Kuina would be lying if she said she wasn't curious, or downright excited. The tragedy of getting trapped in a lava pit aside, she was able to recognize the radiating power. There was no questioning it.
When she first laid eyes on the cave, and felt the power. She had just a suspicion. Why did the ki feel like 'her?'
Of course, she was referring to her friend and teacher 'Whitey Bay'. Most notably known as the Ice Witch of the White Beard pirates.
How Kuina met her was quite the story. It wasn't that far back either, just a year ago that it happened.
While she was traveling in West-Blue she got stranded at sea. A storm came, damaged her boat and she had lost her way. Pretty ironic since that was more of Zoro's thing.
But it seemed it wasn't bad. Sure she did have to starve for a month in the open sea, relying on only the smallest amount of water and food that she had. But she was eventually rescued by pirates.
Honestly, she would never admit it, but she was downright terrified when she learned she got saved by pirates of all people. More so when she had much fame for being a bounty hunter.
She was barely conscious back then, but looking at the pirate flag, she expected the worst. And yet nothing like that happened. When she later woke up, she found herself well-fed, clothed and definitely not ravaged.
And that's where it piqued her curiosity. If it was any other pirate ship, with any other captain, she wouldn't have thanked them before going her separate way. She was a bounty hunter, she hunted pirates, and there needed to be no other reason.
But with Whitey Bay… well, she was different. Even though the woman looked young, almost her age, she was most definitely older. Maybe because of her unique powers.
Kuina had seen how easily she had frozen a full marine ship that dared to cross their path. Kuina was downright dumbstruck, even more so when she found out it was no devil fruit power. It most definitely was related to her swordsmanship.
Kuina still remembered how amused Whitey was when she challenged her to a swordfight. It didn't end well for her. She had just managed to learn how to cut steel back then. So she was sure she could've most definitely put up a decent fight, even if the pirate was from the Grandline.
But like she said, it didn't end well for her. And it definitely hurt her ego.
But it also gave her hope. While her father was strong, she knew for a fact that Whitey Bay outclassed her father in both swordsmanship and experience. It gave her hope that one day, she herself could stand amongst the strongest.
Honestly, traveling to the open sea made her see many things differently. One of the freaking emperors was a woman. And of course, she was no role model. But it didn't change the fact that Big Mom was one of the most dangerous pirates of this era.
Anyway, she had stayed with the White Bay Pirates, enjoyed her time, and battled their officers. She had heard many stories of the infamous Whitebeard and the crew.
And of course, she challenged White Bay every damn time and lost. But she was persistent, maybe that was why the pirate woman considered her worthy enough to pass down her secrets to her.
The secrets of Virf, White Bay didn't have the complete set of techniques, but even then, her ability to turn things to ice and summon it at will by using ki, gave her a lot of advantages. Especially when she didn't need to be afraid of the sea and use her ability to control the terrain, in case of Navy Battles.
And even with the incomplete set of techniques, along with haki and other tricks she had picked up over the years. It had made her a formidable foe.
She might not have been the strongest swordsman in the Whitebeard Pirates, but she didn't need to. She was their strategy, and almost all notorious pirates knew about the "Ice Witch" Whitey Bay of the Whitebeads as well as how crafty she was.
Kuina knew Whitey Bay treasured her techniques, so she was surprised when only a month after knowing her, she gave Kuina her techniques. A book containing her techniques. Of course, it wasn't complete.
When Kuina had asked, Whitey Bay explained how it wasn't her original technique. While on the sea, she wasn't a true swordsman. She, in a word, was in every sense a pirate. She used guns, knives, swords, and anything. But in her venture from her younger years, she had discovered a tomb where she found the secrets to Ice Manifestation, or Virf.
What Kuina didn't know was that the old pirate saw something in her. After seeing her resolve for the sword, Whitey Bay knew that one day she could stand equal to the likes of Rayleigh or Shanks. So she just wanted to give her a heads-up.
Whitey Bay had theorized that Virf was most probably an extension of Busoshoku Haki. Similar to the way of cutting steel. One didn't need the color of armament to know how to cut steel, and yet one could know how to cut steel and still be oblivious to haki. So Virf might be similar to that.
Still, Virf was a mystery to her. The incomplete set of techniques only stated the basics of things.
Virf relied on willpower, and the vibration of the blade to summon and control the powers of Ice. That's why she could feel herself very close to learning Armament Haki.
She could feel it. The power of armament was near. As a swordswoman, she desired the blackened blade. And armament would do that.
And the cold wind, the deadly miasma, she was in no doubt sure that a user of Virf was down the tunnel. It is most similar to how when she and Whitey Bay used their powers but much more potent.
Kuina only regretted bringing Vivi along for the ride, she could have gone there alone, but there was no changing it, she supposed. She just had to face the challenge head-on.
When both Kuina and Vivi exited the tunnel, the bright blue light blinded them for a brief moment before their eyes adjusted.
And they almost had their jaws dropped from what they saw, the scenery was filled with red and blue.
There was ice everywhere, if that wasn't surprising enough, then the sheer size of the cavity down here would. Also adding in the factor that a massive ship was frozen in place, also added to the magnificence of this place.
And that's not even mentioning how lava streamed down the ice, not even burning it. Some of the lava was also frozen and flowing underneath the ice, the lava of course poured downwards mixing with the lava lake down below but one could mistake the blue ice for crystal, if not for the cold temperature around the place.
"An ice that can't be melted by lava… How's that even possible?" Vivi mumbled, awestruck.
"One word; Grandline." Kuina chuckled. What could she say when even she couldn't believe what she was seeing.
Vivi didn't know what to say either. She could see that the ice was freezing some of the lava, turning them into stone, and yet no ice melted. This, to her, looked like a place that was frozen in eternal ice.
The ship that was stored here was at least double the size of the Going Merry. It wasn't big, but it was grand. It was decorated and clean, inside the clear ice. It was placed inside the large cavity and was holding onto its place because of the Ice. The source of ice was most definitely from the ship, there was no question there.
Even though the ship stood on the side, unfalling, it seemed to be tilted forward slightly. Even though the ice seemed everlasting, time seemed to have taken its toll. Kuina was just as amazed as Vivi was. But for different reasons.
Her powers, this place could most definitely give her the answers she sought.