Lightning walked into the general shop. The skeleton musician was playing a sad tune. She headed towards the maps counter. She passed in front of the straw hat wearing boy who was cleaning the floor. He smiled at her, she didn't smile back. Lightning knocked on the counter, once, twice.


The redheaded mapmaker walked out of the back room smiling.

“Hello sheriff. Going anywhere?”

“That doesn't concern you, Nami. I need a map of the White Forest, north.”

“”Until Smith village or Laroque city?”

“Right away.”

Nami searched around the maps.

“I'm sorry, we don't have either version.”

Lightning frowned.

“Then give me the original. I will bring it back intact.”

“That's not a good idea.” stammered out Nami.

“Just give it to me.” snarled Lightning, hitting the counter.

“Oh, look, I found a copy...”
“Thank you.”

“Thank you...Sheriff.” said Nami, an air of bitterness around the last word.

Lightning took the map and left. Nami smacked her head on the wall.


Brook shrugged.

“It's fine, we have plenty of time without her getting lost.”
Luffy cracked his knuckles.

“The plan is ON.”


Lightning walked into the sheriff's station and jail.

“Deputy Zoro?”

Upon finding the deputy sound asleep, Lightning frowned and smacked him with her gunblade.

Zoro woke up startled.

“Yes, sheriff?”

“The prisoner?”


“Very well. I must depart for the mission. Are you sure central headquarters said it was today?”
“Yes, ma'am.”
“I will go after lunch. Take care of the town while I'm gone.”

“I will.”


“Excuse me?”

Robin put her book down and headed for the counter..

“may I help you?

“Is this the museum?”

“Indeed, it is.”

“Oh good.” said the woman “ I'm here with my son . You see, we're on a cultural trip.”

“Your son seems to be playing with centuries old vases, please make him stop.”

The woman turned around , shocked.



The kid stopped fiddling with the vase.

“Actually said Robin, adjusting her reading glasses “The museum is closing now. For lunch.”

“Oh, sorry! We'll come back later.”

They left. Robin sighed in relief and walked over to the vase, from which she removed a small bomb.


Nami sneaked into the station.

“Feeding the prisoner.”

Nami walked over to the cells. She glanced at the girl behind bars.

“The hell did she do?”

“Unauthorized entry into town.”

“Dammit Light...Hey, girl?”

The tiny redhead stared inquisitively at Nami.

“How would you like to help us escape the country?”

“That's illegal.”

“We know.”
“Then why?”

“We've been living under this tyranny for five years, and I'm sick of it. We all are.”

“Where will you go?”

“Outside the reach of the government.”

“Hm. Okay!”

Zoro pulled Nami aside.


“If the soldiers come after us, we can throw her as a distraction.”

She turned back.

“Hey, can you fight?”

“Good. I'm Nami. This is Zoro.”
“I'm Vanille.”


Sazh walked into the small shop, near the east exit of the town.

“Wood seller. Here to sell wood.”
Franky turned back.


“No, I'm just making small talk. Yes, now! I don't have all day!”

“We're busy, go away.”

Sazh grumbled and left.

Franky looked at his assistant.

“Do you have the second bomb, Usopp?”

“Yeah, right here.”


Lightning walked into the restaurant. Robin and Chopper were sitting at the counter. Sanji grinned and walked to the door.

“Good morning, sheriff! Would you like a window table?”
“I can't stay, just give me the usual to go.”

“Yes, right away! Lucky you, it's today's special! Just let me wrap it up...”

He quickly prepared and handed it to her.

As the restaurant was right on the west exit to the town, they watched her walk out. Sanji skipped to the telephone on the wall and called the store.

“Luffy? She's gone. Go meet Snow. I'll call Franky and we can start the operation in 30 minutes.”


Lightning waved to the guard, who stopped in his tracks, apparently very surprised.

“Sheriff Farron?! What are you doing?”

“What are you doing?”

“Uh, well, I'm not supposed to say it, but there's a surprise search today.”

“That can't be. I was called to a meeting in Laroque.”

“Sheriff” muttered the guard “There's no meeting today.”

An explosion was heard in the distance.

“Dammit, that bastard!”

She started running back.

“Snow!” she yelled in frustration.


“Snow!” Usopp yelled in fright “There are guards here!”

“What?!” said Snow “It must be a surprise search! Nami, take Serah and run, the smoke bombs will conceal you!”

“I won't go!” cried out Serah.

“Yes, you will!”

“Snow...” muttered Nami, a tinge of worry in her voice “Will you meet us there?”

“Of course!”

“Come one” said Chopper, as he changed to his walk point “hop on.”

Serah reluctantly climbed onto him.

Robin and Franky ran to them.

“There's a problem” said Franky “The boat was seized”

“Then we'll go by foot!” yelled Nami “Vanille?”

“Nami, there's a kid here! He says his mother was shot!”

“Shit! Bring him along!”

“Zoro and Brook are already outside the town.” said Sanji.

They ran to the nearest exit. Suddenly, soldiers appeared out of nowhere.

“Run!” screamed Nami “Don't stop until you're safe!”

They started running.


Lightning was running. It all started to click. Surprise meeting, as said by the deputy, getting her out of town. No maps, getting her lost to make sure she wouldn't be back so soon. Special of the day, getting her out as soon as possible. They were all in it together. The arqueologist was probably in it too. They would definitely escape by the ruins. The explosions! Smoke bombs, that's what the mechanics were doing for the past week! Snow and Luffy...They were running the whole game.

And Serah was definitely with Snow.

They would get caught.


“Catch them!” yelled out the leader of the soldiers.

Sazh hid in an alley. On the day he decided to travel to this town, a rebel group escapes and a surprise search party appears.

“Old man with the guns!” yelled Luffy “You're not safe here!”

“Gee, really?”

“Come with me!”

They ran to Snow.

“Snow, let's go!”


They ll met in the forest. Just as everyone was catching their breath, Lightning appeared.

“Idiots! Where is my sister?!”

“She's right th-” muttered Nami, stopping as she noticed Serah was not right there. Chopper sobbed.

“I'm sorry! A soldier grabbed her! I didn't notice, you said don't stop!”

“What?!” gasped Lightning. Infuriated, she started punching Luffy.

Knock it out!” screamed Nami, pulling her away “ She choose to come with us, it's not like we forced her!”

“Serah...” mumbled Snow.

“Is everyone else here?” asked Robin.

“I think so...” said Sanji, looking around “ And three people who aren't supposed to be here. And Miss Farron.”

“I'm just a merchant caught in your crazy plan. The name's Sazh.”

“I'm Vanille. This guy lost his mom just now...”

Hope looked away.

“What now?” asked Franky.

“We save Serah.” said Snow.

“Yeah!” yelled Luffy “We don't leave anyone behind.”

“I'll save Serah.” bitterly mumbled Lightning “You'll just screw up.”

“You're going to get her from headquarters?” asked Sazh “That's crazy! I'll go too, there someone I need to save as well.”

Nami turned to Vanille.


“I'll go too! Uhm...Little guy? Want to come with us?”

“What choice do I have?” muttered Hope.

Luffy cracked his knuckles.

“It's decided! Everyone is going north!”

Lightning frowned and started walking.

“I won't protect you.”

“We won't need you.” flatly said Nami.


Luffy: We're ambushed by soldiers, but it's okay, there's a backup plan.

Snow: We thought of everything!

Luffy: “We'll save Serah, it's okay!”

Lightning: “What if you can't?”

Luffy: “We will.”



“I feel like we've been walking for days! I'm tired!” whined Vanille.

Nami smacked her.

“Shut up! If you don't want to walk then stay here!”

Vanille pouted but kept walking.

“Where exactly are we going?” muttered Hope.

“Laroque City, Peace Force HQ.” coldly said Lightning.

“Savin' Serah!” yelled out Snow.

“And then?”

“Escape from here!” chirped Luffy.

“Find a safe place...Haven.” added Robin.

“And then we'll finally be happy.” finished Franky, sighing contently.

“Except for Miss Grumpy” snickered Nami.

Lightning glared at her.

“Your ridiculous plan made me a criminal.”

“You wouldn't be if you stayed behind.”

“I must save my sister.”
“We can do it without you.” muttered Snow.

“Shut up. You're an incompetent, childish moron. You wouldn't be able to save a fish from drowning.”

“Ouch.” said Usopp. Some people snickered.

“How can you laugh at a time like this?”

“We'll save Serah, it's okay!” said Luffy.

“What if you can't?”
“We will.”

Suddenly, soldiers started storming in.

“Shit!” screamed Franky.

“We'll meet at the set point!” yelled Snow “Divide into three groups!”

They separated into three groups and ran.


Zoro and Robin sighed nearly simultaneously. They ended up with the smallest group. Only them and the redhead they didn't know.

“Are you okay?” asked Robin. Vanille nodded.

“Are we going through the ruins?” muttered Zoro.

“It's the fastest route.”

Robin shook her head. More people should have followed her. The other routes were too dangerous.


They were on the forest route. Nami looked around. Usopp, Chopper, the kid (was his name Hope?), Franky and...Light.



Everyone else was with Snow. Sanji, Brook, Luffy and Sazh. Snow shook his head.

“This is the mountain route. We have a tough time ahead.”

“It's fine.” said Sazh “I've traveled here many times. I know this place.”

“Well then, show the way, merchant man.”


“Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once.”

Nami sat down and picked a sharp stick from the group. Lightning leaned against a tree. The rest sat around Nami. The girl started drawing on the ground.

“We left through the west exit. From the west exit, to Laroque, north, there are three main routes. Everything else is thick forest, and as you can see, the trees are all white and green. This gets confusing surprisingly fast, so walking out the route isn't very bright. Now, these three routes are all different and for different purposes. The ruin route, here at the center, is a maze riddled with traps which only Robin can navigate through. Safely at least. The mountain route, the one most to the west is difficult to travel and very exhausting unless you know shortcuts. It's also the only route that allows for carts to travel so merchant guy should know it. We...”

Nami drew a big circle over the route on the left.

“We are in the forest route.” said Lightning.

“Shut up, I'm the mapmaker and navigator. You be good or I'll get you lost on purpose.”

Lightning rolled her eyes. Nami coughed and continued.

“This is the forest route. It's the longest but the safest. As long as we pay attention to the trail and don't venture into the trees, we're fine.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” said Lighting, starting to walk.

Nami groaned and got up. Franky sneered.

“Wait Farron, we have kids with us!”
“I don't care. Move or I'll leave you behind.”

“Lightning?” called out Chopper “Please stop.”

“I said-”
Nami grabbed her hand softly.

“Your arm is bleeding. You must've been grazed by a bullet. Take off your coat before you bleed to death.”

Lightning glared at Nami.

“I'm not afraid of you. Take it off before I do.”

She groaned and took off the heavy leather coat. Like most people of the town they lived in, most of her clothing was made from leather and light cotton, to combat cold without being very heavy. Lightning shivered as the cold air hit her shoulders. Nami gently touched the wound.

“This isn't good.”

“Let me see...”

Chopper examined it.

“Oh, you are right! You very well could've bled out like this. Let me fix you up...”


“The ruins are that way, north.” said Robin, pointing the way.

“Right. North.” said Zoro, walking the opposite way.

Robin grabbed his sleeve and pointed again.

“No Zoro, north is that way.”


He stopped for a moment, thinking. Then he turned west and started to walk. Robin slid her hand over her face and sighed exasperated.

“Not the brightest bloke, are you?” asked Vanille, pulling on his shirt “Come on now.”

Robin stared at her perplexed.

“Your accent is very odd.”
“Well, you know, I'm from out of your town.”
“So am I actually. I've only lived there for 4 years. And I'm from pretty far away.”
“I'm...From a very, very far away place.”

“Then how come the government let's you walk around so much? Isn't the country segregated by areas?”

“You know...Merchant's daughters.”

“Must be a very affluent merchant.”

Vanille giggled nervously and skipped over to Zoro, who was already heading east.


“There's a shortcut over here.” said Sazh as he pushed off a rock.

“Who you gonna save?” asked Luffy.

“My son.”
“Why is he there?”

“Accidentally went over a border without his pass one day. They spare no one.”
“I hate them.” muttered Luffy.

“Me too.”

“Me three.” added Snow “This so-called government is nothing but a sham! They walk all over the people they say they're protecting. If somebody would-”

“We've talked about this, Snow.” said Brook.

“We are not an army.” said Sanji. He yawned.

“Do you want to stop for lunch?”
“YEAH!” screamed Luffy. He sat down and took out a knife and fork from his vest pocket.

“...Do you always keep silverware in your pocket?” asked the perplexed Sazh.

“Yes.” said Sanji as he gathered some mushrooms “That's Luffy.”


Nami: We're further separated as Miss Grumpy gets me lost.

Lightning: What.

Robin: Everyone rests for the night.

Chopper: Tomorrow our quest continues...

Lightning: “When was the last time we talked like this?”

Nami: “Six years.”

Lightning: “Why do you remember it so well?”

Nami: “Because it was the last day I saw you smile.”



“Why do you worry?”


“Why did you want me to get treated so badly? Made me take off my coat like that.”

Lightning smacked her own forehead.

“Which I forgot back there. Dammit.”

“We're all in this together.”

“You're a bitch.”
“So are you.”
“Is that it?”
“What? I know who I am. Do you?”

“Where are we?”


“And where is everyone else?”

Nami looked around.

“Great! We got off the trail! It's all your fault!”
Lightning glared at her.

“What did I do?”

“You distracted me!”
“What, can't the oh-so-great navigator navigate through a forest?”
“Look around you, jackass! It all looks the same!”
Nami pointed up.

“I can't even see the sun from how thick the foliage is!”
She inspected the “sky”.

“It is pretty dark. Do you know what time is it?”

Lightning took out her pocket watch.

“6 pm.”

“We should find shelter before night falls totally. Come on Light.”
“Shut up. You're ridiculous.”
“You choose a name for yourself when you where 15 and kept it. Ri-di-cu-lous. At least choose something sensible.”

Lightning's expression changed. She seemed to be contemplating.
“Lightning...It flashes bright, then fades away. It can't protect. It-”

“Only destroys, I know.”

Lightning stopped walking.

“How do you know?”
“Remember? Six years ago...”
“When I lost my parents?”
“Yeah. You told me. And then you never talked to me as a friend again.”

“Look, a cave.”

Nami squeezed in through the small entrance.

“This is great! It's empty and the crack won't let dangerous animals in! Go collect firewood!”

Lightning sighed and walked around, looking.


“Now what?”

“The way is blocked.” said Sazh, pointing at the rather obvious boulder in the way.

Luffy cocked his head to the side.

“Eh, Snow, Sanji?”
“Right.” said the men as they walked over to the boulder.

“What are you kids going to do?”
With a collective attack from the three, the boulder cracked to pieces.

“let's go!” chirped Luffy.

Sazh slowly turned his head to look at Brook, who simply shrugged and waved towards the now clear path.

“Hey, there's a plain we can sleep in here! We should be relatively safe!” yelled out Sanji, as he climbed onto the rock formation.


“The ruins should be that way.”
“Okay.” said Vanille.

“We should stop for the night.” said Zoro.

Robin nodded.

“Predators will soon come out.”
“Predators?” repeated Vanille, obviously frightened.

“You didn't know? This area has a lot of night active beasts. It's a very curious occurrence.”
“A-are we going to be okay?”

Zoro showed her his swords.

“And if Zoro sleeps through an attack, like he must certainly will, I can fight too.” said Robin, sprouting a few arms.

“Oh, that's...”
“Replication magic. A very specific branch of magic. It's useful for my job.”

“We're safe?”
“We're safe.”


Chopper took out a package from his bag and pointed it at Hope.

“...No, thanks.”
“It's chocolate chip! You should eat, I'm a doctor and I'm telling you to!”
“...Okay then.”

Franky and Usopp had finished setting up camp. A barrier of stone protected the tent. The two sat in front playing cards.

Hope looked at the reindeer.

“Aren't you worried about your friends?”

“Uhm, no, not really. I heard the sheriff's really strong. Nami can fight too and she's like REALLY smart. Everyone else is really strong too! I think everyone's fine.”
“What's up between those two?”
“Uhm, Nami and uhm...The tallish redhead and the mean pink-haired woman?”

“I'm not sure. I don't know the full story. I moved to the town just a few years ago, around five, and I mostly hanged out with Luffy and Usopp. And when I arrived they were already mad at each other...But apparently, they used to be best friend, along with Zoro and Sanji. They were in the same grade at school but then something happened and the sheriff stopped talking to everyone. Of course she wasn't the sheriff then. When she did become the sheriff, she demanded everyone called her that. I don't know her real name, but she also goes by Lightning and Nami calls her Light. Are you okay? You haven't touched your cookie.”
“My mother's dead.”

“Oh. I don't know where my mother is. But the man who raised me is dead. I ran away from the woman who raised me, when we stopped at our town, because I made friends and I wanted to stay...Uhm, so I'm trying to say I sorta understand. I think everyone on our group does...I don't think anyone has parents. So you're not alone?”

“I never thought I'd get advice from a raccoon.”


Nami sighed and lied down on the cold stone floor of the cave. Lightning lied next to her.

“What are you doing?”
“It's a big cave.”
“You want me to leave?”
“No. I was just surprised.”
“When was the last time we talked like this?”
“Six years.”
Lightning sighed and closed her eyes.

“Why do you remember it so well?”
“Because it was the last day I saw you smile.”


Nami: It's a flashback

Lightning: No.

Nami: Yes.

Nami: “Hey? Light?”
Nami:“You're my best friend. Right?”
Light:“Of course.”



Chapter IV- My Name is Lightning

6 years ago

Mornin'” said Nami as she walked into the cramped classroom. Sanji yawned and waved. Zoro was sleeping. Light smiled at her.

You're late.”

“Did you miss me.”

“Missed you like hell.”

Good. I should've kept you suffering longer.”


Sanji grinned.

“Nice shirt, Nami. I must say, you're developing quite well.”

Light quickly caught him in a headlock.


“I'm sorry.”

She let him go.

I'm sorry your boobs aren't as big as Nami's.”


Light chased Sanji around the room.

Teacher's coming.” muttered Zoro.

Sanji sat next to Zoro, while Nami and Light sat on the same desk.

Hey? Light?”


“You're my best friend. Right?”

“Of course.”

And you wouldn't leave me if I was...Weird, right?”

“What do you mean?”

“Would you?”


And...If...I...Uhm, of one of the boys had a crush on you, would you stop being friends with him?”

...Does Sanji have a crush on me?!” asked Light, glancing at the blond next to her.

No!” She paused “But if he did?”

“I don't know.”


Is something w-”

The teacher slapped her book on the table.

Miss Claire, Miss Nami, I assume the two of you want to spend the rest of the week on detention?”

“No, ma'am” answered both “We'll be good.”


Light!” called out Nami.

Are you going with us to the forest? We're taking some 9th graders with us...” she said, pointing at Luffy and Usopp.

I can't, my parents return today!”

Oh. Right, well, if we find something cool we'll show you!”


Light waved as she started to run. She ran all the way to her house. To her surprise, the sheriff was standing there.

Is something wrong, sir?”

Claire...Come inside please.”



I caught a squirrel.” said Zoro.

Awesome!” yelled Nami, jumping from the tree branch she was sitting on “Let's go show it to Light!”


I told her I'd show her anything cool we'd find. Now come on.”


He pushed the squirrel into his pants.

...What are you doing?”

Did you want me to carry a live squirrel around town in my hands?”


They walked towards Light's house.

When we get there, say I was the one who caught the squirrel.”

“Why do want to impress Light?”

“I don't know what you're talking about.”

When Light said she thought gymnasts were cool, you started gymnastics.”

“Zoro, please go fuck yourself. But leave the squirrel.”

Hey, what's going on?”

Nami inspected the commotion around the house.

Maybe Light's parents did something cool on their trip and are now showing off.”


Nami slip through the crowd.


The pink-haired teenager was standing in front of the door, with the sheriff.

I can take care of myself. And Serah too.” she said.

The sheriff scratched his head “She's old enough and she just applied to the guard job. I guess it's settled.”

People started to leave.

Light? What's going on?”

Nami was scared when she saw that Light was staring at her so coldly, as if she didn't even know her.

My parents died.”


“Go away. I don't want to talk to you. Or anybody.”

“But Light-”

Tell the teacher I'm dropping out.”

Light, h-”

“Lightning. It flashes bright, then fades away. It can't protect. It only destroys."

She walked inside. The sheriff was long gone.

My name is Lightning.”

She closed the door.


That...Wasn't a great decision was it?”

“You were an idiot. You still are.”

I was in shock.”

“Oh, yay, shock. Let's talk about shock. Your best friend “forever” not sending a friendly word your way for six years is pretty shocking.”

You don't understa-”

“Don't you dare say I don't understand, because you damn well know I do, that I've felt that pain and I've felt it before you.”


“Fuck you Lightning. Fuck you.”


Nami: Do we make up?

Lightning: Maybe.

Nami: I don't want to.

Lightning:...Well, me neither.

Robin: Knock it off.

Smoker: The fugitives keep moving forward.

Sanji:...Wait, who the hell are you?

Franky: “We can move now. Quickly, we need to get to the altar ASAP.”

Lightning: “The altar?”

Franky: “That's our meeting point. An ancient sacrifice altar. All routes converge there.”

Lightning: “Oh.”

Snow: We'll definitely save Serah!

Luffy: RIGHT!


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