The prince flashed her a tantalizing smile, causing many of the whispering maidens ogling him from a distance to keel over. “Why, if it isn’t the beautiful miss I met atop the mountain! I take it that you’re doing well?”
Hataru dipped into a low curtsey, “Yes, thank you, your highness.”
“What brings you to Habar?"
“I could ask you the same thing," she quipped, recalling their last conversation.
"No, no, no," he waved his finger in jest, "I asked first, so you have to answer this time! But for the record, we are in my country, you know."
“Oh, right. How could I forget... Well… I,” her tongue was tied in more knots than a ball of yarn at the mercy of a rowdy kitten, "I... grew up here, in Habar, actually, but I… I’ve recently been… traveling with─”
“With me,” taking a step closer to the princess, Levi gave the prince a one-eyed glare, “as a ward on my ship.”
“Oh, yes!” Hataru concurred, “This is Captain Levi Spry. He’s been very good to me during our travels together. Captain Levi, this is Prince Tarin Vallor of Marcelia.”
“Yes, yes. You were the chap dueling The Black and White Assassin, weren’t you?” Tarin exclaimed. “You put on quite a show! I must say I'm impressed. He almost got the better of you, though, didn't he? You're lucky I was there to help.” The prince's ego raked unintentionally sharp claws across the captain's pride. A silent growl rumbled in the pirate's throat as his glare intensified, but he was cut off before any spiteful words could escape his lips.
“That must have been the best toffee I’ve ever tasted. Don’t you think so, Cedy?” Kurt and Cedric bursted into the circle of acquaintances with Antenor not far behind.
“Yes, it went really well with my pork chops.”
“Ah, but I’ll bet it wasn’t as good as my bacon! You boys haven’t lived until you've tasted Marcelian Bacon!”
Tarin interjected, “He’s right. Marcelian Bacon is world renowned. You have excellent taste, sir. Are these more friends of yours, Miss?” he asked the princess. Hataru nodded and introduced them one by one. The prince smiled, “Pleased to meet you all. I’m glad you are enjoying the Marcelia Day Festival!”