Rated: T (For language)
Fandom: One Piece
Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece. If I did… many, many things would be changed….
Summary: How long had it been… days? Weeks? Months? Years, even? No one would come. No one would ever remember. Fate? Was it even his anymore? Was it even possible to reclaim what had been rightfully his?
When he awoke, it was white. The skies were clear, and the sun shone in all its mocking glory. Clouds surrounded him, but none were the stable kind that would bolster his weight. Feeling? Oh yes, tons of it. Pain in his abdomen, and soreness in his head.
How had he lived, anyways? To be ‘rejected’ was confirmed to be instant death. He didn’t suppose it was possible that the Shandian Wiper had purposely allowed him to live, only to leave him to his fate. Maybe he’d have been better off dead. Maybe he was dead… and just didn’t know it.
A voice. “Awake, now, are we?” A familiar one…
He whipped around, reaching for his weapon… then stopped short. Its weight was no longer present on his back. His hand passed through air, yet nothing happened. “Where is my heat lance, Ohm?” Shura demanded heatedly, glaring at his fellow priest.
“Hmph. Did you actually think they’d let us keep such commodities?” The priest fiddled with his horned sunglasses, staring pointedly at the other man. “Can’t you see where we are?”
Yes. Inside, he already knew, but his mind refused to acknowledge it. There could only be one explanation to why he would be on a cloud, in the middle of nowhere, with Ohm and Satori nearby, sharing the same cloud.
“Exile.” The bald man finished, in that solemn, uncaring manner of his. That Ever. Present. Manner. He knew it pissed him off to no ends.
“Then where is Gedatsu?”
This time, it was Satori who answered. “That moron? That unsightly fool was fortunate enough to have fallen through the White Sea… and down into the Blue Sea.” The dumpling shaped man rolled to his feet. “He’s probably down there somewhere…ha~haha!”
Silence reigned. There was nothing more to say. Everything from the initiation of the trials of the Blue Sea dwellers, who had recently paid a visit to their world in the heavens, to now, could easily be deduced through logic. God Eneru had lost. It was simple as that.
They’d lost. And now they were doomed to drift in clouds until their dying day.
There had never been anything more than a common gain between the four priests. No companionship, no alliances, merely a relation through one man, their God. It was so blatantly obvious now, that three of the four sat on one cloud. Alone, yet not.
He knew this form of punishment all too well, having at times, been the condemner for so many others who were set adrift to their fate in exile. Food was plentiful in the White Sea, anyone could easily pull the fish right out from the foamy clouds, and it was a requirement to give the criminals a fighting chance, a mockery of a chance, at fighting for their lives. A single Heat Dial had been left at the center of the cloud, of no use for escaping or altering their entombed fates. Taunting.
First, the three of them pointedly ignored one another. No one questioned how the other had been defeated, or how they’d lived past their life-threatening injuries, that should have, by all rights, ended their lives the moment they were dealt. Aside from the occasional skirmishes, scapegoating, and animosity, they’d never talked to each other much during their reign as Skypiea’s priests. There was no reason to begin now.
Easily, and predictably enough, it was Satori who first tried to get some form of communication across to the other two. Or maybe he had been trying to purposely annoy Ohm.
“Watch it, fatass.” The priest snarled, ducking under a spray of cloud as Satori plunged his hands into the cloudy sea, digging for his next meal.
“Ha~haa…” The other retorted. “Looks like someone’s out of shape.”
“Shut up, idiots.” Shura replied irritably from his corner. Ohm could later be heard muttering about regretting how Satori practically had no neck of which he could wring.
That was the end of that. There was no point in drawing out a fight and wasting precious energy. Unsurprisingly, it happened again the next day. Shura suddenly found himself being assaulted by fish and clouds from out of nowhere. He turned and glared at Satori, getting nothing but chuckles from the other man.
“You’re asking for it, bastard!” But nothing happened afterwards. Maybe he just didn’t care enough anymore.
Wiping the fishy slime off of his jumpsuit, and disdainfully wiping himself off with cloud, he found himself too proud to hurl the fish back into the water. Food was food. Still, he threw Satori another poisonous glare. Very well, he’d return the favor tomorrow.
And he did just that. It was Satori the next day who found himself drenched head to toe in random objects and animals Shura had pulled from the White Sea. In the following hours, they found themselves angrily hurling anchors and fishing hooks back and forth at each other, secretly hoping to gouge the other’s eyes out. Ohm continued to gaze out into sea, so statue-like, Shura had to wonder if the man had simply died in his sleep without their notice.
It was not to be so. The following morning was punctuated with Ohm’s infuriated yells and Satori’s laughter as the third priest was seen trying to pull Cloud Crabs from his shirt, glasses, pants, you name it. Courtesy of Satori, once again.
Nights were often punctuated with heavy silence. Insanity. A void without light, a never-ending peril. Noise aside, the only comfort they had, was the knowledge that the other two would be suffering as much as the other.
There came a time when they no longer cared. The past was but a blur of colors, a mesh of confusion and mishaps. The world… life was forever. Days trickled by, flowing into months, perhaps and possibly, without their notice, years. This cloud was their home, and they were one, hell of a dysfunctional family. Boredom was often prevalent, but hope was always present.
“Stop hogging the dial, Shura!” Ohm snapped, out of the blue one day.
Shura paused for an instant, before turning a deaf ear to his fellow ex-priest and continued to scorch the crustacean he had captured that morning. “Put a sock in it.” He returned sourly, making sure both sides of the lobster had been heated.
“Hurry it up then, before we starve!” This time, it was Satori. Without hesitation, Shura flung the damn lobster at him. The unfortunate animal landed smack in the middle of Satori’s face. “Ha~haahaa???”
“Then you keep that. Fish cooks faster anyways.” He snapped. It was probably the closest he would ever come to implying any form of kinship towards the other two.
Unfortunately, Satori did not view the gesture in the same manner. Angrily, the priest stormed over to Shura, making a huge point to cross the invisible barriers they had drawn across the cloud separating them from one another. “Listen here, you insolent-“
“Pipe down already. You have your lunch. So shut up so we can get ours.” Ohm interrupted, suddenly reaching over and pulling Satori back.
Yes… it had started roughly, with much anger, hatred, and fuel on all three sides. They were unwilling to accept each other, their predicament, and their fates. It was unacceptable. Unacceptable and unchangeable. In fact, it was surprising they hadn’t killed each other, strangled each other in the middle of the night yet. Maybe, at the moment, each simply valued the other’s presence.
Maybe, someday, someone out there would have mercy on them. Or maybe he could simply take his fate into his own hands, instead of continually letting the Shandian’s decision condemn him to a life of drifting. The Blue Sea still lay below, and as long as the blue remained, there was still the chance that jumping would lead to salvation. He could tell that the thought was on everyone’s mind every now and then. But would life truly be assured after they leapt from the safety of their cloud? Would survival below the White Sea be anything similar to the lives they had formerly led?
Men only had once chance at living per lifetime. Life was as fragile as a flickering candle, constantly battling the winds and rain. Oh, how many choices there were to make, and yet so little. He could stay on the cloud, waiting day by day in hopes of rescue or escape from this miserable prison. In this manner, his life was secured; he would be in no danger of dying. On the other hand, he could easily grip fate by the hand, and jump. Even the wings of a Bilkan would not be enough to slow his descent towards the Blue Sea, despite their larger than average build. In such a manner, he would be the master of himself, in full control of his choices and thriving off the last moments of his life in freedom, free from the choices of others.
Days kept passing. Life continued on. And he was still trapped upon this small cloud island. Drifting. By day, he was plagued by the animosity of his two companions. By night, his thoughts allowed him no rest. Jump, escape, and possibly die. Or stay, and live. Freedom led to death, and imprisonment ensured life. What miserable choices they were! And to be presented with no other alternative but these…
That flickering hope, that barest sliver of chance that rescue would arrive, would always keep him enslaved to this drifting cloud. Wind blew past, and the cloud picked up speed. Soon, the cloud would undoubtedly approach the land and shores, and all hopes of escape by jumping would be thrashed to pieces. But still… wasn’t there still that chance… anyone… someone out there…
“Have you taken an interest in the Blue Sea now?” Ohm asked in an unusually casual manner, watching his companion’s reaction in a studied fashion. “You’ve been staring at it non-stop for the last hour… or for the last couple days.”
He wanted to make a snappy retort, a biting, harsh remark, just as he would have done so, so long ago. A remark that would have caused another four-way fight between them, if only Gedatsu were present. Shockingly, none came to mind. Finally, he decided against the effort and merely nodded. “Have you ever wondered about life down there?”
“You’d die.” Came the nonplussed answer.
“If Gedatsu could live, then so could I.” Shura responded, daring the other to challenge the truth in his words.
Ohm scoffed. “You don’t even know if Gedatsu is still alive. For all we know, he could have died the moment he landed in who-knows-where.”
“Ho~ho~ho…! Knowing the man, he probably ‘accidentally lived’.” Satori finally pitched in. An undeniable truth. Comical, but knowing their final companion, probably true.
Ohm stared at him through those pitch-black sunglasses. “What’s on your mind, Shura?” He asked quietly, with that indiscernible gaze boring into his own eyes.
The madness of it all was his inability to decide for himself. That paralysis, which had stiffened his arms and legs, had gradually numbed his mind, and he wanted nothing more than to shatter those bonds and spring free. To fly once more as a part of the sky, and not as its eternal prisoner. If only, if only.
“Do you want to be saved?”
Shura blinked. Ohm was being unusually talkative today. “Depends on what you mean by ‘saved’. Don’t think I don’t know about your little ‘saving’ fetish.”
It was commonly known among the priests that Ohm had always believed in saving others… from the misery of living, that is. In short, to be saved from suffering, one had to simply fade from existence. To die.
“Would you like me to end your life?” There. There it was, out there in the plain.
“Hell no.” He snapped, scooting away from Ohm quickly. “And even if I did want to be ‘saved’, I’m fully capable of doing it myself!”
Imperceptibly, Ohm’s eyes widened as he interpreted that hidden message, the yearning. So there it was. “Aa. I’ll leave you up to it, then.” Maybe that was the other’s priest’s way of telling him that something had changed between the three of them.
That very same night, he dreamed of flying. There was no giant; purple feathered raptor-like avian doing the gliding for him. The cold night sky embraced him, made him apart of itself, carrying him through the currents and gently toying with his wings. There were no limits to how far, how long he could fly. It was, ironically, in that instant, in a dream, when he realized the true potential of his own, self-made title. Skyrider. No, beforehand, that would have been inaccurate. He had ridden a giant bird to experience the exhilarating sky; he had not ridden the sky itself.
And so he opened his eyes. Tonight, he would fly. And it would seem terribly lonely, leaving his two, irritable and annoying companions behind. No more fighting over the usage of the Heat Dial or bickering over boundaries. No more threats, anger, humiliation. Somehow, it would… be missed.
Tomorrow, when they opened their eyes, he would be long gone. Perhaps he would be free, seeking shelter somewhere safe, and going on to live a ‘normal’ life once more. Like it had been before Eneru. Maybe he could live in the Blue Sea world, gazing up in the heavens with awe, dreaming of flight once more. Or maybe, he’d be liberated, in spirit instead. Perhaps he would not be as fortunate as his other fellow ex-priest Gedatsu, and die anyways. Ohm would have said it the best. Between the life they were living on the cloud, between a slow, drawn out death and a quick, imperceptible one, which would he rather prefer? Some unfortunate fools once stated that it was better to cling to life as long as a shred of hope remained in the distance; that there was always a light at the end of a tunnel.
His light, his hope was not here, not on this prison. It was out there, somewhere down below. It would take one plunge to find it, whether it was found in life or in death. And slowly, he stood, making his way to the edge of the cloud, glancing down at the dark, black sea below. Night. A vast, inky black world lay sprawled out beneath his feet. His new world. His new life. Once he stepped from the cloud, safety would no longer hail to him. It would be a constant fight to live, to merely adapt to the new life. Maybe he wouldn’t even have to fight in this new world, perhaps he’d simply pass through to the next. Maybe, maybe, maybe. So many uncertainties, and yet one certain choice.
There was no time for hesitation. There could not be any time to regret, to fear, and to blanch. There could only be choices, decisions, and consequences.
He was going to fly. No, he would ride the skies tonight. Skyrider.
And so his feet left the cloud.
At first, there was only silence. Then farewell. “…May God be with you all the way… Shura.”
And this is written assuming that the priests did not die from their injuries. Cause it'd be pretty pointless setting corpses out to cloud drifting. And my definition of cloud drifting is kinda inaccurate, I know. They're simply supposed to be set adrift, not in the White Sea, I think. But nevertheless, it is now up to the reader to decide who lives and who died. No, I won't say who said the last line either. That's soley up to readers now
My… it's kinda awkwards that my third post in these forums would be a one-shot... Meh, I know, I haven't watched or read through the entire Skypiea arc, so if something other than the priests not being dead and the cloud drifting thing is inaccurate, feel free to point it out, and I'll see what I can do about it.