“Wow,” Levi shifted in his seat, looking equally sullen, “and I thought my grandmother’s pestering about finding a wife was too much.”
“Hmm,” she smiled sympathetically, “I guess we’re both in the same boat, then. No pun intended, since we’re both, you know, actually on… the same… boat. Oh dear, I should stop trying to be funny.” She buried her face in the fringed throw pillow, trying to hide her fiery cheeks.
The captain snickered, “I guess we are, Princess.” He looked down at his hands, examining for the millionth time the torn slip of paper that he still held, and an idea came to him. “Say, since you were raised by royals, is it safe to assume you’ve been educated? Formally, I mean?”
“Of course,” Hataru sat up, offended.
“Well, maybe you could help me figure this out,” he handed her the parchment.
“What is it?”
“I, uh, took it from Kosu,” he flinched as he spoke the name, “but it ripped, and he still has the first half.”
Hataru read the scrawled handwriting aloud,
“-ade in the wolf king’s den,
cave of the highest ben.
find himself a cage,
-less without rage.
-roused from within,
the blood of phoenix kin.
-hind the empty tomb,
and the Wrong meet his doom!”
“A poem?” she guessed, “All the lines rhyme.”
“I think it might be the prophecy that he solicited from my grandmother.”
“Wait, why would he have─” she gasped, “he was the uninvited guest? How did he know that your grandmother was a clairvoyant?”
Levi didn’t answer.
“You know,” she offered, “sometimes talking about it helps.”
He grunted, ignoring her, “It has the rhythm of her usual prophecies; though, they aren’t always the same. I just can’t seem to figure out what it all means.” He dragged his chair closer to the bed and read through the first few lines, “For instance, who’s the wolf king? And what in the world is a ben?”
“Well, a ben is a tall mountain, or to be more exact, the peak of a tall mountain. I’m not sure about the wolf king. Hmm… the first word on first line might be shade, or maybe made, the third and fourth lines probably start with unless and aroused, and on the seventh line it should be behind. So it would read, Shade in the wolf king’s den, cave of the highest ben…”
“Find himself a cage, unless without rage…” Levi continued.
“Aroused from within, the blood of phoenix kin… behind the empty tomb”
“And the Wrong meet his doom. I don’t like the sound of doom.”
“Doom doesn’t usually mean good things,” Hataru agreed. “Here, help me up. I think better when I’m on my feet.” She tore away the covers and set her feet on the ground.
“Wait! You shouldn’t─!”