I hummed a tune to myself as I was flying across the Grand Line at breakneck speeds, bored, but also looking forward to getting onto some land.
I didn't know how fast I was going, but it felt quite quick, so fast in fact that I had to keep my eyes closed and only take brief looks at my Log Pose to alter my flying direction.
With nothing better to do, I started to think about what I wanted in this world that was ruled by the World Government in turn, beholden to the vile Tenryubito, or Celestial Dragons.
Oh… There was also that Imu guy.
My true dream, prior to dying and ending up inside Shiki would be to find an Island that rained a lot, set up in a large stone, mediaeval castle and just read the years away in front of a warm fire, sipping on wine and eating exquisite desserts with a beautiful woman by my side.
I didn't particularly want children, but I wouldn't be opposed to the idea either.
But that was then, and this was now.
I was inside Shiki, a renowned criminal, with even greater strength that once served aboard the Rocks Pirates along with Whitebeard, Big Mom and Kaido, John, Silver Axe and Ochoku.
While I could use Shiki's knowledge and prowess to hide myself away, which was exactly what he did in canon, I didn't particularly want to hide away for the rest of my life.
I inherited not only Shiki's body but also his sins. Thankfully his strength was also a part of that package, for if I just woke up inside of him with only my memories, I would be living the rest of my life inside Impel Down.
So, what was I to do? There were many options, but the one that stuck out to me was becoming a Yonko and ruling a chunk of the New World with my crew.
I rubbed my chin in deep contemplation, thinking about what I wanted.
It was an hour later, with a chin that was a little red due to the excessive 'thinking' that I decided to go with my gut and become the fourth Emperor of the Seas, taking Shanks title and cementing my position as one of the Three Powers of the World. But I wanted to do it my way, with a twist and using my future knowledge to my advantage.
I won't deny it. I was probably a little unhinged and dissociative with this new life after overtaking the body of another human, but whatever.
That left the issue of what to do about a crew. From Shiki's memories, he had disbanded his crew before attacking Marineford in his suicidal mission and while he was close to some of his officers and treated them like family, the rabble of the crew? He treated them like dirt.
Some of them would seek me out if I sought them out, but it had been two years since Shiki was imprisoned and most of his crew would either have retired, made their own crew or joined someone else's.
Some did have my Vivre card though…
I had my work cut out for me, but I looked forward to it. It would be like my own short adventure through the seas until I took my place by force among the other Emperors.
But my crew would be different, more benevolent compared to the likes of the old Shiki or Kaido or Big Mom.
While I was no innocent man in my previous life, I liked to avoid conflict, as it was the logical thing to do, as I had no martial skill.
But I was Shiki the Golden Lion now, and there was only a handful of people in the world who could harm me. I was quite alright with taking things by force from those who deserved it, i.e., pirates and the shitty rulers of various Islands. And I wasn't averse to using a little pressure and threats to get what I wanted.
"Jehahahahaha!" I roared loudly as I flew through the air towards Water 7, my goal for the future tentatively set.
It would have been more dramatic if my decision to become a Yonko had coincided with arriving at Water 7, but alas, it was not.
Instead, I was still suffering under the effects of flying in the air at immense speeds with no protection for my eyes.
Shiki had no way to counteract this and just dealt with it. But he also never flew this much just to travel, usually just reserving his stamina to fly during battle instead, or doing so upon a ship if needed.
After testing this and that, I found the answer to be just applying a fraction of Armament Haki to my eyes, protecting them from the elements.
And so, with that out of the way, I continued towards Water 7, hoping this flight would soon be over.
When I was nearing the Island, I lowered myself so that I was only twenty or so meters off of the ocean, rather than hundreds of meters above.
Why did I do this? To see if I could spot any pirate vessels to rob blind for Beli.
Thankfully my plan was fruitful, as I spotted a vessel flying a Jolly Roger in the distance, leaving Water 7 and likely making its way towards whatever Island was next in their journey.
I drew Oto from its sheath, forgoing the dual sword style that Shiki utilised, preferring a single sword for its greater freedom, giving me the ability to use my other hand freely, allowing me to activate my Devil Fruit at will.
I flew with even greater speed towards my target, leaving a massive wake of seawater behind me as I rocketed towards my unknowing victims.
My initial plan had been to just jump onto the deck, beat up some pirates and make off with a couple million, but after using my Observation Haki, my blood went cold.
Slaves, their turmoil was like a beacon to me.
They had two 'fresh' slaves aboard the ship and I just couldn't allow slavery to occur before my eyes.
The original Shiki was no slaver, but he also didn't care about things like that in truth.
I, however, was from a more civilised era and abhorred the very idea of slavery and those that practised it, like the Celestial Dragons and those that profited off the sale of sentient beings, slave traders like Doflamingo.
After arriving before the ship, I tapped its side with my free hand and lifted it high up into the air, while also slowly adjusting their momentum so that they wouldn't all go flying into the walls of the ship as I brought it to a stop.
It took them a few seconds to notice something was wrong, indicated to me by the amount of confused shouting.
And while they were running around like headless chickens, I floated above the Bow of the ship, waiting for the scum below me to notice.
It was some random crew member that was the lucky one that did eventually notice me, "C-C-Captain!!!"
"What the fuck do you want, maggot? Can't you see were floating in the fucking sky?!" the Captain of the slaving pirate crew roared in a demented rage at the nobody.
"L-Look!" he managed to say, sweating profusely and pointing at me with a shaking hand.
Gritting his teeth, the Capitan turned to where the mook indicated and his face turned pale as he saw me in all my glory, looking at him with cold, dead eyes.
He gulped audibly, as the rest of the panicked crew also came to a stop and noticed me.
While they stood gaping at me, we rose higher and higher into the air, all the while I raised my sword arm and waited.
Once I decided we were high enough that anyone who fell would die from the impact, I lowered Oto in an instant, letting out a single beam of yellow light that severed the Captain from head to toe and also split his ship near cleanly in half.
I allowed the two pieces to split and drift apart causing the corpse of the captain to fall into the ocean.
It was soon joined by a dozen crew members who failed to hold onto something, unlike their slightly luckier and smarter fellow crew members.
I made sure that beam of energy I let loose didn't come anywhere near the two slaves I had found, the room they were locked in keeping them from falling off the newly made side of the ship.
After a few more idiots fell off and plummeted to their deaths, I turned the two halves of the ship upright again and re-joined them with my Devil Fruit temporarily, so I could land and speak to the survivors freely.
I landed with a soft tap of my bare feet hitting the wooden deck of the ship.
Everyone just looked at me with fear, none of them risking their lives by attacking me. Some of them even looked off the side of the ship to see if jumping would be better than staying aboard with me.
None were stupid or brave enough to attempt it.
"Bring me all your treasure and the two slaves you have stashed away in the bulkhead," I ordered, authority dripping from my voice, making sure everyone knew the gravity of the situation.
I didn't tell them I wouldn't kill them, or anything of the sort. I just ordered them to do my bidding, pulling upon the old Shiki's experience dealing with pirates and my own smouldering anger at the men before me who engaged in slavery.
"R-Right away sir!" a couple of them shouted before turning and giving the crew orders.
I just stood there and waited for a few minutes, Observation Haki letting me know that they were rushing to comply with my orders, filling the chests with Beli, gold and gemstones.
Seemed they were actually quite a rich crew. I suspected that they frequented Sabaody Archipelago a lot, the main Island that dealt with the slave trade, even before Doflamnigo turned it into an even greater haven for slavers, resulting in an extremely lucrative business.
The first chest was brought out by two pirates, each carrying one end and struggling under its weight.
They placed it down a distance away from me, but I didn't want that, "Closer."
They shivered slightly, and complied, placing the chest before my feet.
Soon it was joined my by ten more chests, filled to the brim with treasure of all sorts.
Eventually, the two slaves were brought out to me, covering in rags, but whoever brought them decided it would be best to give them coats at the least.
I hadn't been able to tell with just Observation Haki, but the two slaves were women.
I looked the two of them over, they seemed battered and bruised, but their eyes hadn't lost their light and it seemed they still had a strong desire to live, even with the brutality they must have suffered.
"It's alright. Come closer," I told them with a kind smile.
They looked at one another and nodded, before coming over and standing at my left side and looking at the crew with a dangerous glint in their eyes.
"How much treasure do you have here?" I asked them as I looked over the ten very large chests before me.
"About 300,000,000 Beli, G-Golden Lion, sir," a pirate brave enough to speak eventually told me.
So, they did realise who I was… Interesting, but meaningless. Now the mix of treasure before me was more than I expected truthfully, more than enough to buy an amazing ship.
But did I need an amazing ship right now? The marines were probably searching for me desperately along with their intelligence division, Cipher Pol. It would be best to limit the time I spent on a single Island before I consolidated my power.
"I see," was all I said as I floated into the air and with a quick slash, separated the tip of the ship that had the two women and chests of treasure before me.
Someone brave enough decided to ask the million-dollar question, "W-Will you allow us to live, sir?"
I hummed to myself, pretending to think about his oh so very important question. Well, important to him.
I had already killed a bunch of people. Something that was quite normal for Shiki, but I should have been quite shaken by that fact.
But I wasn't. It was either the effect of Shiki's memories or, again, there was something wrong with me, being able to just kill without a thought or worry.
The tension was palpable as I rubbed my chin and looked at the two girls at my side.
One had red hair and the other blue. Truly, this was a strange world that hair colours such as this were the norm.
"What do you girls think? Should I let them live?" I asked them, curious about what their answers would be.
Red answered first, her voice tired and gravely, "I don't care."
"I see, I see," I said nodding and asked, "And you, Blue?"
"Blue?" the blue-haired woman asked me with a quiet voice.
"Don't know your name..." I explained a little awkwardly, mumbling my reply.
Red just smirked at that, the first sign of positive emotion I'd seen in either of them.
"Ah… It's Konan…" she told me in that soft and quiet voice of hers.
"Ahh. Okay. Konan then, what should I do with them?" I asked, turning my head slightly.
"Oi! Boys! Fuck this! My life isn't going to be decided by some two-bit, bitch slave who thinks she's not the same mewling whore from last night!" a pirate dumb enough shouted in anger, drawing his pistol and aiming it at me.
"Heh," was all I said as I swung Oto lazily and cut off his head from a distance before he could even fire.
"So? Konan?" I asked her, wanting an answer.
"Apologies sir." she said with a slight bow, "If it isn't too much trouble, I would very much like you to, again, if it isn't too much trouble, to please kill them all," she explained, wishing them all dead with the politest tone I have ever heard.
I nodded in acceptance, storing Oto back into its sheath by my side and ignoring the callousness of this woman.
I placed my two hands together in a clap, closed my eyes and bowed towards the pirate crew who were in shock at Konan's polite request.
"Rest in peace," was all I said as I activated my Devil Fruit and caused the part of the ship that I wasn't standing on with the treasure and two women to break the sound barrier and go hurtling into the ocean.
I looked down and knew that most of them had died instantly, and any that were strong enough to survive, likely had crippling injuries and would soon drown.
Seriously. I was taking this way too well.
I turned to the duo, and introduced myself, "The names Shiki, nice to meet you two."
Konan bowed politely, "Thanking you for saving us, Golden Lion, sir."
Red, on the other hand, was a little rougher around the edges and more suspicious of me and just mumbled while scratching her hair, "Err, yeah. Thanks… Shiki."
Red seemed to have gained a little more life in her tone, but it was still gravely and tired it seemed.
Konan though didn't seem to like her partner not introducing herself, so she elbowed her and whispered and said, "Introduce yourself."
"Geez, chill Konan," Red groaned in annoyance, but a single glare from what I could now see wasn't only her fellow former slave, but friend, was enough to chide her and obey.
"The name's Irene," she said, not rudely, just brashly.
"Nice to meet you," I said with a happy hum. Seeing the two former slaves have some life in them and interact like what I presumed was normal brightened my heart after all the murdering I just committed.
I walked over to the chests and opened a couple, nodding happily as I was pleased with the amount of treasure in there.
I pocketed large stacks of Beli in my black and tattered kimono, for use in Water 7. A couple hundred thousand should be enough for some basic clothes and a hotel room.
I didn't have a key, but each chest had a lock, so I just tapped each one and willed them to close before I turned and stood before the two women again.
"Well… I'm heading to Water 7. I saved you both, so you are my responsibility now… I'll watch over you two while you heal up, get some grub in your stomachs and some Beli in your pockets. And after I've settled my business in Water 7, I can take you two home, wherever that maybe," I explained to the two while we floated high above and a still a fair bit from Water 7.
Brief pain crossed their features at the mention of returning them to their homes. I didn't really know what to say when I noticed that, so I just patiently waited for the two to reply.
They shared a brief look at one another, not saying a word, but communicating with shrugs of their shoulders or nods of their heads.
"Umm. We would be extremely grateful for your protection… But we would very much not like to return home," Konan explained to me.
"I see… well, your decision. We can deal with the rest when the time comes," I said with a nod and lowered the small section of the ship towards the ocean slowly.
The girls grabbed the wooden rails in shock as the lump of wood we were standing on started to move, but seeing that it was perfectly safe, didn't react negatively after that.
Instead of going at a faster speed, I just willed the section of the ship towards Water 7 at a brisk pace, feeling the ocean air run through my long locks of golden hair.
"So umm. Weren't you meant to be locked up in Impel Down and supposed to be an old man?" Irene asked suddenly.
Konan didn't reprimand her friend at the question, seemingly also curious as to the answer.
The first part was easy. I escaped… but the second? What was that about? Now that I think about it, Magellan did mention something about me looking different… I fought the urge to use Oto or Kogarashi as a makeshift mirror and decided I really needed a proper mirror once we got to Water 7.
"Well. I escaped," was all I said in response, ignoring the second part of the question.
Both girls just blinked and shared a look, "How?!" Irene shouted.
Konan was a more dignified in her questioning, yet still confused, "You escaped the impenetrable Great Prison, sir?"
I nodded and said, "Yeah. Broke my shackles after a couple of years of deep soul searching and decided to leave. Simple as that."
I mean, it was mostly a lie. But there was defiantly some soul fuckery about since I took over Shiki. So… mostly a lie with a drizzling of truth?
"I see…" was all Konan said, blinking rapidly in acceptance of my answer.
Irene mumbled something about me not answering the second part of her question, but I just ignored it. I had no fucking idea why I looked different from the real Shiki. I should look the same, I'm in his body after all!
So there was some discussion over on the Discord if Konan (Naruto) and Irene (FairyTail) were caricatures of their original characters.
I want to say no, they just have the same names and looks. Different people entirely after their physical features.
I decided to name them as such so people could easily picture what they look like, (Just google it if you don't know who they are) as I plan on making them prominent parts of the story.
Thanks for reading!
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