Thunder and laser intertwined, illuminating the sky. Rayleigh, who was at a disadvantage in terms of speed, could only fight and retreat against the combined attacks of the two Devil Fruit users.
The battle gradually moved from the outskirts of Sabaody, the junkyard in the 15th district, and pushed forward until reaching the 27th district.
The first thirty districts were places where illicit businesses gathered in secret, but they were also home to a large number of civilians.
Fortunately, having learned from the previous lesson, Kizaru abandoned ineffective wide-range attacks and started using more focused techniques with smaller areas of effect, limiting the damage caused to the island within an acceptable range.
Well, at least that’s what Rowen believed was an acceptable range.
‘200 million Volt · Gungnir!’
A dazzling Thunderlight Spear was thrown by Rowen, which seemed to cross time and space in a flash as it approached his opponent.
Hiss… Bang, Rumble!
The Meteoric Spear ruthlessly pierced the sea surface, creating waves that were over ten meters high!
And that was just the disturbance caused by the explosion in the deep sea. If it were at sea level, one could imagine the devastation it would cause, as seen in the aftermath of the G-10 Branch.
However, even with waves that high, they could still be considered a tidal wave! The residents who hadn’t evacuated from the 27th district were instantly filled with terror, looking up at the descending seawater that scattered everything in its path.
“Mom, where are you?”
“Oh My God! Is this Doomsday?!”
Even with his Kenbunshoku Haki (Observation Haki) retracted and focused around him, Rowen could still hear the cries of many ordinary people.
As an individual, he could ignore them completely, and remain indifferent to the deaths of as many people as possible.
Haven’t the major forces along the way seen their shops destroyed? But they dare not make a sound, given that Marines arresting pirates was an absolute privilege second only to orders from the Gorosei (Five Elder Stars)!
However, since this place was the backyard of the Celestial Dragons, Rowen had to think carefully. What if the Celestial Dragons took a stance afterward… What should he do then?
They couldn’t continue like this!
They needed to change the battlefield!
Kizaru was the main attacker in this battle, and Rowen was only providing support. After pondering for a moment, Rowen shouted, “Admiral Kizaru, let’s drive him towards the eastern sea!”
“You’re quite quick-witted, kid…”
Not far away, Rayleigh grinned when he heard this.
If they were forced to the open sea, he, who relied solely on Geppo, would have no way to engage in aerial combat against the Goro Goro no Mi (Thunder Thunder Fruit) and Pika Pika No Mi (Glint-Glint Fruit). Defeat would be inevitable.
Then, Rayleigh’s expression turned cold as he faced Rowen and snorted.
“This just shows how naive you are!”
When Rowen retracted his Kenbunshoku Haki (Observation Haki) to his immediate surroundings, he finally sensed a strong Haki fluctuation!
Indeed, it was Haoshoku Haki, but the sensation it brought to Rowen was like tangible bullets— it was swift and stealthy as it pierced through the air.
Rowen’s pupils suddenly contracted, and the scene before him began to slow down. With his mastery of Life Return, Rowen took control of his cerebral cortex, stimulating hormone secretion to increase his thinking speed.
Although it couldn’t compare to the “death playback” before his death, it was still a miraculous technique.
His eyes followed the movement of the “bullets,” and in the process of twisting his head, Rowen clearly saw cold sweat slowly forming on the tip of his nose. When he successfully avoided it, the scene started to speed up.
To an ordinary person, faced with Rayleigh’s attack, Rowen immediately tilted his head as if startled. Only Rayleigh and Kizaru knew what Rowen had done in that split second.
“I envy you, Rowen. The enhancement of Kenbunshoku Haki (Observation Haki) by the Goro Goro no Mi (Thunder Thunder Fruit) is truly terrifying…”
Kizaru couldn’t help but admire Rowen. Not long ago, Rowen was a rookie who couldn’t even detect his attacks, but now he could avoid Haoshoku’s impact.
After evading the surprise attack from the “bullets,” Rowen breathed quickly, alleviating the symptoms of cerebral hypoxia. Hearing Kizaru’s words, he couldn’t help but curl his lips.
“Hey! I’ve worked hard too, you know? Don’t make it sound like I rely solely on my Devil Fruit ability!”
“Eh? Isn’t that the case? I thought you and I were the same kind of people?!”
Rowen: “I’m sorry, but we’re not!”
With that said, Rowen took a step forward, and his body suddenly grew in size. Before long, a gigantic thunderous ape appeared in the middle of the ruins in the 27th district.
Overload Form · Violent Ape of Hell!
“I’m not joking, Admiral Kizaru. We have to drive him out of this island, or Sabaody will be finished!”
“Yes! Yes! I know, okay? By the way, how come I didn’t realize before that you’re just as talkative as Sentomaru, Rowen…”
‘Do you think we don’t have an AC counter in our minds?’
‘Don’t you know that chatting and stalling for time go hand in hand?’
‘How did someone like you become an Admiral?!’
‘You must be a spy from the Gorosei (Five Elder Stars), right?’
‘You must be a pure case of nepotism!’
Rowen felt a sharp pain in his chest from anger when he heard Kizaru’s words and he silently cursed him, but he didn’t speak further. He lifted his foot and ran towards Rayleigh. He knew that Rayleigh didn’t want to harm innocent civilians, but if he had to choose between himself and the civilians, Rayleigh would definitely choose himself.
There was no other way. This was what it meant to be a pirate!
“Such a foolish decision. By becoming bigger, you’re just making yourself an easier target.”
With those words, Rayleigh raised his rusty sword and ruthlessly slashed upwards.
The sound of the sword slashing through the air rang out, but Rayleigh quickly realized that he had only cut through an afterimage.
“Who told you that size always means slower speed, Rayleigh-San?”
Behind Rayleigh, a monstrous grin appeared on the face of the giant ape form that Rowen had transformed into. With his massive fist, he ruthlessly smashed toward Rayleigh, casting a shadow that covered the sky.
Violent Ape of Hell · Thunderlight Fist!!
As the fist hit the ground, the 27th district resounded like a Second Grade Earthquake! Rings of soil and rocks rolled outward, enough to kill some small Sea Kings with just the impact!
(End of the chapter)
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