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2 weeks after visiting New Ohara, Flora stops at a small island in the West Blue for rest and relaxation.
While her ship is anchored nearby, Flora is on the beach in her bikini sunbathing. She lies down on the sand, enjoying the warmth of the sun with her straw hat shading her face.
Flora: yes Blu, what is it?
Blu: I’m bored
Flora: Blu, we went through a rough storm yesterday. Can’t we just take a break?
Blu: you’ve been lying there for several hours already! Aren’t we going to go anywhere exciting?!
Flora: sorry, I don’t have… any exciting plans now.
Blu: booooo. Booooooo. Booooooooooooo.
Flora: Blu, don’t forget that I allowed you to keep that translator collar on the condition that you won’t annoy me.
Blu: Come on. Isn’t there a lively island we can go to and an amazing person we can meet?
Flora: I’ve already been to many places and I had my share of the excitement. Now, I just want to settle down for a while.
Blu: can we at least take a stroll through the forest? We might find something interesting in there.
[Flora finally stands up.] Flora: fine, if you insist. [puts on her sandals, a pair of shorts, and her equipment with Blu wrapped around her shoulders]
Flora then walks straight through the forest until she reaches the beach on the other side of the island.
Flora: all that walking and all I found are pineapples and not a single animal anywhere. [She looks around the beach and spots what appears to be a big block of ice in the distance.] What’s that?
She approaches the said object and finds a tall man, with his sleep mask on, napping on a chair made of ice. She continues to walk closer to the man and he suddenly wakes up.
Aokiji: [yawns] that sure was a nice long nap [takes his sleep mask off his eyes and sees Flora] hmm?
Flora: ……………….uh, hello?
Aokiji: oh my my, such a pretty young lady. Got some free time on your hands?
Flora: well, yes. Actually, I don’t know what to do next.
Aokiji: what a coincidence, I don’t know what to do next either.
Flora: where did you get this ice chair?
Aokiji: I made it myself using the Hie Hie no Mi. [makes another ice chair for Flora] would you like a seat?
Flora: …….who….are you?
Aokiji: I am Kuzan, but I was also known as Aokiji during my time as a Marine Admiral.
Flora: ……I heard of you!! You were one of the most powerful Marines there is!!!
Aokiji: now now, there’s no need to be alarmed. Yes, I was an Admiral, but I’m not scary, I’m really a nice, friendly guy. So may I ask what your name is?
Flora: it’s… uh… Marguerite.
Blu: Hey! Wait a minute! Your name is… [Flora turns off the translator collar] (Hey! Why did you turn off my collar?! Turn it back on! Turn it back on!)
Aokiji: are you alone? Don’t you have a crew?
Flora: Other than having this snake with me, I’m just a lone traveler.
Aokiji: you must be very independent if you travel by yourself. So what does a nice-looking lady like you doing all the way out here?
Flora: I was just seeing the world and meeting some certain people. But now that I have met these people, I’m just going around without a destination in mind. What about you?
Aokiji: as for me, I just go wherever I please and take nice naps. Life is short you know so I just enjoy it while I can. Since we both have nothing better to do, is it alright that we have a little chat? I hardly remember the last time I get to speak with someone so… cute.
Flora: fine, whatever
Aokiji: hmmmmmmmmmm………. Sorry, I don’t know what to talk about.
Flora: ……. Aokiji, why did you become a marine?
Aokiji: ?? well, it was to uphold the peace and to protect the world from criminals. What else?
Flora: so what were the old days like, before and after the Pirate Era started?
Aokiji: before the beginning of the Pirate Era, there was Gold Roger, the most fearsome pirate there ever was other than Edward ‘Whitebeard’ Newgate and then there was Monkey D. Garp, the coolest Marine there ever was. Garp once helped me in the past and he was offered a promotion to Admiral several times, but he kept turning it down, saying that he didn’t need a higher rank. Pretty admirable don’t you think? I remember the good old times when Garp would immediately jump at the chance to capture Roger. He even once casually walked out of a conversation with the then Fleet Admiral Kong when he saw an opportunity to fight the future First Pirate King. Garp cornered Roger many times, but he never succeeded in apprehending the once great pirate. However, one year after Roger became Pirate King, he, for some reason, decided to turn himself in. The old government then attempted to use Roger as an example to prevent others from becoming pirates. They hoped that Roger’s death would be a warning to crush the spirit of all pirates. Unfortunately, things did not turn out exactly as they had planned. Everyone knows how Roger’s last words started the whole era in which hundreds, if not thousands, of pirates would go wild on the seas. That era may have been good for the pirates, but it was very chaotic for everyone else, especially innocent civilians. You have no idea how much people suffered when they were caught in the pirates’ rampage. The Marines had their hands full, trying to maintain order and minimize the damage that pirates caused. Perhaps things would have worked out differently if Roger was gagged during his execution. That way, the world wouldn’t know that there was a “great treasure” up for grabs.
Flora: tell me, did you enjoy being an Admiral?
Aokiji: hmmmmm… I suppose being an Admiral did have its perks. I mean not many people would boss me around. Plus I get to take naps as much as I want.
Flora: I heard that should a World Noble be opposed or injured, an Admiral will be summoned to take down those responsible. Would you… really fight on a World Noble’s behalf?
Aokiji: why you ask? Do you have something against the World Nobles?
Flora quickly draws her sword and holds it close to Aokiji’s throat.
Flora: THAT’S NONE OF YOUR CONCERN!!! AND IF YOU SAY “YES”, I’LL CUT OFF YOUR HEAD!!!
Aokiji: please, please, please, put that sword away. A cute girl such as yourself should not be so… feisty. And if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll say I wouldn’t fight for the World Nobles. Fair enough?
Flora sheathes her sword.
Flora: I also heard that you have a history with the Straw Hat Pirates.
Aokiji: oh, that small group of misfits. Sure brings back a lot of memories. My earliest known history with them was way back at the Ohara incident when Nico Robin was at the age of eight. I was one of the five Vice Admirals chosen to lead the Buster Call attack. An old friend of mine, Jaguar D. Saul, was also selected, but he chose to defect and fight the Marines instead.
Flora: ever thought about why he did it?! Did you really believe that the old government’s orders were just?! Did you just follow their orders without question?! Did you really believe that the scholars of Ohara really wanted to destroy the world?!
Aokiji: woah, woah, you’re starting to sound like Saul. I’ll tell you that the thing called “justice” changes its shape depending on where you stand. Therefore, I do not hate Saul for what he did.
Flora: what about the one called Akainu?!
Aokiji: ……..I have to admit, Sakazuki was a fool for taking things way too far, and he had no remorse in taking innocent lives. He destroying that civilian ship was a complete shock to me. I realized that “absolute justice” sometimes can drive a man insane. I helped Nico Robin escape even though it was going against the government’s orders. My friendship with Saul was enough reason for me to respect his wishes and let Robin go. If you’re going to ask if I enjoyed taking Saul’s life, please don’t. I may have the power of ice, but I’m not cold-hearted. However, before Robin left, I made it clear to her that I’m not a friend and I would come after her if I had to.
Flora: well, you did a lousy job helping Robin. You could have made sure that no one saw her escaped. How could you expect Robin to live her life peacefully when the old government had the whole world coming after her? You’re just lucky that your superiors apparently had no idea that you helped her in the first place!
Aokiji: I was well aware of Robin’s plight. Since I did help her, I took it upon myself to keep an eye on her for the next twenty years. And it was unfortunate that she wasn’t able to find her place during those years. That is until she joined up with the Straw Hats. I first met the crew on Long Ring Long Land. I went there personally just to see Robin and of course Monkey D. Luffy for myself. Robin sure was scared out of her wits when she laid eyes on me. As for the Straw Hats, they were certainly a small and rowdy bunch, but at least they had a beautiful sexy lady with them. They also were pretty ignorant since they obviously had no idea who the Admirals were until Robin told them. At first I acted friendly towards them, saying that I had no intention of arresting them. Then I tested the loyalty of Robin’s companions by spouting nonsense about Robin’s past in order to create doubt and uncertainty. When Straw Hat got angry with me, he reminded me of his grandfather. That aside, his crew got guts standing up to me. But they couldn’t stop me from freezing Robin solid though they did manage to get her away from me before I shatter her into pieces. Straw Hat held me at bay by challenging me to a one-on-one fight. Such a bold move on his part. After I froze him, I realized that by agreeing to a one-on-one fight with him, I could not attack his crew. Doing so would make me a dishonorable man. While I could simply put on end to Straw Hat right there, I didn’t. I spared him because he did the world a favor by foiling Crocodile’s plans at Alabasta. And concerning the case about Robin, I felt like everything about Ohara should be put to an end once and for all at Enies Lobby and so I contacted CP9 before the Straw Hats arrived at Water 7. Robin did not run like she used and gave up willingly, but the crew didn’t know when to quit. I honestly did not expect them to successfully challenge the judicial island and defeat some of the government’s most feared assassins.
Flora: so not everything went according to your plan, huh. Instead of breaking the crew apart, you only made them stronger.
Aokiji: it would appear so. And seeing how Robin finally found her place in the world, I showed no hostilities towards her ever since. While the Straw Hats were escaping Garp, watching their new ship fly off into the distance was truly a sight to behold. But there was a time that we would meet again.
Flora: such as the War of the Summit at Marine HQ?
Aokiji: you sure know your history, very good. Straw Hat’s entrance into the war was… a memorable moment. Seeing him falling out of the sky along with some other big names was… really something.
Flora: so tell me, do you believe Portgas D. Ace deserved to die?
Aokiji: ……………At this point, a question like that would be completely irrelevant. Fire Fist Ace made his choice so it doesn’t matter what I think. Speaking of the war, it was the first time since the beginning of the Pirate Era that I have been into any serious action. Straw Hat got spirit, but that can only get him so far. If he had learned how to use Haki at that point, he might have fared better. But still, he was somewhat of an inconvenience. And despite their claim that they would rescue Ace, it seemed to me that the Whitebeard Pirates and their allies were not up to their game. As for Whitebeard himself, he sure picked a bad time to have a health problem. The “strongest man in the world” had a fall from grace in more ways than one. The moment Whitebeard started coughing up blood, Sakazuki didn’t have much problem burning a hole on his chest. In the meantime, Borsalino and I fought against two of Whitebeard’s top division commanders, Marco and Jozu, respectively. Regardless of their reputation, they went down the moment they were distracted and neither me nor Borsalino sustained any serious injuries. How disappointing. It’s very ironic that if it wasn’t for Straw Hat, Ace would have died on that scaffold. Straw Hat’s display of Haoshoku Haki wasn’t something to take lightly. Despite all the setbacks, Ace was indeed freed due to the pirates’ efforts. After Straw Hat and Fire Fist had a brief brother-and-brother team-up against the Marines attacking them, Whitebeard gave his crew one last order, acting like he had won. Well, he soon learned that he was too quick to assume victory. Fire Fist took a lethal blow meant for Straw Hat by Sakazuki and died with a smile right after. Not only Straw Hat’s struggles had been for naught, Whitebeard sustained hundreds of grievous wounds for nothing. And it wasn’t until after Ace’s death that Whitebeard really went all out. Sakazuki took a serious beating, but it wasn’t enough to keep him down. Maybe Whitebeard would have a better chance of saving Ace if he had attacked Sakazuki with the same kind of rage during their first round. But none of that matters now. Whitebeard then met his end at the hands of the Blackbeard Pirates. However, before Whitebeard died, he confirmed the existence of One Piece, which would motivate many more pirates to ravage the seas. Perhaps Marshall D. Teach should have aimed for Whitebeard’s head while dealing the death blow so Whitebeard would die without saying a word. Anyway, it was such a huge shame for the Whitebeard Pirates. They entered the war with confidence on their faces and later left with their eyes filled with tears. What a pity. As for Straw Hat, he had one thing many don’t have, not even his brother: luck. By the way, I wondered what Straw Hat was trying to do when he returned to Marineford a few weeks later.
Flora: were you happy that you won that war? You say that Ace made his choice, but wasn’t he sentenced to execution because he was the son of the first Pirate King?! I heard that the old government hunted for him before he was even born! Do you think a person should die just because of his blood?! Or did you just simply follow the old government because they were your superiors?!
Flora: That’s it?! Nothing!! At least your old friend Saul was brave enough to follow his own moral judgment and not act like a puppet for the old government!! Akainu’s willingness to kill innocent people and his own subordinates obviously didn’t affect his standing in the Marines as long as the government got what they wanted! And not to mention that there were other Marines as worse as him! And what’s worse, despite your claim that you protect the innocent, the World Nobles were allowed to do as they pleased, even murder and enslavement!! You knew that not all pirates were evil just like not all Marines were righteous! You were one of the highest-ranking Marines there was and yet what have you done to change the world for the better?!
Aokiji:………I’m afraid nothing is so simple. You should be thankful that not every high-ranking officer was like Sakazuki. And believe me, I wouldn’t sit by and allow the influence of Absolute Justice to turn the Marines into the very thing they swore to protect the world from. I didn’t just let Sakazuki became Fleet Admiral even though the upper brass of the old government selected him. You should have known that.
Flora: well nice job.
Aokiji: Hey come on, give me some credit. I tried my best. Do you know how long I fought that bastard? I fought him for like ten days straight with no breaks in between. Can you believe that? In the bid to gain the position of Fleet Admiral, I received serious burns and I lost a leg and I still carry the scars from that battle, scars that will never go away.
Flora: I really don’t feel sorry for you. For working under the old government in the first place, you deserved the wounds your opponent gave you.
Aokiji: you’re so cold.
Aokiji: look…. If you hate me, I won’t hold it against you. But… can we still be friendly with one another?
Flora: ………….well at least it was a good thing you lost that duel. Had you won, you would still be a willing underling of the old government.
Aokiji: I guess you’re right considering that I would never choose to work under Sakazuki. Since I left the Marines after he became Fleet Admiral, I no longer take orders from the old government. And thus, I was no longer an enemy of the Straw Hats. Happy with that?
Flora: so what did you do after you finally came to your senses and quit?
Aokiji: I went off the radar and observe how things would turn out. Ever since the War of the Summit, things had gotten pretty much out of hand, you know with many new pirate rookies coming along and the Blackbeard Pirates’ rise to power. After the Straw Hats returned from a two-year absence, I just watch how events would unfold around them. After their many outstanding achievements, it was only a matter of time before they were labeled as the old government’s greatest enemies other than the revolutionaries. After Blackbeard’s defeat and the Straw Hats conquering the Grand Line, the old government sought me out and demanded me to aid them prior to the final war. I turned them down, making it clear to them that I don’t serve the old government anymore. Fearing that I might become an ally of the Straw Hats, the old government tried to kill me, but I managed to elude them. During the war, I watched from the sidelines, wondering what would become of the world. Fleet Admiral Sakazuki perished and Portgas D. Ace was avenged. When the war ended, so did the Pirate Era and the old government’s regime. The Gorosei were overthrown, the World Nobles lose all their power, and I saw for myself that Saul’s decision to protect Nico Robin was right after all. The Straw Hat Pirates became known as the conquerors and saviors of the world. As for me right now, I’m just living a peaceful retirement.
Flora: were you surprised that it was a group of pirates who changed the world for the better?
Aokiji: I suppose it’s very ironic that the chaotic era that was started by a pirate was ended by a pirate. After Straw Hat became the second Pirate King, many pirates quit so the Marines don’t have much problem like they used to prior to the ending of the Pirate Era. But how long do you think this time of peace is going to last? The new government may be different from the old one, but you should take into consideration that no one is immune to corruption. The three Ancient Weapons are gone and so people say it’s safe to assume that the world has nothing to worry about. But think about this. Pluton was built by human hands long ago, so if we’re capable of creating a weapon of terrible power in the distant past, who can guarantee that we won’t be able to do it again in the distant future? And I do wonder if this Poseidon will be reborn in the next few centuries.
Flora: Aokiji, what do you think if Straw Hat Luffy had a child?
Aokiji: what if he had a child? Then that child would be lucky, more than what I can say for Ace. The world won’t deem his or her existence as a sin. However, there would still be people who would hate that child such as the pirates whose ambitions were ruined by Straw Hat and the remnants of the old government like the former World Nobles still alive today. If you’re asking for my opinion, my only comment is that child should be grateful to be born after the old government’s demise and just live his or her life to the fullest and as peacefully as possible.
Aokiji and Flora’s little chat is interrupted when they see a pirate ship coming.
Aokiji: oh great. A pirate ship. Please tell me they’re not hostile. [leaves his seat]
Flora: unfortunately, they are.
Aokiji and Flora watch as the pirates anchored their ship and head towards the beach on row boats. Once they arrived at the shore….
Captain: well, well, well, what do we have here? A couple of people at the wrong place at the wrong time.
[Aokiji stands in front of the captain.] Aokiji: what are you here for?
Captain: [smiling sinisterly] not that it’s any of your business, but we’re making this island our base.
The captain and several members of his crew then aim their guns at Aokiji.
Aokiji: hey, hold on a minute. If you want the island, you can have it. We’ll just leave peacefully.
[The pirates laugh mockingly.] Captain: I’m sorry, but we’re not going to just let you leave old man. We’re going to dispose of you right here. And we’re going to keep that pretty girl over there.
The pirates then fire their guns at Aokiji. And of course, the bullets didn’t faze Aokiji one bit.
Aokiji: now that wasn’t very nice. Care to try again?
Captain: OH SHIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!!!!! RUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!!!!!!!!!
The pirates quickly run back to their ship and start sailing away from the island. But before they can get very far…..
Aokiji: ICE AGE!!!! [Aokiji completely freezes the pirate ship and everyone on it.]
Aokiji: they say the world has gotten more peaceful since the Pirate Era ended, but sadly, there are still a handful of malicious ruffians running around. [returns to his seat]
Flora: do you find it necessary to kill them even though they were no threat?
Aokiji: maybe not to us, but you saw they didn’t hesitate to shoot an “unarmed” man. Do you really think that pirates like them should go around freely? If they attack a small town or village, some innocents may not be so lucky. You don’t want that, would you?
A moment of pause….
Aokiji: [sigh] it’s apparent that no matter what age we live in, Pirate Era or not, there will always be pirates, especially the “bad” ones. By the way, did you hear about Garp?
Flora: what about him?
Aokiji: I guess you didn’t get the news. You see, just last week, he got ill… and then he passed away.
Flora: Garp is… dead?!
Aokiji: yes… he finally succumbed to his old age and moved on… just like Sengoku and Tsuru. It’s a very cruel fact that is difficult to accept: no one lives forever and we will all die eventually. I visited Garp prior to his death. During our last conversation, he told me that he was happy with his nice, long life and was ready to join Roger, Ace, and Whitebeard. He was only saddened that he could not see his grandson just one more time. Garp passed away peacefully in his sleep later on and he died with a smile.
Flora:…………I…. can’t believe he’s gone.
Aokiji: I’m…. sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
Flora: ……..just one more thing. Do you happen to have any contact with Straw Hat Luffy before he disappeard?
Aokiji: I can’t say that I have. I never spoke to him ever since the Pirate Era ended. If you’re looking for him, I’m afraid I can’t help you.
Flora: (great, so he got nothing.)
Aokiji then gets off his chair and stretches his arms out.
Aokiji: oh my, this sure has been a pleasant day. I really enjoyed our little chat. I’m glad I got to meet such a pretty young face. [picks up his Blue Bike and prepares to leave the island] Oh well, I decided where I’m going next.
Flora: hold on, you’re going to travel on the sea with this thing?
Aokiji: that’s right. I’ll be going now so I believe this is good bye. Have safe travels.
Flora then watches Aokiji rides his bike into the horizon. Once Aokiji is out of sight, Flora turns Blu’s translator collar back on.
Blu: Finally! I can talk again!
Flora: I wonder. Does he know that Straw Hat Luffy is my father and that Garp was my great-grandfather?
Blu: who knows? I’m just glad you didn’t get into a fight with him like with the smoke man. The thought of you turning into a popsicle like those pirates over there gives me the shivers.
Flora expresses a concerned look on her face.
Blu: What’s wrong Flora?
Flora: it’s just…. I’m starting to worry about Granny Nyon. She’s… gotten very old. What if… she’ll get ill soon?
As Aokiji rides his bike to the next island….
Aokiji: well Garp, I must say, your great-granddaughter is one fine woman. So what’s her future going to be? Will she decide to make herself known to the world?