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Elsewhere...

Direct to Yuri:

Melonberry Island Arc

Arrival
Noticed by the Azure Company
Into the Compound
Aftermath

Kappanai Island Arc

Out at Sea
Landfall
A Freakin' Bear!

Kesrizu Island Arc

Disrepair
On the Hunt
In Holding
Head to Head

Stagio Island Arc (Great Horn Archipelago Part 1)

Brewing Storm
Redical

Hinnon Breeze Arc (Great Horn Archipelago Part 2)

Under Fire
In the Walls

Four Color Festival Arc (Great Horn Archipelago Part 3)

The First Meet
The Second Meet
Four Color Invasion
Boss Chester

Other:
Description of the Hinnon Breeze
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Chester D. Arnold


"The D might stand for Dumbass"


The Pirates life is supposed to be one full of thrills, excitement and glamour. Another adventure every day, another bar, another drink, and another girl in your bed. The pirates life is supposed to be interesting, the thing of fables and legends. A pirates life is supposed to be the thing people will speak off for hundreds of years.

A pirates life is supposed to be epic.

That's what Chester always believed, and that's why he, a trained seaman First Class in the Marines, left his post, becme a deserter and took to the seas to find his own place in the world, one where the only orders he had to follow was his own. The only laws was the laws of the sea. That every man had to carve their own place in history. And he was ready to carve. Bottle in his hand, a sword on his hip and a heart full of zeal and courage, he was ready for just about anything.

Except a tropical storm that tore his ship into smitherins, and sent him - a man who cannot swim, into the sea, the underwater currents taking him and tossing him about, only a twist of fate saved him from drowning, one wrong wave would have meant the death of Chester, instead, he was washed up on the shore of an unknown island in the North Blue. The sun was hitting his face as he was coming too, failing to breath due to the water in his lungs, something - like a rock, fell from the sky, hitting him in the chest, hard enough that he coughed up water, then he proceded to vomit the rest of the water.. And alcohol out of his system. Turning around, to where the rock that had landed on his chest was, it wasn't a rock at all, but some sort of shelled vegetation. A fruit, maybe.

".. I've eaten enough strange fruits in my days.." The young pirate said, wiping his mouth on the sleeve of his arm. his watch was crushed, his jacket was torn, the entirery of the left sleeve was missing, his shoes had both gotten spoiled away, and so had all of his supplies. Crawling onto his feet, on this seemingly desolate Island, he walked the shore, finding what looked like wood. A glimmer of hope came to the man, as he huried towards it, thirsty as a man who had been in a desert for a hundred days.

Arriving at the wooden plank, he found it to be a crate. A crate! From his ship, perhabs. He tore it open, and inside he found a bottle. A Bottle! He grabbed it up, and uncorked it, downing the contents. It wasn't water - it was something better.

Rum.

His eyes were closed as he chugged the bottle, only to hear a short cough as he finished the bottle. "Ehm.. Wooow." The tiny voice said, it was a little girl, a third as tall as the man, she had long, braided red hair, and emerald eyes, her skin was dark, like the bark of an oak. "I've never seen someone drink like that.." She said, equal part amazement, equal part disbelief.

"Comes with a lot of practice, kid." Chester said, wiping his mouth again, pouting as he turned the bottle upside down again, despite chugging the entire thing, he didn't seem affected at all. "So.. Where am I, and who are you?" He asked, curiously. The girl shrugged. "I'm Lino, and this is Melonberry island!"

"Hi, Lino, I'm Chester. Melonberry Island? In the North blue? What a silly name." He said, with a chuckle. The girl pouted a little at his would-be insult. "Hey! It's not silly! It's named after the most delicious thing in the whole world!" Lino yelled and Chester raised an eyebrow. "Oh yeah?" He said, thinking to himself that it should be called 'Dressora Rum"- Island.

"And what's that?"

"Melonberries, you dingus!" He girl shouted at him and Chester nodded. "Well, yeah, but what's that?" He asked, again and the girl's pout turned into a curious smile. "Oh. It's a fruit, they grow on these trees!" She said, pointing upwards at the palms. "But watch out, they are heavy, if they fall on you, it will hurt. My brother broke his arm when one landed on him when he was a kid!" She explained, in that way only kids could.

"Uh-Huh." He mentioned, picking up one of these 'Melonberries' It was a stupid name, he thought. "I.. How do you eat this?" He asked, nibbling on the shell, it wasn't tasting very well. The girl giggled. "You're silly." she said, handing him an odd tool, kind of the mix between a knife and a spoon.

"A Knoon?" he asked and the girl giggled even more, shaking her head. "It's a Melonberry Spork! Cut the shell open and eat the meat inside, but just a little bit, it's serious stuff!" she warned, and Chester oblidged, cutting a triangular hole in the fruit, he took a spoon-full, putting it into his mouth.

As he did, his pupils dilated and a grin came onto his face. This fruit was a mix between sweet and savory, it was watering, yet full of flavor. A treat you'd only find on the deepest corners of the Grandline, and it was growing here in the north blue?!

"Dude! This is awesome!" Chester yelled with a glee as the girl nodded. "Sure is! Follow me to town, and I'll show you all the pasteries and drinks we make out of it!"

At the thought of drinks, Chesters eyes lit up with joy.

What if they had booze made out of this stuff? This place would be paradise then.

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After a trek up a dusty incline through the trees, the hill crests, overlooking Melonberry Island's lone town. The dockside was lined with small, but sturdy houses of palmwood, while a large windmill straddled the end of the cape on the far side of the island. A bit further into the island, a few larger, more upscale buildings could be seen overlooking everything, the roofs splattered blue, some still under construction.

The streets of the town proper were abuzz, the noise carrying mixed between sweet and sour. As Lino led Chester closer to the town, for every shout of success or joy there seemed to be one of anger or frustration. Stalls were being set up, banners raised, but most of the workforce seemed to be women, usually adults, or gruff looking middle aged or older men. Kids of all sizes were playing around, but when it came to full bodied younger men, there were only a few of them about, roving like packs in groups of cobalt suited wolves, often donning sunglasses or hats, craning their heads around.

"Eh? Lino? Lino!?" called a voice, the little girl stopping in her tracks, looking around.

Upon seeing a face in the crowd, Lino rushed over, crying, "Lina!"

"Wah!" Gasped an older girl, clearly a teenager, as Lino bounced over. The girl wore wore a light green dress, her feet clad in tan, laced sandals that went up part of her shins. He skin was a bit lighter than that of Lino's, but her hair was no less red, cut short enough to cover her ears. Her deep green eyes were slightly concealed by the wide brim of her hat, which matched her dress. Curiously, she had a thin sword sheathed at her hip and a rifle slung over her back.

Like a novelty, Lino explained, "Look what I found!" As she gestured to Chester, Lina had a wary expression about her.
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Chester, looking aloof, as he looked around, barely even noticed the girl talking to a somewhat older girl. Chester still carried the Melonberry and the Knoon in his hand, eating another piece of the fruit, filling him with glee. The older girl talked to Lino, and Chester in his tattered clothes, his dirty face and his messy hair couldn't help but smile with a stupid grin. "Hi." He spoke, timidly. The two girls looked at him, Lino giggled, her sister not so much.

"Where did you find him?" The girl asked, she was very close to calling the man an it. "Hey, rude." Chester mumbled, between bites of the fruit. "Hey, Chester! Not supposed to eat that much of it, you're gonna be sick!" Lino shouted at him, and Chester shook his head. "You're not the boss of me!"

Lina rubbed her forehead. "Seriously, Lino. Who is this guy?"

"He washed up on the street, and Lina! I've never seen someone drink grown-up juice that quickly!" She shouted with glee, still amazed at Chesters ability to consume alcohol. Chester choked on a piece of fruit as Lino spoke. "G-Grown up juice?!" He repeated, bursting out laughing. Lina rolled her eyes. "Weirdo. Reno asked us to go help him out, he's getting ready for the festival tomorrow, but it's gonna be tough, he can't make his punch without sugar..." Lina said, with a sigh. "It's gonna be a harsh winter if we don't sell well tomorrow.. So, we gotta do our best."

Chester looked at the girl. "Festival?"

"Uh-huh. Summer solstice, the Melonberries are the ripest at this time." Lina filled in. "And the tastiest! The Ice cream is the best!" Lino chimed in with a glee, patting her stomach to empahize.

Chester smiled.

And the booze must be the coldest. His mouth watering, imagining a icecold Melonberry bottle of rum.

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Lina giggled, "That's not even the half of it!" He mood soured as she noted, "I wish there was more I could do with just melonberries though. They're great on their own but the really come out with even just a little sugar..."

Looking back to Chester, she wondered, "But really, who are you?"

"That's what I want to know," came a harsher sounding voice. Stepping over, Lino lit up as the taller, dark eye young man stopped in between Chester and the two girls. His short, pale red hair was barely more than a centimeter long, and he had a black tank top and baggy shorts, his feet bare, and a pair of revolver pistols at his hip. Lino's mood seemed to fall as the guy kept his hard gaze on Chester.

Glancing down at the Fruit in his hand, he demanded, "Where did you steal that from, sea rat?"

Lino pouted, "He didn't steal it..."

Lina added, "And isn't 'sea rat' going a bit too-" Reno raised a hand to quiet her, and her voice fell immediately.

Reno looked over Chester, noting, "A beggar like you has no business here." Turning on his sisters, he added, "And you're too hospitable to strangers."

Lina was silent, but Lino cried, "He's only a little strange!"

Letting out a sigh, Reno looked over to Lina, insisted, "Watch him." Lina nodded, and Reno turned off, heading back into the town.

Lina let out a sigh, her gaze stuck downward for a few moments...
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Chester was standing there, like a fool, eating his sweet, tasty, delicious fruit, while the tall man came talking to him, he was some form of an authority figure. A father or uncle, maybe? He looked at the two girls, turning to Lino, after the tall man left. "Hey, who was that?" Chester asked, and Lino scratched her cheek. "That's my brother, Reno. He's actually nice, but he's wary of strangers."

Lina chimed in "It's tough times, right now, we can't really afford taking in stray dogs like you." Chester nodded.

"He's kind of a dick, you know?"

Lino giggled, Lina punched her sister in the arm, and she let out a 'oww'. "He might be a little rude, but he is right. Who are you?" the older sister asked. Lino butted in "he said his name was - uh, Chestoberry?" Chester grunted. "Chester, close, though."

"I'm a Pi- uh.. Traveler, yeah. I do odd jobs from island to island. help out, try and make a little money, get some food. I was sailing through here, when I got hit by a storm that tore my boat to pieces and sent me into the ocean. and I don't know how to swim, so it was just lucky that I washed up here!" Chester explained and Lina nodded.

Lino looked at him. "Y-You travel by sea, and you don't know how to swim?! Are you crazy!?"

Chester nodded. "Only when I get paid to be, or there's tequila involved."

The crowd was growing, and Chester had finished his fruit, just about. "That was so, very, very good. You got anymore? Also, where can I get some clothes?" Lino smiled and giggled. "Come, we'll give you a glass of Melonberrynade" You can borrow a shirt from Reno, he won't mind.

"Oh, I think he'll mind, all right."

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A finger to her chin, Lina muttered, "Clothes...clothes...what can we do about clothes... Oh! There's clothing made of Melonberry skin. I hear they have a sweet smell to them."

"Huh!? Really!?" Lino gawked, have bewildered and half hopeful.

"No." Lino's pout intensified. Lina had a slight laugh at her expense, before pulling out a coin purse. Handing over a few coins, she said, "Go get us those drinks, okay? And a snack if you feel like it. I'll be at Suan's."

Lino nodded vigorously, potential glowing in her eyes as she scampered off. Leading the way, Lina noted, "Well, I am supposed to watch you. I'd rather you didn't smell like a drunk sea cucumber if I have to though."

Starting her walk, Lina took Chester out of the crowed area to a slightly less crowded one. The road was a bit wider, so that helped, but there were few preparations going on directly here: the closest was people ferrying goods or materials too and fro. The storefront, labeled Suan's, was a bit empty. The racks of colorful clothing were orderly, and a chubby man rested behind a counter, his feet propped up.

Seeing company, he sat up, smile wide as he said, "Oh, it's Lina! And...some fella?"

Lina smiled, "I'm just doing him a favor...would you be willing to take a rain check for some clothes?"

Suan thought for a moment, before standing, leaning over the counter and getting into Chester's face, one eye leering closer. Finally, he plopped back down, his chair groaning under his weight, before he grinned, "That's fine. I think I owe you and Reno one anyway for all your hard work."

Lina smiled before walking past some of the racks. When she and Chester were far enough away from the counter, she wondered aloud, "So, you're a pirate?"
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Chester scoffed when one of the girls mentioned Melonberry clothing. "You can't be serio-" Oh, she was joking. That made a lot more sense. He followed complacently Lina to the clothing store, named Suan's, one could only assume it was named after the owner. The owner peered over Chester, he wasn't impressed. Not one bit. Chester winched and fidgeted, his clothes were still wet and smelled bad from his dip in the sea.

She lead him into the back of the shop, where Chester was looking at clothes with his eyes, keeping one ear out for whatever Lina had to say. She asked him if he was a Pirate, and he nodded. "Sort off. I don't really have a crew." Chester mentioned. "Though, I'm kind of a softie, compared to a lot of other people. I only really fight other pirates, or anyone who starts a fight with me. Never plundered anyone." He joked, with a scoff.

Lina nodded. "Good, because Reno would kick your ass if you tried to mess with anyone in this town." She said and Chester smiled.

"So, what's the deal? I noticed there's mostly old people, women and children in this town. Where's all the men?" Picking out a long sleeved white shirt off of the rack, it had three buttons at the collar. "This will do." Chester mentioned, looking for pants now.

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Lina seemed a bit down at the simple question, but she quickly recovered, beginning, "It's...not a good story. There was a bad pirate attack on the island about six years ago. We managed to fight them off, but there were a lot of casualties. You might not want to mention..."

Before she could continue a trio of blue suited guys walked in. While one of them immediately went for a rack of clothing, another saw Chester and Lina. Stepping over, the taller man began, "Hey, if it isn't Reno's sis!" Reaching into his suit, he pulled out a brick of something or other wrapped in some white paper. "Here you've two have been aching for this stuff!"

Lina glared, but said nothing. The man chuckled, "Come on, there's got to be a way you three can scrounge up the cash! What good is all that stupid youth for?"

Letting out a sigh, Lina muttered to herself, only barely audible to Chester over the blue mafia goon's amusement. "It must be nice, being a pirate..."
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Chester found himself some pants, and quickly headed into the changing room, before Lina could answer his question, he returned and she explained. He nodded. "Uh-uh. I figured you guys didn't particularly like my kind here." He mentioned, as the three guys, older than he was, but still not old men arrived. They were well-dressed, armed, too. Chester raised his eyebrow at what they gave her. Was it a weapon?.. Was it drugs?

Was it something completely else? Lina was visibly a little scared, but most annoyed. She shook her head. "No, we can't pay that much for the sugar.. It's too expensive." She said, handing the package back to the man, whom refused it. "Oh, come on, Sweetheart." Said another one, chiming in from the first one. "There's gotta be some way you can pay." An ugly smile on his face, right before his face met the hard wood of the floor, hard enough to break his checkbone and knock out several of his teeth. The other one - the first man in the suit went for his sword, looking at the hunching over man in the Blonde hair, whom looked up at him with white eyes. His looks spoke a thousand words, and none of them were very nice.

Chester grabbed the first man by the neck, holding him up, and without Chester even moving a muscle - seemingly. The man was knocked out cold, just like his comrade. The third man, whom had been looking at clothes scrambled for his pistol, but Chester rushed at him, the pistol took aim at the Pirate, Chester's had in front of the barrel as it was fired, but the pirate seemed unharmed. Taking his hand away from the barrel, he jabbed the man in the face, sending him flying through the open door, into the street.

He dropped the bullet he had in his hand onto the floor. "Sorry about that. They annoyed me. What were you saying?" He asked Lina, with a smile.

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Lina and Suan dropped their collective jaws after the lightning fast brawl. After a moment, Lina quickly scooped the brick of sugar off the ground, handing it over to Suan, who quickly stashed it under his counter. Looking back down at the fallen thugs, she said, "Well, I'm not cleaning this up."

Face smug, she took her leave for a moment. A minute or two later, she returned, but not with other islanders: instead, it was another pair of mafia guys. Upon seeing the defeated lumps, one of them laughed, "Ha! They really did get wrecked." While they worked on shuffling away the mess, the other one seemed to be taking a strong note of Chester, but said nothing. Within another minute, they were gone.

Letting out a sigh of relief, Lina began, "The Azure Company are all scummy assholes, but they have a weird power structure. If you start something they might gang up on you, but if one of them does something on their own then it's up to them. He might come back at you, and if he can talk some of the others into it then it could be bad, but-"

"After that, he'll have you in his nightmares!" Suan laughed, slamming his palm on the counter in hysterics.

Lina frowned. "They're...basically in charge of the island. We're not close enough to any Government Kingdom or Four Seasons country to get any help." Going over to the counter Suan passed over the brick of sugar, whcih Lina held up briefly in triumph.

Then, another figure appeared in the doorway, though much smaller. Though she was also clearly distraught, as while her hands were full with three cups and a small skewer of meat and veggies, most of the drinks were half empty. Lino moaned, "I spilled the Melonberryade..."

Going over to her side, Lina took two of the cups, before realizing, "Oh, it's everywhere...How about this: you go home and eat your snack, then get cleaned. After that you can try to find us or play with another of your friends, but be sure to get home around dinner time! There'll be punch~" Lino stared for a moment, before spotting the brick of sugar. Not asking any further questions, she let out a giggle before heading off again.

Turning back to Chester, Lina offered, "It'll be easier to talk with just us." Glancing over, she saw Suan giving her a look. Lina sated firmly, "No."

"Gahahaha! Sorry lad!" Suan laughed.
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"The Azure company?" Chester asked, not minding the two guys in suits clearing out the limp-men who's metaphorical asses he had handed to them in a gift-basket. He rubbed his head. "Sure you didn't mean Crimson Company? I met those guys on Ironmill Island a few weeks back. They were also the shady types, wore hats, had Katanas, said stupid things and generally ticked me off quite a lot." Chester explained. He nodded at the shop owner. "I'll pay you back later!" Chester promised and the shopkeeper laughed "Gahahaha, you do that, lad!" He shouted after him as Chester and Lina exited the buidling, a crowd had gathered outside, looking at the newcomer, and how he had beaten up the three men.

People were both excited, and scared upon seeing him, he waved, awkwardly. "I really wish they would stop staring." He said, sheepishly. "But more importantly.. I need a drink." He said. "You know where I can get any 'grown up juice' like Lino would've put it?" He asked, with a smile.

Lina nodded. "Yeah, you can probably get some wine in the Raspberry Inn." She promised him, and Chester's face filled with a disgusted look for a second. "Eww, Wine?" But then he reconsidered. "Then again, beggars can't be choosers, I suppose.." He felt his pocket. "By the way, here." He told Lina, handing her a bundle of cash he had in his pocket.

"I took this from those guys in the shop after I hit them, they won't need it. They'll be eating through straws for the next month, anyway. I just wanted to thank you and your sister for helping me. You didn't have to do that." He said, smiling. "It's nice to know there's good people even in the North Blue."

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Lina's jaw dropped as the wad of cash plopped into her hand. As she stared, she mumbled, "I can't accept this..." Despite her protest, she stuffed it into her purse, noting, "Well, I'm going to have to pay for your booze and clothes anyway..."

Stepping through the crowd, Lina's path moved to the Raspberry Inn. Stepping in, Lina got a refill on her Melonberryade (the bartender was rather sympathetic after hearing of Lino's mishap), while Chester got his wine. As the two took a seat, Lina began, "So...you don't pillage anything, you still call yourself a pirate? Why? Or I guess...why even be a pirate?" Taking a sip of her drink, she wondered, "...Taxes?" Turning up her nose, she added, "Never mind. You don't look like you make a lot of money..."
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"I can't accept this..." the girl spoke as she put the money in her purse and Chester stiffed a laugh. "And yet, there you go, doing it anyway. Sure you're not a pirate after all?" He joked and the girl blushed a little as they walked into the inn. Chester got the wine - much to his dismay, it was grape-vine, not some kind of exotic Melon Berry Wine.

"Bleh.." Chester said, chugging the entire glass of wine in one go. "Worse than lighter fluid.." he siad with a rough chuckle. The barmaid came by and Chester nipped her in the skirt. "Hey, excuse me. Do you have something that's a little tastier than wine" He asked, exagurating his disgust for the liquid, before filling his glass back up again. The barmaid nodded. "We have Mead from Ironmill." She mentioned and the Pirate choked on his drink. "Dear god no! I just barely got away fro that foul drink alive!" He burst out, before sitting back down.

"Uh, I'll take a glass of Melonberryade, please." He spoke, and Lina was giggling on the other side of the table, before asking him about his life as a pirate, and why he chose it. Chester shrugged. "Helps me hide my Grandline-banked Billions of Bellis." He said with a blank face, like it was a matter of fact. Lina's jaw dropped. "Y-You're joking!" she burst out, leaning back on her chair. Chester finished his glass off, and was about to refill it with wine, before he figured 'screw it' and got the bottle instead, the barmaiden came with his melonberryade, Chester raised his finger at her, while chugging the bottle and tapped on the bottle and motioned 'two' with his fingers.

"Lino wasn't kidding when she said you could dri-"
Lina tried to talk, but Chester silenced her with a finger, as he finished the bottle, puttig it down on the table with a satisfied sigh. "Yeah, I am joking." The pirate said with a chuckle. "I actually got into a bit of trouble at a young age, had to run away from my home. Piracy was the only way to survive, I took to a ship, got kicked out, took to another, got kicked out, and so forth over the years. But I took a liking to the life on the sea, and the sea took a liking to me. That's probably why I survived almost drowning." Chester explained.

He finished his drink of Melonberryade, and awaited the new bottles of wine, patiently. Lina nodded. "Uh-huh, I see." she said, as the doro swung open and six guys wearing blue hats and jackets walked in, armed like the guys in the shop. Chester looked at her. "More of the Azure guys?" He asked.

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Lina grimaced. "More of them...they can't be the same ones though, right?" One of her hands moved to the hilt of her blade, which she'd moved to her lap as she sat down earlier.

Most of the six Azure Company guys began to mull about, one or two of them heading to the bar, but one clearly made for Chester and Lina. As he got close, he had a long black coat splayed over his shoulders. He was also rather tall: probably almost twice Lina's height, made worse by the fact that she was sitting. Uneven black hair poked out from under his hat, and he scratched at his bare chin with gloved hands as he looked over Chester.

Glancing over to Lina, he laughed, "What's with the nasty look, honey? Doesn't fit a sweet face like you. I don't want any trouble." Lifting up the sleeve of his suit coat, he chuckled, "Blue, see? The color of being chill. Probably."

Adjusting his collar, he looked back to Chester, asking, "You're the fella you laid Kin, Gin, and Seido out flat? I saw them: it wasn't pretty. Lucky for you, I'm a smart guy. Name's Chrome. What's say you lump up with us? Strength can get you far. Smarts even farther. What do you say? We've got a pretty good gig going on here."

Forcing herself up, sheathed blade in hand, straining to look up at Chrome, Lina bit her lip as she growled, "You...you're monopolizing our most important import! The neighboring islands won't even trade with us anymore, and you're just trickling down whatever you stole before then at a stupid price!"

Lina's anger silenced the inn, and a few grumbles of understanding from its patrons followed. Chrome merely shrugged, "So?" Backing up, arms spread wide, he laughed, "The Azure Company runs differently from our partners, but all the groups base their rules on how they think the world works. And in the Azure Company it's might that makes right! Back in the day, the Government had absolute power because they had the most might! Roger? Whitebeard? The Monks? Who cares! But now that no one group has full power, it's practically every island for themselves!"

Lina's hand shook, her hilt in her palm. Chrome looked over his shoulder to Chester, grinning, "What do you say? Sounds good, doesn't it?"
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"Sounds good, doesn't it.", the man man who had called himself Chrome said as Chester nodded. "Lemme ask you something first." Chester said, as he stood up, and Lina grasped for air, for a second, she feared the worst about the man she was starting to think of as a friend. Chester extended his hand to Chrome, whom grinned. "What's that?" Reaching for his hand.

"How does the ceiling taste?" As his extended hand blurred, colliding with the Azure-Company man's jaw and sending him off his feet, five meters into the air, making his body hit the ceiling, before he fell down onto the floor. Lina's jaw fell once again. "J-Just who are you!" She exclaimed and Chester grinned, as the other guys who had come with Chrome moved towards the two, the girl drew her sword.

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As the goons came to encircle the pair, Lina hissed, "This isn't a good place to fight..."

Taking her weapon in both hands, she took a breath, before lunging at the first thug to come at her. While he had a blade of his own, he was caught off guard by the smaller girl, the blade piercing his shoulder. As he backed away, blood staining his coat, he grimaced at the minor wound. His bluster seemed to fall, and he backed up. The others were pretty hesitant to move in as well: despite her age, she was no slouch.

After a moment, one of them reached down, grabbing Chrome by his arm and dragging the lanky man along the floor. During the retreat, the wounded one cried, "Don't think you'll be getting off scot free on this one!"

Once they were gone, Lina sheathed her blade, and the two were met with a round of cheers from the crowd. A few comments could be made out. "I didn't know Chrome could fly like that!" "Told ya she wasn't just playing around with Reno..." "That about made my day..."

Blushing, Lina sheathed her sword before taking her drink. After taking a sip, she suggested, "Things could get a bit dicey...I hope Reno doesn't get too mad."

---

Across the way from the unfinished blue roofed building higher up on the island, a few Azure Company thugs went into its smaller twin. Going through the oriental styled sliding doors, they reached a room lit by the sun from an open window two figures surrounding a Go board. As each side studied the black and white beads, one of the mooks stepped closer, beginning, "Ma'am, we have an update on the situation with the sudden arrival."

Wrapped in a blue kimono, collar coated in white fluff, the meaty, middle aged woman puffed at her pipe for a moment, before saying, "He wasn't into the idea of joining up then?" As the mook shook his head, the woman took another puff of her pipe, proclaiming, "Cerulean isn't set to arrive for another week, and the festival is tomorrow. He hasn't started trouble on his own, but anyone at Chrome's level and above should be able to handle him, right?"

"Er, well..."

The woman sighed, before emptying her pipe out in a tray with a clack. Bringing a hand to her chubby cheek, she muttered, "What a handful. Chrome's one of the best we have. Just keep an eye on him, and if he gets in the way of our operations, let me know and we'll deal with him. If he just leaves then no skin off our nose. And if he decides to stay then I'd like to see him stand up to Cerulean."

Nodding, the mook took his leave. Left to her match, Lady Momo wasn't liking what she was hearing about this fellow, and the fact that he was getting along with those upstart kids surely wasn't a good sign.

---

After finishing their drinks (paid for by the patrons who'd enjoyed the show), Lina and Chester made their way out of the Raspberry Inn. "I should probably be getting home. But what are we going to do with you though? I can't imagine you staying on the island longer than the night. If you don't have the money for the inn though you can stay in our attic: Reno won't notice."

Passing that off, she looked over to a bit of visible ocean for a moment, before beginning, "I was wondering though...you have that ability to just do whatever you want whenever you want when you feel like it. Where does that come from?" Thinking back to the wine that Chester so easily chugged, Lina wondered, "Alcohol?"
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Chester was going to assist Lina in dealing with the thug, but once he saw her fight, he wasn't worried anymore. He grinned. "You're pretty handy with a sword, kid." He had dodged a knife coming his way, a knee into the blade-brandishing thug's stomach, and an elbow into his back sent him onto the floor, where he crawled away, only for Chester to kick him in the ribs, sending him sliding onto a table, falling off, he was shocked, trying to regain his composure.

Chester let the others flee, dragging Chrome with them, before they did, Chester stole the man's boots, as he himself was still barefoot. He looked over at Lina and extended his hand. "Nice going, partner." Lina giggled and coyly shaked his hand. The people in the inn gave them a round of applause, and Chester bowed exaggeratedly.

***

"I was wondering though...you have that ability to just do whatever you want whenever you want when you feel like it. Where does that come from?" She pondered for a moment before following it up "Alcohol?" and Chester shrugged. "I've never been very good at doing what I'm told, playing after someone else's rules. I was a Marine once, you know? Nothing fancy, just as Seaman, but I grew complacent, bored and feeling trapped in a life not meant for me. So I left, and since then, I've been doing whatever I want, and it's liberating." He began, Lina nodded. "You, a Marine? No way!"

He smiled. "So, why the alcohol?" She asked "And why aren't you drunk after three bottles of wine?" And Chester smiled. "I told you I didn't know how to swim. You ever heard about something called a Devil Fruit?" He asked and she shook her head "N-Not really." And Chester nodded. "Well, it's a treasure of the sea - and a curse. It gives anyone who eats one special abilities, but they lose the ability too swim, and the sea becomes their greatest enemy. My body vibrates, quickly. It lets me hit harder - get hit harder, too, that's how I stopped the bullet back at the clothes shop."

"So, how did the Alcohol matter?"

Chester smiled. "Always liked partying, too. My dad was quite a drinker, so I guess it's genetic." He smiled. "I don't really wanna do anything spectacular, I wanna see the world, but I'm quite a fan of booze, so my dream is to find the best drink in the whole world - a drink fit for the strongest pirate in the whole world." He said, his tale almost a little inspiring.

"T-That's.." Lina began, her eyes twinkling a bit with awe, before she thought about it some more. "That's so stupid!" She shouted. "You'll die, Chester! You can't just go on the grandline because you can stop a bullet and you like drinking! Booze can't be worth dying over!" She exclaimed, and Chester rubbed the back of his head. "It's about the adventure finding that drink." He said, as the two walked towards Lina's home, Chester could use need a rest.

And a bottle of whiskey.
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"The best drink in the world..." Lina mused, before smiling, "Between our Melonberry Punch and old man Devo's berry mead, you might find what it here, but they only go on sale tomorrow~" Knowing the sugar would need a night of hourly stirring to fully mix with their punch, Lina had an excited spring in her step, her hands clutched on the brick of sugar tightly.

---

As the evening sun was starting to set, Lina busied herself in the kitchen of her family's modest home. As the smell of cooking fish moved to the adjacent living room from the open kitchen, the rest of the family finally arrived. Lino came in first, practically bouncing as she realized what dinner was, while Reno came in later, a bit less amused.

Spotting Chester lying around, he grunted, "What are you doing here?"

Looking up from the stove in the next room, Lina stopped what she was doing to explain, huffing, "You told me to watch him, didn't you? What did you expect? Besides, Chester saved our butts this season: he took some sugar from the Azure Company goons who were harassing me. What have you done today?"

Reno looked at her not with anger, but bewilderment. Eventually, his face hardened, and he admitted, "You're right...but my day's not over yet." Turning on his heel, he stomped from the house.

"Hey! Where are you going?" Lino asked curiously, but Reno didn't respond. By the time Lina came to check, he was long gone.

"What's gotten into him..." Lina wondered, starting back to the kitchen.

When she was gone, Lino noted, "You're being weird too..." Tossing thoughts of her silly older siblings to the side, she bounced over to Chester, wondering innocently, "How'd you get sugar from the blue guys? You don't look like you have money."
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Lino came towards him, asking him about the sugar, and Lina shoot him a smug look. Chester smiled "I punched one of the guys - who was extorting your sister in the face and took it from him. His friends really didn't seem to mind. Then another guy - Chroma, I think his name was, came and picked a fight while I was drinking.. I'm pretty sure I broke his face." The pirate mentioned, as Lino nodded "Wow! Lina, is Chester like, super strong?"

And Lina smiled, nodding in agreement.

***

The next morning, Chester woke up to Reno kicking him as he laid on the floor on piles of clothes. "Wake up, stranger." Reno ordered him, as Chester rubbed his eyes. "W-What?" He asked, this time his speech was a lot slower than the night before - he was sober. "You've got guests." Reno told Chester as he shrugged. "Who?"

"People from Azure company are outside. They wanted to talk with you, there's quite a few of them." Reno mentioned, and Chester nodded, getting up and putting on his shirt and the boots he stole from Chroma.

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Standing at the door as Chester arrived, another Azure Company member with a black overcoat stood, though not as tall as Chrome before him. All around the house were more than a dozen others, mulling about as they waited. Tipping his hat up from his bald head, he looked over Chester before beginning, his voice gravelly, "Morning, fella. I got an offer for ya."

Leaning on the doorframe, hands in his pockets, he began, "Let's be honest: you're damn tough. Chrome wasn't a pushover, but you sure as hell pushed him over. Truth is though, you're not gonna want to be here in a week though. We've got, ah, 'Company' coming. You saw that big old unfinished building? We've been relocating here so Boss Cerulean'll be along with some of his top guys in a week or so. If you're still fucking around with us by then he won't take a liking to that, and chances are he'll have your shit pushed in."

Pointing a finger, he finished, "If you're a smart guy, and I know you're not dumb, you'll take our offer: a nice little boat ride outta our hair. It won't be free but we can work out the specifics on the way."

Stepping back, he saw Reno hovering nearby, and added, "Oh, and you'll want to come to. Separate matter." Briefly glancing past the two into the house, he concluded, "Trust me on this one."

A few small footfalls coming from behind, Lino came in, rubbing her eyes. She mumbled groggily, "Hnn, what's the noise..?"
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