Thirty-two names are written with a Superman-blue Pentel Sharplet-2 mechanical pencil purchased in Metropolis, Illinois on a piece of paper of no particular origin. This paper is sliced into thirty-two pieces with a slide cutter whose blade was baptized with blood from my own finger*.
These lovingly-crafted ballots go into a piece of Hull pottery willed to me by a loved relative, now deceased. Thirty-two names go in, sixteen pairs are drawn. These are the matches of the Third Round of the 2009 Arlong Park Character Tournament.
In our first match of the round, we have a Sniper among Snipers, Supersonic Van Augur versus the legendary beauty and Shichibukai, The Pirate Empress Boa Hancock.
The second match features a tear-jerking reunion between the main protagonist and everybody's favorite Rubber Man, Monkey D. Luffy, and The Little Dog That Could, ShuShu!
Our third match features two men are the very definition of manliness. The Legendary Quack and Healer of Drum, Doctor Hiruluk. His opponent: The King of the Sea, the one, the only Whitebeard Edward Newgate!
From there, we process on to a match between two of the great intellects of the Odaverse. The last remaining member of Shank's crew, the First Mate, Benn Beckman versus the last surviving Demon of Ohara, Nicccooo Robbbbin!
Our fifth match takes a turn for the strange when it matches the King of Newkama, the maestro of hormones, Emporio Ivanov versus the Lord of Thriller Bark, the king of shadows, Gecko Moria!
Next, we turn to a paragon of Justice, and the highest-ranking Marine to advance into the Tournament, Monkey D. Garp and his opponent, the former Shichibukai and Hero of the nation of Alabasta, Sir Crocodile!
For decades, he waited in mist and darkness, now Dead Bones Brook will have to deal with an entirely different type of cloud as he faces his next opponent: Commodore Smoker of the Marines!
From there, we head to the darkest corners of the Great Underwater Prison to find our next contestant, Warden Magellan, one of the greatest servants of Justice and the World Government Legal System. Appropriate indeed then is that his opponent is the greatest criminal the world has ever known. The eighth match of the round: Magellan versus Gold Roger!
One of the more reknowned of the current crop of rookies, Trafalgar Law has made quite a name for himself in the Odaverse and in the fanbase. But will this help him against the Legendary (albeit self-declared) King of the Snipers, Usopp?
Once a pirate of great fame and now content with life aboard a humble restaurant, Red-Leg Zeff is in our tenth match. Here he faces the God of Skypiea and Conqueror of the Fairy Vearth, Ener!
A dreamer and a man whose chivalry is beyond reproach: the eleventh match of the Third Round: descendant of the Legendary Liar, Monbran Cricket versus The Knight of the Sea, Jinbeeeeiiiii!
In our twelfth match, he made us cry in Alabasta, he made us cry in Impel Down, he is the greatest friend a Straw Hat could have: Mr. 2 Bon Kurei. His opponent: The First Person, a swordsman whose seeks the summit of his profession, he is Roronoa Zoro!
Thirteen matches in. We come to another Hero of Alabasta and the sole surviving member of that nation in this tournament, he is Carue and his opponent is going to be the Cat Burglar, Nami!
The last such tournament had a startling match that came out of nowhere. Here, that match shall be repeated, but will the results be the same? Cutty "Franky" Flam versus the Love Cook, Sanji, Part 2!
Will hypnotism work on a bear? Find out in the fifteenth match as Django takes on Bepo!
And, as the tournament draws to a close, can there be any better match to end it with a bang than between two people seeking to be Pirate King? In one corner, formerly of the Whitebeard Pirate Crew and now his own master, Blackbeard Marshall D. Teach! In the other, formerly of the Roger Pirate Crew, and seeking his fortune, the dread pirate Buggy The Clown!
All this begins tomorrow tonight. This very night, we are arranging a temporary diversion which might be of some interest to you. Join us, won't you?
THESE ARE THE MATCHES OF THE THIRD ROUND:
Papa Ibotas vs Mama Debonair vs Baby Straungur (87:75:125)
Van Augur vs. Boa Hancock (141:289)
Luffy vs ShuShu (326:86)
Hiruluk vs Whitebeard (160:264)
Beckman vs Nico Robin (96:313)
Ivankov vs Moria (276:173)
Garp vs Crocodile (248:248)
Brook vs Smoker (251:210)
Magellan vs Gold Roger (207:240)
Law vs Usopp (162:267)
Zeff vs Ener (174:247)
Cricket vs Jinbei (90:334)
Bon Kurei vs Zoro (261:277)
Carue vs Nami (128:308)
Franky vs Sanji (245:272)
Django vs Bepo (247:186)
Blackbeard vs Buggy (210:248)
*Seriously though, pay attention when you switch out blades for one of those things; they're sharper than they look.