7. The Place Where Earth and Sky Kiss (Page 8)

Levi dropped to the ground and rested against an old wooden chest next to Zephyr, his head in his hands. The boy was still coughing and wheezing, but it was obvious that he would live. Zephyr looked up at the captain with fearful eyes, shielded behind Hataru's mask. Once the boy had heard about what the princess had done for him, he figured the captain would hit him, kick him, kill him even. That’s what Master Kosu would have done, he thought. Oh, shoot! What’ll he do when he gets here and finds out she’s dead? What’ll he do if he finds out that it’s my fault?

Zephyr started slinking away, looking around for a place to hide. Of all the skills he’d picked up on his old master’s ship, that was the one he used the most. Zephyr was small and fast, which made it easy to squeeze into tiny places and stay out of sight. That’s how he’d gotten onto Levi’s ship in the first place. That’s how he’d snuck away from those two stupid twins ─ Rayne and Thorian, he remembered ─ and smuggled himself into one of the captain’s rowboats. And that’s how he’d escape the wrath of The Black and White Assassin now.

“Hey, Zephyr,” the one-eyed pirate called.

The boy froze, “Y-yes, sir?” I’m done for!

“Can you fetch that cloth over there for me? I’m starting to feel a bit cold now.”

“Huh?” He’s not going to pummel me?

“That shirt over there, by the diamonds. Hataru, she─ she still had mine when she… when she─”

“This burgundy one?” Zephyr picked up the fabric and carried it over to the captain.

“Yes. Thank you.”

“No… no problem.” The boy waited, expecting Levi to snap and start shouting and telling him how useless he was or slap his face and break his arm, but the pirate only smiled grimly and pulled the shirt over his head.

Safe for the moment, Zephyr crept away to find a nook to burrow into, all the while thinking to himself, That is not the man Master Kosu described. They’re nothing alike!

The End

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