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Disclaimer / Acknowledgment:
1) In writing this OP fic, I used a lot of references and influences from Greek mythology. Cheers to the Greek fans and users here! *thumbs up*
2) To ease familiarity, I based the story to be as close to canon as I possibly can. Therefore, the Strawhats are a 9 members crew, no Jinbe nor new recruits along the storyline here.
3) I admit I am not as detailed-observant as many other OP fans in the aspects of the Strawhats' respective personality, speech, antics, etc. Therefore, sharp readers may notice many times the dialogues could be out of sync. I sincerely apologise for this and ask for this to be excused and overlooked.
4) One of the main points I am trying to put across in this fic story is how dangerous the Grand Line (specifically New World and nearing the end of the OP quest) naturally is, without the element of human factor in it (e.g. Yonko, Marines, Shichibukai, human power struggle, etc). One example being the magical mountain tunnel, though may feel un-canon, but the trick pulled by the Face of the Mountain has killed many pirates dare to challenge the New World and to gain access to Raftel.
A few days sailing after meeting the Face of the Mountain, the Strawhats are on course to claim the Golden Fleece of Colchis, the legendary object that is the symbol of authority and kingship and a compulsory item to gain access to Raftel. The red corner of the vivre card is pointing the direction, with the words "Obtain the Golden Fleece of Colchis" written near that corner of the card. Suddenly Nami noticed the card pointed to a different direction, with its "pointing" corner changing its color from red to blue and the earlier seen words disappearing magically, being replaced by the words "Liberate the town of Namea". Nami gathered the nakamas for a discussion.
Nami: All, this vivre card has changed direction. Instead of going for the Golden Fleece, its now saying "liberate the town of Namea".
Luffy: What happened, Nami? I thought we are suppose to go fetch that object to go to Raftel?
Nami: I don't know. The card magically changed just like that. I have not seen such a vivre card ever.
Luffy: But I want to go get the fleece quickly, I don't want to be doing heroic stuffs *picks nose*
Zoro: Aye, me too.
???: No can do, my fellow pirates. You will have to encounter this obstacle in your quest for the Golden Fleece and succeed in order to gain a step closer to the legendary item.
The Strawhats looked around for the voice...
???: Its me, the card.
They looked at the card... A face magically appears on the card (same as the Face of the Mountain).
Nami dropped the card onto the floor and the crew stared at it.
???: Hello, nice to meet all of you Strawhat pirates. My name is "the Face on the Raftel Quest Vivre Card" but for short yo-...
Usopp: Yeah... yeah, I get it. Your short name is "the Face on the Raftel Quest Vivre Card" right?! (=_=")
Card: Don't be silly, its "Card", just "Card"!
All: THAT'S VERY SHORT !!!
Card: A good evening to all of you, Luffy, Zoro, Sanji, Nami, Robin, Usopp, Franky, Chopper and Brook.
Luffy: Ohhh... this is so cool! *pokes finger on the face of the card*
Card: Oi... Oi.. OI! Stop it... Stop it. I said STOP IT!!! *bites Luffy's finger*
Luffy: ARGH!!!! *flings finger, the vivre card flew and landed on Robin's palm*
Robin: I'm surprised you can hurt Luffy.
Card: Yes, Miss Robin. I can magically bite into his finger, negate his Gomu Gomu abilities.
Luffy sulks at a corner, his finger had a comically enormous swell being treated by Chopper.
Sanji: How did you come to know of us?
Card: Ah, Mr. Sanji but of course. After a few days being together with all of you, for sure I can easily pickup your names as you interacted with each other.
Nami: You mean all these times you have been sentient all along?
Card: Yes, Ms. Nami.
Usopp: Wait, didn't Nami and Robin bring you with them into their room?
Card: Yes, Mr. Usopp.
Usopp, Sanji, Brook: *nose bleeds*
Card: *nose bleed*
Nami: *annoyed face* OK, Card. Explain about this "liberate the town of Namea" business, please.
Card: (crumpled up) ... Sssssure, Ms. Nami. You see, you are on the quest to claim the symbol of authority and kingship in order to gain access to Raftel but along the way you will encounter challenges which you need to overcome as part of the quest, recall that Mr. Face of the Mountain mentioned this already to you. And here comes your first task. You will need to go to the town of Namea and liberate it.
Usopp: What is wrong with the town? Why the need to liberate?
Card: That is all I can tell you at the moment. You will need to go there to find out yourselves. But be warned, it will not be easy.
Nami: OK, Luffy...
Luffy: CHANGE DIRECTION TO NAMEA, FULL SPEED AHEAD!
Two days later, they arrived to the shores of Namea. They will need to walk a distant to reach the town inland. Luffy took Sanji, Usopp and Franky together with him into the town, leaving Zoro, Nami, Robin, Chopper and Brook on the Sunny. The Card is fast-asleep with no way to wake it up.
Arriving at the town, the group found the town to be deserted, with no obvious signs of occupancy. They walked around a bit, the streets, the alleys, the square, no signs of human at all.
Sanji: Not right, we don't see anyone but I can clearly sense presence of people. Let's search further.
The group entered the town hall and inside found people to be hiding, under tables, behind cupboards, inside chest boxes, behind curtains.
Usopp: It's all right, we are not bad people. Do come out.
Everyone got out from hiding.
Man1: You are not "it"?! Who are you?
Luffy: I am Luffy, I will be the Pirate King!
Man2: Pirate King? Are you strong?
Luffy: SUPER STRONG! *pulls up sleeve, revealed a thin upper arm, no visible bis and tris*
Later, at the town square. All the townspeople gathered, a fairly large group.
Sanji: So you are saying you need help to defeat the kidnapper of your townswomen. No wonder all of you here are men (young and old).
Mayor: Yes, we are not able to do anything as our women were snatched away from us. Please, I beg you. If you are strong, please help us defeat it.
Usopp: You say "it", what do you mean by that?
Mayor: The kidnapper... is none other than... the legendary Nemean Lion! At the same time, the Sunny was attacked by a giant lion. The sheer size of the king of beast made Thousand Sunny looked like a small toy. Zoro and Brook went ashore to fight the beast while Chopper, Nami and Robin stayed on the deck. However Zoro and Brook's attacks, though hitting their marks, does not seem to be effective as it fail to cut or injure the lion at all. Zoro noticed the lion is more interested in the Sunny than the fight that was going on, and retaliated by forcefully sending the lion away each time it got closer to their ship. After a few tried, the lion got visible angry and shifted its focus onto the two fighters. As the two swordsman charged in, the lion could easily parry their attacks with its paws. For a giant of that size, its agility is all but slow.
Brook: Kasuriuta: Fubuki Giri!
Brook tried to cut and freeze the frontal left paw, though connected but no cut wound visible on the paw. Then he was sent away with a swift backpaw swipe, completely knocking him into pieces but conscious, rendering him immobilized. Zoro was alone to facing the giant king of the beast.
Zoro: Santoryu Kokujo: O Tatsumaki!
Zoro created a huge tornado of slashes and sends it engulfing the lion. After a few seconds, the lion breaks free from the tornado and in its full agility gave a claw swipe at Zoro. The attack was so fast that Zoro was only able to realize the attack just a second before it hits and he was only able to dodge the paw partially. Brook, to his horror, saw Zoro having an long open wound on his left arm and he (Zoro) fell into unconsciousness. The Wado Ichimonji had a visible scratch at the side of the blade!
The lion walked towards the Sunny again and Chopper had no choice but to transform into Monster Point to fight it. The Monster Point Chopper is but two thirds the size of the lion. Knowing what does not work on the lion from watching Zoro and Brook, Chopper tries his best to halt the lion from reaching the Sunny by using wrestling tactics. With some help from Robin via Gigantesco Mano, Chopper was successful in preventing the lion from assaulting the ship a few times. Nami's attacks were not effective at all against the beast, thus of no help. Yet, time was against Chopper and as his time came to due, Chopper reverted back to his usual form and was also immobilized. Without the strength of Monster Point Chopper, Robin herself was not able to do much and got injured herself as a paw strike hits one of her giant limbs. With no one else standing in the way, the lion marched towards the ship. Nami pulled Robin into their cabin. The lion gave a claw strike at the side of the ship, tearing of the exterior, exposing the cabin that Nami and Robin were hiding. Luffy's group hurried back to the ship, fearing for the safety of their nakamas, especially for the girls.
Sanji: Damn! The mayor should have told us earlier that the Namean Lion could smell the presence of women in this island.
Usopp: I hope they are safe.
The group was stunned by what they saw left behind by the shores of the Namean beach. They could not believe the lion could be capable to cause all these, a bone-shattered Brook, an injured and unconscious Zoro, an exhausted Chopper, a severely damaged Sunny and the girls were nowhere to be seen.
- End of Act 2 -