sara_tanaquil: (law_bepo)
[personal profile] sara_tanaquil
Shabondy, yay! This is one of those arcs (kind of like Jaya, vols 24-25) that can be overwhelming at first and is probably better on a re-read, but even on a first read, it is still made of multiple layers of awesome.

Volume 51

492

Cover Arc: CP9 - where are they now? (Blueno rescued Lucci, apparently.)

The Strawhats are puzzled because the attackers from the Flying Fish Riders suddenly disappeared (apparently they were called away).

(Random, but I love the minimalist facial expressions in this panel. Luffy! Chopper!)

Anyway, they figure they'll meet up with them soon enough at the rendezvous point. Keimi is worried about Hachi, but Pappagu points out that she is the real target.

Back at the hideout, Iron Mask Duval is stewing over his bitter grudge against *that man*.

[He's got the thickest accent I've ever seen. I didn't even recognize it as an accent at first. べっちゃ? ぬら? Also, I don't think 指示通り is supposed to be pronounced すずどおり. Or 確実=かぐずづ. Or 慎重=すんちょう, etc. Eventually I realized it was an accent, but for a moment there I thought my Japanese was completely gone.]

One of the fishmen comments that Duval is "sugee-inaka" (super-countrified) - that must account for the accent.

Hachi, tied up nearby, is horrified to hear someone mention the name of "Mugiwara."

Duval is much easier to understand once I just assume that all his vowels are wrong. ^_^;;

Hachi immediately jumps to the (mistaken) conclusion that Keimi is being held prisoner by the Strawhats. He is terrified of the vengeance he imagines they will want to exact if they find him there.

The Strawhats are approaching the Flying Fish Riders' hideout.

[LOL Keimi telling them to be careful, because Macro has already caught her 30 times. Usopp: "You get caught too much! Also, you get eaten too much!"]

Hachi, dangled in a cage as bait for the trap, is beside himself. He sprays himself with ink all over to avoid being recognized (oh, poor Hachi).

LOL Franky yelling at Keimi and Pappagu because they never even dreamed this setup could be a trap. ("THIS is why you keep getting caught!")

Sanji tricks Hachi into blowing his cover in no time. "Hey, how's Arlong doing?" (Zoro and Nami were both suspicious… Luffy, naturally, had no clue.)

Usopp hastily fills in the blanks for Robin and the other new-ish crew members. (He steals some excess credit in the process, not that anyone buys that except Chopper.)

Luffy finally recognizes Hachi as "that Takoppachi from Arlong's crew." (That is really disturbing, Luffy. Takopa is a type of dessert.)

He finds himself in a deep ethical dilemma. He's not gonna save the Hachi from Arlong's crew… but the delicious takoyaki…

Poor Keimi is dismayed to learn that her rescuers are no friends of Hachi's. She and Pappagu resolve to save Hachi all on their own.

Of course, they are both captured two panels later.

(LOL Usopp: "You guys are all talk!!")

Sanji wants to ignore Hachi and rescue Keimi, but Nami tells them to save Hachi, too. He's harmless, she says.

[Not "innocent," jeez, Viz. 無害な奴, which is pretty close to the truth - Hachi is too much of a dumbass to do any real harm. And he means well, most of the time.]

Luffy is easily persuaded, on account of his eyes have turned to takoyaki.

Meanwhile, Duval is preparing his assault.

Luffy snatches Keimi and Pappagu away from Macro's gang.

They prepare to take on Duval's attack. (Love the final "Men, prepare for war!" panel.)

493

[Cover Arc: the CP9 agents are regrouping after the fall of Enies Lobby.]

Duval's flying fish attack.

Luffy grabs the first one that looks like it would be fun to ride (which appears to be his top priority). His happy joyride ends when the fish dive into the ocean.

Luffy is rescued from the ocean (as are Brook and Chopper, who jumped in after him, LOL - apparently Robin is the only devil fruit user on board with any sense).

Zoro frees Hachi from his prison. ("Don't thank me. Captain's orders.")

Hachi easily disposes of Macro's gang and hugs a tearful Keimi and Pappagu.

When the Flying Fish Riders counterattack, Zoro easily beats them off. He tells Hachi and the others to stand back. "Let us take care of this."

Usopp is dealing damage with a cannon from the ship's deck.

Luffy and Sanji together take out a kamikaze attack on the ship. (Luffy, looking at the unconscious fish-corpse: "Tonight's dinner!")

Brook uses his ability to jump high into the air to fight the fish-riders (and, in putting them to sleep, manages to put Chopper and Luffy to sleep as well).

Luffy once again jumps onto one of the flying fish, only to crash into the hideout - landing right in front of Duval, who replaces his mask just a little too late.

Luffy reacts with shock at the sight of his face.

"You know me… don't you?"

494

[Cover Arc: the CP-9 are on the run from the world government.]

Brook scrambles onto shore near Zoro, who is near his breaking point. (Aw, Brook knows why Zoro is struggling to fight at his normal level.)

Hachi jumps into to rescue them, only to be rescued himself (Brook and Zoro are still stronger, after all).

The Flying Fish Riders attempt an attack on the Sunny itself, currently guarded by Nami, Chopper, Robin and Franky.

(LOL Franky perking up his ears every time someone uses the phrase "hentai." They mean "change formation," but he hears "pervert.")

Naturally, the Sunny's defenders easily prevail.

Luffy races into the midst of the fight with Duval hard on his heels. Duval is riding on a giant black bison.

Duval says he doesn't care if the fishmen escape. He didn't take up the human slave business for the fun of it. All he cares about is achieving his long-cherished objective.

Duval's dream is to avenge himself on the one man who ruined his life…

Black-Leg Sanji.

Sanji is completely baffled. He's never seen the guy before in his life. Could it have been someone he pissed off back in his restaurant days? There were so many… (Love Sanji counting on his fingers.)

Duval, however, insists that his grudge is quite recent.

He announces that his lances are coated with poison. His grudge extends to the entire Straw Hat crew.

Luffy says he recognized the face under the mask. They will, too, once he gets rid of it. He knocks the mask off of Duval's face.

Everyone stares in shock (and recognition).

Duval is the spitting image of the awful artist's rendition of "Black Leg Sanji" from the wanted poster.

Bounty hunters and marines have been hunting him down left and right. It didn't matter how many times he pleaded that he'd never even met anyone called Black Leg Sanji. "I'm not even a pirate!"

[This will NEVER stop being one of the funniest gags in One Piece. That wanted poster!]

"Give me back my life!"

Sanji is unrepentant.

"LIKE I CARE!"

495

[Cover Arc: CP-9 seek refuge on another island.]

Sanji and Duval are screaming at each other about which one of them hates that wanted poster MORE.

[LOLOL. Also love the commentary from the other Strawhats. Nakama commentary is the BEST.]

Hachi: Nyuu, they're like two peas in a pod (そっくりじゃねーか).
Zoro: More like two melons. (ウリ二つだ).

Sanji asks why he didn't just change his hairstyle or grow a beard. Apparently this never occurred to Duval or anyone in his gang.

Duval explains that he was originally just a small-town thug. But when he became a wanted man, he had to flee and put on the iron mask. He blames not only Sanji but all the Strawhats, because it was their (collective) fault that Black-Leg Sanji has such a high profile.

The Flying Fish Riders trap Sanji in an iron net and drag him underwater. Zoro has to physically restrain Luffy from diving in to save him. (I'm surprised Chopper and Brook didn't go after him this time.)

Hachi is about to go after Sanji, saying he'll be faster than a human, but Duval boasts that his Flying Fish are even faster than fishmen.

Keimi dives in. Pappagu points out that Duval has forgotten something - nothing, not even a Flying Fish, can beat a mermaid for speed underwater.

(He says that if Keimi weren't such a space case (ボーとしてなきゃ), no one would ever be able to catch her, LOL.)

The gang attempts to sink the Sunny by dropping a giant anchor on it (?).

Franky evades the anchor using a super-secret evasive maneuver that makes the ship scoot backwards, called Chicken Voyage (in katakana).

[I don't know what Oda is smoking some weeks.]

Then he deploys a cannon in the lion's head to blow the Flying Fish Riders hideout out of the water.

LOL Luffy and Chopper going all starry-eyed over the lion's mouth cannon.

(When the hideout blows up, Luffy is speechless and in tears. Haha Zoro 感動しすぎだ。Not sure of the best way to translate that, literally "You're moved too much." In my head he's saying "Get a grip, man.")

Usopp is starry-eyed, too (though the others are commenting on how much of it was due to the accuracy of his aim).

Franky explains that it takes a lot of cola to fire, so they can't use it too often.

Meanwhile, Keimi has pulled Sanji from the nets and brings him to the surface.

"Everyone, help! He won't stop bleeding!"

(Sanji has a massive nosebleed. Mermaid overload!)

Usopp: "Let him die that way. He looks happy, at least."

In a rage, Duval charges at Luffy on his mammoth bison. He says nothing can withstand its horns.

Luffy grabs the beast by the snout and speaks sternly to it.

The animal promptly turns all whirly eyed, starts to sweat and shake, tries to run away, and passes out foaming at the mouth.

Luffy: ??

Robin comments that it looked like Luffy simply intimidated the beast (威圧した様に見えた). (Sharp as always, Robin. Also, LOL Viz, "wowed him into unconsciousness." That is actually a really good translation.)

[If you're wondering exactly what just happened, wait another forty chapters or so…]

Sanji, recovering from his nosebleed, says he'll finish this.

He starts kicking Duval in the face repeatedly.

496

[Cover Arc: CP9 arrive in the town of St. Poplar, but they need money to hire a doctor.]

The entire crew are blissfully stuffing their faces with Hachi's excellent cannibalistic takoyaki.

[Some of them have mochi in… oh, now this is making me hungry.]

Nami is eating hers a little apart from the others, not saying much. Hachi timidly asks her if they taste OK.

She glares at him for a moment. Finally she tells Hachi, it's not like she's going to forgive him because he fed her a few takoyaki…

But these are REALLY good. (big happy Nami smile)

[I really like how Oda handles this — not glossing over how difficult it would be for Nami to adjust to feeling more friendly toward Hachi, but at the same time showing that she's big enough to try.]

Someone comes chasing after them, calling out for "waka-danna."

"It's Handsome! Oops, I mean, Duval here!"

Apparently, Sanji's kick course rearranged Duval's face to movie-star perfection.

(He seems a lot happier about the surgery than Wanze did.)

He now addresses Sanji as waka-danna (a flunky term for the local mob boss's son, LOL, does that make Luffy the dad?).

Duval is ecstatic. No more having girls run screaming from him! Life will be all roses from now on (人生バラ色ぬら - he's pronouncing jinsei "zunsei," lol, guess Sanji didn't fix that accent for him).

He plans on heading back to his sleepy little town, but couldn't leave without thanking his benefactors. He offers to tell them anything they need to know about the local waters.

Someone points out that he REALLY shouldn't try to wink when he's not used to it. (He never does learn to follow this advice.)

Duval has now gone from being consumed with mindless resentment, to being consumed with Narcissus-like vanity. (Love him gazing in the mirror, muttering "I should be riding a white horse.")

He hands them a den-den mushi number before leaving and promises to come if they call for help.

The Flying Fish Riders have now been renamed "The Jinsei Bara-iro Riders" (Rosy Life Riders).

(Sanji: "Please, just leave.")

By the time the entire crew is satisfied, Hachi is completely exhausted. ("I could've used another six arms…")

While they enjoy tea on deck served by Sanji, Keimi and Pappagu explain what they have to do to get to Fishman Island.

Pappagu explains that there are only two routes over the Red Line: over land through Mariejois, or by diving under the Red Line and going through Fishman Island. Going through Mariejois requires permission from the government, so pirates have no choice but to go via Fishman Island.

Keimi says that the undersea route is dangerous, though. Lots of people get eaten by sea kings. (Poor Pappagu is having trouble holding the floor… starfish get no respect.)

Fishman Island is located directly below Mariejois, 10,000 meters under the sea. It stands at the spot where there is a (relatively) small opening in the continental wall of the Red Line.

Keimi explains that to get there, they will have to have the ship "coated."

Shabondy - at which they have now arrived - naturally produces a host of soap-like bubbles rising from the ground.

Robin is worried about the log pose resetting, but Hachi says that actually Shabondy is a grove of mangrove trees, not a true island. It has no magnetic pull.

(LOL, when he explains that it is a "yarukiman mangrove" cluster, Luffy thinks he's saying やる気満々グロブ, a grove chock full of git up an' go. "It sure does look lively, at that!")

Because Shabondy is the gateway to the New World, pretty much everyone who is headed in that direction gathers there.

They anchor the ship at "GR 41." (Each tree forms the center of a numbered grove in the archipelago.)

["Everyone, remember where we parked!"/Star Trek 4 reference]

Hachi remarks that since all the groves are connected by bridges, as long as you remember the number of the tree where you moored, you can't possibly get lost. (Usopp: "We have someone who could, though." Chopper: "Yeah, we do." Zoro: "Everyone stop looking at me!")

Soap-like bubbles spring naturally from the ground. Luffy discovers, by jumping on one, that you can use them to float.

While Robin is scientifically examining what Pappagu describes as a special kind of tree sap ("ew, sticky"), Luffy is hopping from bubble to bubble to get as high as he can.

From way up on high, he says he can see an amusement park.

Keimi says, wistfully, that it's always been her dream to ride the ferris wheel there.

Chopper can't understand why she doesn't just go, then, but Pappagu tells her not to be silly. She knows it's impossible.

Chopper: "I wanna ride, too! Is it not allowed, then?" (Aw, Chopper.)

Hachi explains that they've come to the island to find a master craftsman who specializes in coating ships. The coating creates an air bubble that protects the ship when it dives to the bottom of the sea.

A poor craftsman can spell doom for the ship and crew, so Hachi is taking them to the only man on the island he trusts.

[Look closely behind Hachi as he is speaking, and you'll see Luffy crashing to the ground - we find out later that his bubble broke. I was even looking for it, and I still totally missed it first time around.]

[LOL Brook: "Tako-san, you're a good man (ii hito)! Er, good octopus (ii tako)."]

In return, Hachi demands that they make one promise. When they go into town, they will see World Nobles (世界貴族) walking around.

(Robin has to explain to a puzzled Luffy that the "World Nobles" are the inhabitants of the holy city Mariejois.)

On NO ACCOUNT are they to stand up to a World Noble, no matter what happens. Not even if a man is killed before their very eyes.

[Luffy, you had ONE JOB…]

497

[Cover Arc: the CP9 agents turn street performers to make money for a doctor for Lucci.]

All the others are heading into town, but Franky and Usopp stay behind to work on fixing up the minor damage to the ship.

[I really love how Usopp hangs out with Franky and fixes stuff, it's so cute. There needs to be more gen bro-fic featuring them.]

Sanji volunteered to stay behind to guard the ship because Nami was worried about the treasure on board being stolen.

[Speaking of fic, I love how it is almost invariably Usopp who is rolling his eyes at Sanji letting Nami walk all over him. Zoro occasionally, but much more often Usopp. SanUso writers would say it's the jealousy showing…]

Zoro is about to set off on his own. He's deeply offended when the others are sure he'll get lost if he goes alone. He points out that even a child couldn't miss the numbers on the trees.

Too bad for Zoro, then, that a bubble just happened to be hiding the 4 when he looked at it. "Right, Grove Number 1, got it."

[Zoro is cursed.]

In the main group headed into town, Keimi (wearing a long skirt) is riding on Hachi's shoulders. Hachi seems to have dug up a long coat from somewhere and has a bandage on his forehead.

Hachi explains that the World Nobles are also known as Tenryuubito (天竜人), Celestial Dragons. They wear masks so they won't have to breathe the same air as filthy commoners.

He adds another word of warning. The archipelago is crawling with pirates who have made a name for themselves and are aiming for the New World, not to mention Marines, bounty hunters, and human slavers. It's best not to do anything to draw attention to themselves.

Luffy asks about the bandaid on Hachi's forehead, but he brushes it off.

Hachi asks one more favor - that they not tell anyone that he and Keimi are fishman and mermaid. On Shabondy, they need to pass for human.

He doesn't want to explain further, so Robin tells Luffy, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. (郷に入っては、郷に従うべきよ)

Luffy discovers that it's possible to squeeze into one of the bubbles, and a local merchant rents him a bicycle-like thing to steer it.

Luffy wants to buy one, but Hachi talks him out of it. When they get safely away, he explains that it's a scam people pull on tourists - the locals know that the bubble-bikes don't work outside Shabondy.

Hachi reminds Luffy how the bubble he was riding on before broke when he got too high. For some reason, the bubbles simply can't exist outside Shabondy's special atmosphere.

[Haha, poor Nami trying to translate this into Luffy-speak. "Look, they're mystery bubbles…"]

Keimi points out that the bubble-bikes work under the sea, though, which gets them back on the topic of Fishman Island.

Pappagu says it'd be nice if they could meet the mermaid princess. He'll see if he can arrange it.

Brook says he has an eye for beauty. In Japanese, the idiom is 美人に目がない (I have never understood the logic of this, but apparently 目がない means "to be extremely fond of"). Brook: "So, being a skeleton and all, I… have no eyes! Yohohoho!"

Everyone else is mercifully ignoring this. Chopper has discovered the manjuu stand, where they sell Guraman ("grand line manjuu").

Haha, you're supposed to buy "First Half of the Grand Line" engraved manjuu and take them to the New World as o-miyage. (This is just a little too close to actual Japanese tourist commerce.)

Chopper, Luffy and Brook are a little unclear on the concept of "just a taste". Pity the poor shopkeepers.

Robin notices that there are a lot of hotels. Hachi says those are for the people who are waiting to get their license from the government to cross legally.

Chopper, Luffy and Brook have now (fortunately for the poor shopkeepers!) been talked into buying every souvenir on Shabondy. Pappagu gives them the thumbs up.

Robin and Nami break away from the party to go clothes shopping. They invited Keimi, but she wouldn't come. Nami is puzzled by her reticence, but Robin speculates that there is some "bad history" (悪い歴史) on Shabondy.

The others are gleefully racing their bubble bikes when they run into a commotion.

A pirate with a collar around his neck is begging for help to get the collar off. No one will come near him.

Hachi says to stay away. He is evidently a pirate that was sold at auction by the human slavers, and has run away from his owner. Poor bastard, he had to know there was no escape.

The pirate's collar explodes, severely wounding him.

Hachi explains that slave collars are designed to explode if the slave runs away.

Someone in the shadows with a large axe (a bounty hunter? a marine?) is watching. He is scornful of the near-dead pirate captain - he would never have made it in the New World.

Several Tenryuubito (a man dragging a slave on a chain, his daughter, and their dog) approach. Hachi warns Luffy to bow down and lower their eyes like everyone else.

Even the dog has an air-mask. It pees on the body of the fallen pirate.

The girl complains that another one of her "toys" (ikko) is broken. She insists she gave him tranquilizers every day like she was supposed to, but they didn't work. "Buy me a new one, daddy!"

(Tenryuubito tend to have very affected, peculiar speech. The girl is ending all her sentences with -amasu.)

The father complains that his daughter doesn't know how to discipline her slaves properly. She keeps breaking items from his "captain collection."

The girl kicks the pirate contemptuously.

"This one was no good. Kept whining 'my family, my family' all the time. A grown man!"

Finally she shoots him in the head.

Luffy is enraged, but Hachi holds him back.

"I want a giant this time, daddy!"

Afterwards, the whole party is sickened and subdued.

The marines took the injured pirate away, but even if he lives, he'll likely be thrown in prison.

Someone (Luffy?) doesn't understand why the pirate didn't just fight back, but Pappagu says no one dares raise a hand to the Tenryuubito. If they did, a Marine Admiral would be summoned to deal with the matter.

"Like Aokiji!?" (Hey, even Luffy remembers a name right once in a while.)

"Or Akainu, or Kizaru. One of them would come."

Hachi explains that they carry the blood of the founders (創造主) - the twenty kings who joined forces to form the World Government 800 years ago. The descendants of those kings are called the Tenryuubito, and they have been abusing their authority for a long time.

498

Luffy's party is attacked by bounty hunters (for the third time), but they fight them off easily.

They have wandered into a rough-looking area that is sparsely populated. Hachi explains that they've come to an area that the Marines have trouble penetrating and controlling. Groves 1 through 29 are a lawless zone; they are currently at GR 16.

(Thank goodness for the helpful map. Love the mug of ale and crossed swords marking the lawless zone.)

Luffy keeps asking about the coating specialist - is he a fishman? Keimi and Pappagu say they've never met him, but he's super famous, they've heard all about him. Hachi says he's known him since he was a child.

They finally arrive at a run-down shop labeled "Shakky's Rip-off Bar." (ぼったくる could also be translated "shake down".)

When they arrive, they meet the owner, Shakuyaku ("Shakky").

She greets "Hacchan" warmly. "It's been ten years!"

She tells them to sit down and make themselves at home. She's just been "shaking down" some punks for protection money.

(Hachi: "Take your time, take your time." Chopper: "……")

They sit down for a chat. Shakky is glad to hear that Hachi has given up pirating. "Civilian life is the best!" She asks if Keimi is his girlfriend, much to Keimi's embarrassment. (I get the impression Hachi is too shy to make a move, and Keimi is too naive. Someday hopefully they'll make adorable fishman/mermaid babies together.)

Brook and Luffy are happily raiding the refrigerator. (Chopper: "You guys are gonna get shook down!") Shakky doesn't mind. Any friend of Hachi's is a friend of hers. She gives Chopper some cotton candy.

When Luffy asks how she knew what Chopper likes, she says "You're Monkey-chan's crew, aren't you?" And she specializes in the collection and trade of information.

("Didn't know you had a skeleton nakama, though. Or that there were talking skeletons, for that matter.")

She asks them if everything the papers said about them at Enies Lobby was true. "Did you actually pick a fight with the government?"

Luffy is grumpy. It's too much darn trouble to tell the whole story. Shakky is amused that he doesn't care enough to boast about it.

She noticed that his name was the same as Garp's. "Yeah, he's my grandpa."

"I thought so! Garp used to chase us around in the old days."

Hachi explains that Shakky used to be a pirate too. (She says that was forty years ago. Luffy: "How old ARE you, obahan?") Now she just likes to cheer for rookies like Luffy.

Shakky knows without needing to be told that Hachi and Keimi would only risk coming on land if they need a ship coated. Unfortunately, Rayleigh's not around. He wouldn't leave the archipelago, though, so he's probably in some bar or gambling-hall. He has a tendency to hook up with girls and shack up with them for a while, so there's no telling when he might be back.

"Once a pirate, always a pirate…"

Luffy is surprised to hear that the craftsman dude (職人のおっさん) was a pirate, too.

Brook asks if she has any suggestions for a place to start looking. She says he could be anywhere within GR 1-29. A notorious criminal can't hang out in places where the Marines might find him. Apart from that, he is quite fond of the amusement park.

Luffy immediately decides that the amusement park is destination number one.

She warns them to be careful. According to her information network, with their arrival, there are now eleven people on Shabondy with bounties of 100 million or higher, including Luffy and Zoro. (I love that she calls Zoro "Roronoa-chan".)

She reminds them that when they entered the Grand Line, there were seven paths they could have chosen from. Along those other paths they didn't take, there are other big-shot rookies who have been making a name for themselves, and all the lines come together at the entrance to the New World.

A lot of them, including Luffy, have had their name in the papers. (Luffy: "Papers? Don't read 'em.")

Shakky says information is power. Luffy should at least know the names of his rivals. He's only the second highest bounty at the moment - which means there is at least one person ranked higher than him on the island.

Way-too-quick scan of the nine highest bounty heads, not counting Luffy and Zoro:

Capone "Gang" Bege, a mafiosa type, from the West Blue - 138 million
"Big Eater" Jewelry Bonney, a lovely young woman with appalling table manners, from the South Blue - 140 million
"Magic User" Basil Hawkins, a creepy fortuneteller with weird eyebrow tattoos, from the North Blue - 249 million
Eustass "Captain" Kidd, red-haired thug with a nasty temper, from the South Blue - 315 million (the only one higher than Luffy)
"Voice of the Sea" Scratchman Apoo, with piano teeth and a thing for music, born on the Grand Line - 198 million
"Red Flag" X Drake, former marine officer who still has a tendency to lay down the law, from the North Blue - 222 million
"Mad Monk" Urouge, a buddhist monk with a big stick and a big attitude, from Sky Island - 180 million
"Human Killing Machine" Killer, hockey-mask-wearing psychotic member of Kidd's crew, from the South Blue - 162 million

[This makes Killer the only high-ranking bounty apart from Zoro who is not the captain of his own crew.]

and last but not least

"Surgeon of Death" Trafalgar Law, fashion reject with a thing for bear paw print patterns, from the North Blue - 200 million

[Every writer knows, ALWAYS save the best for last. Not that I'm a drooling Trafalgar Law fan or anything. He has a characteristic habit of attaching -ya (屋) to the end of everyone's names. "How many you killed today, Drake-ya?"]

We get a tiny glimpse of Law's crew in the background of his intro frame. Also note his crew's symbol.

Back in Shakky's Bar, Shakky points out that hundreds of pirates enter the Grand Line, but only a few make it this far. The Grand Line is like a pirate tournament, and those who have made a name for themselves and survived this far are the finalists. There hasn't been a cluster this large in a long time, and it will have implications for life in the New World.

Some of the other pirates, like Kidd, have high bounties because they've killed a lot of people. Not nice. That's why Shakky is rooting for Monkey-chan all the way.

Luffy says it's all good as long as he's having fun. (There's Luffy's life philosophy in a nutshell.) But what about the craftsman dude? He might be in danger, wandering around town with so many powerful rookies on the loose.

Shakky: "Oh, don't you worry. Our guy is a hundred times stronger than those snot-nosed brats (ボーヤたち)."

[Such a great line to end the chapter on.]

499

[Cover Arc: OMG GIRAFFE SLIDE]

Shakky warns them to be careful - the marines know that there are a lot of big-time rookies on Shabondy at the moment. But when Brook worries the marines might attack, she says they're in luck. The marines are much too preoccupied with a certain other matter at the moment to pay attention to them, as long as they don't go out of their way to cause trouble.

(Luffy is not listening to this speech at all… sighhhh. Not that he ever does.)

Elsewhere, in a run-down hideout, two of the bounty hunters that Luffy's group beat up earlier are reporting what they saw to a slaver named Peterman. There was definitely a mermaid traveling with Luffy's crew.

Peterman is thrilled - this is a chance in a lifetime. It's impossible to catch mermaids in the water, but on land they have a chance. He promises the bounty hunters a cut if they sell her.

Meanwhile, Luffy is beginning their "search" with a visit to Shabondy Park.

Pappagu is trying with all his might to keep Keimi from going in, but in the end he can't fight the flow. They go on every ride, including Keimi's much-dreamed-of ferris wheel ride.

Keimi is crying, she's so happy. Luffy teases her, but she sincerely thanks him. She knows that Hachi and Pappagu would never have allowed her to come if the others weren't so strong.

(Quick shadow-flash of wistful fishman children staring at the lights of Shabondy Park from afar… awww.)

Hachi admits he always wanted to come to the park, too. All the fishman children dream of it.

As they run from attraction to attraction, Peterman (disguised in a bear costume) is watching them.

[LOL I just noticed that Brook is almost as scared of the Haunted House as Chopper is. Brook!]

Elsewhere, near GR 24, a Tenryuubito named St. Charlos is out for a walk, riding on the back of his wretched human slave. He's grumpy because his father and sister went off somewhere and left him.

He kicks and swears at his slave for jostling him too much as he crawls. Then he sees some people intent on carrying a patient to hospital, and loses his temper because they aren't kneeling before him.

They plead with him to let them pass, because the man is bleeding heavily and there is no time to be lost, but instead Charlos upsets the stretcher onto the ground. Then he takes a fancy to one of the nurses, and announces that he's going to make her his wife (wife #13, apparently - Charlos says he's tired of #1-5, he'll get rid of them).

One of the townspeople protests that the girl is his fiancee, but Charlos pulls a gun and shoots him.

When Charlos is about to drag the girl off, Zoro wanders onto the scene. No one warned him about not standing up to the Tenryuubito.

Charlos tries to shoot Zoro for his insolence in not bowing down to him, but just when Zoro is drawing his sword to fight back, Bonney jumps on him and splatters him with tomato juice to make Charlos think he's dead.

Once Charlos leaves, she starts cussing Zoro out backwards and forwards for nearly causing a scene that would bring the Marines down on all their heads. Zoro thinks she's annoying; she thinks Zoro is brain-damaged.

[Such a hilarious fight. I would pay to see more interaction between these two. Double if Tashigi were there too.]

Many of the other rookies are there to witness the fight (among them Capone, Urouge, Hawkins, and Apoo) - the commentary is highly entertaining. "I heard Mugiwara's whole crew was crazy, but drawing a sword on a Tenryuubito? The man's not right in the head."

Zoro picks up the wounded man and heads off in search of a hospital. Bonney is now sure he's crazy. "Who ever heard of pirates saving people?"

Sanji, Franky and Usopp are hanging out chatting on board the Sunny when the den-den mushi rings with the terrible news that Keimi has been kidnapped.

Chopper is nearly hysterical, but he manages to explain that they think Keimi was kidnapped by slavers who intend to sell her at auction.

Sanji tells them to hold their position and wait for orders. It's time to call the professionals - the Flying Fish Riders.

500

Duval shows up with his men at the Sunny as soon as they are called. "It's Handsome! I mean, Duval!"

He readily agrees to help find Keimi before she is sold off.

"I thank you for your patronage!" Usopp: "Are you sure about these guys?"

(Duval's a little sad that he tried picking up girls and he wasn't as popular as he thought he'd be… but, never mind that!)

They invite the Strawhats to hop on the back of their bikes, er, fish.

Back at Shabondy Park, Chopper is pacing frantically until Brook persuades him to calm down. Worrying won't help anything. They just have to wait until Sanji comes.

By the time the Flying Fish Riders (now the Rosy Life Riders) arrive, Chopper and Brook are sipping tea and eating cotton candy. They get smacked around for being too careless about poor Keimi's fate. (Poor Chopper!)

Poor Sanji is stuck riding with Duval, who is on the back of his black bison (an impressive creature, but slow).

Luffy, Hachi and Pappagu are charging into random auction-houses, demanding to see any mermaids for sale. (They decline interest in the obviously fake ones.)

Luffy is attracting all manner of attention by screaming for Keimi at the top of his lungs.

Pappagu is crying and blaming himself for his carelessness. Keimi was kidnapped when they all turned their backs for just a moment to buy ice cream. Why did he ever let her go to the park?

Luffy says she seemed so happy, it can't have been wrong to let her come. But Pappagu says that the truth is, it was terribly dangerous for fishmen to even come on land, let alone enter Shabondy Park. But Hachi wanted so very badly to help them.

(Oh, Hachi.)

Hachi tries to stop Pappagu from saying any more. But Pappagu explains, their enemies aren't only the slaver gangs. Every human on Shabondy is an enemy to fishmen.

Meanwhile, Robin is explaining to Nami what she knows of the history of fishmen and humans. Up until 200 years earlier, fishmen were systematically persecuted by humans. (Nami is shocked to think that such a strong race could be victimized by anyone. All those years of being subjected to Arlong's "master race" speeches left their mark.)

200 years ago, the world government signed a treaty with Fishman Island. But there was another ancient evil - slavery and the human slave trade. On Shabondy, the slave trade is still practiced, and the old prejudices are still very much alive.

Robin thinks - though she hopes she's wrong - that that's why Hachi and Keimi had to disguise themselves on Shabondy. Just then, the Rosy Life Riders arrive with news of Keimi's kidnapping.

Pappagu is still crying and blaming himself for letting Keimi set foot on Shabondy. Hachi apologizes for causing them all this trouble when he only wanted to help them.

Luffy is furious with both of them. "None of this is your fault! You three are our friends now. We'll do whatever it takes to get Keimi back, so quit crying!"

*squishes Luffy*

At the Human Auction house at GR 1, Peterman has just dropped off his prize. The auction is getting ready to begin.

Roswald and Sharlya (sp?), the old man and daughter we saw before, arrive and are given the VIP treatment.

Kidd and the rest of his crew (including Killer) are there to see the auction. He sneers at the Tenryuubito, saying that the evil that the upper classes do makes what he and his kind do seem positively humane. Heck, the mischief they get up to is just innocent fun, compared to them. (俺たちは悪気がある分かわいいもんだな.)

"Hey, if there's someone interesting, let's buy 'em."

[And thus is born legions of fanfic.]

Law and his crew (bear! penguin!) are there to see the show, too.

He catches sight of Kidd staring at him and flips him the bird.

[That would account for most of the rest of the fanfic, I assume. Kidd/Law is a much beloved ship that has about as much basis in canon as Smoker/Ace.]

In the pens below, Keimi is being transported to a holding cell.

When Keimi sticks her tongue out at the foreman and taunts him ("Hacchin is gonna kick your ass!"), he smacks her around. Suddenly he passes out foaming at the mouth for no apparent reason.

In the cell nearby, the giant (who, until Keimi showed up, was set to be the star merchandise for the day) leans over. "Old man… that was you, wasn't it? That 'haki.' Just who are you?"

"Me? I'm just an old man that runs a coating shop. I happen to like young ladies, that's all."

Oda-box: Former First Mate of the Roger Pirates. "The Pirate King's Right-Hand Man." Silvers Rayleigh.

[DAMN, Oda knows how to end a chapter on a bang.]

501

[Cover Arc: CP9 apparently earned enough money to hire a doctor… after a fashion.]

At Marine HQ, one of Garp's men is reporting that Silvers Rayleigh is currently being held for sale at an auction house. Apparently no one has recognized him.

Garp roars with laughter at the idea of anyone trying to offer "Dark King" Silvers Rayleigh for sale at auction. (The kanji 冥王 read, literally, "King of Hades.")

Garp says he'll take care of it from here. No need to inform Sengoku.

He's sure it's Rayleigh, all right. He most likely staked his freedom on a gambling bet and lost.

He thinks it better to leave the matter alone. Rayleigh might be getting up in years, but they could still lose plenty of men going up against him. And does the Navy really want to be taking on TWO legends at once?

On Shabondy, the auction is beginning.

Meanwhile, Duval shows Sanji a list of comparative starting bids for different types of slaves. Mermaids are at the top of the list, by many orders of magnitude (not counting devil fruit users, who are "Seasonal" [時価] in price, haha, oh dear); only male giants come close to matching the price of a female mermaid.

Duval's agents have tracked down a highly disgruntled broker who was counting on his giant being top billing at today's auction until someone brought in a mermaid at the last minute. A mermaid!

The word goes out to meet up at the auction house near GR #1.

(Hee, by fate or blind luck, even Zoro is asking the way to GR #1, because he thinks that's where they left the ship.)

When he arrives, Franky finds most of the Strawhats already present, and having no luck arguing that Keimi should be released to them.

Nami observes that the slave trade is now taboo throughout most of the rest of the world, but on Shabondy, the government and the marines are being well paid to turn a blind eye.

Franky is ready to blast his way in, but Hachi says there might be Tenryuubito in there. And Keimi has no doubt already been fitted with an exploding collar. They can't just walk in and take her out.

Nami starts walking away. She says they'll have to play by the rules of the house if they want to get Keimi back.

The pirate led away to sale just before Keimi is sobbing like a baby. Keimi is terrified, but stoic.

Nami is busy trying to calculate whether the treasure they have on the ship is enough to buy Keimi back. She says it should be at least 200 million, which Hachi says ought to be more than enough. (The price list said 70 million for a mermaid, I think.)

Nami is prepared to spend every penny they've got if it means they can get their friend back.

(Not that I would have expected less of her, but so much Nami love for this. She doesn't even blink at the prospect.)

Killer notices the Mugiwara crew members as soon as they set foot in the auction house. Kidd is disappointed that the captain isn't there. He wanted a good look at the bastard.

Luffy, Zoro, Brook, Usopp and Robin are still on their way.

In GR #24, a special issue of the newspaper is being distributed. Everyone who reads it (including most of the rookies who aren't in the auction house) are stunned. "Has the government lost its mind?"

Reading the news, Drake finally understands why the marines have been so indifferent to the presence of the rookies despite their proximity to Marine HQ.

Whitebeard's Second Division Commander, Fire Fist Ace, has been scheduled for public execution.

Without a doubt, this will mean war with Whitebeard.

502

Charlos is late arriving at the auction house (causing him to kick his slave some more).

Both the Strawhats and Kidd have noticed the arrival of another Tenryuubito.

The daughter-whose-name-I-can't-spell recognizes Charlos as her elder brother (in case the family relationship wasn't already clear).

On stage, the terrified pirate captain is being put up for sale. The audience reacts with horror when he start bleeding from the mouth and collapses. He killed himself by biting his own tongue off.

Keimi is wheeled out on stage in an ornamental fish tank.

Charlos is beside himself with joy. A mermaid! Just what he's always wanted!

He starts the bidding at 500 million. Nami is horrified - they don't have nearly that much.

[I kept wondering while reading this if it was bringing back traumatic memories. To see someone you care about nearly taken from you, all because you don't have enough money—]

Just as the auctioneer is starting to declare Charlos the winner, Luffy comes crashing through the roof.

Zoro (who apparently hitched a ride at the very last minute) is baffled. Weren't they going back to the Sunny? What's the big hurry?

Seeing Keimi, Luffy is about to charge in and save her, but Hachi stops him. They can't move her without the key to the collar.

When Hachi unthinkingly uses all his arms to stop Luffy, the audience recognizes him as a fishman, and the screaming starts. People are shouting racist insults and throwing things.

Nami is aghast. It's just as Robin said. Fishmen in this world are a persecuted race.

Several men are holding Luffy back and trying to stop him from reaching Keimi.

A shot rings out. Charlos is standing over Hachi, triumphant.

"A fish man! I bagged a fish man! I shot him myself, that means he's fwee! Right? I got a tako for fwee!"

[Charlos' affected accent makes this whole speech three times as horrible. >.<]

Luffy's face is absolutely black with cold rage. Hachi tries to stop him, to no avail.

(Oh, Hachi's speech here is just heartbreaking. "I deserve it. I was a pirate, I did bad things. I'm so sorry, I never wanted this to happen. I just wanted to do something to make it up to Nami… But I've always been a clumsy oaf. Clumsy, so clumsy!")

Charlos threatens to shoot Hachi again, telling him to quit running his mouth.

Luffy marches right up to Charlos and punches him in the face.

[Possibly the single most satisfying punch in all of One Piece.]

TBC
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