Captain Sans Peur

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Chapter 2

I had always imagined my wedding to be the best day of my life. A small, satin dress and a few light necklaces that glowed brightly in the evening sun. My feet bare and buried in the sand beneath me. My eyes held by a man’s full of love and promise, promise for a happy future. I’d often imagined a beautiful beach wedding. A patio. A small crowd, maybe forty to fifty people.

I kept my head down as I was walked down the isle by Aldric’s father. His arm, looped through mine, was limp. I could tell he was tired from walking down women every year. His fatigue in his eyes was not hidden and he gave me a look of pity before asking my consent to walk me down. Aldric was nothing like his father, and I could tell the old king was disappointed in his son.

The church was well packed and crowded with maybe three thousand people, tops. The walls were strung with wreaths of bright flowers that burned my vision and the angry sunlight streamed through the colored pains atop the walls of the white church. The crowd hushed as the saw me near. My thick dress dragged against the floor and I’m pretty sure I saw Aldric’s jaw twitch, though he continued to remain standing tall and smug, like he always did. He wore a red vest with golden straps crossing on each side. His pants fit tightly on his legs and he wore knitted boots that were clearly dirtying the altar. The priest, though looking thoroughly disturbed already, wisely shut his mouth against Aldric.

The old king led me up to the dais, and with one final, pitying glance, released his gentle grip on my bruised arm. I bristled when Aldric took my hand and he glared at me, forcing me to relent. He gripped my hand and helped me up the steps to the priest, who looked at me sadly. I tried for a smile, but I knew he could tell I was forcing it. Aldric gripped my hand in his tightly, as if I were to run away in this net of a dress. Perhaps that is why the dress had so many layers. To keep me from running.

The priest took a long, wavering breath before he looked up at the both of us and began his speech.

“Dearly beloved...” he began in a monotone voice “We are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of King Aldric and his...lady, Queen Kumari. If you have any objections, I ask that you please say them now or forever hold your peace.” I felt my heart soar, hoping that somebody, anybody, would object and help me escape this hellhole. I scanned the crowd of aristocrats and nobles coming from all around the world. Many of them were French nobles, but I could detect some Spanish and Italian ones as well. Geesh. How many people had Aldric invited?

“Does anyone have any objections to this union?” The priest questioned again. I hoped everyone could catch my pleading eye, but with every pitying glance or shuffle of feat, my resolve at freedom crumbled bit by bit. I was stuck. I was done for. My life was over.

The priest shuffled anxiously, as if he had also been hoping for an objection. He sighed and looked at Aldric, who was practically glowing with glee. I felt my shoulders sag. He had won.

“If there are no objections-!”

“I object!” I gasped, my heart racing a mile a minute as the church doors flung open and a tall, power radiating shadow stood in the doorway. A shadow that looked so familiar, yet if you asked me now, I wouldn’t be able to place where.

“What is the meaning of this?” Aldric bellowed. He dropped my hands angrily and I wrung them as he scrambled his orders to his guards. People attending the wedding all began whispering about the shadowed figure, and soon, as he began to walk lazily into the church, they all gasped much as I did and hastily made a path for him. I looked to Aldric, and saw that his face had paled considerably. He looked scared-no-terrified! He backed slowly away from the podium, but the priest didn’t let him get too far. I was looking down at the time, fearful to meet the very person who had struck terror into Aldric’s heart, but as the footsteps grew nearer, I had this urging desire to look my savior in the eyes.

As it so happens, I didn’t need to do anything. Two smooth, thin, gentle fingers found their way under my chin and tipped my face up. I blushed and my breath hitched in my throat as I stared my hero in the eyes.

No, not eyes. Eye.

A beautiful, promising violet eye gazed down at me. His other eye, or, maybe almost his whole right side, was covered by a black eyepatch, yet I could still see three red claw mark tips escaping the patch. He had a crooked and smug, yet gentle smile as he cupped my jaw. My body betrayed my mind and sent tingles running through my core. My subconsciously moved closer, realizing now that the church was so quiet you could hear a coin drop. All eyes were fixed on the man who had stolen my gaze, conquered my mind, and beat my heart.

He had two golden hoops pierced to his left ear, and four black piercings on his right. He wore a long red coat that just barely brushed his heels. He wore a white shirt underneath with only the two bottom buttons buttoned, which gave me an ample view of his lean muscles and his tattoos that were scattered along his chest. His sleeves were oval and loose but were tightly strung on his wrists. He wore black pants that were also loose and a pair of white and black boots. On his hip rested a sharp golden curved sword. His arms had bracelets of many colors, but mostly gold. Surprisingly he didn’t wear any rings.

Surprisingly, I had enough time to assess him before the man (Pirate?) decided to introduce himself.

“I see I crashed into quite a party, didn’t I?” He questioned, stretching his arms above his head. I blushed and he caught me looking, winking at me before turning his sharp violet eye to Aldric. Aldric’s legs shook and he stared wide-eyed at the culprit. “And you didn’t invite me? How rude!” The man mocked a stab to the heart and pouted, and I covered my mouth with my hand, trying to suppress my giggles. Aldric had no qualms glaring at me, but when the man noticed, he withered under his sharp gaze.

“Now then,” the man rubbed his hands together “Do you...oh, I don’t know, remember the deal we had, after I ever so graciously spared your life Aldric?” Aldric’s breathing shallowed and he nodded hastily. The man grinned enthusiastically, as if he was enjoying watching Aldric chicken. If I were being honest, I was too.

“Y-Yes. Whatever you wanted, whenever, wherever.” Aldric said shakily. The man grinned.

“Excellent!” He chirped. “You’re not as stupid as I thought you were. Now, why do you think I am here?” Aldric gulped and I cautiously remained silent.

“Y-You want your debt repaid, don’t you Sans Peur?” Aldric asked. As soon as the name left his throat, I stiffened. Sans Peur?! As in, Prince of the Seven Seas Captain Sans Peur?! This is him!? I blushed. He was...much more handsome than his wanted posters made him look like.

"Exactement.” Sans Peur said, a thick French accent taking over his words. I guess it made sense, since he was French. “Now, you know what I could do to you, don’t you?” Sans Peur released his grip on my chin and stalked closer to Aldric. He drew his sword and pricked the tip with his finger. As he circled Aldric, he waved he sword around as he spoke, the whole while his eye trained only on me.

“I could strip you of your title,” Sans Peur listed. “I could claim the throne, or rob you of all your riches. I could murder you and finish the job right here if I wanted.” He smirked and pointed the tip of his sword inches from Aldric’s throat. It was a funny sight, since Sans Peur practically towered over Aldric. Aldric whimpered and the crowd began to shuffle, terrified of what Sans Peur could do to them. “But I don’t want that.” He pulled Aldric to his feet and kept the tip to the blade pointed at his apple. He laughed cynically, his eye patch and glowing violet eye making him look as dangerous as he was. Honestly...it was pretty hot.

“Do you know what I find so amusing about people?” Sans Peur questioned slowly, drawling the rhetorical question out. Aldric shivered on his spot.

“W-What?” Sans Peur grinned, clearly liking to frighten the old King. His violet eye stalked the crowd and returned to its post: me. I blushed as he gazed at me again, his words coming out much softer, as if he were speaking to me.

“They don’t know how valuable something is-” Sans Peur threw Aldric to the ground and Aldric landed on his rump, scurrying away. “-until that thing is gone.” All eyes swiveled to me as Sans Peur gently walked towards me. His curled palm opened and he reached it out to me, willing me to take it.

“Well, mademoiselle? Will you come and be the jewel on this poor pirate prince’s crown?” Sans Peur asked, his eye boring into me and sending pleasured shivers down my spine. I looked at him, the crowd, and Aldric, who was violently shaking his head no. I then looked back down at his open palm, inviting me to place my hand there.

Did I want this? All my life, I had wanted to escape Aldric, and now, on my wedding day, the very Prince of the Seven Seas, the most feared pirate to roam the Earth, was offering me a choice? A choice to join him and escape Aldric? Would it be the right one? I’m not sure. Would it satisfy my need to escape and be free? Possibly. But it would give me a chance at redemption and a new life to live in, which is much more important to me that whatever Aldric thought would be suited for a pirate’s daughter?

Carefully, making sure that Aldric was looking, I tossed the bouquet aside and placed my hand on top of Sans Peur’s, surprised to find it smooth and soft, unlike my own hard and calloused palms.

Sans Peur smiled, a genuine smile. His fingers curled around my hand and he pulled me snug into his side, the fresh smell of the sea soothing my nose rather than the expensive, disgusting perfume that I am used to. His arm wrapped around my waist and I felt his thumb rub gently on my hip. I blushed. My head fit perfectly into the crook of his neck and neither of us were complaining about our close proximity. It was up until then that I realized a group of two men, two girls, and...another person had surrounded us. A large, buff man handed Sans Peur a rope and he winked at Aldric.

“Your debt is paid your highness.” He said cheekily. “I will rid you of my presence now, and of your prized jewel.” Gripping my waist, Sans Peur tugged on the rope and propelled us out of the church, flinging us to the deck of his boat, Aldric’s furious scream our generous goodbye.

******

I felt my heart soaring. Like it was on a bird and it never wanted the feathery creature to land! My body was pulled flush against Sans Peur, and while I would’ve been a blushing mess had I noticed, I was too in awe at the large city below me. I hadn’t seen the sprawling city of Altellyds in ten years, and I was astounded at how much it had changed.

The population had probably multiplied in the last couple of years. Kids and adults were camped around the main square and forced to pitch tents and sell all their belongings. Infants and children played in ragged shirts and shorts, and girls were forced to wear their mother’s large hand me downs. The place, even from the height Sans Peur had lifted me, reeked with the smell of rotting fish, or possibly, rotting bodies. I shivered at the thought.

“You okay?” Concern in his voice, Sans Peur turned to look at me, and for the first time I got an actual good look at his face. His eye-patch was completely black, except for maybe the silver stitches around the square. Three angry, red claw marks marred his beautiful tan skin, but for some reason it made him look hotter than he already did. Like he was some type of warrior. His violet eye was quirked questioningly at me and I realized I could stare into his eye forever, until his lips began to twitch into a devious smirk.

“I-I’m okay! Fine! Yep!” I tried to act like I hadn’t been observing him too closely, but from the look on his face, I guessed that he already saw through my white lie. Damn it. Lying wasn’t exactly my expertise.

“If you say so,” He sounded smug, and I wished I could wipe that grin off his face, but looking at him in the sun, so carefree and happy, I decided his smug little grin suited him just fine.

We swung around the city and out to the docks, where a beautiful ship was swaying by the docks. She was finely polished and had a quite a few barnacles on her hull. A large flag with an eye hung on the mast. The eye was white, which was strange, but whoever made it was very creative when it came to sowing.

“Do you like it?” Sans Peur asked. He swung us to the deck and we landed with a soft thud, what I presumed to be his crew landing behind us. He let go of the rope, but kept his arm around my waist, which made my insides feel all warm and fuzzy.

“Aegea made it,” Sans Peur continued. “She’s great at sowing. Especially when we fight and our-!” The big bulky man coughed and Sans Peur glared at him, but still grumbled “-sorry, my clothes rip!” He sent a look to the man, clearly asking if that was better. The man covered his bearded mouth an chuckled, nodding quietly.

“It’s beautiful,” I gasped. I gazed at the flag for a while longer, then turned back to the crew who had crowded around me.

“Uh...I should thank you for that save,” I said sheepishly, catching Sans Peur’s eye. It looked like he flushed, but I couldn’t tell in the sun. “I was almost forced to marry that conceited king had you not helped me. I-I owe you.”

“Forced? So it wasn’t consensual?” A brown haired girl with a pink stripe in her hair questioned. I shook my head.

“No. I was kept prisoner by him for ten years and this is the first time I’ve been out of the palace since.” I felt like I wanted to move, but my dress prevented me from doing so. Luckily, Sans Peur noticed. He looked at the dark-skinned girl standing next to the pale one.

“Aegea, can you get Kumari some clothes?” He asked. The girl nodded, her short bob bouncing as she did so. It’s ocean blue color reflected on the sunlight flashing the excited waves. Her bright pink eyes were no exception to showing her happiness on being tasked.

“Yes Captain,” She said. She hurried down a latch next to a large cabin below the wheel and disappeared within a few seconds.

“How-How did you know my name?” I questioned. The grey and black haired person snorted into...their palm and Sans Peur blushed and snarled at the same time.

“I...your father was a legacy Kumari,” Sans Peur explained. “Every pirate knew about him. Feared him.”

“Well, until you came along and beat the shit out of Aldric,” A blue and grey haired boy said. He held a hand to me. “I’m Louis Stirling, but I prefer to be called Nightly.” I took his hand, noting how Sans Peur’s eyes trailed my movement, as if he wanted to snatch it away.

“Nice to meet you Nightly,” I said politely. Nightly smiled a crooked smile.

“The honor is mine. It is rare our Captain brings a woman to deck,” he teased. Sans Peur’s hand tightened on his hilt, but I knew he wouldn’t really use it.

“I am Ocean,” the green and brown haired bulky man said. “Nice to meet you too.” Ocean took my hand and placed a gentle kiss on it as Aegea returned from below deck. Sans Peur seemed relieved to see her and snatched my hand from Ocean’s grip, earning a humored chuckle from the older pirate.

“Here,” he placed the folds of brown clothes on my outstretched hands. “You can change into these, since that dress looks quite uncomfortable. When you’re finished I’ll introduce you to the rest of my crew and explain everything.”

“We’ll do some talking too!” Nightly protested. “I wanna brag about myself!”
“Not bragging!” Ocean corrected sternly. “You would be sharing information with her. Not bragging!” Nightly deflated, but nodded.

“Alright,” he grumbled. I giggled. They already seemed like a large family...I didn’t want to disrupt whatever they had. Sans Peur seemed to notice and sent a warning glare to the fighting boys, shutting them up immediately.

“Come on,” he took my hand and led me to the small cabin above the latch Aegea went down in. I frowned, but only for a moment. The golden doorknob rattled as Sans Peur unlocked the cabin, and as he opened it, I felt my breath leave my throat.

The room was larger than I expected it to be. A bed was resting by two windows overlooking the vast ocean. Gossamer curtains danced in the wind and stacks of thick parchment rustled from their slumber. Sans Peur stepped inside first, then stepped aside so I could go in.

“What do you think?” He asked.

“It’s beautiful,” I murmured. “Is this your room?” Smugly, Sans Peur nodded.

“Yep. Everyone else sleeps below deck, that way of something happens I’ll be able to get there first on the ship.” He explained. I hummed.

“There’s no watch-guard?” I questioned.

“There is-we take shifts, but I like to make sure my crew is safe before anything else.” Sans Peur looked at me “Well, almost anything else.” I blushed and turned away, the glint of the belt on my pile of clothes catching my eye. Sans Peur watched closely as I pulled the garment up.

“Do you like it?” He asked. I giggled.

“It’s beautiful...” I murmured. “But why are you giving me all of this?”

“Because I want you...to join me-yeah.” Sans Peur recovered quickly, but I’m sure he meant to stop short. Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded if he did.

“Why?”

“You’ll find out soon, my warrior.” Sans Peur said. I wrinkled my nose.

“Warrior?”

“Yes. Your name, Kumari, it means warrior.” His thumb trailed my jaw. “And you, most definitely, are a warrior.” I flushed.

“If I was, Aldric wouldn’t have had me for as long as he did.” I muttered. A flash of anger flickered through Sans Peur’s eye and he stiffened, but somehow, he recovered swiftly, as if he hadn’t been on the verge of brandishing his sword.

“I will leave you to undress.” He said smoothly, releasing my chin. A small whine made its way out of my mouth, and I hastened to cover it with a cough. Sans Peur smirked smugly and I knew he had heard. Winking at me, he stepped outside the wooden door and shut it once his feet were out on deck.

Once he was gone, I released a breath I didn’t know I had been holding. My wedding dress was in tattered shreds now and smelled like salt-water, but I didn’t care. Smoothing the clothes placed in my arms, I rubbed the dry fabric against my cheek, relishing it’s rough texture. It reminded me that I wasn’t Aldric’s captive anymore; I was free. I was free to do as I pleased, and I was free to follow my father’s footsteps, to avenge him once and for all.

Knowing that Sans Peur wouldn’t give me much time to dress, I hastily changed my clothes. The silks were rough, something I wouldn’t expect a pirate to give away that easily. The tank-top was refreshing on my skin, and the skirt gave me a vast amount of legroom. The boots rose to my ankles, covering the bruises Aldric had slapped onto me. A small, light brown blouse covered my poofy white shirt and I tied the two strings by my waist.

“Are you finished?” It was Nightly’s voice. I folded my old dress on Sans Peur’s bed.

“Yes!” I called. I checked my appearance quickly in the mirror. Once I was satisfied with my hair, I cautiously opened the door, where the entire crew was lounging up on deck.

“Ah the princess arrives.” Lucia commented dryly, swinging a rope back and forth on the higher portion of the deck. I frowned. What did I do to make her so salty?

“You look beautiful!” Aegea said softly. “May I plait your hair?” She spoke with an accent, so it took me a few moments to reply to her. Smiling, she quietly led me to a barrel and sat me on the rim, pulling the pearl clips from my hair. Alex strode over to us, toying with the hair-clips.

“You keepin’ these?” They questioned. I shook my head.

“No. I don’t want to keep anything that reminds me of him.” I hissed. Alex raised their eyebrow, seemingly impressed at my spitfire attitude. He hollered above deck:

“Capt’! How much you reckon we’ll get for pearls?”

“What pearls?” Sans Peur’s boots clicked as he climbed down the steps that led to the highest deck of the ship, where the steering wheel was. He glanced at me, surprised.

“Oh, you’re finished.” He shamelessly circled me, Aegea having to maneuver between Sans Peur and my braid to finish her work. “You look beautiful ma Cherie. Très belle.” I fiddled with the hem of my skirt.

“Thank you.” I mumbled. Sans Peur grinned and Lucia gagged. He rolled his beautiful violet eye.

“You act like such a child when it comes to romance Lucia.” He chided. Lucia scoffed.

“Because my romances never work out.” I heard her mutter. If Sans Peur heard her, he didn’t make any comment on it. Instead, he turned to me again.

“Now then, have you come to a decision?” He asked.

“On joining you?”

"Mais oui!" Ocean, who was sipping some beer quietly, suddenly spluttered on his drink. Lucia, from where she was plucking flower petals, stopped suddenly. The only two who weren’t fazed were Aegea and Alex, both who continued on with their work.

“What?!” Ocean asked incredulously.

“What he said. What the hell?!” Lucia added, siding by Ocean. It didn’t go past my eyes how Ocean suddenly stiffened. His cheeks darkened rapidly as Lucia neared. Sans Peur raised an eyebrow.

“Is there anything wrong with that?” He asked icily. “After all, we did discuss needing a new crew member hier soir, non?” At that, Ocean deflated.

“Yeah, but I wish you told us first man! How do Aegea and Alex get to know everything?!” Sans Peur smirked.

“You never asked.” He said, tipping his hat at Aegea and Alex. By now, Aegea had finished braiding my hair and stepped back to admire it. Hesitantly, I touched my own dark locks, surprised to find a hair clip braided in. I looked at Aegea, who only smiled at me.

“Next time he gets a glint in his eye, I’m not mistaking it for an eyelash.” Ocean muttered. He wiped a weary hand over his face. “Well, if Kumari is okay with it, then so am I.”

“I as well.” Alex said. Aegea nodded.

“Agreed.” Sans Peur looked at Lucia, who was beginning to fume.

“Lucia? Do you agree?” There was a hard edge to Sans Peur’s voice, as if he was intimidating Lucia to say no. Lucia opened her mouth, then thought better of disagreeing with her captain.

“I agree.” She spat, glaring daggers at me.

"Excellent." Sans Peur said. He looked at me, and automatically all his crew member’s eyes turned to me. I wilted slightly.

“Well my warrior? Will you join us?” Even though he said ‘us’ it really sounded like he was saying ‘me’. Like he was pleading with me to join him. It sent a flurry of excited butterflies in my stomach and, after debating for a couple of seconds, I decided. I wanted revenge, but I also wanted freedom. My right, my own person. Nobody telling me what I could do. I caught Sans Peur’s eye, and by just one look, I knew he’d understood what I wanted.

Just as he did at the wedding, he courteously gave me his hand, which I took with a slight giggle. Ocean cut the ropes tying us to the docks gleefully, and as Alex climbed to the watch-deck of the ship, Sans Peur announced loudly, so that the whole of France could hear:

“Welcome to my crew, my warrior.”

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