Chapter 288 is titled "Curse".
Ace's Great Blackbeard Search, Vol. 14: "Intruder-Commander Ace".
After Mont Blanc Noland slayed their "God" and saved Kalgara's daughter, he proceeds to duel against the Shandia warrior Kalgara who seeks retribution from Noland for killing their god. The two briefly clash. In the middle of the battle Mousse attempts to commit suicide after being pressured by her father. Noland berates her for her foolish actions. This distraction causes him to be struck in the chest by Kalgara's spear. Noland offers to cure the village's plague and was given until sunset to find the cure for the tribe's plague and Noland began to look for the tree with the treatment inside.
The Shandia are in dire panic in the wake of Mont Blanc Noland slaying Kashigami, who they believed to be their God. Noland's own crew begins to panic as well, unsure of what exactly their captain has just gotten them into. As the villagers call upon Kalgara to kill Noland as retribution, the two men stare each other down. Kalgara's daughter, Mousse, begins to weep at the inevitable clash between the two warriors. Noland attempts to reason, but Kalgara is uninterested and rushes him. They exchange taunts during their clash: Noland asks if this is all Kalgara's got, while Kalgara states this is nothing, but at least it's "progress". The Shandia are shocked that Noland is able to match Kalgara in strength. Kalgara sees his daughter watching the fight, and throws her a dagger. He implores her to take her own life to save the village, telling her she should be ashamed. She attempts to comply, but Noland smacks the dagger out of her hand. Kalgara however takes advantage of the opening, impaling Noland through the back of his shoulder. Noland's crew calls out for him in worry, but they are held at knife point by the villagers. Kalgara states that the crime of slaying their God can't be redeemed by Noland's life alone, adding Noland's crew to the retribution. This infuriates Noland, who states it is a shame that the concept of using blood to appease gods still exists in this time and age. He vehemently refuses to be sacrificed, ridiculing the idea of using God as an excuse to take lives. He instead proposes that the Shandia give him time, and he will accomplish the same feat that they intended by sacrificing Mousse's life: curing the village of their sickness. This causes an uproar among the Shandia, and Kalgara reaffirms his intent to kill Noland. Noland however counters that if he were to escape, the villagers would continue their tradition of sacrificing people, which he intends to never let them do again. The Shandia Chieftain however senses Noland's sincerity, and gives Noland a deadline of the next day's sunset to keep his promise while his crew is imprisoned.
As Noland's crew sit in their cell, there are mixed feelings of both doubt and reassurance that he will get the job done. They notice that Mousse is locked up as well in a cell adjacent to them, and some of them wonder how she can live in a village like this. When she inquires about their captain however, the crew universally praises Noland's reputation as an explorer, botanist, and beloved man in general. While Mousse herself has no reaction, this appears to be put the crew at ease, with many of them now wondering what they can do to pass time.
At the chieftain's residence, a few of the villagers question him about why they were not allowed to kill the intruders. He responds that they will have their answers tomorrow, as the village's continued survival is worth the wait. The disgruntled villagers urge Kalgara himself to speak up, who simply states that he will kill Noland immediately at the first sign of trouble. The chieftain agrees to this, saying that since they can no longer hear the voice of their god, he will instead listen to the voice of his people. Kalgara leaves in frustration, only to see Seto outside waiting for him. He asks Seto if he's feeling any better, to which he responds that he is. However, Seto asks Kalgara to elaborate on his meaning of the word "progress" when he said it to Noland during their fight. Elsewhere in the forest, Noland is delighted that he has found exactly what he was looking for: the Kona Tree.
The next day, Noland's crew and the rest of the villagers are awoken by an earthquake. The crew asks to be freed, while the villagers panic that Kashigami is enacting his wrath upon them. Kalgara immediately begins his hunt for Noland, upset with himself that he allowed the explorer to live. The earthquake has drastically changed the landscape of the entire island, causing a very large part of it to sink. Kalgara notices this as he zips through the forest, and eventually discovers Noland wedged in one of the crevices where the island split apart. He taunts Noland, telling him that God did this to him. Noland however retorts that their God must not be that powerful, only being able to take down one man. Kalgara calls him stubborn, and Noland asks why he's come. Kalgara explains that he will kill him for the sake of their god Kashi, and asks if he knows why the earthquake happened. Noland is amused at the thought of the snake causing an earthquake, and jokes that it must want to eat him first. This draws more ire from Kalgara, though Noland continues by reaffirming his intent to get back to the village. Kalgara however, is content to sit and watch Noland attempt to get himself out of his current predicament.
- Mont Blanc Noland duels against Kalgara.
- Mont Blanc Noland offers to cure the Shandias' plague.
- The Shandia agree, on the condition that his crew is imprisoned while he finds the cure.
- Mousse is imprisoned as well.
- Noland has a deadline of the next day's sunset to come back with the cure.
- Noland discovers the Kona Tree, which will allow him to synthesize the cure.
- A large earthquake occurs that forever changes the landscape of Jaya.
- Noland becomes wedged in the earth split by the quake, rendering him unable to return to the village.
- Kalgara arrives to kill Noland, believing his actions to be responsible for the earthquake.
- Episode 187 (p. 2-19)
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