26. In Plain Sight (Part 6)

Dragging him behind her, she darted into the middle of the march, and Levi found himself surrounded by more people than he could ever count. His muscles tensed, and his arm involuntarily reached for the hilt of his sword. As a man familiar with sneaking about, standing in the center of attention was not a comfortable feeling for him.

“Dance, Levi!” Hataru’s apprehensive voice shook him out of his stupor. His eye found her off to his left among six other women garbed in similar brightly colored costumes; she was by far the most stunning of them all. She twirled in time with the other dancers, shifting her arms and swaying her hips as if she had practiced the dance her entire life. She was a fairy, flying around the street with invisible wings, and when she trained her dazzling lagoon blue eyes on him, he felt like the most important man in the world.

Watching her caper to the spirited music coerced his feet to tapping, and before he knew it, Levi was dancing right beside her. The other members of their covey joined them in the midst of the parade, but Levi barely took any notice. Even when they initiated a type of court dance, forming a circle and trading partners in a systematic fashion, the pirate’s attention belonged only to the princess. The music swelled, filling the entire area with its excitement. Her eyes closed in bliss as she swirled, Hataru crashed against his chest, her hand landing in his own, as the song flared and came to an end, the crowd cheering.

“Captain, this way!” Levi reluctantly turned to see Antenor opening the door to a dimly lit pawn shop and ushering the others inside. Refusing to let go of her hand, he scrambled away from the paraders and into the boutique.

The End

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