4 Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Title: Flexing...

It seems like I was in North Blue… a place that is quite bad and I don't have a lot of knowledge about it, except for Germa 66 that is a kingdom in this part of the sea.

Well, that was still better than nothing, I now knew at least some things about the place. Dangers were around every corner in any Blue Sea, but now my course of action had been pretty much sealed at what should happen next.

...

As the night came around, I was still cleaning the deck of the ship. Honestly, I could already be done by now if I wanted, but I wanna get all kinds of training now. Especially flexibility training. It was still way too early for me to even hope of fighting a Yonko, but I had to start training as soon as I could.

I remembered what Coby did, and how he got so much stronger in just months. I have three whole years to grow, and if I pushed myself hard, with the help of my fruit I will be able to make something of myself. Sure Coby never really hit the top ranks of power in the world with just training, but I had a Devil Fruit. A Zoan one that would help my stamina regeneration and endurance, already signs that I had starved on an island were gone, my body was at full strength and no resident weakness. 

Human bodies in this world were very different from normal ones, but Zoans offered a different kind of power altogether. This fruit was perfect for someone like me who had only three years till Luffy set sail. By then I must at least get a handle on my Haki.

...

As everyone went to sleep, and only a couple of guys kept watch at the helm of the ship. I decided to try and enter my bear form on deck.  

Immediately, it was more like an instinct as I felt myself grow and fall on all fours. This truly seemed natural as if I was made to do this. Devil Fruits truly are amazing, at least to a person like me who came from a world like mine. Even simple transformations like this were mystical.

I slowly straightened up and my size reduced very slightly, my front paws turn into clawed furry hands and my legs lengthen to that of a human man. My body transformed into his hybrid form, entering this transformation was also done without any difficulty. Zoans might be the easiest category of fruits to use, it took Luffy years to learn how to even throw a straight punch with the help of his fruit.

My body size felt a little weird in the beginning, but that didn't last long as I got used to my body and turned back to being a human. Also, I now know with 100% certainty what fruit I ate. It is the Bear-Bear Fruit: Model Grizzly Bear. My knowledge of bears wasn't encyclopedic, but getting this fruit might have helped me survive the starving ordeal, after all, bears are known as species who hibernate. So my body could have used that as a method to enter a lesser energy consumption stage, I remembered that back then even thinking was hard.

*sigh* Whatever, now that was all behind me and I must continue on my own road. Though, how Amelia will take to that will depend. But no matter what she thinks on the matter, I won't stay with her crew for the rest of my life. This was my 2nd chance at life in a miraculous world, and I won't spend it clocked up in some ship in the middle of nowhere. 

"I am done cleaning here," I notified one of the men that was on lookout duty. He just waved me off without saying anything.

So after doing pushups till my arms almost went numb, this was the One Piece world, working too much isn't detrimental here. But I decided to go back to my hammock and sleep, but as I fell on it I noticed something that baffled me… my arms already felt okay as if I hadn't done pushups. 

What the hell? It couldn't have been more than a couple of minutes from here to the deck and yet my arms were already okay?! Oh… I was going to abuse this so much from now on.

...

After sleep, I was surprised at how energized my body felt, and for the first time in a while, I felt my stomach was full.

I could hear the other pirates groan and snore. But I was able to sleep easily like a baby. A hammock might not be the best way to sleep out there, but after sleeping in the sand for so long and shivering at how cold the sand got in the nights. This felt like heaven!

"Oy! New guy!" One of the pirates called out and I looked to the side, seeing that it was Crock, the wild-looking cook with the jagged teeth from yesterday. "Oy! Max!"

When he called me by my name I yawned and looked at him straight in the eyes. "Yeah?"

"Soon we will be robbing a ship, stick with me and everything will be alright. Okay?" he said confidently, though it might be arrogance if he couldn't back that up. After all, the line between confidence and arrogance was very thin, and confidence was just the arrogance of someone who could back up his claims. 

"Yeah. Thanks." I said to him with a thankful look on my face. It's useless acting tough now, the least I could do is learn some things from the other pirates. There was surprisingly a lot to learn from them. 

I wasn't dumb enough to think that I suddenly became bulletproof just because I have a Devil Fruit. I was tougher and seemed to recover a lot faster from fatigue than most people. But arrogance gets one killed, and a Devil Fruit like this was far from giving me any arrogant thoughts, plus my knowledge of the monsters in this world stopped that too. 

I got up and straightened my clothes a little, to make myself seem presentable and make best with what I have. I should meet up with captain Amelia soon, though I don't know a lot about her. It was easy to see that she doesn't like having things being kept secret from her. I planned to use my Devil Fruit in the open so I will notify her just in case, who knew what kind of person she was? After all, she could be the control freak kind that would kill me for keeping "secrets".

...

-Amelia- 

At the same time, in the captain's cabin, Amelia looked down at a map in front of her. Many routes had been drawn along the map, they were all merchant ship routes that sailed through North Blue.

The captain's room was simplistic and only has the bare minimum needed as furniture goes, a simple wooden desk and chair. She also had a bookshelf to the right, it was filled with books on navigation and many famous stories from the Grand Line.

Next to the map was a letter written in strange code, it seemed like they were some kind of instructions. But it was no language that would be known by most people and the letter smelled of cooking grease too as if it was written in a kitchen. 

'The cook, it seems like he got another target for me. He will get 10% of the loot from the hit that will happen on the ship. Having a man in the inside will always guarantee a 100% success rate in any robbery.' Thought Amelia as a hint of a smile appeared on her face. Unlike normal pirates who go around robbing people senselessly until they get caught in a year or two, Amelia's mind worked differently. Her bounty wasn't high, but it didn't matter, she didn't become a pirate to get a bigger bounty. She was a pirate because she wanted to be rich and get revenge on a certain man who took her hand and eye from her.

"Should we ambush or intimidate them?" Wondered Amelia out loudly. She didn't necessarily want a fight. It would just be a useless loss of life from both sides. 'An intimidation tactic would be essential, but what if they are armed? I would lose good sailors for nothing. The Cook isn't exactly in a position to know how many secretly armed men there might be.'

As she thought of this, another thought came to mind. She contemplated killing the Cook, the man planned to retire. But Amelia,s strategies only worked because never suspected that she had someone on the inside working for her. If word got out, a trap could be set up for her by giving false information to her informant. 

'Should I kill this informant that will retire or not?' she was at a crossroad here and couldn't decide. So she took out a coin and flipped it. "The man will die after this job."

That was it, just like that she had calmly put a man to death. The life of a criminal couldn't just suddenly retire.

*knock* *knock* *knock*

As she was contemplating her plans, she heard three knocks on her door.

"Can I come in?" Asked the voice from the other side, she immediately recognized it as belonging to the new guy. Except that this time he was more energetic and the weakness in his voice was no more.

'What was his name again?' Wonders Amelia, she was unsure and decided to not use any name. "Come in."

Thinking that maybe looking at his face would remind her of his name.

Max came in and Amelia could immediately tell that he was hiding something. She had met people like him before, they were awful at lying. He swallowed in nervousness as he looks at her, and with her intense gaze on him. He immediately became squelch. Amelia had to stop herself from smiling, people who couldn't lie made the best subordinates.

"What is it that you want?" Asked Amelia casually, but her tone made it clear that she wasn't asking but commanding him. 

"I want to show you something," emphasized Max, his face slightly nervous while looking at the woman in front of him. "Can I?" He asked, being careful as he didn't want to get on her bad side, after all this was her boat and she was the captain. 

Amelia looked at him with her cold blue eye. She could already guess what he was gonna show, after all, he isn't the 1st Devil Fruit user that she had seen. And her men also reported to her that they had seen him use it yesterday evening. Amelia could easily guess that was the first time he had used it. 

"Show me," ordered Amelia with an emotionless voice that showed she wasn't disturbed by this at all. She knew that while being hard on her subordinates was good, she also needed to show acceptance of their quirks and mistakes.

Max nodded and his body started transforming into his full beast form. Turning into a giant bear.

"Okay, so is that it?" Asked Amelia, a bored look in her eyes. Max smiled in relief at her.

...

-Max (MC) POV-

As I looked at her face, and I couldn't read anything about what she was thinking. Damn her and her emotionless face, making it all difficult for me. But I could guess her thoughts quite easily and I must say, she was one hell of a dangerous woman. Smart and ruthless, she will leave people to guess what hid behind her cold exterior and when she does kindness to her crewmates then they will see her as kind.

That was damn dangerous, if I had been careless she could have seen through me too and noticed that this 'secret' of mine wasn't one. I needed her to not inquire about my past because any inconsistency in the lie would mess me over. My biggest secret was that I came from another world and she can't know of that no matter what.

"That is what I wanted to show to you captain," I claimed, I didn't wanna show her too much about my fruit. After all, I need to keep up the impression of the naive person while in this crew. The best liars are those who make others think that they are bad liars and can't hold a secret.

With this method, Amelia will never tell me any secrets since, from her point of view, I wouldn't be able to keep them. But that didn't matter, I never cared about her secrets. But, one thing was for sure, I had earned her trust, however slight that might be. For now, that trust is the only thing keeping me alive. Damn it! I wish some cruel and dumb pirate had saved me from that island, they would be many times easier to deal with than Amelia.

She looked at me with her casual look once more, before looking back at her map.  

I didn't know if I was being dismissed or anything, so I decided to ask her. "I will go now?"

She doesn't say anything… 

Ah! I get it now, she is playing a power move on me to show who was in charge and make me instinctively feel like she was an authority figure. Damn… this woman is way too smart, staying in her crew for too long might be the death of me. But leaving the crew would be the same too, she would hunt me down and kill me. She knew these waters better than I did, so escaping her wasn't a good idea either. This is what people meant when they said 'Being stuck between a rock and a hard place'. 

So I nodded and walked away from her and towards the door. I was a little nervous about the battle that would happen soon between the merchant ship and Amelia's, but even then, I planned to get a weapon for myself before the battle. 

I will also use my Devil Fruit, just to be sure. After all, soon I should learn how to control my power and more things from these cutthroat pirates. If I made myself seem useful, then that should stop them from trying to kill me. Though better not make myself seem too useful or Amelia could see it as I was trying to outshine her and get the crew on my side. Which I would do if this was any other ship. After all, the stronger and more talented younger person will always be more appealing.

Damn that dangerous woman! She will be the death of me one day. This ship can't hold two people like us… 

...

With those thoughts in mind, I casually walked towards the cafeteria, ate a bunch of food, and decided to go to the gym. 

The place was stacked with different weights like a normal gym, except the hunks of metal were way bigger than normal and the heaviest piece of metal went up to one ton. There would probably be some heavier weights, but I could guess the reason why there weren't any above one ton. Because even though the ship was big and could handle a lot of weight, I didn't think the captain wanted to burden the ship that much. Especially since that space could be used to hold more loot.

I looked around and pick the 100kg weights, I used one arm and try to pull it up. With great difficulty, I could achieve this. 

Damn… I guess I am not as normal as I thought. Though in this world I don't think this feat of strength was anything special either. I had seen background characters carry bigger things in the One Piece Manga, and they did so without difficulty. 

I pulled and tried to do some curls with the weights, my right arm got tired after the 4th curl and felt like my arm would fall off. So I slowly put the weight down. Again, I did the same things with my other arm, after I was finished I noticed that my right other arm was now full of energy, and the muscle pain was all gone.

Hm? I guess this truly was the higher recovery of a Zoan type. Even in my human form, I was affected by it. Quite amazing if I must say so myself, now I could just train hard enough and I should be able to make something of myself. Sadly there seemed to be no machines around so I will have to use the weights here to train myself.

...

A whole week possessed like this, just me training repeatedly while making sure that no one else was watching me. I tried to train my legs, and flexibility too. That was when this world's physics kicked in and I was able to train up till I could do over fifty 100kg one arm curls with one hand within the week.

I didn't use my Zoan Devil Fruit because it seemed like I could handle all the weights here easily if I used it, and that was not good for training.

But once again, this world amazed me. I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and smiled. I might have gained a little muscle, but my physique didn't show in any way that I have become stronger.

*creak*

The door to the bathroom opened and I saw a crewmate just looked at me in the bathroom flexing in the mirror. He blinked a couple of times and I felt a little embarrassed… but I pushed that feeling down.

….

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