One Piece Fan Fiction ❯ Initium aliquid novi (The start of something new) ❯ Promise ( Chapter 1 )
Marco stood in a deserted hall. Alone.
The passage was quite imposing but he stared at its other end - he didn't pay any attention to his surroundings. He had been here many times after all, and he knew this place like the back of his head.
He could point out any nook or cranny without even looking.
The endless hallway paved with checkered tiles, the marble pillars and stone walls. The many gold torches hanging from the ceiling - all geometrically aligned and lit. He remembered it all.
All in all, the room served its purpose well, to intimidate guests and enemies alike.
The still man's thoughts wandered. One of those torches had a small stain on it, the blood left from a previous battle. The 4th tile from the left on the 157 th row had a small crack in it. It took him 365 steps to cross the corridor when he was walking, 268 when he was running. The imposing door at the end had a scratch on its bottom right corner, showing off its original blue colour.
Nobody would have ever cared to point out such trivial things - nobody would have ever noticed them - but Marco had. He always perceived the most insignificant details in the places where he set foot. Jozu and Blenheim called it an eye for detail, and they said he'd make a great shipwright thanks it.
For Marco, finding deformities in a room meant to be flawless was like a game. A manner of reminding himself how fictitious this all was. The people who lived here only clung to fake ideals, devoting their lives to a man who couldn't care less.
This corridor had once meant a great deal to him. A lifetime ago, this place symbolised the beginning of a new adventure. All that remained today was a bittersweet memory. He still pondered sometimes what the people who used to inhabit these walls would be like today. If they were still alive.
Okay, focus Marco, he instructed to himself, this is not the time to be thinking about them, this is important. He fixed his gaze on the end of the hallway once again, waiting for a sign.
Today, this place was but a mere fragment amongst the vastness of his mind. A small figment of a memory forever locked inside if his head. The only reason the first division commander was there was because of Him. He had decided that his memory of this specific place was the best spot for them to communicate.
Marco felt a shift in the air. Finally, he thought, as he looked up towards the ceiling where a small flame was hovering in mid-air. He held back his amazement upon seeing it. It was a gorgeous blend of crimson, scarlet and gold. You could discern a speck of white light that flickered at its heart if you stared for long enough.
The once first division commander quietly examined the light.
That flame was the last chance he would ever get to fix things and steer fate towards a better course. He couldn't mess this up, under any circumstance. He had to make things right.
He opened his mouth and let the words roll off his tongue.
"You lied," Marco stated, "you promised you'd give me power, the power to fight, to influence, to save and to protect. You promised you'd give me a family, and you promised I could keep them safe. You lied. All I could do was stand next to them and watch as they were all taken from me. I couldn't do a thing. Now they're gone. They are all gone, and they will never come back. How can I keep my end of the deal, when you haven't yours?"
Marco fell silent and stared at the flame. One might think it foolish of him to pour his heart and soul out to a floating light, how could it resolve anything? All the hope Marco had poured into this instant made the walls of his mind quake. He waited, as he felt the flame's pensiveness.
Indeed, I have not fulfilled my part of our agreement, answered a deep and powerful voice. Very well then, I'll give you a second chance.
Marco let out a breath that he hadn't realised he'd been holding in. The sheer relief he felt was enough to light up the entire room in his mind.
But I must warn you now, the voice continued. Messing with time means that you will have to fulfil your promise faster than intended.
"I don't care," Marco said, in a convincing manner, "as long as everyone lives, then it all will have been worth it. They are worth every sacrifice."
Then so be it, answered the flame. Keep in mind though, that this is the first and last time that I ever do anything like this for you. If you ever make the mistake of crawling back to me begging for favours... I'll reject you like the worthless pile of trash you are. It is true that I always hold my promises. But don't delude yourself into thinking that a filthy mortal like you can barge in here as you please and that I'll bow to your every command. Am I clear?
"Crystal," the pirate said nervously, although relief still seeped through his mind. It's not like he wasn't used to His derogatory rants after having heard them so many times. Nevertheless, they hadn't lost their intimidating effect.
He opened his mouth to thank the flame for accepting his request but it blew itself out suddenly. Everything around him faded.
What the..? I am in my mind dammit, I'm the one who decides when the lights go out.
The ground opened beneath Marco's feet. He fell deeper and deeper into darkness, feeling colder the further he went.
The last thing he sensed before he passed out was His amusement. He knew what Marco's hope was, and he found it pathetic. Oh well, it would be entertaining to watch the Phoenix run around from afar. He'd been so bored lately, this was bound to occupy him for a while.
Marco woke up with a start, sat up straight and looked around him. He was in bed.
He took in his surroundings: the desk in the corner of the room and the small bookshelf, the wardrobe, the window, the sent of the sheets... Everything seemed so familiar...
He put his feet on the floor and felt it shift as if he was on the sea.
The sea? I went to sleep on land, why am I on the sea?
Suddenly, it clicked. He was on a ship. No, he wasn't on any ship. He was home