst enemy. Plus the kid's been through enough, no reason to break him further' Deciding that the quickest option was also the riskiest I scrapped that plan as well.

'And then there's the most annoying but the safest and maybe the most fruitful. Force him to retire as a marine, with his relationship with Sengoku I'm sure he could get away with it. Hell, the old man considers him his son, gaining me a valuable foothold against the marines due to Sengoku's care for him. A very enticing scenario, not to mention I might eventually get personal missions to hunt pirates from the Fleet Admiral himself, risky as hell but it'd be a quick ticket to the big leagues to have a backer like that. Now, what would be the best way to force him onto the crew...' I thought before drifting off into deep thought, it's three minutes later that the doors open and the two walk back in.

Twisting around in my stool I give them both a long look, curious to see how they will handle this scenario. I could lie and say my cigarette didn't fall out of my mouth Sanji style, but hell I'm a transparent guy. I was shocked when I watched the former 'God' bow before me.

"I'm sorry!.... Please help him!" Corazon said with resolve, bowing with his head on the ground, sacrificing his pride to help an unfortunate child. I was honestly shocked still, I knew this man was the best the 'Celestial Dragons' had to offer in terms of how leaders should act and kindness, but even I was left dumbfounded at his decision. Sacrificing your pride is almost the hardest thing for a man to do, to do it and for a good reason is worthy of respect.

'Why does everyone on my crew have to be such likable bastards!' I thought in annoyance, without even realizing I already considered this man part of my crew.

"Law… You've agreed to my terms?" I asked with a smile, turning to the boy. I notice his hands shaking and tears falling from his eyes as he stands beside Corazon, obviously understanding just as well as I do what Corazon's act means and the complete change the scenario has undergone. The boy could only nod his head in response, probably embarrassed to use his voice at this emotional moment.

"Here… Board the ship, It's the black one with a hawk on its figurehead. Your room is separate from everyone else's. I've built you the best lab I could in the cargo hold, your room is adjacent to it." I said with a smile as I threw him the incomprehensibly valuable fruit like it was one of my spare cigarettes. The boy deftly caught it with genuine surprise marrying his features, he still doesn't speak. The tears increased three-fold as he ran out of the tavern with the fruit already between his lips.

Barley releasing the smile I turn towards the man that still hasn't stopped bowing, sighing I realize it's time for the harder task.

"Raise your head Rosinante, we have a lot to speak about, follow me" I said as I walked past the bowing man and held the tavern's door open, seconds later the man raised his head and followed me out of the bar.

We took twists and turns, traveling through grass and jungle until arriving at an almost destroyed part of the jungle, marked with patch marks and an insane amount of scorch marks, signs of intense battle marked the area. Still, neither of us offered a word as I came to a stop in the middle of the desolate area.

"What is this place?" Corazon asked curiously. Giving everything around him a curious look, specifically the signs of battle.

"This is my favorite battleground, hell I've probably spilled more blood here than I have in my whole body. This is where I first learned what strength was" I said with a smirk as I turned to him, Yang already out of its sheath. I could see him beginning to sweat before he asked a question I was more than happy to answer.

"And what was the meaning of strength you discovered?" Asked while pulling out a pair of daggers from behind his back.

"Well there were two, one was obvious while the other almost cost me my life to learn, I'll tell you the first one. Strength equals freedom…" I said before appearing next to him already mid-slash as he barely got his daggers up in a cross block, being sent flying 20 meters before I lost sight of him 'The calm fruit is so odd, it's like it forces your eyes to lose track of him because your ears lose the sound of him. Doesn't make sense, at least not yet, there's something I'm missing' I thought with a scowl as I took out a blindfold and put it over my eyes.

"An interesting power, it should be called the Stealth stealth fruit if you ask me. Perfect for retreating but you won't do that will you Rosinante?" I asked curiously in a relaxed position as I waited for him to attack.

In seconds I felt a mild attacking intent, focusing my Haki on that point I had a permanent lock on him, making his fruit useless.

{stab-right arm} {stab-right shoulder}

Easily readying myself I turned my body onto its side as I felt the wind from both blades that passed me, sending the hilt of my blade forward, sound was finally heard as flesh met steel as his body went flying again.

What followed was an absolute beat down, dodge after dodge, and not one attack landed on me. I could even begin to feel his annoyance at the situation through my Haki, hopefully meaning it is close to finally evolve. Considering this was the first time I sensed an emotion from Haki. Deciding to forgo allowing him to attack further I sent him flying back with a kick after a well-timed dodge.



"That's not going to work Corazon, your speed isn't high enough to win like that, You ate the calm fruit correct," I said, annoyed as I flashed next to him with a boot already against the man's chin sending him upwards into the air. The man slowly got up with blood dripping from his nose, he scowled and merely offered a nod.

"Well the only way you'll have a chance is to do the opposite of your fruit's ability," I offered him the only piece of advice I cared to as I charged back in. 'Afterall, Observation Haki can only be used when the user is calm, anticlimactic that it is the biggest weakness of his fruit'

Sadly for Corazon, my advice only further confused him because in the next five minutes, he was passed out on the ground, signally his defeat at my hand.

Positioning my blade near his neck I buried into the dirt centimeters away from killing him, content to sit and wait for him to wake up I pulled out a smoke for the wait.

Sadly I didn't even make it halfway through my smoke before he started stirring awake.

"Don't move too much, ya might kill yourself.huaha" I said with a laugh as his eyes shot open quickly focusing on the blade buried next to him mere centimeters away from his artery. He sighed in defeat.

"So do you understand what I meant by strength means freedom?" I asked him curiously. He seemed to think it over before nodding slowly.

"Well that's good, call Sengoku in two months' time informing him of your retirement," I said as I withdrew Yang from the ground and returned it to its sheath in a flourish.

"What! Why?" He asked obviously not actually understanding what I meant by strength equaling freedom.

"I guess you could say you're changing careers? Welcome to the crew." I said giving him my first real smile as I offered him a hand to help him up. He seemed shocked, almost subconsciously taking my hand and standing, a million thoughts seemed to race through his mind.

"I..I can't I have a mission…" He said trying his best to hide what he truly wanted, to watch Law grow.

"We both know you're on a wild goose chase at this point, Sengoku will never give the order to capture your brother in fear of the 'Celestials'. Former or not I'm sure it'd be a problem." I dismissed his mission as a waste of time, he seemed to have genuine anger appear on his face for the first time.

"You don't think I fucking know that! I have to be there to prevent at least some damage my brother will cause!" Corazon said with Vigor his resolve lighting in his eyes.

"A pointless endeavor, trust me. The only way the marines will take action is if someone else catches him, luckily I'm just a lowly bounty hunter" I said, giving him a devilish smirk as his eyes widened in disbelief.

"Join my crew! I guarantee that in two years' time, Doflamingo will be at my feet, captured or dead!" I said with pure distaste at even mentioning his name, unconsciously releasing a small burst of energy that caused Corazon to stagger and widen his eyes at my proclamation. Deciding to offer one more time I reached out for a handshake to seal the deal. He looked at me with surprise and mild reluctance before something passed through his eyes causing him to sigh and grab my hand with a smile.

"Thank you…. Captain" Corazon said with a genuine smile.

"Think nothing of it, now which do you prefer? Rosinante or Corazon? I personally think Corazon suits you better" I said, matching his smile while waiting for his answer.

"Corazon is fine Captain…"

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