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Not a Sea Leg to Stand On

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“What do you think we’ll find?”

“My lord?”

“Out there. Doesn’t it excite you?”

The blond’s thin lips curled into a smirk, his teal eyes set on the port below. The orange shades of the sun melted into the waters, creating a beautiful glittering reflection.

The man next to him, a taller gentleman dressed in servant clothing, stood stone-still as he took in the sight of the ocean. The younger of the two practically shook with excitement, eagerness overflowing from every syllable of every word he spoke.

“I can’t wait to set sail,” he whispered breathlessly, “I assume Father will want to catch some of those scoundrels. How much bounty have they got on their heads, again?”

“Young Master Left…”

“I told you - call me Dio .”

After clearing his throat, the servant continued, “Young Master Dio, then… that is not the intended purpose for this voyage. You know as well as I that your father has no intention to involve himself in dirty business if he can avoid it. This is a trading voyage, and hopefully nothing more.”

Dio clicked his tongue. “Such a disappointment. Still, hopefully the old man will change his mind once we get out there. How could he resist?” He had watched his father travel across the large body of water for business purposes, trading spices and other goods for the kingdom, but he’d also heard stories from the man’s younger days, including swordfights and treasure-hunting.

That was before he became boring, though; eventually, Dio’s father settled down and married another royal, the two ruling the kingdom and having two sons as heirs.

And it was decided that someday, Dio would inherit it all from those before him. As prince, he had spent his life being prepped and groomed for the top position, having his needs met exactly when he demanded them to be. The young man knew that city, the land that stretched far around it, the bay that held the ships, the very ocean they sat upon day after day - it would all be his someday.

Upon the hour of his twenty-first birthday, Dio had finally been given what he’d always wanted. The ocean beckoned to him even as a young lad, the allure of the unknown pulling at his mind until he could think of nothing else but the smell of saltwater and the feeling of a damp breeze through his hair.

He’d begged his father for a chance to explore the ocean since he was a teenager, but that was one request he never had answered. Dio was used to instant responses to what he asked for, so it was a bit hard to bear until he was legally able to own such a thing.

While the sea called to him, pure exploration was not the only reason he’d wanted to drop everything and to jump on a ship; since the stories he was told as a child, he had decided to chase after the delinquents that saltied the sea even further - the pirates.

Those crooks remained in the backs of everyone’s minds, their presence about as threatening as a grim shadow; unpleasant, but utterly harmless for now. But the possibility of attack was still there, as confident as the royals were that their kingdom was secure, the imperfection of security itself couldn’t be ignored.

At nine, Dio had seen his first pirate in person. A raid had been reported in the port of the next town over, and as part of his father’s jurisdiction, the man had been summoned to investigate. Dio had followed silently, watching the exchanges between the nobleman and a captured pirate captain called ‘Ace,’ and noting the differences in appearances between the men.

Dio’s father, of course, was the image of perfection, every inch of his tall frame kept in top condition. His hair was swept back, his clothing excellently-tailored from the straight cravat to his buckled shoes. The way he spoke was refined, too, his words chosen carefully and respectfully despite talking to utter garbage.

Ace, however, was completely backwards. The way the man stood was mocking of Dio’s father’s, a cruel smirk on cracked, scarred lips. The beige trenchcoat he wore was filled with holes, the clothing underneath untucked and his arms and fingers both garnished with metal rings (supposedly as decoration). Dio was quite far from the two of them - far enough to not hear their specific words, that is - but he could still smell the alcohol stinking off the man from where he was.

However, while he couldn’t hear their specific words, Dio caught the way Ace’s tone almost reflected the royal’s. Ace was calm and met the man’s gaze, no pauses between his words and a quiet and polite sound to whatever he chose to say. Young Dio honestly couldn’t fathom why the pirate - the scum of the sea, known for pillaging and destroying - was talking with his father as if they were chatting over cups of tea.

He hadn’t known pirates to be respectful and soft-spoken, but Ace was, and that fueled his desire to know more about the strangers. He never got the chance, however, for Ace’s crew burned in the fires they’d started. Dio never figured out what happened to the older pirate himself, but the entire lot of his allies vanished into the flames and his ship, Cat’s Cradle , sunk to the bottom of the sea.

Four years later, Dio encountered five more pirates in lesser circumstances: the gallows.

It had been a public execution of the seized delinquents, their captain (known only as Salty Seven) standing among them. This man acted more like the typical pirate Dio had imagined, his words broken and rough as he cursed the royals that strung him up. His raspy voice was cut short as the noose tightened around his neck, and Dio still recalled the look of instinctive horror that crossed his glassy eyes before he ran out of life.

It was also the first time Dio had seen someone die in front of him - five someones, to be exact. As a teenager, it bothered him, but he grew numb to it as the years went by. Soon, the only feeling he felt in relation to that execution was eagerness to get on the sea himself and find some pirates to kill himself.

Death was no stranger to Dio, however, as he’d lost his mother at an early age to disease. He couldn’t remember her face very well, but he did recall the way the very aura surrounding her was always proper and lovely (as a lady’s should be, she’d told him many times). Since Dio’s older brother left home in search of religious enlightenment, he was the sole heir to the throne and lived with his father and their servants.

Life as a royal wasn’t something to complain about, but Dio still longed for more. And after so long of waiting (not-so-patiently), he finally was rewarded with a crew and ship. He’d named his ship Free the Soul , after one of his favorite novels centered around a crazy cult and a suicide virus. The name’s engraving had been etched in under a day, and the men were prepped for the voyage almost immediately.

As his servant had mentioned, Dio was traveling with his father’s fleets to the kingdom adjacent to their own, embarking on a casual trading trip. It wasn’t as glamorous as Dio intended, but he had high hopes to run into the outlaws of the ocean.

And that night, at the stroke of midnight, they set sail. What they would encounter on their way, Dio didn’t know; he just wanted to leave, to explore, to find what he was looking for - whatever that may be.

 


So far, he hated the sea.

The waves rocked the boat in a way that made Dio absolutely nauseous after the first hour or so, and after emptying his stomach of its contents over the edge of Free the Soul ’s side, he longed to be back on land. His eyes glazed over, his legs wobbling as he staggered back, away from the edge and plopped down onto the deck. Servants fussed about, wiping his chin and offering him some mint for his stomach, but he waved it off.

What sort of adventurer would he be, after all, if he let a little seasickness get in his way? Besides, it wasn’t the actual ocean that was the mysterious part; what was so special about water? Dio had plenty of that back home, in his bathtub.

After regaining his composure, the prince straightened his clothes and turned to a servant. “How long will we be at sea, anyway?”

“About forty-eight hours, Young Master.”

Damn, that was a long time; he had to get over the queasy feeling in his stomach somehow… Not even bothering to grace the other man with an answer (the servants all practically had the same face and he couldn’t see the value in individuality amongst them), the blond made his way to the other side of the ship, where he could see his father’s fleet in front of them. The many ships were carrying various goods, ready to be traded for something-or-other from another kingdom. Dio didn’t care for the details in the politics.

Just staring out at the waves crashing against the hull made Dio’s stomach lurch again. Maybe some time below deck would do him good; he’d be out of sight for a bit, and may even get to rest.

“I’m heading down,” he informed his crew, who were mixed amongst the servants keeping the ship sailing strongly. “If you need anything, I’ll expect you to call for me.”

“Aye, Captain.”

“That’s Captain Dio to you.”

After making his way below deck, the prince practically leaped onto his large captain’s bed, bundling himself under the blankets and feeling himself drift off to sleep, despite the nauseousness that still plagued him. It wasn’t long before he fell into a light slumber, lulled by the gentle sways of the ship on the sea, allowing his mind to put the seasickness out of his mind for the time being. If he concentrated hard enough, he could almost pretend he was just a child being rocked gently by his mother.

That soft rhythm didn’t last long, however, for the ship jerked suddenly, effectively snapping him out of his sleep and tossing him to the ground like he weighed nothing. Huffing, the prince scrambled to his feet, adjusting his coat before storming upstairs to the deck.

“What’s the matter!?” Dio practically squawked, the ship continuing to rock and waves tossing him about.

“We’ve lost sight of your father, my lord,” a servant reported, a fresh bead of sweat trickling down from his brow. Dio cringed, recoiling at the words and hurrying to the edge of the ship to see if he’d heard his servant’s rambling right.

And how correct that was; Free the Soul seemed like a single dark brown chess piece in an otherwise blank board, lost and stumbling with nowhere to truly go, and no move to make. Swallowing hard, the prince’s gaze swept over the sea, his stomach feeling sick again.

“H-how?” he whispered, knowing no one was close enough to hear him. Growling, he spun around and hissed louder, “How the hell did this happen!?”

One of the crew members - a sharp-eyed young man with white hair and blue eyes - stepped up. “Captain, I’m afraid there was a mistake in the maps. Your father’s voyages turned one way at a fork by a cliff, and we went the other. We assumed the two paths would lead to the same center, but alas, they did not, and we lost sight of him.” When Dio didn’t respond, as he was too red-faced with anger, the boy continued, “Don’t worry, Captain; we are working on getting back on track shortly. There shouldn’t be any problems.”

“Really? Who decided to go right when my father went fucking left?” Dio snapped, bringing out the uncouth language due to his frustration.

“Actually, sir, your ship was the one to turn left.”

“Whatever! I’ll have you thrown overboard if you don’t shut up and fix this! See to it!” The prince didn’t wait for an answer, whipping around and beginning to pace. His boots clicked across the wooden floor, his own heartbeat echoing in his ear.

What will I do? he wondered, swallowing hard. This is not the kind of adventure I wanted. Am I supposed to fend for myself out here? Me ?

“My lord!” A servant’s shout interrupted his thoughts (rather rudely). After turning to scold the man, any fragments of a retort died on his tongue as Dio saw what every shipmate was staring at on the horizon.

The faint outline of a ship could be seen above the water as if it had climbed up the edge of the earth itself. The distance shrouded much of it, but there was no mistaking it for anything but a vessel.

And there was suddenly no other option in Dio’s mind - that had to belong to a fellow royal.

“Hey! Father! Can you hear me!?” Dio screamed, his throat growing hoarse from the raised volume. In the back of his mind, he knew that there was no way anyone could hear him from so far away, but goddamnit, he had to try! He wasn’t even sure that ghost ship was part of his father’s fleet, but he felt the need to stay positive in this situation. After all, he was the prince - surely nothing bad could happen to him?

Met with silence, the blond’s fists clenched tightly at his sides. Whipping his head around, he yelled, “Don’t just stand there! Fire the cannons!”

“C-Captain? Are you sure that’s -”

“Yes!” Dio stomped a boot down. “I’m your captain ! You’re supposed to listen to me and not question it! My father’s ship is most likely over there, and he could go another direction for all we know unless we give him a signal! So fire the damn cannon!”

After a moment, a crew member shrugged and loaded one of the cannons at the edge of the ship, aiming it towards a spot in the distance that wasn’t anywhere near the ship on the horizon. They didn’t need to come off as a threat, after all. The man cried out for the others to stay clear and shouted to three, pulling the cannon’s trigger and sending a shot screeching towards the horizon line.

The motion caused the whole vessel to tremble, making Dio nearly fall over. He clung to the side, eyes glued to the ghost ship. There was no way that could be taken as anything but a cry for help, right?

It seemed to work; Dio’s breath caught in his throat as he saw the mysterious ship continue their way.

However, after what seemed like an eternity, the prince found the image becoming clearer and clearer the more it rocked along the waters, creating fresh waves in its path. But the closer it became, the deeper Dio’s heart sunk. Someone should have really given his white-haired shipmate an award for ironic sayings, for his forecast of ‘no problems’ was instantly proven wrong by a black flag flying above the ship’s mast.

“P-Pirates!?” he squawked, scuttling backwards as if he could actually go anywhere. And suddenly, he realized how much of a mistake he’d made firing that shot. It was as good as painting a large target on each of them in bright, fluorescent paint - and while Dio was the flashy type, he absolutely did not want to gain pirates’ attention this way.

They were powerless, trapped without much artillery to fight. And while Dio didn’t have an extensive history with pirates, he knew they were utterly ruthless from what he did see (if not showing a calm and collected front). The crooks  wouldn’t let them go peacefully, either, and would probably want a fight to the death to take whatever supplies they could.

Dio’s brand-new ship barely had supplies, but he’d have to fight back tooth and nail to keep them - and that’s exactly what he vowed to do.

“Stay focused!” he cried out to his shipmates, who at this point were working at a frenzied pace to reload the cannons. “We need to be prepared to fight if they come any closer!”

And closer it came, the polished wood of the sleek ship glimmering in the reflections of the sunrise. Dio felt his whole body tremble as he began to hear the yells from the opposing vessel, the blood rushing to his ears as his fingers dug into the side of Free the Soul , nails scratching at the material.

“Come and try it,” he whispered under his breath, the threat barely off his tongue before he turned around to grab a rope from the deck. With the pirates only getting closer, he had to do what any sensible captain would do - namely, take the challenge head-on and without fear. Once the enemy ship was close enough to see the pirates’ ugly and snarling faces, the details too grotesque for someone like Dio to even process, he readied the rope.

“Captain!” His shipmates trembled in fear as the foes cheered and made throat-cutting motions. “Captain, what do we do!?”

Ignoring them, he raised the rope and swung it in the air for a few moments, tossing it over to the other ship with all his might. And what luck! The rope snagged around a mast, creating him a path to the other side.

Dio really didn’t know where this sudden burst of adrenaline was coming from, but he didn’t complain as he climbed atop the edge of his ship, teal eyes gleaming with excitement. This was dangerous, but more thrilling than he ever could have hoped for.

The sea sparkled between the two ships, even in the heat of battle. The panicked screeches of his own crew were lost to Dio; he sucked in a large gulp of air and waited for the wind to pick up, focusing only on his own task. Once he saw his ship’s flag began to tremble against the wind, as well as the enemy’s flag dancing along with it, he composed himself and took a large leap off the deck, feeling the gusts swish him to and fro. As he dangled in mid-air, swaying back and forth, his fingers clenched the rope so tightly he began to feel them burn.

He looked down, and felt his stomach drop; it was a long way to the depths, and even further down once he hit the water. And Dio could not swim. This fact bounced around in his head, echoing the words You can’t swim! around and around his mind, until he grew dizzy. After he let out a frightened yelp, the rope slipped from the blond’s tightened grasp, plummeting him into the ocean below.

The icy waters engulfed him instantly, numbing his arms and legs as he pitifully attempted to keep himself afloat. Dio choked and sputtered, swallowing what felt like half of the salty sea, and heard a few pained yelps that surely hadn’t come out of his own mouth. Fatigue caught up to him rather quickly as he struggled, the desperate attempt to keep his head afloat making him grow weary, and he watched with horror as his vision bobbed up and down in the water. Eventually, his whole head was pulled under, and his lungs burned from holding his breath; his eyes couldn’t see past the murkiness of the merciless sea, and his heart thumped wildly against his ribcage like the beat of a war drum.

Help! He thought better of screaming it aloud with his mouth nearly full of seawater, his limbs flailing in a frantic effort to keep his life. Despair gripped Dio; he couldn’t just die here - not when he had so much more life to live! He was a noble , a future king ! How could he just drown like a rat in the sea?!

No! A sudden power pumping through his veins as he protested, kicking his legs wildly and heard the splash of his head breaching the water once more. He still couldn’t yell, swallowing back the strong taste of salt, but he was able to see through the water in his eyes. He didn’t miss the shadow looming near him, though he wasn’t able to identify it. It was clearly a person, though, given the way it wrapped something around his middle section and yanked .

With a yelp, Dio was pulled away from the spot he’d sunken in, and the figure beside him held onto him tightly. Before he could realize what was truly happening, his feet were out of the water and he was lifted into the air and onto the deck of a ship. Once he felt the wooden floor beneath him, he vomited up seawater, coughing and trying to see past the burning of the salt in his eyes.

It wasn’t until things weren’t quite so blurry, and his stomach had been emptied of its liquid contents, did Dio glance up.

The first sights he saw clearly were a pair of bright blue eyes enveloped by long lashes, pale skin, and freckles - as well as a mess of pinkish-orange curls.

His face flushed at the sight, taken aback by the sudden beauty so close to him. His mouth hung open like a fish, unable to form a response fast enough before the face across from him smiled with a sort of gentle ruthlessness he couldn’t tear his eyes from.

“You okay there?” The woman’s voice was quiet, but firm - though he had trouble hearing her, he found himself immediately giving her his full attention… almost like she naturally inherited it. “You look alive, at least.” The smile on her face curled to a smirk, and she backed up, allowing him to take in the full sight of her.

Her hair was long and curly, with some loose strands braided or beaded. The gray corset she wore was strapped tightly to her abdomen overtop a purple coat. A long, layered skirt of the same shade nearly shrouded her entire lower half; if not for the stark white boots peeking out from the bottom, she’d look like she was floating in purple mist. A few bandanas and necklaces garnished her rather glamorous appearance, a birdcage charm hanging limply from one of them. Its bright gold string stood out among the purples and grays of her outfit like a beacon of light.

The prince felt stunned at her beauty, though he did recognize she was far from a noble. He’d been correct in his assumption; those that attacked their ship were pirates, and this woman was part of the crew. Continuing to stare, Dio scrambled to his feet, brushing himself off.

“O-of course I’m alive!” he snapped defensively, squeezing the water out of his blond braids. “Miss, I’d like to see your captain immediately. Attacking a young noble’s ship is treason , and therefore punishable by death , you know!” He huffed, crossing his arms and raising his head high; he really had no business being threatening on the enemy’s ship with no allies around, but he couldn’t help it. His natural birthright was to be the one in charge, so he’d take the opportunity when he damn well could.

The woman didn’t seem fazed, however, and tilted her head as though in confusion. She smiled politely, a warm smile still etched onto her features. “Of course, sir, but wouldn’t he want to speak to your captain, too? Perhaps you should fetch him?” Her tone was not mocking, and yet angered him all the same.

I am the captain!” he snarled.

“With all due respect, sir,” she giggled, “I don’t believe you’re a captain. Your crew seems to be chasing their tails over there, and half of them don’t look dressed for sea.” Her gaze shot across the sea, to Dio’s men, still frenzied and panicked in the midst of the chaos.

He rolled his eyes. “They’re clearly not the brightest, but they are my crew, and I’m not afraid to show my face here as the one in charge. I couldn’t say the same for your captain, now could I?”

Once more, she laughed softly, a hand covering her mouth so as not to be rude - but it did nothing to stop him from getting irritated. “Are you sure, captain? They seem to be in need of some new breeches.” She was sparring with him, verbally, and he wasn’t in the mood.

“I’m sure , miss. Sure as my name is Prince Dio of the Rhizome Kingdom. I suggest you bring your captain forward before I hang every last one of you!” He stomped his boot down onto the deck, his glare not faltering. In the corner of his eye, he was able to catch some of her shipmates standing nearby, some with their swords drawn and growls leaving their mouths.

Dio felt around for his own sword at his belt, surprised to find it missing. Of course . It figured.

The woman held her hand out, stopping the rest of the crew from moving forward. The smile never fell from her face as she said, “Oh dear, I’m sorry if we troubled you, Prince Dio. My name is Luna - Captain Luna. And this is my crew of pirates, you see.” She leaned back on the edge of her ship, white boots crossing at her ankles casually.

He stared, dumbfounded. This woman - she was the captain!?

Before he could form a response, she continued, “I’m afraid we took your cannonball firing as an attack, or a clear invitation to come plunder your ship. Don’t worry, of course, it’s a novice’s mistake, and I don’t condone attacks on the defenseless.” The woman shrugged, her eyes still kind despite everything. “It simply wouldn’t be much of a fight, now would it?”

Dio clenched his teeth in frustration. He should have guessed! From the very first moment she spoke, he’d gotten the impression that she was someone important. If only he’d pieced the puzzle together quicker, he could’ve had the upper hand in their conversation. But she continued to make him feel like the fool, despite the fact that she was a pirate .

It was strange, still, that she was a pirate yet spoke more like a noble. Damn it, she was a fascinating pirate, at least.

Quickly, as fast as an eye could blink, she took out her own sword next with a loud swish, pointing it straight towards him. Dio’s eyes widened as the tip of the blade stayed suspended there, inches from his nose. The weapon was in a perfectly straight line, and he could see the fierceness in Luna’s eyes at the end of it. And yet, despite her powerful stare, benevolence could clearly be seen in the blues. He could tell she was not someone to double-cross, but also truly cared about her crew and responsibility.

“W-what is this?” he hissed, breath caught in his throat. No, what he was feeling couldn’t be fear - he wasn’t afraid of her, as she kept staring at him with kind eyes. He couldn’t be afraid of her! “Didn’t you just say you wouldn’t attack the defenseless?”

Nodding, she still held that warm look on her face as she replied, “Don’t worry, prince, I won’t harm you. This is… for show.” She lowered her weapon and stepped forward, placing a hand on his arm softly. An apologetic look crossed her features. “Please forgive me for this, though.”

Once more, Dio found himself taken aback by the woman’s sudden movements; he registered the fingers digging into his arm and the way his body swung around, his back pressed forcefully against Luna. Her weapon was raised again, its sharp edge pressed against the exposed part of his neck above his collar. He swallowed hard, feeling sweat trickle down his skin and splash onto the silver blade. From the sword’s polished surface, he could see his eyes reflected, all the fear and surprise clear as day. It would have made him feel a little pathetic, if he wasn’t so busy trying to stay alive.

Luna’s voice took on a confident, commanding tone. “Please listen!” she called to his own crew, and he watched the men stop running about like lost flocks of birds and look towards her. He heard her sigh in relief a bit and she continued, “My name is Captain Luna, of the Bluebird Pirates! We took your cannons as a threat today, but we will take mercy. Your captain shall be returned to you, if you do not follow us.”

“Aye, and let us have some’a your gold!” One of Luna’s pirates crowed.

Her head turned to him and Dio could only assume she was having a brief, unspoken conversation with him. After a few moments, she spoke again. “My first mate, Sigma, has a point. We have given you your lives today. Would it not be justified in taking a few gold pieces?”

Dio’s men roared in protest, and he couldn’t help the smirk that formed on his lips. Despite being frightened for his life, he couldn’t help but admire the loyalty of his crew.

“Pirates will hang!”

“Return the Young Master at once!”

“Hang! Hang! Hang !”

Once they began to chant, however, and Dio noticed the pirates’ anger in response, he quickly changed how he felt about them. This wasn’t loyalty, really; it was simply a matter of pride - of triumphing over the enemy. The prince scowled, his heart racing as he wondered if they’d leave him to die.

“You’re going to kill me after all, are you?” he whispered to Luna, fear clearly making his voice shake.

He could feel her grip tighten around him. “I told you this was for show, prince,” she murmured back, a strange regret sounding in her words. “Do not worry, I will not take your life.”

And for some reason, he believed her. He… somehow trusted this woman - this pirate - enough to believe she would spare him. Had he gone mad ?

Luna’s next words were louder, clearly addressing his crew on the other ship. “You do not let me finish, silly rascals! I said that by all rights of the sea, we should take your ship and your riches now, and plunder you into Davy Jones’s Locker!” She paused, as if waiting for an argument, but gave a pleased sigh when everyone kept quiet. “But… we will not. As I said before, we will take mercy on you. I shall return your captain, and I want you to go back to the kingdom you hailed from immediately.”

Dio barely registered that he’d been freed from her grasp, almost falling forward on his face. He managed to catch himself before stumbling completely, however, and huffed, straightening his windcoat and turning back towards her.

She grinned sheepishly, clearly showing the look of mischief only a pirate could have. “You’d best go home now, Captain. Your crew is waiting.”

He chuckled. “A-actually, I guess technically I’m not a captain - yet. Not like you, anyway. The men listen because they were assigned to their positions by my father."

“I had a feeling,” she admitted.

"I’m working on it. Trying to get over seasickness first.”

Another soft laugh left her lips. “I see. Hopefully, the next time we cross paths, it will be as mutual captains, then. I surely won’t have to fish you out of the bottom of the ocean next time, I assume… Though I believe the sharks would enjoy eating a prince - a delicacy compared to the pirates they’ve become so bored of. Your blood probably smells of your nobleness.”

His face paled. “Y-you really think they’d come after me based on that ?”

“Who knows? I haven’t a clue - I only do my living on the ocean, you know.”

He scowled, not appreciating the joke. “Well… I’ll stay on deck next time, of course!”

She giggled. “I hope you can manage.”

With a snort, he turned to walk towards his ship, hoping to swing over on a rope again. Before he could look for one, however, he stopped in his tracks and turned back once more. “By the way… Why did you do that for me, before?” he simply asked, hoping she knew he meant her choice of mercy.

That grace never left her features. “I see a true love for the sea in you. The sea… she calls to us, and only those who are ambitious enough answer. I feel the same, prince - I always have felt her calling to me, since I was a little girl. Today, it did not seem fair to cut your adventures off before they began.” She gave a slight polite bow to him, blue eyes holding an unspoken promise in them. “However, do not take my mercy for granted. I hope we meet again, Prince Dio, but in a better situation.”

Astonished, Dio gawked back at her, another embarrassed flush spreading through his cheeks. “I- It won’t be under the same circumstances, I assure you,” he stuttered. Those circumstances, of course, being him firing a cannon at her by mistake and nearly drowning himself on accident. Talk about embarrassing - he could already predict that his father would never let him hear the end of this, should word make its way back to him.

Still, Dio was a noble, and sometimes had to act like one. “Thank you, Captain Luna,” he murmured with a princely bow of his own. “Until the seas bring us together again.”