Dojo. Zoro sits cross-legged in front of a large sheet of paper with calligraphy and shoulders an oversized writing brush. Behind him are several crumpled sheets of paper. A cat in a tabby kimono looks skeptically over his shoulder.
Thriller Bark, outside the Masthaus: The badly damaged Oars lies backwards on the ground. In the graveyard, the graveyard zombies comment that not even a zombie gets back up after such a beating. From a distance, in the ruins of Hogback’s castle, Cindry and the warthog zombie Lola watch the outcome with the unconscious Absalom under their arms. Hildon and the three messenger zombies can hardly believe it either. Captain Lola and the Forest Pirates, on the other hand, celebrate the Straw Hat Pirates, but are startled to discover Luffy shrunken to a dwarf after Gear 3.
Despite all the damage, Oars still tries to stir, but though he feels no pain, he cannot. Chopper comments in disgust at Hogback’s ability to have created such a perversion of life, while in the background the sun makes its presence felt below the horizon. The Straw Hats still remain motionless as Moria’s shadowless victims become aware of the danger and attempt to flee into the shadows. Lola orders them to attack Gecko Moria instead and reclaim the shadows.
At that moment, Moria, also battered, leaves the cockpit in Oars’s belly and is cheered on by the graveyard zombies. Captain Lola demands the release of all the shadows and threatens Moria with another beating at the hands of the Straw Hat Pirates. Moria refuses, chuckling. He has realized how Luffy was able to transform into Nightmare Luffy, and rebukes Luffy for having the gall to attack him with his own methods and for causing such damage on the Thriller Bark. Luffy counters that Moria started it, and demands the shadows back before the sun rises. Moria rants about Luffy’s inability to hold his own in the New World, saying that he could have held his own there if his comrades hadn’t been too weak because they were still alive. He reveals his plan to conquer the New World with invulnerable, or at least replaceable, zombies and become King of the Pirates, saying it would be an honor for all to serve as shadows in his army of the dead.
Suddenly, long strands of shadows crawl out of Moria and move towards the zombies all over the island. Moria calls on all the zombies to lend him their power and begins Shadow’s Asgard. Shadow after Shadow is ripped out of the zombies and follows the strands to Moria, who incorporates them into his body, growing larger and larger. All of the named zombies also fall motionless to the ground, including the ones with Sanji and Zoro’s shadows. When he has absorbed a thousand shadows, Moria towers over even Oars. There is sheer horror among the forest pirates as they compare this to Luffy’s powers after absorbing a hundred shadows.
As Moria burps, losing all control of his facial features, Luffy, who has returned to his normal size, takes notice. Moria completely derails and, making inarticulate sounds, attacks the mast house, causing it to buckle.
When the forest pirates try to escape into the forest after the first rays of sunlight, Captain Lola is left behind. She has decided to see this bet on the Straw Hat Pirates through to the last and follows the example of the Straw Hats, who stand resolutely behind Luffy as he prepares to fight. Not even contact with a first ray of sunlight makes them flinch.
Luffy announces that things might get a little wild now, and asks his friends to clean up after him as he shifts into Gear 2. He promises Moria he’ll deliver him a nightmare if he wants one bad enough.
|Manga volumes||Thriller Bark Arc (Manga)|