“Well, first you have to tell me,” he bowed down to scan the face of each boy and girl. Focusing on one tan boy with his serious, golden eye, Levi questioned, “Elton, have you been behaving?”
“Nadia, have you helped your mother with the chores?”
“And, Alec, have you been taking care of your little brothers and sisters like I told you last time?”
“Then by all means,” Levi reached into a sack tied to his belt, “enjoy!” Like confetti, he threw multicolored candies into the air, their cellophane wrappers twinkling in the sun, and the children roared as the treats rained down upon them, quickly scampering off with their sugary plunder.
One little girl remained, however, scavenging the ground for a piece to call her own, and began to tear up when she found none. Swiftly, the captain crouched next to her and whispered, “Make sure you share,” as he handed her the entire pouch from his belt and sent her off to join the others, squealing with delight.
Utterly baffled, Hataru had no clue as to what to think about such a benevolent transaction. “Is he always like that?” she asked Antenor.
“Who? Like what?”
“The captain. Is he always so… generous?”
“Miss Hataru, the captain is the most generous man I know.”
“My good people!” Captain Spry spoke out over the din of excited villagers, and everyone fell silent, “My men and I ─ your husbands, your brothers, your sons ─ have returned with our boons once again, enough to last you another two months!”
“Huzzah!” the crowd cheered.
“Unfortunately, as you know, our work is never done, and I have a promise to keep,” he glanced Hataru's way, and the few in the crowd who noticed stared at her inquisitively; the incognito princess nervously pulled her hair tighter and tried not to make eye contact.
The captain continued, “I encourage everyone to be glad and make merry tonight, for we shall be taking to the skies at the break of dawn.” Sighs of complaint echoed in response, but the street eventually cleared as families began toting their stolen goods away; only a few individuals remained. Like cleanup workers after a large concert, Levi, Antenor, and Firious began loading the treasures that had not been passed out to the villagers onto a ramshackle cart.
As they finished, Hataru asked, “What do you do with the rest of this?”
“Oh, we just pack it up and drop it in the harbor,” Firious spat.
“Mr. Grimm,” Levi called, heaving a large chest towards them, “here.” He dropped it an inch away from the flying-sailor’s toes, smiling smugly. “Take this home to your mother, and enjoy what time you do have to spend with her. I’ll take care of the rest.”
“Humph.” The hoary man began dragging the weighty trunk away at a snail’s pace, until Antenor helped lift it from the other side, and together they carried it down the street.
Levi laughed, “Don’t mind him. He’s just upset that I curtailed our stay here, and more often than not, he expresses his emotions through sarcasm and, ah, colorful language. But he’s really the best friend a man could ask for.”