A small alliance
Morning came to Arturo with the sound of humming. Heavenly, but extremely sad humming. At first, he figured it was only a distant dream, until he realized his surroundings felt too realistic and that he had a nereid in his cabin. Alarm washed over him and he sat up, looking around with a twinge of panic. There were no dead men, no blood, nothing but him and the creature. She either didn't notice him waking or didn't care, resting her forearms on the edge of the container facing the window. She was watching the sea from the window, a feat he momentarily was impressed by. The angle wasn't the best, and the window was small, she was trying hard to look towards her home. Her humming was harmless, he remembered, otherwise she wouldn't be there to continue humming. She was under his bondage, after all.
Arturo didn't recognize whatever she was humming, he wasn't sure if she was humming a real song to begin with, or just a long string of well-placed notes. Regardless, he felt as though he could pluck the perfect words to name her music. It was full of mourning and yearning, homesickness to its core. He could briefly relate from the days of his youth. Barely 18 then, Arturo had left without a care in the world, but during dreary nights in an itchy hammock surrounded by men couldn't give less than a damn about him, he would remember home with a sudden fondness and melancholy. However, he was 23 now and a captain. He had long outgrown that feeling. Almost regrettably, Arturo cleared his throat, making the creature startle and slip back into the container. Her hair was still in its braid, and for the briefest of seconds Arturo thought she looked better with it undone. "What's your name, creature? I'm sure you have one." He said, fighting a yawn as he locked their gazes: green against green. "Why should I tell you? So you can perform another imprisonment on me?" Her voice was strong and beautiful even when filled with naught but poison. Arturo suspected her anger now that she was fully aware of what had happened to her yesterday. "Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, you are under my command and you will give me what I want. Your name, now." Well, this certainly wasn't going to make their 'companionship' easier to live with, but until one of them yielded to the other about yesterday (namely Arturo) they would be stuck like this.
Marcelina glared at him, but she felt her lips trembling and a rising discomfort in her chest the longer she stayed quiet. "Marcelina." The name was forced out, and barely whispered. While Marcelina regained control over herself, Arturo turned the name around in his head. It suited her well. "Well, Marcelina. My name is Arturo. Say it now." Marcelina huffed, but copied his name perfectly as though she was a true Spaniard. "That's better." Arturo smirked and Marcelina turned away, sliding back into the container and starting to undo her hair. Arturo took that as the signal to get out of bed as well. With a sigh he swung his legs to the side and pushed out of bed. He stretched for a moment, then began to dress himself slowly. All the while he watched her work at the intricate braid, admiring the speedy, skilled movement of her fingers. If she were a sailor, she'd be excellent and tying and untying knots. Forcing himself to not be caught staring, he went to a basin to wash his face. The water was cold-further waking him up- and the mirror above clearly reflected his face. Tanned, tired, and scruffy. He needed a good shave and a haircut. While he accepted that his hair would never quite be tamed, he would at least control its length.
That was what Emilio was for. Aside from being the cook and the doctor. Clean enough, he turned back to grab the bottle of lime juice and take a good swig. He swished it around before swallowing. He liked sour things, and he liked fruit. But he didn't like the taste of lime juice, even if it helped him out in the end. Marcelina, since finished undoing her hair, watched him blatantly. Her face looked disinterested, even a little grossed out, but her eyes spoke curiosity. They were new to each other, after all. Marcelina would be a fool to miss out on the little nuances of humans, if only to help her kill them more efficiently later on. Arturo straightened up and made minute adjustments to his person, also staring back at Marcelina. He was honestly proud of himself for capturing and containing her. She was a prize yes, and extremely useful, but also fascinating on her own right. He would enjoy learning about her, even if it had to be subtle.
A knock on the cabin door broke their staring contest, snapping Arturo into reality. "What is it?" He reached for his boots and coat and without waiting for an answer opened the door. He took a few steps out onto the freshly polished deck, assessing the wind and morning weather. Everything was pleasant and the winds were in their favour. Good, that meant Marcelina's influence was already taking hold. He looked for the knocker, and found Emilio standing nearby, hands behind his back and a casual smile on his face. The blue eyes on him spoke of aged friendship. Which would be correct, much to Arturo's chagrin. He and Emilio were childhood friends, and also rivals. They competed and bickered over everything and nothing: from lovers to clothes to even politics. Yet, if Arturo were honest with himself, Emilio was all he had in the cruel world. He was a good man, a good sailor and a good friend. Arturo could think of no-one else who could equal him and support him any better. "Arturo, I had a feeling you would come to pester me soon. From the looks of you, I was right."
Arturo scowled and resisted the urge to throttle him. "I'll only need a trim, you tart. I look better than you on the worst of days anyway." Arturo didn't wait for Emilio to reply, simply turning around to re-enter his cabin. Emilio did follow of course, having all his materials on hand by habit. "Don't forget the shave, Arturo." "That should be directed to you." Arturo pulled up a chair and sat, taking off his hat and other hair ornaments. While he did this, Emilio prepared for his tasks. There was a small gasp from the container, prompting the men to look. Marcelina was staring directly at Emilio, eyes semi-wide and almost sparkling. Emilio only smiled and her cheeks went aflame with blush. She looked away and curled up to hide her face, though her hands were easy to see as they nervously played with a floating tendril of hair. Emilio chuckled sagely and turned back to Arturo. "I see she takes well to real beauty, Arturo. Pray tell, why is she locked in here, and not outside where she can gaze at more?" He began to comb Arturo's hair, in order to make it easier to trim.
Marcelina was looking back at the men, eyes full of surprise and hope at Emilio. It was null of the hatred and ice she gave Arturo. In fact in made her look even more youthful and radiant. Arturo scrunched up his nose, replying curtly, "Do you want to pull that container-with her in it- all the way out to an unstable deck? The container itself takes at least 10 men to your one." Ha-ha. Emilio wiped the idle smile off his face and kept quiet, while Marcelina put away that girlish hope and turned away. Arturo gave a small huff at the audacity of these two, then settled down. He supposed other people would feel bad for shooting them down, more so Marcelina. But Arturo was a pirate, it wasn't in his nature to regret silly things like that. Shooting people down was his talent. For a good while, it was quiet. The late morning progressed into afternoon and Arturo was just lightly dozing. Emilio had since finished with Arturo's hair was currently starting to shave him. However, Marcelina was causing a small disruption in the silence. Arturo opened one eye to try and figure out what she was doing.
At first he thought she was trying to get out of the container and drag herself away, but she was going in the wrong direction. Instead, Arturo decided Marcelina was most likely trying to sunbathe. She would push up from the container, and with one hand holding her steady on the top, she'd reach out and try to grab the window with her other hand. Her fingers would just slightly grasp the warmed wood and metal before her wet supporting would slip and she would end up sliding back down with a huff and a soft 'plish'. At first, it was mildly amusing, like watching a cat try and fail time and time again to jump onto a windowsill or a tree. However, the noise was starting to get annoying by the twelfth or so round. Arturo's already frail patience was starting to crack. "Marcelina, stop that. Your failures are getting annoying." He said this right as she was actually managing to pull up into the light, startling her. Marcelina fell back into the water with a legitimate 'splash'. She hissed, low and annoyed on her own right, before poking her head from the water.
"It is not my fault your cabin has terrible windows and virtually no place for me to sunbathe. Or were you planning to deprive me of something my kind needs to survive until I was pale and weak like you? I do not fancy being too weak to enjoy watching you die or be arrested." She dug her fingers into the ledge, hearing the very slight groans of the wood under them. It was pleasing to hear: it showed her strength and a human's weakness. Everything they touched or made was weak. Arturo sputtered indignantly, waiting for Emilio to move the blade from his face before speaking. "I'm not going to die anytime soon or be arrested by petty naval men of any nation-" He was cut off by an irritated splash. Marcelina had slapped the water in her rage. "I do not care! I need to sunbathe, you daft codfish! Let me out, in the blasted tub or something, or you will find yourself with a useless 'bauble' as you seem to think of me as."
Her anger was massive, nearly palpable as the air in the cabin grew heavy and static. There was a dangerous spark in her eyes, and she relished in how the men fidgeted. Arturo still rebutted her, even if his heart began to beat faster and his stair stood on his arms. "How am I to be sure that you won't dive off the ship and be on your merry way?" Marcelina bared sharp teeth, even her hair seemed to look menacing, half sticking to her face and half floating about angrily in the water. "You bound me and yet you know nothing of how it works. I cannot leave you until you release me or die. Even if it were not so, I am not meant for an ocean such as the Atlantic. We are too far away for me to get to my native waters. It will kill me, and so will lack of sun. This is not a hard thing to grasp, I would think." Arturo scowled back and remained silent.
Emilio, who'd been watching very tensely and not at all enjoying the subtle 'I'm going to tear you apart' vibe in the room, decided to act. Gently tapping Arturo's shoulder, he leaned down and whispered his opinion. "It would do well to let her have this one thing, mon ami. The sun gives life to all beings, does it not? I will ask Sergio to help bring her out and I will personally guard her." Arturo closed his eyes and sighed, rubbing his temples. But, finally, he yielded. "Fine, but only for a few hours. I expect full compliance or this will never happen again." He looked at both Emilio and Marcelina, who both nodded in agreement, and then he went back to being a still body, dozing as Emilio finished with his face.