"Hmm, well... you'd still need a disguise. You stick out like a sore thumb." Alyce chuckled softly. "But that would probably be a better idea. For me to go in and get the targets and collect the rewards. It puts you less at risk to murdering everyone." She chuckled softly before scratching the back of her head. She looked through his bag and noticed a hat. "Hmm... at least wear a hat so your hair doesn't stand out as much."
After waving to the rest of the crew Alyce unraveled the sail and off they went. "The bounty headquarters is on the opposite side of this island. Hopefully Luffy doesn't get seen by them so we can at least find some easy bounties."
"You have a point." Zoro didn't want to admit it, but if he walked into a bounty office as he was, he'd be a target. And he couldn't fight them off because it would prevent Alyce from picking up any potential bounties. "I could wait outside." It wasn't the worst idea, and would reduce possible casualties. Was he really okay with her going in there alone? The fact that she looked like Ace left him wondering what to do.
Alyce had taken the time to get all of her stuff ready for when they had to part. Nami gave her some spare outfits that she didn't wear anymore. Most days she spent training to get herself back on track.
When they finally reached the next island she felt her heart grow a bit heavy. When Nami spoke Alyce smiled. "Don't worry I'll bring him back before you know it." She went to hop off the ship but stopped before turning around and running to hug Luffy. "Thank you." She whispered softly before letting go with a small wave before hopping off the ship. She looked around the smaller ship and smiled. "Still bigger than my old ship I used..." She looked at Zoro and smiled softly. "Well, first things first. We need to get to a bounty headquarters... But... you're going to need a disguise... Because if you walked into a bounty headquarters It'd be like dangling a steak in front of a lion... or Luffy..."
"It's not like I yelled at her on purpose," Zoro protested.
A few days later the Straw Hats docked in another island, where they would part ways with their swordsman and new friends. "You guys be careful," Nami instructed. Of course, she knew they would more or less be okay, but part of her still worried. Over the last few days, she had helped put together two separate care packs just in case something did go wrong.
"Don't worry Nami," Zoro said as he hopped other the ship with both packs, "We'll catch up with you guys in no time."
Nami sighed softly. "Well it's just going to be the two of you for a bit. So try not to yell at her when you confess... Because that is definitely not a way to make a woman feel like you care about her." Nami had her hands on her hips.
Alyce was focused on her training practicing dodges and different fighting stances. After a few hours she was covered in sweat and she nodded. "Okay... just a few more days of practice and I should be able to get to a reasonable pace." She walked over to the window and looked out at the sea and smiled. "He's such an idiot..."
"I'm not," Zoro scowled, "I told her last night but it didn't come out right so when she asked me to repeat it I acted like I didn't say anything." Of course the only one who could corroborate his story, was Sanji and he didn't want him saying anything. "She actually kept texting my offer to help until I didn't leave her with a choice."
"You yelled at her," Sanji reminded him.
"He did?" Nami looked at Sanji, "How do you know this?"
"I caught part of the conversation last night. Figured Mosshead finally went crazy and was talking to himself."
Alyce raised an eyebrow at how Nami was acting but shrugged it off. "The buddy system won't be necessary. I can walk on my own again." After breakfast was served she brought her dishes to the sink before excusing herself to head up to the crow's nest to train.
Nami watched as she left and sighed softly. "Yikes, I only thought you and Luffy were that dense." She spoke as she looked at Zoro. "You're going to have to be quite blunt with her."
Sanji couldn't help but chuckle while listening to Nami. "Good to know I'm not the only one who noticed."
Alyce tied her hair back and took off the light jacket she was wearing before stretching her legs and arms before she began training.
"Is that what you two were talking about last night," Robin asked. "I heard you leave the room but figured you just wanted to be alone so I didn't follow."
"Something like that," Zoro said as he sipped his coffee. "If you need help, let me know."
"You're being awfully helpful lately," Nami teased, "I wonder why. It's almost as if you have an emotion other that [I brood]. I wonder what it [I who] could have stirred those up."
Zoro sent a glare at Nami over his cup. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Mhm, of course you don't." Nami simply laughed at what Zoro's reaction. "I'm only kidding Zoro. But maybe we should enact a permanent buddy system?"
Alyce was a bit surprised at the news as well but smiled none the less before nodding. "Thank you. I'll be sure to bring him back since I doubt he'd find the way on his own with his sense of direction." She teased with a chuckle.
When he mentioned leaving on the next island she nodded. "Sure. I'll keep training until then to get my leg back to how it used to be."
Sanji glanced at Zoro then back at Alyce. [i If they come back and he still hasn't confessed I'm going to kick his ass...] He thought to himself.
Luffy burst into the kitchen with a grin and say down beside Alyce. "You can have Zoro but only for a little while. I need him to become King of the Pirates!"
Usopp spit out his water at Luffy's sudden announcement of Alyce getting Zoro. He wondered if the captain knew how it came out. "Luffy that's uh," he wiped the drink from his mouth, "What are you talking about?"
"Zoro's going to help Alyce out for a while so he won't be around."
"Ah, so that's," Usopp went quiet when Zoro sat down next to him.
"Not another word," Zoro said calmly. He looked over to Alyce, "We'll leave at the next island. That gives you some time to work on your leg."
Alyce's body felt a little sore from training so late at night. When she woke up she stretched a bit before heading towards the kitchen for breakfast.
When she entered she noticed Luffy wasn't there yet. "That's... surprising..."
Sanji heard the familiar voice and turned with a smile. "Ah, Morning Alyce. I saw that the food I set aside for you was gone. So either I have to kick someones ass or I'm glad you ate."
Alyce chuckled. "Yeah I ate it. Sorry about that. I guess all that running yesterday really wore me out."
"Ah, yeah I pissed off a b--... actually ah, don't worry about it." She chuckled. "Just showing my leg a little tough love is all."
The following morning, Zoro waited until Luffy was awake before pulling him aside. Of course it was while he was on his way to eat, so the captain was a little less than happy. "Luffy, I need to talk to you."
"What is it? Can it wait until after breakfast? I'm starving," Luffy said as he kept looking over Zoro's shoulder towards the kitchen.
"It could but," Zoro grabbed the back off Luffy's shirt as soon as he started to bolt, "Now would be better."
"I want to help Alyce collect bounties to help pay for her grandmother's medicine. She can only collect so much on her own."
"So you want to leave?"
"Just for a little bit." Zoro finally let Luffy go, and looked at his captain, waiting for an answer.
"Hm," Luffy's face scrunched up as he eyed his friend then nodded, "Okay. Just come back alive and soon." He grinned and patted the swordsman on the shoulder before making his way into the kitchen.
[i Well that was,] Zoro looked towards the kitchen, [i easy. Now I just need to tell Alyce.]
"I don't know but I heard someone talking so I came to see if you'd finally went crazy and were talking to yourself. But then I saw you and Alyce so I waited to see if you'd actually get the nerve to tell her." He sighed softly. "You're right, helping her is good. But yelling at her and calling her dense... That's pretty assholish if you ask me. Not really a way to treat a woman that you have feelings for." He gave a slight wave before turning to head back down to the men's quarters. "Try to not be a brute when you eventually tell her. Thousands of years from now."
"Okay so I panicked," Zoro admitted. He really didn't want to admit that Sanji was right too but, well, he would never say it out loud at least. "What do you mean being an ass? I told her I'd help her. How does that make me an ass?!" He finally turned around to look at Sanji and noticed his oddly disheveled appearance. "What are you doing up anyway Eyebrows?"
"O-Oh right... I guess I heard you wrong..." Alyce murmured softly before thinking. [i Why do I feel so down about this...] She shook her head then nodded. "Sure, I'll go get some practice in..." She stood up and headed for the crows nest before turning around and giving a small smile. "Thanks."
Sanji had woken up and when he headed to the top deck he caught the tail end of what Zoro had said. He watched the rest of the exchange between the two before Alyce walked away. He sighed. "You suck at this. If someone as dense as you can tell you have feelings for her you need to be able to make her see that too. Being an ass isn't going to help."
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