5. The Prophecy and the Stowaway (Page 2)

When the princess opened her eyes, she first noticed the mast where Levi was restrained ─ but the captain wasn’t there. The vibrant jacket still hung in place, the end of one of the sleeves flapping in the wind as if waving hello. Mystified, Hataru gazed upward at the citrus scented entity that now held her. Silver-moon hair tickled her cheeks, and a fierce, golden-sun eye glared into the distance. How the captain had slipped out of his trap, the princess figured she would never know.

With wide eyes, she studied his face as it shifted through a series of emotions. His nostrils flared in a terrifying rage, and his slightly imperfect teeth looked sharper, almost deadly in a savage grimace. Then his mouth closed, still twisted in contempt, and his eyes filled with glistening drops of liquid agony, shrouding the secret of a dark wound reopened. The mangled yowl of an aggravated, wounded animal escaped his lips, coarse and loud. Hataru scuffled away in alarm.

A friendly, wrinkled hand gently rested on her shoulder, “It’s alright now.”

“Antenor,” Hataru croaked absentmindedly, still in too much shock to completely register the relief that her friend was alright.

Shakily, Levi grabbed for another rope and attempted to hop onto the banister, belting out a vindictive battle cry after the escaping man in black, but Firious and a few others yanked him back down. Grunting and shouting ensued as they fought against their captain, tussling him to the ground. Even without claws or a weapon, Levi swung his fists feraly, but his men took the punches and continued to hold him back.

“Stay down, man!” Firious shouted authoritatively, “It’s over. He’s gone already!” It was true. Kronos’ Revenge was rapidly speeding away, a flying brigantine with royal blue flags chasing after it. Levi stopped struggling, but he continued to fidget uneasily. That was the last Hataru saw of him as she blacked out once again.

~ ~ ~

When the princess awoke, she was lying in the canopy bed with faded mustard yellow drapes. What a strange dream, she thought, but when she saw Captain Levi and Firious arguing quietly at the table, the reality of it all came back to her along with a stabbing headache. “How long have I been out?” she wheezed, sitting up and holding her temples.

The men went silent.

“About half an hour. You sure seem to pass out a lot,” Levi observed. Despite the mid-morning sun shining through the windows, his tone made the room seem much darker.

“I have my anemia to thank for that. Whenever I get too anxious or excited, I have the tendency to faint. I have a monthly injection to help prevent it, but… well, I guess I’ve been under more stress than usual.”

The captain shrugged, “Understandable, what with all the thieves and pirates clashing swords around you. Must be quite different from your average day to day life.” He watched her inquisitively as he spoke.

“...Yes,” she gazed at him. He was wearing his waistcoat again, and his black hat rested on the table, though it looked a bit dented; he must have gotten it back somehow. “Shouldn’t there be holes in your sleeves? Where the knives went through?” Hataru inquired.

Levi glanced at his arms, distracted for a moment, “This coat belonged to my great-grandfather. We think it must be enchanted somehow, because its color never fades and it always seems to mend itself. It’s been passed down, father to son, for generations.”

The End

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