Well, of course sorry for the wait, but please understand that school is really trying to kill me! I will try making the chapters longer, but I can't promise yet. I'll do what feels right.
Also sorry if Alfred is somewhat OOC at this part; it's that way in order to make the plot work, so please bear with it. I promise you guys he's not a bad man
Oh and I'm planning to make a small contest for you all to draw a preview-picture for dA!
so make something when you feel like it?
I have no deadline set yet, but I give you at least a month :3 make whatever you feel fits the story!
The bluest eyes I had ever seen; the ones that looked as if they were the sky itself, as if they were small portals to an unreachable world of dreams and eternal happiness. It were the eyes that were now staring down on me.
I was speechless.
"Hey wait a minu-…" the man, almost still a boy, realised as he inspected me a bit longer, "You're the one they are looking for! The lunatic with the busy eyebrows!"
I tried to shake my head, move away, disappear, anything
in order to make him think I wasn't, but I knew it wouldn't help, I knew I was lost.
He'd found me and I was screwed. Really screwed.
I felt anger for him daring to pick me up by my hair and on top of all that, insulting my eyebrows! They're not even that big, they are just…special.
But even stronger then my anger was my fear; I knew what he'd do now he caught me; he'd said so a few days ago, when I first got onto the ship.
I wanted to observe him longer, trying to find out any
way possible to escape or finding his weak spot, but before I was able to I felt another rough tug at my hair.
I hissed in pain, and for a moment the man seemed to stiffen a bit by that, but it wasn't long enough for me to wish the pain away.
He jerked my head up even further, and with a quick movement he forced me to crawl over the boxes, to the other side of the storage room. Towards the shutter where a small wooden ladder was placed now.
For all this time I was silent. I didn't know how to react, I didn't know what to do. All my mind could make sense of was the fact that I was screwed. Very.
"Hey, Gilbert!" the man suddenly shouted from behind me, still holding me, but this time by my wrist. I felt like I was a criminal, busted by the police, but it felt unfair; I'd done nothing wrong!
Maybe it wasn't fully legal to board on a ship without paying for it, but I didn't really have another choice, now had I? and the man could've at least asked
me why I was there, instead of just believing those bastards that were certain that I was bloody mad
An albino man appeared near at the shutter's entrance –my only way out- and looked at me with a surprised expression.
"Who's that, captain?" He asked curious, but the cocksure grin on his face showed he already expected who I was.
"Found this rat near our supplies, eatin' our bread and stayin' there for free," the blue-eyed captain started to explain, "but who does he remind ya of?"
I could hear how the captain's expression also turned into a grin while talking, still holding me –by the back of my shirt now- and making sure Gilbert was able to inspect me.
"It's not like I can forget eyebrows like his! It's that madhouse guy from the paper!" Gilbert confirmed.
I knew I should be more offended by the eyebrow comment; I'd normally started to beat the shit out of the guy if I weren't in a situation like this, but I couldn't bring myself to move.
I vaguely realised this might be some sort of shock, but I could care less. All I cared about for the moment was if there was any
way to escape or talk me out of this. Anything.
I got rudely tugged forward by my collar and was then grabbed by Gilbert to tug at my collar, making me walk the ladder so fast I almost fell –even if they thought I was mad, they could still be more gentle
, right?!- and holding me until Alfred also climbed out of the shutter and closed it.
The sun burnt in my eyes and on my skin. For a moment I though I was in a whole different world, but when my eyes got used to it all, I noticed I was on the same ship as I had been on all this time.
But there were some differences;
This time it was daylight. Looking up, I noticed –eyes winched- that it'd probably be a bit before noon.
The other difference was the fact that the deck was a lot more lively; people were walking everywhere, they seemed to be from all different types of countries and all were busy doing their own job, barely looking back to the blond lad that's just been caught: Me.
I tried to look around a bit longer, watching as much details as possible, but in the end it all went too fast.
I felt trapped, imprisoned and I couldn't keep myself from remembering that place.
Suddenly panic overtook me, and I started struggling, screaming, anything to get away.
"Hey…What the fuck is wrong with him," Gilbert declared, but I could barely hear him over my scream.
I couldn't bear it; it felt as if I had done something really bad and was going to be punished now. I'd experienced enough 'remedies'
in the madhouse to know that they only liked you to have pain and make you suffer, long enough to not pass out but still feel the pain for the next couple of days.
I kept screaming, trying to break free, but I didn't succeed.
The other people on the deck were finally noticing at me now, giving an expression that clearly showed how they wondered about who the hell I was, and what I was doing here.
But even with me screaming, struggling and moving, Alfred managed to pull me towards shutter, but this time there were less boxes.
It was just as dark as the other room, and it really made me feel like I hadn't moved at all, but instead of the wood everywhere, this space had a small prison-like feeling to it, with bars and a lock.
It looked a bit old and rusty, which made me wonder how old this ship actually was, but it definitely looked too strong to break.
With a rough movement I was put in the cell and the lock was closed by a weird-shaped key at the captain's belt.
I didn't even have to think twice before I moved afar away of the two men as possible, hitting my back to the wall and sliding down, trying to make myself as small as possible.
"Don't try to escape, ye've got nowhere to go anyways. We'll give ya food, so be grateful," the captain said, "We'll see about what to do with ya soon, but for now yer stayin' in here," and with that he turned around, Gilbert following his lead, and got back up the deck.
I was alone now.
The room was dark, almost pitch black, the only light were the few rays of sunlight shining through the shutter. It felt nice to my eyes to be back into the darkness, the one they were used to, but also it felt a lot less save.
The room wasn't very different, but having no boxes or anything to hide behind, and having nothing but a clam and cold wall to lean against, sure made me shiver from both fear and cold.
I could see how the fairies and my mint bunny appeared from different directions. They seemed to have been able to fly with me, not wanting to leave me alone.
My favourite fairy, the one with the pink dress whom I called Pinky –I'd never been good with names- , flew towards me and started to hover in front of me.
"Are you all right, Arthur?" she asked, her voice small and high-pitched, but the familiar sound of it made me feel just a little more at ease, "Hey, Arthur, answer me please," she now moved forward, wanting to put a small hand on my cheek to get my attention. But before she was able to do so, I dug my head in between my knees.
"…Don't want to talk about it," I replied with a muffled sound. I really didn't feel like it, I could already feel small tears forming in the corner of my eyes ad I lay my hands over my head, still scared for what would happen next.
I knew you were never sure if they'd come back, maybe they were just preparing some of their favourite tools? People that were confirmed I were mad, were the most dangerous.
"…Hey, Arthur," the small voice sounded again, now with a bit of concern in it. The type of concern a mother would have for their child.
"… No, don't. You're making it worse. Just be silent and let me wait," I said quickly, still covering my head.
I wanted to crawl away in a corner, hide from the world and it's cruel people.
"Arthur, I think they are gone for real. The blue-eyed one who's in charge didn't seem to lie," she started to confirm me. I could feel how it slowly started to take effect; some of my other friends had joined us, all starting to fly around me and trying to bring me at ease.
I wasn't fully convinced just yet, but I was already feeling less tense. Still, I couldn't help the tears from falling down.
"I… I don't want to e-experience that
ever again," I said, giving a slight sob in between the sentence. I could feel how my friends tried to hug me and make me feel completely at ease, and I was grateful for that, but I couldn't keep myself from hating how pathetic I looked.
I must have looked pretty pathetic after all, but despite of my sadness and fear, I found my eyelids slowly closing more and more with every tear that fell.
I just wished I wouldn't be disturbed from my dreams filled with happiness, before I drifted off to a restless sleep, filled with moments I'd randomly wake up.
I don't know how long I've been there, but at some point I was awoken by the sound of the shutter being opened.
Instead of the usual plate with food, the man –which I recognised was Gilbert again- held the weirdly shaped key.
That was different from usual; normally they'd just serve the plate near the bars and would leave me get it myself, trying to make as little contact as possible. Personally I preferred it that way; I wasn't used to social talk and the like.
"Captain invited you over," the albino man said, moving towards the lock.
I stood up from the corner of the cell and slowly approached him. I still was suspicious of all of them, and I didn't want to get to close, but I figured anything would be less bad if I'd just obey and won't start rebelling. I had nowhere else to go anyway.
He grabbed me by the collar of my –now filthy- shirt again and started to walk up the stairs, making sure I followed him.
He wasn't too rough, which I appreciated, but still he tugged me forward whenever he thought I wasn't moving fast enough.
After such a long time in the dark shelter, my eyes had to adjust to the light again. It seemed to be even worse then last time and I could feel the sun burn in my eyes, making them tear and giving me the urge to run right back to the darkness. But instead of doing so, I kept walking.
Again, people were working too hard to bother with me, but I didn't mind. I must have been looking horrible anyways, not seeing daylight for a pretty long time, wearing cloths filled with dirt, smelling disgusting, and my un-washed state.
For a moment Gilbert stood still to make a small talk with one of the other crewmates, this one having blond, wavy hair and cloths that made me wonder if he could even move around in them. I didn't think I would ever become friends with him.
He seemed such a flirt, and I immediately got some small, nagging feeling he was French, which only made me dislike him even more.
While Gilbert was talking on, I took this opportunity to take a look at the ship.
I hadn't noticed the first time, but it seemed that this ship wasn't like the usual airships;
Normally they'd have a big zeppelin hanging above them, lifting them up with hot air, helium or several other ways, but this time there was a whole different way of getting the ship to move.
At both sides of the ship huge, mechanical wings were attached. They seemed to be made of wood, several ropes, copper, and linen in between the lose parts.
It made me think of the wings of bats and dragons, the ones from stories and myths. It was really fascinating.
Again I was tugged forward, this time straight towards what I expected to be the captain's cabin.
The door read 'Hero!' and when we entered the room I noticed it was decorated very rich, but also it was very messy; it was as if the owner of the cabin didn't knew how to take care of all the precious items in it. I almost felt sorry for the books that seemed to have laid open long enough to catch dust and get other books piled on top of them.
And it weren't only books. To be honest, with just one look in the room you could tell it was a collection of almost every item you could think of, in all different sizes.
I realised this man, who was, at the moment, sitting behind his desk that was filled with even more items, probably was a merchant. It made me think that had to be the reason why he held all the boxes filled with expensive cloth and a lot of random objects, some I didn't even knew what they were.
"You wait outside, Gil. Don't let anyone in until I give permission, I wanna talk to him," the blue-eyes man said. He received a quick nod from the albino and locked the door once he was outside.
Now it was just him and me.
I could feel the tense atmosphere. It wasn't like you could not notice it, anyways.
"Take a seat," the other said. I didn't mind to give a response, I just sat down. I just couldn't bring myself to talk, and it felt almost as a crime to sit down on a luxurious chair while being so filthy as I was right now.
But I also felt tense for a whole different reason.
The other fear was much deeper, and much stronger. It was the fear of realising it'd probably been long enough time for the ship to be ready to dock again, and that'd mean I'd be sent back.
Back to that horrible
place. The one I absolutely didn't want to return to, not for a thousand Gold.
I'd rather jump of the ship, even now it was in-air, then go back.
By now the other had also seated down, and a few seconds of awkward silence settled in. I had just started to nervously look around to distract myself, when he started talking.
"So…" the other man started awkwardly. Apparently he also didn't know what to say, but had decided he'd be the one to break the silence anyway, "Uhm, I just wanna let ya know that we'll drop ya at the police as soon as we land. Yer lucky I'm so heroic to keep ya alive and give ya a small deal,"
The man had now looked up from the map he was toying with, to me. Straight into my eyes.
"Wha-," I had to make a small cough before continuing, "W-what do you mean 'a deal'?"
I could feel a bit of suspicion rising up. After all, you never knew with merchants; they could be either offering you a reasonable price, if lucky even a discount, or make you pay at least the double of it's worth.
I was afraid this deal would be one of the latter.
"In payback to the food ya stole, and the free trip up 'till now, I want ya to work for me. Just the usual chores a new crewmate has; scrubbin' the deck, washin' the dishes, night watch…"
He kept looking at me, and I could clearly see he didn't mean this as a deal; more as forcing me, even if I'd refuse.
Again, I couldn't find my will, power or voice to speak. I just nodded; slowly, almost invisible, but he got the vibe anyway, even with his clearly somewhat oblivious character.
As if by lighting, his expression cheered up and he even gave me a small grin, though I wasn't sure what to think of it. It seemed he could change from happy, to serious, back to happy. He was the type of person I tried to avoid most of the time.
Suddenly the taller man stood up and started to rummage through one of the piled with stuff. I could see how the pile leant over dangerously, ready to fall any minute, until it suddenly moved back to it's original place and the captain turned around again, holding something in his hand.
"This," he said, "is a Tracer
. No matter where ya go, I will find ya,"
He started walking back to me, and I felt the urge to crawl back, away from him, but before I got the chance, the man had grabbed me tightly by my right leg and started putting on the copper-coloured band.
As soon as the band was attached the sound of gears working could be heard when it started to take shape to the right size for around my ankle to stay comfortable, but not slip off. It was almost as if it had it's own life, and you could hear the gears moving.
The man straightened his back again and looked satisfied.
I just watched in horror.
I felt like a slave; captured, being able to be traced, and forced to work. Even though I'd not done any work yet, I expected I to become rather rough. Especially with my untrained body.
"I'll keep the key," he mumbled, small grin on his face, as he showed me an old-looking key with the same colour as the band around my ankle, "So now we've got this all settled, I want ya to go ask 'round the crew for cloths. There'll probably be plenty that'll fit ya. Once done, I expect ya back in my cabin, so we can discuss some more stuff,"
I sat for a few seconds longer, letting the words make sense in my head, before standing. As soon as I stood, Alfred made his way to the door to open the lock.
I walked towards it, the light shining through the doorframe as if it was a way to freedom, but I knew it were lies. Behind it only lied work and imprisonment.
Life just sucked.
Gilbert seemed to have waited for me outside, taking away some dust from under his fingernails with a dagger that looked dangerously sharp as it glistered in the sun. I wondered if merchants were even allowed to keep that kind of weaponry.
I felt how the band moved along with the gravity and my leg as I walked, and it felt as an extra, more physical restrain on top of the mental imprisonment.
I didn't want to look at it, but couldn't help noticing how it reflected the sun back upwards, almost as if screaming for attention.
"Ask the crew for cloths, then bring him back," the captain said shortly to Gilbert, who just nodded in return, "Oh and my name's Alfred. Alfred F. Jones, heroic captain of this ship, and from now on yours too!" the man beamed while turning towards me, visibly lightening up from his serious mood just a few seconds again.
I figured this personality suited him better.
But before I got the time to bother about it, Gilbert started to walk towards the front of the ship where other crewmembers were working.
But I didn't care; I noticed my friends came back!
They'd hidden as soon as they'd seen Gilbert, but they'd been watching all the time what was happening to me, making sure I was safe.
I'd seen them, but hadn't given them recognition; it'd only confirm their suspicions of me being 'mad' and therefore block my last hope to escape or at least gain some sympathy.
And so I ignored them now as well, hoping they'd understand when I'd explain to them later. The last thing I wanted was a fight with the only friends I had.