My favorite part of chapter 998 is a minor, but great interaction between Zoro and Drake. While Zoro was technically untrusting of Drake for being a former Beasts Pirate, I like to think it might’ve been a two pronged choice on Oda’s part.
Drake is a Marine and he is asking Zoro, a pirate, to consider him an ally. And through battling together, Zoro and Drake connected, realizing they were kindred spirits. And it’s clear Zoro trusts Drake because he wouldn’t try to go up right away if he were leaving a crewmate like Chopper with a potential threat.
They say battle is where you come to understand each other best, and while brief, Zoro and Drake developed mutual respect for one another. Drake originally tried to ally with Luffy based on Koby’s recommendations and experience with Luffy, though he was unsure of it at first and only did so out of desperation. Working alongside Zoro was what convinced him they were the right side for real. And you can feel the confidence from reassuring Zoro.
This also marks the 3rd Marine swordsman Zoro has befriended/allied with after Tashigi and Fujitora.