Chapter Fourteen, Season One - Trouble (b)
I held her hand and looked at the captain, determined to find a solution. “Is there another way for us to take to avoid the pirates?”
“There’s another route where we’ll need to circle the Island of Dangling Trees,” he informed. “Although I would like to tell you that should we take that route, we’ll be spending an additional week out here in the sea.”
I looked back at Mother who was still worried. I gave her a reassuring smile, gently caressing her hands. “If there’s no other way to go around those pirates, we’re taking that route,” I agreed, turning back to the captain.
He bowed and walked away.
“If pirates are blocking the way back to the kingdom,” Mother and I faced each other. “Doesn’t that mean our kingdom is also in peril? Is your father even aware of this?”
“Mother,” I quickly cupped her face, “Calm down. Don’t torture yourself with too many worries.” I held her hands once more, “I’m sure the pirates are far from the kingdom. And should they try to go beyond our borders, James’ spies would be the first ones to know.”
Mother doesn’t look convinced. She continued to have that worried expression on her face.
I pulled her into my arms, engulfing her in an embrace as I rub her back slowly in reassurance. “We’ll be all right, Mother. I’ll make sure of it.”
Our third night on the sea has come and we’re on our way to the Island of Dangling Trees. As men continued to patrol outside on the deck, I’m in the captain’s cabin, analyzing the map for other possible routes in case we can’t pass through this one.
I’ve also sent Mother into her room and I had all of my guards accompany her and her ladies.
“I see other routes besides the Island of the Dangling trees,” I began my conversation with the captain. The Island of The Dangling Trees is an island where trees come to life when darkness takes over the skies. If you’re unlucky to be stuck on that island once night approaches, you won’t survive. The trees float when the sun is awake but they’re immediately pulled back down to the ground when the moon takes its place in the sky, which submerges the island in saltwater.
“There are other routes, Your Highness,” he stood beside me, looking at the map. “However, they are either in dangerous waters or they’re also being blocked by much more ruthless pirates.”
I sighed in frustration, shaking my head. I put my arms on the table as I began to sweat even more, desperately trying to find a different route. “I thought the kingdom of Northern Skies had already taken care of this matter. Why haven’t they done anything about this? Don’t they know?” I looked at the captain.
“I heard all kingdoms are aware but no one would make a move unless the pirates step in their borders,” he replied. “And as for the Northern Skies, ever since they had a new king, he’s decided to be neutral on things.”
Looking back at the map, the silence inside the cabin was disrupted when one of the sailors rushed into the room, in panic, “Captain! You need to see this!”
Without wasting any time, we ran after the sailor. As we followed him to the side of the ship, the Island of the Dangling Trees is already in plain sight.
“We’ve arrived,” I remarked.”
One of the sailors handed a telescope to the captain. “I’ve asked the ship to stop moving forward, Captain,” the sailor reported.
“Why?” the captain answered.
The sailor continued to hand over the telescope to the captain, which he accepted in confusion. “We’ve got company, captain,” he stated as the captain looked through the telescope.
The captain took his time looking out when he suddenly said, “Your Highness?”
He slowly put the telescope down, looking at me in worry. “There’s a blockade ahead.”
“What do you mean?”
He handed the telescope over to me and I quickly looked through the telescope after taking it from him. From afar, ships were blocking the way around the island.
It’s the pirates!
I removed the telescope from my face, hiding the shock and fear under a calm exterior. My heart started to beat faster, both in a panic, shock, and worry for my mother’s well-being. Everyone on this ship doesn’t deserve to be in this kind of situation. Why now?
“What other options have we?”
“We don’t have a choice but to continue and fight with them to get through, Your Highness,” the captain stated.
I took a deep breath. “Captain,” I faced him. “Keep our ship out of their sight while I think of another way to move forward without the manner of bloodshed.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Guards?” I called out. They quickly ran towards us. “Add seven more guards to Her Majesty’s room. Tell them to stay inside and be prepared to evacuate if needed.”
“Right away, Your Highness,” they left after a bow.
“Captain, kindly accompany me back to the cabin.” I turned to the sailors and remaining guards on the deck, “The rest of you, make sure that no one gets on or off this ship.” I looked back at the captain, giving him a nod.
He gave way for me and made my way back to the cabin, the captain and two guards behind me.
“There’s no need to worry about armor and supplies, Your Highness,” the captain reassured. “My men are trained to fight pirates in this kind of situation. We’ll make sure that you and Her Majesty are to return to your kingdom in one piece.”
Ever since we returned here to the cabin, my eyes never left the map. The closest kingdom or any kind of resources are either a day, a week, a month from where we are. Waiting out here all night isn’t ideal as well. It won’t be long until the pirates discover our ship. Going to the nearest kingdom isn’t an option. We’ll lose all supplies before even reaching the next kingdom.
“We could send a distress call, Your Highness,” the captain suggested.
I stabbed a knife onto the middle of the map, causing a loud thud on the wooden table. “Captain, you do realize that sending a distress signal could also get the attention of the pirates, right?” I raised a brow at him.
“We need reinforcements, Your Highness, for a definite win,” he reasoned.
“Do you know how long those reinforcements will take to get here?” I asked, walking towards him. “The nearest reinforcements are a day away from us right now and waiting out here all night isn’t the best idea either. We’re currently in a situation where the odds are stacked against us,” I continued. “There’s nothing we can do but accept the only thing that’s needed to be done.”
A knock came upon the door.
“We’re in the middle of a meeting,” I answered.
The door still opened and the guard said, “My deepest apologies for interrupting your meeting, good sirs. Her Majesty wishes to speak with His Highness and she said she’s not leaving until she does.”
I sighed, throwing my head back as I closed my eyes. “Let her in.”
The guard left the room as I turned around and Mother entered the room. “Am I interrupting, gentlemen?” she asked as she entered with caution.
“Nothing at all, Your Majesty,” the captain bowed. “I’ll be on the deck, Your Highness. I’ll keep an eye out for a short while,” he turned to me.
I gave him a nod and he left, slowly closing the door behind him.
I sighed once more, my hands on my waist.
“Robert,” Mother puts her hand on my shoulder.
My face relaxed as I saw her face. “Apologies if you heard my recent outburst, Mother,” I held her hand that was on my shoulder, “I just don’t know what to do right now. We’re stuck here and reinforcements can’t be summoned without getting the attention of the pirates.”
She massaged my shoulder in an attempt to calm me down. “Sit down for a while, son,” she pulled out a chair from the table.
I put my head in my hands the very moment I sat down.
Mother fetched the tray with a pitcher of water and cups. “Sometimes, a stressful situation can be helped by a cup of water,” she said, pouring water into a brass cup. “Well, it won’t solve your problems directly but it will help you think.” She puts the cup in front of me.
I sighed, looking at the cup.
Mother studied the map herself. “Did the captain have any other routes for us to take?”
“He said there are other routes but it’s either the waters are impassable or blocked by even more dangerous pirates,” I replied, taking a sip.
“And you said reinforcements are impossible to contact, correct?”
She puts the map down. “What are the current resources you have around you?” she turned back to me.
“Everything on this ship is all the resources that I have, Mother,” I remarked, revealing my frustrations. “And the Sea of Gliss isn’t of any help to us!”
Mother moved closer to me. “What made you think that the waters surrounding us isn’t of any help?”
“We’re in the realm of immortals and our ancestors decided to make travel by sea as long as back in the mortal realm,” I stood up, ranting. “Reinforcements are either a day or a month away, other kingdoms haven’t done anything to solve the dilemma with pirates and this sea is scarce of anything we can use against them!” I snapped, slamming my fists onto the table.
“Are you sure the Sea of Gliss can’t help you with anything, Robert?” she asked once more.
“What do you mean?” my brows furrowed.
“The Sea of Gliss has its inhabitants, remember?” she smiled, crossing her arms.
“Yes, the sea creatures,” I was quick to reply. “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say, Mother.”
She walked towards me. “You said you’re out of resources and reinforcements are needed,” she began. “In situations like this, you have to make use of what you have. The Sea of Gliss is within your grasp,” she continued, stopping in front of me. “Think clearly, my son. You know the answer yourself.”
I began to analyze what Mother was trying to tell me.
Suddenly, it hit me.
The sea creatures.