3:: Mihawk's Gift and Challenge

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AN: along with the whole Sano vs. Rhythm thing, this has been in my head for a very long time. I’m so glad I’m finally getting it out. And like S vs. R, it’s song inspired by Lost in Paradise. I’m starting to think that should be Rhythm’s theme.


I would like to dedicate this chapter to my great aunt, who passed away last May on my deceased Grandpa’s birthday. Thank you grandma, for not telling us until late August.

Long live our loved ones! Cherish them until their time has come and cherish them, even when they’ve already passed on to another life!


Mihawk jumped onto the head of the Thousand Sunny, leather boots making a heavy thud on the wood.

“Straw Hat Pirates, I come to you with both a gift, and a challenge,” He stated.

“Told you,” Robin nodded.

“Okay, what is it?” Luffy asked.

“First the gift,” from behind his back he brought out the gift.

Chopper smelled the blood, sweat, dirt, urine, and ash before it landed on the deck.

“To Mugiwara no Luffy from Red-haired Shanks. He risked his life getting this from level six in Impel Down.”

The mangled form of Rhythm D. Jade brought gasps and cries of shock to the Straw Hats. Luffy ran to her and turned her over, revealing the horrid state of the musician.

Her hair was mattered, filthy with dirt and caked in blood and greasy from weeks without a prober bath. More blood was caked onto her face, smeared with dirt and bruises and her lax eyes stuck shut from sweat and blood. A muzzle clamped her mouth shut, dented in certain places and burned around the chin, making it look like she some sort of twisted beard. The rest of her wasn’t any better.

Her entire form was so thin and fragile looking, some limbs twisted awkwardly as deep gashes had re-opened, spilling blood on the emerald green grass of the deck. Her hands and feet were held together with Kairoseki cuffs, the flesh around them bruised and bloody. The worst was her breathing. Her eyelids didn’t flutter as her chest rose and fell in a death rattling, uneven pace. A gurgling sound came from the back of Rhythm’s throat along with a soft choking clamor. Thin tracks of dried blood ran from the bottom of the muzzle, down her throat and disappeared into her shredded clothes.

“Wha-what happened to her?” Luffy stuttered, not in fear for himself, but for her.

Chopper had rushed over with his medical kit, followed by Zoro who squat by her, form tense and his hand on Wado. The other Straw Hats drew weapons, readied themselves for a fight against the world’s greatest swordsman.

“Red-Haired saved her, Mugiwara.  He gave her to me to give to you guys. I say you hurry up and save her. She’s suffering from major internal damage. She’s been choking on her own blood for weeks now and if this goes on, she’ll die within the hour. I’m surprised she’s managed to hang for that long, even with all the tortures she had to go through in Impel Down.”

“Impel Down?!”

“And that’s where the challenge comes in. Roronoa,” Mihawk turned to Zoro, who in turn unsheathed Wado.

“Your doctor can’t help her until the shackles and muzzle is off. Your challenge is to cut them off,” Mihawk said sternly, face blank but eyes firm.

“Couldn’t you have done it?!” Nami cried out.

He looked over to her, “Yes, but I want to teach Roronoa one more thing before we become definite enemies. Cut the Kairoseki cuffs and platinum muzzle. And do it quick, the girl looks like she won’t be able to hold out much longer.”

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