The World Nobles, also known as the Celestial Dragons, are descendants of 19 of the 20 founding Kings of the organization known as the World Government in the lore of Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece manga. But, as the previous sentence suggests, one of them was the “black sheep” of the group, and while she did establish the World Government, she refused to abandon her people and move to Mary Geoise. The monarch we are talking about is Queen Lili of Arabasta, and in this article, we will tell you everything we know about the rebel queen from the Void Century.
Nefertari Lili was the ruler, and queen, of the Kingdom of Arabasta during the Void Century. She is credited with establishing the World Government with the 19 other monarchs of her era. But, unlike the others, Lili refused to become a World Noble and move to Mary Geoise, opting instead to return to Arabasta; she never reached her home, as she disappeared on the way back. An unnamed younger brother succeeded her.
The rest of this article will be about Queen Lili of Arabasta, her backstory, and her role in the world of Oda’s One Piece series. We will introduce you to her history and tell you what exactly happened to her, how she developed as a character, where Queen Lili is now, and what she is doing. This article will contain many manga spoilers, so if you’re not fully up-to-date with everything, you have been warned.
Queen Lili was a maverick who believed in the cause, but that probably cost her her life
Fans of One Piece will know just how important and notorious the Void Century is in the lore. The Void Century is a hundred-year period without a trace except for inscriptions on the Poneglyphs. It is chronologically located 900 to 800 years before current events. Therefore, everything that happened there is unknown and constitutes a real enigma.
All that remains of that time are the mysterious Poneglyphs, steles scattered around the world, on which are engraved texts written in a mysterious language and known only to a few scholars (almost all are now deceased, the only one still alive being Nico Robin).
The only people who seem to have any knowledge of the Void Century are the members of the Five Elders, the former members of the Roger Pirates Crew (except Shanks and Buggy), and the Kōzuki Clan (with Oden being part of the Roger Pirates at the time of its discovery). However, Kōzuki Momonosuke and Kōzuki Hiyori were too small (we cannot exclude the possibility that they were told everything before the events of 20 years ago).
However, they don’t seem willing to announce in broad daylight what they have discovered (except at least Silvers Rayleigh, who intended to reveal to the Straw Hat Pirates what One Piece is). According to Professor Clover, the 20 founding Kingdoms of the World Government would have, 800 years ago, annihilated a gigantic kingdom called the Old Kingdom, and the Poneglyphs would tell the story of this kingdom, which is why they are so important.
But it’s not just the Poneglyphs and the Old Kingdom; the Void Century contains many other intriguing stories, and one of them is directly connected to the World Government.
Chapter 1084 of the manga showed us a scene where King Nefertari Cobra of Arabasta approached the Five Elders to talk to them about the Void Century and the foundation of the World Government. He confirms that he knows the story and that his ancestor, Queen Lili, also founded the organization, but that she refused to go to Mary Geoise, which is why there are only 19 weapons around the empty throne.
The Five Elders confirm this story and ask him what the point of it all is; Cobra replies that he wants to know what happened to Queen Lili as, by all accounts, she never made it back to Arabasta while sailing, and the kingdom was then taken over by her younger brother, who is, as of the time of writing, still unnamed.
The Five Elders do confirm this but say that Lili’s fate has been lost to the annals of history, implying that they do not know what happened to her either, which is probably a lie.
Before leaving, Cobra asks them what the initial “D.” stands for, but before replying, they ask him why he is asking that question. Cobra then replies that he is in possession of a short letter written by Queen Lili herself, which has been passed down to members of his family. Their answer is not revealed, and when the manga goes back to that specific scene, we see another shocking moment: Im, the secret ruler of the World Government, appears in the room, shocking the Five Elders (because Cobra was still there), goes up to the Empty Throne and sits on it, shocking Cobra when he mentions Lili’s name.
Queen Lili is thus given a pivotal role in the story. We don’t know much about her, except that she was seemingly very close to her own people and was a powerful ruler at the time. All the post-Void Century texts mention nothing about her, and had it not been for Cobra’s letter, no one would know about her or her fate. This implies that the World Government decided to erase her out of existence, which is their standard modus operandi when something that threatens their stability is concerned.
Queen Lili was certainly a danger to the original World Nobles, so they eliminated her at one point in the story. She also seems to be connected to the Will of D. somehow, but at this point, we don’t know how; this will probably establish a relationship between Lili and Luffy, which is going to be important for understanding the meaning and importance of the Will of D. for the lore. Im also seems to have taken some interest in her, which implies that Lili’s story will be very important later on in the series and that her role might be groundbreaking.
As for Cobra, it is unknown whether this scene takes part before or after Sabo’s assault. Namely, if it takes place after, it means that Sabo did really not kill Cobra and that the World Government has framed him so that they can eliminate him because he has become a threat to them. This would mean that Sabo was telling the truth this whole time.
On the other hand, if the scene takes place before, then we have two possible scenarios: one, Sabo did really kill Cobra and is lying about it, which would be too straightforward for Oda and seems like an obvious red herring; two, Im ordered Cobra’s execution because Arabasta’s ruler knew too much and they then decided to frame Sabo for it. This would mean that, one, Sabo is still telling the truth, and, two, the World Government is up to its old schemes. This solution seems like the more plausible one from our perspective.
Be that as it may, Cobra’s meeting with the Five Elders will have a lot of influence on future events, and we cannot wait for the upcoming chapters to reveal more details about the lore of the world of One Piece.