His Saving Grace

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Chapter XI

I would never have imagined that being on land would make me feel this awful. My legs were shaking, and there was a constant sense of rocking. Even though we were on land, I felt whispers of being on that ship taunting me. Of course, it didn’t help that I’d been gagged and bound.

It wasn’t only me. Beth, Sir Graham, and I had all been bound like this. It seemed, though, I was the only one experiencing this strange swaying. There was also some pressure in my head, and I was certain a migraine was coming my way.

For the first time in a long while, I saw Elizabeth. She looked tired, but there was this brightness in her eyes. She looked excited to be on land. It was Fig who was in charge of her. He led her carefully, but instead of his usual face of pure adoration, he was mostly stoic. Her eyes met mine, but she instantly looked away. I didn’t understand it.

Sir Graham was being led by a familiar face: the cook. I hadn’t seen his in a while, and I was pleased to say that I felt no particular emotional attachment to him. That didn’t stop him from winking at me, before turning to haul his prisoner around. He seemed to be enjoying manhandling Sir Graham, who shot me a panicked look before attempting to keep up.

I was being guided by the captain. It surprised me how unbothered I felt when I was told this. Perhaps my fear had calmed itself. No, that wasn’t it. The Grace inside me with the caged heart knew the answer. I was scared of him hurting me. So as long as I kept complacent, he wouldn’t hurt me. I didn’t have the pride to keep up a fight that I would lose.

Captain Caine was uncharacteristically gentle as he led me forward. He didn’t quite guide me like the others. Fig led Elizabeth by the arm, while the cook dragged Sir Graham around by the ties on his hands. The captain, though, had one hand on my lower back.

He had somehow carefully avoided all my scars, and that area was surprisingly not sensitive. It didn’t hurt, but it burned hot where his fingers pressed against. I didn’t flinch, though, as he touched me, and it seemed to surprise him more than me. As long as I didn’t fight back, he wouldn’t hurt me. Simple.

The dock wasn’t filled to the brim, but there were several people hustling back and forth. There were constantly curious gazes thrown our way, and I couldn’t hide the initial flush at the gazes sent my way. Being bound like this made me feel exposed, and it didn’t help that I wasn’t wearing many layers of clothing.

It seemed that all the crew members had their tasks to do. The moment we all safely disembarked, the crew members instantly split up. They went their separate ways, mostly in small or large groups, and I watched helplessly as Sir Graham was separated from us.

Eventually, it was only the captain, Fig, Elizabeth, and myself. Fig’s hand was tightly clamped on her upper arm, but she didn’t even try to move towards me. Instead, her eyes didn’t meet mine. I tried to move forwards, but the dizziness hit me first. It was the captain who caught me, but this time, I couldn’t help the instinctive flinch.

He definitely noticed, but that didn’t stop him from placing his hand on my lower back once more. I remained calm. As long as there were no sudden moves, I could do fine. If only the dizziness could stop for a moment...

“We’ll be headed to an inn.” The captain started walking forwards first. Since he was leading me, I had no choice but to follow, especially as his fingers pressed into my back. I was jolted forwards more than anything, and I would have stumbled if the captain hadn’t lightly caught my arm. We kept moving forwards, completely silent.

I could hear Fig and Beth behind us. They weren’t so silent. At least, Beth wasn’t. Surprisingly, it was Beth who kept up the one-sided conversation, while Fig kept quiet. She pointed out little things, like the houses, merchants, boats, and scenery while regaling a story of her past. He never once responded, but she kept at it. Perhaps he was nodding.

I glanced over at the captain. He was staring ahead, his gaze locked on something distant, but his mind seemed to be elsewhere. I couldn’t look away. He was still the most beautiful man I had ever seen. He didn’t seem to notice my staring, but I looked away once I felt embarrassed. It physically hurt my heart to feel this way. I didn’t like feeling conflicted.

Beth was clearly enjoying herself. It seemed Fig has removed her gag. She was rather vocal about her excitement, pointing out the littlest things in awe, but I didn’t have it in me to look around. It was strange. I normally enjoyed new experienced, but today, particularly today, I felt unnaturally tense. Something felt so wrong, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint it.

Feminine voices interrupted my thoughts. They were loud, calling for attention, and I looked up to see we were passing by a brothel. They were prostitutes.

Instantly, my face flushed. I felt embarrassed as I met eyes with a woman whose breasts protruded from her shirt. She winked at me, and my eyes immediately went to the floor. I could hear her raucous laughter as we continued to walk. Even Beth was silent. Suddenly, I came to a stop. Because the captain had stopped.

I hadn’t noticed the woman approaching us, but I looked up to see a beautiful woman standing in front of us. She was striking, with glowing pale skin and raven black hair. Her eyes were sharp, but they creased at the edges as she smiled at us. More specifically, she was smiling at the captain.

She was more dressed than any of the other prostitutes, but she leaned towards the captain in a suggestive manner. Her breasts were covered, and her legs were hidden under the flowy skirt she wore. However, as she leaned back on her hip, she popped her leg out of a slit I hadn’t seen, and her long pale leg was fully on display. She was playing to her advantages, and she did it confidently.

“Caine.” She said his name seductively, and it rolled off her tongue casually. She knew him personally. “Long time no see.” She casually put her hand on his face, pinching his cheeks. It looked strange, considering how young she looked, but he didn’t stop her.

The captain grunted in agreement, nodding briefly. He stared right at her, not seeming to notice the leg she revealed for him. There was this impatient look in his eyes. She must have noticed because she slid her leg back into her skirt. Still, there was this confident smile on her face.

“A new one?” She glanced down at me, and I couldn’t fight the shiver that ran through me. She didn’t look at me the same way she gazed adoringly at the captain. Instead, her eyes raked me up and down like a merchant evaluating her goods. It was a cold calculating gaze, and the only other time I’d seen such a gaze in my direction had been from the captain.

“Not confident, but we can fix that. Nice enough face, I guess. Good body, but a little small. Not your usual type, though?” She finally returned her gaze to the captain’s. He was silent through the evaluation, and I had to fight the feeling of bile rising up my throat. She didn’t seem to notice my reaction. Her gaze was soft as she watched the captain.

Someone brushed past me, and I glanced over to see Fig and Beth making their way past us. Fig shot me a look that was too complex to understand in that brief second. Then, they were gone, and it was just the captain and I facing this mysterious woman.

“She’s not for you.” He finally spoke, and he sounded angry. A brief look of surprise passed across her face, before the smile returned. She was composed, but I was shaking. He was angry. Would he hurt me again?

I tried to fight the feeling of dread rising through me, but maybe it was too obvious. I saw the captain glance my way through the corner of my eye. He had that inexplicable expression. I was just hoping he wouldn’t realize I was scared because of him. Maybe that would make him angrier. Vaguely, I heard the woman’s response, and it shocked me out of my fear.

“Oh, this one’s for you. How long will she last?” She was smiling, but it was an ugly smile. She glanced at me once more, before she turned and sashayed away. I was frozen to the core.

Still, the captain jerked me forwards as he pressed against my back, and we trudged ahead. I was still reeling from that experience, but the captain had no words. I was left to my thoughts, and I didn’t like my thoughts.

She knew the captain. She knew him well enough to call him Caine, and it didn’t bother him. She touched him, and he didn’t mind. But she had asked how long I would last. That meant there were others before me who had experienced the same. How long had they lasted? How long would I last?

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