Chapter Fifteen, Season One - Pirates (a)
I turned to Mother and she had this grin on her face. She knew I just realized what she was talking about. She could tell that her suggestion clicked inside my brain.
“Mother,” I suddenly held onto the side of her arms near her shoulders, my eyes still widened. “The sea creatures…” I struggled to construct a single sentence.
“I know, my child,” she chuckled, smiling as she removed my hands from her arms. She held my hands in hers, just smiling at me.
I kissed her hands as a thank-you for her idea. I was so lost in my desperation to get through the pirates without having a battle, to be able to get all of us home in one piece and a little part of me wanted to prove that I could be a great warrior king.
I returned to the map. “Do you think you could summon the creatures as we go through here on the Island of Dangling Trees?” I asked for advice.
“Why don’t we just go back to the path we were supposed to take a while ago?” she offered, pointing at the map. “Since we’ll be having the creatures on our side, we’d be able to pass through their blockade.”
“Do you believe that the creatures will take our side?” I asked another. “They may answer our call but will they fight with us?”
“Who said they’ll be used for fighting?” she replied, confused.
I looked back at her, baffled. “But you said we can use the sea creatures to get through.”
“Yes, we can but not in the way you’re thinking,” Mother answered. “These sea creatures aren’t made to fight other immortals. An ancient punishment was implemented on them that if they’re used to harm immortals, they will not let anyone cross the Sea of Gliss peacefully.”
“Then why did you suggest them?”
She cupped my face in her hands again, making me look directly at her. “What did they do when I called out to them?”
“They rose from the sea.”
“And what did they do when they appeared?”
I started to think, remembering what happened today. “Well, some of them started playing, jumping out of the water. The bigger ones showed the top of themselves before diving back into the water.”
“Exactly,” she smiled, moving my face closer to her. “All they can do is destroy the blockade the pirates did. They will simply sink those ships without any effort.”
I started to think everything through. Although I found Mother’s idea to be helpful, I still feel that we have to be very cautious with every action that we’re planning to do. I’m not that familiar with these creatures and their capabilities. My biggest fear is that these creatures may turn out to harm us as well.
“Why are you doubting?” Mother noticed the hesitance imprinted on my face.
“I’m unsure with the sea creatures,” I reasoned. “I don’t know anything about them and they might end up sinking our ships as well.”
Mother tapped on my shoulder and reassured me, “At this moment, we can only put our trust in what we have. Every battle is a gamble, a game and we only have limited cards to use. You take care of the ship, I’ll take care of the rest.”
With a big sigh, I stood up properly. There’s no other way for us to get home but to face the pirates straight on. And I have to trust Mother with her idea. She’ll never suggest anything that would cause further danger to us all.
“Guards?” I called out from the room, my tone shifted from hesitant to determined, sure of my decision.
The door creaked open and the two guards entered.
“Call the captain. I must have a word with him. Make it quick,” I instructed.
They marched away in haste, not saying another word.
“Mother, are you sure about joining us on the deck?” I asked her. “The last thing I would want is to put you in danger.”
“Robert, I’m fully capable of doing this. I’ll have the guards surround me. I’ll keep myself close to the entrance for your peace of mind,” she insisted. “And besides, you don’t know how to summon those creatures.”
“I prefer that after you call out to them, you return to your room with the guards and your ladies,” I responded. “Keep the escape shoot ready at all times.”
She sighed, knowing that there’s no time to argue with me. She knows that I will never let her be in a situation where it would put her in grave danger. “If you insist,” she smiled.
The door burst open, the captain shuffling in out of panic. “Your Highness,” he quickly bowed. “You called for me?”
“Have the ship return to the original route. Have the men ready, both here on the deck and under,” I instructed, walking towards him. “Have the cannons ready as well. Tell the guards to protect Her Majesty while she’s on deck.”
The captain’s brows furrowed, staring at Mother and me. “I don’t understand, Your Highness. What you’re asking for is a great risk.”
“Trust me on this one, captain. If we don’t agree on one thing, we’ll never make it out alive,” I answered.
He looked at my mother once again, waiting for some kind of confirmation regarding my instructions.
“Please, captain, we don’t have much time,” I added.
“As you wish, Your Highness.”
“Very good. I’ll meet you on the deck.”
He nodded and ran out of the room.
I turned back to Mother, a determined look on her face. No trace of fear or doubt can be seen. She’s willing to go through with this plan. It is something I expected of her as she’s not one who easily backs down on a challenge.
“Shall we?” I asked.
She gave me a nod before heading out of the cabin.
We’re on our way back to the route that we were supposed to take on our way back to the Western Wind. From afar, I can already see the pirates’ ships that blocked our way, preventing any kind of water transportation to get through.
The captain kept looking through his telescope now and then, trying to see if there would be any changes with the blockade.
Slow footsteps came from behind me. In a few seconds, Mother stood beside me. We gave each other a look of reassurance. Without the use of words, we have to reassure each other that everything will be all right, that our plan will work.
“Your Highness,” the captain spoke, handing over the telescope. “It seems like they have raided another ship.”
Quickly looking through the telescope, I saw a ship, being looted by the pirates. People were being taken as captives and they were taking everything. A few moments later, they put the ship on fire, sinking it as quickly as possible to hide any trace of their wicked ways.
As I put the telescope down, the men behind me began to murmur. Closing the telescope, I handed it back to the captain and faced the men. Mother followed suit and so did the captain.
“Gentlemen,” I crossed my hands behind my back. “I know that as of right now, you are frightened, confused… scared for your very lives because of what we’re about to do. But I beseech you all to trust me. Have faith that I will get us through those bandits,” I pointed at the pirates, “I will never go through with a plan if I know we’ll be on the losing end. I won’t risk any kind of reasons for us to have bloodshed on this ship,” I walked back and forth in front of them.
“My goal, my mission… is to bring all of us back home to our families safe and sound. It is my responsibility to take care of my people. You all are my responsibility,” I returned in the middle, standing with pride. I may have a bit of doubt in my mind but I can’t show my fear. As a future king, I must show them what I’m capable of. “Stand your ground with me. Fight with me. Trust in me and I promise you, I will not let these pirates overrun us.” I drew out my sword, raising it in the air, “We are people from the kingdom of the Western Wind and we are warriors. These pirates must be stopped. Are you with me?”
And silence came unto the deck. The men seemed unsure if they should trust me with my plan. Everyone was looking at each other, questioning each other if they’re willing to trust a future king, with no experience in war, to lead them into a battle: a battle for our very lives.
The captain suddenly cleared his throat from behind, ending the deafening silence among us. “Fellow men,” he walked forward. “I can see you have doubts but we have no other choice but to fight. We entered this journey, willing to fight and protect the monarchy. Are we going to back down from our sworn oath at this moment of crisis?” he stood a few inches in front of me.
The men in front of us are still unconvinced. I could see a few people from the back taking a few steps backward from the group. It’s as if they’re proclaiming that they’re not willing to fight, to trust me.
The captain drew his sword and knelt in front of me, his sword resting on his palms. “Your Highness,” he started. “I am willing to protect you and Her Majesty with my life. My sword is yours to command.”
The captain stayed in that exact position, waiting for some of the guards and sailors to join his cause. I could see him turning an eye towards his men and my guards, desperately trying to convince them.
He continued, “If my men will not join you, I will protect you myself. I am willing to die for the throne and the greater good of everyone on this boat.”
I looked at Mother and she kept her head up high. Our eyes met and she nodded at me. I put my sword away and helped the captain stand. “Captain, should we survive this night, I swear that I will give you special rewards for your service,” I replied, looking deeply in his eyes, my voice full of sincerity. “And should you lose your life for us to survive, I’ll make sure your family will be taken care of and you’ll receive the honor that you deserve for your loyalty and bravery.”
He put his right hand on his left chest, his metal gloves clashing with his armor. He bowed slowly and said, “The Western Wind are warriors. Whether we live or die, we are triumphant.”
He said it with such conviction, such passion… such dedication.
That line that he uttered was the line of the kings of the old. They say these words as a declaration of victory and most of the time, it does bring victory to the kingdom.
I laid out my hand in a truce. He grabbed me by the elbow and we shook once, in the agreement of one thing: we will fight and we will live the night or die trying.
Suddenly, the guards walked behind the captain and knelt to the floor. “We are at your command, Your Highness.”
Without hesitation, the sailors knelt as well in submission.
The captain and I looked at each other with a triumphant smile on our faces. We both turned around with Mother, facing the problem ahead.
We’re nearing the blockade and I could tell that the pirates have noticed our presence. They were all looking in our direction, shouting and screaming as if they were rejoicing, probably thinking they’re going to be able to loot another ship.
That is something that I won’t allow to happen.
All of a sudden, the pirates shot some kind of red flare up to the sky, causing all of us to watch as the beautiful color of red illuminated the dark surroundings.
“It’s a sign, Your Highness,” the captain informed us as the flare hit the water. “They’ve noticed us and they’re ready for anything.”