Alyce smiled softly when she saw the tears in Luffy's eyes. "He was a great guy. I just wish I could have spent more time with him. But I'm grateful for the time I did get to spend with him."
When the raven haired woman mentioned dopplegangers, Alyce turned her attention to her. "So you think, I may be Ace's doppleganger?"
When Luffy spoke again Alyce's eyes widened. "Oh no, I couldn't impose like that. You guys already carried me here and are patching up my leg. I couldn't possibly impose any longer."
She slowly stood up before feeling a sharp pain in her stomach followed by a screaming growl. "Ugh... stupid stomach why now..."
Luffy grinned at the story of what Ace did, happy that he met someone who had also met his brother. "That sounds like Ace." Even though he was smiling, he was still tearing up. "I'm glad you were able to meet him."
"Luffy," Nami began but fell silent shortly after.
"As long as you aren't trying to be him, I don't mind that you look like him. Grandpa never mentioned Ace having any other siblings, so I don't think there is any relation."
Robin had been listening to the two talk and was intrigued by the story. "There are tales of doppelgangers. Though they are rare enough in the world, they do exist. Most are left alone because they don't resemble anyone famous. Its even rarer for them to be the opposite gender as well."
"Why don't you travel with us," Luffy offered.
Alyce smiled and shook her head. "No, I met him. It was only once though." When they reached the ship they were greeted by a small raccoon dog and her eyes widened. "He's so cute..." When she was instructed to sit down so the raccoon dog could look at her leg she chuckled. "Have to say this is the first time I've had someone other than my gran be my doctor... and its a talking animal." She shook her head then looked at Luffy again. "I had only heard a few stories of him when I met him. But I had never known his face. But one day I was in the village with my Gran... we were on our way back to the house on the outskirts of town. Gran collapsed. Completely unconscious. I panicked I was trying to lift her but at the time I wasn't strong enough..." She looked down for a moment. "Without hesitation he rushed over and carefully lifted her off the ground and asked me to lead the way back home. He took the time to make sure Gran and I made it home safe. When I thanked him after we got home, he finally introduced himself. I couldn't believe that the kind boy who helped us was a pirate. My Gran always loved telling stories about pirates. But after that day she kept tabs on Ace. Anytime she heard more news about him she would tell me. It was like he was a grandchild to her." She shook her head. "She also told me that he had a little brother. That's how I knew about you. Hearing what he accomplished, the things he set his mind to, his strength. They all drove me to become stronger. I look up to Ace. That's why I get so frustrated when people say I am him. Because that's an insult to his name. I'll never be as good as Ace. But I can damn well try to be the best I can by following his example."
"We aren't accusing you of being Ace. Luffy took one look at you and knew you weren't him." Of course, Nami had seen the small flicker of hope in Luffy's eyes during the initial encounter but it immediately went away. "So Ace for you is like Shanks to Luffy. You both had someone you looked up to that inspired you."
"So you never met him," Luffy asked as they finally reached the Sunny.
"There you," Chopper fell silent as he noticed the blood on Alyce's leg. This caused him to quickly got get his medical kit so that he could patch up the wound.
"Are you sure you want to talk about this Luffy," Nami asked a bit concerned.
"She said she looked up to Ace," Luffy replied, "I did too. We can talk about him."
Alyce was a bit taken back by the sudden question. And she was about to answer when the red head cut in and draped her arm over her shoulder.
As the four walked she sighed softly. "I do owe you one so I suppose I should answer some questions. I don't mind as long as you aren't accusing me of being Ace." She kept her eyes on the ground making sure not to trip over anything. "My name is Alyce Porter. No I didn't change my name. That's the name I was born with. As to why I have similar features to Ace, I don't know. I was born like this. As to why I wear similar clothes to Ace, I look up to him. He's the reason I left home in the first place. He inspired me to seek the world."
"Why do you look like Ace," Luffy asked.
"Thats one way to start off," Nami sighed. "Why don't we get her back to Chopper before you start asking questions? I'm sure she'd rather not walk around with a hole in her leg." She draped one of Alyce's arms over her shoulder so they could start walking without putting too much pressure on the wound.
Zoro and Luffy flanked either side of them to prevent further confrontations from unwanted enemies. "So you've established that you aren't Ace, but that doesn't explain who you are."
The men started charging at the swordsman and the man in the strawhat. But as they grew closer they realized that these two weren't just look alikes. They were the real deal. "I-I ain't getting paid enough for this." A few of the men ran in the opposite direction.
"Hey! Get your asses back here!" He called through clenched teeth. He staggered to his feet before glaring at the woman who looked like Ace. "Mark my words this won't be the last you see of me." With that he and the rest of his men ran off.
Alyce sighed softly. "Fantastic... he's going to be back." She rolled her eyes. "Yes, you could have just left me here. But you didn't. Not that I don't appreciate you two scaring off those guys... But why did you help me. I know you don't think I'm Ace. You're not idiots like the townsfolk."
"Well," Nami chuckled before gesturing to the one who asked if she was okay, "We may have followed you but Luffy was the one who acted once he noticed you were in trouble."
Zoro rolled his eye, "We could just leave you here," he replied to the woman.
"What?" The swordsman shrugged and looked at the old man, "You don't have business here either. She did tell you to leave her alone though so getting your ass kicked is your own fault."
Alyce saw a shadow cast over her and looked up when she heard a voice. Her eye twitched slightly as she sneered. "Sure, yeah. I'm fantastic. Just have a hole through my leg but nah yeah todays a great day." She saw the familiar red head from before and sighed. "You... you were with Monkey D. Luffy too... I guess I have no choice but to trust you for now... I'm kind of in a pickle anyways."
Nami handed Alyce her boots before looking at the men surrounding them.
The man who had approached her looked irritated. "Who the hell are you guys? You have no business being here, piss off!"
Alyce chuckled. "Bastard stole my words."
"Looks like we were right to follow her," Nami said, however her words fell on def ears as Luffy and Zoro had already moved. [i Those idiots.] She followed after them, more so to help the other woman out of the situation while the other two dealt with the men.
Luffy wasted no time in punching the two lackys on the beach away. This left him and Zoro to position themselves between the woman and the group of men. "Hey," he glanced behind him then back at the other men, "Are you okay?"
Nami made quick work of gathering the woman's belongings before standing next to her. "Don't worry," she whispered, "We're here to help."
"First one to move," Zoro began, "Is the first one to die."
Finally after a bit of waiting she finally got a hit. As she was reeling in the prize she heard a voice from behind her.
"My, aren't you a pretty young thing."
"She glanced behind her as she continued reeling. When she saw the man she sighed. "Buzz off old Geezer. I'm not a harlot"
The man's eye twitched but he didn't lose his calm. "My, what a mouth too. I'm not here to hurt you miss. But to offer you a deal."
"Miss if you'd just--." At that moment the line of her pole snapped and with it ran the fish and her lure.
"Gods dammit!" She spun around to face the man and narrowed her eyes. "Look asshole, you made me lose my supper. And I won't ever accept shady deals." Before he could retort she put up her hand. "You have three men hiding on that cliff up there and two more down at the end of the beach acting like they're spending a day at the beach. I'm easily outnumbered. If this wasn't a sketchy deal. You wouldn't have tried to hide so many lackeys." She put her hand on her hip and frowned. "So kindly buzz off before I make you leave."
The man snickered before bursting out laughing. "You think you can make me leave? Oh sweetheart I'd love to see you try."
Alyce rolled her shoulder before shrugging. "Your funeral." Before the man could blink Alyce darted forward, her hat falling off her head revealing the focused anger in her eyes, her right knee connected with his jaw dislocating it, as he was jolted to the side from the kick her elbow met the back of his head sending him to the ground.
"Piss off before I actually resort to weapons." As she went to go grab her stuff she felt a sharp pain through her leg as she tried to ignore it but the pain grew stronger. She looked down and groaned. "First hunger now this..." She watched the blood drip down her leg as the 'hiding' men approached her. "PISS OFF!"
The trio headed in the direction of where they saw the Ace impostor go. The walk was more or less quiet, as no one knew what to say, worried about what was going through Luffy's mind. That had been the concern since hearing about the lookalike, especially after seeing her for themselves. [i Not Ace, but she does look like him,] Nami thought.
Once they made it to the beach where the doppelganger was fishing, they stayed off to the side and watched. "Luffy," Nami looked at her friend and captain.
"I don't want to talk about it Nami," the rubber man replied as he continued to watch the other woman. How is it she looked just like Ace? Who was she? Did she have any connection to Ace other than appearance? Each time a question entered his mind, a memory of his brother followed it. [i Ace.]
Alyce stretched as she walked towards the familiar cliffside. "Hmm? Oh... looks like someone's already there... I'll have to find another spot."
She headed a bit more south before reaching the shoreline. She took off her boots and set them in the sand before walking up to the water and letting her feet feel the cold. She dug into her backpack and took out her fishing rod and rebuilt it before casting the line into the water while humming. "I wonder what Gran would think if I told her I spoke to Monkey D. Luffy. He's a bigshot right now. She'd probably think I was bluffing." She chuckled softly. "Gotta make more adventures to bring home to her... Whatever will make her get better..." She sighed softly thinking back before shaking her head. "If I don't eat soon I won't be able to make it back to her."
"Is that her?"
"Yeah, that's the one boss."
The man waited for the girl to turn her head just a little and once he saw the freckles he smirked. "Lookalikes are rare to find these days... Especially ones that could pass as the real thing's twin." He handed the binoculars back to his subordinate before he stood up. "We'll shall we introduce ourselves to see if she wants to come quietly?"
Luffy's eyes went wide when the Ace doppleganger brushed by him. It really did look like him, and he felt his eyes start to water. [i Ace.] He was snapped from his thoughts when a voice not matching Ace's spoke. "Thank," he paused and watched the woman walk away, "Thats not Ace."
Nami sighed, "No, I guess it isn't. But she looks quite a bit like him."
"What do you want to do captain," Zoro asked. He could hear whispers inside the bar, ones that left a foul taste in his mouth. From what he picked up, whoever that woman had just confronted, they were planning on going after her. When he looked at Nami and Luffy, it was clear that they heard the plan as well. "Either way, it looks like she'll be in trouble if we don't help."
"If we help her out," Nami clicked her tongue, "it will also give us a chance to find out why she looks like your brother."
Luffy looked back into the bar, long enough to lock eyes with one of the men that still had blood dripping from his nose. "Thats not Ace," he said point blank. He gave a nod to Zoro and Nami as if to signal that he was okay with going after her and helping. "Lets go."
Alyce had managed to find a quiet bar not many people whispering. "Hopefully I can finally get something to eat..." She murmured as she held her stomach as she heard the all too familiar growl coming from underneath her shirt.
But as she scanned the menu once again she heard the whispers. The same voices from before. [i These fuckers want to start something...] She thought to herself before turning her head slightly to glance over at the three men who were now smirking as they whispered to one another.
"Ace had a huge bounty before he was 'executed'."
"Yeah, maybe Ace's bounty is still valid if he's alive."
"Only one way to find out."
Alyce felt the heat rise to her face once again as she slammed her fists on the table and marched over to the men sitting near the doorway. "FOR THE LAST GODDAMN TIME! I AM NOT PORTGAS D. ACE! YOU ARE SAYING 'HE' EVERYTIME YOU TALK! DO I LOOK LIKE A GUY TO YOU?!" She grabbed the bottom of her shirt and in one swift movement lifted it up over her bra. "DO I LOOK LIKE A DUDE WITH THESE?!"
Blood started streaming out of all three men's noses at the sudden action.
She groaned in annoyance. "All I want... is damn meal... And you townsfolk wont give me a break... I wear an orange hat and red beads with a green backpack... Apparently that makes me Ace." She sighed once more hearing her stomach growl. But once again she felt all the eyes on her. She adjusted her shirt once more before throwing her bag over her shoulder. "Guess I'll have to go fishing today." She muttered before heading for the door when she saw it was blocked by three people. "'Scuse me... sorry, shows over." She pushed past the boy with the straw hat and sighed before stopping and turning back to him. "He was a good guy. I'm sorry for your loss." She continued walking down the path that led to a cliffside on the outskirts of town where she had fished a few days before.
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