14 The Last Laugh #14

East Clover Town

The docks

"I guess this is it..." I said, sighing as I looked at the town's waterfront, feeling somewhat reluctant now that it was time to leave. The place was still the same hellhole it was, but I couldn't help but grow attached to it.

Everyone I knew was on this island, and once the ship I hired set sail, I'll be all on my own.

"Oh? Had a change of heart, have you...?" Kid said with a grin as he noticed my less-than-determined expression. "You know you're more than welcome to stay, Rick. I won't judge you too much for changing your mind, you know?" He added with a chuckle.

"That's very kind of you..." I replied, rolling my eyes at the redhead. "But no, I can't stay here. There's a whole world out there, and I want to see it all," I added with a shrug.

It's been a month since my meeting with Old Dean and my arm had already healed two weeks ago. I only lingered to explore the island since I didn't get to see much of it, what with Nyoka breathing down everyone's necks.

I also spent some time doing mercenary work as I was already close to a breakthrough in The Method after the fight with Nyoka, and the extra money would always come in handy.

I'll spare you the gory details, but I was now a bona fide superhuman by my old world's standards. Though I can't beat someone like Nyoka alone, I'd still hold my own for a while without getting my arms broken, at least.

"So where will you go first...?" Killer interjected, giving me a curious look as he stepped forward. "You said you'd travel the world but never mention your first destination," He added, tilting his head.

"Torino Island..." I replied as I nodded at Killer. "You both know I want to be a doctor, and that's the place to go if you want to learn medicine," I explained with a smile.

"Torino Island...?" Killer said, frowning at my words. "I'd heard it was a deserted island with nothing but trees and beasts... what medicine could you learn there...?" He asked in confusion.

"Well, you didn't hear about the tribe that lives there..." I said, shrugging my shoulder. "They're a bit primitive, looks-wise, but supposedly they have a very high understanding of medicine," I concluded.

"I see..." Killer replied, dropping the subject. "In any case, we will miss you here..." He added, trailing at the end of his sentence as he gave Kid a dirty look when the latter mocked him.

"Well, no one said you can't tag along. How about it? Interested?" I asked, alternating my gaze between Kid and Killer.

"Nah... this here little town is my world...," Kid said, momentarily glancing at Vicky as she was some distance away. "Besides, we just took over the place. It'd be a shame to leave without enjoying it..." He concluded as he turned to look back at the town, Killer nodding at his words.

"You two are beyond help..." I said with an exasperated sigh, shaking my head. "Anyway... the ship is about to depart, but before I go..." I added as I put my backpack on the ground and retrieved a small wooden box.

"I know you like fiddling with machines... this should be able to help you with that..." I said, smiling as I opened the wooden container and revealed the silver and yellow devil fruit, much to Killer's confusion.

Naturally, I accepted the Jiki-Jiki fruit from Old Dean because why the fuck wouldn't I? It was a powerful devil fruit, and I felt tempted to eat it, but it belonged to Kid, and taking it from him didn't sit well with me.

Besides, I wasn't sure I'd even eat a devil fruit since they had quite the downside. And if I was going to give up my ability to swim, I might as well get the best power for it.

"It's a devil fruit... it'll give you the power to attract and repel metals like a magnet..." I explained, watching with a smile as Kid's eyes widened at my words.

"Isn't this thing super expensive and rare...?" The redhead asked, giving me a strange look as he alternated his gaze between the fruit and my face. "No, you should eat it yourself or sell it. You need it more than me," He added quickly after his first sentence.

"I'll be traveling the sea a lot from now on. I'd take being able to swim over magnetic powers on a sinking ship any day of the week," I replied with a smile as I pushed the container toward the redhead. "And I already have plenty of money..." I continued, taking the fruit out of its container and putting it in Kd's hand as I noticed his hesitance.

"If you say so..." Kid replied, relenting with a nod as he raised the devil fruit in front of his face, giving it a once over. "So how do I...?" He asked as he turned back to me.

"You eat slowly, one small bite at a time..." I said with a shit-eating grin splitting my face. "And you need to eat it whole, or it'll go to waste..." I added, patting the redhead on the shoulder.

"Hm? Alright..." Kid said as he took a small bite of the fruit at my urging, his expression instantly darkening as he gagged. "What the fuck is this wretched thing...?!" Kid exclaimed in disgust, clearly resisting the urge to chuck the devil fruit into the sea.

"Hurry up and finish it before it spoils..." I urgingly said, barely holding in my laughter as I gestured for Kid to hurry up and eat the rest of the devil fruit, and he could do nothing but oblige.

Ultimately, it took Kid fifteen long, agonizing minutes to finish the whole thing, and he kept gagging and choking on his own saliva through every second of it.

Once he finished eating the fruit, Kid's eyes widened as he scanned the area, his gaze settling on Killer's crescent blades. He raised his hand, fingers outstretched, as he activated his newly-gained power, and the swords instantly flew toward him.

"Fuck!" Kid exclaimed, ducking to dodge the sharp blades as they over him, burying themselves into a wooden sign behind him. "This shit really works!" He added, looking down at his open palms with eyes wide in disbelief.

"Of course, it works..." I said with a chuckle, pausing once I heard the ship's captain calling for his passengers to board as he prepared to set sail. "Well, that's my cue, fellas," I said with a sigh, patting Kid's shoulder and nodding at Killer.

"Thank you for everything..." I concluded, removing my hand from Kid's shoulder as I headed for the ship without bothering to turn back. I boarded the vessel and immediately headed for the bow.

I kept my eyes on the horizon and waited until the ship set sail before walking toward the ship's quarter deck. I couldn't help but smile at the sight of Kid, Killer, and the others still standing at the docks, watching the vessel get further and further away from the shore.

"Hey, Kid!" I exclaimed at the top of my lungs to ensure my voice reached the docks and instantly got the redhead's attention. "You didn't need to eat the whole fruit! One Bite would have been enough!" I added, bursting into laughter.

"Fucking bastard! I should have known you were up to something when I saw that shit-eating grin on your face!" Kid exclaimed, his face turning red in anger. "Come back here so I can kick your ass!" He added through gritted teeth.

"You know what, never mind! Stay right there! I'll come and kick your ass myself!" The redhead concluded as he jumped into the water, instantly regretting his actions as he lost all strength and began sinking.

I just chuckled in exasperation as I watched Killer instantly jump after Kid and bail him out of the seawater. Despite almost drowning, the redhead didn't stop spewing profanities directed at me, even as he coughed out the salt water.

"You can't swim anymore, you dumb fuck!" I said, almost choking from laughter. "Oy, Killer! You better keep an eye on this moron, or he'd drown himself sooner or later!" I added with a grin, giving my friends one final wave as I turned around and headed for the bow.

"Here goes nothing..." I said, smiling as I felt the salty breeze and the wave's hit the ship's hull, splashing on my face.


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