Inside the office, the atmosphere grew heavy after Rowen’s statement.
To be fair, they couldn’t deny Rowen’s strength, which was undoubtedly at a level that satisfied them greatly. If he continued at this rate, reaching the rank of Admiral before the age of thirty was not impossible for Rowen!
But Jack the Drought had been famous for many years, and even people like Kizaru had no assurance of victory against him.
There was just no easy way to deal with someone so resilient!
Unless they cooperated with each other, there was no confidence in victory in anyone.
And as a Fish-Man, Jack could easily escape into the sea if things got too tough.
The Three Admirals held the advantage of being nearly invincible, but the gap between Jack and the Admirals couldn’t be fully bridged just with tough skin and resilience.
But here was the problem!
Rowen didn’t possess Admiral-level strength!
If Rowen faced off against Jack, the outcome was hard to predict…
In the room, everyone fell into silence as they began to assess the gap in strength between Rowen and Jack.
Sengoku, sensing the challenging tone in Rowen’s words, fixed his serious gaze on him and asked. “Rowen, how do you think your strength compares right now?”
The other side had intentionally blocked information, and they had received the news too late. This matter had already caused quite a stir, and they couldn’t forcibly suppress it and lock down the information like before.
If Rowen didn’t step in, even if they sent the Three Admirals to capture or even kill Jack, the hard-earned prestige that Marine had just established from their Iron Fist Cruises would be completely shattered!
Marine and pirates were like a constantly colliding spring; when the Marine was strong, the pirates were weak.
Whoever let up first would lose.
Rayleigh’s appearance had ignited the fuse for pirates to resist the Marine’s dominance, and now Jack was the explosive!
To stop this era from raging out of control, Marines had to eliminate the source with an iron hand!
That meant Rowen vs. Jack. And there was no room for defeat, only victory!
Now, all the forces in the sea were waiting for Marine to make a choice: send a large force to forcefully drive Jack away or let Rowen duel him.
This challenge not only concerned Rowen but also the dignity of the Marine and the course of the sea. Sengoku urgently needed to know how far Rowen’s strength had come.
To this question, Rowen did not give a direct answer.
He turned to look at Momousagi and Chaton, who were also in the conference room. The former raised her eyebrows, and the latter wore a perpetual smile, like a kindly old man.
He said, “When I come back after completing my mission, can you both spar with me?”
Chaton blinked in surprise.
On the other hand, Momousagi, who had probably anticipated this, crossed her arms over her chest, her exquisite face revealing a hint of a cold smile. “Sure, no problem!”
The people in the room were shocked and turned their gaze to Rowen.
Had he really become this powerful already?
Garp, in particular, widened his eyes and licked his dry lips. “I think Ace wanted to seek revenge on you, but he never had a chance in this lifetime.”
It wasn’t that he looked down on his own grandson; it was just that compared to Rowen, Ace was like a younger brother!
This time, Garp’s mention of Ace didn’t provoke Sengoku’s angry fists, and in fact, Sengoku himself felt the same…
Compared to Rowen’s monstrous growth rate, everyone in the room could only sigh.
“Very well! Let the battle begin!”
Sengoku burst into laughter, rising from his seat.
“Akainu, Aokiji, Tsuru, lead your forces to surround G-5 Branch to prevent any reinforcements from arriving! The rest, prepare for Kaido! Do you understand?”
Then, Sengoku turned to Rowen, took a deep breath, and said, “Win this one nicely for me!”
“Since Kaido is so arrogant that he sent only Jack, don’t blame us for not being polite!”
“We’ll accept this grand gift!”
It would take some time to assemble the forces. After the meeting, following the usual protocol, Rowen Blinked to Zephyr’s office and informed him of the current situation. They talked for a long time before Rowen, riding on thunder, left. After Rowen left, Ain walked in from outside, gazing at Zephyr with a sense of bitterness.
“Sensei, can’t you stop him?”
After all, his opponent was Jack the Drought!
A pirate known for being extremely cruel and wicked!
Escaping from Shanks the last time had been a stroke of luck for Rowen. This time, however, there was no escape. The entire world was watching, and there was no room for retreat.
“Have a little faith in him, Ain.”
“Do you still not understand Rowen’s strength? Even if he loses, he won’t die!”
Zephyr calmly lifted his teacup and took a sip before smiling. “I’ve noticed that ever since Rowen died that one time, you seem to care more and more about him. It used to be just senior sister looking out for a junior brother, but now it seems to have taken on an inexplicable meaning.”
“No, not at all!” Ain spoke before she turned and left, slamming the door behind her.
Zephyr watched the closed door with a puzzled expression before shaking his head.
“Tsk tsk, why am I, an old geezer, meddling in young people’s affairs? I’m really regressing with age…”
He then took a sip of tea, and in the next moment, a strong earthy odor emanated from his mouth.
“Pah! Pah! Damn it! This was my prized tea!!”
In any case, this battle was set in stone, and there was no running from it.
The enemy had come prepared, forcefully dismantling the G-5 Branch and releasing information. By the time Marine received the notification, news of Jack occupying G-5 Branch had already spread throughout the world thanks to the sensationalism.
The sea, which had remained relatively calm for less than a few months, was once again in turmoil, with the central figure being the “Undying Vice Admiral” Rowen, whose name had become known to everyone’s ears.
At this point, the world also learned that Rowen’s battle with the Celestial Dragon hadn’t ended with Jack’s supposed death. Instead, Jack had set his sights on reclaiming his pride and had even gone so far as to challenge Rowen to a duel by name.
If Marines pretended to be ignorant of this, it would be a severe blow to their reputation.
In this world, the strong were revered, and the enthusiasm for one-on-one duels was fanatical to an unimaginable degree. Even ordinary citizens, even children, had an intense longing for one-on-one duels and would not tolerate any interference during a fight.
However, if Rowen went, the various factions in the sea didn’t hold much hope for him. They believed that facing the highest-ranking member under a Yonko’s flag, one of the Three Great Disasters, was akin to seeking death.
The name of the Three Great Disasters was the most renowned among all the subordinates of Yonko, and this was something known by everyone in the sea.
The sea was abuzz with discussions, as everyone was waiting for a major battle. If everything went as expected, this battle would determine the course of the sea.
Currently, only a Yonko had the power to stop Marine’s ironclad approach.
A few days later, in the New World sea, on board [The Moby Dick].
“Pops! Important information!”
A pirate waved a newspaper and rushed up to Whitebeard’s towering figure, handing him the paper. “Marine forces have assembled in the New World and are heading towards G-5 Branch!”
In the photograph, War Behemoth vessels were lined up in formation, moving like a moving continent, heading for G-5 Branch. The towering battleships and masts of Marine’s massive mobilization were something they had only seen during the time when Roger became the Pirate King.
“Oh? Is Marine planning to throw away their dignity and brawl?”
“Of course! It’s Marine led by Sengoku. They’re used to such things, you know?”
The pirates discussed among themselves, as Marine’s shamelessness seemed to have become deeply ingrained in people’s minds.
The title of “Resourceful General” was undoubtedly established on the countless pirates who had been fooled. Whitebeard’s crew had crossed paths with Sengoku decades ago, and they knew him quite well.
Suddenly, Whitebeard burst into hearty laughter, and the raging Haoshoku Haki-infused wind felt like a sonic cannonball, drowning out all the discussions. Pirates had to cover their ears, and the weaker ones even fell unconscious from the pressure.
After a long while, the laughter abruptly subsided, and Whitebeard, with a raised eyebrow, took the newspaper and scanned its contents.
“Sengoku, oh Sengoku! Do you have such a stubborn side?”
“Could it be?!”
The pirates were shocked, looking at Whitebeard in disbelief.
“That’s right! This is proof that Marine wants a direct confrontation!”
Whitebeard swung his naginata and stood up abruptly.
“Let’s go! We’ll see what all the fuss is about!”
“Uh, I have a feeling things are going to get complicated!”
Not far away, Marco rubbed his pineapple-colored hair and glanced at Ace, who remained silent. He sighed softly.
It wasn’t just Whitebeard’s crew; at the same time, “Red Hair” Shanks’ ship, [The Red Force], was also on the move.
“Rowen against Jack? Quite interesting…”
That man had been silent for so long, and he had finally reached this point today.
At the front of the deck, Shanks’ bright eyes gazed into the distance, full of vigor.
“This is Boring!”
Mihawk shook his head, then turned and jumped back into his tiny coffin-shaped boat, drifting away. He admitted that the man who had caught Shanks’ attention had piqued his curiosity, but he had no interest in dull battles.
With the time he spent caring about Rowen, he might as well take a stroll in the East Blue; perhaps he could encounter the “New Age” that would make Shanks sacrifice an arm.
(End of this chapter)
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