A/N: Chapters in advance in Patreòn
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(~30 chapters in advance)
Title: Cheap Shot...
'What a nice day this is.' – thought Max, as he stood on the helm of his ship and looked at the endless sea in front of him. He wore a new red suit that Sharlia thought looked quite good on him. He wanted to get a brown one since he had the Bear-Bear Fruit… Raynare heavily disagreed with that. – 'But why though? Raynare herself had the Crow-Crow Fruit and black looks amazing on her. Oh wait… brown… it looked like it would be covered in… yeah, I understand where she was coming from.'
Max was now in the first half of the Grand Line and felt relief. The enemies wouldn't be easy to handle here, but at least he had a chance to defeat them if they met. Unlike the New World where meeting a Yonko meant Game Over… depending on the Yonko though, since Shanks was a pacifist while Whitebeard might let him go due to the old man being good-natured as long as he didn't kill any of the man's sons.
Kaido and Big Mom would spell death to any Marine Captain who crossed them.
He shook his head, not wanting to worry about things he could do nothing about… yet.
His thoughts wandered idly, thinking about things that would be normally useless.
"Captain Max, a pirate ship is closing in on us," said Raynare, acting like the ever polite subordinate that she was. Max smiled gently at her and nodded.
He then gave the orders. "Tell the men to prepare the cannons, and get the competent ones to do it. Not some half-wits with a stutter."
Max knew just how horrible some untrained marine cannon shooter could be. It's pretty much a guarantee that they will hit nothing with them. So he solved that problem by training some of them to become semi-competent at shooting.
An unassuming marine came and saluted at Max. "It seems like the ship belongs to the Spade Pirates. How should we deal with them, sir?"
"Hmmm~" Max contemplated that for a second, he wondered if killing off Ace would be a feasible option. – 'Nah, Garp would be too troublesome to deal with if I killed his grandson. Plus if it came out after his death that he was Roger's son, then both Rayleigh and Shanks might come after me. Still though, only Ace needed to live, his crewmembers and… actually I could send him to Impel Down and no one would care who took him in.'
Of course, Max planned to keep the timeline somewhat attached to the future knowledge he knew of. After all, he did plan to make use of key events in the Manga to play them to his advantage. But if Ace or even Luffy for that matter, somehow anyone became a threat to his life… Max will kill them without a second thought. The world no longer was just a Manga to him, it was the real thing now.
"Hahaha, I am ready to shoot some pirate scum!" Sharlia's voice rang through the ship as she wore a normal marine uniform and had a gun in her hand.
Max appeared next to her in an instant, to the rest it seemed like had teleported due to how fast he moved.
"Okay now Sharlia, I told you not to play with these things," he picked up the rifle from her and she pouted like a kid who had lost her favorite toy. But Max wasn't having any of it as he pinched her pouting cheek till it was red.
"Ow, ow, ow, ow!" Sharlia yelped in pain, it felt like her cheek was burning, "You don't know how to treat a lady!"
"Lady? You?" He raised a questioning brow, making the World Noble shake in anger.
Raynare looked at their antics from the sidelines, not wanting to get involved in whatever mess might ensue. She wondered if the ice cream maker that Max had bought in Sabaody Archipelago was working. So she went to check the thing and planned to pick up another bowl of ice cream. She hoped that Max would be preoccupied with the soon-to-come battle and wouldn't notice that someone was about to use it.
But Max's eyes were on Raynare like a hawk and a malicious smile adorned his face, "Where do you think you are going?"
"Uh…" she tried to come up with a good excuse, "Make sure that the cannons are all on order and those fools don't blow themselves up."
"Hmmm…" Max looked at her suspiciously but decided to let the matter go, "Okay, just make sure that there is a clear chain of command in that place and no one panics at a crucial time. Also, we all know what Fire Fist Ace is known for, so don't panic at the sight of fire."
He then looked at Sharlia, "And you girl are past your bedtime. So go to your room and write a one thousand word essay on why you shouldn't pick up a gun if you haven't trained how to use it."
"What?!" She exclaimed in shock, "A thousand words! That's too much! Also, what's the big deal? Everyone else has a weapon."
"Are you questioning my decision?" He asked Sharlia casually, before turning to his men and getting them to be on watch for any random storm or anything and not to panic.
"N -No… I am just asking some questions," she stuttered before noticing the critical gaze in Max's eyes and slowly stepping back towards the door that will lead to a stairwell. "Anyway, hope you are a badass out there fighting pirates. So… bye~"
Sharia then ran off panicky, Max shrugged nonchalantly.
On the other hand, in the Spades Pirate's ship, some of the pirates weren't so sure about what they were about to do.
"Ace, I don't think this is a good idea," Deuce advised "That guy took you down in one hit."
"It was two." Added Ace.
The vice-captain of the Spade Pirates sighed, sometimes trying to convince Ace of something was hard. "Yeah, well it doesn't matter, he could have done it in one and-"
"No!" Yelled out Ace in defiance, "He couldn't have taken me down in one hit. The marine guy needed two!"
Deuce sighed, sometimes Ace went on childish tantrums like this. Usually, he was quite the reasonable captain to have, but at times like these, he became stubborn. It was either his way or no way.
Suddenly a tall round man with circular sunglasses came into the mix and said. "So, let me get this straight. You want to go in a small boat with a white flag that represents surrender… and then what? Get on the marine's boat and negotiate for the next fight's schedule. Am I right?"
"Yep!" Ace nodded enthusiastically.
"How the hell will this work?" Complained Deuce, before deciding to give up in the hopeless endeavor of convincing Ace otherwise.
"Trust me, it will." Said their captain full of conviction. Making the others feel like this wouldn't be such a bad idea.
Ten minutes later, one of Max's men informed him of a small boat bearing a white flag coming at them.
"Shoot it down." Ordered Max nonchalantly, without even bothering to check if Ace was in the boat… because he knew the young man was there.
The sound of loud cannons rang out, and Max scratched his ear thinking maybe he should get some ear protection equipment for the crew.
"That was a cheap shot!" Yelled Ace as he was bound by seastone handcuffs.
Max on the other hand scratched his chin and asked, "Have I seen you before somewhere?"
"It's me, you bastard! Fire Fist Ace! You knocked me out in two shots and I want a rematch," demanded Ace, "Since attacking your ship would be rude. I thought that maybe an envoy would be better."
Raynare looked at the Fire user like he was mentally challenged. "You could have just used a Transponder Snail and call us."