One Piece: Path to Power

Choices. Crossroads. Opportunities. Plunged into a broken world ruled by the strong, Damien must decide how his newfound life will proceed. Navigating through conflicts and alliances, his journey intertwines with the fates of powerful figures and kingdoms, challenging the very fabric of the hellish world. Set against the backdrop of the legendary One Piece universe, this tale reimagines familiar characters and lore, weaving a narrative that explores themes of power, redemption, and the indomitable spirit of adventure.  Damien's quest is not just for treasure or glory but a deeper pursuit of a truth that could change the course of history. As the tides of the Grand Line shift and churn, Damien confronts the harsh realities of the pirate world, facing challenges that test his limits and forge his legacy.  In this saga of the high seas, only the bold dare to dream, and only the strong survive. Will Damien rise to become a legend among pirates, or will the unforgiving waters claim yet another soul?  The journey to discover 'One Piece' is as perilous as it is wondrous, and for Damien, every choice and battle is a step closer to his ultimate destiny. Join him as he goes against all odds in the world of Pirates, Marines, and Revolutionaries, sailing on the Path to Power! ---------------------------------------------- Further fanfic information, QnAs and a trove of images are found here: https://discord.gg/aJHHHPvb6q Average Chapter Word Count: ~2400 words This story will be posted on RoyalRoad, ScribbleHub, Fanfiction.net, and AO3.

Paradox_ · Anime & Comics
Not enough ratings
115 Chs

[16] Evolution

[3080 words]


[Grove 1]

"Ladies and gentlemen, friends and folks, welcome to this month's special recruits auction!" a man's voice boomed through the large halls.

The walls were nicely finished and cleaned up, with a well-lit and rather loud atmosphere.

"I kid you not, we have some incredible goods here today!" 

The audience was mostly male with some higher-class women involved.

The rows were neat and filled to the brim; people of vast professions, of all classes: government employees, merchants, citizens, businessmen, and nobles.

Though at the very front were the true VIPs. The ones surrounded by black-suited men. 

They were dressed quite flauntingly.

Four astronaut-looking people. 

They had glass domes on their heads for their own air to breathe and wore white suits all over their bodies.

Their eyes held great pride as if everything around them was all but worthless. A noble of a major country? Just another ant in their eyes.

They are the Celestial Dragons, four of them.

The auction was about to commence while the early proceedings were wrapping up. 

What the people involved didn't know was that a wanted man was traversing through the storage area.

The long hall was dark, lit by some large lamps above the central walkway. It was dry and damp, a few droplets of water trickled from the roof and onto a puddle.

The atmosphere was humid and simply void of both noise and vibrance, it was like walking through a field of dead and withered flowers.


Damien's red eyes glanced through the tens of cells with hundreds of soon-to-be slaves. Many expressions clouded their faces: anger, despair, rage, and pain.

'I thought I had moved on from my previous life and completely committed to this one,' the young man thought as he stood lost.

'Slavery? A heavily frowned-upon notion. Age, gender, and race are all up for cash. Something like this happened in my previous life and people would rise against it, and yet it's the norm here.'

Damien wasn't questioning the truth of his new life, but rather himself. 

The One Piece world, under the adventures and vibrant lands, was full of tragedies and broken people.

Damien had tapped into his past persistence to train like hell, but his mind had yet to graduate from that kindness.


Dull footsteps broke out as Damien reached for the cage.

He looked in and saw some eyes. One emotion shined through, the brightest of them amongst them: hope.

Such silent and helpless eyes left the pirate to ponder.

Damien had committed himself to reaching the peak of power. And yet he lacked an opportunity to leave it all behind.

From what he could see, his past life was getting in the way of his choices and perspective of this ruthless world.

It needed to be left behind; a necessary evolution.


A dull clattering resounded in the quiet prisoned halls as a bundle of keys fell before the one hopeful prisoner, a child.

"To bid farewell to my old life, I will free you all," he muttered. "It can be considered my final act of kindness and pity to fully accept my new existence."


The prisoner's hand shot out as the keys wildly jingled, as if fearful to waste even a second. 


The locks clicked open as the child ran out from the chains and the collar around their neck, rushing out.

The keys were passed along as the would-be slaves plagued out of the halls.


The ground shook as a handful became tens and tens became hundreds; the prisoners all running out and grasping and clawing every moment to escape from their misery.


Damien just watched from the side, seeing all kinds of desperate looks from the would-be slaves.

Such weakness left them prey for the predators.


The doors blasted open as eight guards came in, rifles drawn.

If they couldn't recover the 'goods' then naturally they would need to put them down.

They cocked their weapons and aimed to shoot.

Yet under all the chaos were two crimson eyes. Slowly but surely, they began to clear up and become firmer than ever before.

Damien's mind had let go of some chain that shackled him down, as the churning ambition began to blossom.

"From now on, I am Einar D. Damien, a pirate, and nothing more."


Upon his words came a screeching wave of energy, the ground under Damien's feet cracked as the waves rippled out.

The guards suddenly felt the weight of the world pressing down on their shoulders and very minds. Their eyes rolled back into their skull as their knees weakened.


One by one, they all fell. Dropping like flies, swept away.

"Hmm?" Damien felt the release of some inborn power, his hands subconsciously reaching out to bathe in the feeling.

The emptiness and relief left a need to breathe. A need to revel in his evolution.

"This is Conqueror's Haki?" the young pirate muttered to himself.

Damien was about to leave but soon felt something afoot.

A shadow of a child remained in a cell.

'Dead in sleep?'

He then heard the heartbeat, and something else.


It was an awfully comfortable yawn. One you'd make after waking up from a nap in school.

"Is it morning already?" a dull, young voice broke out.


The boy soon got up from the ground and slowly walked to the front in curiosity about the changed environment.

"A ra ra! Things look a lot different from how they were a few hours ago."

He had a sleeping mask pulled over his forehead, and the scruffy afro-like hair seemed dirty. Droopy eyes still waking up.


Damien felt something familiar about the boy's demeanour but he couldn't put his finger on it.

"The keys are right there, you can walk out of here if you're stealthy enough," Damien casually said.

The child looked at the ground and saw the bundle of keys, "Ehhh, it looks like a lot of work to go through them, can't you just pop off my shackles? You look quite strong, Mr. Pirate."

Damien smiled with intrigue and walked to the cage.


The metal bars groaned as they were bent without difficulty and ripped open.


The door was thrown into the wall and they crashed into a cloud of dust.

"What's your name, kid?" Damien asked.


All the while his left hand grabbed the cold collar around the boy's neck.


A subtle ringing broke out as the device seemed to activate. The ringing was getting faster every second.

The child woke up fully as some tension overtook the lazy eyes.

"On second thoughts, I'll take my chances with the ke-" 

Damien hummed at his words before he could finish as a mass of crimson energy bubbled in his palm.

The energy wrapped around in a string and was quickly inserted into the device.


The inner gears growled as their core was crushed and destroyed.


The air whistled as the collar crumpled from its solid form and off the child's neck. 

Damien casually tossed the metal scrap behind himself as it went off in a resounding explosion! One echoed in the now-empty halls as the dust and debris rained down.

The kid fell to the ground with a thud, his forehead swamped with cold sweat.


Damien smiled at the physical response, "No need to thank me."

The boy raised his face with annoyance, "Thank you!? I almost became the youngest documented case of a heart attack victim because of you!"

Damien showed an innocent face and gave a small shrug in return: "Hey, you're the one who said I looked strong enough to free you."

He then walked out from the dull cell and readied himself to leave.

The kid ran out with some excitement, "Wait, how'd you rip metal like that, that was kinda cool!"

Damien was walking out of the hall at this point as the young stray peppered him with questions.

"Are you really a pirate?"

"Do you have a pirate crew?"

"Why'd you save us?"

"Are you an ability user?"

"Can I do that too?"

Damien massaged his temples and gave out a sigh, "Maybe I should have left you in there."


The pirate soon stepped through the doors back into the auction hall and saw an unexpected sight.

Even the kid trailing behind him paused in his steps.


The young boy gave an audible gulp as his eyes frantically blinked, "Hey-hey, Mr. Pirate, this is a big deal!"

And it was.

Some of the freed prisoners had found themselves here, no, rather they especially wanted to come here.

The halls were empty and certain individuals were targeted by the prisoners.

Ones with enough prestige to even cause Damien to pause.


"Damn Celestial Dragons, you took my daughter and chained me up when I came for answers, this is what you deserve!"

"Give me back my wife!"

"My son came back broken because of you, pay for it with your lives!"

There were at least fifty of them.

The men in suits were long dead. They looked as if they'd been mauled by a pack of hungry wolves.

It was incredible what a group of enraged individuals could do.

Having their lives ruined or their parents and children ripped away from them, leaving broken minds living off vengeance.


"Damn ants, you know who I am!?"

"My arm!"

The World Nobles endured the slow and painful torture as the freed prisoners simply clawed at them with every ounce of anger.


The boy shook slightly, his breathing spiked as he saw the display.

"Such anger can turn them into monsters, animals…"

Damien hummed at the display and nodded in agreement.

The kid was about to ask something again but this time Damien answered before he could even speak:

"They've resolved themselves to die once the marines arrive, if anything, they're treasuring every moment they get to torture these Nobles."

The child nodded, some grief in his eyes.

Damien watched the expressions of the boy who interested him.

"You didn't tell me your name yet, kid."

The black-eyed boy with the scruffy hair was awfully familiar. A name came to Damien's mind but he waited for the confirmation. And it too, came.

"My name is Kuzan, just Kuzan."



[Fleet Admiral's Office]


A transponder snail hung up.

A different roar soon broke out.

"How could this happen!?" 

Kong clenched his rusty and scarred fists.


The desk of the Fleet Admiral was soon reduced to dust as its owner's fist descended upon it.

A Rear Admiral ran in and saluted.

"S-Sir! I just checked and most of our forces are deployed! S-Should I recall some?"

Kong eyed the marine and slowly shook his head.

A deep sigh escaped his mouth as he uttered, "Basara is responding to the Golden Lion's rampage at G-1 and Masao is deployed to keep Borealis in check considering his recent antics."

Kong then reclined into his chair while dialing a number.

"Puru," "Puru," "Puru," "Puru." 


"Kong-san, did something happen?"

Kong hummed with a low growl, "You recently took on the mantle of Admiral, I never meant this mess to be your first endeavour."

The voice on the line paused for a second and came back on, "I'm ready to depart right away."

Kong nodded in satisfaction, "Sail to Sabaody immediately, we lost contact with Celestial Dragons."

The voice once again paused.

"Kong-san, we've received news on the Rocks Pirates also making waves there."

The Fleet Admiral shook his head.

"Yes but the priority has changed, your mission is the Nobles."


The leading marine then leaned forward to the snail.

"Sengoku, no matter what, we can't lose face with Celestial Dragons at Mariejois, do what must be done; I'll send that unruly brat to head your way too!"

The reply came fast as the call soon ended.


[Grove 1, Sabaody Archipelago]

The entire surrounding zone, and even the nearby Groves had been emptied.

Not a soul left, only tracks of running and escape.

"Got it, Shakky-nee, I'll head there right soon."

Damien hung up his snail.

He then gazed at the kid in front of him.

[Image of Kuzan (in Discord)]

The two stood near the edge of the grove, right next to the open sea.


"You got over the mauling of those Dragons quite quick," Damien said as he glanced at the boy.

Kuzan looked at Damien and slowly said, "I did some stuff to get chained up, and saw some bad stuff too."

He then looked to the sea, "My father was gonna sell my sister and me, he died before it could happen but I got caught nonetheless."

Damien sat beside the boy.

"He died?"

"...I killed him."

"But he had already contacted the buyers, I was able to get my sister to a small family who lived on the same island, but not myself."

"She's only two years old and probably will forget about me in a few years… but at least she can grow up in a nice house, right?"

The boy soon wiped his face with his sleeve and shook himself out of the old memory.

"Even under those chains a part of me wanted to become a marine one day, give the oppressed a voice."

"And yet you were saved by a pirate," Damien chimed in. "Now, you're lost."

He nodded silently.


A few moments passed as he then asked, "What is your reason? Why become a pirate?"

Damien shrugged, "You're the second kid to ask me that. I just want to be the master of my own fate."

"Even if you have to kill for it?"

A determined light flashed by the pirate's eyes as he said, "If they get in my way, then yes, without hesitation."


Damien slowly stood up as he patted the non-existent dust off his attire.

"How about I give you the chance to find your path?"

The boy's lowered head soon shot up to meet Damien's in question.

Damien just smiled, "I'm no saint but I do what I want. I intend to gather some like-minded people one day under my flag. As long as you don't go against me, I'll let you figure out your moral compass."

The boy blinked in thought, but he was a little too young to fully see the big picture.

'Perhaps it's a little risky to invite a future Admiral but it is a power I rather not go against. I also got his devil fruit before, is this another quirk of fate?' Damien thought.


"Kuzan, don't think too much, I won't give you any handouts, just a place to train, hellishly at that. You can choose your path from then on."

The boy's eyes soon began to clear up.

"W-What if I choose to leave?"

Damien just shrugged, "No handouts, you get what you earn. I'll show you what the world hides from its everyday people, you can decide your fate then."

Though at this point, his calm tone turned sharp: "And if it goes against me, well, you would be wise not to get in my way."

The seven-year-old broke out with an audible gulp as he saw Damien's smile.

He then cleared his throat, "I agree! But I can at least rest often, right? Maybe fourteen hours a day?"


A fist slammed onto the child's head and he rolled on the ground in pain.

"Eight hours of sleep is enough, this training guide should help you understand what's to come."

Damien unconsciously showed a rather sadistic smile as he handed the sheet of paper that appeared out of nowhere.

Kuzan skimmed through.

Each line, each training routine brought an increasing amount of fear and apprehension to the boy's eyes.

"T-This should be the torture routine, are you sure you're not insane!?" 

Damien shrugged.

"A wise man I once knew, like myself, would say, 'A small price to pay for salvation', you'll get used to it."

Kuzan shook his head and dashed away.

Unfortunately, a vice-like grip grasped his jacket as he flailed around in the air like a dying fish out of the sea.

"Don't worry, if you meet my expectations then I wouldn't mind giving you a suitable prize."

He then kicked something into the sea.


It was a wrapped-up, bloodied figure of a Celestial Dragon that Damien had borrowed from the prisoners.



A Loch Ness monster-like Sea King soon popped out from the water as it roared its arrival.

The giant figure of the beast was gnawing away at the white-clothed Noble all the while it glared at the two in front of it.

Damien eyed the beast and a burst of overwhelming weight soon fell upon it.

The Sea King shuddered and whimpered as it swallowed the Celestial Dragon whole, though stuck in place.

Damien just glared at the sea monster and gave out an order:

{I want you to send this kid to Mortem Island a few days away.}

It was a mixture of Damien's newly conceived Conqueror's Haki and Voice of All Living Things which allowed him to command the weaker Sea Kings.

Mortem Island was one of the many less-than-ideal locations Damien found through his years of study.

No inhabitants.

Unforgiving weather.

Countless monsters.

Endless threats. 

Perfect place for a near-seven-year-old to thrive in their youth.

But some precautions were needed for him to get there safely:

{If you in any way allow harm to the boy then I will personally feast on you in front of your children.}

The beast seemed to make a familiar audible gulp and it comically nodded its head.


Damien hummed at the response and tossed the boy in his hand as if he were a sack of potatoes.


Kuzan landed on the Sea King's back, barely keeping himself on board.

"I swear I'll sue you for child abuse one day!"

Damien waved at the whining boy, "Good luck on the training, I'll make sure the Sea Kings properly 'educate' you if you don't put your all into it."

Kuzan gulped once more as he began to question his life choices.

He saw them disappear into the horizon, leaving the lonesome Damien behind.

A white paper that inched forward was soon pulled out, leading the way to his next destination.

"Looks like it's time to go meet up with the rest, I wonder what hell will meet us soon…"

To Be Continued…


Author's Corner.

Damien would fit well to align as chaotic neutral. Giving up his past kindness and embracing his new life as a pirate in the Rocks Era was needed to ever stand a chance of fulfilling his goals.

Images: https://discord.gg/aJHHHPvb6q