In just a few months, Henry went from being an Ensign to a Lieutenant and from being in charge of collecting scraps at the G-10 branch to being the temporary commander of the Qilin. Naturally, it wasn’t because Rowen had taken a bribe.
Rowen valued Henry for the simple reason that he was a very practical person, and practical people were easy to control.
Moreover, someone who knew how to please their superiors would never confront Rowen. Such individuals always had a sense of balance in their hearts, which meant they couldn’t be trusted completely, but they would definitely make a competent team member.
Rowen’s plan was quite extensive. Apart from Zephyr’s group, there was a clear distinction between his relationship with other Headquarters officers. If he wanted to achieve his goals, his own strength was the most important factor.
Yes, that’s right!
No problem at all!
He just needed to gather that strength!
The prison on the Qilin had been transformed at Rowen’s suggestion. It was now a special compartment made of pure steel. The modified metal components throughout the Qilin allowed him to easily control these compartments with Thunder-smelted Iron. Unless someone had the strength to break through twenty centimeters of thick steel with their fists, escape was virtually impossible.
In a sunny compartment, clean white sheets hung in the center to prevent the sunlight from directly hitting the oil paintings. A green-haired girl sat at the other end of the room, facing the sea, holding a palette of colors in her hands.
Rowen walked over and noticed that she was painting a scene of seagulls circling ships from a god’s-eye view. Outside the window, which had Seastone bars embedded in it, all that could be seen was a monotonous blue sky with a few scattered clouds, far from the beauty of the painting.
This girl was Monet, the one who had miraculously survived the onslaught.
And Rowen had imprisoned her, not to keep her hidden away in luxury.
“Ah… It’s really cold!”
Standing outside the compartment, Rowen exhaled into his palm.
The room remained the same, but now it was covered in a thin layer of ice crystals. The freezing cold wind flowed through the ventilation system, making the entire prison area extremely chilling.
Monet turned her expressionless face towards him, glanced at him, and then continued to pick up her paintbrush, slowly creating strokes on the canvas.
The source of this cold was Monet herself. Her skin had turned as white as snowflakes… not the normal fair complexion of a human, but a pure white without a hint of color. The freezing cold spread with each breath she exhaled, leaving twinkling ice crystals in the air that shimmered under the sunlight.
Since Dressrosa was destroyed, Monet had withdrawn into herself.
She had truly become withdrawn!
Before the doctor could report, Monet, who was heavily injured and unconscious at the time, had turned into an ice sculpture, her body curled up and frozen along with the bed. And because Dante and the others were in a panic over Rowen’s “death,” no one paid attention to her, and she was forgotten in the prison.
It wasn’t until Rowen woke up later that Monet, who had remained frozen in ice, piqued his curiosity, leading to the revelation of Henry’s involvement.
And thus, Henry was promoted.
From a Second Lieutenant to a First Lieutenant.
Naturally, he was still an acting First Lieutenant at the G-10 branch, as Rowen didn’t have the authority to appoint Headquarters officers.
At the same time, it seemed that Monet, sensing the changes in the outside world, gradually emerged from her withdrawn state and transformed into her current… enlightened appearance for the sake of a better word.
Lighting his cigar with an electric current, Rowen asked thoughtfully while leaning against the wall, “Do you want to leave here?”
It was hard for him not to think too much about what was depicted on the canvas. If Monet wanted to go out, Rowen wouldn’t refuse.
“Life is like a prison. Leaving here would only mean moving to a larger prison. Why bother leaving?” Monet replied calmly, using shades of gray ink to create sweeping strokes at the top of the canvas.
Rowen’s face twitched when he heard this classic cultivation ‘enlightened’ response.
He had tried many methods to provoke Monet, telling her that Doflamingo was dead, that he would kill Sugar, or even attempting to violate her, but she remained calm, with no emotional fluctuations in her eyes.
The psychologist had told Rowen that this could be a new form of autism… It wasn’t like she had trapped herself in a small inner world while feeling sensitive and fragile, but rather that she had allowed her inner self to encompass the entire world. It was a state of unity between nothing and humanity, with no self and no desires!
And with the unknown effects of her Devil Fruit playing a role, Monet had become an autistic individual detached from the mundane world.
In short, Monet had become a self-proclaimed god-like autistic person. Isn’t that astonishing?!
But wait, is that all?
If that were the case, Rowen would have handed Monet over to Tsuru for soul-cleansing, and then she would have become his military merit.
The reason Rowen kept Monet was because he discovered an inexplicable change in her after she woke up… As everyone knew, Logia Devil Fruit users had the ability of “Elementalization,” which allowed their bodies and clothes to be immune to most attacks. However, their bodies were still physical.
Their hearts still beat in their chests, blood still flowed through their veins.
They needed to eat, to breathe.
But Monet was different.
At this point, it would be more accurate to say that Monet had become an embodiment of ice rather than a user of the Logia Yuki Yuki No Mi (Snow-Snow Fruit). She was made entirely of accumulated snowflakes, without internal organs or blood cells.
Her entire body was composed of piled-up snowflakes. She didn’t need food or oxygen, and even her breathing seemed more like an imitation based on her body’s memory.
It could be said that apart from her appearance, Monet had no connection to humanity at this point.
Previously, Rowen had ruthlessly stripped her naked and used his finger, enhanced with Busoshoku Haki (Armament Haki), to cut her open. But he didn’t find any evidence of her being human. Then, he piled up the broken ice on the ground, and Monet resurrected unscathed, returning to the room without any expression.
Therefore, Monet had been detained by Rowen, and almost no one knew about her unique nature. At most, outsiders knew that there was a captive on Rowen’s ship.
Who would dare to cause trouble for a Headquarter Vice Admiral, who held great power in the Marines?
Did it really matter who Rowen detained?
Stifled by Monet’s Buddhist-like response, Rowen remained silent for a moment. He realized that the ships depicted on the canvas were in a crisis.
A dark cloud appeared in the distant sky, and lightning snakes danced within it. A tempest was about to arrive.
“What do you think you are now, Monet…”
After speaking, Rowen quickly added, giving her room for choice, “Are you a human or the Yuki Yuki No Mi (Snow-Snow Fruit)?”
He truly feared that Monet would respond with a Buddhist answer like “I am myself.”
Monet: “I don’t know…”
Well, this was even more Buddhist than “I am myself”!
This is beginning to become an unsolvable mystery!
Rowen felt that he couldn’t communicate properly with Monet anymore. Perhaps bringing Sugar could restore some of her human emotions, but Sugar had been taken away by Lirisk, and whether she was alive or dead was uncertain at this moment.
“What a mess!”
(End of the chapter)
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