When I come to, I am confused. A lot of different sensations slammed into me at once causing total brain malfunction. But it’s is when a heavy force of water crashes over my head that I really jolt out of this brain fog.
My eyes take in a vast black sea, the sheer dominance of it was knee buckling. I am shaking, my lungs are constricting and I feel a scream rise up and out of my throat. The sound is lost.
We spawned onto the smallest **** raft, in the middle of the biggest **** sea I have ever seen! No land in sight. The water looks dark and monstrous, probably harboring the Kraken and other horrifying sea legends. Every so often I can feel deep vibrations that course its way up my body, heightening my panic.
What in the holy Mosses was that?!
The angry sea is drenching my body making me gasp for air as I try to hold on for dear life. My nails are digging into the handles conveniently provided on top of this sh*tty raft so we won’t slide off. I shall remember to thank Charming for that. Why, this is very close to tubbing on the back of a speed boat, except for the fact that if I fall off, I most likely will drown. No life-jacket.
Do the life-lines work if I scream them under water?
I need to know this.
This raft is the size a king-size bed. That’s not big, trust me. Mort is hissing like an alley cat trying her best to stay in the middle of the splintery raft by pushing me dangerously to the edge.
What. The. F.
“Mort!” I swallow some water making my throat burn from the salt. “You’re pushing me off you idiot!” I yell as a big wave brought us almost vertical. I gasp as the water crashes upon us like a Waterworld ride on Crash Mountain. How I didn’t fall off was mysterious, my little body was still clinging on for dear life.
I’m impress myself sometimes.
Mort screeches and claws the splintered wood. “I H-HATE WATER!”
“Are you kidding me, agent Mort?!” I look at her in distain then violently push her to scoot over. “I’m not about to use my life-line in the first t-ten minutes we are h-here!” More waves crashes on us forcing an alarming amount of sea water up my nose. “Mother of Mike that burns!” I gasp. “Where is this Apollo ship?! **** you Peirce!”
Great, I’m sure I look like a washed up rat! Water coming out my nose, eyes most likely blood shot. Not sure it Peirce thought I was immune to crashing waves and salt water being violently forced up my nostrils.
But by pure luck the waves die down after ten minutes and I am able to shakily go on my knees to scan the dark sea around me. This is the first time my thoughts are not, I’M GOING TO DIE! A couple of steady breaths and I am able to process coherent thoughts.
This is real.
This is happening.
I didn’t trust this sudden calm water and the thought that I could die at any point scares the h*ll out of me. My thigh high, soft leather boots did nothing for traction and my torn skirt was making me slip like a baby deer on ice. Worst case scenario times TEN. I slowly sit up on shaking limbs and try not to freak out. Mort did the same, probably embarrassed of her un-agent-y antics. The sky is stormy, swirls of black and gray with flickers of lighting. It is not raining yet but I bet it’s about to pour hellfire. My adrenaline is pumping making me forget the bitter cold of being soaked.
I am on a different planet, I remind myself.
“Big d-deep breaths Viola,” Mort commands through chattering teeth.
I just look at her.
“Thanks I feel much better,” I respond with sarcasm. I can feel my teeth start to chatter too and my muscles shaking.
Mort looks like she is typing on an invisible computer with one hand, and blinking her eyes like she had computer contacts. Really though, she looks like she has mental issues. Dropped on the head as a baby.
She glances at me and nods out in front of us. “They already see us.”
“Their ship is invisible.”
My gaze jerks to stare in front of me, my heart pounding. “Where, can you see them?”
“Yes, just the negative outline of it. They’re about a hundred feet to our left, trying to see who we are most likely before they show themselves and offer help.”
“That’s close,” I whisper, seeing nothing but endless sea. Wild.
My head jerks toward her. “What does Uh-oh mean Mort!” I yell, glaring at her. I was starting to shiver uncontrollably now, the wind is like ice.
“I am getting a red alert.”
“Explain before I strangle you so help me God!” I am on an alien world in the middle of the black sea—you don’t just say that to someone.
Isn’t that like survival code or something?
She is visibly pale. That’s when I feel a hard bump on our little sh*t-raft. Something underneath just hit us with force, jolting me to the left. “What was that!?”
This is not happening.
“Something very large, I would say the size of a whale, but like a shark.” She was typing on her invisible computer. “And more snake-like. Confirming, I think we are in trouble. We might need to use a life-line. My scale shows they’re a 7 on the danger scale. We probably have five minutes. It looks like it’s circling us.”
I just stare at her, mouth hanging open.
“Give me a second, this is my first mission and I’m just getting used to this computer program.”
“This is your first mission!?” I scream so loud my voice cracks.
Just then, like magic, the massive three-story ship is visible, cutting through the black waters like a silver blade. It takes my breath away, like someone literally punched me in the gut. It looks like a pirate ship but it was made out of silver metal and shiny bronze. This is a pirate ship on steroids and a little acid…and maybe some meth thrown in there too. “Holy…” I trail off, the ship is terrifying. I can see figures on board running up and down the main deck. Apollo is supposedly on this ship, I might be the first to see him. I wonder if they saw me yet. Then I remind myself I probably resemble at drowned rat and my spirits fall.
“Viola!” Mort screams.
I look back and see a high dorsal fin circling us and I gasp. “Oh ******* that’s big!” I realize I have taken my potty mouth to whole new level. Both of us are trying to sit in the middle of the raft, as if that would save us. I think I am screaming, but I am not sure. My brain is misfiring at a very crucial time.
I glance back to the ship and notice men on board yelling something to us but I couldn’t make it out. “What are they saying?”
She blinks, then blinks again. “They are telling us not to move a muscle, or we will die—something like that. They are lowering a small boat to fetch us I believe.”
It slithers like a giant anaconda, its enormous body becoming visible on top of the water.
Oh no. What a horrid way to die.
I need to think, I try to calm my breathing, to ease my shaking body. I am always good at thinking under pressure when I can calm myself. I just need a moment’s clarity. I really don’t want to use a life-line. Not this early. That is as bad as being on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and using a life-line on the first question.
“Mort can you give me a bow?”
“On it.” She is doing the typing and blinking thing again. “I will give you one with speed enhancing arrows.”
I look at her, shocked. A smile spreads over my lips. “Mort, you just redeemed yourself!”
She glances at me and smirks back. Holy moly, I think we just bonded. Hopefully no one notices but I now have a black metal bow with deadly looking arrows strapped to my back. We are still a ways away so I doubt it. I know what I have to do and I have to do it fast.
I stand up rocking the raft to gain balance and ignore the yells from the men trying to make their way to us. This is suddenly awesome. I didn’t need Apollo’s men because I forgot that I’m a bad ***! The shark-snake disappears underwater for a moment then came back up, charging us.
Now or never.
I stare. That is one frightening looking S.O.B.. Its teeth look to be a foot long and tinged black. Horrifying.
“Kill the b*stard,” Mort hisses beside me making me grin. “From my calculation, your skill level is that of a sixty-year-old man/woman. That’s how long it would take you to master your current skill level in archery. You should be able to hit it.”
Charming hooked it uuuuuuuup.
I have my bow ready and aimed. Time slows, allowing me to aim at the rapidly moving sea monster to almost a stand-still. I can feel my whole body tingle, my mind going into an altered state of AWESOME. Aiming makes it easy when they barely move. The monster is about to dive again and when it comes back up I am going to shoot it…
“Mort! Where do I shoot it!?”
“Between the eyes!”
Of course. It comes back up and the sound of the arrow slicing through the air was like a distant woman screaming. Or maybe that is Mort, couldn’t be sure. But I hit my target in the dead center making the massive sea monster jerk to the right as if it’s shocked and disappears under water.
I lower my bow, my whole body on an adrenaline high.
I did it.
Mort stands up. “Like them apples B*tch!” she screams, spit flying from her mouth, starring at the black sea with murderous intent.
“Shhhhh,” I whisper and try to suppress my laughter. “We have…company.”
She blushes and whispers close to me, “Isn’t that how you express victory being a human?”
I didn’t have time to respond as I am face to face with a petrifying looking man in metal and black armor. He looks like a superhero or something from the future. The armor has pale blue lights coursing through it like Iron Man. The giant of a man has a beard and a large white scare grazing the left side of his face. His gaze is dark and mencing.
“Ye’ are lucky ye’ are a straight shot,” his gruff voice yells as he pulls up next to us. The small boat was powered by an unknown source. I did not hear a motor. Odd. What do they have here? Atlantis power?
“Jump on, the lipers travel ‘n packs, there will be more with ‘n minutes.” He outstretches his large gloved hand to us. “You just shot a pregnant mum, that is na’ good.”
We took his hand and jumped onto the small boat just as we see more dorsal fins heading our way. The rugged man controls the boat with a series of buttons and interesting small levers. I glance back and see the lipers surrounding the raft we just left. Safe. For now. I look back at the man driving the small boat and study him. Was this Apollo?
I frown. I was not attracted to him, but he did have a rugged charm. I shouldn’t be so vein, he is probably a teddy bear on the inside.
“Mort,” I whisper. She glances at me, her face pale, her body shivering. Mort probably hates being human.
Is that Apollo? I mouth to her and nod my head in his direction.
He looks at me and I smile, blushing a little bit. Drat. He narrows his dark eyes at me then continues to anchor the boat next the massive ship.
Mort looks at me and scowls, shaking her head no.
I didn’t have time to feel relief. They hoist us up like we were rag dolls, and force us up the latter. Minutes later I find myself dumped on a hard surface, water puddling around me. I was dripping, breathing hard, and scared to look up. I feel the tension like a thick smog, my nerves making my body shake like a scared rabbit. I have life-lines, I remind myself. I feel mort beside me, pinching my leg and whispering for me to get off my a**? Since when was Mort such a bossy potty mouth?
I hear murmurs and grumbles everywhere.
“Stand woman,” the man who saved us orders and jerks me up by the arm, hurting me. I bit my lip, keeping the hiss of pain to myself. When I look up from under my soaked hair I realize they were bringing other prisoners out, who were shackled at the neck and ankles. They look skinny and beaten down, bruises mar their dirty skin. I shiver, wondering what kind of h*ll they must have endured. Mort stood on her own and soon there was a big line of us.
Dear God, was I considered a prisoner?
Was a slave any different here?
I swallow a breath back down my throat and will myself to stand strong. I flinch as I gaze at all of the men in front of me, with their muscular forms and armored bodies. On their uniforms was a large G with a pointed line down the middle. Simple but strong, intimidating. They did not look like a friendly lot. Wouldn’t want to golf with them on a Sunday afternoon. A look of scorned indifference grace everyone’s features, eyes seemingly focused on ME. I quickly look down and take another shaky breath. My breasts are on display, I’m wet, clothes torn, thanks to Charming, to a bunch of heathens who probably have not seen a woman in a long a*s time. If rape is on their menu, I will happily use my life-line with no complaints. When I get back I will knee Charming in the groin, and then I will have my happily-ever-after.
The ship’s deck was massive with tall poles that carry sky scraping masts, catching the wind with each violent whip. I glance back up and can see a large, two-story staircase that leads into a three-story gl*** cabin. Or whatever they call this metal creation on water. I would not want to run into this warship on the black sea, this thing probably never saw a loss.
I look closer and see machine guns with odd sapphire lights glowing within a place where you’d think cannons would go. Yea, these guys mean business. A tall man with a long narrow face stands a couple of feet in front from me with a clipboard. He looks ratty, his nose twitches as he stars at me. My heart stops.
“Snake eyes,” he says in a condemning tone. “Where are you from? Who do you owe your allegiance?”
My arms move thankfully, I show him my necklace and wrist tattoo and Mort does the same. He stares at it for a while then glances back to me with a leering grin, eyes traveling down my body, licking his thin lips. “Very nice,” he whispers. “Were you on the McDon’s merchant ship then?”
“Any other survivors?” he snaps.
“Not that I’m aware of.”
“Keep your eyes down slave!” he commands making me jump.
“His highness will not like this news.” he whips around and speaks to the short portly man to his right. “I believe this is worthy for Prince Apollo’s attention. Sirona Bandits strike again in the same week. Will you go and inform him that his presence is needed?” The ratty man turns to look in the direction of the gl*** cabin.
A flash of nerves courses through me like lightening.
Why am I so nervous?! I barely glance up and see three men at the top of the stairs, and I stop breathing. They’re swiftly heading our way and I can you tell you that I might need medical help myself.
The man in the middle was undoubtedly Apollo, walking as though he was a Greek God. I always read in romance books, you know, the dashing hero being compared to Greek Gods. Now I completely understand. He is all that was power and beauty. Garbed in all black armor save for the midnight blue cape with silver clasps at his broad shoulders. A slow shiver licks its way down my spine. The two men with him also wore the same color and cape, must be a sign of royalty, I faintly thought. He looks like Thor, but with an extra dash of sexy and darkness. I feel my face flush with hot lava as he nears.
His arresting dark gaze zones in on me and me alone.
I am not used to this intensity, my ovaries, I think, explode. His skin is beautifully bronzed, perfect high cheek bones and the most delicious law line my hungry eyes have ever beheld. I desperately want to put my face in his neck and inhale, and maybe a little tongue action. I bet he smells and tastes glorious. He had beautiful golden hair, some pieces look white-bleached, probably due from the adoring sun making sweet love to his hair. You think I am being dramatic? I assure you I am not! I was never boy crazy as a girl, not being interesting in anyone that I can recall. I might have been too picky. But now, I am reeling, completely off balance. I can’t even catch my breath. Apollo’s almost black, hot-as-hell, gaze contrasts with his light hair and tanned skin. He should have sparkling blue eyes, but no, the glittering darkness of his eyes gives me hot flashes.
I feel Mort bump me.
I flush as I give myself a mental shake. I am too busy in my fantasy to realize Apollo asked me a question. Embarrassment stains my cheeks and chest.
Apollo arches a dark brow and glances at Ratman with the clipboard. “Does the slave speak? Is she mute?”
My eyes widen.
Oh great first impression.
The ratty man swallows, then glares at me. “Yes she does. Answer his Grace! How did you learn to shoot the arrow like that?! And where did you find such a fine weapon being just a slave?”
My heart was about to give out. I take a steady breath and glance at Prince Apollo, willing my voice to work. Apollo is quite tall, way over six foot, and I feel like a little girl being scolded. “I was taught by someone well qualified, I am a fast learner. I guess it is a gift I was born with, taking to archery quicker than others.”
I have no idea if that makes sense. I’m still killing Charming for no back story and for making me look like an idiot.
Apollo frowns, his dark gaze seeming to flicker as he crosses his arms of his muscular chest. “Are you deliberately being vague? Because if you are,” he slowly looks me up and down, “A night with my men will make you talk.”
He is rude, my cheeks heating at his crudeness. “I am being vague.”
I hear Mort grown.
I quickly begin, “Only because I suffer from amnesia, fell of a horse a few years back and I have no recollection who I am or how I became good at archery. It sounds a little farfetched but that’s the truth.” I wanted to slap my forehead, I told you I was a fan of Anastasia.
“Is that so?” He nods and turns to another man. “Have someone look into her situation. If she is lying her pretty little head will look good in a noose. I have no room for spies, nor the patience.” His glittering gaze holds me prisoner. “She does not act nor talk like a slave which concerns me.”
The good news is, he thinks I have a pretty head. The bad news is that if he finds out I’m lying, I will be hung. I need to talk to Peirce to clean this up ASAP.
“Bring them to the servant’s quarters and put them to work,” he pauses as his eyes linger over my body, my skin heats to over-drive. “Give these women something proper to wear, I don’t need my men distracted.” He turned to leave.
I blew out a long breath not realizing I was holding it.
This is not going to be easy.
Now that I see what this man looks like, I am afraid that this completion might get ugly in a hurry.