Chapter 253 is titled "Vearth".
Wapol's Omnivorous Hurrah Vol. 16: "Wapol's Toyshop Gained Much Popularity In A Short Time".
The Shandia have continued their campaign through Upper Yard, but must now halt their progress as Kamakiri has been hurt. Engaged in battle with the priest "Skybreeder" Ohm and his dog Holy, Wiper reluctantly retreats with the rest of the Shandia to treat their wounded. Ohm is prepared to pursue them, but another priest, "Sky Boss" Gedatsu, arrives and tells him that Enel has summoned them. At the Straw Hat's encampment, Luffy is assisting Sanji in preparing a meal for the crew. Watching water boil, he complains about how boring his job is, but Sanji stresses the importance of having water for the crew tomorrow. Just then Zoro and Chopper return from a supply run. Chopper has found bananas, walnuts, aloe, and garlic. Zoro has come back with rats and frogs. Sanji tells them to put it all in the stew, prompting Nami to comment that some weird things going into it. Sanji guesses that she is referring to the garlic, which Nami vehemently denies. Robin then returns as well, holding a blue rock that Nami initially takes for a gemstone. It is actually crystallized salt, much to Sanji's delight. Chopper decides to keep some of the aloe and garlic for medical treatment and helping the Knight of The Sky, which slightly confuses Zoro, as he assumed Chopper would need the frogs. Sanji then asks Zoro to help out with preparation as well; he has him hold a smoldering rock to place in the stew, much to the latter's annoyance at the use of his swords. Luffy wonders if they're supposed to eat the rock too, as Sanji explains that the heat from the rock helps cook the stew.
As Sanji puts the finishing touches on their meal, Nami has finished creating a map. With the crew gathered and eating, Nami starts by first reviewing what they have learned from Montblanc Noland's tale : He traveled to the City of Gold 400 years ago. A few years later he returned in search for the golden city, but it had seemingly vanished without a trace. Most evidence implicates that particular part of the island being blasted into the sky by the Knock Up Stream, but Zoro points out that the animals and vegetation of both islands vary too greatly to have come from the same place. Robin, however, points out that there are much different substances in both environments that impact their growth in drastically different ways. Chopper makes note of the size of the south bird that saved them (compared to the one that got them to Skypiea), to which Sanji questions why they were saved in the first place. Chopper isn't sure, but points out that the birds were referring to the Knight of The Sky as "God". This blows Luffy away, as he immediately associates the actions of Enel with the title and consequently thinks that he has to beat up the Knight of The Sky. This earns him ridicule from Usopp, which eases Pierre's fears that Luffy may actually hurt his master. Nami continues recapping the information Noland's book gave them about the Golden City, including a golden belfry. Robin calls attention to the things Noland wrote on the last page of his diary, more specifically his quote about seeing the gold in the "Skull's Right Eye". Nami is thinking the same thing, and shows the crew what happens she aligns the map Robin found in Jaya, with the ancient map of Skypiea: when combined at the point Montblanc Cricket's home splits, the two islands form a skull.
With this new revelation, the "Skull's Right Eye" is shown to be a specific area in Upper Yard. Because the island was still one land mass at the time of Noland's discovery, the logic no longer held true and the riddle was impossible to solve by the time he returned. The crew decides to head for this point the next day, but they cannot leave the Going Merry unattended, so will split into two groups. Robin notices that it is getting late, and suggest putting out the fire so as to not give away their position to the enemy. Luffy calls this idea stupid (greatly shocking Robin), but Usopp tells Luffy to give her the benefit of the doubt in recognition of the dark life she has lived up until now. When Robin inquires what they mean, they explain that you simply have to have a campfire on camping night, even if it means death. Nami attempts to scold the two about how dangerous the forest is, but realizes it is futile when Zoro and Sanji join in by creating a woodpile. Sanji attempts to quell her fears by explaining that the beasts are afraid of fire, but eyes begin to ominously appear from the darkness behind him, only scaring her further. Ironically, she is soon enjoying herself with everyone else: the eyes are revealed to have belonged to wolves, who befriend the crew and dance with them around the campfire.
In the midst of the festivities, the Knight of The Sky finally awakens from his rest. He is greatly amused that the wolves have been tamed, and furthermore that probably no one else would make so much noise in Enel's home. He attempts to apologize that he couldn't be more helpful to the crew, but they denounce this and offer him some food. Luffy and Chopper actually ask him to come dance, much to Zoro's bewilderment (Zoro and Chopper often argue about the former's mobility after medical treatment). Sanji asks him about Conis and Pagaya, and he assures they are safe at his home. His face becomes more serious, and he reveals that he overheard their conversations about Upper Yard's history. He was unaware that the land was once known as Jaya, but nonetheless asks them if they know why Upper Yard is known as the "Holy Land". He goes on to explain to the crew that the ground beneath their feet is rather common to them, but to the people of the sky, it is quite the opposite. Island cloud can nurture plant life, but it cannot give birth to it; thus soil and plant life are not things of the sky. There, they refer to the soil as "vearth", and will forever hold it sacred.
In another area of Upper Yard, there is discord in the Shandia Village over their earlier mission. Wiper is berating Laki for her lack of focus, blaming Kamakiri's injury on his need to save her. She apologizes, and tearfully begs for the small bag that Wiper has snatched from her. She exclaims it is Aisa's treasure, and she promised the little girl she would bring her some Vearth. Wiper counters that is exactly why she couldn't focus. She continues to beg for the bag back, until Kamakiri himself appears and knocks the bag to the ground. He claims that he can still fight, and agrees with Wiper that there is no better time than now to strike with one of the Priests already down. He goes on to say that if they defeat Enel there will no longer be any need to cherish a small bag of Vearth, and the Shandia will finally be able to return to the home that they lost 400 years ago.
- The Shandia battle Ohm, but must retreat when Kamakiri is injured.
- Nami places the maps of Jaya and Skypiea adjacent to one another, showing that they used to form one land mass in the shape of a skull.
- The portion of the island Montblanc Noland discovered the gold was blasted into the sky by the Knock Up Stream in the few years before he could return.
- The resources of Sky Island allowed the local life forms to grow much larger than their blue sea counterparts.
- Splitting into teams, the crew will venture to the "Skull's Right Eye", where Noland saw the gold.
- Chopper reveals that some of the local wildlife refer to the Knight of The Sky as "God".
- The Knight of The Sky explains that the people of the sky refer to soil as "vearth", and it is considered sacred.
- The land of Skypeia is only able to nurture plant life, not give birth to it, as soil is not a naturally occuring substance.
- Upper Yard was home to the Shandia 400 years ago.
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