An ear-splitting howl burst through the night, and a pair of sleepy blue eyes snapped open. Hataru looked around the room, surprised to find that it was not her voice that had woken her. Though she felt even more exhausted than she had before falling asleep, her small feet hit the cold wooden floor in a heartbeat. Still in her nightgown, she raced down the hallway toward the sound of the voice. It sounded infuriated, but frightened, like a wild tiger trapped in a cage, yowling for its freedom; its colossal paws reaching through the bars, grabbing at her, yearning to get out. Dare she step any closer and she might be sliced to bits by its sharpened claws, yet still, out of her burning curiosity, Hataru continued down the hallway.
“I SAID NO, FIRIOUS!” the voice boomed. Hataru slowly tiptoed over to a slightly open door. Warm yellow light showered onto her face as she peeked through the opening. The room was cluttered and messy, as if a rabid monkey had been set loose to wreak havoc on the poor objects that now made their homes on the floor. Unfortunately, from this angle, Hataru could not see the person to which the screaming voice belonged.
“Just listen to me! Try to be reasonable; you usually are. I hate it when you get like this, you always turn into a real monster!” spoke another voice, calm but bitter and hurt.
“I DON’T NEED THIS! LEAVE. ME. ALONE. I DON’T WANT TO SEE ANYONE RIGHT NOW!”
“Fine. I’ll just come back once you’ve calmed down. You'll come to your senses eventually.” Large boots stomped in her direction, and Hataru jumped away from the door as if it were on fire, afraid of being caught snooping around. The hallway was temporarily lit up with soft light, and then the captain’s first mate stood before her. Eyes wide she feared that she would be scolded for peeping, but Firious, looking like a dejected dog, only gazed up at the ceiling and sighed.
With a strained smile and a pinched, gruff voice he told her, “He says he doesn’t want to see anyone at the moment. I suggest you return to your quarters, little lass,” and then he stepped around her and walked away, the sound of his heavy footsteps slowly fading.
Bewildered and confused, Hataru was a statue. She couldn’t decide whether to follow Firious’ advice and return to bed or if she should venture through the door to find the howling voice’s owner. Could it really be who she thought it was? He seemed so nice, so serene and unshakable. She wouldn’t have thought it possible for such insufferable sounds to escape that man’s gentle lips. Again, curiosity was tugging at the princess’ mind, tickling her brain, inducing her further to take the leap and discover what she already yearned to know. To whom did the voice belong?
Cre-eak! The old hinges betrayed her attempt at stealth as she pushed the door open ever so slightly. Despite the warmth of the light, the room seemed cold. A man, his back turned to her, stared out a dark, circular window. As soon as she saw the candle light glint off of his lengthy silver hair, she stopped as if a frightening winter wind had swept across her path, freezing her in place. Deaf to the girl’s entrance, he turned away from the window and began pacing back and forth. His voice, not nearly as loud as before, but still quite thunderous, resonated of the walls as he began speaking his abhorrent thoughts aloud to himself.