10. Clash in the Cave (part 6)

          Hataru's cheeks grew hot, and her skin tingled where his hands rested. Her breath was cut short as the walls of her rib cage were hammered on by her heart. What was this feeling? The beautiful girl could not decide if she liked it or not; her mind was too clouded with emotions.       

          Having said what he had wanted to, Captain Levi slowly removed himself. He signaled to the crew and they all started packing up to head out. After all that had happened, no one expected to find the comb of the lady pirate.

          As they walked in the darkness of the cave, Hataru tried to clear her mind. She didn't want to think about Levi's words and actions or what they might mean, not here in the presence of others, all men nonetheless. She tried to think of other things such as her favorite horse that she liked to ride among the castle grounds or the dance she had been practicing before she set out on her quest for a suitor, which made her think of Tarin Vallor. Suddenly she exclaimed, “Oh! Captain Levi, I forgot to mention something. While Prince Tarin and I were walking in this very corridor, he entertained me with a portion of his family history. What surprised me though, was that he mentioned your name as well as my own ─  a portion of it anyway  ─  in his story.” She described the dramatic tale to him with enthusiasm, moving her hands to help her tell the tale. She concluded, “He thought your ancestor had died due to his turn to piracy, but that obviously isn’t true or you obviously wouldn’t be here. So, I was wondering, what might have happened to him, Captain Levi?”

          “Hmmm... Lebanon... Lebanon... Ahh! I think I recall a story my father once told me about him. I asked him one day when I was still very young, ‘Why do we give to the poor when we could just keep the treasure we steal for ourselves, like normal pirates?’ He told me that his father had done this before him and his father before him and so on. He told me that our ancestor who started this tradition was not a pirate at all, but was a captain of the royal navy of his country. He left his occupation, I’m guessing from your story that it was because of a broken heart, and tried to settle down. But he couldn’t live without the feel of the wind on his face as he sailed through the air. The ex-captain sold everything he owned to buy a ship and pay for a crew. He eventually fell in love with a fair maiden, not Princess Ambrossa I’m sure, but a different girl. Then, when he was unable to support the transportation business he had started, he began a new trade: piracy, yet he gave a good sum of what he stole to those less fortunate than himself and passed the tradition down to his son.” His eyes glowed in the darkness with a new light as he reminisced the time he had shared with his father. “I hadn’t thought of that story in quite a long time. Quite interesting how our families are connected, don't you think? You said that the Princess Ambrossa was one of your ancestors, as well?”

          “Yes, well, technically she is the daughter of my father’s ancestor. Her name was in the family record books that I read after I was adopted into the Catomerus family.” Which means that I am not technically related to her, or to Prince Tarin, but then, of course it would have only been by marriage, she added in her head in a reassuring sort of way.

The End

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