“Nyuuuuu, Brother Mandrell, you’re back?”
Just as they entered the Fish-Man District, a six-armed octopus Fish-Man spotted Mandrell and warmly greeted him. It was one of the Fish-Men Mandrell had come to know over the years – Hachi.
At the end of the year 1502, Mandrell proposed a transfer and completed it at the beginning of the next year. Now, after three years on Fishman Island, encountering familiar faces was quite normal.
Hachi wasn’t exactly Mandrell’s subordinate; he was one of the Fish-Men with whom Mandrell had a good relationship. After all, Hachi’s boss was Arlong.
As for the relationship between Mandrell and Arlong.
Initially, when Mandrell was establishing his territory in the Fish-Man District, he had a clash with Arlong and easily defeated him. Later, Mandrell also defeated some slave catcher teams and other pirates in the Fish-Man District. At that time, his relationship with Arlong was quite good.
Arlong, the sawshark Fish-Man, is a racist.
In his youth, he had longed for the human world. However, the discrimination against Fish-Men by humans, coupled with the arrival of the Great Pirate Era, shattered his fantasies.
Despite his dislike for humans, unlike the lunatic Hody Jones, Arlong was friendly to his fellow Fish-Men. After being defeated by Mandrell, Arlong quickly accepted him, helping Mandrell integrate into the Fish-Man District.
This was partly due to Mandrell’s appearance. In his ability form, he bore a resemblance to Fisher Tiger, the widely accepted leader of the Fish-Man District. Therefore, Arlong had gotten quite close to Mandrell.
There was a period of time where both sides cooperated closely, but they gradually grew apart. The reason was simple: Mandrell was too friendly with humans. Arlong hated all humans, while Mandrell only targeted certain humans and even helped some people.
This led to a strained relationship between Arlong and Mandrell. Although they didn’t fall out completely, they gradually drifted apart.
However, Hachi remained unchanged. He didn’t harbor the deep resentment towards humans that Arlong did, moreover he also had a good relationship with Rayleigh, who lived on Sabaody Archipelago.
“Ah, you’re back! Here’s a gift for you – a machine for making takoyaki.”
He not only brought gifts for Rusalka but also for some of his friends and subordinates.
“Nyuuuuu?! Is it really for me, Nyuuuuu? That’s fantastic!”
As an octopus Fish-Man, Hachi’s biggest dream was to open a takoyaki shop. However, Fishman Island lacked a complete industrial system, and he didn’t have much money. So, he had been eyeing such a machine for a long time.
“Yeah, it’s for you. There’s also a free recipe in it. Find a place without water to read it. And about the machine, you should use it in Fishman Island, not in the Fish-Man District. You should do some legitimate business; that guy Arlong is bound to get into trouble sooner or later.”
Mandrell was well aware of Arlong’s capabilities. Underwater, he could bully others, but when faced with someone truly skilled, he would be defeated in no time.
Yet, he was still quite arrogant. In Mandrell’s view, it was just a matter of time before Arlong got into trouble.
“Mandrell, stop badmouthing me behind my back. What can those humans do to me? In the underwater world, Fish-Men are the true rulers!”
“Well, you’re right. As long as you’re happy.”
Initially, Mandrell tried to advise him, but eventually gave up. Let Arlong be happy in his own way.
“Tch, I advise you to be careful, Rusalka’s curse has been quite effective in the past.”
“You don’t need to worry about that. After so many years, I haven’t seen any curse. I’m still alive and well.”
When this issue was brought up, Mandrell became less friendly, and his tone carried a hint of threat. However, Arlong didn’t delve into this matter. Instead, he left with a few Fish-Men.
“Nyuuuuu, Brother Mandrell, Boss Arlong, he is actually…”
“It’s fine, Hachi. You don’t need to say anything about this matter.”
“Alright, but is this… a child?”
Looking at Jack, who was following Mandrell, Hachi gave a skeptical look. Jack’s face still had a hint of youthfulness, but his physique was too massive. Both Mandrell and Hachi, in terms of height, couldn’t compare to Jack; they fall short by more than a head.
If it weren’t for his somewhat youthful face, Hachi would believe that he was an adult.
“Oh, he’s Jack, a grouper Fish-Men. I’ve been entrusted to take care of him for a while. By the way, where’s Hack?”
After some thought, Mandrell changed the topic and inquired about another Fish-Men, the one he intended to be Jack’s teacher.
Hack, a Japanese soldierfish Fish-Men, was just in his early twenties but was proficient in Fish-Man Karate and Fish-Men Jujutsu.
Known as “Hundredth Dan Hack,” he might not be the strongest, but he was good at teaching and quite friendly to humans. According to the normal timeline, he would join the Revolutionary Army in the future and become a combat instructor.
“He should still be on Fishman Island. Haven’t seen him in the Fish-Man District lately.”
“I see. By the way, Hachi, help me deliver these things to them, I’ll make a trip to Fishman Island first.”
“Nyuuuuu, understood. Leave it to me.”
The advantages of being an octopus Fish-Men became evident here. In the deep sea, these items were lightweight like soap bubbles. So, with enough hands, he could pick up many things.
These items weren’t expensive, but they were things Fish-Men liked and were hard to come by. Fishman Island was directly below Sabaody Archipelago, but Fish-Men rarely went there because Sabaody Archipelago was dangerous for them.
Many Merfolk or Fish-Men dreamed of playing at Bubble Park, but they might never set foot on land in their lifetime.
Meanwhile, Mandrell brought Jack directly to Fishman Island.
He wasn’t sure where Hack was, so he headed to Rusalka’s house with Jack. Along the way, they passed through Gyoncorde Plaza, where a woman was giving a speech.
She was Otohime, the queen of Fishman Island, an idealist dreaming of equality between all Merfolk, Fish-Men, and humans living on the surface.
She spoke passionately, but few were willing to listen. What she spoke of was too ahead of the times for the residents of Fishman Island.
“Brother Mandrell, is it difficult for Fish-Men to live on land?”
Jack, passing by, heard Otohime’s speech and didn’t understand this issue. After all, he had always lived on land and had never faced discrimination.
“It’s not easy. The protection of Governor-General Kaido and Lord Arceus has shielded you from such issues. The outside world is much more complicated than you can imagine. Let’s go; Rusalka’s house is almost there.”
Mandrell pulled Jack away from the scene. He wasn’t interested in the speech, but he didn’t notice that Otohime’s gaze was on them. It was Otohime’s innately powerful Observation Haki, able to sense the thoughts and emotions of others.
She had used this ability to see how many people were willing to acknowledge her. Although there were no significant results, she unexpectedly sensed some thoughts from Mandrell and Jack.
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