_________ POV Narration _________
The crew saw it clearly, what appeared to be nothing more than a village in the distance, all build around what looked to be the root of a large tree.
"I've never heard of something like this before..." Shiki sounded profoundly confused as he took out a map and started looking through it.
"Don't bother. If this place was recorded on any maps, then it wouldn't exist anymore..." Xebec's voice was rough, emotionless almost, as he continued walking closer and closer to the village.
Newgate and the others looked at each other with quite a bit of confusion, before continuing and following their captain.
"... Do you know this place, Francisco?" Kureha asked as she looked at their First Mate, who was walking in line with them, tracing the captain's steps.
"Not personally... No. But I think I've heard of it..." Francisco's eyes narrowed as he looked at the giant root/branch sprouting out of the ground in the middle of that village.
"... Well tell us! Don't go all cryptic on us..." Whitebeard scowled a bit as his blonde hair danced in the wind.
Kureha also nodded, expecting some kind of explanation from their one agreeable superior.
"I can't say for sure, as I've only briefly heard about this place..." Francisco then started speaking, looking ahead to his captain, as if asking for permission to speak.
Upon seeing the lack of reaction, as Xebec continued to walk forward, he simply decided to go on.
"This place might be Captain's hometown... The place where he was born." Francisco rubbed his chin as he remembered the few stories he had heard from Xebec regarding said hometown.
"Hmm? So that's what we're doing? Visiting his fucking childhood home?" Shiki's scowl deepened as he looked at his captain's back with a bit of hatred in his gaze.
"What a waste of time..." Whitebeard also shook his head, he had joined the Rocks pirates in a somewhat forced manner, but he still wanted to spend his time on more useful endeavours... Like making money.
His home was quite poor, so the more he made the more he could send back at the very least.
Kureha didn't really seem to care as much, she simply narrowed her eyes while looking at the back of her captain, likely plotting some other way of assassinating him using her medicine.
Alas, Xebec was completely immune to poison, and even regular medicine, so she was shit out of luck.
"... I doubt this will be a simple home visit if what I've heard from Xebec is real." Francisco gulped a bit as he turned and looked at the rest of the crew.
"Wait wait... So Xebec was a Lunarian?" Enel asked as one of his earlobes grasped at a sake bottle and brought it closer to him.
"... Yes. He was a Lunarian, born in the tribe we were visiting." Francisco said as he stopped relieving the events of that day for a moment.
Enel nodded when hearing that, countless theories bubbling up in his mind, as he realised that the origins of Rocks D. Xebec were far from ordinary.
'I guess him being a Lunarian shouldn't be shocking... But where were his wings?'
Shiki at the other side of the small table also sighed. "The next events are quite fucked up when you put it like that..."
"... I did hear some of what happened next... At least the results..." Enel frowned a bit as he remembered Sengoku's story regarding that same settlement.
"Well, the way we got to those results is even worse than you'd think..." A forced smile rose to Francsico's lips, as he then continued his tale.
"We're here..." Xebec muttered as he stood a bit closer to the village, it was so close that he could smell it at that point, the smell of civilization in a barren wasteland...
"What's the plan, captain?" Francisco walked closer to his captain, standing by his side.
The swordman's shape gaze studied the houses in the distance, all of them seemed to be lively, children were playing on the streets, and adults were working on different crafts.
It was a calming scene, a tribal society living secluded from the world, self-sufficient and happy...
"... This is disgusting," Xebec said as he scowled deeply.
"Oi, Moustache!" The Captain turned his head to look at Whitebeard, who just raised an eyebrow in response.
"Hit that village with everything you've got. I want to see it turned to dust, right now." Xebec showed Newgate a sadistic smile, his words shocking the rest of the crew into silence.
"I-Isn't this a bit much?" Asked Whitebeard as his eyes looked at the families living in that village.
"Did I ask for an opinion dipshit?! If you don't do it here, then we can go back to your hometown..." Xebec smiled as he showed his fangs to his tall subordinate.
"..." Whitebeard's eyebrows scrunched up as he frowned and looked at the village in front of him with a conflicted gaze.
Francisco also scowled a bit as he looked at his captain...
'What's on your mind...'
Newgate really had no choice at that point, Xebec never threw around empty threats, that much he had learned already...
Walking forward, he looked at the children playing in the distance with pity in his eyes.
Kureha behind them simply looked away, not wanting to bear witness to such a thing, while Shiki had his gaze just fixated on his captain's back.
A white halo surrounded Newgate's fist, veins popped out all around his arm as he flexed it.
"I'm sorry..." Only Francisco heard Newgate's words at that moment, nothing more than a whimper really.
With a roar, Newgate's fist broke the air in front of him, space itself cracked and the world trembled under the power of his devil fruit.
And just like that... Everything collapsed. The solid dirt of the Red Line cracked heavily, their houses turning to dust and being blown away by the sheer shockwave from the fruit with the capability to destroy the world...
Screams rang out as flames quickly started appearing all around the village, shocking the crew members once more.
Whitebeard's eyes widened as well when he noticed it, unsure how such a thing would've happened... 'D-did they have anything capable of starting such a fire in this village?'
"So those old fogies are still alive huh... Where is 'he' though...?" Xebec's smile turned more and more demented by the second, as the Rocks Pirates looked at three figures rising from the rubble, with flames dancing around them.
Three old men, all with white hair and long beards, all wearing tribal robes and wielding bone spears. Each had a set of large black wings on their back.
It wasn't long before said figures noticed the Rocks Pirates, all of them quickly started flying to intercept them.
Francisco's hand immediately appeared on the hilt of his blade, prepared to take it out at a moment's notice.
'These three... They feel dangerous...'
They certainly felt like a much greater challenge than anything they could've found in the first half of the Grand Line.
Newgate and Shiki seemed to agree, as they had both already taken out their weapons.
The fledgling Golden Lion pulled out his two blades from his waist, and Newgate took Murakumogiri from his back.
Xebec just continued smiling, his eyes shining with energy as he started cracking his knuckles.
"WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!" A booming voice was heard, and a 4th figure rose out of the wreckage, an inferno of white flames melting the debris around him.
The man was a bit younger than the other three, having a sharp jawline and rather handsome features, as well as a head of long black hair, coupled with a short beard.
His wings were even larger than those of the elders. And he was dressed as a tribal warrior, with a loincloth covering his lower body, and a bare upper body revealing a multitude of tribal tattoos.
He was wielding a strange sword, which seemed to be segmented, capable of turning into a whip at a moment's notice.
The middle-aged man turned and looked at the Rock's pirates, the hate burning in his eyes was noticeable even from a distance.
"You... XEBEC!" The man's wing's flapped immediately, and he had already travelled half of the distance between them in a single leap.
White flames engulfed his blade as he rushed forward, but he wasn't the only one acting...
Xebec's previous crazed smile turned serious, as he rushed and met the middle-aged man in the middle.
Xebec clenched his fist and a blue flame engulfed it, the flames formed a claw, as he clashed with the middle-aged man in that instant.
The Shockwave from their blast pushed the old Lunarian that had been rushing the Rocks Pirates back.
"Chieftain! You can't fight that demon alone, let us assist you!" One of the elders shouted as he twirled his spear around his wrist, his orange flames dancing in the wind as they completely engulfed his body forming a strange fiery cloak.
"Don't get involved you three! Handle his associates! I'll take him on..." The Chieftain shouted as he continued clashing with Xebec, flames, as well as dark blue and white lighting, bounced off all around them, as they clashed with both wills and fire.
Francisco immediately pulled out his blade and rushed the elder that had cloaked himself in flames, his blade clashing with the elder's spear causing even more shockwaves around them, and sending the elder flying backwards.
The swordsman patted his shoulder, as his clothes burned a little, while the elder simply wiped some blood from his lips.
"Xebec! You little rat! You even brought outside demons with you!" The elder shouted as his flames seemed to rage even more.
Xebec, however, ignored him completely, as he was having a conversation with the chieftain directly...
"What, did you think you wouldn't get to see me again?" Xebec's serious expression morphed a bit, as his lips turned upward.
"YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD JUST SELL ME OFF TO THE WORLD GOVERNMENT AND GET AWAY WITH IT?!" Xebec's enraged voice could be heard throughout the makeshift battlefield.
"Tsk! Why couldn't you just die quietly!?" The Chieftain said as his blade unfolded and slashed at Xebec's torso.
Even though the Captain had used armament, the blade still cut into his muscles, with blood spraying everywhere.
But he ignored it, as his flaming fist barreled forward and into the chieftain's chest, sending him flying backwards as a ball of Blue and White flame.
"Heh! You wish you little shit! You thought living under them would be better for us?! You were scared of my ideals, weren't you!? Well, my time as a slave only strengthened them!"
Xebec's eyes shined as his blue flames melted the ground all around him, the cut on his chest cauterising in an instant as well.
Francisco scowled a bit when seeing how his captain had gotten injured. The other crewmates behind them were also rather shocked to see that Xebec was indeed capable of bleeding...
But they didn't get a lot of time to relax.
Francisco's expression turned grim as the elder he had pushed back was quick to bounce back to him.
He was clearly the strongest out of the three, his flames burning the brightest and hottest, though they felt almost like nothing when compared to those of the Chieftain and Xebec.
Francisco smiled as his blade whizzed as turned completely black.
The treasure he wielded was a longer-than-average sabre with a green hilt and a wide and thin guard around the hilt. It was named Gryphon, one of the 12 Supreme Grade swords.
Francisco's Gryphon clashed with the elder's bone spear, sending sparks and blowing flames all around them.
But the other elders weren't staying quiet. Instead, they rushed over to help their fellow old man.
Seeing that Shiki scowled and jumped into the fray, his flying slashes intercepting one of the elders as he quickly started flying around and touching as much rubble as possible.
The other elder pressed forward through, with Shiki being unable to stop him.
At that point, Whitebeard clenched his teeth and also joined in, taking on the third elder with a flying shockwave sent from his Murakumogiri.
The fight raged on, as Kureha pulled out her mace and went to assist Shiki, who was the weakest of the three at the time.
She kicked up pieces and rocks, batting them towards the elder fighting the fledgling golden lion with deadly accuracy.
At that point, it was an all-out brawl.
Xebec's fight still raged on, as he chased after the chieftain without even sparing a glance to his crew.
"... So you all just ruined the village at your captain's command? And they were even able to retaliate?" Enel asked as he tried to wrap his head around the information he was receiving.
"Newgate had no way of refusing the captain's orders... Also, they did not just retaliate...
This was the first time in my life I've seen Xebec struggle... Just to give you some perspective... The second time I've seen him struggle like that was at God Valley." Francisco broke out of his trance as he answered his current captain directly.
Enel's confusion wasn't exactly satiated though...
'So Xebec was sold off to the world government as a slave... By the chieftain and maybe the elders? Were the Lunarians trying to work together with the World Government?'
There were far too many questions, and it seemed that Francisco could easily see the confusion in his eyes.
Alas, he couldn't answer unasked questions, so he just continued giving Enel some information regarding the Lunarians of old.
"The Lunarians were a strong race, it's no wonder the world government wanted them gone... They felt threatened by it.
Even the weakest adult was stronger than regular pirates on the Grand Line..." Francisco had a grim smile on his face as he explained more to his current captain.
"W-wait... So where are the rest of the adults in this story then?" Enel asked as he raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, they'll be arriving soon..." Shiki scowled as he decided to respond on his friend's behalf.
Francisco just sighed and continued his story...
Just as Shiki had said, the adults weren't all asleep or sleeping underneath the rubble of their former homes.
At the time when Whitebeard's Quake rippled through the village, only the weakest were there, children and some of the women to care for them.
The elders and chieftains were also present. But the rest were on a hunting trip... One that was cut short by the tremor they all felt.
Xebec wasn't worried about them in any way though, instead, he focused on the man in front of him.
Their fight was happening much closer to the village, much closer to the corpses of the children inside of it, all crushed by the shockwave or swallowed up by cracks in the ground.
"... Look around you! This is all your fault!" Xebec told the chieftain as his fists bled and clashed with the man's flexible blade.
"Don't go throwing around blame you demon! YOU are the one that refused to bend!
DO YOU THINK THE WORLD IS A JOKE? NO ONE CAN STAND UP AGAINST THE WORLD GOVERNMENT! You would've gotten all of us killed!"
The Chieftain shouted as he kicked Xebec's torso, flinging him backwards, only for the Chieftain's blade to turn into a razor-bladed whip and drag him back by wrapping around one of his ankles.
The Chieftain then smashed him into the ground and tried to rip off his leg.
Xebec scowled a bit in pain, as his hand grasped at the whip/blade. With immense strength, the captain pulled the Chieftain closer, the tribal warrior's feet dragging on the ground as he tried to resist.
"You coward!" Xebec's fist lashed out, hitting the man's face, only to be blocked with a forearm.
Xebec held the tribal warrior in place with one hand, while the other lashed out and punched him again and again, with blood and fire billowing out of them with every strike.
The Chieftain's muscles trembled as his bones cracked, each punch dealing irreparable damage to his arm, still, he held on, his blade cutting more and more into Xebec's legs, while their flames wrestled for control.
"They plucked my wings out and branded me like a pig! JUST BECAUSE YOU WERE TOO AFRAID I'D REPLACE YOU IN A FEW YEARS!" Xebec's voice sounded out with rage and distress, as he continued lashing out and turning the Chieftain's arm into a paste.
The Chieftan at that point was forced to let go of his blade and jump backwards, his arm hanging limply by his side and his body filled with slight burns.
Meanwhile, Xebec's legs were filled with cuts, one of his palms was completely cut open all the way to the bone, while the other was slightly burnt as well.
"You fool..." The Chieftain still scowled, despite his state. He looked around, hoping to see his elders winning and joining him in repelling Xebec... But the sight he was greeted with was something else entirely.
Francisco had already cut the elder he had been fighting in two, the elder's flames already long extinguished.
Whitebeard's fight was also over, the elder he had been fighting was already underneath his leg, as the ground around them was completely cracked.
Shiki had also somehow managed to finish off his opponent, encasing him in a ball of rocks and crushing him alive before burying him in the ground.
It was at that point that the Chieftain had lost all hope...
At least until they appeared...
A spear was thrown, forcing Xebec to dodge to the side.
Dozens upon dozens of adults appeared in the distance. The hunters were back to the village... And they weren't pleased...
Hope you liked the chapter!
Pretty long, but it was actually enjoyable to write about the Rocks pirates :))
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