“Hey! Bring that back!” He swiped his sword at the bird of paradise, but it merely ignored him, soaring to the highest point of the main mast. Exasperated, the man sheathed his sword and turned to the princess, “You mean to tell me that these aren't your men?”
“No, of course not. They hijacked my ship a few days ago and locked me in a storage closet. They said their ‘master’ would be returning to collect them… and me,” she added under her breath. “Didn't you know that?”
“Hold on. Who are you, again?”
“You… don't know who I am?”
BOOM! A burst of flames on the deck of the captain’s ship made them both jump.
“What in damnation was that?” The gruff man, Firious, and the others scampered onto the deck, their arms and pockets loaded with sacks of food, silverware, bars of gold, and other items of value, including a familiar pewter teacup.
Hataru gasped, “Is that my─?”
The first mate looked her up and down, then scowled at the red-clad captain. “Ohhh no, not you and your heroics again! Your father ─ may he rest in peace ─ drove me crazy doing the same thing when I served under him. Every damsel in distress, every god-forsaken sailor… Don’t you even start thinking about bringing her with us.”
“Now, Firious, come on─ ”
BANG! BOOM! The fourteen-sailed frigate shuddered, taking more hits from a third aircraft that came looming out from the clouds, its eight inky sails threatening to block out the sun. Armored with slick, sable titanium, the hull of the ship resembled the body of an oily black beetle. Its bow featured two menacing spikes, one above the other like a monstrous maw ready to take a bite out of rival ships.
Apprehension flooded the captain’s features. “Looks like we've got company! Get everyone back to the ship.”
“Who are you?” the young woman demanded.
“I believe I asked you first,” the golden-eyed man smiled impishly, taking a deep bow, “but I’ll let it slide this time. Captain Levi Oberon Spry, at your service, Princess. And you might be?”
“I’m not a princess!”
“Okay… but what’s your name?”
“I─” Shining orbs began bobbing in and out of her vision like fireflies; Her knees began to quake. “I'm seeing stars…”
She barely uttered, “Not again,” as she collapsed into the captain’s arms.