Chapter 8: Black Cloud
In the small mirror that sat on top of the shelf, I look at myself no longer looking like a Princess. Somehow, I managed to braid my hair wrapping it around in a tight bun.
The only clothing I was able to find were men’s clothes. The pants had fit well, like they were once a young boys. They were black with white stripes vertically going down. The shirt I found was a large white blouse that I pinned down with a belt around my stomach. The width of the belt was large, almost as it could be used as a under bust.
A pair of black boots covered my feet instead of the thin fabric footwear I use to wear. Lastly, I threw over a dark dingy blue long coat that was decorated with silver buttons down the front and on the cuffs of the sleeves.
In my hands, I held the ratty old dress thinking back to Aya. It was her dress, it’s a shame I will never see her again. I neatly folded the dress and left it on the dark wood shelf.
It was a beginning of a new chapter in my life, I wanted to learn what I could. By starting fresh, I would like to have Clyde teach me to navigate across the sea. Or even as simple as showing me a map.
Just a step away from going up the stairs I could hear Clyde talking to Clem. It sounded serious, but I couldn’t actually make out what they were saying. Ignoring the fact that they were whispering, I proceeded up the steep staircase making my presence known.
The talking had stopped and I found Clyde with both hands gripping the table in annoyance. Clem greeted me with a warm welcoming as my eyes scanned the small room. There was a table in the middle with a very large map and compass.
Behind Clyde was an enormous window looking down on the deck where I could see Tristan now laying in the spot we sat. In the distance, something had caught my attention. There were dark clouds gathering in the once sunny blue sky.
It was my curiosity that drew me in a trance as I found myself walking past the two men to stand in front of the window. Clyde didn’t move from his position as he carried on staring at the map while Clem began explaining routes they can take.
As if I were not there at all, they continued working and discussing promptly. The dark clouds had grew more within seconds as if creating a wall impenetrable by humans.
Lightning lit up across the black devastating storm clouds revealing a black ship emerging from within. The water surrounding the ship from afar angrily lashed around. The loud rumbling of thunder reverberated in the sky startling me to fall backwards.
Clyde suddenly had his hands on my shoulders as he cursed loudly. “Shit!”
“Sir, that’s Captain Cloud’s ship coming right for us.” Clem’s voice was shaken from the terrifying scene before us.
“I am well aware, Clem. Gather the men and get ready to greet Cloud.” Clyde ordered before turning me around to face him.
Clem disappeared quickly to warn the men while Clyde stared down at me with worried eyes. His normal vibrant green eyes had turned darker than usual. The scowl on his face concerned me. There was something about this Cloud guy that put Clyde on edge.
“My old coat looks great on you,” he says with a slight smile.
Confused by his words I chose not to say anything to him. Clyde really was a mysterious man. While a storm brews he compliments me in the oddest way ever. However, heat crept its way onto my cheeks giving him the satisfaction of seeing me embarrassed.
I breathe in holding it all in my lungs as he closes the space between us. His arms pull me into a tight embrace, the warmth overflowing me with comfort. It was very strange, but it felt so right.
“I will protect you,” Clyde declares with determination laced in his deep voice. “Whatever happens, do not defy this man. Cloud is a Peacekeeper among humans.”
“Do you trust me?” He drops his voice into a whisper near my ear. An instant wave of chills runs over my body like small tingles of excitement.
Do I trust him?
Clyde was someone I never knew before, but I had this feeling that I could leave my life in his hands. Yes, he was mysterious, dark, and maybe even dangerous. To me, it was thrilling to see what kind of man he could be.
It was easy to tell that the men looked up to him, he was a leader. He had a compelling charm that could draw people in because he was inexplicably peculiar.
I exhaled and answered him, “I trust you.” I say the three words I never knew I could ever say to anyone.
He pulled back giving me a look of will power like I handed it to him myself. His eyes held an unflinching sense of purpose as he looked out towards the approaching ship.
“Remember, anything that happens just go with it. For now, I need to you to act like you are part of the crew,” he says while picking up a hat from the table behind us.
Clyde pushed the large brown tricorne hat covering my entire head. He tousled my hair in the front and took he step back to look at me. He crossed his muscled arms over his chest and rested his index finger on his chin.
“There’s something missing,” he eyes me as he begins to circle his way around. He abruptly stops in front of me coming to a conclusion. “Aha!”
Clyde hurries over to an unlit candle stick and pinches the thick wick. He walks back over to me and brushes his fingers lightly over my cheek. The touch was like a feather being caressed against my skin. It was gentle, like a artist stroking delicately over a canvas.
As he dirtied my face with the remnants of a burned wick, I couldn’t help but stare at him. He was not royal, yet he had the features of what a woman would see as a Prince. His features were striking, yet elegant in the aspect of his perfect pale skin.
His strong jawline gave him a manly look even without having facial hair. It fascinated me, that a man could be this attractive with such long lashes and beautiful green eyes. It almost seemed unnatural for a mere human, but not if one were a god. He was like Adonis himself, the eternally youthful god of beauty and desire.
“Perfect,” Clyde stares into my eyes for a long moment before continuing to speak, “you lack such femininity you really do look like a boy.”
My mouth dropped open, taken aback by his rude compliment. A fierce look appeared on my face as he raised an eyebrow in amusement. I balled my fists up, clenching hard almost breaking through my skin with my nails.
“You ignorant ass-”
“You even speak like one!” Clyde looks even more amused than before letting out a chuckle.
A throat was cleared drawing both our attention to Fenwick standing in the doorway. He looks emotionless as he gestures us to follow him down the stairs. “He’s waiting.” Was all he said.
“Very well,” Clyde follows Fenwick down with me in pursuit.
Clyde’s amusement turned significantly serious on our way to greet the man Cloud. His jaw was tightly clenched while we stepped out onto the deck. The cold harsh wind whipped at us violently at the same moment rain fell from the thunderous black clouds looming above us.
The droplets of rain pelted my skin like tiny bullets. It was nearly impossible for me to look up to see the towering man that waited for Clyde. I held my hat in place fearing that it would blow away and ruin my cover. The blue coat flew backwards exposing my body for a quick moment before I swiftly buttoned it in place.
Peering from under the hat I caught a glimpse of the group of men that boarded the ship. The wind blasted me in the face before I could see any of their faces. There was a total of five them dressed in all black.
“Cloud,” Clyde speaks over the raging storm of lightning and thunder.
“Captain to you,” A deep voice corrects him angrily.
A frustrated sigh escapes from Clyde, “You have made you presence known. Could you ease the tension before you sink my ship to the bottom of the sea?” He snaps.
Instantaneously the wind, rain, lighting and thunder vanished as if nothing had happened. The waters settled and the sun shined brightly above.
How did that happen?
I finally was able to lift my head to look at the man responsible for the storm. A slight gasp was released when I saw him and Clyde face to face glaring at each other. The man who I assume is Cloud was very tall and very thin. He wore a black thick furry coat over a black tunic and tall boots that went up to his knee.
The man himself was very odd, but held power and authority over everyone else. Clyde did not seem to waver at his presence as he showed the capability of being dominant himself.
“I presume Tristan and yourself are heading to the Gates of Eimbridge for the uniting of the seven Kingdoms?” Cloud questioned grinning behind his wild brown hair.
Eimbridge? Uniting kingdoms?
Clyde glanced back towards Tristan who sat with his back against the railing of the ship. Tristan had also been glowering at Cloud with his sword at his side ready.
“Certainly, not that we have a choice in the matter.” Clyde answered with displeasure.
“You are undoubtedly correct,” Cloud laughed before his silver eyes fell on me. They lingered eyeing me from head to toe taking his precious time to look at every detail. My heart clenched like someone had squeezed it with their hand. Fear crawled over my skin freezing me in place. Cloud’s face went from merriment to curiosity to looking utterly perplexed.
His stares were prolonged until Clyde uncomfortably shifted blocking the view of me. A sense of relief would be nice, but instead I stumbled backwards falling onto my bum. That man Cloud had pushed Clyde out of the way instantly. His long arm reached for me, but was cut short when Clyde forcibly reeled him backwards by the back of his coat.
“What are you planning on doing with that young boy?” Clyde darkly growled gripping his hold on Cloud.
Cloud chuckled lightly before putting his hands up in surrender. “Do you know why I came aboard?” Cloud asked Clyde while he stared deeply in my eyes.
Looking into his eyes was like peering into the devils soul. They were malicious as they were mercilessly heinous. Terror struck my body causing me to tremble. Cloud’s next move was too quick for me to comprehend.
He moved swiftly pulling a knife from his boot slashing it outwards as he dashed towards me. A stinging pain appeared on my right cheek as I watched him bring the small knife up to his lips. Everyone watched silently as the scene slowly unfolded in front of them.
“I was specifically chosen to witness the arranged marriage of the Prince from Aridor and the Princess from Monnon,” Cloud began explaining as he spun he knife lightly around inspecting my blood dripping down the blade, “because they expected a retaliation of the betrothal.”
He paused glancing at me from his squatting position a few feet away. He waited for a reaction from me, but all I could focus on was my pounding heart and the warm blood sliding down my face.
Without breaking eye contact, he opened his mouth and slid the blade across his tongue staining it with my blood. He moaned loudly at the taste before his eyes opened wider in astonishment.
“The blood of a royal indeed,” He says letting out a harsh raucous laughter. “Oh my Clyde, you’re not trying to steal Ayden’s woman are you?” His cackle grew darker as the same black clouds from before gathered once again. The rumbling of thunder began as Cloud’s silver eyes swirled like a tornado.
Questions flooded my mind like a tsunami as Cloud lifted himself from the ground. His smirk grew with each daunting step he took closer to me. He snatched my shaking self from the ground as a gust of wind blew at me. The tricorne hat fell off revealing that I truly was the Princess from Monnon.
His harsh chuckle turned to a sick crazed laughter amused by our attempt to escape. Cloud’s men had already apprehended the entire crew all besides Clyde and Tristan who stood only watching.
“She will be coming back with me to the Gates of Eimbridge. There she will accept her punishment for attempting to go against the Peacekeepers.” Cloud declares turning to look at Clyde and Tristan in the eyes.
“I expect you two to be there before her death sentence. Or perhaps I will send a message to Ayden letting him know that his very own family has taken what was meant to be his. Either way it will be thrilling to see which one of you will try to save her.”
I had no words, nor could my head rest from the spinning. That is when I knew I never should have given my hopes up to escaping a fate that was meant to be. It had made sense why Clyde did not tell me exactly who he was.
Family... Ayden’s family. I thought.
“Do you trust me?” Clyde’s question echoed in my mind.
I wanted to trust him.
“I will protect you.”
Tears flowed down my cheeks. Damn it. Why did I have be so weak?
Clyde’s expression held concern, but he also nodded his head like he was telling me not to worry. Last thing I remember seeing before Cloud knocked me out cold was Clyde’s small smile showing me that everything will be alright.
I have to believe in him.
Next time I’ll dream sweeter🌹
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