The morning started out as peaceful as most mornings did, even with the rambunctious younger prince. Much to the relief of the castle staff, the prince was quiet today allowing them to go about their morning chores. A pair of maids carried the large specialty made mattress cover from the bedroom of the youngest prince. They’d begun discussing the best way to get the multiple food stains from the once white blanket, when they caught sight of a very enraged Dowager King Monkey D. Garp. The rage that poured off of the man was enough to make even the heartiest man quake in his boots. There were very few things that incited such anger from the usually calm and goofy man, when something did he was a terrifying sight to behold.
Quickly moving to the side they bowed awkwardly while trying to keep the cover off the floor, they greeted him with quiet ‘Good Mornings’. He gave them a nod in return showing that even in his angered state he’d heard them. He didn’t stop though continuing his journey to a destination only he knew.
“That was Dowager King Garp.” The youngest maid Conis stated after he’d rounded the corner hopefully out of earshot. “I thought he was in Marineford visiting some friends and wasn’t supposed to be back for another two weeks.”
“Something must’ve happened.” The elder maid Nojiko stated, readjusting the comforter in her arms. “I’ll see if Nami knows anything. Come on, even though the queen is lenient doesn’t mean Governess Dadan is. She won’t be pleased if she saw us gossiping in the halls.” Nodding in agreement the two girls continue with their work.
In the main throne room, the current king Shanks the Red sat on the steps instead of his throne. It was a seat only meant for uncomfortable or long meetings, at the moment this wasn’t one of those times. He finally had a few minutes to spare his wife Queen Makino and infant son Oda, the royal family was watched over by two of the king’s guards Lucky Roux and Yasopp. Shanks made faces at the infant he held just above his head earning a laugh from the babe as well as his beloved. It was a peaceful moment they always revealed in and enjoyed when they could. Their moment didn’t last near as long as he’d wanted as a commotion outside of the throne room doors caught all of their attention. Just as Shanks stood the double doors, which were made of strong oak wood, was kicked in by an enraged Garp.
“Shanks, you red-headed bastard!” Garp bellowed as he stalked in his brown eyes focused solely on the current king of Goa. He ignored the excuses given by the two guards that were standing outside the door. Having sensed the mood of the room change from happy to scary Oda began to cry in distress.
“Garp-san, please lower your voice.” Makino pleaded her attention torn between the elder man and her upset son. “You’ve frightened Oda.”
“Makino, my love.” Shanks said in a calm voice despite the vision of rage coming toward him. “Why don’t you, Yasopp and Lucky take Oda somewhere quiet while I talk with Garp. Seems his visit to Marineford wasn’t as pleasant as he’d hoped it’d be.” Shanks turned to smile down at his wife as he handed the balling infant over to his mother who instantly began to try and console him. Taking it as a cue to leave the two guards approached the dias and royal family. Lucky quickly tucked his turkey leg into his food pouch for later and wiped his hand on his breeches.
“Come along, Milady.” Lucky stated, holding his hand out in offering to his queen. “The kings need to talk and hopefully not kill each other.”
Shanks leaned down to kiss her cheek gently. “I’ll come find you later, Darling.”
With a reluctant nod Makino made her way down the steps taking Lucky’s hand to take the bottom three. She glanced worriedly at Garp who stood at the bottom of said steps.
“Please don’t fight. Franky has enough to do without having to repair the throne room.” Makino pleaded as she bounced Oda gently to calm him down.
“Again.” Yasopp muttered loud enough to be heard. Neither men replied both now focused on the other, their nods were the only agreement she got.
The guards lead the queen and prince out of the throne room pulling the thankfully still intact doors closed behind them. The room remained quiet as the previous and current kings stared at each other, the tension almost palpable. Shanks moved first descending the steps until he stood eye level with the man.
“So wanna tell me what’s got you so hot under the collar that you interrupted my quiet time with my wife and son?” Shanks asked arching a bright red brow. “Also you weren’t due back from Marineford for another couple of weeks. Did Akainu piss you off again? Or was it Kizaru?” The twitch of his eye told Shanks that it was the former.
“I was at Marineford not even a full day when Barsalino approached me with that infuriating smile on his face. Something told me this one was different somehow.” Garp snarled through gritted teeth. “And I was right. Do you want to know what that smug asshole said to me?”
Though he already had a guess he nodded anyway, walking to the side of Garp and continued his descent. His black floor length cloak swayed behind him though it never revealed his missing limb.
“He said he wanted to be the first to congratulate me. When I looked at him in confusion that smug grin got wider and he said ‘why on the joining of our kingdoms thanks to the grandson Sakazuki didn’t scar.’ I didn’t stick around to find out what he meant by that. You wanna tell me what the hell he meant and how it involves any of my grandsons?” Garp crossed his arms over his wide chest waiting for an answer.
Shanks closed his eyes pinching the bridge of his nose in annoyance. “If you’d have stuck around I’m sure Sengoku or even Tsuru would have told you, probably in a proper meeting. Unfortunately you took off like a raging bull before they could.” He opened his eyes as he stopped in front of a long table set before the window. On it was a map of the entire continent, the names of each major nation written in large calligraphy. At the far end of the map the land was painted dark with the name PUNK HAZARD written in red.
“What is going on, Shanks?” Garp asked, coming to stand next to the man. After a moment of silence, Shanks opened a drawer pulling out a dragon and skull token placing them on the black nation. “Black Beard has allied himself with a very powerful enemy of ours, adding to his own power. According to Robb Lucci and the rest of our CP9 agents he has joined forces with Kaido.” Shanks explained not taking his eyes off the map already knowing the type of expression Garp would have. “Even though we have Germa and the Fish Man as an allies, not even their ‘science’ nor strong fighters will be enough to help us against Kaido’s beasts.”
“We’d need powerful allies to even hope to survive an attack from both of them.” Garp said, gripping his chin in thought. His mind reverted back to its strategic state of when he had to plan for war. HIs eyes widened finally connecting the dots. “Is that what Borsalino meant, you plan on marrying Sabo to one of the top admirals?”
Shanks pulled out ten tokens as he spoke. “We have five allies: Dressrossa,” He placed a flamingo token on said nation. “ Kuraigana” He set down a hawk, “Whole Cake” He placed a black dog on an island not far from their coast, “White” He placed a phoenix down. “And lastly, MarineFord.” He placed a white dog on their closest neighbor nation. “They have all agreed to ally with us through matrimony to our five princes.” On Goa he placed the remaining five tokens, a sword, pipe, a heart, and flame. He hesitated before he laid a small straw hat down. “Each of those boys are just above marrying age and it is time for them to settle down. It just so happens that our allies have rulers or next in line rulers who are unmarried.”
“I understand your reasoning and as a king I agree.” Garp started before gently picking up the five tokens. “But speaking as a grandfather who helped raise all of them, I wanted them to find their own happiness in their own time. Not be bound by duty, forced into a relationship because their country is in danger.”
Shanks turned to face the man. “I get it, Garp, believe me if there were any other way I’d take it. But this is the only way I can see us getting permanent allies should we survive this. And while we just signed our Ally contracts with Alabasta and Zou these other alliances will be forever.”
“At the cost of my boy’s happiness?” Garp glared down at him.
“I have every precaution planned should they decide they aren’t happy.” Shanks glared back. “I am not completely heartless and I told our allies that should my sons be mistreated then they will face my wrath. Akainu has swore on his own life that no harm will come to Sabo, as have the other rulers.”
“But will that be enough?” Garp asked, setting the tokens down. “You know how we got each of them, where the majority of them came from and what they escaped. Law, your adopted son is the sole survivor of Flevance after Marineford thought it necessary to wipe out the entire nation. Why? Because they were misinformed about a disease that wasn’t contagious. He was so closed off from everyone and if Luffy wasn’t so stubborn and determined to make him his friend, I fear he would’ve gone seeking revenge and hook up with the wrong people.”
“Yes, I-” Shanks began but Garp was in full rant mode.
“Zoro washed up on our shores after losing his surrogate father and sister, Sabo’s parents were the worst kind of people. Just because some people were born less privileged than them, they believed that they didn’t deserve to live. If I hadn’t shown up when I did I would have lost all of my grandsons because of their closed sighted arrogance. Luffy almost died to that bastard Blue Jam. And then there’s Ace. The sole heir of the first king of Goa, Gold Roger the ‘Pirate King’. Thanks to MarineFord, this kingdom lost one of it’s greatest rulers and you lost your sister. If Rodger hadn’t made me king, Goa would’ve been in flames.”
“Yes, Garp, I get that.” Shanks finally cut in. “I understand our boys have trust issues and yes some of our allies aren’t the best candidates for marriage. I have informed them all that before any marriage, there will be courting and get the boy’s approval. And I’ll be Damned if any of those men try to push for something the boys aren’t ready for.”
Garp looked at the man, his gaze met with one he hadn’t seen since King Roger was executed publicly.
“The suitors are to arrive in the next day or so. I have also informed them that if the boys are truly unhappy with their matches then courtship is called off. No arguments, no exceptions. And if my sons are hurt in anyway, I will make them regret crawling from their mother’s wombs.” Shanks growled. He held Garp’s gaze for a minute more before turning to the door. “I shall deal with any consequences. BECKMAN!”
The door opened revealing the captain of the guard and Shank’s second in command, Benn Beckman. His silver hair was tied up in a messy pony tail.
“You bellowed?” Beckman asked.
“Yes, I need you to find the princes. Inform them that I require their presence here in the throne room and to look presentable.” Shanks ordered his tone unusually serious. The order caught the captain off guard, Shanks was always so laid back and familiar with his staff and guards treating them more like his family and friends rather than servants.
“As you command, Your Majesty.” Beckman bowed exiting the room, closing the door behind him.
“Shanks, I get your plan but if what your saying about Blackbeard and Kaido is true then the boys won’t have enough time to get used to their new lives. Let alone their new husbands.” Garp stated. “None of them will be happy about this being sprung on them. Especially Luffy.”
“I know, Garp, believe me I hate doing this to them. However if we wish to survive this upcoming fight then it will have to be enough.” Shanks stated as he walked up the steps to his throne. “It’s for the good of all of our kingdoms.”
Garp glared up at the man. “I don’t think your god son will see it that way.”
The room decided into silence as they awaited the arrival of the five princes.