10. Clash in the Cave (part 1)

          A single battle cry erupted from many voices as Kosu's pirates swarmed into the bedazzled cavern like a pesky hive of drone bees. Sounds of swords smashing into each other rang in Levi’s ears. All around him men were fighting and screaming battle cries. He heard gunshots off in a distant corner of the room. Because everyone wore air masks, it was hard to tell who he was fighting against, but Levi lashed back harshly at all who dared attacked him. It was complete chaos. Screams echoed off of the stone walls, amplifying their sounds. This attack was almost unbearable for Levi. He was not mentally prepared for it after watching the lovely maiden Hataru run off into the darkness, unaware that Death was just waiting for her, his jaws open to devour her whole. Again, his thoughts screamed, Why did she do that? She couldn’t possibly have held her breath long enough. I shouldn't have treated her so coldly before! Why didn’t I stop her? Why didn’t I stop her?

          Heart racing, sweat pouring down his back, Levi attempted to get into his custom rhythm of sword play. He tried to dance with his partners, his opponents, yet every few steps, he would skip a beat and take a hit. Fortunately, all of his contenders had poor aim and missed their mark. Even at his worst, no one seemed able to hit him. Despite this, his fighting became more sloppy as the minutes ticked away. Exhausted, Levi slumped down against a chest of pearls and other jewels, his body not responding to his brain’s orders.

          There he sat like a coward, though it was not fear that held him in place. It was regret. With all his heart, the captain wished that he had chased after the girl. He could have saved her! They could have shared his own mask and walked to retrieve the extra, together. Why couldn’t he have thought of that before? An image of the princess flickered past his eyes. Yes, she was beautiful, any man could see that, but there was so much more to her than that. Her allure was only a small part of what had captured his attention: It was her strength when she boldly revealed her true identity to him, a dangerous thing for a princess to do. It was the sorrow she had endured as a child. It was her enthusiastic spirit while deciphering the prophetic poem. It was the panicky concern in her eyes when she fervently pumped water out of the young boy’s lungs, desperate for him to start breathing again, and it was her unwavering voice when she whispered, I can do this,’ as she dashed off to her own demise. He had wanted accustom himself with the princess, to understand what gave her such a courage that he had not seen in many men, let alone women, but now she was gone, like a delicate soap bubble popped by the needle of cruel Fate, never to be seen again.

The End

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