the longest of journeys.
the last thing that zoro could remember from his world was being on the back of the elephant, zou, mink mink country, as it was being attacked by jack. he could recall when the elephant began shaking, when the buildings began breaking, people got alarmed, and were falling everywhere. he knew that the elephant had been crying out, but that only luffy and momo heard anything tangible, which was something he didn't understand aat all, but that it had led to the elephant behind told he could defend himself and the people upon his back. zou had sent jack flying and then sinking to the bottom of the ocean, zoro was sure. then they had went about trying to treat the elephants wound, his foreleg where jack had sent canon balls to weaken him. all he had had to do was cut down some trees, but zoro had never been good with directions, he would never admit it aloud or even just to himself, but he had a tendency to lose his way, it has happened on more than a handful of occasions. calling out for his friends, for any of the minks, for anyone period, and no one comes, he took to stomping through the forest.
it wasn't until he made it out of the tree line that he realized that the ground upon which he walked was longer squishy or resembled an elephants back and that the trees were different, and he didn't hear the sound of the ocean. if someone had sent someone to attack him from behind he would have been aware of the attack right away, but when it comes to his surroundings zoro might as well have had no senses at all. after walking around with a clue for a very long while he finally stops and asks someone he meets where they are. it is only then when he realizes that he has never heard of a place called elysion on the grand line that he is no longer there, no longer anywhere near it. he doesn't know where he is. but he has to get back, back to his friends, to their missions, back to his life? but before he can do any of that zoro realizes that he needs a drink, because he won't make it through this craziness without one.
of course one drink led to two, which led to three, and that led to a handful more, as he talked to other people in the tavern about getting out of this place and back to where he came from. perhaps despair settled in when they told him there was no way and so he continued to drink. he just remembers last call being called and having to stumble out of the tavern. it was dark outside and not the many people were strolling about but in your druken stupor you think you might have seen a guy with a strawhat hanging from his neck, hitting his neck with ever step. his thoughts immediately go to luffy. when you met the goofy and naive seeming guy you didn't know how much he would eventually matter to you, how he would become someone you could stand behind and even put his life on the line if he had to, and he had before. he thinks back on how he didn't even want to be a pirate at first, how he had hunted pirates and then luffy had shown up and had saved his life and just wanted zoro to join his crew in exchange, it had just been the two of them, they had started off with a row boat and little cash, but it had all grown from there. thinking back on it now zoro misses those simpler times, they were young and ignorant and hadn't been starting wars or fighting warlords and emperors. the green haired swordsman was too drunk at the moment to realize he wasn't doing any of those things at the moment, and wouldn't be doing so any time soon.
rubbing at his eyes zoro hopes his vision will clear, and it does, and it's not luffy. he sighs and continues on, next he stumbles into a very busty woman who punches the living hell out of his head and the bump left behind is reminiscent of the ones that he got so often from nami. the scent of tangerines wash over him and he sees orange hair even though the air smells of fish and there is no orange haired woman standing before him. he rubs at the bump he can feel growing on his scalp, muttering curses under his breath just like he would to his navigator. she had been trouble since they met her, she stole from them, got them in trouble with bucky, and then in even more trouble when they went to help her and her town get from under the thumb of arlong and his pirates even though she hadn't wanted their help. but luffy had wanted her as his crew's navigator and what luffy wanted luffy pursued like a dog after a bone. she didn't want anything to do with the two of you at first either but in the end when she realized that the pirates she was dealing with were scum, she changed her mind and following after his captain, zoro had helped. he could recall the look of awe and gratefulness on the villagers faces when they left and how they set out after that, the three of them together. thinking about it now zoro realized just how much she had grown up, still a scary cat, still a thief and money hungry, but she was tougher now, more willing to fight and defend, but from the beginning she had been the best damn navigator, getting their asses out of numerous tight spots, for which he admired and thanked her for, even if he did both silently.
as he continues walking through the streets a shadow in front of him, which ends up being nothing more than a bag blowing in the wind, stuck to a pole with a nail stuck in it, but it looked like a long nosed and fluffy haired sniper that enjoys telling tall tales. meeting usopp, you didn't think the crew needed another 'coward' but in the course of a few short days he showed you the heart that he held within him and his ingenuity and brains were something that you and luffy at the very least lacked. maybe he didn't want him at first but at the end of the day zoro came to see that usopp ended up being an essential part to their crew, he saved them that day long ago back in his village and again more recently when he took out that little girl who was turning everyone on dressrosa into toys. the guy is dependable and he's funny and zoro knows that they are buddies for life, drinking and singing with one another as they travel the high seas and make enemies out of other pirate crews. even drunk zoro knows that he will miss his exaggerated stories and his yellowing and cowering when things get rough, the way he calls him, luffy, and sanji monsters...
sanji. the swordsman doesn't need something to remind him of the blonde, the shitty cook, the crappy womanizer. maybe he just has heartburn, though he doesn't know why he would because he hasn't eaten in way too long, and it doesn't feel like that, instead it kind of feels like he got kicked in his heart, which only makes him think of the curly eyebrow-ed bastard more. but then the smell hits his noise and it smells so familiar, like one of the zesty fish dishes that sanji use to cook on the sunny. zoro thinks back to when he met the cook, back on that floating restaurant, it was almost as though they were enemies at first sight. the guy was so full of himself, condescending, and everything abut him just rubbed zoro the wrong way. but luffy liked him, saw something in him that he wanted to add to the crew, his cooking included, and like the others before him who you weren't so sure about, he ended up proving himself, became a part of what would eventually be known as the monster trio, he played a key role in helping to save nico robin later on down the line, and more recently sacrificed himself, going back to his family to marry some woman he doesn't even know to cause less friction between big mom and the strawhats. zoro acts like they are better off without him, says they they should just leave him, but he knows that the crew wouldn't be the same without the shitty cook, and though he would never admit it he would miss him, his cooking, drinking with him from time to time, fighting alongside him...enjoying his company in general. he came to be one of those people that zoro loves to hate and hates to love.
when nami got sick, even you felt that the snow capped island kingdom of drum was a bad idea, it came to be even worse though when you found out that the place had no doctors, that they had all been hunted down by the ruler of the island. honestly how you met chopper is a blur of ferocious abdominal snow bunnies, a crazy looking hippo guy who ate weapons, a crazy old doctor lady, and a guy who turned into a bull. but amidst all of that luffy found chopper, a reindeer who ate the human human fruit and is able to turn into various forms, walk on to legs, and talk. he had been taught in the ways of health sciences by a doctor who was dying but believed in a jolly roger and the hearts of others. you think of him when you pass a clinic that says 24 hours, because it seems like something chopper would do, wait up all hours of the night to make sure that no one went untreated. the reindeer is a scardy cat at times, and he loves acting as though he hates being complimented, but when it comes down to it he has patched all of you up numerous times now, and just when you think he can't possibly learn any more about medicine he does. in a pinch he's good to have around in a fight too, and even you can see the appeal in having his bounty low, because no one would ever expect the cute cotton candy eating reindeer to be able to turn into a huge savage reindeer monster.
as drunk as he is, zoro doesn't really recall falling asleep on the park bench. but that's apparently what happens, as he is woken up by a dark haired woman, his eyes flutter open, his vision is blurred and she looks an awful lot like robin at first. the women you met in alabaster kingdom, the desert isle that had been plagued by drought because of an evil guy named crocodile. you didn't know when you met vivi that you would be asking her to join your crew and after saving her country instead of getting the blue haired princes you would instead find an assassin stowing away on your ship who you would soon be friend and then lose to the government who wanted her dead. landing on anchor seven, the going merry was in desperate need of repair, but after talking to some shiprights you were all told that it was beyond repair, which led to this big thing with usopp, which you respected him for even though it did eventually get silly. this was also where you met franky who was more trouble than he was worth at first too and ended up getting taken by cp-9 alongside robin thanks to his knowledge of the ancient weapon blueprints that the government had been trying to attain for five years. the shit storm at enies lobby ended up being worth it though, despite all the horrible bull you all dealt with, because you saved robin and franky.
you had to get up off the bench after that, the sun had risen, and the woman was trying to see if you were alright, and you were, if not still partially drunk moving towards hug over. for a moment when zoro saw her he thought he was back home where he was suppose to be with his friends, and that last night had all been a dream, but it hadn't been, and he realized that as he continued walking around. he sees a cyborg on the streets and it reminds him of the blue haired ship right and inventor that he left behind. franky didn't want to join at first, but like all the other's he was won over. besides he had his own dream of sailing around the world on a ship made of Adam's wood, which he bought with the money he stole from the going merry, and he built a new ship that he gave to the crew after the going merry was laid to rest, and because his bounty was so high his family told him to leave with us so he wouldn't be sought after so easily. so he joined the strawhats and you set sail once more after usopp returned. a lot of things happened back to back after that, you found brook on a ghost ship, a talking walking skeleton, was nothing you had ever seen before, but he told his tale and luffy, being luffy and brook being something strange, luffy wanted him to join his crew, and brook accepted until a weird island showed up and he took off to it. thriller bark was full of zombies, ghosts, and corpses controlled by gekko moriah who sends all kinds of things after you, ending with oars a giant's corpse that he controls. franky and chopper helped zoro defeat it and then gekko moriah. just whe zoro thought things were about to settle down, bartholomew kuma showed up with orders to kill everyone on the island, but he offers to leave everyone else if he can just kill luffy.
it was never in zoro's plan to sacrifice himself for luffy, when he joined up with him he told him that he couldn't get in the way of his dream of becoming the greatest swordsman alive, and death would surely do that. but offering to take his place, is what zoro did, and kuma dealt you his damage, you survived, but your injuries were immense, leaving you to recover for a while. not long after the crew made it to sabaody archipelago, and a part of you wishes that setting foot on that island hadn't been necessary but it was. to get to fishman island deep under the sea, the thousand sunny needed to be coated by a mechanic so it would survive the pressure of going that far under water. you met up with some old friends, keimi was stolen and put up for auction starting a whole thing with the celestial dragons, causing an uproar with the marines who start hunting the crew after that, raeliegh, the mechanic and ex-second in command to gol d. roger, helps you but a pacifista, clone of kuma shows up, more than one actually, and all of your are forced to fight them off. only to have the real kuma show up and use his devil fruit ability to make them all disappear. he wakes up in great pain, still suffering from the damage that kuma transferred from luffy to him back on thriller bark and then the injuries he sustained against kuma's clones he lands on an island, not knowing where he is, being patched up by an odd woman he doesn't know who won't give him his swords back. even injured he knows he has to get off the island, but it soon proves to be harder than just walking to the edge and finding a boat. perona, the girl who patches you up tells you where you are and that this is the home of mihawk, the greatest swordsman in the world right now. he informs you that there is an army of sword wielding gorillas in the forest that leads to the shore but there is a boat, not a sea worthy one though, that can be used to leave the island.
defeating the pack of gorrillas was no easy task in that state but in the end it got done. laying there on his back exhausted, perona had shown up and held a newspaper up to his face to read. the story, luffy had started a war at marine ford, lost his brother ace who zoro had met back in alabaster and though it took him a while zoro figured out the hidden message, instead of meeting back up in three days, the crew would meet back up in two years. it was then that zoro made the choice to stay, to ask mihawk to train him, beliving that zoro had been unable to defeat the gorillas he said no, but zoro explained that he had defeated them and needed to becme stronger, seeing the conviction and reasoning that zoro must have a good reason to want to stay and train he changed his mind and that was what zoro spent the next two years doing.
two years later, it was back to sabaody archipelago, where the thousand sunny and your crew mates would be waiting, the ocean around him reminds him of that, though there are no floating soap bubbles and trees surrounding him. the morning light shines off the water and it calms him even in his still slightly inebriated state. he thinks back on how the world thought they were dead for a while, but how impostors cropped up to take their place, how you were attacked by a pacifista once more before making it back to the ship and finally being able to submerge into the depths of the ocean, down to fishman island and to the second half of the grandline. we just didn't know what was waiting for us there. how could we know that the idiot chef would get nose bleeds because of all the beautiful women, taht he would be losing too much blood, that fishman are just as prejudice to humans as we are to them because of everything humans have done to them, that they wouldn't offer sanji their blood to save his life. that a friend of an old enemy would be down there waiting, or that the princess to the kingdom was in grave danger, as was the kingdom in general. the fighting never stops, but you all had trained for two years for what lay ahead and though you can never be ready, you all were well prepared. saving fishman island from being squished thanks to a sharkman hopped up on steroids was a nice way to start your journey through the next part of the grandline. it was all relatively normal compared to what came next.
rising from the sea the trasponder snail had gotten a sos from an island called punk hazard. zoro is sure there could not possibly be a place like that here in this dimension. though that island wasn't always the way that it was. after the battle at marine ford, after the day that luffy lost ace a battle was waged for ten days on punk hazard between aokiji and akainu to figure out who would be the new fleet admiral, and that was how half the isalnd came to be covered in fire milted and constantly burning and the other half came to be covered in ice, snow capped and freezing. along with usopp and robin and luffy you head to the island, where you soon encounter a dragon after killing it you find a pair of talking legs attached to it's body. then he sees a lake separating the two halves of the island and you get a call from brook telling you the thousand sunny has been taking to the frozen side and that the crew is missing, so you have to cross the lake. you are fired upon by centaurs, the henchmen o the guy now controlling the island named cesar clown, who is secretly doing experiments to turn children into giants with the use of an addictive drug, and is the reason for the explosion that happened on the island years ago that killed most of the inhabitants. now he's has the survivors brainwashed beliving he saved them and gave them the ability to walk again thanks to tralfagar d. law's gift to give them animal legs. but he isn't actually working with ceasr but wants to bring him down because cesar is giving man made devil fruits to 'the joker' whom he hates and wants to kill for his own personal revenge plot. but he works against you at first to keep his cover, putting you all in each other's bodies and sending giant sniper brothers after you. eventually with the help of the samurai who was the one attacking the sos senders, a guy just looking for his 'son', law, and smoker you all manage to defeat the poisonous monster that cesar sets loose. in the end you capture cesar and avoid the navy who had shown up, saving them as well after luffy defeats cesar and thankful they let you go and you head to dressrosa.
te "king" of dressrosa is don quiote dof flamingo, the child of a celestial dragon who took his family from marie jois to live normal lives, but they were shunned by the people for being dragons, and were threatened and when they begged to be allowed back to the holy land they were denied. so his family save his brother were killed, and he formed a new family and through trickery made the people of dressrosa hate their previous king and sit him on the throne. when the crew arrives there they find walking, talking toys among the populace. the moment you set foot on the island something felt off. in disguise half the crew traversed the island and dresroy the factory making the fake devil fruits, the other half sailing around it to green bit to trade "set up" doflaming. in a restaurant you met a blind man who later turns out to be an admiral in the navy and help him not get conned by some thugs. in the commotion that ensues "fairies steal zoro's swords and he has to chase after them to get them back, getting extremely turned around. but eventually catching the dwarf/fairie who stole his swords and taking her to her hq where he learns that the thousand sunny is in trouble, and luffy is participating in a coliseum fight to win back ace's flame-flame fruit. sanji goes to save the ship with nami and the others on it. law who was fighting doflamingo endup battling across the island to the coliseum where zoro the samurai kinemon and luffy are talking through the locked doors of the building to franky, usopp, and robin who are with dwarves wanting to start a revolution because their princess has been stolen by doflamingo. law is shot and stolen away when the blind man issho intervene in zoro and kinemon trying to save him. sanji and nami's group were persued by big mom, who the crew had already made an enemy of back on fishman island, now she wanted cesar, so they let for sou to get away from her, franky was sent to destroy the factory and luffy made it out of the coliseum to go to the castle with zoro and kinemon after telling them, when his tears subsided that someone he cared deeply for was not dead as he had thought.
making their way to the castle is no easy feat, they meet violet aka viola along the way a member of the old royal family who sided with doflamingo to keep her father the king alive and she helps them, but they make it through the gate only to be stopped by pica, one of doflamingo's main four subordinates, zoro let the others go ahead while he fought pica. during this time, the dwarves and usopp had managed to incapacitate sugar, a young girl with the ability to turn people into toys and make their loved ones forget them, causing everyone to turn back to normal and cause discontent and anger through out the country, stirring up a revolution against doflamingo, and causing him to create a birdcage with his devil fruit ability, wires keeping everyone in that cut through the landscape slicing everything in their path. pica disappeared after that. doflamingo gave the occupants of the island an ultimatum, die in the cage or bring him ten people with all with bounties he placed on their heads, causing some people to chase after zoro and the others. pica moved the castle and attacks zoro, luffy, and law, who was still alive and sends them flying to the coliseum, where the other fighters who were turned into toys when they lost were human once more and all wanted to fight doflamingo, so they head up to the plateau to try and defeat him encountering pica and two other of the other executives try to stop them. while franky is fighting mr. pink and the 'galdiator' kyros is fighting diamante zoro defeats pica and heads of to stop the birdcage as it is getting close to closing in completely and they need to buy time for luffy to defeat doflamingo, which he does in the nick of time.
after resting for three days the marines come after them and the crew is made to flee. issho tries to stop them but the citizens who are grateful but can't appear as such chase after the pirates acting as a shield as they make their way to a huge ship, where many pirates pledged their allegiance to the straw hats, even though luffy doesn't want them too, but zoro drinks the ceremonious sake, forming the straw hat fleet. after which the crew heads off for zou to reunite with sanji, nami, chopper, and brook. zou being a giant moving elephant island, the crew has to climb it and what they find there is the ruins of the mink, animal people, country. come to find out they had been attacked by jack, a subordinate of the one of the four emperors and that he was there looking for a samurai named raizo and attacked the citizens, the dukes, and destroyed the main city when they wouldn't hand him over. chopper has been caring for the people, after finding them there having been poisoned by a weapon cesar created, he makes the clown help him find a cure. the crew learns that sanji left to keep them safe when big mom came to collect him and after being told everything, and almost being attacked by jack again the crew finally sets off to take down big mom, open the wano kingdom, and get back sanji.
there is no telling how long the green haired male was staring at the ocean thinking about all that had happened to him but it's long enough that he no longer feels dizzy when he finally comes back from memory lane.