Clean Heart, Dirty Deal is an article presented and written by Dragon Lord Erin

Clean Heart, Dirty Deal is an article presented and written by Berserkchart486

The Famous Bar Edit

The sun sat in the sky, watching the village of Orange Town. There was a slight breeze from the sea snaking throughout the streets. A lone ship floated into the harbor, it wasn't very big and looked like it had been boarded up multiple times. From the deck leapt a boy who looked no older than 16, he hummed happily as he tied his boat to the dock and strolled into town. Some of the people gave him an odd glance but most just went on with their day, it wasn't like they hadn't seen kids sailing before. The boy himself was dressed in a snug blue and red coat over a red shirt with some tan pants and very fine looking leather boots. He strode through the streets without a care in the world, humming happily as he eyed a sign. Drinker's Pub was written in big bold letters over a very nice looking bar. The boy grinned from ear to ear as he pushed the doors open and entered.

The moment he walked in most of the grizzled and older men turned to look at the kid, some letting out a good laugh. The boy paid them no mind as he made his way to the bar and hopped on a stool. "One apple juice and some vegetables please." He sang as he placed his money on the counter. The barkeep just stared at the boy for a second before sighing and stepping away to prepare his food. The rest of the bar was in an uproar.

"Apple juice and veggies, what are ye a babby?" A man screeched.

"What's this baby doin in a bar anyhow." Another howled.

"What are ye scared of rum or somethin?" A larger man spoke, he looked like he'd had quite a few drinks already.

"Eyyy what's all this? Is this baby insulting our rum? How dare he." Another drunken man screeched.

"YOU! You think yur better than rum? Rum to good for ya?" A lady yelled from a chair by the window.

"I'll have ya know my father was saved by rum, HOW DARE YOU INSULT HIM?" A large bald man roared. It was then that the barkeeper returned and placed a carrot and a glass of apple juice in front of the kid. He picked the glass up and drank it with a smile.

"OI this lad's ignorin us, drinking that like rums nothing but a pile-a dirt." The bald man roared.

"I'll kill im for insulting me drink." A red bearded man howled.

"Umm I just like apple juice better." The boy spoke sheepishly as he stared at the room of angered, drunken rum lovers.

“Hey look, the kid didn’t mean no harm.” The voice radiated from across the room, a lone man resting in the corner of the tavern, his face also masked by the shadows. All that seemed to be visible were his bright blue eyes that somehow pierced through the ensuing darkness. “Alva, dammit, can’t you just mind yer business sometimes ey?” “Yeah, ery damn time one of dese pretty boys walk in here, yer have something to say out of your mouth! Shut yer trap!”

Alva sat quietly, splurging down the rest of his mug. He ignored their critiques of his behavior.

“Bartender,” he burped, “Put ‘Nother one down for me. Fill it up all the way too.” The earlier men sighed and turned their attention back to the juice drinking softie that had entered their bar. Though, even as rude as they were, they thought they at least owed him some form of an explanation.

“That’s just the village drunk. He sits dere all damn day and just drinks his heart away.”

“I have to admit though,” another man interrupted, “his crops do taste good all the time. My wife loves it when I buys his shite. I don’t know what he cleans his dirt wit, but I need some of whatever he has.”

“Maybe we should go on and ask him for some free merchandise if you know what I mean, eh?”

"Yeah, let's do that afta we kill this kid here," they said, turning their attention back to the child before them.

"Kill me? Aww come on guys the boy sighed as he jumped down from his stool as they inched closer to him. That isn't very nice of you at all." He sighed as they backed him into a corner. It was clear there was no way out of this except retaliation. The boy sighed as he held his hands out towards them. "Seriously guys calm down He stated, his voice taking a more serious tone while still keeping the childlike ring. The men around him found themselves much calmer than before.

"Eye why did we wanna kill this kid again?" The bald man questioned.

"Something about rum I think, he insulted it or something?" The woman at the window added.

"I think we were just being silly is all, he's a kid right, maybe the rum just isn't good for im." The red bearded one spoke.

"Oi Oi that's right, good on you making a responsible choice lad." A man holding two kegs cheered. As he did the others cheered as well, laying down in their chairs and relaxing as they drank. The boy then walked over to the drinking man they called Alva and smiled at him.

"Thanks for the attempted save, even if it didn't really work out." I'm Melodias Nice to meet ya" He spoke with a small wave and another smile.

“It’s not problem, kid,” Alva replied casually. “How bout you take a seat?”

Alva’s eyes were a bright hazel, a stark contrast the remainder of his figure. His hair was dark, dusty, and graying like the feathers of an old crow. The robes he wore were somehow unbefitting of a farmer, yet they were darkly colored and natured. A weak smile rested upon the corners of his lips, but, his features were tired like an aging mans. However, even then, there was a youthfulness in his face; it was void of all wrinkles, blemishes, and the like.

The waitress delivered another bottle of molt liquor, and Alva unhesitantly cracked it open and gulped down a swab. “So, tell me kid, what,” he started, a burp interrupting his sentence, “brings you to these parts?”

Melodias nodded and sat down next to the man. "You see I'm on a journey right now. I left my homeland in hopes of becoming a great zooloist, documenting all the creatures in the world. My pal Chrome and I have been traveling as far as we can from our home, in homes of eventually returning and sharing our research with my people." The boy happily chirped. "I heard someone say you're a farmer right." He added.

“And so, you came to this town lookin for animals? Ain’t nothing different from the animals on other islands. If you lookin for animals, your best bet would be sailing on the grand line. There be tons of animals there. But here?” Alva shook his head side to side as he swallowed another bit of his liquor.

“Got to say the same for me crops to,” Alva informed, “I know those fools over there told ya that my food was good and stuff, but I promise you, they just be drunk. I’m really nothing special. I just do what every mans do; take care of me soil."

"Well I'm planning to travel up the grand line, but I thought I'd start down here first." I hear they have some unique sea kings in these waters, plus animals that live here might not live on the grand line. I wanna make sure I get everything." The boy answered as he leaned on the counter. "Can I try some of your food? I think the tongue judges better than words." He replied. "Plus between you and me that carrot was pretty bland." He whispered with a small laugh.

Alva shook his head tiredly, "Jesus kid. You're really curious about shite aren't ya?" He stood up, using his hands to push himself up. "But, if yer really that interested, I'll take ya to me home and give ye some food. Then, if ye desire, you can rest at me place. It's the least I can do for a guest of this shite island," Alva continued, laying down the money for both his and Melodias meals.

"Follow me home, Kay?"

"Wow thanks a ton Alva." Melodias spoke joyfully as he followed the man out the bar. The drunken pirates gave low energy waves and smiles, still extremely calm. "Have you lived in Orange Town your whole life or did you move here?" The boy inquired as the walked through the busy streets.

"Oh, I've been a resident of these parts for as long as me can remember," Alva answered quickly, waving to the residents that were joyfully cleaning the outside of their homes. "But, me weren't originally born here if that's what you're askin."

"Where were you born then?" Melodias pressed as he followed Alva through the winding roads of the village. He smiled at the people as they passed by, noting the relatively relaxed atmosphere of the town.

"No idea," Alva replied, "All me knows is I was a captain of some sorts, until I took a hit to me head, and now, me ain't got no ideas where I used to belong to. All me remembers is waking up here, on this here island, and the townsfolk were so kind and all to take me in and teach me the ropes. I stayed here ever since." He continued looking forward. "What about ye?"

"Oh wow you lost your memories." Melodias spoke sadly. "Maybe another hit to the head would bring em back?" He added, attempting to lighten the mood, mainly for himself. "I'm from an uncharted island in the New World called Thralinor. I'm one of the only ones of my species to leave the island." The boy spoke.

"New World eh? That place up there is dangrous as heck if ye ask me, but me ain't never been there, so me can't say for sure. But ye the first the leave the island is pretty impressive nuff for me, so congrats on that," Alva spoke, choosing to ignore the jest made by Melodias. For the first time in their walk, Alva's eyes fell upon Melodias. "How old ye be anyway? 14? 15?"

"It was ok to get through. Chrome got me down here pretty fast. Plus he was great at protecting me." Melodias responded. "Oh me, yeah that probably confused you a little huh." Melodias laughed. "My people look quite young but I'm about 120." He chirped with a little laugh.

The Cleanest Home Ye Ever Saw Edit

Alva’s eyes, for the first time, showed life. They grew slightly wider as his face contorted to express his surprise. “Oh,” Alava replied; it the only word he could use to truly describe his own emotions. Fortunately, there was no need for a long awkward silence between the two as Alva struggled to respond appropriately. They had reached the edge of his home, a rather indistinct home, no different than any other in the town, yet, there was a certain cleanness to the outside and to the grass around it.

“Ey, welcome to me house,” Alva said, pulling open the gate to his yard. “Hope ye doesn’t mind its size. It’s a lil smaller than that tavern, which is why me there all the time, haha!”

"Well it's still quite nice." Melodias responded. "Well kept too." He added as he placed a hand on the ground and a snake wrapped itself around his arm. "Ohh seems you have a couple garden snakes around here, you're quite lucky they're small around here. The ones in my hometown are about the size of that house. Though they keep the dragonflies under control." He spoke as he patted the snake on the head.

"It's the best me can do," Alva thanked. Then, just as before, his eyes shot open. "Wait, did ye say that the snakes are about the size of me own home? And they keep the dragonflies under control?" Alva gulped. "How big are those critters then? Don't tell me the dragonflies are almost as big as me house too?"

Melodais let out a laugh as the snake slithered around his arm, not that he minded. "Well the dragonflies aren't as big as the snakes, but their body is bigger than yours is. Granted a lot of the animals on my island are surprisingly large compared to what I've seen around here. Even Chrome is pretty big compared to other beasts I've seen." Melodias spoke as he let the snake gently to the ground, watching as it slithered away.

"Chrome?" Alva inquired quickly. "Who in the tarnation does Chrome be? Don't tell me you brought chrome with ye to my home?" He searched frantically around the area, his eyes leaping from one corner of his property to the next.

"Oh no Chrome couldn't come here if he wanted, He's what you would call a sea king I believe. At least that's what people kept yelling when they saw him." Melodias laughed. "He's the reason I got off my island, seas kings are the only thing that can get through the storm." He spoke as he inspected the garden in front of the house, looking for critters.

"Ah, Sea King. I see." Alva opened the door to his home beckoning Melodias inside, and then, without hesitation, shutting the door behind them to prevent any critters from slipping inside. He was a clean person by nature, but Melodias' tales of otherworldly bugs only spooked him more.

"P-Please," Alva continued to stutter, "Take a seat at the table. I'll prepare some beverages and then the food. It'll take some time though," he informed. "And then, if need be, if ye needs to see ye room, it's upstairs, the first to the left. Me always leaves fresh sheets on the beds. Never know when guest are in the area."

"Alright thanks." Melodias cheered as he dashed up the stairs and into a remarkably clean room. "Wow this is so nice." He marveled as he wiped his finger across the cabinet, perfectly clean. He flopped down on the bed with a sigh, it had been so long since he'd lay on such a soft bed. Melodias smiled happily as he stood from the bed and walked down the stairs, taking a seat at the table. "This place is so clean it's unreal. How do you do it?" He called to Alva.

"There ain't much me can do, but if it one thing I remember about me-self is that me have always been a capable cleaner," Alva admitted. He turned the stove on, and filled the pot with water.

"I'm making some ramen with fresh vegetables," Alva informed, "Me gotta wait for the water to boil though; It shouldn't take much longer. But yer mentioned earlier that ye have to get through storms to escape your island? What that be about?"

"Ohh I've never had ramen before." Melodias laughed with joy, excited to try the new meal. "Well my island is surrounded by a fierce storm, one that would rip a ship that even ventured close to the winds around it apart. It's like a giant wall that conceals the island but also traps us in. It's also the reason the animals there are so big, there's no outside interference. That and the whole island is kinda mysterious, there's probably some secrets to it that I'm not aware of." He trailed off. "Anyways Even underwater the storm rages on, the only thing that can move through it, is a sea king. So I tamed Chrome and left."

Alva stirred the noodles with his fork. "Ah, me understands then," he nodded. "Sounds like a dangerous place, but ye said that it is in the New World, so it makes sense. Though, me will never understand exactly how a world like that came to be, and how people decided they wanted to live in that world," he continued, taking a seat across from Melodias as he waited for the noodles to finish boiling. "Ye mentioned that a fierce storm surrounds ye, so does that mean ye never tasted fresh fish either?"

"I have but most of our fish are as big as this table here, so catching them is a rather arduous task." Melodias commented. "Plus they're mostly food for the sea kings so we usually don't get the opportunity to get one." Melodias sighed, as he began to play around with a stray hair on his bangs.

"Darn, that's a pity. If it's anything me loves its me seafood. Oysters, crabs, shrimp, crayfish, Salmon, you name it. Me love it all!" Alva laughed, a genuine smile appearing for the first time since their meeting. "But yer serious about the size of yer creatures? They really got fish that enormous where you hail from?"

"Yeah they're huge, taste great when you actually get your hands on em too." Melodias replied, noting Alva's smile. "As I said before all the animals are abnormally large on out Island, actually I can show you one of the fish after we eat if you want."

Alva shook his head side to side. "Lemme just take yer word for it; me doesn't want to die so early." He stood up to check the ramen, and taking note of the boiling water, he turned the stove off. "Since yer never had ramen, lemme teach ye how you take care of it. It's a delicate art, so member, don't be all lazy with it. But first, you drain the water," Alva informed, carrying the water to the sink and emptying it out. "And that's it. Hard stuff right?"

"That seems pretty easy to me." Melodias stated, clearly confused by the sarcastic nature of Alva's comment. "Is the pan really heavy or is the water poisonous?" He asked with a concerned tone. As her peered into the kitchen, watching Alva cook. His fingers were tapping on the flute clipped to his belt.

Alva frowned. "Um, it, it was just a joke. Don't tell me ye people have all these amazing creatures and critters, but ye people don't have any clue on sarcasm? That's all me is, a sarcastic douche, haha!" Alva jested. "That was another joke by the way."

"Oh I see." Melodias laughed. "So this sarcasm is when you way one thing but mean another thing." He spoke, working through the concept as he did. "So I could say that your house is very dirty but in reality it's clean." He asked, attempting to try it out for himself.

"Yeah, sort of. You have to say it though, in sort of an ironic tone ye see?" Alva continued. "Or, well, if ye say somethin real absurd, like, ye house is on freakin fire me guess that could be sarcasm, me think? Don't actually know if me being honest. Never thought about this sarcasm thing real deeplike, ye feels me?"

"I suppose so." Melodias commented, though he still doubted his complete understanding of the term. He reached out and grabbed a bowl of the Ramen Alva had daringly prepared. As he dug into it he was wowed by the flavors. How the meat, vegetables, and noodles added to the broth. "Woah this is amazing." He stated with wide eyes before quickly devouring the rest of the bowl.

"Haha, thank ye kindly! But ye can't really mean it like that. Me cookin ain't that swell," Alva replied humbly, treating himself to his own meal. It was somehow better than usual. "It is good if me say so. Ye be good luck to my cookin, haha! Maybe it'd be best if ye stay a while. Me can teach you how to make the perfect bowl of ramen."

"I'd love to." Melodias spoke before doubling back on his statement. "Though only for a couple days, I have to head off to record more animals." He stated as he stood to place the bowl in the sink. "I can't afford to stop forever." He sighed until an idea bloomed in his head. "Hey you could come with me if you want. You said yourself that all you really do is drink. Why not explore the world with me. I have a small ship but it's big enough for at least two, if not three. You could be the cook." His eyes shining bright with ideas of the future.

"Eh, me appreciate the gesture, but me ain't cut out for that sort o' thing. Ye see, me don't even remember me own origins. Me don't even know why me says me instead of I, or my, ye see?" Alva walked over to the refrigerator, pulling out a can of beer. He cracked it open and sat down, taking a gulp. "Me ain't really worth much. Ye be better of asking one of those hooligans down the bar for help moreso than me."

"I doubt any of those hooligans can cook." Melodias shrugged. "Plus I'm not after cheap muscle or anything. You seems like a nice guy who would be fun to travel with and you make delicious food." His sincere voice echoed in the room. "Plus if you're really looking for your memories wouldn't it be better to explore the world. You're much more likely to find them if you're constantly seeing change than if you stay here forever." Though he looked like a child Melodias was far from it. "Plus if you come you'll get to meet a ton of new creatures."

"Me don't know kid," Alva replied, "If a fight 'ere to happen, me don't even know how to help. Me can't fight no creature bigger than me house ye know." He pulled out his wallet, sliding a picture over to Melodias. It was a girl, black hair, petite, probably around twelve years old, with silver eyes. "Me don't remember her at all, but me know me love her like she be me own daughter. Waiting here is me best bet of encountering her me thinks. That's why me can never leave."

"Hey that's a lot of creatures in this world and most humans." Melodias laughed as he observed the picture that Alva pulled from his wallet. As he saw the face images raced through his mind. "I..I know that girl. Her name is Grace Thatcher, she lives on an island in the new world. She cooked me a food known as pork tempura, it was delicious." He spoke in awe. "Alva I know her." He shouted with delight.

Alva slammed his hands against the table as he stood up. "You know me Grace?!" He shrieked, the name coming back to him as quickly as Melodias stated. He scratched his throat as he sat back down. "Me means, oh so you know Grace? Well then, if ye knows where she is, me has no choice but to go to the seas with ye then."

"Alright then!" Melodias nodded, his voice much more confident. "She runs a bakery on that island. However we can't head there immediately. The waters are treacherous and I can't really ride Chrome anymore. We might be open to pirate attacks as well." He spoke as he walked over to a chair in the living room. "I need to find as many animals as possible as well, not just for my studies, but to help us survive." As he spoke these words he touched the chair and in a flash of green light there was no chair, but a large, five foot chameleon.

"W-We should leave as soon as possible then," Alva started, picking up his wallet from the table. "Er, after tonight, we'll head out first thing in the morning. Ye get yer rest, and leave the preparation stuff to me. If me work all night, me can have all this shite packed and stuff. Me should also head to the market first in the morning; me finally going after me lil gurl," Alva spoke, not really asking for much confirmation from Melodias. In fact, within a few minutes, he had grabbed his wallet and walked towards the door.

"Er, stay put. Lemme handle some business." Alva closed the door behind him.

The Next Day Edit

Melodias strode about his ship, preparing the bedrooms and kitchen as Alva load various possessions onboard. The ship was in good condition but pretty bland in terms of decorations or leisure objects so it would be a nice change of pace. As Melodias moved to the front of the ship to fiddle with the sailing he overheard some voiced from the ship docked next to theirs.

"Hey sir did you really find an island of unheard of animals, cause you never told us about it. Were you just boasting in the bar?" A young man asked a much taller man. The tall man was wrapped in a green, scaled cloak. As he turned to face the man his face was reveled to have a large mustache and two monocles. "You man do you dare fight the word of the greatest trapper in the east blue, Gaston." The tall man fired out. "We're about to go to that island and trap ourselves some hybrids, those pelts will be worth millions." He screeched as their ship pulled out of the harbor and began moving into the open ocean.

"Pelts, trappers?" Melodias wondered as he walked over to Alva. "Hey Alva I just overheard some people talking on that ship that just left. They said they were trappers or something going to get pelts on this island of unheard of animals. What's that mean, trappers and pelts?" He questioned his newfound friend.

Alva looked around the ship, slamming down another crate onto the deck. That made about eight crates of pure food, with a few barrels filled to the brim with juice, water, and alcohol. "Pelts, trappers? Those be people that hunt creatures and takes their fur and sell it on the market or some other shite." He wiped the sweat off his brow and faced Melodias. "Doesn't make much sense to go and kill some unheard animals though. Who would buy it? Would you buy a coat out of some material that you have no knowledge of? Course not. That's bad purchasing. It'd be like me buying a vegetable that I have no idea of what it be."

"Hunt creatures for their fur. You mean just their fur?" Melodias stammered, quite appealed by the statement. Whenever Vanateleri killed a creature they tried to utilize every part of its being. Why would people do something like this to an animal? Melodias grabbed Alva's shirt and shook it worriedly. "Alva we have to stop them. I can't let those animals be killed for nothing, that's...that's monstrous." He stammered as he ran grabbed a bottle of rum, with a flash of green a parrot stood on his palm. "Go trace those bastards so we can track em down as soon as we set off." He spoke to the parrot, who nodded in response before flying off.

“Well they kill the animals too if that’s what ye askin,” Alva replied, yet to no avail as Melodias seemed to have already made up his mind. “Listen kid, pelters, hunters, those people be more dangerous than you could imagine. And yeah, me understand ye grew up in the New World, but ye never had to deal with human people before, ye get me? They are sentient beings. They think faster than any big fish, or dragonfly, or snake ye done had to deal with, ye get me?” Alva looked on worriedly. “They ‘ave guns and swords and other shite.”

"I don't care what they have. The animals on my island wouldn't even be phased by them." Melodias grumbled as he finished ready the ship for launch and grabbed the wheel. "I might not know much about humans but I know enough. I've met quite a few and they seem rather nice. If not for our biology I'd say they're almost identical to us. These people have a messed up mindset though." He sighed as the ship began to move from the harbor and into the ocean. "They're trying to kill innocent animals to make somebody a coat Alva, a coat."

"Alright kid!" Alva agree, his tone almost defensive, "We'll go make sure they don't touch none of those animals, but don't go on and do somethin' dumb, kay? The first key is to talk to them first, see if we can change there minds with words." Alva almost pleaded to Melodias. "Listen kid, me ain't that good in a fight, so I don't really wanna have to deal with that shite, if ye understands me? If they wave one of those swords in my face, me as good as dead."

"Don't worry Alva, I'm always open to talking it out first. My only real lethal option is either Chrome or a predator I create." He spoke as they sailed through the ocean waves, following the trail of Melodias' parrot.

Melodias docked the boat besides the island and hopped onto dry land. "I think they're already within the island Alva." He stated as he grabbed two handfuls of small leaves, turning them hundreds of fireflies to light the way through the dark trees. "Come on Alva lets go and.." He was cut off by a rustling from the woods and in moments two men burst through the leaves.

"Hey now what are you two doing on this island?" A larger skinner man stated, pointing a sword at the two.

"You trying to mess with our bosses' hunt?" The shorter, pudgier one stated. He was pointing a blunderbuss at them.

“No, no,” Alva exclaimed, putting his hands up defensively. “Well, me mean, yeah, we tryin to interfere with your hunt, but not without good reason, rest assured! So, please,, just hear me partner out for a quick moment, and me promise ye won’t regret it.”

"Why would we even ca.." The man was cut off by Melodias.

"You should care because you're harming and killing innocent creatures for profit, not to mention unrecorded creatures as well." He spoke as he stared the two down.

"I don't really care about your animal loving kid. We're doing real adult stuff that you just don't understand, so why don't you and your caretaker get out of here." The tall one spoke as he tapped his sword on the ground. Melodias sighed as he reached to his belt, the two hunters quickly took held their weapons up but stopped when they saw the flute. The two stared him with confusion as he brought the flute to his lips and blew into it. The moment the music hit their ears, the two dropped their weapons and began dancing behind Melodias as he walked around the clearing.

"Knock em out Alva." He quickly shouted as he went back to playing.

"Knock dem out? Me can't do nothing like that!" Alva exclaimed. A sweat dripped from the corners of his brow. "Me ain't ever list me fist ever for a fight. Me a cook, Melodias. We cook, we don't fight! Don't ye have a song or somethin' that can do that job?"

Melodias quickly grabbed his flute from his mouth and in a flash of green it became squid with a spiral shell. He clumsily pricked the two with the shell and they both stumbled backwards. The two tried to get up but could not budge, even their speech was slurred. "Spiral Cone Squid, their shell is coated in the equivalent of a strong muscle relaxant." He explained as his flute turned back to normal. "I'm not quite capable of feats such as knocking others out yet." He added. As he walked back over to his partner he had an inquiry. "Do you have any skills or powers that could be used in a fight? I just don't want to get into this situation again."

"Have ye not been listenin' to me for the past few minutes?" Alva inquired, "Me never been a fight in me life. Or, me guess, me don't ever 'member being in a fight ever. Regardless, me just a cook, not a soldier or nuthin of the sort, so please don't go starting stuff, especially if they have themselves swords and guns." Alva scratched his head nervously. "Ye a little more feisty than me would've guessed me to have to admit. Ye care about animals that much?"

"They are very significant to my people, me as well. I heard tales of humans being horrors, I heard tales of them being good. I only hear tales of animals being animals, I've only experienced animals being animals. While I do like humans I believe that they do tend to put themselves above nature, something my people do not." He stated "In terms of your fighting ability I think it might be memory, considering this girl who might be your daughter is in the new world you must have some sort of abilities buried within your brain."

Alva nodded in agreement, withdrawing himself from the moment to dwell within his own thoughts. There was a hint of some skill, yet it was such a distant memory that his mind snapped when he tried to process it. He flinched in pain, grabbing his head as he stumbled onto the floor of the earth. "Screw me," he exasperated, struggling to stand. In a sudden surge of frustration, he slammed his fist onto the ground. "Why can't me remember nothin' darnit!"

"Might've hit your head hard or possibly almost drowned, both can take some toll on your mind." Melodias mused until he noticed Alva fall to the floor in anger and a bit of pain. "Alva calm down, memories usually slowly come back, try to think about how you actually got to that island or think of the first memory you have." Melodias spoke as he offered Alva a hand up from the dirt.

"Drownin?" Alva repeated, taking Melodias help. He stood there awkwardly for a few moments. "That be plausible enough. Me can't swim actually. The water just takes all me energy out. It's why me usually stay away from boats, and the sea in general. It's a deadly world out there," he continued. "Me bet that sounds absurd to ye; the ocean siphoning energy and all."

"Ocean siphoning energy, can't swim." Melodias thought aloud. "Oh you must be a devil fruit user like me." He exclaimed, before noting the confused look on Alva's face. "A devil fruit is basically a fruit that you eat and it gives you a power. I heard a lot about them from my people as apparently they used to grow on our island. Paramecia, Zoan, and Logia are the types. I've never seen any in person before though, except the one I ate. Mine allows me to turn objects into living beings, like when I turned my flute into that squid."

Alva scratched the back of his head. "Aye, me don't have no talents like that. Some people down the bar told me about those, but they all said that it just be rubbish spat by crazy folk. But, if ye say it, then it must be true. Me guess mine is heck of useless then, haha!" Alva laughed, before his eyes slid to his right.

"Aye, who goes there?" he yelled out in a what seemed to be a newfound confidence. "I don't like it when people try to sneak up me."

"You probably just don't understand how to use it yet, I'm sure we can figure this out." Melodias replied. He was alerted when Alva turned to look at the thing sneaking up on them. He was extremely surprised to see what seemed to be a platypus sheep hybrid dashing by them, running from something. "Oh wow look at that." Melodias cried as he stared at the creature running by them. However in a few short moments his wonder was cut off by a large man crashing through the woods into the clearing.

A Wisp of Crimson Edit

"You two did you see a beast run through here?" He shouted at the two, raising his gun to his gun in the air. A smaller man came up beside him, clearly out of breath.

"Gaston look." He huffed as he pointed to the two bodies lying by the men, raising his own gun in alarm.

"What is the meaning of this?" Gaston cried, raising his own gun as well. "What did you two do to my men?"

"Um, look here, they tried to shoot me and my friend here! We didn't have no choice really, but we didn't 'arm them or nothin," Alva explained, putting his hands in the air as Gaston pointed his gun towards them. "So, please, whatever ye do, don't shoot. We can't work this out, mister...?"

"I think your lying to cover something up, are you hiding the animals? Did you knock them out cause they almost got the hybrids?" Gaston cried as he pointed his gun at them. There was a brief silence before Melodias spoke.

"Yeah we're hiding them." He spoke as he quickly darted into the bushes.

"Come back here or I'll kill your friend, child." Gaston shouted as he inched his gun closer to Alva. The woods were silent until Melodias came walking through the bushes, carrying one of the platypus-sheep hybrids they had seen before. He placed it down on the ground between them and knelt beside it.

"How can you think of harming this creature for money, it's apparently almost never been seen. Why would you want to take something that hasn't even been researched or observed out for money? Why would you kill something that won't even fight back for it?" He asked as he stared down both Gaston and his gun.

"You're just a stupid child but let me tell you something." Gaston spoke. "The world is all about money, that's how it's run. People want money and thus they'll go about any way to get it. Mining, terraforming, hunting, trapping, it's all the same. If you're so worried about these animals you should be thanking me. I'm putting them out of their misery before this island gets sunk."

"Sunk?" Melodias asked with a confused stare as he stood from his place on the ground.

"Oh yes people sink islands to benefit trade routes or get to the good ores within them." Gaston laughed.

"So you all just kill nature for you own gain. I see how it is." Melodias spoke quietly, thought fury bubbled in his voice.

"Yeah that's right It's what we do you twat." Gaston sighed as he lowered his gun to the hybrid and shot it through the skull. "See this is what happens to those precious animals of yours." He laughed as he aimed his gun back at Melodias. "Now get off this island before I make you."

"You really killed it huh." Melodias spoke with a sad laugh. "You went and killed something that couldn't even fight back for nothing. When you do something like that it upsets a balance." He continued as Gaston looked with confusion.

"Stop blabbering and..Ow." He cried as he put his hand to his head. "My head feels odd."

"The balance must be restored, those are the rules of nature." He spoke as Gaston attempted to make another statement. Only for a large portion of his head to blast backwards into the woods. His body fell to the ground as the hybrid flashed green and became a log once more.

"Woah!?" Alva jumped, leaping backwards onto his butt in fear. "I-I..." His eyes shot towards Melodias. "Melodias, what in the heck did ya just do!?" His gripped the soil tightly. "Melodias, kid, ye not suppose to blow people's heads off even if they tamper with the," he started. "Oh, I-I can't. I'm-I'm gonna," Alva continued, interrupted by his own hurling.

"He shot an innocent animal out of his own will. Thus nature paid him back in full, shot through the head just like the creature. I gave him a choice and he chose." Melodias spoke as he bent down an patted Alva on the back."I'm sorry you had to see that, I'm also feeling quite nauseous." He spoke as he turned his head to Gaston's lackey. "Are you going to take the rest of your men and leave for good? Are you going to erase this place from your memories and never return?" He asked. The man just stared at him and nodded furiously as he dropped his gun and ran to collect his mates, dragging them through the jungle behind him.

Alva brushed the edges of his mouth with the sleeve of his jacket. "Me sorry for losing me cool." He stood up and moved away from his pile of vomit. "But, ye have to understand, me just not use to nothin' like that. Me never have seen anything like that really. Nature is plenty cruel then." Alva continued walking towards the ship. "Me gonna head back to the ship now, me thinks; need some rest."

"Nature is truly ruthless." Melodias agreed as he stood next to Alva. "I think we could both use some rest. I can observe the creatures in the morning." He spoke as they made their way back to the ship. "So is it really true what he said? About people doing these things?"

"About tearing up the world for coin? 'Course he wasn't lying," Alva revealed. "A who thinks he has the upper hand never lies. That's just a general rule of thumb for ya kid." There was a silence as Melodias went to gather his thoughts, and although he hadn't known the man for long, he could almost taste his emotions: rage, depression, sadness, hate, malice.

"B-but, er. Well, don't let it get ye down. There are plenty of people that believe in the opposite too. The world ain't full of people just like that."

"I see." Melodias sighed. Why was the world this way? "Thanks Alva, I just wish we could do something more about all this." He spoke, before an idea flashed through his head. "Wait you said there are others, you're right there must be. I have an idea Alva, we need to make a pirate crew. But not just any pirate crew. We'll be a crew that undoes the atrocities and saves nature itself. A crew that navigates this spider web of evil, like a drop of water." He spoke triumphantly. "We'll be the Dewdrop pirates, saviors of nature." He spoke excitedly as he grabbed Alva's shoulder. "Will you be my first mate?"

Alva smiled. "Of Course kid. If that means me won't end up like that dumb fella back there, me will protect every bit of nature. Shoot, me just darn well learned if these idiots keep on screwing everything up, nature will kill us all. Can't be dying now. Not before me catch my lil girl." He extended his hand towards Melodias. "Let us commemorate this deal with a handshake, an oath between two men, kiddo, that we'll save nature and me lil girl. Whatcha say?"

"I say most definitely." Melodias grinned as he clasped Alva's hand and the men shook. "We'll make sure to get you to your daughter and save the planet while we do." Melodias was ecstatic, his mind was racing. "Alright then let's give my ship a name. "You have any ideas Alva?"

"Oh, me know the perfect name for it." Alva fell silent, disguising his dramatic pause by appearing to have admired the ship. It was a beautiful ship afterall, though it was just so dirty. Alva had no choice but to admit that he was sometimes a neat freak.

"The ship's name is gonna be Gaston!"

"The name of the man that inspired our crew, fair enough." Melodias spoke with a shrug. While he was't fond of the man, he did show Melodias just how messed up the world was. "Alright then Alva." Melodies shouted as he smashed the bottle against the ship. "Gaston it is. Now let's get out on those seas and save the world shall we." He spoke triumphantly.

Alva nodded in agreement. "Let's make sure to get a drink too!" In excitement, he jogged towards the ramp that led to the deck.

As the two drew upon the deck of their ship, they would have been rather surprised to see that a Cavalier Birdman, a breed of birds native to the Red Islands of the South Blue, was lying in wait for the both of them upon the ship's bowsprit, its large red wings cuffed at its sides. Its golden eyes were glued to their figures, as if it had been watching them for quite a bit of time, much longer than either of them had ever noticed.

"I think I'll stick to the apple juice!" Melodias shouted back as he raced up the ramp behind Alva. As he reached the main deck he caught a hint of red out of the corner of his eye. His head swiveled to see a beautiful black and red bird perched on their ship. Melodias' eyes grew wide as he whipped out his notebook. "Alva look at this." He shouted excitedly. "I've ever seen a bird like this." He spoke as he scanned the bird with his eyes, describing its appearance in one of his books as vividly as he could.

However as soon as Melodias' writing utensil came into contact with whatever canvas he was using as a notebook, the Cavalier Birdman opened its wings and fluttered them to and fro, channeling up a powerful gust of wind that would have thrown even a grown man off balance. His notebook, utensil, and other means of equipment would have been lost to the gust, the notebook flying off the ship as the large red bird took off into the skies, the thought of Melodias losing every last bit of data he had collected to the sea looking all too promising.

"Son of a.." Melodias cried as the journal flew from his fingertips, his pen was grasped solidly in his hand however. He fell onto his butt as he stared at the bird flying off into the sky. "Feisty one huh, able to generate a pretty good gust on takeoff. I'll note that for later." He spoke as he stood up from the ground. He was disappointed that the journal had gone overboard but it just meant he had to rewrite his notes, there were only a few birds in there anyways. He would be better off studying a specimen that wasn't moving. "You okay Alva?" He called to his first mate.

Alva groaned as he pulled himself off the floor. "Screw me," he complained. "What in the heck was that thing. Ye see it, Melodias? It was big and huge. Strangest bird me ever saw, I swear to ye," he continued complaining. "Me don't even feel like having a drink. Look at me clothes! They be a mess." Alva ripped of his shirt, and with a touch, a line spawned into existence. Within seconds, the shirt was sparkly, shining under radiant sun as it glittered, perfectly cleaned. "A little better. Me might hafta put it through the wash again. Whatcha think, Melodias?"

Melodias stared at Alva wide eyed. "Alva, remember how we were talking about how you probably have a devil fruit. I think that might be it, cause I don't see how you'd instantly clean that." He chirped. "Looks like you're on laundry duty forever now." He snickered.

"What? Nah, that's fool's talk, Alva. Everybody can do this," Alva said. "Ye just have to be willing to put in the work! Don't worry, me will teach ye in our time together. Like for one, let me go and clean the rest of this ship! It's so dirty, can't ye see all the dust?"

"Alva you just completely cleaned those clothes like magic, that's not something anyone can just naturally do." Melodias commented. "You have amnesia so I don't think you realize it but I can almost guarantee that's a devil fruit within you." He then looked around the ship. "Yeah I guess it is pretty dirty, guess you should clean it huh." He spoke as he grabbed a bucket and a rag. "I'll help too."