102 Chapter 101

24 years ago from the current year 1510, a world-shocking incident occurred.

"XEHAHAHAHA! BURN, FILTHY CATTLES! THERE IS NO PLACE FOR YOU IN MY NEW WORLD!"

The pirate whose strength seemed to have no bound. One who was daring to take over the world and rule it as its sole king.

'Behemoth' Rocks D. Xebec. Wanted Dead or Alive for 5,353,000,000 Beli. With 'Whitebeard' Edward Newgate, 'Golden Lion' Shiki, 'Big Mom' Charlotte Linlin, 'Beast' Kaidou, 'Captain' John, 'Strategist' Ochoku, and many more of notable strengths in his crew, he was perceived as the doom of the world.

This man, abruptly showing up in 'God Valley'—a non-World-Government-affiliated kingdom situated in West Blue—began to wreak havoc for the purpose of attaining the treasures under the grasps of Celestial Dragons.

"ROGERRRR!!!! SHOW YOURSELF!!!" And on that day, Monkey D. Garp was present, roaring in enthusiasm, "TODAY'S THE DAY THAT YOU'RE GOING DOWN!!!"

"Gahhh, get out of my way, Garp! I'm here to see Xebec, not you!!"

And also, there was the man who will be hailed as the King of the Pirates, Gol D. Roger.

"...Don't interrupt Roger, Garp." The Vice Captain of the Roger pirates, Rayleigh, frowned as he unsheathed his sword, "I'll be your opponent if you dare to come in his way."

"Wahahaha! Be gentle to him, 'kay Raileigh?!" Laughed Roger as he excitedly ran past them, much to Garp's annoyance.

"BE GENTLE MY ASS!!!" Roared Garp.

On this day, the Marine, joining hands with Roger pirates, miraculously defeated the Rocks pirates. With Xebec's defeat, the crew dissociated into numerous pieces, spreading throughout every corner of the unexplored New World.

God Valley, in the end, was erased from the surface of the world, and the prideful Celestial Dragons who joined the "human hunting game" in this God Valley, had to retreat in panic. And as they did so, many slaves, caught pirates, and many more were brought along...

...including a 2-year-old boy slave who was alone since his birth.

And there only lied more suffering ahead for this boy.

"Hahaha! Look how ugly you are, boy! That brand mark on your head... heh, it fits you well!"

"A young boy slave with no name... how poor. Well, not my concern though~!"

"Give me that bread!! It's mine, you filthy child!!!"

From all around, there was hostility only. Surrounded by them since his birth, the boy learned from the overflowing negative emotions, of what a cold and harsh place this world was.

"Teach? You want to learn? Hahahaha, listen! Education is a privilege in its own right! An idiotic and useless slave like you... only deserves the brain of a calf!"

Therefore, he taught himself.

"N... ame...? Name... things... I don't have a name..."

He wished to learn. He wished to know more. He named himself as the word that resonated with him the best,

"...Teach."

One day, this boy named Teach accidentally dropped a stack of plates that he was supposwed to carry. It was by no means a task meant for a small and malnourished child like him, but nonetheless, the Celestial Dragons only expressed anger,

"Useless slave! Throw it in the dungeon and let it rot till its death!"

Roughly handled by the burly adults, Teach was thrown into a dark, underground dungeon that he's never seen throughout his life in Mariejois. There was no food, no water, no warmth, no item for use. The only thing that Teach could do was to crouch and preserve his heat as much as he could... waiting for a slow, agonizing death.

"Xe... ha... ha... ha... how... long has it been... since I... got... a visitor..."

Then, a hoarse voice from his back. Teach slowly turned, finding his body shaking in front of the embodiment of immense willpower. With his eyes having adjusted to the dark, he came to see...

...man of horrifying and monster-like appearance, with multiple knives stabbed through his bald skull, with the skin missing on his face—revealing the red layer of muscles underneath, and with his body, where all four limbs were severed, being fully coiled by bloody chains of seastone.

"...What's your... name... kiddo..."

Somehow still alive in this state, the man mumbled. Teach, filled with the fear for the man, found himself answering,

"Te... Teach."

"...Teach..." The man grinned, "...What a fine name... it is—"

__________

"—Haaa, huff, huff..."

Dark in the night, Teach found himself breathing rapidly as he massaged his temple.

"Huff... huff..."

Currently sitting on the Crow's Nest of his ship, 'Saber of Xebec,' he lifted up his free right hand and found a bottle of liquor in it.

"...Zehahaha... it was a close one."

Teach, wiping the sweat on him, laughed weakly,

"I almost let you loose there, Teach... so you still haven't given up yet, have you..."

Why was 'Marshall D. Teach' able to convince Shiki, Ochoku, and John? Why was this no-name fellow able to gain the support of powerhouses—ones who were objectively stronger than this man back then?

The answer was simple.

"Back then, when you were thrown into the dungeon... I was in bliss. After barely surviving through years with the slightest drops of water from the ceiling and the maximum operation of Seimei Kikan, I was standing in the path of agonizing and inevitable death. Back then, if Celestial Dragons didn't make a mistake as idiotic as letting you within my presence... I wouldn't have attained this second chance."

Dark Dark fruit absorbs anything in its path. And funnily enough, it is capable of doing the exact opposite—expelling anything that it has absorbed—including a human soul.

That's right. Rocks D. Xebec... he, momentarily overcoming the effect of seastone with his devilish will, 'pushed' his soul into Teach's consciousness. In the process of doing so, his soul settled in Teach's body, and with his body having physically died, the Dark Dark fruit was no more at his disposal.

Then, through the operation of Conqueror's Haki, Xebec's been suppressing the original Teach's will. If he were to sleep, the latter's consciousness would resurface, which may give rise to many complications.

"The existence of two souls in one body induced many abnormal shifts in the growth of this body. And..."

This man, Teach and at the same time, Xebec, chuckled as he placed his hand over his chest,

"...Vanishing twin syndrome. Upon the inspection, I came to learn... of how you've been a killer in your own right—killing your very own brother in your mother's womb and engulfing his heart for your greed. You've taken over the soul of your brother, and I did exactly the same to you. Oh, the irony... perhaps it was meant to be this way, Teach."

Finishing the bottle of liquor, 'Teach' threw it away into the sea. Standing up from the Crow's Nest, he gazed at the crescent moon ahead of him.

"...Regardless, stay happy, boy. After all, your body will soon be hailed as the one and sole 'god' of the world. And the omniscience that you wished for... shall also be attained."

Dark in the night, the ship continued to sail to who-knows-where.

"ZEHAHAHAHA!"

From the start to the end, the story of one individual named Teach... was that of tragedy.

__________

__________

May 13th, 1510.

This was the day in which the Normid city of Century island, located in Paradise, was abruptly invaded by the recently rising Nightshade pirates.

"Kill all men. Capture all women and children. If you see anything of worth, take it."

Their captain, 'Nightshade' Remian, was the super rookie whose bounty reached 250,000,000 Beli.

<<All marines, protect the citizens with all your might! Officers, quickly gather at central plaza and give hands to Vice Admiral Maynard!>>

Marines and pirates clashed against one another. Rounds of gunshots flew back and forth, blood sprayed all around, and corpses helplessly fell one after the other. The noises of metals clanging against one another filled the battlefield, and the weak civilians... all that they could do here was to run or hide, praying that pirates wouldn't find them.

"The World Government took everything away from us…" One civilian, having given up, hollowly stared at the trembling bodies of his family, "And pirates… you've dealt a finishing blow."

Slowly, the tears fell out of the man's bloodshot eyes,

"W-What… what a hell of a world that we're living in..."

Click.

The man halted his breathing as someone pointed a pistol right at his head. Shifting his shaky eyes to the side, he saw one dangerous-looking pirate, with spiky blonde hair and sharp eyes, returning the man's gaze with one filled with perversion.

"D-Dandylock the 'Bullseye'..." The man said with a pale expression, and in return, the pirate grinned widely.

"Blood... kill or be killed."

BANG!

"Damn you..."

In the middle of this disarrayed battlefield, Maynard, wearing a white justice coat that was stained by blood, was on his knees, with his hands clenching onto a katana sword that had its blade embedded in the ground. His body, suffering numerous cuts and wounds all over, clearly wasn't in a condition to continue the fight.

In contrast, Remian, standing in a calm and collected state, lifted up a handkerchief to wipe a sprinkle of blood on his cheek. He, being the man of long and straight purple hair that reached all the way to his waist, adjusted the round glasses laid on top of his sharp nose.

"Vice Admiral Maynard. So I heard that you've been chasing after us for months." Said Remian, "And I must comment, of what a disappointment you are."

"Nightshade...!" Maynard struggled to stand back up, but to no avail, "I, huff... I haven't lost yet, so do you dare get cocky in front of me...!!"

"...Shut his mouth, Legday."

Clang! Clang!

One bald man of gigantic size aside Remian, 'Armstrong' Legday the vice captain of Nightshade pirates, clashed his metallic gauntlets against one another. With a deep frown on his face, he walked toward Maynard for the purpose of following his captain's command.

"Hm..." Legday let out a faint growl, "...No hard feelings, fella."

"Tch..."

Maynard's face darkened, knowing that he simply wasn't strong enough. No matter how much he tried to exert his strength, his body didn't budge—no, his will simply wasn't strong enough.

After all, what was he currently fighting for? After contemplating the meaningless deaths of his colleagues, what he managed to reach wasn't that of a determination, but rather, a resignation instead. Having given up his free will to the oppressive World Government, he's become their mindless pawn.

Even today, his purpose wasn't to save those in need of help, but to carry out the order from the above.

"..."

Legday's shadow loomed over Maynard. The former raised his right gauntlet up, intending to inflict a strong down-blow onto the latter.

Maynard, at this moment, closed his eyes, helplessly. The civilians who were looking at him in hopes, felt a wave of despair rushing over them.

"A pitiful life, and now, a pitiful death. The only thing I can grant you," Legday said sternly, "is one without a pain."

Then, the gauntlet descended. Few marines, realizing what was about to happen to Maynard, shouted—which quickly became muffled.

CLANG!

However, the blow didn't come. Instead, the noise of heavy collision was heard from Maynard's above. He, slowly opening his eyes in confusion, raised his head up, and saw,

"...Long time no see, Maynard-dara."

Bastille, his former colleague, blocking Legday's gauntlet with his bare hand. With the metallic mask over his face and a huge greatsword on his shoulder, he stood at a height even greater than that of Legday's.

"B-Bastille..." Maynard whispered with a cold sweat, "What... what are you doing here...?"

BOOM!

"Ugh...!!"

And just then, Dandylock, with his arms crossed, was found to be blasted back from one side of the battlefield. He, with a grimace, observed the deep bruises on his forearms.

"Ha... you got Hina's suit dirty."

As the smoke cleared, Hina, wearing a clean red suit over her, was standing in front of the cowering civilians. Crackling her knuckles, she casually approached the nervous-filled Dandylock.

"K-KILL HER!!!"

The pirates, seeing as how Hina ignored their existence and walked toward the troubled Dandylock, kicked marines away and launched themselves at her—

BOOM!

—only for her to counter them with her iron-hard punches, causing others' eyes to pop out in shock.

"..." Remian, standing in the middle of this development, adjusted his glasses in silence. Then, he spoke,

"'Black Cage' Hina and 'Steel Mask' Bastille. Why are the traitors of Marine helping their foes, I wonder."

"Foes?" Hina raised her eyebrow, "Who decided that?"

"The public, the World Government, or whoever it may be. Choose your favourite."

Remian's shadow, having extended out from his feet, suddenly morphed and expanded into the abnormal size. Rising up from the ground and manifesting into a physical entity, it stared at Hina and Bastille with maliciousness—one in which none among the two were fazed of.

"Sadly, I've long finished my deduction." Remian then stated, "If your strengths amount to that of Maynard over there, then even the three of you aren't capable of taking me down."

Then, Maynard scowled. He whispered,

"...He's here, isn't he."

It wasn't Remian's words that got Maynard emotional, it seemed. As Remian narrowed his eyes, wondering who 'he' may be, Bastille answered,

"Yes, he is."

Plop.

"...Rain?" Legday raised his head up and saw that the sky was gloomy. One by one, the rain began to drop onto the battlefield, one that brought many to a surprise.

"Hey..." One muttered, "Wasn't it sunny just minutes ago...?"

"...He?" Remian mumbled, "Who may this man be—"

Plop Plop Plop!

The light rain poured down to the ground. Feeling confused about the weather's abrupt behaviour, Remian's eyes slowly narrowed—

—Ba-Bump.

All of a sudden, Remian found his heart stopping from the wave of invisible force—one that completely engulfed his fragile mind and filled it with fear.

"...Welcome to the Grand Line, rookie," Said Hina as she placed her hands in her pockets and turned around, knowing that the battle was already over,

"and goodbye. This is where your vile adventure ends."

One white-haired man, wearing a casual green jacket and navy jean, walked across the still crowd.

"U-Ugh..."

Splash!

"What... even... is..."

Splash! Splash!

As he walked through them, the pirates fell down to the wet ground without any resistance, with their eyes completely hollowed out.

Splash—!

And Legday and Dandylock was of no exception. Their bodies stiffened up before falling face-first on the drenched ground.

"W-What... Legday! Dandylock!"

The physical form of shadow behind Remian, reflecting his state of mind, retracted back into its original self as if afraid of something. He, unable to process what was going on, called out the names of his unconscious crewmates—thought that had no effect on them.

"H-HEY!!"

This man, one who looked calm just a moment ago, was now akin to a child looking at his worst nightmare.

At this moment, Maynard muttered,

"...Smoker."

"You look awful, Maynard."

Smoker, walking past Maynard, Hina, and Bastille, stood right in front of the petrified Remian impassively. Then, without any further words, swept his hand horizontally,

SWOOSH!

instantly severing the criminal's head in one go.

Splash!

As Remian's severed head fell with a splash and rolled to Maynard's front, Maynard's body shook in humiliation. Gritting his teeth, he shouted,

"Why are you here... Smoker?!"

"That's none of your business."

Smoker, not even bothering to face Maynard for once, then continued walking, leaving Maynard dumbfounded. Hina, silently glancing at Maynard and sighing, then turned and proceeded to follow Smoker.

"...Until next time, buddy-dara."

Bastille, leaving one statement for Maynard, chased after the two. The marines, witnessing the march of three individuals away from the resolved scenery, couldn't do anything but shiver.

"SMOKER!!!"

In this state, Maynard screamed,

"WAIT THERE, WHITE HUNTER!!! I'LL ARREST YOU IN... in... in the name of... justice..."

Splash. Maynard, ending up falling on his back, hollowly looked at the sky that began to clear up.

"...Damn it..."

He didn't know anymore. He simply whispered,

"...Once again, there you are, saving thousands' lives as if it's nothing..."

...

Creak—.

Meanwhile, Smoker, along with Hina and Bastille, entered one store in the city. Looking at the owner of the store who was curled up with his eyes shut tight, Smoker spoke up,

"Hey, owner." Ignoring the man's terrified state, Smoker ordered impassively,

"You got an Eternal Pose for the Foolshout island?"

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