Finally, we managed to get ourselves back to our voyage and now, this was the finale. This would be the last stop which mean, we had finally had our route towards Ele Kingdom that was for me to take back what ought to be mine from the olden days. Captain Kenny was avoiding me ever since the love trial and it hurt me more than what I could bear. Thinking that he was secretly peeping for my stature without me looking and looked away when I was looking at him, seeing him pretending that he was not hurt despite knowing the fact that I didn’t love him anymore was killing me from within. My mind messed up and I myself in a dilemma whether I was still in love with him or not. Lady Fasasha hadn’t said anymore words than just a simple answer, “The fate will never face its back on you. Tell him that and you’ll know the answer.” Even for now, I hadn’t had any opportunity to tell him about Lady Fasasha’s answer of our relationship.
I was doing my daily chores as usual and finally, it was dinner time. Captain Kenny was speechless and the atmosphere died without any laughter from any of the crew. They didn’t dare to make even a sound, seeing their captain was completely down without any reasonable explanation. Two days more and we would arrive in Ele Kingdom very soon.
“Captain, we’re finally going to Ele Kingdom. It’s a sacred place...” Thomas couldn’t manage to finish his statement since Captain Kenny knocked the dining table and made quite a sound from it with his right hand. Everyone was astounded by his sudden actions and remained silent and stunned. Without anymore words, he took a last sip from his goblet and left the room with a loud bang coming from the door he slammed. Everyone was now staring at Thomas and we could see that his face was pale as white as a piece of paper.
“Did I just say a taboo?” He shivered.
Everyone faced each other in a bewilderment yet not being able to solve the captain’s mystery.
“It’s not like him to get angry without reason, right?” Sylvester added.
I left the room at my own pace, letting the children doing their chores in cleaning the table under the supervision of the blue snake-like dragon. I rushed towards Captain Kenny’s room and stood there for quite a moment until I gained myself some courage to knock his door. As I had expected, no answer came from the door unless I announced my identity.
“You don’t have to open the door, but please just hear me out, okay?” I uttered and there was still no answer coming from the other side of the door. My eyes started to water and my voice started to sound a bit husky but I just ignored it and continued saying what I had to say which I had kept for so long.
“Are you sure you want to disband me from this crew because of the trial?” I sniffed, holding my tears.
He still refused to give any answer from the other side of the door but I know that he was standing right in front of me since the shadow beneath the door was there, proving that he’s inside his chamber.
“What’s your main point in taking me as your cook in the first place? If I can’t be the one to stand by your side, then just let me stand behind you! Is that so hard to be done?” I sobbed and I finally realised that I could no longer hold my tears as one by one, dripping on the wooden floor.
“It was my main point to take you as a mere cook. She played this trick all along. She did this to us and she wanted this to happen between us no, to everyone!” His voice finally heard.
“Who?” I questioned.
“Who else do you think it was? You said Mammy was a fortune teller right?”
“Yes. But it can’t be her...” I was greatly astounded by his sudden statement as if he was putting the blame on Mammy.
“Of course it wasn’t her. Come to think of it, why couldn’t she and the old wizard predict about your step-mother’s plots? Why didn’t she and the wizard know about your whereabouts when Anna took you away from the palace? This is weird isn’t it? This puzzle makes no sense...” He mumbled.
“Are you saying Anna has been plotting all these scenes?” I asked again.
“If I were Anna, I’d rather have a life being thrown than having all the villagers die in vain. The virus, it was spread throughout the village,” He answered, sounding weird.
“How would you know about that?”
“Do you think that doctor won’t go and do some research on that case?” He murmured.
“You mean, Hardy made some research?” I was quite overwhelmed with what I was hearing.
“Of course he did. Right before he knew me. The virus wasn’t supposed to attack people unless the main source of the village had been contaminated with it. The virus won’t die unless being burned.
“So that’s why Mammy burned the whole village? Just to stop the virus from spreading?” I asked, forgetting my main point in chasing him to his chamber.
“Yes,” After he answered the single answer, the air around us grew awkward and silence took place for quite some time.
“Captain, what if I’m still in love with you?” I whispered slowly by the door, fearing that any of the crew might be walking nearby and might be hearing what I had said.
There was still no answer from him. I was determined this time. I must confirm my feelings towards him once and for all and if I no longer had feelings for him then, I must accept my fate to leave this crew. I begged for him to open his door but he still refused to do so. I had it enough! I shouted at the top of my lungs and said, “Fine! Then you won’t feel at all miserable if I date Frederick, right?”
The door flung open and the image of a pissed man who looked as if he would kill someone appeared in front of me and quickly grabbed my hand and pulled me in his room and had the door shut.
“Can’t you find any other man better than that womanizer? Are you a sicko? You never learn!” He shouted shrilly, being very pissed off.
I finally managed to laugh after all these time, being all gloomy thinking of his reaction towards me and somehow I was so relieved that he could scold me that bad rather than avoiding me. Tears watered my eyes and I could stop crying. I rested my head on his broad chest and hit it over and over again using my right hand non-stopping.
“You’re so evil! You know that you’re enchanting me all over again. I know now. I am now secured. Captain I love you. I love you so bad that it hurts me so much when you actually want to disband me. It hurts me so much when I know the fact that I have to be separated from you,” I shrieked from my sobs.
“But what about the trial?” He was quite insecure with my exclamations.
“You believed in such superstitious?! Am I not being persuasive enough?! Just what should I do just to make you believe me? Are these tears are not enough? How much longer do you plan to omit your own feelings?” I begged him.
He spread his arms and held me into a longing hug, not wanting to let me go, “I don’t want to believe in such stuff. I don’t care even if you love me no more. I just want you. I just want to own you for myself solely. I don’t care if you love other man, I’ll definitely kidnap you and make you look at me again!” His hazel eyes were so cold and piercing that it pierced directly into my eyes with such a possessive look in his eyes.
“Then don’t ever let me go! Don’t ever let me fall for any man other than you! Let me be by your side forever!”
Suddenly, a low thud came from the door. Captain Kenny quickly released me and opened the door swiftly with the look of an evil devil carved on his face since that in front of him were his fellow crews who were eaves-dropping us from the very beginning.
“How much have you heard, rascals?” His monotonous tone was somehow sarcastic and deadly.
Everyone turned pale and gave me a glance of begging but even I myself couldn’t say a word due to the shock and was unable to help them.
“A-all of them!” They said synchronically.
“Starting from...?” Captain Kenny gave them a poisonous glare, the glare that could kill the most pious person.
“We was wondering why Eleanor said that you won’t care if she date Frederick and we now know the main reason now,” Rio uttered rather convincingly.
“Capt’n was so mean to address me that way,” Fredrick was somehow being rather far from the other crew mates, probably sulking.
“Seriously you guys, just date already...”Keith added, a bit annoyed.
“And who gave you the permission to eaves-dropping?” The menacing glare of his grew rather intense.
All of them bowed and said rather simultaneously, “We’re sorry, Capt’n! We won’t do it again.”
I chuckled a bit and slowly, my chuckles turned into a merry laugh that I could feel a heavy weight had finally been lifted from my tightened chest. I was now secured that whatever happened, the fate between us would never change. We were destined to be together and we were fated to be together. The furious captain could finally calm down and he finally sighed.
“Since everyone has already knew this, I would like to make it official in front of everyone then,” He heaved a heavy sigh, as if he had no other choice.
He took out a small box, saying, “I will not delay this anymore and I will regret if I don’t do this as soon as possible. I want every one of you be the witness of this event.”
I could see that everyone was blanked with bewilderment on what he would be doing right now. He approached me and stood still in front of me.
“I have made peace with my mother from the last letter I sent her and she sent me this and I know well of her purpose of sending me this,” He paused as he knelt down in front of me and took my right hand. My heart was throbbing and it was beating loudly that I could hear them thumping like mad. I had never imagined this but this was it! This was going to be the most memorable scene ever! “Eleanor, or rather, Princess Eleanor Lieselotte... Will you marry me?”
Everyone’s jaw flung right open and my face flushed from the embarrassment of being under excess satisfaction! Tears once again streamed down my eyes and I just couldn’t say no. Everyone was grinning towards each other and elbowed each other. I took both his hand as he stood up. Our eyes met and finally, my lips grew into a most beautiful smile ever, replying for his propose and finally saying, “Yes.” Everyone cheered with merry smile and even the sulking Fredrick got back on his feet and shared the joy with the others. He gave me a hug but he hesitated whether to kiss me or not since the bunch was just right behind of us. Couldn’t they just give us a little bit privacy here? Well, that’s not important and what’s important right now was I WAS ENGAGED! And my fiancé was the well known ‘The Devil of the Sea named Kenneth Rogers! I was so happy that I could hardly sleep. I wonder what would happen once we’re arrived at Ele Kingdom. I couldn’t stop imaging me in a white gown as he took me by the hand and we exchanged oaths and for the finale, exchange rings. I was ecstatic by it that I could hardly sleep!
“Are you sure that you’re in love with him?” Lady Fasasha asked with a goblet of rum was firmly in her hold.
“Yes, I am,” I answered hastily that I was very certain of my answer.
“What about him that you love most?” She questioned again.
“Despite his rough character, he’s very kind towards his mates on board. He’s protective and he never shows that he loves someone even though he really loves them. He cares about everyone and he doesn’t want them to know. It’s like he’s being a villain in people’s eyes even when he’s a hero himself. He doesn’t like credits and his heart is very pure,” I described briefly.
“Are you sure that your love is not adoration?”
“What do you mean?” My eyebrows rose that I was very astounded by her sudden exclamation.
“Yes. Sometimes, people are blinded and couldn’t tell which love is and which adoration is. Adoration is more into admiration and admiration, my dear, is not really a true love. It’s more into respecting the one you think you’re in love with,” She manipulated her words.
“I never knew about it,” I doubted.
She landed her goblet on the table and faced me face to face and stared directly into my eyes, “My dear, we women are always been fooled by men’s fake love and also, our wrong intuition. That so called love you have may not be a love or may be one. Only you can decide it.” She took her fore-finger and landed on my left chest where my heart was located.
“I want him! I want him so badly! I know this is love! I know that this feeling is love! Because... because... I really want him for my own! I want him so badly that it hurts me so much if I got separated away from him!” I whined.
“You’re in love with him alright but...” She paused, creating suspense in the atmosphere.
“But??” I repeated her words with sheer agitation.
“Does he love you the same way as you do, my dear? Who knows his love might not be the real one. He might only be fond of you because of your beauty,” She sneered, taking back the goblet and took a sip of it.
I was literally dejected by her sharp words and it might as well be true. What if he only fond of me? I remained silent for a moment, speechless as I didn’t know what to speak.
“Well, you don’t have to worry that much my dear. Let the quest answers it all,” She quickly took out a needled-syringe and pricked me with it until I fainted.
At the same time, Captain Kenny was still searching for my presence somewhere on the island and finally, he encountered his last quest, ‘The Confirmation’.
“You’ve done well, lad. Despite the cut on your left shoulder, you’ve received no injury and completed the entire task you’ve encountered. Bravo for you,” A man got out of the blue and clapped his hands and resumed his speech. “But, this one thing is the only thing I’ve been wondering about. Do you really love her?”
“I may not express it via words, but I may as well express it from my actions. If my love isn’t deep enough for her, I might as well abandon her,” He replied briefly.
“Are you sure? Your treatments are just the same towards everyone even towards her,” The guy manipulated.
“I know I love her. Now step aside or I’ll finish you once and for all,” Captain Kenny threatened.
“I know that your prowess is far more superior compared to me but, what if her love is only adoration? What if she mistaken it as love?” He sneered sadistically and his eyes were evil.
“Even so, I will continue to love her till death parts us. She is free to love anyone but the only thing that she must know is that my heart belongs to her. If death parts her from me then I will not hesitate to follow her,” Captain Kenny tightened his fists as he spoke sternly.
“Very well spoken, but first, you will have to seek for an amulet,” He retorted.
“Amulet?” Captain Kenny repeated the diction again.
“Yes, an amulet. Find it somewhere here and put it around your girl’s neck and then will the remedy works.”
“I will then,” He set off and searched for the amulet as fast as he could as the guy vanished through thin air.
He now had a few more hours until sunset and if he was late, we would have to part forever and he didn’t want it to happen. He searched everywhere, under the rocks, inside the bushes, in the nearby river, on the tree, inside a dead trunk and on the ground. He couldn’t find any trace of the amulet. But then he smelt something pungent. The smell of urine of a tiger and he knew that he had crossed the line! Roar! Roared a giant male cat somewhere nearby from where he stood. It was the Siberian tiger! He halted cautiously, standing still in alert as he tried to scan where the roar came from. It roared again and this time, he finally got the bearing of the tiger that was seven metres due west from where he stood. He took out a knife that he had picked up from the previous quest and shielded himself with it, showing it off in front of the giant tabby. To his surprise, the amulet was hung neatly on the tiger’s neck.
“Are they seriously trying to kill me?” He moaned.
“Roarrr!!!!” The tiger roared viciously, giving him a death glare.
“What, you want me to make a stew out of you? I don’t eat other carnivores!” He hissed angrily that he was very tired and he’s running out of time.
He was now left with one hour and thirty minutes before the sun yields to the moon and he had no choice but to use his remaining energy.
“I do not wish for a dreadful death for you but I prefer you die from dehydration. As ‘the Devil of the Sea’, I sought for you, my minions, dry up from this innocent mammal’s body,” He chanted.
Not long after that, the tiger knelt on the ground and slowly, losing its consciousness. Finally, it died. Captain Kenny pursued his journey and tried to walk as fast as he could despite of losing most of his energy from chanting the spell. He huffed and puffed all the way when finally, he arrived and a certain place where there, a hut was built nearby. He trotted towards the hut and saw me fainted inside it and revived me. The sun was a few minutes before it set.
“Eleanor! Wake up!” He called.
“Cap... tain...” I finally regained my consciousness.
He quickly applied the amulet on my neck and uttered, “No, don’t talk! Drink this.”
He held me tightly in his firm hold and fed me with the remedy. I managed to drink half of the remedy before the sunset and the other half after the sun had finally set.
“No! No! I failed!” He buried his face in his left palm.
“It’s okay. I’ve a request before I lose my consciousness,” I uttered weakly as my vision started to blur.
“Anything...” He replied sadly.
“If I no longer have heart for you, will you make me fall in love with you all over again?” I requested.
He gritted his teeth in deep agony. He knew that he mustn’t break his promise, “I’m sorry. A promise is still a promise. Though I have lost your heart, but you still carry mine. That’s all you need to know. Your death is my death. My heart is all yours. No matter who you’ll love in the future, I will always love you.”
“I don’t want that. I want to love you solely,” I sobbed despite my blurred vision.
“Shhh...” he hushed me. “It’s okay. Just let me carry this pain. It’s okay,” He slightly smiled but deep inside his heart, he was deeply hurt.
“No, you’re evil! I won’t allow you... I won’t allow... you...” I fainted as my final tears fell.
A single tear fell from Captain Kenny’s golden eyes as he buried his face on my unconscious body. Even a man can shed tears when he knew that he lost the most important thing to him.
“Darn it! Darn it! Darn it!” He cursed and finally, he fainted out due to the fatigue of not being able to have some rest.
Finally, the tribes appeared and lifted our fainted bodies back into the tribal village.
“Lady Fasasha, your judgement,” One of the villagers questioned.
“It is true that they’re both bounded by love,” She grinned mischievously.
“But the poison? She only managed to drink half of the remedy,” He frowned.
“What poison? I only drugged her to sleep. That’s all. That’s not a remedy, that’s just a bottle contained of tea,” She covered her mouth, trying not to giggle.
“You mean they will never be apart? You’ve planned it from the very beginning?” The villagers shrieked, astounded by their wise chief.
“I only wanted to show them the feeling of losing the person you love most. I don’t want them to experience how my former husband left me,” She gave a sad smile towards her subjects.
“We will never leave your side, Lady Fasasha,” One of the villagers knelt upon her, portraying his loyalty.
“Count me in,” The other one followed.
“Me too as well, Milady.”
One by one, her subjects knelt upon her and vow for their loyalty upon her. Her heart was finally at ease and finally, she proclaimed, “It is time for the couples to get back on board. Good Luck, Capt’n Kenneth Rogers.” She saluted.
That night, we built a shade to keep us warm and started a camp-fire somewhere nearby using sticks and twigs. We sat there side by side watching the fire ablaze as it was burning our fishes for our dinner. The awkwardness tangled our tongue and prevented us from talking to each other normally. This kind of situation usually occurred between Fredrick and Lilliana when they were left alone but this was way too awkward! I never thought it would feel this way. I yawned as my eyes felt heavy, feeling very sleepy due to the fatigue.
“You’re sleepy?” He questioned out of the blue.
I nodded as a reply.
“You can go ahead and sleep, I’ll guard from now on. The dinner will be our breakfast for tomorrow okay,” He assured.
I didn’t reply him. I snuggled nearer by his side for warmth and landed my head on his sturdy shoulder. He didn’t even say a word and just let me be.
“Are you asleep yet?” He took a slight peek at my resting stature that was now asleep. “I guess you are then,” He stared at the bluish starless night. He wondered how longer we would stick here and he couldn’t let his guard down. What if the island was inhabited by the cannibal tribe? He couldn’t care less. The wind blew mildly and my hair was brushing his neck but he didn’t budge even a muscle to make sure that he wouldn’t wake me up from my rest. He slowly shifted my hair from tickling his neck and caressed them lovingly. He was almost asleep and by the time he realised it, he slapped his cheek hardly and tried to stay focus.
“Her life might be in danger if you slack! Don’t you dare fall asleep!?” He motivated himself.
It was getting chilly and I snuggled nearer towards his side and he did notice it. He wrapped his arms around my shivering stature, whispering, “I’m sorry. This is the only thing that I can do right now. I don’t have my coat to cover you with.” His hold was warm enough to make me fall into a deep sleep. He couldn’t help himself from falling asleep by my side as well.
The next morning, we went for a tour on the island and couldn’t find any trace of living human. Captain Kenny concluded that it was the inhabitant island that he ordered the crew to settle down from the previous storm but the ship was swept away and that was exactly what had happened to us. We cooperated to make an S.O.S emergency help for the crew and maybe two or three days, they’ll be here to get us. Surely!
“What if they never come? What if I didn’t make it to the coronation?” I suddenly asked.
“I know we’ll make it. Trust me,” He convinced.
“Well, there’s still a probability that we might be marooned for the rest of our lives,” I replied.
“Well, we have Mammy, haven’t we? She’ll figure it soon enough and inform the crews that we’re here,” He assured calmly, holding my hand firmly in his hand.
“Well, I’m just asking. What if it is real then?” I uttered.
“If that happens, will you be my bride?” He blurted confidently.
“Are you sure you want me? I always give you troubles and always get on your nerve,” I confessed.
“Then how about you? Are you sure you want a guy that’s heartless and always end up making you cry?” He replied.
Now we’re facing at each other, staring deeply into each other’s eyes. Our heart raced two times louder and faster than the last time and we couldn’t stop blushing.
“If I am your wife then, what might happen next?” I questioned again.
“Hmm, I’d love to have a couple of children, a boy and a girl. I want my daughter to grow up just like her mother,” He suddenly grinned.
“Then, I want my son to be protective and strong just like his father,” I smiled at him back.
Enough with the words, he embraced me tightly as I hurled my arms behind his neck as we kissed beneath a shady tree. Suddenly, a group of armed men got out of nowhere and surrounded us with spears and sword firmly in their hold. The leader of the tribe got out and uttered, “You, what business you have here?”
Captain Kenny shielded me from them and answered boldly, “We meant no harm and you see, we’re stranded on this island and we’re waiting for our comrades to get us back. No worries, we will not bother this land and leave it just like how we see it.”
“That is not the answer I’m seeking,” The leader smirked. “This island is also known as ‘the love trial’ land to prove whether you two are really meant for each other. If you fail, you will have to separate right after you got into your next destination.”
“Huh?!” Both Captain Kenny and I retorted simultaneously.
“Follow us,” She ordered.
Without any hesitation, we followed them into their village which was located in a place where people could never think of! Inside a tunnel that leads under a lake and it was very deep.
“Why must there be something that distracted us every time we kissed?” I pouted.
“We’re not lucky enough I guess,” He answered nonchalantly.
“You love birds, how long have you been realising that you’re in love?” The tan-skinned woman finally stopped and stood in front of us.
“Uh, recently,” I answered timidly.
“Well, if that’s the case, I wouldn’t dare see it as ‘love’,” She uttered.
The whole tribe jumped and clapped their hands with their own way of agreeing her words just like what the red Indians usually did. She raised her right hand and everything remained silent again.
“How long have you known each other?” She asked again.
“Half a year,” Captain Kenny answered briefly.
“Nice. Now then, this is where everything will start,” She raised her right hand once again and suddenly, I was held a prisoner and been tied up.
Captain Kenny tried to help me but the people were too many for him. I was brought away from them as they continue their little conversation.
“What are you doing?! I said that we meant no harm here!!” He shouted fiercely.
“How obnoxious! Your incompetence will only make her suffer! Do you think that we do not know who she is?! We are the tribe that has been elected by the great wizard to test whether you are the one for her,” She explained briefly.
“What is it that I have to do?” He finally yielded.
“You must complete a quest,” She uttered.
“A quest?” He repeated.
“Yes boy, a quest. You must seek for her without any trace before the sunrise tomorrow or you’ll have to part in the end. Only true love will finally unite,” She grinned.
“A quest means a challenge. There’re traps waiting for me, are they not?” He replied.
“Yes boy. This bottle contains a remedy. She’ll be poisoned and if you didn’t manage to get to her before the appointed time, she’ll lose her heart from loving you.”
“YOU HEARTLESS CREATURE!!” Captain Kenny tried to attack her but she was faster and hit him hard on the head that made it bleed.
“Your princess awaits for her man. Don’t make her wait any longer than this,” She sneered at him.
“Lady Fasasha, it is time,” One of the men bowed upon her.
“I wish you all the luck, boy. Find her and your love will not perish. As you finish your quest, come back to me and give me back the bottle,” After saying her last sentence, she left the incident place without looking back.
“Damn it!” He barked angrily.
He drafted a map of the island on the ground with a twig and memorised every possibilities of the traps and where I might be. He hummed a bit, thinking hard and finally decided.
“Traps... If I encounter places with traps, that means that I’m on the right route but where would they set it? It’s hard to guess where a trap is set up...” He whispered to himself, taking a few more minutes for an answer. “Since this island is full of jungles, animals are everywhere and if the place is silent, that means they sense human’s presence or traps. So, I must find silent spots somewhere in the jungle. I must not make any noise since it might spoil the plan.” He paused. “I’ll try to be more alert and walk randomly. This island is not that big and maybe around 5 miles in radius. They might as well bring her away from their village but where? They must have hid her somewhere secluded where outsiders will not possibly think people can actually reach the place. This place is up north and the most heinous creatures here are the Siberian tigers and venomous snakes. There’s no cave and there’s no high lands here... the island’s ground is flat so the probability for them to hide her is to hide it somewhere dangerous. Of course they can survive since they usually walk in groups. They won’t hide her somewhere with the venomous snakes for cautious it might affect the poison they gave her so, the highest probability is somewhere where Siberian tigers lurk. Siberian tigers are not really dangerous unless provoked. They rarely attack people so the chance for me to be attacked by them is quite low. Even if I got attacked, I’ll use my prowess to stop them.”
Then he strode off for his quest in searching me who was hid somewhere in the island of jungle. There’d be numerous lethal traps awaits for him on the perilous path that he was going to take and even luck couldn’t help him as his wits would be the only one he could rely on. Pacing far in the jungle, he focused on the surrounding for the route. The place with animals sound would not be taken and usually, the birds’ chirps would help him recognise the right path.
Long had he walked and finally, the place he got into looked rather peculiar and somewhat a bit ‘out casted’. His cautiousness increased and he walked in alert, being careful in every step he took. He abruptly stepped on one of the strings that were prepared for a trap and deadly sharp knives flew in the air, aiming towards where he stood. He dodged all the knives and one of them had cut his left shoulder, leaving a bloody painful cut.
“I’m in the right path,” He grinned in satisfaction.
“I wonder which path I should go next... Will it be north, east or west side from where I stood...?” He swiftly shut his eyes and tried to focus more on the sound.
He could hear birds chirping on his west side and the rustles of bushes and broken twigs the north side which mean that the animals were in his front side and his left side. Now, he had to move due east. He took a few leaves and made them as poultice as a remedy for the cut on his shoulder. His pace was getting slower compared to when he first set foot on his journey for his quest. He had to endure the pricking pain on his left shoulder and must move as fast as possible or I would lose my love for him.
“Wait for me, my love. I will never let you down!” He whispered to himself.
Traps by traps he had encountered and he hadn’t slept at all and he had been using all of his energy to come and search for my presence somewhere in the Island. He had set his journey on sunset and now, it was already dawn. Would he really be able to come and aid me this time?
Things might have been seen easy but every time we met, we faced away without uttering and quickly left the place at a faster pace due to the awkwardness. Yes, we’re in love with each other but we couldn’t show it in front of the crews. Keith had been by his side ever since morning took place and that saved everything and the crew didn’t suspect anything odd between us.
The sea was mild that day and I decided to do some cleaning in my chamber. Everything stopped when I finally found the letter which uncle John gave me when we were still in Faintlight. Since that everything was clear now, I didn’t think that I need to give away the letter to his son. Overwhelmed with curiosity, I opened the envelope and started to read the letter.
As you read this, the person upon you who gave you this letter is the lost princess of this kingdom. Her background is not yet been revealed but by the time you attained this letter, I guess she has finally gained her whole memory. I beg of you my son to protect her even if it costs your life on the line. Your father has finally done with his quest and now it is you to continue it. Whether will she be the next queen and rule the kingdom with the one she choose nor the other one will not change the future but her death will threat the world’s peace. Bear it in mind my son if her death occurs or she falls to the wrong hand, the citizens of the world will not tolerate with it since the mother, Queen Arianette has given her life for the sake of human kind. She exchanged her life with the citizens and her daughter’s happiness. Bow upon her and be her knight. Do not let me down and you will be known as a warrior.
The letter fell on the wooden floor like a feather fell from the sky. I sat on the bed in dismay but unfortunately, it wasn’t the bed I was sitting on. It was Penelope! He jolted out of the bed and grumbled angrily at me. I apologised and by then he was able to calm down a bit.
“You startled me, Eleanor,” He hissed.
“I’m sorry. It was a major accident.”
A pigeon accidentally landed in my room with a small-scroll attached to its feet. Penelope was ready to make it a dinner but I stopped him on the spot from continuing. He did whine a little but then he settled down like an obedient puppy, wagging his tail. I removed the small-scroll from the pigeon’s leg and was about to open it when finally Captain Kenny came barging in my room.
“Wait! I didn’t open my window just now that’s why it comes here. Give it to me,” Captain retorted with sweats running on his face.
“What’s this?” I asked bluntly, forgetting my awkwardness in just a few seconds.
“A letter of course... Please, hand it over,” He demanded.
I obediently handed it to him. Without a slight delay, He opened the letter and read the contents of it. His face abruptly went red while pouting, “What are you, a stalker?!” I whispered to Penelope to retrieve the letter from him and he made it and handed it over to me.
“Wait, Eleanor! You literally don’t want to read that!” He shouted.
“Oh, really? Is it from Mammy?” I snickered.
“You ‘definitely’ DON’T want to read that! I swear!” He raised his right hand as if he was performing an oath.
“This is getting good,” I paused and started to read the contents out loud which can be heard within the room only. “Dear Kenneth, it has been a while since I wrote you a letter. How’s my daughter? It seems that she has gained her memory back. And speaking of which, I can still forgive you about the accident kiss but I literally AGAINST you from kissing her which is not an ACCIDENT! Do not underestimate the power of a fortune-teller! And finally, send my regards to her. Yours sincerely, Mammy.”
Right after reading the letter, my face went read. I instantly replayed the flashback of the moment when we kissed in the castle and what’s worse, being seen by the prince himself! And now Mammy?! Was she been watching us from her fortune crystal ball all these time? Captain Kenny quickly grabbed the letter and swiftly hid it in his pocket.
“Told you so,” His face went red again.
“I’m sorry,” I stared at the wooden floor and now my heart was beating like mad.
“You don’t have to,” He said mildly.
“You guys just date already,” A child’s voice, somewhat pissed off, came from the doorway where there, stood Keith and Chast.
“You little rascal,” Captain Kenny was on his temper but then he cooled down for a bit.
“Sis, look, Brother Keith taught me how to carve on a wood! Isn’t it beautiful?” Chast showed me a wood carving with his name carved on it.
“Well, I enjoy carving things back in the orphanage,” Keith’s face went ruddy.
I hugged Chast with a smile on my face, saying, “It’s beautiful! You’re very talented Chast and you are a good teacher Keith.”
“It’s nothing,” He faced away and folded his arms in embarrassment.
“Well, since he’s a year older than me, I decided to call him Brother!” Chast smiled happily.
“That’s great then,” I patted Chast’s fluffy head.
“Hey Penelope, want to do some cool stuffs?” Keith was so keen of Penelope since he’s a dragon.
“Sure thing!” And finally, all three of them went out of the room, leaving both of us in my chamber.
I didn’t know what to do and I just remained silent and stood there like a statue. Minutes later, Captain Kenny noticed the letter that fell on floor which was written by Uncle John and read it.
“Am I not good enough to protect her, old man?” He whispered to himself silently.
It was taking forever and it was getting more and more awkward. We didn’t look at each other and we avoided our gaze from staring at each other. Finally, Captain Kenny finally broke up the silence, “Hey, what should I do now?”
“Wha- Pardon?” I slowly replied.
“In this kind of situation, what should I do?” His face turned redder than usual and mine went ruddy as well.
“Well... We... I mean...” I couldn’t answer his question and my tongue was somehow tangled.
“This is frustrating...” He held his forehead with his right hand.
“I can’t look at you. Please keep your distance from me right now,” He warned.
“What have I done wrong this time?”
“It’s not you, it’s me!”
“Captain...” I couldn’t grasp what he was trying to say.
“We’re alone in this room and there’s a bed over there. I’m a guy and you’re a girl. Everything can go wrong,” He finally made himself clear.
“You’re not that kind of guy, right?” I answered timidly.
“Why are you seeing me like that?! I’m still a guy and who knows what I might do?! I’m off,” He swiftly went out of my room, leaving me all alone.
He was restraining himself for now. The more he avoided me, the sadder it was. I was deeply hurt and I couldn’t bear with it anymore. He was getting away from me despite that our hearts were finally united. Keith, Chast, Penelope and Hardy didn’t say a word about us and the crews didn’t suspect anything weird out of it. It was like any other day for them.
“Capt’n!! Bad news!! There’s a storm ahead!!” Theo who was the watch-stander for that day shouted in alarm.
“Where is the nearest land here, Scar?!” Captain Kenny asked in alert.
“An inhabited island somewhere within a kilometre due east, capt’n,” Scar answered briefly.
“Draken, Sylvester, control the helm! You know what to do?!” He ordered at the top of his lung.
“Aye, aye, sir!” Both of them did their best to manage the heavy helm which was going against the current waves.
“Randolph, Hans, Alfin, Fredrick, go get the ropes!” He called out.
“Yes, sir!” Their voice synchronised for the reply.
“Thomas, Sweeney, Brad, Josh and the others take care of the masts for the front part and the hind deck!” He demanded.
“Capt’n where’s Eleanor, Penelope, Chast and Keith?” Artney bluntly asked out of the blue.
“They were at the hind deck just now,” Howard answered.
“What?!” Captain Kenny shrieked.
“Captain, the storm is here!” Theo warned.
“Theo, get down from there!! Everyone catch a hold on something!! Draken, Sylvester, try to hold the helm due east with all you can!” He dashed towards the hind deck.
“Where are you going, capt’n?!” All of them asked simultaneously.
“Where do you think I’m going? I can’t let all four of them just like that!” He was finally out of sight.
Somewhere at the hind deck, Chast and Keith were still practicing their sword lesson while Penelope and I were staring at them, doing nothing. We did hear the ruckus at the front deck but we had no idea what it was about. Suddenly, the sky turned gloomy, the heavy down-pour drenched us and wet the floor which made it all slippery. The waves shook the ship and made it moves as if it was dancing on a dance floor. We hold onto each other but we didn’t manage to get Keith with us. He skidded downwards towards the edge and that’s when I went to him and shoved him towards Chast as I fell down into the sea.
“Sis!” Chast shouted.
“Are you guys okay?!” Captain Kenny shouted from afar.
“Captain, sis fell down into the sea when she was saving Keith!” Chast replied anxiously.
“What?! She didn’t know how to swim! Keith, take Chast and Penelope to safety!” He quickly went towards where I fell just now and jumped from the hind deck to get me.
“Captain!” Chast shouted.
“No time to lose! He’ll survive somehow, let’s get you in!” He pulled Chast and Penelope inside the cabin and shut the door hardly.
Meanwhile, I was struggling for air which I was now drowning since I didn’t know how to swim.
“Eleanor!” He called as soon as he got into the cold sea.
I couldn’t reply him but before I could do so, he quickly swam towards me and grabbed me while trying to reach our ship. What fortune befell us? We were swept away by a huge wave and now we lost the ship and stranded on a deserted island.
“Eleanor, are you okay?” Captain Kenny revived me.
“Wh- where are we?” I coughed, feeling a bit dizzy.
“I’m not sure. We lost the ship in a storm,” He replied sadly.
“No way! That can’t be true!” I jolted in surprise, astounded by the fact.
“Listen to me! We’re going to be fine. Just relax and they’ll find us soon enough, okay?” He held both my shoulders and calmed me down.
“What do we do now?” I asked.
“We need to find any tribal area here. But, we need to be cautious for fear this island might be inhabited by a cannibal tribe. We’re lucky enough if this place is an inhabitant island,” He muttered.
The bushes behind us abruptly moved. I quickly embraced Captain Kenny, asking, “What’s that?” And both our attentions focused on the moving bushes. A monkey jumped out of the bushes and ran away, climbing another tree.
“It’s just a monkey,” He answered with relief.
As we turned towards each other, our nose bumped and our eyes met. I went ruddy and my heart was throbbing like mad and the situation continued for quite a while. He quickly released me and stated, “Well, let’s search for something to eat. I guess we’re both hungry right now, aren’t we?”
“Yes, yes... Let’s go,” I retorted, agreeing his statement.
That was a close one. I wonder what might happen if we continued gazing at each other like that.
Was it me or the prince was somewhat attached to me even when he said that he’d definitely make the princess that’s supposed to be me as his queen. Maybe he’s playing dumb or he’s just fooling around like any other men. I noticed that Captain Kenny was quite irritated by the prince but I didn’t know that the prince’s appearance had brought a worse agony towards Fredrick.
“What are you so upset about, Fredrick?” I asked him cheerfully, not trying to annoy him.
“His attire and attitude are an eye-sore,” He said it while biting his thumb nail.
“What makes you say that?” I couldn’t help myself from being shocked by his dictions.
“Can’t you see that? He’s disgusting! He’s contaminating the image of a dream guy of all young ladies especially when he’s a prince! I can’t live in this kind of country with such prince,” He moaned with his hand clutching his chest which where his heart was located.
“You’re the last person I’d expect to hear that from,” I whispered to myself.
“Please answer my questions truthfully, Princess,” He finally got serious.
“What is it Fredrick?” I asked.
“Even though the prince and I are quite similar in some way I mean, we both flirt. Am I that disgusting as he is?” His face turned gloomy all of a sudden.
“No! Well, when I first met you, I had a thought that you’re my dream guy just like in a ‘certain’ novel. Though you guys are a bit similar in some way, you’re better than that disgusting pri....” Before I could finish my sentence, I could hear the prince’s masculine voice calling for me.
I quickly hid myself behind Fredrick and asked for his aid in not revealing me in front of that idiotic prince. The prince was in his silk night-gown and he was walking all along the corridor with that attire.
“Have you seen Ella, Fred? I was looking for her everywhere and I couldn’t find her,” He said briefly with a straight look on his face.
“Why bother her that much? Aren’t aiming for the ‘princess’? And please pronounce the rick when you mention Fred,” He replied half-heartedly or rather a bit pissed off.
“Sorry, I meant no offence but Fredrick is way too long. If Fred sounds that lame to you then your parents should remove the Fred and name you Rick instead,” The prince nonchalantly replied with a monotonous look carved on his face.
For some reason, a black aura that’s similar to Captain’s Kenny arouse to the air that was emitted from his body, “I’m sorry to disappoint you but I have no parents to start up with and the one who named me weren’t my parents.”
“No wonder. That guy must be a cabaret guy or maybe a Casanova since your name suits it very well,” He gave a smirk at Fredrick with the look of satisfaction.
Fredrick had it enough. He took out his pistol that was hung on his right waist and aimed it towards him. The prince whistled mockingly while saying, “You don’t mean that right? You do know how many soldiers I have here in the palace, do you not?”
I patted his back and shook my head hastily when his eyes were looking at me. He heaved a heavy sigh and put the pistol back to where it belongs. The prince gave a grin of satisfactory that the smile was very malicious.
“I better not waste my time here any longer. I better look for that fallen goddess. Adios westerner,” He turned his back at him and gestured a wave while fleeing away from the incident place.
“Even though I’m a blond with green eyes, I’m not a westerner! I’m raised in the middle-east!” He shouted from afar.
“Only low-life dogs would bark for that useless statement,” Henry popped out of the blue.
“My greatest apology, I’ll keep my behaviour better from now on,” He retorted a bit pissed off.
“I wonder why he was looking for me,” I finally revealed myself in front of Henry.
“I’m not sure about it but I did hear him spurting nonsense like sleeping with you and such,” He replied while holding his chin.
I put my right hand on Fredrick’s left shoulder and faced him with the look of displeased, saying, “I regret for restraining you from shooting him. From this time onward, I permit you to kill him.”
“Even without that permission of yours princess, I’ll do so whole-heartedly,” He replied me with a grin.
We then laughed to our heart’s content even though the laugh was kind of peculiar in some way that it sounded evil. Henry didn’t utter a word but just remained silent while watching at us with a weird look carved on his face. He whispered to himself, “They’ve lost it.”
“By the way Eleanor, capt’n said that you must ‘not’ sleep in your room. If not that womanizer prince will attack you if you don’t careful enough,” He retorted when he finally remembered what he was about to say.
“Then, where should I sleep then?” I asked bluntly since that I’m the only girl in the crew and there’s no way I could sleep with any of the guys.
“You’ll sleep in my room, don’t worry. Penelope will be guarding you and I’ll sleep with the children,” Captain Kenny finally arrived.
“Ah, speak of the devil,” Fredrick uttered.
“He is a devil,” I replied.
“Now, put this robe on and follow me,” Captain Kenny put a robe on me and pulled me quickly, leading the way towards his chamber.
All the way, we remained silent. I couldn’t say any words and my heart was thumping like mad. I couldn’t help feeling like this but why now? Why not later? My pace was light as his sturdy warm hand was holding mine firmly and I couldn’t think of anything else. I couldn’t concentrate at all and my mind went wild and I hated myself and I knew my love was a one-sided love.
“Eleanor, is something wrong?” He asked out of the blue.
I was startled by his sudden question and replied him with a single, “No.”
“If there’s something that’s bothering you, just let me know. Is there’s something that’s bugging you?” His voice was calm and somewhat charming in a weird way or it was just me who was thinking nonsense.
“No... I don’t have anything that’s bugging me. Don’t worry,” I smiled.
We abruptly came to a halt and his hand was still holding mine though he didn’t turn back facing towards me. “Don’t lie to me. Am I not reliable enough for you to tell me?”
“You’re the one who said that it was none of your business, wasn’t it?” I retorted hoarsely since I couldn’t manage to hide my feelings properly.
“Since when did I say that?” His volume went up a bit higher as he quickly faced me.
I didn’t realise that my tears fell that quickly from my eyes as I replied him while looking directly towards his eyes, “You’re the one who said that my love life has nothing to do with you.”
His eyes widened astoundingly. He faced away from me while saying, “Is that so? Sorry for burdening you that much. If you really like him, you should’ve told me sooner.”
“What are you talking about?” I couldn’t grasp what he was trying to say.
“It’s alright. I’m fine. Just pretend that I didn’t say anything towards you that night when we were at the balcony,” He started his pace again and released his hand from holding mine.
“What are you talking about?” I tried to stop from sobbing any further.
“Isn’t it obvious? It’s normal for a princess to love a prince,” He stopped half-way.
My heart was struck by a lightning. Tears streamed down like a heavy downpour and I fell on my knees sobbing as hard as I could, “Are you an idiot? Don’t play with me that way... I don’t want him and the one I like is not him! Why are you making me feeling this miserable? What have I ever done to you? Am I only a crew in your eyes?”
“Eleanor...” His voice lowered down due to my sudden outburst.
“Am I no good? Do you hate me that much? Is this feeling I have is just one sided? Am I really a burden to you?” I couldn’t stop myself from spurting out such questions.
I was silenced in a nick of a time.
“Enough already...” He hugged me hastily. “Sorry for hurting you that much. Yes, I am an idiot. I am an idiot for falling for you. I’m not playing with your feelings at all and it hurts me so much that I could die for making you this miserable. You’re not just a crew; you’re someone special in my life. You’re not good but you’re better and I don’t have enough guts to hurt the one I love most and your feelings is not one-sided and you are not a burden to me. Is my confession is making you felt any better now?” I could hear his heart’s beating irregularly as he tightened his hold around me.
I halted like a statue and I couldn’t believe my ears. When I finally got back to reality, I nodded as an answer to his question. He released me from his hold and now our eyes met. I could feel my heart was throbbing and thumping like mad. His hazel eyes were beautiful just like a sun that’s shining in summer’s day. My gaze became hazy and that’s when our lips finally touched for a few minutes and this time, I didn’t regret it. I was glad that he’s the one who got my first kiss.
“So, the rumour was wrong then,” A masculine voice suddenly reached us from a distance.
“Prince Lucius,” Captain Kenned stood up in alert and shielded me with his body.
“It’s okay. I’m not like my father. I hate that old geezer anyway for treating me like his toy. So you guys are literally in love with each other?” The prince questioned.
“As what you have witnessed,” He replied boldly.
“I see. I was thinking of trapping you and saved the princess but then I was wrong. You guys are destined together. You must now set sail before tomorrow morning which the king will soon arrive from his conference from the southern county. You better move tonight fast since the king will arrive tomorrow after dawn,” He retorted.
“Why are you telling us about it?” I didn’t understand. A second ago, he was plotting something evil on me and later, he was rescuing us from the danger of his own traps?
“Because nothing good comes from a forced marriage since without love, your life is just an empty space. You must fill the void in your life with love,” He answered briefly.
“No, I literally mean it. Why are you letting us go?” I asked for a confirmation.
“Because I’ve seen how a forced marriage killed my mother from within. Is that explanation good enough?” His eyes somehow turned very cold.
“Yes. Enough to answer our question,” He replied.
“Be warned not to take the southern route. Your ship has been moved to the northern part and please be quick,” He retorted, not looking at us.
“We owe you a great deal, my prince,” I bowed courteously.
“Yes, and do remember that for eternity,” He smiled gladly.
That night, without any more delay, Captain Kenny summoned all the crews and left the castle in the high tide wavy ocean. Our main destination was north heading towards Ele Kingdom, my birth place. The current was violent but we managed to go through it somehow in the dark night in the mercy of the wide blue sea.