From Princess to Pirate: Part Four
A loud crash reverberated throughout the room as the lamp fell on the wooden deck below her feet. The glass broke into a million pieces, scattering over the floor as the small flame sputtered out. Polie was left in darkness as she clasped her hands around her mouth.
What a clumsy thing to do, she thought. There was no window in her room and no light twinkled in from anywhere. Polie was left in complete darkness. Her heart started to beat a little faster and more nervously. She listened to the sounds of silence as she waited for someone to come see what had happened.
No one did.
The moments ticked on and Polie gazed around to see if there was a candle or anything to give her light. She felt around in the darkness, but found nothing.
After a few moments her eyes became slightly adjusted to the emptiness. She could see the faint outline of the door before her and slipped her hand around the knob and pushed it open. Polie peeked outside. The corridor was lit with hanging torches and the hall was completely empty.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Polie slipped out of her room and gently closed the door behind her. She had not even changed from her ragged and ripped gown; it had become quite dirty from lying in the musty hammock. With a quick glance up and down the hall again, Polie began to tiptoe in the opposite direction from which she had come.
There was relative silence on the old ship. She could feel it bob up and down occasionally beneath her feet as the ship sat in the harbor. It was only a matter of time before the Unis came to investigate and she was sure that the port would be closed by now. There was nowhere for the ship to run, but if the Unis were not suspicious, they would not investigate the entire ship's contents.
That would mean that the ship would be allowed to leave the dock at Crystal Cove. With both Polie and her mother aboard.
Polie shivered as she walked. She wasn’t really cold so much as nervous about the events that were to come. Without any knowledge of where she was heading, it would be easy to run into many of the crew; most of which had no idea that she had even joined their ship.
On top of that, the silence was eerie. She would have liked it a lot better if there were voices, even faint ones that came from behind certain doors. What Polie wanted to hear the most was the singsong voice of her mother, guiding her in the right direction.
She walked for hours in the thin hallway, feeling as if she were moving in circles. Finally, she found a set of stairs that led down. She followed them slowly, noting the loud creeks in the wood. At this point, Polie knew that she might never find her way back to the top.
At the bottom of the stairs, Polie began seeing barrels. Next to the barrels were other crates, seemingly used for storage. Some of them were empty and others were not. She noticed that the half-empty crates were filled with lots of food. She saw grenannas and jipple pears. Her eyes noticed the ionic shaped bread from Altador and the smell of hummus filled her nostrils as well.
The pirates... smugglers... whoever they were, seemed to get around.
A glint caught Polie’s eye as she closed the lid of the foodstuffs that she had just peered into. In the corner, she noticed high piles of boxes. She edged closer and looked behind the piles. Dozens and dozens of sparkling gems lay scattered on the floor.
Polie’s eyes caught sparkling rubies, diamonds, and emerald Eyrie coins. The colors were so diverse that it was easy to see how many of each there were. Polie’s eyes went wide as she gazed fixedly on them.
They had to be.
Polie had never seen so many gems in one place. She had a few pieces of jewelry made from gems that her father had given her, but never had she seen them hiding and piled high on a ship filled with men that had kidnapped her mother.
She backed up, her eyes still fixed on the pile. Slowly, she turned, only to bump into a large figure.
Polie screamed in fright. She was so nervous that she had reacted on instinct.
“Found something, did we?”
Polie regained her composure. She told herself that she was playing a part and that she couldn’t be nervous. The young Kau put her hands on her hips and stuck her nose up in the air as she replied, “So what if I did?”
Gingy growled and narrowed his eyes at her. “We don’t need any more thieves.”
“Obviously. I’m just the cook. I couldn’t sleep. I took a little nighttime stroll,” Polie explained, her heart pounding. She tried not to show how nervous she was as she stared eye to eye with Gingy. He still had the tin in his arms from earlier.
“The Boss won’t like that, he won’t,” Gingy said, stepping forward and wiggling the tin in her face. She glanced at it, but held her ground. “I think you should go back to your room.”
“Me? If I can’t walk around, neither can you.”
“I have certain privileges.” Gingy replied smugly. He tossed the tin toward Polie and she caught it in her arms. “I’m finished with those, by the way. Do you know how to make cookies?”
Polie resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She wanted to scream at him and tell him she wouldn’t be there to bake any cookies for him. She bit her tongue in an effort to silence it. Gingy smirked and started off toward the opposite room.
“Where are you going?” Polie yelled after him. She skipped toward him, not wanting to lose him and become lost in the underground of the ship. He held up a finger to his lips to quiet her and motioned for her to follow him.
Polie did unquestioningly. She followed Gingy through into an empty storage room. He clicked the door closed behind them and it snapped loudly. Polie realized she was trapped inside. Her stomach dropped. She had thought that Gingy was going to show her the entrapped Queen. Instead, he had trapped her as well.
She turned slowly to see Gingy smirking at her again. She really wished he would wipe that look off of his face. He stalked towards her slowly and she backed up at the same pace, until her back was to the wall at the other end of the room.
Before he could get close enough, be bent down on one knee and bowed his head before her.
His voice was completely different than the rugged one he had used before. It sounded almost regal and filled with pride. Polie blinked a couple of times in confusion as she took a tentative step forward.
“You may rise.” She spoke, filling the role of her father quite adequately. She had seen him speak to many men that knelt before him; some that had even become Knights before the King. She didn’t know how the Kougra had noticed her, but as he stood finally, he seemed much older than she had originally thought.
“I apologize for my behavior up until now,” he explained. “I was... like you... playing a part.”
Polie simply nodded her head. She felt queasy and wanted to sit down. He took her silence as a motion for him to continue.
“I am Gingernova the Third of the First Valiant Command.”
“The First Valiant Command?” Polie asked, her eyes widening. The FVC was a group that her father had put together. The group often went disguised to uncover smuggling activities at the cove as well as investigate threats to the royal line. “I didn’t know my father had acted so quickly.”
Gingy shook his head, “I was assigned to infiltrate this vessel prior to the capture of the Queen. I just happened to be in a valuable position. The problem is that I have no means of communicating back to command. And, my mission aboard this vessel should not be compromised.”
Polie knew better than to ask just what that mission was. Her father was very secretive about the missions he regarded to the First Valiant. “Does this mean you are going to help me?”
“I’m going to try.” Gingy explained, “but they must not know that I have.”
Polie collapsed on a nearby chair, the reality of the situation finally settling in. She realized she had gotten herself into something that she wasn’t sure she could handle. Gingy rushed forward and knelt by her side, calling out to her, “Princess... Poliana!”
“I’m alright, Gingy. I’m just a little overwhelmed is all.” She realized that only that morning before she had been sitting and learning about spelling. How would spelling help her rescue her mother?
Gingy put a ginger hand on her shoulder and spoke confidently, “I have a plan. There is nothing to fear.”
Polie hoped that he was right.
To be continued...