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Fanfic / The Butcher Bird

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Most SIs get powers, or start off weak, or any of a multitude of ideas...but all, or at least most, remain human. Most One Piece SIs meet up with the Straw Hats, join their crew, and have some very entertaining adventures. This poor bastard gets neither. Follow Yoshimura Kaneki through the South Blue and beyond, as he joins a crew that, for better or for worse, is destined for infamy...
The opening on Archive Of Our Own

"How the hell am I the moral compass here?
The protagonist
"I am Grigori Vinci, Captain and surgeon of the Nightmare Pirates, and I am currently out of fornications to give."
The guy who bosses around the protagonist.

The Butcher Bird is a One Piece/Tokyo Ghoul Self-Insert Crossover fanfic starring the eponymous Butcher Bird, Yoshimura Kaneki, who, a few years before canon, finds himself on an unknown island, his body changed into that of a flesh-eating ghoul. In short order, he finds himself joining a pirate crew...but, unlike many One Piece fics, not that of the Straw Hats. The crew, called the Nightmare Pirates, and their journey is the focus of the story, rather than the canon of One Piece. Kaneki himself shares Protagonist duty with his captain, Grigori 'Alley Doc' Vinci.

This fic is mostly notable for its large number of OCs and its dedication to being an Original Flavour expansion of the One Piece world, starting off in the South Blue and working through the Grand Line with very few appearances from the majority of canon characters.

It can be read up to up to Chapter 122 on The full work is available on Archive of Our Own and Spacebattles.

The Butcher Bird contains examples of:

  • Absurd Cutting Power: Herman, naturally, being the swordsman of the crew and this being a One Piece fic.
  • Anyone Can Die: The author is more than willing to kill off characters, even major ones, which contrasts pretty heavily with the Nobody Can Die status quo of One Piece. In any given arc, at least a third of the characters introduced are going to die.
  • Armor Is Useless: Both averted and Justified. Armor saves the life of at least one character from shrapnel, and Herman's armor is virtually unbreakable, but in a world where people can cut through steel and/or have Super-Strength on a high enough level to break bones through the armor, there's a limit to exactly how useful it can be.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: The Nightmare pirates seem to be becoming one of these during the Pirate City Arc. The Black Flag arc has them form one of these, the Wild Hunt, with nearly every pirate crew on the island for the sole purpose of hunting down and killing Kid.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Ki Rata. While allowing someone to use Megaton Punch techniques largely at will, the training for doing so without inflicting horrible damage to your own body means that you either need a free decade to learn or a monstrous Healing Factor paired with unbreakable bones to use it regularly.
  • Badass Crew: The Nightmare Pirates, obviously. As the fic goes on they grow closer to a Badass Army than a crew, simply through weight of numbers.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: C wears a three-piece suit and can kill a man from blocks away by using his powers to approximate a railgun. The Fae also qualify.
  • Battle Aura: Played with. Kaneki's kakuja form appears to be doing this... but it's actually a mist of highly corrosive C-cells. It's later played straight with Vinci using Second Gear/Monster Mode.
  • Badass Longcoat: Vinci wears a tattered, stitched-together lab coat. Lauren wears a long coat filled to the brim with weapons, and Kaneki eventually acquires a refitted Marine officer's coat.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Out of four female characters who make repeat appearances, three get injured on-screen and a fourth is explicitly described as being scarred from a lifetime of piracy.
  • The Berserker: Herman is one of these if he's pushed hard enough. It's actually part of his moniker - Berserker Hound.
  • Beyond the Impossible: C, by merely existing, breaks one of the cardinal rules of One Piece: nobody can possess the same Devil Fruit at the same time. Downplayed Trope, in that he's a clone grown from Eustass Kid's severed arm, with that same arm being the one containing the power.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Do not upset one of Kaneki's people. Kaneki takes it poorly. Also, don't play God in front of Vinci.
    • For the Wild Hunt as a whole but the Nightmares in particular, slavery tends to set them off immediately.
  • BFS: Herman's preferred weapon of choice.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Every Mad Scientist in One Piece has a Hat. This is Vinci's.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: Kaneki, what with his ghoul abilities.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Downplayed Trope. One Piece wasn't exactly E-rated, but between the cannibalism, outright warfare, insane ghouls, and other sources of bloody devastation, this fic qualifies.
  • Blood Knight: One of Kaneki's opponents during the Siege Arc is this. It gets him killed.
  • Brains and Brawn: Downplayed. While Kaneki is by no means an idiot and Vinci isn't a weakling, they still form this trope with Kaneki as the Brawn and Vinci as the Brains due to their respective abilities and focuses.
  • Bullet Time: Lauren uses a serum that gives them this ability during the Spice Archipelago Saga. It comes with its own drawbacks - namely difficulty breathing and exhaustion once it wears off, but it still allows her to finish off her opponents. Lauren later gets an Augment that lets them perform this feat regularly.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Again, a One Piece fic, so this abounds.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The Reaver Syndrome is shown to have extreme negative effects on ghouls and nearly kills Kaneki. Nearly 30 chapters later, Lauren weaponizes it against INCUBUS with a bullet.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Has two characters that qualify, C and Six. The former is a ghoul clone of Eustass Kid, accidentally created by Vinci and raised by the Nightmare Pirates, while the latter is a rescued cabin boy from the Necromonger Pirates. Neither have anything even approaching a normal thought process.
  • Combat Tentacles: Kaneki's favored form of combat, due to his rinkaku.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: C's Hat.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: This is basically Six's Hat. Nothing the Nightmare Pirates do can compare to the horrors the Necromonger Pirates committed on him and on others.
  • Cool Ship: Several, for obvious reasons.
    • First is the Ends Justified, the first Nightmare vessel. It started as a stolen Marine frigate, then was given a fresh coat of paint followed by a weapons overhaul that included triple-barreled cannon in the bow, explosive shells, and rapid-fire guns on the deck. Sadly it was eventually wrecked after getting it's crew away from a devastating defeat.
    • The second Nightmare ship, Prometheus, is a colossal vessel that has the added of being a literal Ghost Ship.
    • Then we have the Fortress. It's literally that - a Literal-Minded pirate captain stole a Marine fortress and made it float.
    • The Necessary Means and Unbroken Hope, built by the Nightmares for two crews of ex-slaves they freed. Both incorporate turreted guns and armor. In a setting where most ships are wooden Age of Sail vessels.
    • Then there's the Ark, which this troper will just let the character codex entry for it describe:
      The Ark, otherwise known as the What the fuck is that thing and how is it sailing without sinking and the Why the hell does it have rocket engines.
  • Deadly Doctor: Vinci, very much so.
  • Death by Adaptation: While the vast majority of the story's body count is made up of OCs, canon characters are by no means exempt from being killed off.
    • In the Black Flag Arc, The Kid Pirates are slaughtered to a man by the Wild Hunt.
    • In From the Decks of the World 3, Vice Admiral Komei is successfully poisoned by Grigori Rasputi.
    • In the Exclusion Arc, Don Krieg is brutally injured by Gin, and then killed by one of his ill-treated subordinates.
    • In From the Decks of the World 7, Vice Admiral Strawberry is killed by Koala.
    • In the Ys Arc, Rear Admiral Maynard, Rear Admiral Kadar, Captain T-Bone, and Vinsmoke Ichiji are killed in battle.note 
  • Derelict Graveyard: Ivankinraion Island is this, as its harbor is filled with decaying wrecks of testbed vessels and experimental ships, abandoned thanks to the island being irradiated.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Herman insists he isn't a swordsman: he's just someone who cuts down the crew's enemies.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • Don Krieg, as in canon, belittles and abuses his crew, seeing them as little more than pawns. This comes back to bite him twice in a row when he appears in disguise as a Marine during the Exclusion Arc, first because his former second-in-command that he literally left to die hates him and has gotten a lot stronger than he was, and second because once the first example finishes with him, another crew member takes the opportunity to knife him in the throat while he's helpless and defect to the Nightmares with the rest of the crew.
    • A chapter later, this continues to bite the Marines, as they lose Jagganoth Bolverk and GEMINI to the Nightmares, since the former was conscripted into the Marines by force and the other harbors a grudge for the attempted genocide against their people.
  • Door Stopper: Is in the neighborhood of 600k words at the time of editing.
  • Dragon Hoard: An allegorical version. Six refers to the other members of the Nightmare Pirates by titles that reflect their personalities and roles in the crew. He calls Kaneki Dragon, and thinks of those Kaneki cares about as this trope. C also thinks that Kaneki has taught this sort of viewpoint to the rest of the crew with regards to their allies.
  • The Dreaded: The aptly-named Nightmare Pirates.
  • Drop the Hammer: Jack's favored weapon of choice.
  • Dying Smirk: Grigori Rasputi dies with a huge Slasher Smile after poisoning both himself and Vice Admiral Komei in a gambit to keep the other man from stopping his grandson.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • Ivankinraion Island is this. Being Chernobyl'd by a deliberately overloaded copy of a Lost Superweapon's main reactor will do that. It features ghosts, weird floating energy balls that can inflict a Mook Horror Show, horrifying twisted mutants, and plenty of ruins. It's basically a love letter to Metro 2033.
    • Prometheus itself has part of the ship, the Deep Corridors, work as one. In addition to having the mutants from the above example, it is described thusly:
      When Prometheus was created/devouring all/made/broken, not everything from Ivankinraion was assimilated... properly.
      And what happened at Ivankinraion broke much.
      Things wander the Deep Corridors, where the searing light of the Captain's sanity does not reach, where the Dragon's rage does not burn and the Blacksmith's artifice crumbles to rust and ash.
      Light a candle. Light another. Come only if well-armed and surrounded by friends, and bring a Hierophant, salt and silver and righteous might.
      The crew does not, generally speaking, enter the Deep Corridors by accident. It requires purpose for them to enter there.
      The same cannot be said of intruders.
      There are no souls in the Deep Corridors, but there are echoes and memories and ghosts, and few of them are pleasant. Size may change, and though it might simply be Theo himself taking notice and shifting the patterns and layouts of the corridors under someone's feet, creating the illusion of an endless expanse of machinery and might not be, and nobody has managed to determine for certain.
      The Deep Corridors are not always deep. They might rest beneath your skin, coil around your heart and lungs. You'll breathe in their air and the witch-light of electric lamps and what walks out may only share a face and a name.
      Stone and storm and salt, and time, and the calling of a great bell.
      What is born here will never know the sun.
      Beware the hollow men and their sigils, and retrace your steps with prayer and oil-light,traveller. Nothing else can be trusted, and you should not be here.
  • Easy Sex Change: Vinci's Augments can do this accidentally - apparently due to the process responding to the desires of the users and already changing most of their body.
  • Emergency Transformation: Happens several times throughout the story:
    • After having his eyes gouged out, Vinci implants an organ called the King’s Heart into his body to give himself the ability to heal from his wounds.
    • After Kaneki is infected with Reaver Syndrome, which reacts violently with his ghoul physiology, Vinci implants a new organ in his body to allow him to fight it off.
    • After a number of citizens of Arcadia are left comatose by a Germa 66 nerve gas, Vinci (with permission from their next of kin) turns them into Oni.
  • Empty Eyes: Six has these at first.
  • Enemy Scan: Vinci gains the ability to do this during his fight with Edwin Roberts. Since Roberts is a Logia, it tells him to hit the floor of the mine they're fighting in, dumping the rock-based man into a Lava Pit.
  • Enemy Within: Kaneki develops one that seems to be formed from his repressed natural instincts, ie, eating people and seeing them as prey. It takes the form of a large black dragon and is a smug bastard. He threatens it with Vinci as a means to get it to cooperate.
  • Eye Scream: Vinci receives this at the hands of Kid. He got better. Herman gets one during the fight with the Necromonger Pirates, and the same happens to him.
  • Feather Flechettes: Kaneki's ukaku is capable of these.
  • Five-Man Band: The Nightmare officers can be seen as forming one of these. Captain Vinci is The Leader and Mad Scientist of the Nightmares; first mate Kaneki is The Lancer who also serves as a Morality Pet for Vinci; Lauren the armorer/gunsmith is The Smart Guy; blacksmith Herman is both The Big Guy and The Brute; and Jack is a Rare Male Example of The Heart who serves as the Only Sane Man of the crew. After Jack's death, Gin takes up the role.
  • Flash Step: Most of the crews learns to use Soru/Shave fairly early on. While their versions are notably less effective than those employed by the Six Powers masters in CP9, it's still an effective technique.
  • Fluffy the Terrible:
    • Lampshaded by Kaneki and Vinci after taking down the Captain of the Necromonger Pirates, who is the most batshit insane and straight-up evil of the opponents the Nightmares had faced at the time.
      Kaneki: Can we just appreciate the fact that one of the most twisted and horrific people we’ve fought was named Keith? Do evil people have really normal names or something?
      Vinci: Yes. Beware anyone named Kevin.
    • Six's eventual moniker, Songbird, is this, right up until you realize it's because of the sound his Vibro Weapon powers make as he uses them to sink battleships.
  • Game Face: Kaneki, and any ghoul by extension, gets a combination of Black Eyes of Crazy and Red Eyes, Take Warning when sufficiently pushed or when using their abilities. Vinci, after implanting himself with the King's Heart, has his eyes glow gold whenever he's ticked off.
  • Genius Bruiser: Vinci is scientifically brilliant, and also capable of beating people into the ground with relative ease. Jack is also this to a lesser extent, as while his primary talents are in the area of managing and supplying the crew, he's more than capable of getting his hammer and wrecking face as he sees fit.
  • Genocide Backfire: The World Government attempting to kill off ghouls, shortly after they were created. It results in the few survivors going underground and avoiding contact with humanity while cultivating a hatred of the World Government - and thanks to the attempts of the World Government to keep it a secret, a century later nobody even knows ghouls exist.
  • Glasgow Grin: Vinci receives this at the hands of the same person as the Eye Scream example above.
  • Glass Cannon: Bertram Lauren might not be the toughest of the Nightmare crew, but her numerous weapons pack an enormous punch far beyond her physical weight class, to the point where she manages to one-shot Reiju.
  • Grin of Audacity: Overlaps with Slasher Smile below, in that most of the named Nightmares wear this expression at one time or another. Especially Vinci.
  • Healing Factor: Kaneki's main power. It has let him shrug off evisceration, poisoning, impalement, massive blunt force trauma, et cetera, with the biggest limitation being that it takes energy and food to heal - and for him, food means people. C has it as well, since he's also a ghoul, and while using the Oni compound so do the Oni.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Claire makes one at the end of the Pirate City Arc, using the last of her strength to save her remaining crew members with what is heavily implied to be an Awakened Devil Fruit ability. Later on, Jack, along with nearly two thirds of the Nightmares, sacrifice themselves to hold off Rear Admiral Gripper long enough for the rest of the crew to escape.
  • He's Back!: After the Heroic Sacrifice example that cost Vinci much of his crew, he slips into a depressive funk, worsened by not having slept for literal weeks, and acts like a shell of his former self. When Gin breaks him out of it and he gets a few days worth of sleep, though...he makes one hell of a comeback, in the face of a Marine assault.
  • Hired Guns: The Nightmares spend an arc as this alongside (and fighting against) numerous other pirate crews and mercenaries.
  • Hollywood Board Games: Ghost Ship Prometheus is plagued with various nightmare-inducing monsters. Then you have Steve, a miniature giant squid who loves to play Scrabble. Very in tune with him tiny, adorable, and mostly harmless.
  • Horror Hunger: The main character's biggest problem, being turned into a ghoul.
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: Ghouls all typically look human unless they put on their Game Face. In addition to this, Augments, barring the Cogs and Oni, generally look mostly human - even the eight foot tall Lightning Bruiser Wolves aren't outside the appearance of humans in the world of One Piece, and the other Augment types give little indication of their abilities.
  • I Am a Monster: Kaneki considers himself one, due to his dietary needs.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: This is a One Piece fanfic. 95% of the named characters who use a sword fit this trope.
  • Knuckle Cracking: Kaneki is especially fond of this.
  • Laughing Mad: Vinci has an episode of this after the Hunt abandons the pretensions of being an alliance and all the captains (save Law, who nopes out) swear fealty to him.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Of the Nightmare crew, Kaneki is the closest to fitting this category, with Vinci using Second Gear edging in as well. In both cases, they're fast, immensely tough, and hit like freight trains.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Huscarls use massive shields of solid steel and are very, very effective with them. Similarly, some of the Companions fight with a gun-halberd in one hand and a tower shield in the other.
  • Mad Scientist: Vinci. Highlights include self-augmentation, devising a Super Serum to let his Mooks become stronger quicker, the occasional vivisection of the enemies of his crew, and most recently using his own augmentations as a basis for turning his crewmates into proper Transhumans.
  • Magical Eye: Herman acquires one after getting a replacement eye for the one he lost fighting the Death Knight in the Slaughterhouse Arc. Due to the fact that the replacement was just an ordinary eye, Vinci theorizes the magic is due to the eye socket being haunted thanks to Herman carrying around Amakatta, a cursed blade that eats the soul of and then possesses the body of wielders it doesn't like. The eye grants perfect, 360-degree vision and can see through Herman's own skull.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Vinci has demonstrated this trait, on occasion. The most egregious coming when he puts Kaneki through a Die or Fly scenario in order to force him to accept his worst qualities and awaken his full kakuja. Notably, he often gets called out for this or has it backfire on him.
  • Mauve Shirt: Some of the Nightmare crew get proper names and characterization, while still being very obvious side characters. Also popular are groups like the Oni.
  • Mega Crossover: The Crossed Roads Arc (first in the Devil's Deeds Saga) introduces the Nightmares to the Rainbow Mists from the One Piece filler of the same name, and makes the place an interdimensional nexus of sorts, bringing in numerous examples of the Nightmare Pirates - and several versions of Kaneki, all SIs of different franchises.. Notably, it's temporary.
  • Megaton Punch: Ki Rata techniques are apparently based on this.
  • Mental World: Kaneki has one that he has learned to access through meditation. His Enemy Within has taken to squatting there. Herman also makes use of the technique.
  • Mighty Glacier: Relatively speaking, Herman isn't the quickest of the crew, but his attacks are devastating when they land, and he can take hits easily.
  • Mile-Long Ship: Prometheus, the second Nightmare ship is a whopping 603 meters at the waterline. For reference, that's about twice the length of the Gerald R. Ford class supercarrier in real life, and over three times the length of the Marine battleships of One Piece.
  • Mook Horror Show: Whoo boy. The first From the Decks of the World is largely focused on various minor characters from previous arcs, as well as showing the aftereffects of some of the Nightmares' more infamous adventures. And then the last segment is from the point of view of a Marine who sees his entire armada slaughtered by a massive...thing that shares a lot of characteristics with the Dragon from Tokyo Ghoul.
    • To a lesser extent, applies to basically any Red Shirt that faces the Nightmares. Especially Lauren. Or C.
  • Motive Rant: Kaneki finally gets one in Chapter 93.
    Smoker (regarding Kaneki's plans for revenge against those who deposed his mentor): “Then who? The population of the kingdom, for not overthrowing the Councillors in turn? The Marines in their entirety? Royals who didn’t come to the old king’s aid? Who would you kill next, and when would it stop? Would you keep going like a mad dog, always finding new justifications? Or would you finally see sense and stand trial for your crimes? When would it end?”
    Kaneki: “It would end, when this world became just." (Monster voice starts kicking in) Year after year, decade after decade, century after century we’ve seen you humans piss away the inheritance and wisdom of your ancestors, slowly sliding closer to war and self-made oblivion with every step, blind to reality. Your rulers are delusional children, spoiled so much they think themselves gods on earth, and I am tired of seeing the generations pass with so little to show for it. Eight centuries they’ve kept the world yoked, and it has reached the point where there is nothing worth salvaging from the decrepit corpse of their ideals.(starts advancing, displaying More Teeth than the Osmond Family and making the temperature noticeably spike) “I would see a just world replace this one of slaughter and corruption, see a system I can look upon without wanting to rend it to shreds, and if that day ever comes I will surrender myself to an impartial jury of my peers and go to whatever fate they decide gladly. And if I cannot change the world for the better...if even the removal of the cancer that you dare call leadership fails before the short-sightedness and idiocy of humankind, then I will gather what I deem precious to me close...and I will let that unjust world burn.”
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Butcher Bird, Vodun, Revenant, Berserker Hound, Jabberwock, Flayer, and the canonical example of Massacre Soldier. All except for the last two are officers of the Nightmare crew. Then there's the name of the organization founded to take revenge on Eustass Kid: The Wild Hunt.
  • Neck Snap: Vinci gives one to a Kid Pirate Mook who was unfortunate enough to piss him off.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The World Government has a tendency to repeatedly shoot itself in the foot with its Sins of Our Fathers policy. Vinci initially tried to join the Marines in his search for answers, but because his parents were Defector from Decadence the marine recruiter not only turned him down but told that his parents were burning in hell for their actions. This inspired Vinci to become a pirate and greatly influenced the development of his current personality. They later make a similiar mistake with Viktor. After Vinci's betrayal, they try to arrest Viktor for not only his relation to Vinci, but also because of his study of Kaneki's cells. After the squad assigned to arrest him shows complete disregard for the safety of the marines he is treating, said marines decide to defect and Viktor leaves with them while taking knowledge of how to create kagune based armor with him.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Kaneki has been compared to Akainu in terms of their devotion to their definitions of 'justice' and in their raw fury.
  • Off with His Head!: Kaneki kills his master, “One-Eyed King” Zoss, in this way. Don’t worry- it’s what he wanted.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. There's Jack 'The Drought', Kaido's right-hand man and billion-berry bounty... and then there's Rubeus 'Thundering Hammer' Jack, bosun of the Nightmare Pirates. In a manner of speaking, there's also Kaneki, who picked his name after forgetting whatever it was originally solely because it 'felt right', and thus ended up sharing a name with two characters from Tokyo Ghoul — the main character Ken Kaneki, and the One-Eyed-Owl's father, Yoshimura.
  • Only Sane Man: Jack is the bosun of the crew, and thus the man who runs most of the day-to-day operations of the Nightmares, ensuring everyone is supplied properly and that ship's law is enforced. This is in sharp contrast to most of his crew, large numbers of whom are only in it for the fights and the loot (or, in the Captain's case, the knowledge).
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Take the ghouls from Tokyo Ghoul, give them a society partially based off the devils of Kill Six Billion Demons, and crank their strength to 11 to make them fit into the One Piece world, and you have the ghouls of this fic.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Vinci is almost always smiling - when he stops, that's usually because somebody has ticked him off enough to seriously annoy him, and a Curb-Stomp Battle isn't far away.
  • Pirate: Naturally, this being a One Piece fic.
  • Playing with Syringes: What Captain Vinci does, pretty much constantly. Unusually, it seems to be largely working, with little to no side-effects.
  • Principles Zealot: Kaneki qualifies - he's well aware that some of his actions are, objectively speaking, monstrous. But he believes wholeheartedly that tearing down the existing world order justifies it.
  • Psycho Serum: When faced with the prospect of dealing with an army of cultists and needing a boost, Vinci whips up one of these, the Oni compound. We get a brief blurb from the point of view of those dosed with it. Thankfully, as the Oni grow used to the compound, it stops being this trope.
    ''It was a roaring engine of destruction, a jittering beast barely kept going on dregs of regeneration as the most potent combat cocktail in existence thrummed in its bloodstream and lungs. Its sword was long gone, lost in a shattered collection of bone and blood and flesh, and it fought with bare hands. Name forgotten, soul forgotten, injuries and tiredness and mortality forgotten. Only orders in its skull, golden-eyed words from golden-eyed man.
    Hunt! Kill! Maim!
    Five more around it, spilling their own blood and others, scent right while all others were wrong-wrong-wrong, a sixth even stronger behind and the rest all traces and symbols and shouting.
    It flipped over a spear-thrust, and its backhand tore the jaw from an opponent as it grabbed another man’s neck and squeezed.
    Hunt! Kill! Hate!
    A kick shattered another man's sternum as it dropped the twitching body and dove forwards, shaking fingers taking up a wood-axe and tearing into bone and brain.
    And then it and its brothers were through the crowd, facing armored heroes in tin and steel, all glints in dull sunlight. It snarled in hate and its brothers howled with it as they ran, crashing into the line of shields.
    "Judgement," came shouting from twenty throats.
    It flew back, trailing blood and bone, breath rasping through fractured bone and cracked mask, and it landed on its feet with a snarl. Arm broken, fingers missing, ignored.
    It launched forwards again, under the shields, quick as thought, and buried its hands in soft-crumpling steel and crushed the life from their throats. They dropped, and its brothers rushed into the gap, wary of the crushing shields, quick as vipers as they turned the formation into a slaughterhouse.
  • Razor Wings: Kaneki's ukaku can function as these.
  • Reality Warper: Vinci eventually grows into a low-grade variant of one of these over the course of the fic, though he blurs the line between that and Functional Magic.
  • Realpolitik:
    • The driving force behind Vinci getting a Warlord position - it being an attempt to bring a significant number of allied pirate crews, including a truly powerful Logia, under the World Government's banner.
    • Also applies to the Wild Hunt - even though they're willing to take in some defector nations, or conquer their own, if one of those islands belongs to an Emperor, in-universe texts reveal they'll kill the defector and send their corpse to said Emperor as a pre-emptive apology, due to not having the ability to fight someone of that caliber for territory.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Garp, of all people, when called into the South Blue to deal with the increased pirate activity from the Wild Hunt. He directs his anti-pirate efforts against non-Hunt-aligned pirate crews who, unlike the Hired Guns methodology of the Hunt, are more traditional.
    • Goro Gripper proves to be one when ordered to burn Arcadia to the ground and kill everyone there, refusing to do so and even cooperating with the Hunt to avoid civilian casualties rather than accept horrific orders.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: Was originally this for This Bites!, and it shows in some early chapters, most importantly the incident with the 13th Royal Flotilla, which led to Vinci losing his parents. However, the author eventually discarded this idea (the Recursive Fanfiction one, the Royal Flotilla and Vinci losing his parents still happened).
    • Also crosses over with the fanfic C'est la Vie, the narrator and protagonist of which ends up joining the Nightmares.
  • Red Baron: Most named characters come with a bounty and an epithet, in true One Piece fashion. This trope is also the source of the title, being the main character's moniker.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Kaneki, very much so, due to being a ghoul. Also applies to C for the same reasons.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: During the Spice Archipelago Saga, most of the captains fighting alongside the Nightmares are killed in a day or two. The Nightmare response is to have a collective Let's Get Dangerous! moment and proceed to tear down all of the enemy pirate crews and their accompanying army of rebel militia in a single day. At the end of it, literal thousands are dead, the Archipelago has a new volcano, and every major player in the conflict with the exception of the Nightmares and a single surviving officer from one of those allied crews is dead. Another one looks ready to start at the end of the Pirate City arc when Vinci learns that Kid attacked the Gear Pirates and crucified the lot of them (sending Vinci a Finger in the Mail to let him know where to find them), with Clare sacrificing her life by using her Devil Fruit to save her crew. Vinci is naturally pissed and decides to go after Kid with at least 20 other crews who have a bone to pick with him.
  • Sapient Ship: The second Nightmare ship, Prometheus, is one of these via the Haunt-Haunt Fruit.
  • Self-Insert Fic: Yes.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Vinci has a tendency to use this when stressed.
  • Shout-Out: Many.
    • Kaneki's masks and their colors as the plot advances are a shoutout to Kill Six Billion Demons.
      • On that topic, Kaneki’s master at the start of the fic, Arima “One-Eyed King” Zoss, and the “seven usurpers” he had Kaneki swear to kill as payment for his training. One of his attacks is even called “Blade of Want,” and he’s killed via decapitation.
    • Herman's design, fighting style, and Devil Fruit all are references to Guts from Berserk.
    • Lauren's clothing is basically that of a gender-flipped Dr. Facilier.
    • During the Spice Archipelago Saga we meet a fishman named "One Punch" Xio, who acts like a slightly unhinged Saitama.
    • C's first words are a Gilbert and Sullivan parody.
    • Kaneki quotes Wolfenstein to an unfortunate mook.
      • "That the best you got? Your best won't do. You're among wolves...and these are our woods now."
    • Later in the fic, Lauren gets her hands on a pair of Hand Cannons. What does she name them? Jackal and Casull.
    • One of the groups of Mauve Shirts that ends up joining the crew is functionally a group of Adeptus Mechanicus cogboys, but clockpunk. The same scene that introduces them also contains a reference to Big Bill Hell's.
    • There's a minor character whose moniker is 'Priest of Anarchy'. His first name? Jeremiah.
    • Introduced in the same arc as the above example are several other minor characters based off the Primarchs...albeit, their TTS versions in all their memetic glory.
    • And then there's the mention of another of said minor characters looking a lot like a certain walking diving suit with a protection drive...
    • Additionally, another pirate turns out to be a tontatta using devil fruit powers to make human sized golems to pilot. His name, Erishus Yaeger.
    • That arc as a whole nearly pushes the fic into Reference Overdosed territory, honestly.
    • Chapter 99 could be considered one long reference to Kengan Ashura.
    • Newsam and Phaerak appear to have constructed a small army of Necrons.
  • Signature Laugh: This is a One Piece fic. Almost every named character has one.
  • Sinister Scythe: Vinci wields one from the Crucix Arc up until the end of the Spice Archipelago Saga, where it gets broken. He replaces it after the Slaughterhouse Arc. In both cases, it's notable that it's a proper war scythe rather than the more traditional version, with the blade parallel to the shaft (and thus more practical than most examples of this trope).
  • Slasher Smile: Most of the named Nightmare crew members wear one at one time or another. Hell, most characters in general.
  • Stages of Monster Grief: Kaneki had passed by Denial before the story started, and hadn't really had the opportunity to hit Defiance due to the scarcity of ghouls, but hasn't yet hit Acceptance. After a Die or Fly trial with Vinci, he's reached that stage.
  • Start of Darkness:
    • The second Decks of the World gives one for Akainu, of all people.
    • The Arcadia saga gives one for Judge.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Averted from the very beginning. This story has very little to do with the journey of the Straw Hats.
  • Story Arc: Naturally, being a One Piece fic. Much like the source material, it divides itself into overarching 'sagas' with smaller arcs.
    • First off is the South Blue Saga, consisting of thirty chapters and five arcs- Founder's (1-6), Murky Island (7-11), Armory (12-15), Crucix (16-24), and Hangman's Town (25-30).
    • The second arc is the Spice Archipelago Saga, consisting of thirty-five chapters and six arcs- Twin Capes (31-35), Turtle Bay (36-41), Muster (42-45), Gala (46-50), Skirmish (51-57) and finally Siege (58-65).
    • A third saga, Devil's Deeds, is complete. The arcs are Crossed Roads (66-70), Slaughterhouse (71-75), Pirate City (76-83), and Black Flag (84-89).
    • The fourth saga, named Warlord, consists of eighteen chapters and three arcs: Hippocratic (90-96), Pentecostal (97-102), and Chivalric (103-108). A note: despite fewer chapters, each chapter is typically longer, so wordcount per arc remains largely consistent.
    • The fifth saga is titled Arcadia. It begins with the Exclusion Arc (109-115), then Quarantine (116-122), then Paradise (123-126), then Sanguine (127-130) and finally Ys (131-140), for a total of 32 chapters.
    • The sixth saga is titled Tyrant, and begins with the Law Arc (141-154), then Might (155-ongoing).
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Vinci acquires these after implanting himself with the King's Heart. After developing a degree of Voluntary Shapeshifting, he figures out how to return them to normal, saying they were off-putting.
  • Superpowered Mooks: Vinci develops varying versions of these during the Pirate City Arc. They are the cause of more than one Mook Horror Show as time goes on.
    • The World Government eventually reverse-engineers their own.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Vinci, as stated above. Kaneki as well, when he gets his Game Face on.
  • Theme Song: Most of the major characters and almost all the important fights get one, the author having left them accessible here.
  • The Power of Hate: Vinci can apparently kill Transponder Snails through force of will alone, causing one possessed by the being responsible for Kaneki's arrival in the One Piece world to burst into flames. He later demonstrates this on a Devil Fruit. This ability is later formally codified as Vinci being able to exert mild Reality Warper abilities through sheer disgust.
  • Training from Hell: Kaneki seems to delight in putting the crew through this, taking advantage of the low-tier Healing Factor granted by Vinci's concoctions to abuse just how much the human body can take. It's actually quite effective.
  • Tranquil Fury: Vinci. While prone to Unstoppable Rage, he's at his most terrifying when calm.
  • Transhuman: Vinci is arguably this - arguably, because in the World of Badass that is One Piece his augmentations really don't take him beyond the demonstrated limits of human capability in that world. The Augments are in a similar category.
  • True Companions: The Nightmare pirates, full stop.
  • Unskilled, but Strong:
  • Victory Through Intimidation: Kaneki manages to pull one of these on his own Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Villain Protagonist: Arguably. The main protagonist eats people, and the rest of his crew isn't much better. Very much a case of Black-and-Gray Morality, though, as most of the people the Nightmares fight are often worse.
  • Weapons Kitchen Sink: Among the officers of the Nightmares, at least - you've got a Sinister Scythe, Combat Tentacles, a big freaking hammer, enough guns to arm a small platoon, tonfas, and the obligatory BFS.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Akainu, as per canon, appears to be one of these.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Applies to Kaneki after he gets stabbed through the brain and develops his kakuja from the need to survive. His weakened state is enough to fight Jabra on equal footing, and before that he was emitting vaporized C-cells that were capable of dissolving stone. All that power comes at the price of being absolutely fucking insane and attacking whoever's closest, allies included.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The third Decks of the World. Grigori Rasputi achieves a Mutual Kill on Vice Admiral Komei to protect Vinci, the Marines cancel the Pacifista project because they suddenly have a pressing need to replace their entire small arms collection thanks to Lauren selling the designs for automatic weaponry to an arms dealer, the Vinsmokes have taken an interest in Kaneki and are sending a small army to capture him...a lot happened.
    • The Chivalric Arc. Vinci is stripped of his Warlord status for refusing a direct order from the Elder Stars to turn Kaneki in. A large portion of the Nightmare crew dies in the ensuing battle, including Jack. But most shocking we learn the origin of ghouls and why no one has heard of them. They were originally created over a century ago by Grigori Venator during the WG's research into C-cells. The WG began hunting down the species to cover up their mistake and the ghouls went underground. One ghoul was actually a member of the Rocks pirates and captured during the God's Valley incident. Not only that, but Kaneki is implied to be one of the original ghouls that was created.
  • Wham Line: The sixth Decks of the World ends with a big one:
Capture confirmed of: Portgas D. Ace, Whitebeard Pirates, ‘Sabo’, Revolutionary Army. Execution preparations underway.
  • Wham Shot: During chapter 87, Killer's mask is broken. We don't see what is underneath, but based on everyone's reaction it looks like he's a ghoul. Confirmed in Chapter 88.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Diceros Keita gives one to Vinci after Vinci's Manipulative Bastard tendencies result in his plan to liberate his kingdom being put at risk.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Seems to happen a lot, mostly to Graded swords.