Finally, the appointed day had come for me to be awakened from my slumber for the whole four days straight. When I first opened my eyes, the first image I saw was... Penelope! He was sleeping by my side soundly and it was in the middle of the night. I could hear my stomach grumbled like mad but it was too hurt to stand up from my bed so I decided to wait but waiting wouldn’t be any good since I was getting hungrier and hungrier. When I started to move, I accidentally revived Penelope from his slumber.
“Already awakened, milady?” His voice sounded merry somehow compared to what I had been hearing for the past few days when he first hatched.
“Yeah... By the way, is there anything that I can eat?” I asked and my stomach couldn’t stop from grumbling.
“Ah, one serving coming right up,” He swiftly ran out of my bed and headed towards Captain Kenny’s room who was nearby.
Footsteps were heard minutes later and it sounded like as if it was running towards my room. I stretched my neck to see what was coming ahead and saw Captain Kenny’s anxious expression at the doorway, sweating with a shocked look on his face.
“Penelope was right, you are awakened,” He finally spoken as his masculine stature came near towards where I lay. “You’re okay?”
“Other than the pain on my back, I’m kind of hungry,” I replied, burying my face under the pillow.
“I see. I guess I’ll just have to wake Maria so that she can reheat something for you to eat then,” He started to pace away but I quickly grabbed his hand thoughtlessly.
He seemed shocked with me grabbing his hand without thinking but still acted cool about it, “What’s wrong?” He asked mildly.
“I’m... scared,” I confessed.
He gave a slight smile and sat at the bed-side, patting my head while saying, “Why are you afraid?”
Tears streamed down my cheeks as I explained briefly, “Nightmares. I don’t know but it seemed as if it was real. Someone tried to kill me over and over again but that Anna girl kept saving my life countless time. Then, when I arrived at a cottage at a country-yard, I saw corpses everywhere, scattering the ground. They were infected by a flu that came from the west. Anna’s twin, Anne suffered from the same disease and so did her husband, Henry. It was terrifying,” My hand squeezed his hand. “But... But mammy was there! She took me away. She said she was sorry towards Anne and killed both of them who were sickly on bed. Then, fire started engulfing the whole village, and... and...”
Captain Kenny abruptly embraced me but not too tight so that he wouldn’t hurt me, “What if the dream was the fragments of your memory?”
“It’s not, isn’t it? Tell me that isn’t my memory. I’m not the princess and I don’t want to have such frightful past. I don’t want to know that my step-mother was trying to kill me! I don’t want to know that both Anne and Henry died because of me! I don’t want it!” I sobbed at his sturdy chest but he just remained silent. Captain Kenny came to realise that Hardy purposely left the bottle of Dragon’s blood somewhere nearby. He held me tightly and forced himself into a crooked smile, “It’s just a dream. Don’t worry. It’ll eventually go away.” Somehow, he was biting his lower lips as if he was hiding something from me.
“You’re hungry, right? Penelope will be guarding you now. I’ll prepare something for you, okay,” Captain Kenny finally left my room.
Somewhere nearby the hallway, Hardy was standing as if he was waiting for Captain Kenny’s arrival there. He gave him a cold look, “What’s wrong, Capt’n? You’re the one who said that you’ll be telling her the truth about the letter but you didn’t!”
“That’s so unfair,” His hair seemed to cover the sad look in his eyes.
“So now the devil has turned into an angel?! You can’t hide it from her forever!” Hardy exclaimed furiously.
“I don’t know,” He paced away, heading towards the kitchen. The angry doctor went back to his chamber and flung the door hardly.
After grabbing breads and soup from the stove, he silently sat on the chair nearby at the kitchen, giving himself a face-palm. He heaved a heavy sigh, “That’s unfair of you to put the burden on me alone, Eleanor. Why do your tears always making my body trembles as if I’m about to fall apart? I never fell for another woman’s tear instead of yours. Why seeing you like that hurts me so much?” His hazel eyes were somewhat blue as rain poured slowly into a heavy-downpour.
He slowly knocked the door of my room and entered with a few slices of breads and a bowl of cold soup, “Sorry, this is the only thing I could do. I don’t have enough confidence for the stove.”
I wiped away my tears and gave him a warm smile, “It’s just enough. Thank you.”
“Feeling any better now? You looked pale,” He settled down by the bed and shoved the tray of meals at me gently.
“Not quite. I’ll gain enough energy after I finish this I presume,” I smiled at him as a token of my gratitude.
“It’s just weird. Normal people usually wake up when people aren’t sleeping. I wonder what time is it now,” He was now facing me.
“I wonder,” I answered with my face reddened without me even realizing it. My heart thumped loudly that I could hear it clearly despite the heavy downpour outside the ship. “Well, uh... I’m... I’m not implying anything but uh... Ummm...” My head was searching for a suitable word to explain my gratitude to him for saving my life countless time.
“Yes?” Captain seemed to notice my low voice was mumbling something vaguely.
“Well uh... Umm.... Tha- Thank you for saving my life... You’ve been saving me ever since I came aboard,” I blushed and I could feel my heart was about to explode.
“As a captain, it is my responsibility to keep my crews safe from any mishaps,” His eyes were avoiding mine ever since I started to smile.
“Then, what if I didn’t get on board? What if I’m not one of your crews? Will you still be saving me?” I boldly asked without any hesitation.
“I will. I will always be ready for that. Can’t you see the difference of this pirate and any other pirates? We won’t attack people unless they’re the navies or greedy merchants with slaves on board. We were normal sailors until James proclaimed us as pirates. We have no choice but to go with the title,” He smirked as if he was seeing James’ figure somewhere inside the room.
“Then, why are you not being cold towards me anymore like you used too?” I bluntly asked again.
“Hmmm... I wonder why I am like this. Maybe it depends on situation I guess. I’m already over it already. Arguing with you won’t get me anywhere since in the end, I’ll just make you cry,” He sighed, scratching his hind head with his right hand.
“Can I ask you one thing?” Somehow, it was lingering in my mind ever since I came on board.
“Sure,” A short reply was enough to make me start my question.
“Where did you come from and how come you didn’t notice me when mammy already adopted me?” I finally let everything out of my head.
“It was a long story if I am to tell you.”
“Don’t worry. I’m a patient listener,” I gave him a childish grin.
“It’s so unfair,” He seemed to avoid his face from being seen by me.
“Huh?!” I grunted, rather puzzled.
“It was nothing,” He paused. “You said you’re 18, right?”
I nodded hastily.
“Well, to tell you the truth, you’re the first to know my real age besides Late Marcell. I’m actually 24.” My jaw dropped low as if I couldn’t believe my ears. Being able to conduct such a fine pirate ship in such a young age was quite awesome. “I’m 6 years older than you so, it’s normal for me to not noticing your existence back there. When I was 5, Maria asked a divorcement to my father and got married with James. My father grew weary of losing her and got himself drunk every night and starting from that, he had mentally and physically abused me until I turned 8, Mammy took me away right after my father committed a suicide after stabbing me on the stomach. Due to that, I had been hating women for fooling a man’s heart for her desire but unfortunately, I’ve got it all wrong. She wasn’t doing it for James’ property instead; she was doing it for the sake of my father and me. After a year being under mammy’s shelter, I decided to leave her at 9 and set sail to the wide blue sea which had been my route ever since then. I fought hard for my survival at the sea and finally managed to settle myself in the east where there, I met with Marcell’s father and was taken as one of the candidates to inherit the title ‘the Devil of the Sea’. I didn’t expect to get the title but then, I accepted it. I finally became one of mammy’s clients in recruiting people for the voyage. Since she’s a fortune teller, it’s easier to find trustworthy crews thought 3 of them betrayed me. The 3 of them were picked randomly and not under mammy’s supervision and it back-fired me. Mammy told me to find Chast at the desert and the other crews at random places where my ship couldn’t go. I had never been to her house except for 2 times.”
“When you mentioned the 3, you mean the incident before we met Marcell?” I asked.
“Yes,” His hazel eyes shone forlornly, as if he had lost something that was important to him.
“I see.... Marcell, Ronnald and Finn. They’re good people but because of jealousy and greed, they end up broken from within,” My eyes narrowed sadly. “Many things happened back then and I’m kind of glad that I can manage to understand what life is.”
Captain Kenny gave a slight grin; he took something on the table beside the bed and was examining the hairpin he gave me carefully, saying, “You still have it. I thought you might throw it away since that you hate me so much.” Somehow, his expression was a bit gloomier than usual as if something had torn him apart.
“No! I don’t hate you!”
He was somehow stunned by my impulsive reflex and was now staring at me with a bewildered look carved vividly on his face.
“Uh, no... I mean, of course I’d keep it since that it’s a gift right? And... and... I don’t hate you, somehow... Uh I mean, even though you always bully me with your words, somehow you’re kind... uhh... I mean... I like you... But, uh... I mean,” My head was spinning like mad and I lost track of what I was about to say.
He patted my head and was laughing at my own attitude. It was the first time for me to see that side of his, smiling and laughing. I had decided! I’ll work hard to make him smile and laugh more than what he had tonight.
“You scared me to death back then,” He finally gain his sanity again right after he satisfied laughing at me.
“It’s okay, I’m glad somehow. Well, it seems that night-time is about to yield for dawn. I’m quite sure that you still need your rest,” His face soothed a bit.
“It’s okay. The one who needs rest the most is you, captain. Go back and sleep,” I persuaded him.
“Nope, I only sleep not more than four hours a day,” He explained briefly.
“Yeah right, no one can survive that,” I mocked merrily.
“I did and in fact, it started ever since you came on board.”
“Why? You’re afraid that I might attack you during your slumber?” I uttered with a grin on my face.
“Nope. You can attack me all you want but I wonder whether you’ll be able to lay a scratch on me,” He smiled nonchalantly.
“Oh, you still know how to brag? You look a bit pale. Have you been sleeping?” Somehow, without him answering, I already knew the answer. Just who on earth could sleep peacefully when one of his comrades had an injury as the result from being shot by the navy? I took out my hand and lay it at his cheek, “Get your rest now, Captain.” I carved a smile, big enough to persuade him that I’m alright. Finally, he yielded. He closed his eyes and leaned his head on my shoulder, “Good night, Eleanor.” Soon, he fell into a deep sleep. Penelope came to me and handed me Captain Kenny’s coat from his mouth and I swiftly yet softly, wrapped him with it. He had been sleepless and restless nowadays and I didn’t want to be any more of a burden towards him.