Captain Twilight was tired.
It had been less than 48 hours since he and his crew of Wise Andromeda were attacked by another pirate ship in the waters off Ostania and Westalis. It was a difficult battle with the opposing ship, but thanks to Twilight’s strategies and Franky’s inventions, they managed to overpower their enemy with few casualties in their crew and a hole in the side of their ship, forcing them to take port at a seaside city in Ostania.
On top of the empty mass occupying his ship, Captain Twilight had a larger crisis than the hole. He was a father.
As of 43 hours ago, the feared pirate captain, Twilight, became the father of a 4... no, insistently 6-year-old child he's never met. The small body in his arms grounded Twilight to the present on the ship’s deck, but there is a lingering scent of gunpowder, and the metal of chains still on the girl who called herself, "Anya" Anya was fast asleep, tiredly shaken up from her day’s events.
There was gunpowder everywhere. The internal ring of Twilight's ears was silently loud in-between the shouts of men crying out in pain, their blood and flesh seeping into the wooden planks of the enemy's ship.
Twilight navigated through the angry crowd of people, dodging the swings of swords aimed at his face. He met some of his enemies’ swords with his own, grinding steel with steel. He stared into their eyes invading them with bright blue; some feared his gaze and tried to look away; others met his gaze leaving it to be their last memory before he would parry them and end their lives.
The enemy captain’s door was locked from the inside. What a coward, Twilight thought, jiggling with the doorknob. If he was going to continue trafficking children like his men, he may as well die like them. Twilight grabbed the pistol in his coat before raising his leg and kicking in the door.
The captain of the enemy ship was hiding behind the safety of his desk, shaking like a leaf as he peered at Twilight over the piles of maps and drawn images of women in compromising positions. Sweat collected in the man’s full mustache, and his large hands clung to the pistol in his hands, shakily pointing at Twilight.
“It’s you!” The man exclaimed, “You’re the Pirate King. They whisper about... The one who brings Justice, Twilight!”
“And you have a reputation of your own.” Twilight coolly responded, “Captain Murdoch Swan, one of the most well-known human traffickers in the sea.”
Swan laughs heavily, “So what if I am? Can’t a man make his own living?”
“Not at the expense of others.”
“Oh, not at the expense of others? Rumor has it that the famous Twilight has lost his touch with his mission of taking down ships like he used to, instead the Thorn Princess has replaced your title while you indulge yourself in women and spirits. Is that right?”
Twilight tightens the grip on his pistol and clenches his jaw. “And what about it?”
“It seems like you and I have something in common - Women. I can have you take your pick of the finest women you want, just spare me please!”
All the years Twilight had been a pirate didn’t hold a place in the hell of the rage, he felt at that moment. Launching himself at Swan, Twilight grabbed Swan’s arm, bringing down the wrist that was holding Swan’s gun and pinning it. A shot was fired too late into the cabin wall behind Twilight as the barrel smoked, and through the gray smoke, Swan met the icy gaze of the feared Captain Twilight.
After leaving Swan’s body in his quarters, Twilight left the cabin to find his crew had taken over Swan’s ship. Swan’s crew were bound in rope with their heads hung low in shame. They looked up when they heard Twilight’s footsteps, hoping to see their captain, much to their disappointment. Twilight glanced over to the small crowd of children who were huddled near the edge of the ship. They avoided Twilight’s eyes.
“Oi! Were you giving Swan a show there? We have been waiting for you!” Twilight’s right-hand man called from the upper deck of the ship. He stood smugly with his chest outstretched, his red pin-striped shirt glowing in the sunlight.
“That’s no way to speak to you captain, Franky,” Twilight responded, peering up at him. “I can’t stand you talking to me with that face.”
“Hey! If it weren’t for my inventions, we wouldn’t have succeeded in winning!” Franky yelled before dropping down to Twilight, only to have his boot get caught on the railing of the upper deck, causing Franky to crash in front of Twilight and his crew.
The children burst out laughing, in their happy giggles, clutching their stomachs to ease the lack of usage. Even some of the prisoners kept their heads down and bit their lips to keep from smirking.
Twilight hides his chuckle with a cough before asking, “So, what are the damages?”
Franky scrambles to his feet before answering, “Well, the good news is that we won.”
Twilight sighs, “And the bad news is?”
“We have a hole in our ship.”
Twilight pinches the bridge of his nose, “Is that all?”
“And we lost some of our crew...”
“And I lost some of our booze.”
“Franky...” Twilight glares.
“But! We found some children. We can bring them to the orphanage in Ostania.”
“As for them?” Twilight nudges his chin in the direction of the prisoners.
Franky scratches the back of his head, “I was going to ask you.”
Twilight pondered for .02 seconds before saying, “Leave the men on this ship and we’ll take ours to port, gather all the treasures within this ship, and transport the children onto our ship safely. We will let the Thorn Princess be the judge of their fate.”
After leaving Swan’s remaining crew to their fate, Twilight was staring at the maps on his table with Franky, discussing their next course of action, when one of Twilight’s crewmembers, Jack, barged into Twilight’s chambers. “Captain, Sir! We need your help!”
Franky and Twilight spared a glance at each other before following Jack.
Jack led them to the underbelly of the deck where they stored their food and supplies. Amongst the barrels and crates, stood a shaking little girl with dirty pink hair. Her green eyes were pooled with tears as she shakily clutched a peanut to her mouth. She’s wearing a dirty black dress with a white bow, clearly not cared for.
Twilight glances at the little girl before grabbing Jack’s shirt, “This is what you called us over for!?”
“S-Sir! I didn’t know what to do! We already set our boat to deliver the other children!”
Franky puts a hand on Twilight’s arm and says, “Hey Twilight, he’s right. They already left. The only thing we can do is bring her with us when we repair the ship.”
Twilight glances down at the girl before releasing Jack’s shirt, trying to gauge her age. She can’t be older than 4, it’s already dangerous for her to be on this ship maybe if she was a little older.
“Anya is six!” The girl yells, still clutching onto the peanut in her hands.
How did she- never mind that Twilight, you have important things to attend to. “Listen, Anya, we’re here to help you. When we go to port, we’ll take you to the orphanage where you can be with your friends and maybe find a better home.”
Anya’s bright green eyes were downcast, tears streaming down, “Anya has no friends, Anya has no home.”
Twilight’s heart dropped to his stomach. He remembered what it was like to be like Anya. Alone in the world without any friends, without any family to call his own. In the burning rumble of his childhood home, with the loss of his innocence and his identity, Twilight fled into the sea and became the Pirate King he is known as.
With a sigh, Twilight squatted down to Anya’s level, extending a hand to her. “You may call me Father.”
“What?!” Franky yelled, but neither Twilight nor Anya paid any attention to him.
“Papa.” Anya confirmed, meeting Twilight’s hand.
“Very, well. That will do.” Grasping her hand in his, the feared pirate King Twilight became Anya’s father.
Meanwhile, back on Swan’s ship, Swan’s old crewmates managed to free themselves of their bonds. They all cheered and celebrated their survival after their run-in with the dreaded pirate Twilight.
They were too busy celebrating to hear the thud of a newcomer to their ship. Too preoccupied as footsteps approached the crowd of men, who were in their own world. It wasn’t until the glint of metal caught the moonlight that one of the men turned his head in horror and awe of the vision before him.
There stood a beautiful yet chilling image of a nude woman holding two golden sticks. Her black hair was softly flowing in the wind, but her eyes were piercing cold red, filled with bloodlust. The skin of her body was mostly smooth except for the edges of her silhouette laced with red scales. The crowd of men turned to where their friend was staring in shock after going quiet before gasping at the sight.
“I-It’s the Thorn Princess!” One of the men exclaims.
Holding her weapons in front of her. “Gentlemen, may I have the honor of taking your lives?”