The Benefits of a Classical Education

A One Piece Fanfic

By Jaelle

Disclaimer: Not mine.
Rating: G
Pairing: Zoro/Luffy fluff
Word count: 555 (I fail at drabbles)

Originally written for the onepieceyaoi100 challenge "education", but not posted there because it was way too long.


"Huh?" Usopp blinked at the board in horror while Luffy let out a loud cheer. "What the hell? Are you sure you only just learned how to play this game?"

"Losers shouldn't whine," Zoro growled at him, arms folded in irritation. "And you're the one who taught me, so you should know."

"I don't believe it," Usopp threw up his hands. "Mate in less than 40 moves? From a rank beginner who kept sacrificing pieces all over the board?"

Zoro shrugged. "Whatever. I still won. Pay up."

Grumbling, Usopp handed over a few small bills before tidying away the chessboard, complaining all the while about sneaks and cheaters.

"That was so cool," Luffy laughed as he and Zoro strolled down the gangplank and into town. "And you'll really buy me lunch?"

"A small lunch," Zoro cautioned him. "Usopp's not THAT big a sucker."

"But still, lunch!" Luffy bounced up and down happily. "It's like a date!"

Zoro turned bright red. "Stop being an idiot."

"Hee. Was that really your first time playing?"

"Chess? Yeah."

"Oh. I wondered. Cos you looked like you knew where everything went, only not," Luffy looked at him curiously.

Zoro looked embarrassed. "The benefits of a classical education."


"My sensei was really keen on me going to school," Zoro explained. "A proper one, not just in martial arts. I couldn't see the point, but he was insistent and he was sensei so... I went."

A bit of the blush returned to Zoro's face. "I used to skip out on classes a lot to do extra training though," he admitted. "So he made it that every Sunday afternoon, without fail, I had to spend three hours playing shogi with him while we talked about all the stuff that he thought it was important that I know. Poetry, literature, history, strategy. That sort of thing."


"It's a strategy game."

"Like chess?"

"A bit."

Luffy giggled. "And you played it every week?"

"Every week," Zoro sighed. "And I never won a single game."

"Usopp was right, you ARE sneaky," Luffy said, laughing.

"Must be the company I'm keeping these days."

"So I guess you must be pretty smart, after all that, huh?" Luffy tilted his head. "You don't act like it."


"Well you don't..." Luffy danced ahead and stuck out his tongue. "I never see you reading like Robin and Chopper, or calculating stuff like Nami, or inventing stuff like Usopp, or reciting poetry like Sanji."

"As if I would ever spout the garbage that the stupid love-cook comes up with," Zoro growled. "The most inane drivel... fine... you want poetry? Try this one on for size. Toshi kurenu; Kasa kite waraji; Hakinagara."

Luffy blinked at him. "Huh?"

Zoro smirked and walked past him. "You know, maybe I'll skip lunch and just get beer."

"WHAT? No fair!!! You said you'd buy me lunch if you won! And what did that poem mean?!"

"Hmmm? Surely that should be obvious to anyone. Well, if you're not smart enough to figure it out, you're probably not smart enough to deserve lunch."

"Wait! I take it back! You're smart! You're really, REALLY smart. AND you're sneaky! As sneaky as Nami!"

"DON'T COMPARE ME TO THAT WENCH!! That's it, no food for you!"

"But Zorooooooooooooooooooooooooo..."


A/N: The haiku Zoro recites is by the famous poet Matsuo Basho, and translates as follows:

Another year is gone;
and I still wear
straw hat and straw sandal.


Shogi has some vague similarities to chess, which I have taken ruthless advantage of in this story. I have no idea if mate in less than 40 moves is impressive or not, btw. I only know that I've lost every chess game I've ever played, so lasting that long would probably have been impressive to me. :-P

A random note: When I realised the word count came out to 555, I actually wanted to make the game "go" instead, but resisted because I thought a shogi player would have a better chance at winning than a go player. Aren't you all lucky you missed that particular bad joke?

You know, the other members of the crew are totally rubbing off on Zoro in this story. -_-;;; Oh well.

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