|Series||RECKLESS by Pixichi|
|Previous||RECKLESS, Chapter 13|
|Next||RECKLESS, Chapter 15|
|← RECKLESS, Chapter 13||Chapter Chronology||RECKLESS, Chapter 15 →|
Later that evening, Victoria arrived in Industrial, and she slowly approached the man at the back of the tavern. She was sure that he was the man who Reaver had told her to look for at the tavern there. Without Ben, Victoria had decided to go back to her original plan of sailing her ship to Westcliff. The red-haired man was drinking a whiskey at the very back of the tavern. As the princess approached him, he looked up at her with blue eyes.
"What do ya want?" He asked grumpily.
"Are you Gustavan?" Victoria asked him. The man eyed her and then snorted.
"Aye. And who might you be?" He asked. Victoria slid Gustavan the paper that Reaver had given her. Gustavan opened it up, and as he did so, his eyes widened.
"What can I do for ye then?" He asked with a surprising shift in attitude. Victoria sat down and began to explain her situation. Gustavan nodded as she finished summing it up.
"I see. So ye want ta set sail and get your own thing goin' aye?"
"Yes that's the gist of it." Victoria answered. Gustavan took the folded piece of paper and tucked it carefully away in his jacket pocket. "Can you help me? I have a ship and everything. I just need someone to sail it for me." Victoria continued.
"I be one of the finest sailors in Albion. Me father taught me and his father taught him. I'd be honored to count meself among yer crew." Gustavan replied happily. Victoria smiled. This time, she was getting out of here once and for all. By the time morning had come, an impatient Victoria and her new shipmate were loading crates and readying "The Rose Maiden" for departure. The ship that the princesses father had given her, was by far the biggest and most beautiful ship that Victoria had ever seen. It was a large cherry wood ship, and the insides were mahogany and maple. There were roses carved into the inner walls, and red velvet curtains and matching crimson silk sheets in the captain's quarters. There were five other large cabins on the ship, one was the ships larder, the crates that Gustavan had with him contained food to stock it. The other rooms were bedchambers. Victoria was concerned at first that such a huge ship wouldn't even float, but Gustavan had reassured her otherwise. Now if he could just get the ship in motion.
"Is everything ready yet Gustavan? We were supposed to leave last night!"
"Patience there missy! Preparations take time, especially ye'll be away fer a long time." Gustavan snapped. "Oh, and by the way, ye can just call me Gus lassie."
"Fine by me." She replied, as she walked back down towards the tavern. Victoria decided that he did have a good point, and decided to just wait inside until he was ready to set sail. Daisy followed her mistress and as Victoria sat at one of the tables, the canine put her paws upon the table, and kissed her face. Victoria kissed her back and started to pet her.
"Yesh, we are going on a big trip Daisy! Yesh we are! Yesh we are!" Victoria talked baby talk to the dog, who thumped her tail against the floorboards with glee written on her face. Victoria usually didn't act so silly, especially in public, but she was doing everything that she could to take her mind off of the night before. The fact that she was in the same area where she had first met Ben did nothing to lighten her heavy heart. Even though Ben had asked her to move in with him, after just barely meeting was a warning sign that he only wanted to sleep with her, Victoria had still somehow believed that he had loved her. Now, after hearing that he was a traitor, as well as her father's comment about him only wanting to be around women to bed them, Victoria felt as if her heart had been crunched in half. She motioned for a bar wench and ordered a beer, which she sipped upon while she waited for her crew to be assembled. Pretty soon I'll be out of here and I'll never have to think about you again. She thought though a slurp of the bitter beverage. Within the hour, Gustavan emerged in the room.
"Excuse me Victoria? We're ready luv. Me crew has just arrived." He explained. Victoria sat up and nodded.
"Have ya thought of a first destination yet?" Gustavan asked.
"Westcliff. I wanna enter the Crucible."
"Aye. Westcliff it is then luv." Gustavan turned and exited the door, and Victoria followed him. Gustavan and Victoria went atop the ship, and the princess began to introduce herself to the six men that would be sailing with her.
"Hello, I'm Victoria Remswood. I am your captain aboard "The Rose Maiden". We are about to set sail to Westcliff, Are there any questions?" Victoria asked. The six men shook their heads. Gustavan just laughed.
"I showed them that letter you gave me. They'll do anything for you now!"
"What did that letter even say?" Victoria questioned the contents of a letter that could commend such respect. Gustavan just smiled.
"Pirates be a more noble breed than they be gettin' credit fer. Lets jist say that yer father and me own father go back a long ways. They were practically brothers. That makes you and I cousins in those thar terms." Gustavan explained.
"But what of your men? How does it affect them?" Victoria asked. Gustavan smiled again through his crooked yellow teeth.
"Lets jist say, yer old man's reputation precedes him."
Victoria awoke the next morning to the sound of the magnificent wooden ship rocking and swaying out in the open ocean. She got up, only to fall again, not very used to being aboard a ship. Her crew including Gustavan, and the six other men, named Jordan, Norman, Daniel, Seth, Ron, and William, were still on their way to the Crucible in Westcliff. Victoria stood again, and this time, she succeeded and walked carefully over to the window of her cabin and gazed out into the nautical view that awaited her. There were dolphins playing in the surf, and elegant pelicans flew by in a V-shaped formation. A few lone seagulls dived and swooped into the choppy blue waters in search of fish.
"Wow, I'd never get a view like this back home, that's for sure." Victoria spoke to herself, mesmerized by the sea, abundant in action and life. She must have watched the ocean for at least 20 minutes before deciding it was time to get on deck and greet her crew. She hurriedly got dressed and brushed and tied her hair, same as always. Daisy was just starting to stir by the time she had finished. Victoria decided to let her sleep in, and then proceeded to climb the short flight of wooden stairs to the deck. Victoria swung the door open and was immediately greeted by the rest of her crew. Gustavan was at the wheel of "The Rose Maiden" and just simply smiled upon eyeing her. Jordan was chatting with Seth, a tall well muscled man in his late 30's. The men all looked over to where Victoria had just presented herself and cheered.
"Yay! The great captain finally awakens!" Jordan joked. Victoria just smiled.
"Hah, very funny." She replied. She strode towards Jordan and Seth, a look of adventure on her face. The rest of the men came over to where she was standing and greeted her.
"Mornin' Victoria!" Greeted William. "Did ye sleep well then?" Asked Norman. "Looking mor alert today than a rabid jellyfish!" Commented Ron. Gustavan himself called down a brief hello as well.
"How are ye today Victoria?" The red-haired man asked, his bushy beard and flashing blue eyes always made him look both intimidating and powerful.
"Yes, and how are all of you?" She asked the whole crew. They all smiled and nodded, with no complaints. Everything was going so well. She was really going to make her dream a reality this time!
"Hey Gus!" She yelled to him. Gustavan looked down at her with his piercing glare.
"Oi luv?" He called back.
"How much progress have we made? How soon until we reach Westcliff?" Victoria asked. Gustavan looked up to the sky out of habit and then back to Victoria.
"We should be there in about three more days. Have patience, you'll get there." He replied. Victoria looked back at the sea, there was a whale spouting in the far distance. Victoria watched the giant as it dove back into the depths, leaving a huge splash of brine in wake of its enormas tail. Seth came over and stood beside her.
"Is this really better than being in the castle all day long?" He asked. Victoria smiled.
"Yeah, it really is..." She felt so elated, and yet, she had a feeling of loss too. Everywhere she looked, she couldn't help but think of Ben, and she missed him. Deep down, she couldn't shake the fact that his words were indeed true. Victoria then realized that Ben had loved her, with all of his heart. The very thought made her feel overwhelmed with guilt, and so she decided to put it out of her head for a while. She turned to look at Seth as she noticed that the sailor was staring down at her.
"Victoria? Are you scared to fight in the Crucible?" He asked concerned. Victoria thought about it for a moment.
"I guess it just runs in the family. My mother did it, and she was younger than me when she did." Victoria replied.
"Your so brave." Victoria blushed wildly at the compliment.
"Well...I...you know..." She started, but was interrupted by Daisy, who came bounding through the cabin door and tackled her mistress as if to say: "Why did you leave me all alone in that room?"
"Sorry I left you there girl, you just looked so comfy." Victoria replied. Daisy barked a happy bark and lapped her mistresses face some more. Victoria patted and wrestled her wolfdog on the deck for a while, laughing the whole time. Jordan walked by, watching them play.
"Good morning Daisy! Your even more lazy than your owner." He jeered at Victoria.
"Whatever. If you ask me, Daisy's the smart one. I should have slept in longer." Victoria stated with a laugh.