They all froze while looking downwards at their own chests. A burning ghastly spear was impaled inside their chests with the tip penetrating through the back, however, feeling no pain from it.
“Is this all you got?! Hah! I-!” → Number 6
Number 6 wanted to taunt Shen when suddenly, he started to feel his chest burning hotter and hotter till it felt as if lava was flowing through his heart.
“KAAAAHHH!!! W-what is this?! GYAAAHH!!!”
Everyone started to roll and shriek on the ground while inside their chests, a red light shone brighter and brighter, circulating through the body and making even the veins more visible.[Those are purgatory flames. They will burn away your sins and the demons that possess your soul. Stop fighting against the flames or you might die. Accept them in your soul and let them get rid of your sins for you, only like this you’ll survive.] → Shen
Shen said with a neutral voice while looking at the 8 top dogs and one king rolling and crying on the deck of the ship screaming in pain and agony.[But if you die, then that’s your fault and nobody else’s. I said I’ll give you all a chance in purifying and you accepted it, now I wish you all for success.] → Shen
After that, he turned and looked at Sofia with the same neutral eyes.
Sofia felt her heart shudder when staring inside his eyes, but she kept her cool and waited for him to talk.[The one you’re looking for is inside my ship, protected by my companion. Take me there and say to everyone to not touch you. Feel free to even use this body as a token to exchange with the one you’re looking for.] → Shen
“What?” → Sofia
Sofia stared at him dumbfounded, thinking that she might have heard wrong.
Use him as a hostage? What is he saying? → Sofia
But just as she wanted to ask some more questions, Shen’s aura disappeared and he collapsed on the ground with blood flowing out from his shut lips.
“Ah? Hey! What happened!?” → Shen
She woke up from her dazed state and raised Shen from the ground. His face pale and a frown was visible on his face. His injuries opened once again and his aura slowly weakened more and more as his warmth dissipated.
“H-HELP ME! AAARGH”
The eight pirate captains and the pirate king rolled on the ground, shrieking and waving from all four limbs in trying to put out a fire that burned them from inside-out.
T-this is insane… Just what spell is that? → Sofia
She looked at them how they were burning first from inside, having fire escape from their mouths, ears, and nose, now also burning the eyes. Their legs started to burn from the waist down, while their fingertips shot out a dark-red fire which turned their skin into coal. Their veins, their meridians and even their lungs now circulated only flames, feeling as if being burnt by the fires of Hell.
Inside their minds, internal strife was taking place while their bodies burned down.[YOU KILLED US! YOU RUINED US! NOW SUFFER AND FEEL AT LEAST ONE PERCENT OF WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO US!]
Inside every single one of them, ghosts of the ones they killed and tortured started to blame, curse and scream at them, shaking their souls and making their sanity collapse.
“QUIET! What is your problem?! It’s because you dared to go against my words!” → Number 7
Number 7 shouted with an imposing voice back at the cursing wraiths while her own legs trembled and her heart pulsated like never before.[…]
The souls stared at her then at each other.[Ha… ha, hahahah… GAHAHAHAHA~!]
At first there was one, then two, then ten, afterward, all of them started to laugh out loud, making her feel as if her own head would split open from the noise created by their laughter.[BOAHAHAHAHA~! VERY WELL! SO WE UNDERSTAND YOU’RE NOT REGRETTING YOUR ACTIONS? YOU DO NOT WISH TO RIGHT YOUR WRONGS?]
All the ghosts grinned from ear to ear with a wide and chilling dark smile, their yellow teeth giving the chills while their dark eyes spelling out the word “terror” from every angle.
“N-no…” → Number 7
The woman had a bad feeling but she resisted the souls that she herself tortured, her own pride not letting a captain lower her head.[THEN TURN TO ASHES AND BURN IN HELL!]
The souls shrieked together in a deafening tone then all of them shot out toward the woman and entered her body.
First, from all five orifices fire started to gush out, then even from her eye, sparkling like torches. Then her hands, legs and entire head burst out in flames. Slowly but surely, the flames reached toward her hearth, burning her completely and engulfing her own soul altogether, leaving only the clothes completely untouched by the spiritual flames.
The other captains did the same mistake leaving behind only their own clothes and a dark smoke which was slowly blown by the wind. Only the pirate king was still burning in agony, trying to negotiate with the souls but only making a fool out of himself.
“L-listen! I’m the pirate king! If you help me get rid of this fire, I swear on my name that I’ll give you all whatever you wish! Ships, men, women, gold, e-even the throne! But only one of you would be able to sit on it.” → Pirate King
The pirate king said with a shrewd grin, thinking that he might be able to make the spirits fight between themselves for his throne.[…]
The souls shook their heads and stared at him as if pitying him. Only one soul still looked with hate in her eyes, unable to forgive him no matter what he tried to do.[You think us dead people, still wish for your riches? You idiot.]
The one who spoke was a beautiful pirate dragoon woman with dark hair and tanned skin. However beautiful she was, right now her face was distorted by hate and anger, making even the other revengeful souls to get away from her.
“S-Simona…?” → Pirate King
The pirate king looked at the woman in a daze and somewhat fear.
“W-why are you here?” → Pirate King[Your stupidity only grew, foolish pirate king.] → Simona
The woman spat out in hate at the pirate king.[You killed me, your wife! Only because you thought I’m after your riches? If you loved money so much, then why didn’t you marry gold instead?! You dumb pig of a man.] → Simona
The woman shouted while getting closer to the pirate king, her pressure only growing.
“W-wait! It wasn’t me! It was those bastards that stabbed you with the knife, you know?! I had nothing to do with this!” → Pirate King
The pirate king retreated until he reached the other ghosts that surrounded him. They pushed him back and he reached right in front of the one named Simona, tripping and falling in front of her ghastly feet.[Yes. And they did so under your orders!] → Simona
The woman then stabbed her hand right through his chest the moment he starred upwards.
“Guaah!” → Pirate King
Feeling his chest stabbed through made the pirate king scream. He felt like a spear just penetrated his chest and twisted around inside his wound. With a dark smile on Simona moved around her fingers inside his chest while feeling pleasure seeing his agonised expression.[Painful, right? But you know what’s more painful? Looking at your rotten self!] → Simona
The woman then retracted her arm from inside his chest and together with it, a ghostly silhouette of the pirate king was extracted from inside his heart.
“Bugh!” → Pirate King
When he felt the smell coming from whatever Simona extracted from inside him, the pirate king puked out and felt like passing out from the smell.
“W-what have you done?! Throw that smelly piece of sh*t away!” → Pirate King
The pirate king shouted while waving his hands, unable to even look at it.[Oh~? But aren’t you proud of what you’ve become? Look at yourself now.] → Simona
The woman then materialized a mirror and threw whatever she was holding, inside the window, then she aimed it at the pirate king.
“Huh? Myself?-“ → Pirate King
He froze when he saw his own reflection. His head was bald, with little hair on the sides. His eyes were hollow and one had the feeling of looking through an abyss when gazing at it. His teeth were putrid and almost all of them already fell. His skin was green and rotten, with parts already falling, showing the also rotten meat from behind it. Here and there he could see maggots laying their eggs inside him while his body as a whole was humongous, with his fat hanging on sides. The way he looked now represented how his soul evolved through the lifestyle he lived. Thinking that he lived in Heaven, when Hell was the only thing awaiting him.
“W-WOAAAAAAHH~!” → Pirate King
He shouted out and crouched on the ground with his head in his arms, unable to accept his own disgusting image which would make even the bravest man to puke galons.
“NOO!” → Pirate King
He wasn’t able to accept the idea that his soul was rotten and almost dead. He was unable to accept the fact that he turned into such a monstrosity. He couldn’t accept that someone as important as himself actually has the appearance of a rotten and putrid ball of meat.[… Do you see now? Idiot King. That youngster gave you and your dogs the chance to purify yourselves, but you tried to negotiate with the spirits. What are you if not a fool good for nothing?] → Simona
The woman laughed and her eyes became hollow, her smile also darkened and turned more terrifying.
“Y-you have to help me! You’re my wife, right?! Please! Save me from this Hell!” → Pirate King
The pirate king crawled on his knees toward Simona with begging eyes while kissing her heels in desperation.
Simona got down and caressed his face.[You know~? I am not that clean either. I did my share of sins. Are you sure you want me to help you~?] → Simona
Simona then smiled sensually while touching his lips in a seductive way. She appeared incredibly beautiful to Bururiba, but the other souls were able to see just how disgusting her true appearance was, glancing with a serious or even disgusted gaze at them.
“Y-yes! Yes of course! It must be you!” → Pirate King
The pirate king noded absentmindedly without thinking for a moment. He felt charmed by her, just like when she was still alive, walking him by the nose.[AHAHAHAHA~!] → Simona
Simona laughed out loud and looked at the other spirits with hollow eyes and a dark smile. A dark-green whirlwind appeared around both of them and the spirits had to retreat at least half a meter because of the violent storm.[You heard him! I shall be the one who’ll punish him! Now you all get lost! He’s mine!Kyaahahaha~!] → Simona
“Eh? What?” → Pirate King
He still couldn’t understand what she meant and then he felt how her nails stabbed through his cheeks.
“Ugh?!” → Pirate King
Suddenly, the woman’s grip on his face strengthened and she looked at him with a fierce smile.[I’m so happy you chose to come in Hell with me! Like this, I won’t be alone any longer! Ahyahahaha~!] → Simona
Then from inside her mouth, maggots rushed outside and started to eat away at her skin. He started to tremble while hushing in denial continuously as if his sanity broke down completely.[YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT FROM ME, PIRATE KING! WE WILL NOW GO IN HELL AND BURN FOR WHAT WE DID TOGETHER!] → Simona
Simona’s voice became more hoarse and demonic, scaring the pirate king out of his mind.
“N-no! I didn’t-!” → Pirate King
The woman then closed his mouth by tightening her grip on his face.[QUIET! EVEN THOUGH THE OTHER SOULS MIGHT FORGIVE YOU. I, FOR ONE, WILL NEVER FORGET WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO ME. IS TIME TO PAY!] → Simona
From her hands, fire gushed out and enveloped both of them together.[EVEN IF I HAVE TO GO TO HELL! YOU’RE COMING WITH ME! MY LOVE! HYAAAHAHAHAHAAHA~!] → Simona
She then inserted her entire arm inside his mouth and released even more fire, burning his insides while he was convulsing violently, unable to cry out because of the hand down his throat.
While the king was slowly turning into dark smoke, there was still a burning silhouette over which the flames started to slowly dissipate. The only one who was crying out words of forgiveness was the young spirit-fox boy, his body half cared but still alive.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I won’t do it again! Please! I will change! Please stop it! It burns, it hurts!”
He cried out while he felt the fire around his carnal body. Even though he was in a spiritual form right now, because his connection to the body was stronger than from the others, he still able to feel the pain of the flesh.[Do you think you crying around would make us any happier? In front of one’s sins, apologies are simple words with no meaning. If you wish for our forgiveness, then show it through your actions!]
The spirit of a young man roared at the crying boy who was rolling on the ground with tears turning into mist around his eyes.
“Okay! I’m sorry! Please! I will do whatever you tell me to do! But please, stop this!”[…]
The ghosts then starred at one another. With a light nod, they all decided to enter the child together with the exception of the young man that stood behind, in front of the crouching young fox-boy.
The fire inside him diminished slowly until it died down completely. The child then looked confused at the young man in front of him, waiting for an explanation.[You accepted your sins and you’re up to pay for your mistakes. We can’t tell you what to do, but we will watch over you and judge you by the decisions you’ll make in the future. The time limit is until you die. If until then you won’t be able to get rid of all the sins, your soul will fall in Hell, where your ‘friends’ have already reached.]
The ghost explained then turned into a green mist and entered under the young fox’s feet. When he gazed downward, he saw a huge and deep vortex of green spirits, as if waiting for him to fall and engulf him completely.
[Don’t disappoint us, pirate child. This is your last chance.]
The entire vortex spoke in one ethereal voice, making the young boy feel his heart in his neck.
“Y-yes! I will! I will pay! I promise!”
“Uugh~…” After he finished the mental conversation, the young fox boy could not move from the pain. All his hair and fur was burnt while his skin scarred black. Even though his state was extremely severe and a normal human would’ve died ten times over; as a Saint power-ranked warrior after one month he should be able to heal up at least to a state in which he could move around normally once again.
This boy… his name was Yukichi… right? How come he’s the only one who survived? → Sofia
Sofia thought while looking at the boy who was the only one moving, while the rest only had the clothes remaining.
…Should I… finish him now? → Sofia
Sofia laid Shen’s body down and walked toward Yukichi with the chains in her hands. She prepared to strike when she heard an all too familiar voice.
“W-where am I?”
From behind her, a young girl of 17 years of age, suddenly appeared like through smoke.
Sofia turned around and saw the young girl. She looked almost like Sylvia, the only difference was her face with violet eyes and her short hair to the shoulders. Her skin and hair were both pure white while her stature was taller but skinnier than Sylvia’s. While Sylvia’s eyes were already healed, hers were still blind with the pupil completely white.
“Mira… H-how?” → Sofia
“S-sister?” → Mira
The girl froze in place and asked with a quivering voice. Her eyes teared while trying to pinpoint the exact location of Sofia. Her bare feet were already bleeding from walking barefooted.
“Mira! It’s alright! Don’t move. Here, please take my shoes.” → Sofia
Sofia then took off her heels and helped the girl named Mira to wear them.
“They might be heels, but are not that big, right? I already taught you how to wear them.” → Sofia
Sofia said with a smile.
“S-sister… how did you save me? I remember sitting inside that locked room when I suddenly heard a light sound, something like ‘Qiu, Qiu’. It was so cute, it made me curious and I tried to approach it. But after that only silence. Sister, where are we? Why do I smell such a displeasing scent? As if skin and hair were burned… Did someone die here?” → Mira
The girl asked with a shuddering voice.
“… Mira. You…” → Sofia
Sofia wished to talk some more when she suddenly heard a slight sound.
“Qiu! Qiu! Qiu!”
A little black squirrel was pushing Shen’s cheeks as if trying to wake him up.
His cries only became more and more painful. As if shouting out after a loved one.
“This sound again! Sister, can you tell me from where it comes?” → Mira
Mira asked with a surprised look while pointing in Shen’s direction.
“You mean, that black squirrel got you out?” → Sofia
Sofia was shocked to hear that the sound she heard before she got rescued was actually Tama’s voice.
That squirrel is not normal… So it was Sir Shen’s companion after all. → Sofia
“So it comes from a squirrel? It sounds so cute.” → Mira
The girl smiled sweetly then she looked with a sad look toward Tama’s direction.
“But… why does he sound so sad? Is there something he would cry for?” → Mira
Sofia couldn’t say a word. She looked far in the distance and saw a cruise ship that was coming toward them.
“Mira. Wait a second. I need to finish something, then we’ll go to a safer place from here and talk as much as we wish.” → Sofia
Sofia then prepared her chain with the Megalodon’s fang to strike at Yukichi.
The young fox moaned again from the pain, attracting Mira’s attention.
“Was that a child?” → Mira
Mira walked closer toward the sound and felt how the smell of burnt flesh became denser.
“W-why is the smell becoming stronger? Sister! Is the child all right?” → Sofia
“… No. He’s half dead.” → Sofia
Sofia then rose her hand.
“I’m about to put him out of his misery.” → Sofia
“Stop!” → Mira
The young girl shouted and ran toward her sister.
“I won’t let you kill a child! You promised me to never kill again, right?! What are you doing now? Rising your hand at an injured child. Sister, how can you be so heartless?” → Mira
Mira then searched around until she touched the boy.
“Hot! How can he be so hot?! Sister, please save him! I know you can.” → Sofia
Mira then turned to where she thought Sofia stood in silence and asked with pleading eyes.
“Mira. This brat is one of the top ten sea dogs. He is the ninth. Are you sure you wish to save such a trouble maker? He tortured, took prisoners and slaves, and he’s also one of the ones who wished to have you imprisoned.” → Sofia
Sofia asked with a cool tone.
“And what if he’s a top sea dog? He’s still a child, right? We need to help him!” → Mira
Mira then tore parts from her own violet skirt and tried to cover the body of the boy in her own clumsy way.
“Ah! Stop it! You’re revealing yourself!” → Sofia
Sofia hastily stopped her from tearing anymore from her own skirt, already revealing the pure white legs to the hips.
“Okay, I got it. Haah~… All right. I will try to save him.” → Sofia
Sofia then imbued her own chi inside the young fox, trying to help him recover.
“Hey… So what happened for the little squirrel to cry like this? You didn’t tell me.” → Mira
Mira asked again, saddened by the squirrel’s cries.
“… His master died, who is also your savior.” → Sofia
Sofia said with a bitter smile, unable to turn around and glance at him.
[[[ONE WEEK LATER]]]
Shen was lying down on his bed inside the cruise ship unmoving. His whole body was bandaged and washed, but there was no pulse whatsoever, turning his skin color from a healthy red to a ghastly yellow.
Bururiba was sitting beside the bed with conflicted feelings while Sofia and Sylvia were right beside him.
In the end, he wasn’t able to endure the silence and he asked:
“One week already passed, how much longer will we have to wait?” → Bururiba
Bururiba asked while clenching his fist.
“… He used powers past his limits for more than what he was able to handle, only to save as many people as possible… I don’t think he’ll ever wake up. Even if he defied death once, a second time won’t come like that.” → Sofia
Sofia said while looking at him intently. She learned about Shen’s abilities from Bururiba and Ashura, and also about how he revived once from a death-like state.
Sylvia had a pained look on her face and couldn’t say anything. Her heart broke after she felt the connection being completely cut off.
Shen… You promised me… → Sylvia
Her eyes were blood-shot while trying not to cry any longer. After she heard that his heart stopped and felt the connection between them completely cut, her legs gave in and she almost suffered from a deviation.
“Tsk!” → Bururiba
Bururiba got up and turned around, walking around in the room with an irritated face.
He was annoyed because of the death of his men and now the one guilty for this was dead in bed.
“Did his best?! Why couldn’t he save my people as well?! Who is more important? Some strangers or your own comrades!? How can I be with someone that forsakes his own men for some bystanders?!” → Bururiba
Bururiba’s eyes reddened and tears of sorrow and hate flowed on his cheeks.
My crew is also my one and only group of friends, damn it! → Bururiba
“Sir Bururiba. Please calm down. Screaming to the dead will do us no good.” → Sofia
Sofia tried to calm Bururiba down but that only made his rage ignite even stronger.
“Calm down?! How could I?! The fact that I’m not jumping at him to beat him more than he already is, it’s already a strong sign that I’m controlling myself with all I’ve got!” → Bururiba
Bururiba’s aura grew stronger and stronger and the inside of the room became colder and colder. From his fists, blood was dripping, having his nails penetrate his palms while the floor below him started to crack.
“If he were able to wake up from the dead once, then he can do it a second time. I’ll be sure to kill him then.” → Bururiba
“Bururiba! You-” → Sofia
Sofia wanted to stop Bururiba but she saw Sylvia moving.
“Shen is my husband and everything we have is shared, even the mistakes.” → Sylvia
She then got up from her chair and starred with firm eyes inside Bururiba’s eyes, her face showing no emotions.
“For such a reason I ask for forgiveness in Shen’s place. We’ll be sure to compensate you with riches and weapons, but please understand that the lost souls can’t be returned… For such, in place of my departed husband, I ask for forgiveness.” → Sylvia
Her voice was firm yet sorrowful. She tried to remain strong and keep her cool even after her husband just died.
Both Sofia and Bururiba froze after seeing Sylvia’s show of will. They couldn’t comprehend this turn of events.
“Sylvia! What are you doing?! Aren’t you something like a Queen? A Queen asking for forgiveness from a pirate? Are you mad?!” → Bururiba
Bururiba was perturbed by her actions. He couldn’t understand what was in her head.
This is getting interesting. → Sofia
Sofia chose to step back and observe.
I can’t say for sure what will come out of this, but let’s wish nothing bad will happen at the end. → Sofia
“This is nothing in comparison with the pain you and Shen had to endure. If you wish I can even kneel in front of you and beg for forgiveness. I will do anything, just so you could forget about this revenge.” → Sylvia
Sylvia said with the same neutral face on while gazing at Bururiba, her aura was almost nonexistent. At this moment, her defense was lower than ever, making almost anyone able to strike her down at this moment.
“Y-you…” → Bururiba
Bururiba started to shake. He felt rage, sorrow, remorse. He blamed Shen for his people’s death but couldn’t vent his frustrations on Sylvia because she did nothing wrong. In the end, he shouted toward Shen’s body.
“Damn it all! You bastard! Are you gonna sleep there like a sleeping princess while your wife is begging here for forgiveness in your place?! How can you live like a man with such cowardice!? You’re nothing more than TRASH! WAKE UP!” → Bururiba