Chapter 497 is titled "Adventure on the Archipelago of Dancing Soap Bubbles".
CP9's Independent Report, Vol. 7: "To Save Rob Lucci: Kumadori Showboats For Medical Fees".
While most of the Straw Hat Pirates have left to explore the wonders of Sabaody Archipelago, Franky and Usopp have stayed behind to repair the ship and Sanji has stayed to protect the ship on Nami's request. Zoro then leaves to explore by himself, but Usopp and Sanji object to it, saying that he will get lost due to his poor sense of direction. Zoro states that since all the trees are numbered, he will just have to remember the grove number and ask for directions to get back. Sanji and Usopp agree to his logic but as Zoro leaves the ship he misreads the grove number as Grove 1 instead of Grove 41 due to a passing bubble.
Elsewhere on the archipelago, Hatchan, accompanied by Camie and Pappag, explains to the rest of the Straw Hats what he knows about the Celestial Dragons. He states that they wear masks to avoid breathing the same air as "common folk", that they are incredibly proud, that one should never defy them and makes Luffy promise him to not go up against them. He also warns Luffy that since there are many pirates aiming for the New World as well as bounty hunters and kidnappers, they should not do anything that attracts attention. Luffy asks Hatchan where he received the wound on his head but Hatchan tells him to ignore it and further warns him that due to their close proximity to Marine Headquarters, the Marines and bounty hunters are all very strong. He continues by saying that he and Camie should not be regarded as mermaids or fish-men and Robin backs him up. Luffy then sticks his head through a bubble and manages to pull the rest of his body in. A vendor then offers Luffy a device that allows him to drive the bubble around and explains that that it will cost 500 to rent and 10,000 to buy.
Luffy wants to buy it, but Hatchan talks him out of it, stating that he will explain later. As the Straw Hats drive around on their new toys, Hatchan tells Luffy that the bubbles will pop outside of Sabaody Archipelago, so it is useless to buy one of the devices. Luffy is disappointed, but Camie tells him that they can also use these devices on Fish-Man Island, as they have similar bubbles.
While Luffy and Chopper find some food to eat, Pappag tells Brook that the person to see in the island is the Mermaid Princess and promises to hook them up as he is her best friend. Robin notices that there are a lot of hotels in Grove 35 and Hatchan explains that those are there for sailors awaiting approval to pass over the Red Line from Mary Geoise. Meanwhile, Nami spots a shopping mall, as Brook, Chopper and Luffy pick up some souvenirs. As Nami and Robin depart to go shopping, Nami says that Camie has become more reserved since they arrived and Robin states that she may have a bad history associated with the island.
Luffy and Hatchan race across the archipelago, but as they near Grove 31, Luffy spots something odd. A pirate is standing in the middle of the road asking for an axe or a saw to get his neck-ring off, stating that he will not hurt anyone and that he has a baby son waiting for him at home. Hatchan observes that the man is most likely a slave that ran away from his masters but states that it is useless to do so. As the man tries to get his neck ring off, it explodes, which Hatchan says is the same for all slaves; if they try to escape, the ring explodes, likely killing them. The Straw Hats look on in horror, unable to do anything as Hatchan instructs Luffy to get out of his bon chari. On top of a building, a shadowed figure with a broadaxe states that the man is Devil Dias, a 60,000,000 bounty pirate whom he thinks would have never made it in the New World.
A small dog walks up to the collapsed man and urinates on his body and Hatchan tells Luffy to get down on his knees because the Celestial Dragons are right behind their pet dog. Two Celestial Dragons appear, one with a gigantic man chained behind him and the other stating that she will simply have to buy another slave. The woman states that she is disgusted by the "useless" man and shoots him. Luffy is outraged to see her treat him like dirt, especially when he can't even move, and tries to stop them, but Hatchan grabs him before can do anything. As she walks off, she states that she would like a giant as a slave but her father tells her that she should have a young child to hone her disciplinary skills. As the Straw Hats leave, they discuss over the cruelty of those two Celestial Dragons, and wonder why Devil Dias couldn't stand up to them, especially when he seemed more powerful than them. Pappag states that if someone defies a Celestial Dragon, that person will be the target of a Marine admiral. Chopper asks Pappag about what makes them so special. Pappag explains that the Celestial Dragons are descendants of the twenty kings who founded the World Government eight hundred years ago. Over the years, they grossly abused their power and influence because of their lineage.
- The Mermaid Princess is first mentioned.
- The World Nobles, also known as the Celestial Dragons, appear.
- After his slave was deemed useless, the world noble decides to acquire a giant slave instead.
- If a World Noble is harmed by someone, they have the power to summon a Marine Battleship led by an Admiral to eliminate the said person.
- The World Nobles are revealed to be the descendants of the Twenty Kings who created the World Government, which is why they can get away with anything they want, including murder and slavery.
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