Hataru had never seen a young boy with such an intense gaze.
“You must be the princess Master Kosu keeps talking about,” Zephyr continued, “You’re sure pretty enough to be a princess. Shouldn’t you be wearing a crown or something?”
“Zephyr!” Levi snapped. “Don’t be so nosey.”
Bowing his head, Zephyr apologized, sniffeling, “I’m sorry Captain Levi. I just get carried away sometimes; I’m so… curious.”
Hataru jumped in, “It’s okay, Zephyr. You’re right, my name is Princess Hataru.”
Levi readjusted the wooden room divider and ushered the boy behind it, “We’ll see about getting you in a proper bath later, but for now, let’s get you into these. I think they used to be mine when I was your age. I have no idea why my father kept them, but let’s just be glad he did.” As he helped the ten-year-old dress, he asked, “So, Zephyr, do you know anything about this?” He showed handed the slip of parchment to the boy.
“Well, I.. uh… can’t read, so I don’t know.”
“This is piece of paper that Kosu was carrying. Did you hear him say anything about it to the other men?”
“Umm… I think so…”
“Do you remember what they said?”
“Um…” Zephyr hesitated, “He was mad about someone killing his girlfriend and said he was going to get his revenge. I don’t know. Um… what else… Oh! A few weeks ago he stole some knife from a prince. Tuh-ryn Valmore, or something like that.”
Hataru’s ears perked up. “Did you say Tarin? As in Prince Tarin Vallor of Marcelia?”
“Yeah that was it! Do you know him? I guess you, being a princess and all, would know lots of princes, huh?”
“Honestly, I’ve only met him once. But I was on my way to meet him again when Kosu attacked my ship. Tarin is the next bachelor on my list of suitors.”
Levi exclaimed with fake enthusiasm, “Well, it’s a small world after all, isn’t it? But what does that have to do with the prophecy?”
“Um,” the princess paused to think, “Oh! Zephyr, let me see that.” She read through the first line, “Yes, yes! It makes perfect sense.”
“The royal crest of Marcelia is a wolf. The wolf king must have been referring to the king of Marcelia, and if they stole some sort of dagger the torn word must have been blade.”
“Hmm…” Levi nodded, “Do you remember anything else, Zephyr?”
“Ah, I heard something about going to the tallest mountain known to man…? That’s all I can remember.”
Levi sighed, “Thank you, Zephyr.”
“What are you thinking, Captain Spry?” Hataru inquired.
“Tallest mountain known to man? I know where he’s heading, but─”
“He he, you both said butt!” Zephyr snickered. The princess and the pirate ignored him.
“I need to get you back to your parents. They’re probably worried sick, right? Then you can go meet this wolf prince fellow, and─”
“Captain,” Hataru stopped him, “this is your ship. Do what you need to do. You’ve already saved me more than once, and I don’t want to be a hinderance to you. If we need to get to this mountain, then let’s go there.”