It took some thinking, but Alan finally deciphered he wasn't on Earth anymore. He was certain of that now. He knew he was stuck in that world with no way out. Tears ran down his cheeks, but he dared not cry. It didn't really mattered whether he cried of not. What was the point? He thought. Crying wont bring him back, or save him from these pirates. He steeled himself, holding back the tears, and began to rehearse his fake back story. In case the pirates would return to question him, he needed to be ready. Or should I answer truthfully? He considered. But where would the truth take him? Besides, they wouldn't believe the truth. So lie it is then.
When the pirate returned, Alan was taken for interrogation, only this time he wasn't brought to the Quartermaster's room, instead it was the Captain's Quarters. It made Alan a bit nervous, for he had seen the man fight. It changes nothing, Alan thought. Keep to the story. Keep to the story.
The Captain was in the middle of saying something to the Quartermaster when Alan was pushed into the room. "...and are you certain of your claim, Cael?"
The Quartermaster nodded. "Aye, Captain. It be the logical explanation."
Next to Cael stood the young blonde girl Alan remembered seeing during the attack on Agon's ship. She looked so beautiful in her long red cheongsam. It was difficult for Alan not to stare at her and blush. She also seemed to look at him in a curious way, but other than that, she showed no other emotion.
Mar studied Alan for a moment. Whatever he was looking for, Alan could only guess. But one thing was certain: The captain knew something. "It makes no sense." He said. "The King is still alive."
"Aye." Cael agreed. "But ask yourself this: When was the last time someone seen him in person?"
"Two years ago..." Mar was beginning to realize something was indeed amiss. "The Judges would've detected the threat."
"But what if there'd be no threat?" Said Cael. "Not yet, at least. The mad King is real. No doubt Queen Janna is trying to cover it all up to not alarm the people. Chaos'd be the last thing The Palace needs."
Mar looked at Alan. "Where does the mad King hide?" Alan, obviously having no clue about the conversation they just had, shrugged. "First time I hear of him. Captain." He said.
"You are no pirate." Mar told him. "And you are certainly not of Agon's crew. Explain your purpose on his ship."
This was it, Alan thought, this was the moment he had been rehearsing for. He swallowed before speaking. "I am from Farros," He started-
"The city of knowledge?" The Quartermaster interjected, raising an eyebrow.
"Yes." Alan lied. "My father and I left the city in search of a book. We were on a merchant ship when pirates attacked us." Nervous sweat was beginning to show and Alan felt them. Still, he continued, "They looted everything and killed most of us..." He tried to look sad for this part, "Including my father. I-I managed to escape but...the last thing I remember was drowning."
"What was your father's name?"
Alan froze. Out of all the questions he could've asked, Mar had just asked the one question Alan hadn't prepared an answer for. So he said the first name that popped into his head at that moment: "Rick." It was the name of his real father back on Earth. It was that or hesitate in an attempt to search for a proper name, and hesitating meant the discovery of his lie.
"Peculiar name." Said Mar. He looked at Cael and the Quartermaster simply shrugged.
"Please." Alan begged. "I need to return to Farros. To my home. My mother she...she doesn't know..."
"We apologize for the misunderstanding, Alan son of Rick. We cannot take you to Farros directly, but we can leave you at port and arrange a caravan to take you there."
"Thank you, Captain." Alan bowed. It had worked! All he had to do now was act the part and remember the lies ha had told and will probably be telling. So far though, it was all going well. "I'm afraid it'll still be a few moons before the Judgement reaches the nearest port." The Captain said. "Your mother will have to wait a bit longer."
"It's ok. ugh-Captain. Thank you."
"The Queen's Judgement will be your home for the rest of your stay. I'll have Garlov show you around the ship in the meantime."
Alan bowed again, and smiled.