18. Falling Hard (part 4)

          Mustering all of her conviction, the princess squinched her eyes tight and furrowed up once again, diving into the kiss before she could change her mind. As her lips forcefully met the beast's cold nose, the sun broke through the surface of the cloudy horizon, making the sky blush in the richest spectrum of reds ever seen by man or bird or beast. Hataru ravished all of her emotions into the endearment ─ her admiration of the man that rescued her from danger, her eagerness to see her friend returned to his sprightly charming self, and her desire to never lose him in this manner again. Every positive sentiment she’d ever felt for the captain ─ gratitude, awe, inspiration, and warmth ─ found their outlet of expression through her lips, and all she could hope was that they were received by the heart and mind of the man within the monster. Fully drained, the princess gently withdrew, the tiny smack of suction alerting her that her mission was accomplished, but when she relaxed her body and opened her eyes to watch the transformation, she was met with a giant set of teeth, a short and hairy muzzle, and one glowering golden orb shining with a mixture of animosity and panic. It hadn’t worked. The Kresreb emitted a final terror-raising roar and released the girl from its grasp, subjecting her to a life that would undoubtedly end with a splat. It hadn’t worked.

          Why hadn’t it worked?

          With only her fitsts of matted fur suspending her in the air, the princess dangled from the Kresreb’s maw. She stared up at the beast with giant, watery doe-eyes, pleading. The beast growled, swaying its head, trying to shake her loose.

          “No!” the princess begged at the top of her voice. “Captain! Please! I know you are in there! Don’t do this!” She began to whimper, tears of betrayal searing down her cheeks, as the beast shook harder. “Captain Levi! I’m sorry! It should have worked! I’m so sorry, I tried! Please, Captain, you've got to take control! You have to stop!” The girl squaked like a captured hen meant for the farmer's supper, when one of her hands slipped from its hold. "Captain! Captain, no!” Only a few tufts if hair held her above the world, a few tufts that would surely not hold her weight. Plick! Plick! Plick! The strands ripped out one by one, and the girl began her descent with a fistful of fur; with a shrill voice she cried in misery, "CAPTAIN LEVIIIIIIIIIIIII─!"

          Now she was plunging to her death at a seemingly increasing rate. She couldn't help but bawl out blisteringly long shrieks and squeals, desiccating her already inflamed throat, and with every scream, she found each breath intake more strenuous, her oxygen levels dropping at a rate comparable with her own velocity. Hataru couldn’t stop the images of two charming men from broadcasting across her mind’s eye. One lived in the lap of luxury, burdened by his inherited occupation. The other lived life on the edge, emancipated by the trades of his father. Both where her knights in shining armor. Both were her heroes, her saviors, her hopes of escaping the clutches of Death once again. But now it was time to face the facts, she was falling ─ falling fast and falling hard ─ to her demise, and no one could save her now.

The End

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