What’s most interesting in Chapter 997 is that we have what may be the first hint toward the true nature of Kaido’s power. Yamato says that Kaido is lifting the island using flame clouds – the same power which allows him as a dragon to fly.
We have already seen Momonosuke demonstrate this ability on Punk Hazard when he carries Luffy out of the scrap heap. Momonosuke gained his ability through an artificial Zoan devil fruit created by Dr. Vegapunk considered to be a failure.
Exactly what Kaido is and where his powers come from has long been in question. His introduction describes him as ‘the strongest creature alive’ and his crew are called the Beasts Pirates or Animal Kingdom Pirates, implying he’s something more than or other than human.
We know he transforms into a dragon, which lends to the idea that he has a mythical dragon zoan devil fruit, yet Oda chose not to reveal the name of his devil fruit when his powers were revealed which is curious and implies there could be something else going on here.
In chapter 997 Yamato states “Dragons can use flame clouds to ….” which is rather thoughtful, she neither said “Kaido can” or made a reference to a devil fruit; makes you wonder Kaido might be a real dragon himself and would also clear why he was stated to be the strongest on sea too.
All of which lends to the idea that Kaido may in fact be a dragon by birth. This could mean that Kaido has eaten a human or oni devil fruit, thus explaining his transformation powers. Alternatively, in some folk stories, Chinese style Dragons like Kaido do innately possess the ability to transform into a humanoid form.