Author’s Note: Well peeps… I completed chapter 14 of “But She’s my Little Sister… from my Past Life” faster than I thought I would. Don’t worry, this is NSFW free. But for now, please enjoy?
Chapter 14 – Phantom?
I honestly don’t know how long I was out. However, it wasn’t for a day like clichés go. It was a few hours later, in the guest room I was assigned. Miyuki, Ana, and Chloe were all at my bedside. Ana was the first to speak.
“Niko, how are you feeling?” (Ana)
“Like I was hit by a truck… again.”
Ana and Chloe had looks confusion on their faces while Miyuki frowned.
“Onii-chan, that’s not funny.” (Miyuki)
“Sorry about that. But… what happened?”
“Niko, you spaced out for a second and then fell over all of a sudden.” (Ana)
I couldn’t believe Ana’s words. The events in that world of black… they felt real. And I know that encounter with that guy claiming to be my previous self had to at least taken five minutes. I tried to get up, but I feel a small pain in my rib cage. When I grabbed my ribs, Ana answered before I could ask.
“I don’t know what happen, but you had a few broken ribs. Though I applied healing magic, you’re still going to feel some pain.” (Ana)
All I could do is mull over what happened. The world of black wasn’t an illusion after all. However, it was hard to tell. What happened there just wasn’t physically possible. Yet… the pain was real.
“Niko, what happened? I cannot even fathom on how you fell over and had some broken ribs all of a sudden. I mean, no one attacked you.” (Ana)
Yeah… it’s hard for them to know what happened in the world of black. Then again… how could I even explain it? That I was suddenly in some world where time flows fast and some guy who looks like my past self assaulted me? They would think I was crazy. If only there were a clue for this intrusive plot? Wait… Lost Justice! His second message that he relayed for Ana’s mother was that I would be in conflict with myself soon. And… he said that the guy like me would have answers. Well… he really said I’d want to consult the last guy who was taken away. But that guy was…
“What does my brother’s ally have to do with it?” (Ana)
“Ana, I need to see him.”
“He’s in the dungeon. Would you like me to take you to him?” (Ana)
“Sorry, but I need to speak to him alone.”
Her and the other two frowned, but they all trusted my decision. Ana then went to the writing desk and put her quill to paper. She then folded it up and added her wax seal to it before handing it to me.
“Give this to the dungeon guard and he will take you to Pietro Sycamore.” (Ana)
“Just be sure to at least make an attempt to tell us what this is about later?” (Ana)
“Chloe, please show Niko the way?” (Ana)
“Yes, Princess.” (Chloe)
Chloe and I then left the room. I followed her to the dungeon until we found the guard in charge. I gave him the paper that Ana gave me. After opening it and reading it, he took over guiding me to Pietro Sycamore’s cell.
“Here’s the prisoner. I must ask you not to do anything harmful with him, he’s still the son of nobility.” (Guard)
“Got it. Hey Pietro!”
Pietro was no longer wearing his armor, just a grew tunic and hose. He got up from his bench and walked up to the bars.
“It’s you.” (Pietro)
“Why don’t you sound surprised?”
“Because I had a feeling that you would come to see me. There’s not too many other people like us in the world after all.” (Pietro)
“I’m nothing like you.”
I felt sick hearing a reincarnated Nazi say that.
“Oh please, we both are reincarnates in this world. And we both follow the general rule of silver hair and red eyes. Though we were different in our previous lives, we still have all of that in common.” (Pietro)
I could only inwardly cringe.
“But that doesn’t answer why you act like you were expecting me?”
“I do have a good idea. Normally, I wouldn’t talk to a dummkopf like you. But as our people were still allies when I died in my previous life, I will help you.” (Pietro)
I wanted to retort him, but right now he’s the only one who can answer my questions.
“What do you know of the ‘world of black’?”
His eyes grew almost big enough to be a mid-90’s anime character.
“So you finally saw the world of black?” (Pietro)
“What do you know about it?”
“My… it’s something that all of us reincarnated have to go through. You met your previous self, right?” (Pietro)
“Yeah… and somehow I got some broken ribs.”
“Well… you got off easy.” (Peitro)
He then lifted the bottom of his tunic. I couldn’t believe what I saw on his stomach.
“You were shot?”
“Yeah, by my previous self with a C96 Mauser. Though it didn’t leave a bullet in the wound, I was still bleeding through the bullet hole. I was lucky that my family had a mage in our employ.” (Pietro)
“But… what are these things that claim to be our previous selves?”
“They’re called Phantoms. They are pretty much the ghosts of our pasts. Now… did you feel something related from your past life that you were in denial about?” (Pietro)
I had to think about it. Right before I entered the world of black… what was I thinking about. Miyuki talked about how we could get married now that we’re no longer blood related and… shit.
“Yeah… I guess?”
“That’s why the Phantoms appear, because of the conflict between our feelings of our previous lives. My first time was when a demi-human was being tortured to confess to a crime they didn’t commit. I didn’t want to do it, but then I entered the world of black. My previous self mocked me on how he would do it in a moments notice because it wasn’t human. But it didn’t end there. The Phantom would torment in my nightmares as well. It didn’t end until I embraced my inner nature.” (Pietro)
That explains why he was all for Issac’s plan. However…
“Is there any other way to get rid of a Phantom?”
“Not that I know of. Listen, your phantom will haunt you until you embrace the very feelings that you’re conflicted about. There’s no place to run, no place to hide. It’s either embrace it or die.” (Pietro)
I couldn’t believe this. Right now, it’s either accept my former imouto as a woman or die? Pauline… did you do this to me on purpose!? Are you some kind of sadistic shipper-trash who likes ‘wincest’ as it’s called!? Besides… how do I even embrace that!? I don’t even know if those feelings are true or not!
Then I recalled something…
“Was your Phantom younger than you were when you died?”
I had to ask because my Phantom was my high school self.
“Only by a couple years, like I was during the time that I was in the Hitler Youth and felt the strongest of Nazi ideology. As the war dragged on, my beliefs weakened. Then again, we were being shelled by Russians and slowly losing our sanity.” (Pietro)
I barely got it. Was my high school self in love with Miyuki? I don’t think I was, I sure as hell know that I wasn’t a lolicon. Though she was always so attached to me that you literally needed a crowbar to pry her off. Wait… was my Phantom originally born from my subconscious denial? It would make sense. It’s all confusing though.
“Well, that’s all the advice I can give you. But if you find another way, be sure to tell the next reincarnated about it.” (Pietro)
After he walked away from the bars, I left the dungeons. I tried to figure out a way to get rid of my Phantom, but nothing came to mind. I could try to accept Miyuki as a woman… but that’s near impossible for me. No matter how I look at her, she’s still my little sister. I can’t bring my self to love her as anything other than her brother. I was nine when she was born, and I still remember the first time I laid eyes on her. I knew that I had to protect her, though I failed once. And that was on the day that I met Lost Justice and the Oracle. Those two helped me when I was conflicted on what to do. The Oracle reminded me of what Lost said before we started exchanging blows, how you should play dirtier when your opponent plays dirty. If only the message that she left for me had advice on what I should do now?
It hit me like a hurricane when I got to the door of my room. I knew what I should do the next time I meet my phantom. What? I’m not a stereotypical dense main character. I actually know the answer when it’s in front of me. I opened the door… to see the three of them still there?
“What the hell are you guys doing?”
“We were waiting to see if Pietro gave you the answers you needed, Niko.” (Ana)
“He did, Ana. Now I know what I must do the next time it happens.”
“Look, I don’t know what’s going on. None of us do. But whatever it is… please be careful?” (Ana)
“I’m not the same fool you first met in Sister Meredith’s office a year ago.”
“For that, I am thankful.” (Ana)
Damn… her heroine power is rising. Is she no longer a tsundere? As long as she doesn’t turn into a yandere, I’m happy.
Dinner went smoother that night than the one before. However, I asked the three of them before departing for bed to call a truce. I remembered Pietro’s words, so I knew that my Phantom would show up in my nightmares. Unlike the phenomenon from before, there’s no telling what will happen in if I enter the world of black in my sleep.
I take a sleeping draught that I had requested earlier and drift into my slumber. Eventually, I see him and his annoying shark-teeth smile. Now that I think about it, I was a stereotypical delinquent in my past life. My spiky hair was dyed bottle-blond, I wore piercings, I had a face that could scare anyone, and my teeth were pointy. But that old appearance of mine was staring back at me.
“So… I take it you know who I am?” (Katsu)
“Yeah, you’re Katsu Fujiwara. But at the same time, you’re not. You are my Phantom.”
“I’m just as much Katsu Fujiwara as you are, pal. Because while you are, you’re not at the same time as well.” (Katsu)
“In that case, we know each others’ skills and techniques.”
“That we do. Though I can’t do those freaky abilities you can, they won’t work on me.” (Katsu)
“Yeah, I would have called them ‘freaky’ as well when I was still you. However, I’m not here to fight.”
“Really? In that case, is it a one-sided beat down?” (Katsu)
“No, I know how you were born.”
The Phantom faltered at my words.
“Wha-what makes you say that?” (Katsu)
“When I was nine years old as Katsu Fujiwara, I made an oath. That oath was to protect Miyuki.”
“S-so what does that have to do with me?” (Katsu)
“When we were still in high school, we failed to keep that oath. You were born from that failure.”
I could see him switch from faltering to laughing. Was my old voice really that stereotypical?
“Me, born from a failure? You’re far from the truth.” (Katsu)
“Am I? Because I realized something earlier.”
“And what’s that?” (Katsu)
“The real reason I can’t see Miyuki as a woman despite no longer having that blood relation. It’s because I failed to protect her. The truth is that I don’t see myself worthy of her feelings!”
The Phantom fell down on his backside when I said that last part out loud.
“Lies! She’s our little sister! We can’t cross that line!” (Katsu)
“No, you can’t cross that line. I am no longer Katsu Fujiwara, I’m Niko! I’m the leader of Libertalia, not some punk trying to prove that he’s the best in a fight!”
And then the Phantom started backing up in a crab walk.
“This is… wrong! Brother and sister should not be an item! There’s rules of society!” (Katsu)
He got up and tried to punch me. I surprised him when I caught his fist with my left hand.
“You’re right and you’re wrong at the same time. Yeah, people would look down on us. But that’s if she was still my actual sister. I reincarnated, you’re just a ghost of my past who can’t move forward.”
I then charged ki and mana into my right fist and gave him a flaming Bullet Number One to the ribs. He flew back a few feet before landing with a heavy thud. The flames from the Bullet Number One, were starting to incinerate the Phantom.
“She is my little sister… from my past life.”
And it was time to walk away without looking back like a real bad ass. And soon after, I left the world of black for the last time. I know, things like this would normally go on for many chapters. A full arc or a subplot that goes through the whole story. But as I stated earlier… I’m not a stereotypical dense main character. Instead of letting the obvious answers fly by me, I actually look back at the information. I failed Miyuki in the past when she got kidnapped. That’s the reason my Phantom took my seventeen year old form, that’s what I looked like the day it happened.
That morning, I woke up feeling refreshed. Even Ana complimented on how much better I looked when I joined her for breakfast. And then it was the time for the next part of the talks. I sat across from King Victor Wintergreen with confidence.
“So, have you decided on your answer.” (King)
“Yes I have, you’re majesty. Libertalia will accept annexation from the Kingdom of Wintergreen. That is… with a few conditions.”
“Conditions? Well, I shall listen.” (King)
“First of all, the citizens of Libertalia. They have to be given immediate citizenship for Wintergreen. I don’t want mainlanders to force them off their lands. Next is the tax. Because Libertalia is still young, both trade and farming hasn’t prospered yet. So we’re going to need exempt from the next harvest. But in return for that, we will pay one and a half times the tax for the next one. Third, the navy. Since Libertalia is an island that’s about to grew to a chain, I still won’t be able to form a regular private army. Instead I want to have a private navy, with the current fleet adopted into it. And yes, we will end all acts of piracy outside of war time. Fourth, I want the right to chose a proxy to run Libertalia when I’m not around. I think the locals would be happier with my choice instead of some stranger from the mainland.”
Yeah… I’m asking a lot. However, I can’t let them annex Libertalia so easily.
“I see… so far your conditions seem fair. What do you think, Sir Fredrick?” (King)
“I think the Count of Evergreen has grown since the time I first met him.” (Fredrick)
“So, does Wintergreen accept my terms?”
“As a fellow leader, I have to applaud you. The terms you ask for benefit your people more than yourself. Not to mention you offer us a fair trade as well. The expansion of Libertalia will benefit both the kingdom and the locals. So I’m sure the tax yields will increase in the future.” (King)
“You’re majesty, Sir Fredrick was the one who originally point that last part out. All I did was listen.”
“That is true as well. But you did consider it before making your conditions. A wise ruler doesn’t just make decisions because they benefit the people. No, they think about how those decisions benefit the people while thinking about the balance. When I send food in time of need, I have to think about where that food comes from. Of course there’s the palace larder, but that’s only part of it. That’s why I pay nobles the difference by subtracting it from their taxes. But I also have to think about which nobles that can afford it in the first place. You see Niko, everything is a balance. I serve the people, and the people stand by me. Only working together does a country prosper.” (King)
Yeah, I knew there was more too it. Then again, I had to become a leader to understand it in the first place.
“It is true, you’re majesty. If I didn’t make any conditions, the balance wouldn’t be there. You would be getting everything while Libertalia would get everything taken away. It wouldn’t be a working relationship, it would be servitude. And trust me, Libertalia has had enough servitude to last a life time.”
“As it’s a nation formed by ex-slaves, I understand. But be warned, should you ever become corrupt and betray your people to fill your own pockets… I will not let you get away with it.” (King)
“Understood, you’re majesty.”
“Good. Sir Fredrick, prepare the paperwork. And not just for Libertalia’s annexation, we still have to grant Niko his peerage.” (King)
“Yes, you’re majesty.” (Fredrick)
Sir Fredrick then drew up the paperwork to officially make Libertalia into a territory of Wintergreen. He was sure not to miss a single detail. And then there was the paperwork to grant my honorary title of the “Count of Evergreen” and the one to be the “Lord of Libertalia”. Though I will be added to Wintergreen’s Nobles’ Registry, I still have to have a coronation ceremony.
“Count Niko, I’m glad that we could get this settled. You even gave up your cause for the sake of your people.” (King)
“Actually… you’re majesty, I haven’t.”
“I beg your pardon?” (King)
“There are other ways to fight for my cause. When I left Libertalia to negotiate, I swore under the black flag that I would still fight for it. Whether it be with swords and magic or in the King’s court, I will continue my fight.”
“My, you have grown wiser. But you’re still too green, you do not have enough prestige to convince the other nobles yet.” (King)
“True, that’s why I said that I wanted the right to chose a proxy to run Libertalia when I’m not around.”
“You won’t be directly running Libertalia?” (King)
“That’s right, I’m joining the Hero’s party.”
The king then froze for a second.
“You’re joining the Hero Miyuki’s party?” (King)
“That’s right, I already talked to them about it.”
“In that case, you have gained plenty of wisdom. However, are you sure that you don’t want to just marry my daughter?” (King)
This again? It’s been more than half a year, I was sure he forgot.
“You’re majesty, we still have time before Hero Miyuki’s party finishes their quest. Besides, I will be traveling with Princess Ana for the second half. Who knows, I might fall for her? I might fall for Chloe? Or I might even fall for the Hero? Only time will tell.”
“Hmm… you do have a point. However, please protect my daughter?” (King)
“That’s Chloe’s job as a Maid Knight. However, I will do my best.”
“Thank you. You’re dismissed.” (King)
I then headed for the garden. I knew they would have a tea party then, there’s nothing else for them to do in the castle. And when I arrived, it was as if they were expecting me.
“Niko, how did the talks go today?” (Ana)
“The talks have officially ended, Ana.”
I then took my seat and proceeded to tell them about everything… with the exception of my little chat with the King about marrying Ana. They were all impressed with the terms that I had set before accepting annexation. What impressed them even more was that I could impress Sir Fredrick. But still, it became a normal tea talk.
“Well, you are officially the Count of Evergreen now. But… have you decided on a family name?” (Ana)
All I could do before answering was smirk.
“Actually, I have. It was hard to pick one, but eventually I found something that fits with Wintergreen by reflects that I am the lord of an island.”
“Then please tell, I don’t really like suspense.” (Ana)
Her, Chloe, and Miyuki all leaned in closely to hear it. But I was looking more forward to their reactions for when I say it.
“My name is now Nikolai L. Palmetto.”
“““Palmetto!?””” (all three of them)
“Yeah, like the subspecies of palm trees that grow in some tropical climates. It actually means ‘little palm’. I didn’t want to just go with ‘Palm’, it would be weird. Right?”
Instead of answering… they were muttering.
“Miyuki Palmetto…” (Miyuki)
“Chloe Palmetto…” (Chloe)
“Ana Palmetto…” (Ana)
“Wait… since Issac’s no longer the heir, doesn’t that mean your husband will have to take your family name?” (Miyuki)
“Hero Miyuki is right, Princess. Now your husband will have to take on the Wintergreen name.” (Chloe)
“But it’s not fair that you two can say it. Can’t a princess dream?” (Ana)
“It’s the beauty of being commoners, Ana.” (Miyuki)
“Then fine, how about Niko Wintergreen?” (Ana)
“How about the three of you just stop?”
I forgot… I’m the main character of a novel with a harem tag. At times like this… I regret not being dense.
“Sorry, but you will have to choose onii–” (Miyuki)
I put my finger to her lips to stop her.
“Don’t call me that anymore.”
“But why?” (Miyuki)
“Because our relationship stopped being that of siblings years ago. If you keep calling me that, I won’t think that you look at me as a man. If that’s the case, then how am I supposed to look at you as a woman?”
She had to stop to think for a second. I will admit, it’s adorable when she does that.
“Niko, you’re right. Miyuki still has some growing to do.” (Miyuki)
“Yeah, like trying not to speak in third-person.”
Miyuki pouted a little, but then Ana spoke up.
“Niko, I just realized that you will need to do some groundwork before you can join us. This means it will take longer to complete Hero Miyuki’s Journey.” (Ana)
“Yeah, I know. But I’m sure the three of you could use a break.”
I didn’t know it at the time, but Libertalia would grow overtime to be more prosperous than even Sir Fredrick thought it would. It would grow from a small island to a whole chain, but the most popular attraction was one island that was nothing but hot springs. It would become Wintergreen’s first public onsen and where most of the tourist revenue would come from. But that friends is a different story that should be saved for when we finally get to the epilogue.
After Note: And that was Chapter 14, peeps. Yeah, I know it feels rushed. And that I could’ve milked out the whole “Phantom” thing until the end. However, it was an intrusive plot that wasn’t really needed. Niko already had a lot on his mind, especially with trying to fight for his cause while trying to do right by Libertalia. And let’s not forget dealing with LSPL’s harem tag, he’s trying to come to a decision.
I will try to make this last 2-4 more chapters. I don’t really wanna close the doors to LSPL so abruptly, but at the same time I wanna get it over with. So I will try to stretch things out. But for now, I need to get back to work on TOG.
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