15. Leap of Faith (part 2)

          Trust him? Who in their right mind would trust an old man enough to follow him off the edge of a boat drifting high in the sky? It was absurd! It was preposterous! Hatru didn't want to even think about such a concept. She couldn't let go of her doubts and fears, for she would surely lose her life if she did. Nothing in the world could force her to place her complete trust into the hands of another, absolutely nothing, except maybe a ferocious silver beast snapping at the tips of her flying chestnut locks.

          Inwardly sighing, Hataru glanced over at the old man. His face was as wrinkled as a crumpled paper bag, and she could see the years of happiness and days of sorrow he had lived through tucked away into each fold of skin. The man's eyes were sagging, yet there was a spark, a twinkle of light, within them, shining brighter and brighter, as the edge of the ship inched nearer. How can he smile like that? the princess wondered. We are both about to die, for goodness' sake! It was then that she realized, Antenor knows what he is doing. He had asked her to trust him. Only a fool would ask for another's trust without a plan in mind, and this aged man running beside her was no fool. From the short time she had spent with him atop the mountain, Hataru had found that he was wise and caring and... trustworthy. With this new understanding, the princess of Trellisania knew what she had to do.

          Five yards away from the railing, Hataru dismissed any remaining thoughts of doubt; she would have no regrets. Four yards away, she relaxed her body, letting all of the tension the drop from her shoulders. Three yards left, she inhaled one last, deep breath of sharp cold air that shot down her throat like icy spears. Two yards, her eyelids slipped down to shield her glossy blue eyes from the horrors beyond. One, Hataru bent her knees and vaulted herself into the air. Her hair ribboned out as she flew like a bird of freedom, exhilarated by her own weightlessness. She trusted Antenor completely as her leap of faith brought her closer still to the edge.

The End

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