Chasing the Horizon

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Being Boarded

Dax grit his teeth as he tried to keep the ship sailing as fast as it could possibly go. Even before he looked back at the ship behind them, sailing with black flags, he knew it wouldn’t be enough. This ship was a large passenger ship. It was built to go long distances and transport a lot of people, but not to fly at any great speed. Dax already had the ship going as fast as it possibly could and the ship behind them was already gaining on them.

Moments after Konnor had disappeared into the kitchen, his crew walked out onto the main deck. They were all looking up at him, waiting for an order, or perhaps an explanation. Dax just barked at them, “Prepare to fight.”

Many of the soldiers he’d brought were already armed with handheld firearms, but they still all went below deck to get the heavy artillery. The soldiers soon came back with a few rifles, enough swords for everyone to have one, and the one canon that they brought. Dax looked at the meager supply of weapons that they brought. He couldn’t believe that they’d brought so little. He knew that if they took much more, his father would surely notice. But this wasn’t enough to fight.

He kept the ship on a straight path, flying of course to be able to keep the wind at their back. It wouldn’t be enough to keep the pirates from catching up to them, but it was the only other thing that could possibly increase their speed. Dax jumped down the stairs to the main deck and over to the weapons pile the soldiers had made. He would yell at them for this in the morning, if they would only survive the night.

Konnor and Timothy emerged from the kitchen, joining the soldiers at the weapons pile. Konnor looked like he was about to pick up something and join the fight. Dax dashed to the other side of the pile, swiftly taking the sword from Konnor’s hand. He looked at the redhead seriously, “Have you used any of this stuff before?” The silence between Konnor and Timothy gave Dax his answer. “You’re not fighting.”

“I don’t want to be defenseless if someone comes to attack me,” Konnor’s brow knitted together.

Dax knew he had a point, he just didn’t want Konnor to fight and possibly get hurt. He couldn’t have Konnor getting hurt, not if there was anything he could do about it. He was responsible for Konnor, especially because Konnor wasn’t a fighter. Dax’s tone was deep and commanding as he said, “You get back to the helm and you sail this ship. Get us away from the pirates and you’ll have nothing to worry about.” Dax was fairly certain it wouldn’t work, but it was the best thing he could say to Konnor to get him to not do anything stupid. Dax looked at the rest of the crew, giving another order, “Ready the canon. Be prepared for anything.”

Everyone sprung into action, following Dax’s order, even Konnor. Dax was certainly glad to see that Konnor wasn’t going to fight him on this. He stood with his crew on the main deck, hanging close to the stairs to the helm. He wasn’t going to let anyone past him, no one was going near Konnor. On the other side of the deck, he saw Saria pull Timothy back into the kitchen. He was glad that they would be out of the way, he had too many people on this ship to worry about.

By now, the sky was completely black, Dax could barely see anything beyond his own ship. He to turn the lights of the ship off, but knew that would just give more of an advantage to the pirates. He took a breath, quickly heading to the side of the ship. He did his best to look into the sky beyond the ship, but everything was black. Even the moon was barely a sliver, not nearly enough to light the entire night sky. He hated the feeling that Konnor was right, they were all just sitting ducks, waiting for the pirates to come to them.

Dax heard a thud behind him. He whipped around to see that the lights on the helm were out. No way had Konnor done that on purpose. Dax was already running back to the stairs when a yell started but was quickly cut off. Dax ran up the stairs faster, taking the steps two or three at a time.

He got to the top, trying to see in the dark. The pirate ship was merely 15 feet away, two ropes were hooked onto the back of Dax’s ship. Konnor was being dragged off by two of the pirates, they had ropes tying his arms to his sides and a dirty cloth shoved in his mouth. The taller of the two pirates quickly drew a pistol and fired a shot at Dax.

Dax dodged but not enough, the bullet still knicked his shoulder. Dax didn’t notice the pain, he just drew his own pistol, aiming it at the pirates. He got off a shot before the pirates started using Konnor as a shield.

The pirates were unhooking the ropes from the ship. They were going to jump off and take Konnor with them. “No!” Dax yelled, running forward, the sword he took from Konnor still in his hand. The pirates were already on the railing with Konnor.

Dax ran faster, grabbing onto the ropes around Konnor’s torso right as the pirates jumped off the ship. The pirates were still holding tightly onto Konnor, but Dax’s grip was stronger. He dug his heels into the floor, pulling Konnor back towards the ship as much as he could, lifting up the sword in his hand and swinging it down at one of the pirates. Dax sliced off one of the pirates’ hands, sending the man swinging back into his own ship.

Dax grabbed onto the arm of the other pirate, wrenching it from Konnor and sending Konnor flying back onto the deck of the ship. But the pirate quickly changed his grip and grabbed onto Dax’s forearm, pulling Dax over the side of the ship with him.

As soon as they were over, the pirate let go. Dax scrambled in the air as he tried to find something to grip onto. He was still close to the back of the ship. He reached out for it, trying to grab on but the wood of the ship was too smooth. Finally his hand caught on part of the design sticking out and he grabbed it while he could. It nearly wrenched his arm out of its socket, but he did everything he could do still hold on.

He could hear the commotion coming from far above him and the sound of shots and the canon being fired at the pirate ship. Dax glanced back, but the pirate ship was already receding and nearly out of range. He had to get back onto the ship to make sure Konnor was alright.

Now that he wasn’t falling, he looked up to see that he’d already fallen to the bottom of the ship and the deck where he’d left Konnor was a good 30 feet above him. There was a window maybe 20 feet above him, that had to be the view from his quarters under the helm. He wouldn’t be able to climb past the glass, but if he could just get there, he could break the window open.

He swung his feet up, finding a hold a couple feet below his hands. He carefully reached behind his back, taking out the two knives that he kept hidden there. That was one good thing about the exterior of the ship being made out of wood, he could stab his knives into it and pull himself up.

Dax moved up the ship slowly, making sure that his knife was thoroughly in the wood before redistributing his weight. He was halfway to the window when he heard his name being called, “Daxi!”

He looked up to see Saria and Konnor both looking over the edge of the ship. Konnor’s eyes were wide, but Dax was too far away to make out anything else in his expression. Saria sounded like she was on the verge of tears, “You’re alive!”

Dax just smirked back at them, calling up to them, “You won’t get rid of me that easily.”

“Just stay there, we’ll get something to lift you up!” Saria yelled down at him.

Dax couldn’t keep from rolling his eyes. She didn’t need to point out the obvious like that. Besides, he was almost to the window. If they just opened it, he could do the rest himself. It wasn’t that he was trying to refuse her help, he just knew he could save himself. He kept climbing up the side of the ship, moving a little faster.

He got to the window right as Saria did. She opened the window, looking surprised to see him already there. Konnor was standing next to her, the smile on his face was completely giddy and if Dax wasn’t mistaken, there were tears in his eyes. Dax couldn’t keep from smiling back. Konnor reached down to Dax, and for some reason, Dax didn’t refuse his help. He reached up to Konnor grabbing onto Konnor’s forearm, pushing up with his feet as Konnor pulled him in.

As soon as his feet were on the floor of the bedroom, he pulled Konnor into a tight hug. In that moment, he didn’t care who saw him show such affection, he just wanted Konnor in his arms. After almost losing Konnor and almost dying, he realized that he’d been acting so stupid with Konnor. He wasn’t going to keep making the same mistake. He needed Konnor to know how he truly felt.

Konnor hugged him back, but only for a moment. Konnor soon pulled out of Dax’s arms, exclaiming, “You’re bleeding!”

Dax shrugged it off, “The bullet only grazed me.” He didn’t let Konnor say anything else, he just turned to the window, pulling his knives out of the side of the ship and again putting them behind his back.

“Do you have any medical supplies on the ship?” Konnor insisted.

“We have some in the kitchen,” Saria answered for him, though Dax almost wished she hadn’t. He didn’t need anyone making a fuss over him.

“I’m stitching that up.” Konnor said it so matter of factly, Dax could only stare at him for a moment before replying.

“You don’t need to do anything,” Dax shrugged again, “I’m fine.”

Konnor didn’t say anything else, he just stepped forward and took hold of Dax’s wrist. Konnor started to walk out of the room and pull Dax with him. Dax was actually surprised by how strong Konnor’s grip was. Even more surprising to Dax was how calm Konnor seemed. Konnor didn’t notice the looks they were getting from the crew as they walked to the kitchen, he just seemed determined to help Dax.

Dax let him pull him to the kitchen and shut the door behind them. He didn’t want any of the crew in here. After the commotion of everything, he just wanted a moment alone with Konnor.

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