Someone once said a lot can happen in a less than year.
Whoever that someone was, he or she was so damn right.
It’s been eight months, six days, and about twelve hours since she stole the fastest and most decent ship Cerys could have found. And to make sure no one knew she took this boat without permission, the girl with auburn hair made sure to split open the throat of the only person who knew about her crime.
Stealing the ship was the easiest part; she had been watching every movement and memorized everything about the boat, from schedules to basic information about her newest toy. However, getting a decent crew was the hardest part. She was a woman and according to most legends and buccaneers, ladies didn’t belong in the sea because all they did was bring bad luck and death but Cerys would prove them wrong.
She wasn’t like any other woman, because after all it was in her blood.
Cerys couldn’t afford to let any pirate wannabe be a part of her crew, she needed people who knew by heart the map of the seven seas and kingdoms, someone whom would be useful but most importantly someone who would respect, obey her requests and demands without hesitating. She was looking for people who would be loyal to her; that was the main reason she handpicked herself carefully each member of her new crew. It was difficult but not impossible.
Cerys eyed the drawer on her desk and unconsciously wrapped her long fingers around her antique key, next to that rather odd ornament laid a golden locket with precious stones. She never took that necklace off, not even when she took a shower; the reason behind that odd habit was because both items had great sentimental value and something important was being kept both the locket as in the drawer the key belonged to.
“You’re late.” Cerys snapped, letting go of her necklace as soon as Zander walked in.
She wasn’t looking at him but she could have bet Zander’s lips were tugged in his well-known smug smirk, that arrogant grin always drove her crazy. Zander sometimes could be a real pain in the ass. “You know how much I hate it when people make me wait.” Cerys said, leaning back in her chair.
”Well someone isn't clearly gifted with patience.” He cleared his throat, trying his best to hide his chuckle but he didn’t succeed.
Cerys raised her eyebrow, feeling fairly amused with his joke. He wasn’t lying though she wasn’t embarrassed about that. It wasn’t her fault she got desperate really easily. As in matter of fact a long time ago she used to be really patient but one people were really stupid and two nothing lasted forever.
You can’t expect people to remain the same after everything around them was changing so drastically and not exactly in a good way.
“My apologies. I assure you it won’t happen again.” She knew he meant it.
His eyes met hers for a millisecond and her heart almost, almost skipped a beat. Today Zander looked particularly dashing today. Some days his orbs flecked with every shade of blue, reminding her of the waves of the sea, his eyes were so bright it was hard for her to look away. However, sometimes they changed its colour for no apparent reason; for example today his eyes were grey as the ash in the dying fire. Cerys even thought about complimenting him but he was so full of himself she didn’t want to help in the contribution of making his ego grow more and more.
That didn’t mean she wasn’t still curious to know what made his eye color change, perhaps, he had magic running through his veins too but Cerys couldn’t dare to ask something that personal, at least not yet. At the moment she had too many secrets to deal with she didn’t want or need one more to keep.
“You better. Don’t make me throw you off deck.” She huffed.
Cerys was joking; she had this weird sense of humor Zander, herself and some few others of her officers understood. She was glad only a few did or else no one would take her seriously. Her father always told her It was better to be feared than loved.
His friend and second hand in command opened his mouth to protest but she waved her hand off, shutting him up. “Care for a drink?” She asked, pulling out a bottle of wine.
“Since when pirates drink wine?” He closed the door to have more privacy.
She rolled her eyes. “Is that a yes or?” Cerys cocked her head. “I swear if I drink one more drop of rum, I’ll go insane. And I told you earlier today, tonight’s a special occasion my dearest Zander.” She stated the obvious.
Zander was the only person Cerys really trusted, that is why she named him Quartermaster of Red Madness.
“Special occasion, I see.” Zander tapped his chin and started pacing around the cabin. “Cerys darling, if you wanted to spend some time with me all you had to do was ask.” He whispered in her ear as she poured wine in a glass. “I hardly say no to someone, especially to you my lady.”
Her face burned but she managed to calm herself down by clearing her throat. She hated how Zander sometimes had this effect on her, it made her look weak and she really hated that feeling.
“Is something wrong, love?” His face was showing concern but his eyes were showing something else, they were glinting with mischievousness. Zander was mocking her.
“Have you heard about a thing called ‘personal space’?” She took a sip of her drink. Now she was just feeling irritated. “Enough. Do you have it?”
She stared at him slowly raising her eyebrow. Cerys was really considering shattering her finest bottle of wine against the table and hit him in the head with it.
“I said, enough.” She growled at him.
The atmosphere in the room was no longer friendly; the captain of the Red Madness often joked around with his crew especially with her second hand in command but tonight was not the night to do such childish things. Important things needed to be taken care of and she was running out of time to do have what she always wanted, satisfy her thirst for blood and make people pay for their sins.
“You know we wouldn’t be having this conversation if the answer to your question was no.” A cruel sneer formed on his smooth face and he leaned forward, eyes bearing straight into hers.
Silence fell, interrupted by their breathing and the tick tack of the clock.
Her fingers tightened on the glass. “Well, what the hell are you waiting for? Show it to me.”
Zander sighed loudly, and took out from his red cloak a rather old parchment. Cerys eyes gleamed with desire in the moment his friend placed down the desk the document she has been waiting to read for months.
“Did you have any trouble finding it?” She asked.
Zander nodded and his lips were pursed into a thin line. “I did, but it was nothing compared to the other assignments you’ve sent me to.”
“Good.” The left side of her plump red lips tugged upwards creating a sinister grin on her beautiful goddess like face. She was truly smiling, it was the first time in years Zander saw her like this. “You can leave now.”
His silver eyes met hers and he frowned but he remained in his seat.
“Captain…” Zander rested his hand on her desk; it was so close to hers she could feel the warm of his skin. “You know the risks you’re taking, right?”
Her slender fingers drummed against the wooden surface as she looked at her precious map. She didn’t say a thing. Cerys wasn’t ignoring him, she just simply didn’t answer to his question because whenever she thought about the consequences of her plan, it made her cringe.
His hand was now clenched into a massive fist, more than prepared to throw hit whatever crossed its way. “Answer me.”
She whipped her head to him. “It’s really sweet of you to worry about your captain. Now if you don’t mind…” She pointed at the parchment. “I want to read this alone.” Cerys turned back her head to the map.
Zander shoot to his feet and slammed his hands on her table. “Cerys, don’t be such a fool. What you’re planning to do is completely reckless!” He burst out.
“Does it look like I care?”
But it’s worth a try. She wanted to say instead.
“I swear if you die at trying this, I–“ He murmured closing his eyes for a second.
“You will be happy to take my place?” She looked up at him smiling faintly. A normal person would be hurt but Cerys was feeling more flattered, if her second hand in command wanted her dead then she must be doing something right. “Not yet Zander Prescott, not yet. And if everything goes according to my plan, that will never happen.” She clicked her tongue, winking at him.
He didn’t expect that answer from her. Zander remained as still as an ancient greek statue, unblinking against her onslaught.
“Look, everyone is aware of how dangerous this journey is. If you’re afraid of dying or whatsoever, you can always quit. Marcus the cruel will be more than pleased to take your place.” She shrugged, opened a drawer in her desk and placed the map she was eyeing previously inside.
Cerys was testing him, she wanted to hurt his pride.
His jaw clenched. Was she truly thinking he would leave? After all the things they’ve been through? After all the things he’s done for her?
“I took an oath my lady.” He raised his chin high up. “My life is yours, my sword is yours and my loyalty is yours.”
And with that he turned on his heels and walked out of her office, leaving Cerys holding her breath.