6. The Place Where Earth and Sky Kiss (part 3)

          Taking the man’s advice, Hataru reached down and felt around for the masks, finding three beneath her seat and pulling only two out. Strapping one to her face, she immediately noticed the difference in air she was breathing, cool and fresh. Quickly she grabbed the other and began reaching across to secure it to his head, but stopped herself, hesitant. Nervously, she blushed behind her mask. She leaned in towards him, and he obliged to follow accordingly, making it easier for her to reach. However, he still refused to look at her as she covered his mouth, nose, eye and eye-patch with the mask. Taking a deep breath of fresh air, he grumbled thanks to her, sounding more like Firious than himself.

          When she wasn't looking, he stared at her as she sat patiently, gazing off into the distance, and he couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she was. She had told him that he was a remarkable person, but she, he thought, was truly the remarkable one. He felt sorry and almost ashamed of the cold shoulder he was giving her, but he couldn't help it. For some reason, he was still fuming about the fact that she was in search of a suitor. A princely suitor. The thought of her falling in love with a egotistic, vainglory prince made his skin crawl! She deserved much better! It was true that he'd only known her for a few days now, but he could tell that she was a strong and independent woman hiding beneath a shell of uncertainty. Levi thought about the story she’d shared with him, how she had grown up on the streets and had to fend for herself. What would it be like to grow up without a family to love you? He couldn't imagine. A blurry memory of a sickly young girl in a dark street filled his mind. Confused, he tried to remember who the girl was, but before he had the chance, the mountain’s peak was in view.

          Hataru had never felt so overheated in her life. Beads of perspiration appeared on every imaginable place on her body and slowly made trails downward. She could hardly wait to go back to Jupiter’s Revenge and take a nice, relaxing bath. Doused in sweat himself, Levi squirmed uncomfortably as he propelled them higher.

The End

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