1. Kidnap and Rescue (Page 1)

Anything can happen in a world where ships sail through the clouds more than the sea. People can drown on mountain peaks. A pirate can have a bear claw for a hand. Even a princess with a scar can find herself caught up in an adventure she never intended to take.

“Did you hear that, Gilda?”

“I don’t hear anything, Your Highness.”

“Are you sure?”

“Just the creaking of this rickety old flying machine. They call it the Sky-Bender? All it seems to bend is my rear en─”

“Gilda!” the younger of the two women barked at her companion ─ a round woman who sat stiffly as if her corset was too tight, though it was, in fact, tied as loosely as possible. A slim frown of distaste stretched across the girl’s glossy lips, painted to match the powdery pink accents on her lavender gown. Falling in soft layers, her chestnut curls bounced as she got up from her seat by the window in her sleeping chamber. She began pacing the room, lecturing her escort, “First of all, your pun doesn’t make any sense, and second, as I’ve been telling you this entire trip, this is one of my father’s fastest airships; he was very kind to lend it to me for my tour of the continent. I wouldn’t have been able to meet half as many bachelors as I have in the past three weeks if it hadn’t been for this ship.”

“Meet and reject, you mean. Still, I bet good King Issachar would have given you a bigger, more comfortable vessel, if you’d only asked him, Princess Hataru. There’s not even enough people on this ship to play a proper game of cricket!” Gilda pouted, returning to the embroidery project in her lap, “Why did you ask me to come along, again?”

Joining the older woman on the green-striped sofa in the center of the room, Hataru absentmindedly fiddled with the fringe of a throw pillow featuring her lady-in-waiting's previous handiwork ─ a rather dilapidated pink blob with an odd, zig-zag line protruding from its right side, which she supposed was meant to be a pig ─ Gilda’s favorite animal. “I told you, I enjoyed your company last month at the orphanage banquet, and I wanted to become better acquainted with you.”

“And we couldn't have done that in a less mobile nature?”

Hataru glared at her acquaintance, thinking to herself, I didn't have to invite you, you know. I would have much rather brought one of my closer friends, or even one of my sisters, but you kept going on and on about how you wanted to travel and see the world…  “Do you always complain so much, Gilda?”

“Hmm? Sorry, I didn't quite hear you. Say, did you I tell you that my cousin ─ the rich merchant who married a gypsy? He’s planning to scale the tallest mountain in the world for the eighth time?”

“The Place Where Earth and Sky Kiss?”

“What? Heavens, no! My cousin might be a thrill-seeker, but he's not that foolish. Only mad men risk their lives climbing that monstrous rock; I’m sure no one has ever survived attempting such a feat!”

“Well, someone must have. How else would the legendary treasure have gotten up there?”

“Oh, Princess, that's all it is ─ a legend, a myth! You really shouldn’t believe everything you read. No, I was referring to Mount Leviathan in the Behemothic Mountain Ran─”

“Shhh, shhh… I heard it again! It’s coming from the top deck.”

         “Oh, please, it’s probably just your nerves. You're not feeling faint again are you? Drink some more tea, that seems to help.” The woman gestured to a dainty pewter tea set on the mahogany coffee table in front of them.

The End

0 comments about this story Feed