65 Chapter 65: Recovery

"What a fierce battlefield, these traces—"

Several hours later, a naval fleet rapidly approached Odysseus. Standing on the deck, the Rear Admiral of the North Sea Branch saw the almost ruined docks from a few kilometers away, a sight that left them both horrified and angered.

"It's Balfor Tani. We arrived late."

The Colonel of the branch next to them took over the conversation, his tone difficult to determine whether he was lamenting or relieved.

Encountering the white dragon at sea was an unmitigated disaster for most pirates and the Navy alike. With a single breath in the air, a warship would be instantly turned into a block of ice. In this era, there weren't many "anti-air" measures available; they could only rely on skilled individuals to snipe from afar.

"It seems like Akancolia's side won a brutal victory."

As the naval ships drew closer, the Rear Admiral noticed that the battlefield was being cleaned up by the civilians of Odysseus. Many people who appeared to be pirates were tied up in one corner of the docks.

Initially, the Rear Admiral believed that even if they had arrived immediately, they would mostly be facing a city that had been reduced to ruins, slaughtered to the last. But now, it seemed different.

"Have you heard of any powerful individuals from Akancolia?"

"No," the Colonel shook his head and then added, "It could be infighting among pirates or encountering powerful passersby or something like that."

"Raise the flag, prepare to dock."

"Let's find out what's going on."

At this moment, in the castle halfway up the hill behind the city of Odysseus.

"We apologize for this. Ever since the king relocated his office to the Lord's mansion in the city 200 years ago, this castle has been used as a military camp. The conditions are rudimentary, and we ask for your understanding, heroes..."

A city official expressed his apologies to the 'youths' lying on the couch.

Unlike what most people assumed—beautiful murals, luxurious decorations, the love stories of princesses and princes—the actual castle was solid and robust. The narrow windows allowed only faint light inside, creating a chilly and damp environment that was anything but comfortable.

After all, the original purpose of a castle was to be a military structure to defend against external threats!

"It's okay, go about your business."

Rosinante waved his hand and simultaneously picked up a piece of meat to toss into his mouth.

If you talked about poor conditions, could it be worse than the cabin floor he shared with Doflamingo?

For Rosinante, Doflamingo, Pica, Trafalgar Law, Cavendish, and Diamente, who were all wrapped in bandages and were eating and drinking heartily, the environment here was already quite decent.

Although natural lighting was lacking and many wind turbines had been destroyed, they definitely wouldn't treat Rosinante and the others badly as the "saviors" of the city.

The hall was illuminated as bright as day by numerous candles on the surrounding walls. An array of sumptuous food was available for them to casually consume.

Everyone's wounds had been cleansed with "Life Water" and treated with bandages and sutures by Doflamingo's thread ability. They were all eagerly replenishing their energy by feasting.

"I mean, I say, I say,"

Even now, Cavendish's face still couldn't believe it,

"Rosinante, did you really defeat the 'White Dragon' Balfor Tani?"

That was the captain of the White Dragon Pirate Crew, a figure of North Sea legends. Although Rosinante's strength was quite good, compared to the ruler of the North Sea...

"How is that possible?"

Rosinante, wrapped in bandages from head to toe, rolled his eyes. Despite being credited as a hero for single-handedly facing Balfor Tani and saving the entire city, in reality, he was already severely injured all over, while the other side only had a superficial wound on their neck.

"Don't listen to the nonsense here. At most, I only delayed that woman and made her retreat when she realized the difficulty."

"Plus, it wasn't just my effort: Jola's Art-Art Fruit, the encouragement from the poet vice mayor, and my recently mastered Observation Haki allowed me to exchange blows with her briefly."

"···That's still very impressive," Diamente exclaimed sincerely, feeling relieved to be the least injured among them.

Although he had been punched into the captain's cabin by "Baldy" Alok, he had merely lost consciousness. This experience had dampened the usually arrogant Diamente's spirits.

While his companions were fighting hard, he was just lying around... Even if no one blamed him, he couldn't pass this test in his own heart.

"Families becoming stronger should be a good thing, shouldn't it?" Doflamingo pushed up his sunglasses and gestured with his finger. A sausage on the table in front of them automatically flew over to him.

"It wasn't until I encountered the North Sea's number one pirate crew that I realized the gap between us and the strong."

"To catch up with them and surpass them is what we need to do next!"

This was a valid point. Only with a clear goal could people find the motivation to pursue it vigorously.

"Speaking of that," Rosinante set down his knife and fork, picking up a beer and taking a sip.

"I've found that the Silence Fruit's development is quite useful."

It was useful for auxiliary training!

For Rosinante's training in Observation Haki, one crucial aspect was to cast aside "distractions" and focus the mind. Achieving a state of complete immersion was quite metaphysical.

Ordinary experts practicing Observation Haki needed a lot of time to refine their abilities, or they could achieve a heightened state of concentration automatically in life-or-death situations or when their comrades were in danger.

"But my Silence Fruit can block out 'distractions'."

"Although the effect might be slightly diminished when applied to you all, it still offers significant assistance in practicing Observation Haki."

In wuxia novels, this could be likened to "entering a meditative state" in a second.

"Great, hehehe~~" Trafalgar Law's excitement was beyond words. With Bellamy and Vergo starting to develop, he, being the oldest among them, was worried about falling behind in terms of strength within the family.

Although his face was cheerful, his heart was just as anxious. If he mastered "Observation Haki," wouldn't his strength drastically increase? This was especially true since his Devil Fruit ability had a great weakness to fire, which could be compensated for. As long as he severed the mucus before the opponent could ignite it, he wouldn't have to worry about being instantly defeated by a lighter.

"Let me remind you, training might not go smoothly."

Even Rosinante himself only comprehended Observation Haki by combining his Devil Fruit ability at a life-or-death juncture. If others didn't put in the effort themselves and expected Rosinante's Devil Fruit ability to instantly grant everyone Observation Haki, it wouldn't be realistic.

But speaking of putting in effort, Doflamingo definitely wasn't lacking it. Bellamy, who was usually quiet, and Vergo, who was diligent, didn't need to be worried about either. It was just:

"Hey, hey, hey, what's with that look?"

"This great one is a genius! I'll be the first to master Observation Haki!"

Facing the indignant tall and thin duo, Rosinante nodded.

"Fine, I believe you."

"You should be saying that while looking at us, right?"

"Hey, don't turn your face away—"

It wasn't that Rosinante was deliberately provoking the two of them, but the Tang Jike family had started from a very low point. Before taking down the Jeter family and starting to develop, everyone's strength was oddly inversely proportional to their age. If Trafalgar Law and Diamente didn't work hard, their strength might end up at the bottom.

"Speaking of Haki, Rosinante," Doflamingo sliced several pieces of food into segments in midair, his ability in practice as he ate.

"Vergo seems to have awakened 'Armament Haki.'"

"What?!"

"No way?!"

Armament Haki wasn't something that relied on the innate Observation Haki, nor did it come from the hereditary Conqueror's Haki. It was a real power that combined the body and will.

Although Vergo was destined to master Armament Haki in the future, his "black and tough" physical strength was enough to send Smoker rolling on the ground searching for his teeth. But Vergo was only eleven years old, wasn't it a bit shocking for him to master Armament Haki?

"...No, I haven't mastered it."

Just as the group was discussing while eating, Vergo, with his arms wrapped in two large masses, walked out. Behind him was Jola in formal attire.

Vergo had the most severe injuries, so the treatment naturally took the longest for him.

It was fortunate that Jola's "Art-Art Fruit" could bestow material properties, turning ordinary medical alcohol into "Life Water" with miraculous healing properties. Otherwise, Vergo's outer skin would have been roasted to charcoal, and he might have had to resort to amputation.

"If it weren't for the advice of that Vice Captain, maybe I would have simply thought that my head was knocked out from being burnt..."

Vergo recalled the previous scene,

"Rather than Armament Haki, it's more like an 'achievement' attained through determination."

Isn't enduring damage with 'determination' something that should be standard for main characters?

In fact, this was already a sign of the awakening of Armament Haki.

After listening to Vergo's account, Rosinante speculated that he had unconsciously unleashed a brief moment of Armament Haki:

Many pirates, marines, and even ordinary people could suddenly burst forth with power far beyond their normal state or withstand immense damage in extreme situations. This seemed to be the bud of "Armament Haki." So—

"Vergo, remember the feeling at that time. If you can maintain that state, your strength will truly skyrocket in an instant!"

This was Armament Haki. It was like donning an invisible suit of steel armor, not to mention the significant boost in strength it provided. Moreover, it could also harm Logia users and withstand the various Devil Fruit abilities in the world of the New World!

"Sure," Vergo nodded and took a seat. He was about to reach out for food, but was stopped by Jola behind him.

"Although your arm has been saved, it's best not to move recklessly."

Jola, the lady of high society, skillfully sliced open a piece of bread and offered it to Vergo with a fork, the tough young man who had faced flames without flinching now slightly taken aback.

"...Thank you," Vergo said.

"The one you should thank is me," Jola replied.

"If it weren't for all of you, me, and this city, would all have been utterly destroyed."

After Vergo finished eating the bread Jola had given him, the mature lady curtsied solemnly to Rosinante and the others.

"Thank you very much!"

Why did she make it so serious?

"Hehehe, skip the verbal thanks," Doflamingo interjected.

"As for compensation for this battle and future trade discounts, could the queen help us settle it later?"

For the current Doflamingo, what were women? They only slowed down his development of Devil Fruit powers!

"No problem," Jola agreed readily, her face showing a hint of hesitation.

"However, this city has just suffered immense damage. The cost of reconstruction, compensation for casualties, and rewards for other merchants will amount to astronomical figures. So—"

"Hey, hey, hey, are you trying to default on payment?"

Tora Boru stood up indignantly to question, and Diamente had already grabbed the Western sword nearby, his vigilant gaze quickly scanning the surroundings. It was as if the scene from a drama was about to unfold—where cups were thrown as a signal, and swordsmen would emerge to duel.

"Wait, please don't misunderstand."

Facing the vigilant Trafalgar Law family, Jola waved her hands in a fluster.

"I don't mean to default on payment. It's just that the city can't offer a substantial reward, so—"

"Please let me join the Trafalgar Law family and repay the debt through work."

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(End of this chapter)

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