Author’s Note: Here it is peeps, the chapter that I am the most excited about posting. I wouldn’t call it my masterpiece, but it’s good in it’s own sense.
WARNING: This chapter has nudity and sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.
Don’t worry, what’s on the warning is not the reason I called this the best chapter yet.
Chapter 10 – Not the Obligatory Hot Spring Episode?
“People of Libertalia, I bring news! As you know, we and the sailors from the Kingdom of Wintergreen had fought a battle against sea monsters earlier! Both of our fleets suffered loses, but we managed to kill that damned Kraken! However, there was the proclamation that the Princess of Wintergreen made earlier! So far… we haven’t come to any agreement! However, we are not a kingdom! And I am not a king! So I ask you, the people of the Free Nation of Libertalia. What do you want!? Right now without the Behemoth, we cannot afford at war with Wintergreen! However, there is another option! If you will allow it, I will return to Wintergreen with her Royal Highness and petition for a treaty! Either way, I will assure that we get our past crimes pardoned and our freedom officially recognized!”
I hate doing those big speeches. However, it’s not right for me to decide whether or not we take Wintergreen’s offer or try to petition for a treaty by myself. So I decided to put it to a vote, the democratic thing to do. Luckily for me that we only have the one town and the floating district. There’s room to make more towns… but no one decided to try it yet.
I just made it back down from the second floor balcony of the tavern and rejoined Ana.
“I’m impressed. No fool can make such a speech.” (Ana)
Oh that impresses her?
“What can I say? Libertalia was founded by the people and for the people. So it’s for the people to decide where we go in the future.”
“Hmm… you are it’s leader for a reason. And now I know.” (Ana)
“At least one of us does, I’m still trying to figure out what they see in me.”
It’s true, I don’t know what they see in me. Is it because they are freed slaves who haven’t thought for themselves in years? Do they need someone to guide them? I don’t even wanna think about it.
“In time, you will. But for now, try listening to what they have to say?” (Ana)
She had a point. I did ask them what they wanted after all, so I have to see this through.
So I walked to the crowd that had quieted down after a bit.
“Have we come to a decision?”
Clef walked up to me.
“Well… we sort have. Captain, you’re not going to like this.” (Clef)
“What? What did you guys decide? Was it war?”
“No, not that option.” (Clef)
“Then why don’t I feel relieved?”
“It’s equally split between the treaty and accepting Wintergreen’s offer.” (Clef)
“I’m serious, half of us have decided that it’s better to live as subjects of Wintergreen.” (Clef)
NO! How could they… how could they do this to me!?
“Are you guys forgetting why this nation was founded!?”
“None of us have forgotten, it was founded in order to fight slavery.” (Clef)
“Then why did they decide to go under a crown that still believes in it!?”
“Because there’s other ways to fight besides using swords and magic.” (Clef)
“Wait… you don’t mean…”
“That’s right, politics can be a weapon as well. If we were to have a representative, they can fight using the political system. It’s true that we want the pardons and freedom, but we can ask for more.” (Clef)
“Clef, your idea is a double-edged sword that could hurt us as well.”
“It is. However, we can still threaten war if they refuse like they tried earlier.” (Clef)
“I get it… it’s because they can’t afford a war either. Most of their resources are being used in the war against the demons. Not to mention their naval power was mostly used up in the fight against the Kraken.”
“That’s right captain, they are in a more pitiable state than we are. So now’s the time to take advantage.” (Clef)
He had a point, now was the time to take advantage of Wintergreen. I would had rather have done a treaty where we don’t attack vessels baring the flag of Wintergreen and they don’t bother us… but that’s halfway out the window. I understand the citizens, they are tired of an outlaw life-style. If they had a way to keep their freedom without living that way, they would take it. Besides… I always wanted to be a social justice warrior.
I ran back up to the balcony. It’s not that I don’t trust Clef at all… but I had to hear it from the people themselves.
“People of Libertalia, Clef had informed me that half of you are for the treaty and half of you want to take Wintergreen’s offer! Is this true!?”
“““““Yes!””””” (the people)
“In that case, I will go to King Victor Wintergreen himself and negotiate a deal! I’ll only accept the offer if the treaty fails! However, our fight is not over! Not by a long shot! I will assure you that I will keep fighting against slavery! If not with swords or magic, then in the King’s court! Hell, I swear it under the black flag!”
“““““Hurrah!””””” (the people)
“Now… how about we feast on the beasts that tried to make a feast out of us!?”
“““““HURRAH!!!!!!!!!””””” (the people)
I then got down from the balcony only to meet with a smirking Ana.
“So… it looks like half the people of Libertalia are less foolish than you are?” (Ana)
“We’ll see, Princess.”
“Really now? I can only stand witness as history unfolds.” (Ana)
“Either way, it’s a win for Libertalia. Whether or not your father agrees to a treaty, we still get pardons and freedom.”
It’s true. History will unfold when I return to Wintergreen. And no matter what happens, the people of Libertalia will get pardoned and officially freed. However… I will never give up my cause. Whether it be at sea or in the court, I will keep fighting for my cause.
Within the hour, there was a feast. Dishes made from the Kraken, sea serpents, and even gill-men were served. People of both Wintergreen and Libertalia were eating, dancing, drinking and singing together. I ended up with three dance partners, the Princess, Chloe, and even Miyuki. With Miyuki… it reminded me of when I was still her elder brother. But still, we all had fun and a feast.
At the end of it… I headed to my secret place. After settling on this isle, we found the one thing any Japanese person would desire in another world… a hot spring! I built a small platform as a flooring outside of it for scrubbing and keeping my feet from getting dirty. As no one in Libertalia appreciates hot springs, I always had this place to myself. It’s not like no one took baths, one of the many things I had built on this isle was a bathhouse. There are rivers and streams on Libertalia, so fresh water was not a problem. But you should bathe after going into saltwater, that’s a given.
As I was sitting on a stool and cleaning myself off with a damp cloth, I heard a rustling.
Who dares try to invade my sacred hot spring!?
“It’s me, Niko.” (Chloe)
Crap, childhood friend found me… naked!!!
“Niko, we used to see each other naked as small children.” (Chloe)
“That was because we were small children!”
Seriously, I had no interest in children’s bodies. With the fact I was in my twenty’s when I passed, I was anything but a lolicon! But as we grew older… you all know the story. Boys and girls had to stop changing together after elementary school for a reason.
Wait… does she even see me as a man?
And humiliating if she doesn’t see me as a man.
“Stop being childish, Niko. Now let me wash your back. If you refuse, I will tell both her highness and Hero Miyuki where you are.” (Chloe)
Crap… that would be worse. If either one of them saw me naked… I would be labeled pervert for the rest of my life. I would be known as the man who exposed himself to a princess and a hero. I had no choice but to concede.
I closed my eyes and heard the noise of piece of metal dropping to the ground. Oh… don’t tell me.
“Are you removing your armor?”
“I don’t want to get my clothes wet, but I can’t take them off without removing my armor first.” (Chloe)
Damn it me, REFUSE!!!
After she was undressed, she dampened a cloth and starting scrubbing my back. I was looking away the whole time, because I’m not a pervert!
“Other than gaining a tan, there’s many scars.” (Chloe)
“That’s from back when I was a bounty hunter and my time as a pirate. I wasn’t a slave long enough to get whipped.”
“I see. Your back seems large. Then again, it’s always been large for me.” (Chloe)
“Ever since we were kids, I’ve always watched this back of yours. You always protected me when we were children. I both regret and not regret the day I was taken away.” (Chloe)
Right then, the sensation of my back getting scrubbed was changed into something soft against it. Two arms were embracing me and two soft mounds that I could tell weren’t slimes were touching my back. Wait… THIS IS DANGEROUS!!!
“Niko, I kept our promise for many years. Though I had wanted to cry from happiness when we met again, I even stopped myself then. But when you disappeared from the castle… I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I wept in my own bed after I managed to calm down the Princess. I had finally gotten you back after so long, Niko. Those five months in the villa became so irreplaceable for me because you were back. When you fought the Gore Grizzly, I saw that back that stood in front of me to protect me again. After finding you here on this island, I felt more relieved than I ever have. Niko, I love you!” (Chloe)
She then started crying. I will admit, I always wanted to hear that last part from her mouth. As a man… I have to answer her feelings. No more caring whether or not I’m too old for her, I’m eighteen years old in this body. What? My birthday passed during my time as a pirate. Still… I’m no longer Katsu Fujiwara. No, I’m Niko!
“When I decided to get stronger, it wasn’t just to protect the other children. I wanted to take back what Sir Fredrick had taken from me.”
I then separated from her embrace and turned around. I had to look her in the eyes when I said it.
“Chloe, I love you too.”
I then grabbed her shoulders and pulled her into a kiss. My first kiss on the lips in this life, and it was with the girl who believed in me the most. It tasted sweet like summer rain.
I then laid her down on that floor. Looking at her body… she had grown up. Those breasts, a modest size. Her nipples, pink. And her womanhood… shaved!?
“Not to ruin the mood… but you shave down there?”
“Hero Miyuki said that men prefer it shaved.” (Chloe)
For once since she got here, I gotta thank that former little sister of mine. To keep the mood not ruined, I started kissing Chloe from her neck down.
“Niko… be gentle?” (Chloe)
Damn it… this is so moe!!! She’s so moe right now!!!
What happened next… you get the idea. I had lost my virginity in my second life. And yes, her chastity had been taken by yours truly. After we did the deed… we scrubbed ourselves with damp cloths and had to clean up the blood on the floor. As for the cloth used for that… I burned it with fire magic. I didn’t want to leave behind that evidence. We did scrub each others backs before enjoying the springs together. She was gladly embracing me as we soaked.
“Niko… I’m glad it was you.”
“Same here with you… but you would probably enjoy this better if you stretched your arms?”
“Don’t forget, both the Princess and I had to have turns after the Hero Miyuki. I am glad to just have you all to myself.” (Chloe)
“Come to think about it… what is the deal with her highness anyway?”
“What do you mean?” (Chloe)
“Look, the woman that I love is you. And I can tell you share the same feelings. But as for the Princess… it’s like she’s not being honest with herself?”
Chloe then stopped embracing me. I felt as if I stepped on a whole field of mines at once.
“What I’m about to tell you is something that you must not share with anyone. It’s actually a secret of the Royal Family.”
I have a feeling that I was better off dropping the subject before even bring it up.
“The Hero Miyuki is not the first person from another world that the Princess has met.”
“Right before Sir Fredrick took me away, there was an incident at the Summoner’s Ruins. A rogue mage had sacrificed a whole village to use the ruins before it was time. He summoned a different hero, one that was to be a hero in their own world.” (Chloe)
“Wait… he sacrificed a village? Was the same done to summon Miyuki!?”
“No. There are rules. When the spirits say it’s time, they themselves supply the life energy needed for a Hero Summoning. Without the spirits… lives have to be sacrificed. As the amount of life energy has to be a certain amount, things can go astray. This within itself is a secret within the Royal Family. The amount needed is uncertain. However, that rogue mage summoned someone chosen to become a hero in their own world before their time. The Princess’s mother, who became an oracle of the spirits after her engagement to the king was annulled came to use with a warning.” (Chloe)
“Wait… her mother?”
Ana’s mother is a topic that is normally ignored unless the talk about her canceled engagement to the king was brought up. She’s a mystery within herself.
“Yes, though no one remembers her name. Anyway, the spirits warned her that if the child was not returned… we would have to suffer the wrath of the god that presides over that world. So in turn, that boy who was summoned spent some time in the castle.” (Chloe)
“Wait… that hero was a boy?”
“Yes. From what I know, he slightly resembled a beastman. However, he was a race unknown to this world. He had befriended the young princess because they were the same age. The castle somehow came under a goblin attack. It was later found out that it was the work of the rogue mage. That boy saved the princess and unknowingly became her first love.” (Chloe)
Wow… now this is getting spicy. Her first love? Why do I wanna know more about him?
“The goblins were defeated. However, he still had to be returned to his own world. There was a price that had to be paid, one that stuck with the King forever.” (Chloe)
And now I don’t like where this is going…
“The Princess’s mother became lost to this world in order to return the other worldly child.” (Chloe)
No, this is getting even too grim for me. Better yet… why does it seem so wrong for me to say those words?
“No one knows if she’s dead. However, only her image can be remembered. Her name… is lost to all. From official documents, to even her own diary; her name has been erased.” (Chloe)
Wow… that’s worse than being dead!
“The Princess lost both her mother and her first love that day. Ever since… she has been scared of admitting she loved anyone.” (Chloe)
“I… I didn’t know.”
Now I feel bad for knowing.
“There was no way for you to know, the Royal Family did everything to keep this a secret. I only know because I became her personal maid. When I first met her… I knew that she needed me. Not just as a maid, but as a sister figure. Someone to help fill the gap of losing her mother.” (Chloe)
“Niko, our time tonight is something I always wanted as a woman. But before I can put myself as a woman, the Princess comes first. I know, you wanted to ask me to stay with you. Am I correct?” (Chloe)
I really did wanna ask her to say with me.
“I want to. However… I fear for her highness’s well-being if I leave her side. She’s more fragile than you think.” (Chloe)
I see now… Chloe is bound to her duty. Not just as the Princess’s maid, but as her emotional support as well. As much as I love Chloe… I’d really be a villain if I were to take her away from the Princess.
“Sadly… I understand.”
Not just Chloe’s circumstances, but now I know another meaning behind Sir Fredrick’s words. The strong can protect what’s theirs. And the strong can take back what is theirs. However… I am not strong enough. If I ever wanted to take Chloe back… I’d have to steel myself enough to harm the Princess in the process. Even if I didn’t have Libertalia to worry about… the burden on my shoulders would not be any lighter.
I then got out of the hot spring and grabbed a towel.
“There’s still a day or two before the repairs on the Princess’s ship are finished. It was rammed into mine after all. Tell her and Miyuki about this place, you can have it all to yourselves tomorrow. And don’t worry, I’ll make sure that no one peeks.”
I finished drying myself off and got dressed. I didn’t even look at Chloe before finding my way back to my place. Where was that you ask? Simple, I sleep in a shanty near the beach when I can’t sleep in the captain’s quarters on the Cry of Freedom. It’s where I go to think and where I hide my stash of rum. On a bench in front of it, I started drinking while looking at the sea. And… I started to think.
This night would be both the best and worst of my life, even worse than when I first met Sir Fredrick and Chloe was taken away. What Diva talked about before was the Privilege of the Strong. But after thinking about what Sir Fredrick told me when I was a kid… what he taught me was the Burden of the Strong. It’s something that I never wanted. I think I understood some things better as well.
It was no different than a king’s burden. King Victor Wintergreen is actually a man of the people. He hears the pleas of his subjects to take his next move into consideration. When he gave up the woman he loved… it was a burden he took in order to avoid a war. And when that rogue mage almost brought disaster on this world… he fully gave her up in order to protect his people as well as the rest of the world. For once, I came to respect that guy. And I respect Ana’s mother as well. She gave up everything, even both her own name and daughter to protect his world.
I am the leader of this small nation of pirates. Even though I hear out the people… I can’t really make decisions myself. It’s true that I want for this place to stay free. However… is that the right thing? Aren’t I just being selfish? The same with my cause of abolishing slavery. Is it really for the right of everyone’s happiness or is it just my own selfish desire? It’s true that I don’t want anyone to lose the freedom that they should have been born with, the freedom to chose their life. And I don’t want anyone to suffer like Casey had, where it be male or female. But again, am I doing it for the slaves or my own self-satisfaction?
For me, what is Libertalia? It’s a place where all are equal. There’s no monarchy or aristocracy, like in America or modern Japan. But what am I to Libertalia? I’m a hero of the people, one who stands up for the little guy. I’m also the one they look to for leadership. When that loli judge gave me a second chance at life… I never thought this would happen. I’m just a guy who came from a small village. I started out small, an orphan whom no one would expect to someday rule a small nation. I for one never thought all this would happen. I am nothing more than a speck of dust. Then again… I never thought that I would run into my little sister from my past life either.
I am two things like I said earlier, the hero who sticks up for the little guy and the leader of the people chosen by the people. My decisions are the fate of Libertalia. Even though Libertalia wins no matter if I can pull off a treaty or accept Wintergreen’s offer… I lose part of myself. I want to stand down so I can keep up my crusade… but is that what’s best for the people?
“The people need me.”
I actually said it out loud. They do need me. I don’t need them, but I am needed. They picked me to guide them. I’m no longer a speck of dust. Like it or not, I’m part of history. If I will be remembered… that’s up to what I do from here on.
Damn it! I was lost so deep in thought that I didn’t notice the Princess came over here. How do I talk to her now that Chloe told me about her past!?
“Chloe showed me the hot spring. But I noticed the trail from your boots and followed it here.” (Ana)
Crap… this is an island with a lot of sand.
“So… what brings you here to my secret spot?”
“I just wanted to talk in private.” (Ana)
Please tell me that Chloe didn’t babble about us doing the deed? Or that she told me the Princess’s private history? Or better yet, BOTH!!!
“Really? I was just looking out at the sea and thinking.”
“What were you thinking about?” (Ana)
I then looked her in the face.
“That your father is a very strong man.”
“Come again?” (Ana)
While withholding what Chloe told me about the Princess’s history, I told her everything I thought about.
“I see… you really are a fool.” (Ana)
“You really gotta call me that now?”
“Niko, you cannot use my father’s way perfectly to lead your people. It’s true that he’s a great king who thinks about his subjects… but he’s him and you’re you. While you finally understand the burden of a leader, you cannot be him. You have to lead them as yourself.” (Ana)
“Wait… you mean that I have to be me to lead them?”
“Exactly. No two leaders are the same. Even if they are both kings or emperors, no two people are the same. You can use my father as an example… but you cannot be my father.” (Ana)
For once… I feel like I have a better understanding. While Chloe is good for emotional support… the Princess is good for political support. She’s right, I cannot be King Victor Wintergreen. I have to be me, Niko. I can use King Victor for a reference, but that’s all.
“Call me by my name, Ana.” (Ana)
“Then… thanks, Ana.”
She blushed from me saying her name. I will admit… she can be cute sometimes. We both looked out at the sea, the stars were beautiful. She decided to take her turn to embrace me there. So we sat there, sharing a bottle of rum. I didn’t care if it were an indirect kiss or not, I didn’t wanna worry about useless things. We both ended up falling asleep like that.
When we woke up the next morning… it wasn’t like the morning after the final night at the villa when we all got drunk. No, we weren’t even antagonizing each other when we woke up. She left first… but dropped a locket. I opened it without thinking… and stared at the woman in the small painting. I will admit… she resembled Ana somewhat. I could only assume that it was her mother. But… I swear I saw that face somewhere. But where did I see it?
And then a memory from my past life hit. The day that Miyuki was kidnapped by my future killer, back when I was a delinquent with bottle-blond hair and piercings. My group attacked a woman and a chuuni cowboy. And that chuuni cowboy kicked my ass. I never got that woman’s name, but I remember her.
“You gotta be shitting me!?”
After Note: And this is the long awaited LSPL chapter 10, peeps. Other than referencing the pre-story crossover with LGDK and Niko’s past life encounter with the Oracle and Lost Justice in TOG… and even the sexual content, there is something more important than any of that. Character development. Niko is one character that REALLY needed it.
Niko had to learn that the world’s not fair… even more than he already has. This chapter, Niko had to think what it means to be strong. Yeah, I finally gave him some kind of goal when I decided to make him a pirate. However… he needed to question himself as well. One of the reasons he got strong was because he wanted to protect. Another is because he wanted to take back what was taken. But… there’s always a price. The karma system if you will. There’s consequences for whatever actions you take. And if you’re able to realize those consequences before you take action, you realize the importance if your next move.
Yeah, Niko loves Chloe. He wants to take her back. But he knows that it would have consequences as well. The princess’s psyche and possibly angering Chloe are things he wants to avoid messing with. And he wants Libertalia to remain free. However… is it the right thing? He also realizes the weight on his shoulders because of it. He’s their leader, chosen because the people trust him to do lead them. He can’t be indecisive because of it. so yeah, he learns to question himself and grows.