[For the previous chapters, check the Lady of the Sea‘s main page]

What a useless little vermin, thought Isola to herself. That is the problem with the overly ambitious and under-intelligent: they act hastily and on impulse. ‘Planning’ is too big a word to fit in their tiny little skulls.

Not that Peafowl knew any better, however. How could he? For a brief moment, Isola thought of telling him the truth, just to spite the man, but that would be too infantile for her rank in the scheme of things.

How can you get any work done properly if you only follow your passions instead of your head? She would take care of it all herself, but one of the advantages of being a monarch is having other people to risk their necks on your behalf.

Azov would have to do. She knew of his foolish infatuation with her and, if one were to be completely honest, there had been many a time when Isola had taken advantage of it. But never like this.

No matter. He knew the seas. He had the skill and sturdiness to survive a shipwreck, if it came to it.

It was precisely because he knew the seas that Captain Azov wasn’t feeling as confident as his beloved Queen.

He hated errands more than he disliked the political shenanigans behind them. Particularly when said errands involved sailing past one of the most dangerous waters in the globe.

But it had been settled years before and he had given Isola his word.

The other pirates in his crew were none the wiser about their current mission but felt more than glad to break the routine of horizon-gazing and storytelling and not much else other than the usual chores. They now had a specific route, a direction, and felt too enthusiastic to remember to ask any questions.

Yet, Azov would have to tell them soon. These were men that believed in sea monsters. They deserved to know they were about to face a few very soon.

Back in his cell, Peafowl woke up soaked in his own sweat. He had been suffering from night terrors ever since he dreamt of that island and that wretched apparition.

“Had another of those dreams, had ye?”, asked his neighbour.

“How do you know that?”

“Are ye jestin’? Ye’ve been wakin’ us all up with yer screamin’ for days. There ain’t a soul in this place who doesn’t know by now.”

“I do apologise,” replied Peafowl, shyly. He felt more embarrassed with the idea that anyone had heard him scream like a baby than by having caused anyone inconvenience.

“Whatcha dreamin’ about then?”

“I…,” Peafowl mumbled while cleaning his face on his sleeve. “My brother.”

“What is he, some ogre-lookin’ fella?”

“No. Just dead.”

“Ah, I see. He’s hautin’ ye from the grave, is he? Showin’ ye all yer sins while pointin’ his finger at yer nose in a ghostly manner?”

It had been a long time since Peafowl had had a good night sleep. He also wasn’t known for his good temper and was now feeling rather annoyed at this voice that wouldn’t let him be.

“You ask too many questions, sir,” he lashed out. “Far too many questions for someone who has not even introduced himself yet. What is your business anyhow?”

“I do apologise, your royalshipness,” replied the man with what Peafowl felt as a rude ironic tone. “My name is Jonah. Delighted to make yer acquaintance.”

“And what are you? Some sort of petty thief, I imagine.”

“Oh no, your lordshipness. Not petty at all. I am a pirate.”

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