Kai leaned across the ship’s railing and focused on the horizon. He didn’t get seasick often but knew enough to fake it well. He faked another groan, and stared more determinedly at the horizon. The truth was he was waiting for something- someone. As he finally began to hear shouts rise from the crew a grin swept its way across his face. She certainly knew how to make an entrance.
Soon enough he was gathered with the rest of the crew on the main deck. Part of him felt bad for scaring the poor people, but usually he was too distracted by what was about to happen. And there she was, standing beside Thorne, who was still wearing that ridiculous hat.
Torin stepped forward, his hands raised in surrender, “we will peacefully follow your instructions” he spoke tiredly.
Out of the whole crew he was the only one who knew the real reason behind all the frequent pirate raids. Kai knew he had to tell him, Torin had gotten suspicious after the first couple of times. “Of course” Cinder spoke calmly her hand on her sword hilt prepared for trouble. “We will be taking your cargo” she said her face apologetic. Most of the crew didn’t care, after all it was shipments going to Luna going to Levana the horrifying queen of a nearby country.
“Food will be served in the dining hall disperse.” She spoke authoritatively as Thorne nodded the feathers on his hat bouncing with every movement. Kai breathed out a sigh of relief as the crew left the main deck. Cinder usually gave them a meal from their supplies, she said it was because she already felt bad for stealing the cargo. Truthfully Kai didn’t mind because it gave them more time together.
He followed her as she walked to her Captain’s quarters. As soon as the door closed she threw herself in his arms. “whoa” he chuckled “someone missed me.” He could practically feel her glare from where her face was buried in his chest. Disentangling herself from him she leaned against her desk, and tiredly ran a hand through her messy brown hair. “Don’t even ask, Levana seems to be catching on to our raids,” she bit her lip “but so far she doesn’t know it’s me leading them.”
Cinder’s big secret of course was that she was the true heir to Luna, and Levana’s niece Selene. Levana of course wasn’t too happy with the idea of eventually having to give up her throne. So, she’d plotted her murder when she was just a little baby. Cinder had escaped thanks to the help of some kindly doctors, who’d help heal her body, replacing some parts with prosthetics. Cinder had soon been sent to an orphanage run by the Linh family. Garan had died soon after of the plague, and she was left under Adri’s cruel thumb. The children had been forced to earn their keep, all so Adri could lounge around for most of the day.
Still she’d been fine with another orphan Iko, and Adri’s daughter Peony. Then another tragedy struck and Peony caught the plague. This caused mandatory blood testing for the whole orphanage, and her secret heritage was discovered. Thankfully the kindly Dr. Erland had helped her escape. Soon she’d recruited her crew Scarlet the girl who was the granddaughter of one of the doctors who’d helped her, Wolf or Ze’ev who was an ex-soldier from Levana’s army and head ocher heels for Scarlet, Thorne who had assisted her in her daring escape from the town and owned their current ship the Rampion, Cress who’d been a spy locked up by the queen for whenever she needed and itching for a chance to escape, Winter the queen’s stepdaughter who had longed to escape her cruel stepmother, Jacin the sarcastic guard who’d escaped for Winter more than anything, and of course Iko had been with her all along.
Kai was so grateful for them all, he knew without them Cinder and him would never have met. He drew her back into a hug and stroked her hair. “You know I feel my parents are starting to get suspicious.” She raised an eyebrow “yeah why’s that?” He grinned “well so many sudden pirate raids and I happen to be one the ship every time,” he paused “maybe it’s time to stop hiding in the shadows and attack directly.” She frowned, “I don’t know we don’t have the manpower to defeat Levana.” “Ah but people have been spreading rumors of the return of the missing princess, I think you could convince the peasants to rise against her.”
She nodded “maybe it’s time, ill discuss it with the crew after” she grinned at him “for now it’s our time.” And soon they were lost in each other again. In fact, they almost didn’t hear Cress, and Thorne knocking to call them to dinner. They jumped apart as the door opened breathing hard, faces flushed, and lips swollen.
Cress stood there scandalized, and Thorne looked like he was trying his hardest not to laugh. “Dinner is served” Cress finally spoke before dragging Thorne back with her. Cinder groaned “he’s not goanna let that go for weeks.” They walked together to the dining room.
Everyone else was seated and they too quickly took their seats. For dinner, they were having turtle soup, hard tack biscuit, and lemon cheesecake for dessert. Scarlet as usual had outdone herself and soon enough the food was gone. Everyone disappeared to spend their free time left and once again Kai found himself with Cinder. They stayed together for an hour or so, but soon even Cinder knew it was time for them to go.
It already looked suspicious enough. “Maybe you could visit” he suggested.
She snorted “with the several wanted posters I’m sure no one will recognize me.” He gently gripped her hands “those posters are no good you could wear a scarf and no one would recognize” sensing her hesitancy he pleaded “come on just once, we could visit the city and get proper food, not ship food like those pork buns you always told me about.” She relented "fine I suppose I could make it but give me some time to make arrangements” he nodded.
Soon he was back on his ship. Too soon he thought to himself. He couldn’t wait till all the secrecy was over. He’d seen the way her eyes lit up when he talked about a revolution again Levana, perhaps she’d go through with it. Sure, there was plenty of time left till anything could be executed, but hey a guy could dream.