Alkon was at a bar having a drink with Hybris and Kallen when a man approached Alkon. Alkon assumed the man must be a noble. It was in the way he held himself and walked, even in the way he spoke. “Are you Alkon Birral?” He asked as though he already knew and Alkon liked the confidence. Even nobles sometimes spoke to him with apprehension “Yes I am, why?” Buck lowered his voice “may I speak with you in private? Your ship mates may be around but I don’t want the wrong ears here to know what we discuss”
“We may talk on my ship. Forgive me but I refuse to trust even a noble to lead me off alone”
“do you know who I am?”
“No, you just were obviously raised a noble. Quite a few things about you tell me that”
“I’m happy to board your ship for us to talk. Could we go now? It’s of major importance”
“Of course” Alkon paid their bill then took Buck to his ship. He wanted Anthousai to join the conversation but she still wasn’t back aboard. He was glad she was having fun though. Tonight they had decided he would have a boys night while she had a girls night. It warmed his heart she was now secure enough to even go about at night without him. Alkon shut them in his office “what do you want with me?” He asked “In two days we’re planning to Overthrow King Chad. I know you aren’t from here and don’t come to this land often but he is a terrible man. I was heir to the throne but my father sold my sister to King Chad and the new king of course kicked me out. My sister thankfully got away but he is still king and even worse than my father was” Buck went into a long explanation, telling Alkon everything even though he was ashamed of everything his father had done. To end it Buck said “The people wanted me as their ruler and I need all the help I can get to reclaim the throne so I can right all these wrongs and so I can see my sister again. Out of everything I want that the most. I want my sister and Vesuvio to be able to return”
Alkon took in the words that Buck spoke slowly, processing them to the fullest extent before speaking. He spoke with great thought, choosing his words carefully.
“How do I know that what you say is true? The actions that you speak of are grave and treason is punishable by death. Am I to risk my life for a man that I do not know? If what you speak is true then this land is headed for war. My assets can be of great use to you and my power will best your enemies.”
“Please Alkon, what I speak to you now is the truth. King Chad is of the lowest, most vile kings. Many lives have perished by his hand, the people in this land are dying of starvation as he fills his belly until he bursts. He surrounds himself with harlots and scum who care nothing for the people who serve him. This land is dying by his hand Alkon, we must stop him. I care about these people, they are MY people. This land can flourish and be alive again. I promise you, this is the right thing to do. You will have to choose eventually, you now have the information needed to make the right choice. What say you?”
“I’ll need to speak to my crew, my wife as well, but I’m sure they’ll agree. Come back in the morning.”
“If people are hurting, even if it’s not on the water, it is still our duty to help. I will make sure your family can come home.”
“People were right about you, you’re really something. I’ll see you tomorrow then.”
Alkon nodded to him and he turned and left. “So, we fight a king then?” Hybris said as he leaned against the door frame.
“If you think it will be too much for you.”
“Oh shut up, I go where you go. If the captain wants me to fight a king then I will gladly do so. You know none of us will ever back down from a challenge. We’ve sailed some pretty rough waters with you, this is just another storm.”
“Thank you, Hybris. Would you come with me to get Anthy and the others?”
“Of course, if this land is that bad I’d rather the girls not be out by themselves. Don’t tell them I said that though so I don’t receive a slap to the back of the head” Alkon cracked a smile as he got out of his seat and walked out with Hybris. Anthousai had told his all the places she had planned to go so they found them easily “Alkon?” Anthousai asked, knowing something was wrong. Not only would he have not interrupted her night otherwise but the look on his face told her he was worried about something. “we must be on the ship before I explain but your night must end. I’m sorry”
“No, it’s okay” they all left and were soon aboard again. Alkon filled the entire crew in and advised them though they should already know “talk to nobody about the uprise. He hasn’t told me who all is on their side which I’ll give him was smart but it makes us need to be cautious” When morning came and prince Buck returned Alkon let him know the crew was ready to help “thank you so much. I’m sorry to burden you but we’ll need all the help we can get”
“We would never stand for any sort of abuse. Tell us where you want us and we’ll be there.”
“Will you make sure you take Ceraon with you?” Anthousai said, looking worried.
“Won’t you want him here to watch over you?”
“I can stay.” Aaron offered. “It would be better if you took him with you, he’s much more agile than most of us.”
“Very well, but I want you to take the ship away from the dock, just in case.”
“Ceraon?” Buck asked.
“He’s Anthy’s pet, come, we’ll show you and discuss our plan of attack.”
Buck was amazed at the large beast “wow, you have a magnificent pet Anthousai”
‘He’s really good natured too so you can fully trust him. He’d never hurt a fly unless the person was bad”
“and he’d take down anything threatening our Anthy” Hybris added. They talked about the creature awhile longer before gathering to discuss who Buck had on his side and what precisely the plan was. Anthousai stayed with Ceraon. She wouldn’t be fighting anyway and she wanted to pet and talk to him awhile before he was involved in a war. She knew her beloved pet would come back but for good measure she wanted to spend time with him. She would be able to spend time with her husband later since there was still one more day until they tried to dethrown king Chad.
Alkon felt a little guilty he had pushed Anthousai to the side and was glad when their planning finished before dinner time so he could at least eat with her. He found her sitting at the wheel where she was talking to Aaron with Ceraon curled up at her feet. Aaron noticed him first and smiled before excusing himself. “Hey, how’d everything go?” She asked when he sat down.
“Good, there was a lot to go over. How was your day?”
“I spent most of it with Ceraon.”
“I hope I didn’t make you feel neglected in any way.”
She smiled. “Never, you’re the sweetest man in the world. You give me all of your free time already, so never think that.”
“I’m happiest when I’m with you.”
“You or..” he asked playfully and she looked all around here “Alkon” he chuckled “sorry sweetheart, I knew nobody else was near enough to hear”
“Please eat” she went redder before specifying “your food” he chuckled then began eating, happy to be at her side again. They had someone else take the wheel so they could retire to their room early. With Alkons teasing earlier she had expected him to want sex but he just wanted to spend time with her. He could tell that was what she was expecting so he said “while sex is intimate and I love expressing physically how you make me feel I just want to spend time with you before I’m off fighting. What would you like to do, truly, anything you want. We can pull some sort of game out or we can just cuddle or maybe we could take turns reading the book we’re on.”
She hugged him and he smiled as he wrapped her in his arms “I love you immensely”
“I know…I love you so much more”
“Now now, none of that. I love you times infinity”
“You say none of that then you continue the fight” she said as she pulled away just a little, still in his arms but looking into his warm amber eyes that seemed to be full of multiple emotions but mostly filled with love for her. “what can I do to spend time with you and make you happy before I’m gone”
“I really want to know what happens next in our book, I’ll read first okay?”
“okay, lets get into something comfortable first” they both changed into night clothes then Alkon pulled their book out, eager to hear his wifes beautiful voice bring the story to life and work his imagination to see the world the author was portraying. They did what they normally did, switch off the reader every time they completed a chapter.
They read until Anthousai started yawning then Alkon insisted they put the book away. “But, we’re almost done.” She said sleepily.
“We’ll just call it a cliffhanger for now my love, you need to rest.”
“You know I hate those.”
He chuckled. “As soon as all of this business with this kingdom is over, we’ll finish it, I promise.”
“Please be careful, I don’t want you getting hurt, I almost lost you once.”
“I promise to always come back to you, nothing can keep us apart, not the ocean, not war, not even death, I will always find you.”
“You’re going to make me cry.”
“Happy tears are okay.” He pressed a gentle kiss to her lips.
“Don’t let your mind wander to me alright. Tomorrow you need your mind in the moments, all of you do. I’ll be just fine on this ship. If something happens and people somehow manage to board this room still seals up tight.”
“You’re always in my heart but I wont let distraction get me hurt, I swear. I’m also glad you have in mind you can just run in here and keep yourself safe” The next morning it was hard for her to say goodbye to Alkon and the rest of the crew but she didn’t allow herself to get emotional, they were going to be back and they will have overthrown a truly terrible king and put a good one in his place. Buck seemed like he had such a good heart and Anthousai hoped his sister was fine where ever she had run off to.
When Alkon and the rest of the crew that were leaving were gone the ship left the dock as another precaution. It felt weird being on the ship with so few people but Anthousai still had her plans and this war her husband was now in wouldn’t stop those plans. She was pregnant and having realized so late she already knew the gender. She was floored mostly because she hadn’t really gained weight but according to the doctor she had seen it wasn’t abnormal for a woman to not gain alot in their first pregnancy, especially given she couldn’t indulge herself too much on the sea given they had a set amount of food between ports.
Anthousai was still going to bake Alkon a cake and get something together to surprise him, even if she didn’t have the help of the original people she was planning the surprise with. She was glad she hadn’t told him just yet. This would brighten his spirits after dealing with all of this for Buck and his people. She just hoped none of her friends would ruin the surprise while they were out. If they did they did but she still wanted to see the look of absolute surprise and then overpowering joy when he realized he’d be a dad.
Anthousai baked quite a few cakes with the correct color filling to let him know the gender of their little one then began decorating with both blue and pink so he wouldn’t know until the cake was sliced what they were having. It actually took her mind off things for awhile so she was a little glad she didn’t have help because it took longer to set up that way.
Buck seemed amazed at how well Alkon’s crew was doing and his mouth briefly dropped open as he watched the twins Bia and Deimos slash at guards with sharp, talon like claws. The magician Eger set fire to any who got to close while Hybris found the gaps in armor and Kallen fought men barehanded. Even the beast Ceraon was amazing, causing men to flee in terror. The twins and Ceraon scaled the castle walls no problem and it was only the sound of an approaching swordsman that brought him out of his surprise. He blocked then stabbed the man before he could raise his sword again. “These guards are not very good at their job.” Alkon said.
“They’re not the ones who were here before, these were hired thugs.”
“One of them nearly killed you. You should keep your eyes forward.”
“It’s your crew, they’re amazing. Your twins went inside.”
“They went to provide a bit of a distraction. It’ll divide the men inside. Some will stay to protect the king, but others will be sent to investigate the possible assassins.”
“Have you done this before?”
Anthousai was taking a break and went to check on Aaron who she found looking at the dock trough a spyglass “I wouldn’t imagine they would be coming back yet”
“You never know” he put it down and turned to look her in the face as they spoke “you sure I can’t help you prepare for the party? I know you really aren’t showing but still, a baby must tire you”
“It’s nice to be busy. I can’t wait to see myself in a few months. I mean, I have to gain weight before this is all over”
“Well once Alkon knows, all the sitting around you’ll be doing will help that” Anthousai laughed “I just can’t wait to see his face..he’s mentioned children a few times so I know he’s going to be really happy.”
“and I really can’t know the gender?”
“I wont have him finding out before he cuts the cake. Don’t feel bad, only the cooks who baked the cake know”
“But I’m really good at keeping a secret.” She playfully nudged him and he laughed. “Alright, I’ll let it go. Still though, congratulations and I can’t wait to see his face when he finds out.”
“I have to admit, I’m a little nervous and I don’t know why.”
“I think it’s normal, I mean you’re going to be a mom and I mean everyone has worries and doubts, but I already know you’ll be a great mom.”
“Because you’re practically the ship mom. I know I’m young and probably not the best person to give advice, but you take care of everyone. You make sure they eat and if they get wounded you make them rest, I mean there was that time I got the flu and you fussed over me the whole time. That’s what a mom does so you’ll be a wonderful mother.”
King Chad was surrounded and Buck stood before the soon to be fallen king proudly “You were always a terrible, disgusting man and I didn’t think it were possible for me to think lower of you than the day you bought my sister from my father. Your vile reign is over, forever, my sister will return and she’ll be with Vesuvio while you rot in prison for the rest of your days”
Chad scoffed “you’d really see her with a servant boy?”
“They love eachother and that’s all that matters” Buck felt the need to kill this man surge through him but he felt more satisfaction in Chad being forced to live in a cell, knowing he was on the throne and that Gwen was not only alive but still with the man she chose.
“We didn’t have to kill nearly as many as I thought.” Alkon said. “Seems like some of them didn’t feel like fighting the twins or Ceraon.”
“I don’t blame them.” He held out his hand and Alkon shook it. “Thank you for this, you have no idea what this means for my people, for my family.”
“No thanks necessary, it was an honor.” He looked around. “You seem to have a handle on things, I need to get back to my wife and let her know everyone survived.”
“You’re welcome back anytime, Alkon, we owe you a great debt.”
“send me jobs, that’s plenty of thanks”
“You will be the first we call on. If you have nowhere else you must go now why don’t you stick around? I know my sister will want to thank everyone that helped, both my sisters will. Lorena is somewhere safe nearby and while I send Ziven and a few other trusted people to retrieve my sister Gwin my next mission is going to Lorena so she too can return to this castle if she so wishes. With how close she and Alonzo are I think she may just stay in the wilds with him.”
Alkon chuckled “I see, you only mentioned the far away sister because you didn’t know until it came right down to it if I could be trusted. If i turned on you and knew a sister of yours still resided in this land it would be easier for me to hurt her”
“yes, you really are a smart man”
“I will stay, we have no other jobs to attend right now. Alkon was eager to get back to the ship, not much caring if anybody kept pace with him as he hurried back. Aaron had been keeping a watchful eye and saw them before they even came on the dock. “Anthousai! They return!” he yelled happily and ran for the wheel.
Anthousai was impatient as Aaron brought the ship back into port and the moment it was tied off and the gangplank lowered, she ran down and leaped into Alkon’s arms. “You’re safe.”
“Of course, did you doubt me?”
“No, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be hurt.” She pulled back to look at his face, relieved there wasn’t a scratch on him. “How did it go?”
“Pretty good, Buck wants us to come back. I wanted to get you and Aaron of course.”
“Oh, but I had a surprise.”
“A surprise? What kind of surprise?”
“Why don’t you two head back, I’ll get the others to help me with the uh…the things.” Aaron said. “I bet Buck wouldn’t mind if we set up there.”
“Set what up?” Alkon asked.
“It’s a surprise.” Anthousai repeated. “Thank you Aaron, we’ll see everyone back there then.”
Alkon was just relieved to have Anthousai in his arms as he walked back to the castle with her. Whatever the surprise was he could happily wait while he soaked up her beauty and her infectious happy aura. That night the crew had gotten everything ready and it was time to let Alkon in on the secret Anthousai had been keeping for a short time. When the doors to the room they were using for this surprise opened Alkon slowly looked around then looked over at his wife “Anthy?” Emotion was already surging through her thanks to all the hormones “I’m pregnant Alkon and if you go cut that cake you see in the center of the room you’ll get to learn the gender”
She could have sworn his bottom lip tremebled as his eyes sparkled with joy but she almost questioned it. He was an incredibly loving man but he had yet to be reduced to tears unless incredibly sad over something. Alkon pulled her into a tight hug “Anthousai, How long have you been keeping this a secret? To know the gender you’d have to be four months along”
“I’m just a little ways into four months honey. I didn’t know until about a week ago. I wanted to do something special to tell you” He kissed her head a few times and then her lips “This is the best news I’ve ever gotten Anthy..I’m happier than words can express” She smiled, a few happy tears sliding down her cheeks “don’t you want to know the gender? I’m excited for you to know”
He chuckled. “Sorry, it’s just knowing you’re pregnant…I’m so happy.”
He gently took her over to the cake and she handed him the knife. He gave her quick kiss, then cut into the cake pulling the piece away and seeing bright pink. He smiled, “A little girl.”
“Of course, I would be happy no matter what.” He went back to hugging her. “Thank you so much, Anthy.”
“Congratulations.” Everyone said.
“You all knew?” He asked.
“Of course we did.” Hybris replied. “We all wanted to see the look on your face when you found out.”
“I’m excited and nervous and I’m happy, truly happy.” He gave Anthousai a long, loving kiss. “You are so amazing.”
“I’m really glad you’re happy. I’m so excited to make that second room into a nursery for our little one” The next day Buck returned with his sister Lorena who was now fifteen and her best friend Alonzo. Lorena bowed to Alkon “thank you…I have so many people to thank that helped Buck over throw Chad.” she looked at her brother “I can’t believe I’m going to see Gwin again. Have you sent for Lizeth?”
“I still need to write her though i think news would travel by itself to her kingdom”
“another sister” Buck chuckled then continued “last sister you’ll hear of” Alkon just smiled, he was over the moon happy about his wifes pregnancy and decided to go ahead and share the news with Buck and Lorena who seemed happy for them aswell. Alkon and his crew continued to stay until both of Bucks sisters were there. With everyone accounted for the whole kingdom celebrated. When it got to the point Alkon and Anthousai felt it was time to go Buck and his siblings, along with their significant others walked them to the docks and saw their ship off.
Now it would be all talk of their little girl. They needed to get he room ready, to name her and most importantly what the new addition to their crew would mean. A baby had never been aboard the ship but everyone though it was a blessing and hoped in later months the constant moving of the ship wouldn’t begin to bother Anthousais stomach any. Things were changing all around them but only in the best ways.
~ The End