2. The Claw of the Man (part 2)

          “What happened?” she gasped, pulling her own hands away, “to your hand, I mean, what happened to it?”

          Cocking his head back and smiling to himself, he answered, “That, my dear Hataru, is a long story. Come, sit, have a bit of tea, eat some bread ─   I’m sure you’re hungry ─  and I’ll tell it to you.” Guiding her to a small table with an extravagant china set, he pulled his chair over to join her.

          Once she was seated comfortably and had started on her bread, Levi began his tale, “I lost my hand when I was only 13 years old. 'The age when a young boy begins to flirt with Destiny and tries to befriend Reality, for if he is not your friend, Reality will surely be your enemy.' That’s what my father told me, at least, I never believed him until that fateful day in the forest.

          “We had docked in a port city to restock with supplies, but while the crew loaded the ship, my father, the captain, took me out into a nearby forest for some good old ‘father-son bonding time.’ Now that might sound like a strange thing for a pirate to be doing with his kid, but my father wasn’t like most pirates. A normal pirate probably wouldn’t even stick around for the child’s birth. But not my dad! My parents were happily married, actually. Sadly, my mother died in labor, so my father raised me by himself. He taught me about virtues and good character and the difference between right and wrong. Of course, he was a pirate, after all, so his ideas about good and evil might sound a bit twisted, but I don’t think so. He believed that we are all given the duty to take care of those less fortunate than ourselves, but those of great wealth usually forget about this. We, in a sense, help them fulfill their duty, while at the same time accomplish ours by taking the matter into our own hands. In my father's view, stealing from the those who are not in want is justified when you give it to those who are. I myself believe the same and continue to follow in his footsteps.

          “Anyways, my father and I were having a great time together in the forest. We just walked around, making our own path through the undergrowth with our swords and stopping when we needed a rest. We went fishing in a calm river that we came across, gathered wild berries and nuts, and killed a few squirrels for our lunch. Then we set up a small fire in a clearing. I sat and watched the flames dance, just kissing the flesh of our squirrels, toasting their tender meat, but soon I grew bored and decided to do a little exploring by myself, sneaking off when my father's back was turned. On my way back, however, I got lost with not a single landmark to point me in the right direction. I began to panic."

The End

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