11. Men (Page 1)

When Princess Hataru finally retired to the captain’s quarters, drained and exhausted, the bath she had yearned for quickly plummeted from the top of her priority list. With the grace of a water buffalo, she sighed wearily and threw herself on the bed, trying hard to enjoy the silence of the night, but her head ached, her legs burned, and her foot felt itchy in its bandages. Comfort was a foreign concept for her body. All I want is to fall into a deep sleep and not wake up for a week. Is that too much to ask?

Hataru’s face contorted into a horrible scowl. Of course, it is! Why should I think that almost dying twice in one day would give me any right to a good night’s sleep?


“Twice?” she breathed aloud. I did, didn’t I? I almost died twice today! Twice! And all for the sake of breathable air…

Hataru glanced at the white mask Prince Tarin had given her where it sat on the nightstand by the bed, and gingerly picked it up.

He's so much different than my first impression of him. He only seemed to be interested in pretty girls, then, and ─ she ran her fingers through her ratty tangled hair ─ I must admit I wasn’t looking my best when we met earlier today… I wonder… could he really have changed so much in two years? Maybe our arranged meeting wouldn’t have been as bad as I was anticipating… Maybe things could have worked out between us… Maybe Gilda was right…

Oh, my word, Gilda!

She bolted upright, dropping the face mask. How could she have forgotten her month-long companion so easily? Well, she was rather annoying with all her complaining… But that’s besides the point! That creepy man on the mountain said that they had taken her aboard Kosu’s ship. Who knows what they could have done to her by now? We have to rescue her! We─ ah. Oh…

Hataru looked at her lap. Somehow, her hands had unconsciously grabbed a red pillow with an intricate golden pattern and tugged at its tassels until they managed to yank one free.


Glancing around, even though she was very much alone, the princess buried the pillow and its severed appendage under the other other cushions on the bed. Maybe the captain wouldn’t notice.

Captain Spry.

He could help.

He’s got Jupiter’s Return, a great crew, and he certainly has experience in raiding ship. Plus, I’ve given him plenty of practice in the department of rescuing damsels… But would he even agree to it if I asked?

She thought about how forcibly he had attempted to follow The Black and White Assassin when the fiend attacked the ship a few days ago and how viciously he had fought him in the cave earlier that day. He definitely has some sort of quarrel with the assassin. Maybe the fact that its Kosu’s ship will be enough to convince him to help? Or maybe that’ll only make him want to stay away… Exasperated, the princess flopped backwards on the mattress. There had to be some way, something she could say, something she could do to to convince him.

Hataru yawned. Her eyes began to flutter. Without thinking, she cocooned herself in the golden blankets on the bed. Sleep was finally coming to her. Whatever she would say to Levi could wait till morning.

The End

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