CAPTAIN LEVIIIIIIIIIIIII─! The voice of the princess sounded coarse and cracked, ready to fall to pieces. Peering down below him, Levi's heart stopped. She was falling so fast that the tears in her eyes were flying off her face, leaving a stream of water behind her. The beautiful young woman appeared as helpless as a sparrow with a broken wing, knocked out of a tree by a hungry, leering cat. Tearing his eyes away from her, he bit back the shame of what he'd done, or at least, what he'd allowed to be done by the beast. Barely glancing around at the assets he had around him there at the top of the main mast, he began formulating a plan. Judging distances, estimating angles, and timing speed and velocity, the captain's mind was a rescue mission machine, and before his formulation was even complete, he was already leaping into action. Hold on, Hataru!
Springing from his perch, extended his arm and firmly grasped a nearby rope. With posthaste he slit through the line at exactly the right point and began his own plunge to the deck below ─ head first, hands to his sides, and legs straight. His moves as smooth as the silken, maroon shirt he wore, the maneuvers he made were strictly calculated and executed on their precise marks. No mistakes could be afforded, not now, not with her life on the line ─ again ─ by his doing. It killed him inside to think that it was his own decisions that had put her in harm’s way. First, she was knocked unconscious on his ship ─ in his own quarters, nonetheless ─ because he’d been too preoccupied with his own private rivalry. Then, he’d allowed her to run off alone to fetch an air mask, where she was nearly killed by one of his enemy’s men, and now, because he couldn’t keep hold of his temper, this beautiful girl had been scratched, shot at, spat upon, and was currently hurtling to her death. He could hardly bear it, but now was not the time to think of his own inner turmoil, it was time to save her.
Levi’s rope drew taut with about fifty yards hanging slack beneath him, yanking his body backwards. Tightening his grip, the captain knew this was the moment of truth, the time to see whether his strategy would pull through or not. Using his legs to guide his direction, Levi initiated stage two of his plan, swinging across the width of the boat, trained on the descending princess. Air rushing through his long, silver locks, blasting him with the fresh scent of thrill adventure mixed with risk and hazard, the smell he’d learned to love since his boyhood. This was it! He steadied his arm for the upcoming impact. In two and a half blinks of an eye ─ FUMP! He had her. Cradled up against his chest, his arm firmly around her waist, he had her, and, for a moment, they were one. The world froze around them, no one else existed except themselves. He could feel her every heartbeat pounding hard, in sync with his own. Everything was all right now; they had each other. But they couldn’t hang there, suspended in time, forever. Levi relaxed his grip on the rope, silently sliding down to the deck below.