The Dracorex rolled over the waves. The day was coming to an end. Chris was now at the helm, giving Serenity a break. Serenity had already checked on the unconscious man, and was making dinner for Chris. She brought it up to him.
"Thanks," he said. "I take it all we have left is fish."
"Yes, but we have plenty of it," said Serenity. "It'll tide us over until we reach home to restock." She sat on the railing. They both ate their dinner while watching the sun set. Suddenly they heard someone coming up from below. And the man came out onto the deck. Chris let go of the helm.
"Maintain course," he whispered. The helm steered on its own. Serenity followed him cautiously down the steps.
"Well hello there," the man said, when he saw them. "I take it you're the ones who pulled me off that raft."
"Yes," Chris said. "I'm Chris and this my wife Serenity. This is our ship Dracorex."
"Nice to meet you folks, I'm Harald Forkbeard," the man said. "I'm very grateful for you rescue."
"How'd you get on that raft?" Serenity asked.
"I was shipwrecked," Herald explained. "My ship was sinking and I had to abandon it. I've no idea how long I've been floating at sea."
"Well you're safe on our ship," said Serenity. Harald looked around at the ship.
"It sure is a fine ship you have," he said. "Never seen one like this before."
"It's an old Chinese fishing boat," Chris said. "We scavenged it and turned it into a small war ship."
"Don't seem to have much of a crew," Harald observed.
"We have our secrets for driving it," Serenity said.
"You seem weary of me," Harald said to her.
"Sorry, we have problems trusting strangers," Serenity said.
"Oh that's perfectly normal," Harald said. "Hard to know who to trust out here. But I'd just like to be taken home is all."
"Where's home?" Chris asked, his hand resting on the hilt of his sword.
"It's an island not far from here," said Harald. "If you have a map I can show you."
"Serenity why don't you take him up to the helm deck," Chris said. Serenity nodded.
"This way Harald," she said. She headed up to the helm deck, Harald followed her. Chris watched them head up the steps. He headed into the main cabin. He went over to the closet door. He pulled a skeleton key carved in the shape of a dragon out of his pocket. He made sure the closet was shut all the way, then he locked it with the key. The door dematerialized into the wall. Chris sighed with relief and put the key back in his pocket.
Up on the helm deck Serenity had pulled out their map of the area. She laid it on a table near the wheel. She felt Herald's eyes on her.
"How long have you two been at sea?" He asked.
"I don't know, we don't keep track of time very well," Serenity said. "Now, can you find your island on here?" Harald looked down at the map. Serenity pointed her finger on the spot where the ship was. Harald then pointed to an island to the right.
"It'll be only a day's sail away," he said. "I'll be out of your hair in no time." He pulled a lock of Serenity's hair behind her ear. Serenity turned away and headed for the helm. She steered the ship north.
"We're on the way," she said quietly.
"You drive this vessel?" Herald asked, coming up next to her.
"I do," Serenity said, keeping her eyes on the ocean. "Chris handles the cannons and other weapons. We never know when we're going to get attacked."
"The perfect team it seams," Harald commented. "I'm quite the sailor myself. Perhaps I can lend a hand around here as payback for your hospitality." Serenity looked sideways at him.
"Our deck needs moping," she said carefully. Harald didn't answer right away.
"All right," he said, sounding a bit less thrilled. Serenity led him back down to the main deck and showed him where the mop and buckets were stored. She filled the bucket with soap and seawater, then handed Harald the mop. He took it and got to work.
"Thank you Harald, we really appreciate this," Serenity said, smiling. She went back up to the helm.
The ship sped north, Serenity stayed at the helm. Chris came up to join her. She smiled at him, and he wrapped his arm around her waist.
"Is the passage sealed?" She whispered.
"Yes," Chris said. "So until Harald gets off the ship, we're on our own. But Draconia is safe, and that's what's important." He kissed Serenity on the forehead.
"I think after we get Harald back to his island we should return to the Great Falls," Serenity said.
"I agree," said Chris. "You want me to take over for a bit?" Serenity smiled and kissed his cheek.
"I'll go check on Harald's work," she said. She handed the wheel over and went down the steps. She walked over to where Harald was finishing up mopping the deck. He looked up as Serenity approached.
"That's a good job Harald," she said. "Well done." Harald beamed.
"Thank you ma'am," said Harald. He put the mop against the mast. "Have you got anything to eat on this ship?"
"We've only got fish," said Serenity. "But we have plenty of it."
"Fish will due," said Harald. "Why don't I make you something? I'm a smashing cook." Serenity considered.
"All right," she said. "The kitchen is downstairs, it's got everything you need." Harald nodded.
"I'll get started," he said.
"You can bring it up to the helm deck when you're done," said Serenity. She turned to head back up the stairs.
"I could use a hand though," Harald said. "I promise I won't keep you long." Serenity considered, but then shrugged.
"Very well," she said. "Follow me." She led the way down to the kitchen.
They got to work making dinner. Harald decided to make grilled cod. Serenity pulled two large cod out of the fish crates. Harald got the iron stove heated up. Serenity laid a cod on the cutting board and began filleting it. Harald watched her, his eyes watching every stroke of the filleting knife. Serenity tensed, but kept her focus on the fish. She finished and put the fish fillets on a plate. She then started on the second fish.
"I've never seen a fish filleted so perfectly," Harald whispered. "You do it so smoothly."
"Thank you," Serenity said. She finished with the second fish and put the last of the fillets on the plate. She seasoned each one with salt and herbs. She handed the plate to Harald. He took it, but kept his eyes on her.
"Chris is a very lucky man indeed," he said, calmly. "A fine ship and a beautiful wife. I've never had such luxuries."
"It hasn't always been this blissful," Serenity said. "And the ship belongs to both of us." She walked towards the door of the kitchen.
"You got plans tonight?" Harald asked. Serenity paused and looked round at him.
"Only to crawl into bed with my husband," she said.
"Perhaps I can take the wheel, I'm anxious to get home," Harald said. Serenity nodded.
"In that case, we'll take turns at the wheel," she said. "We'll give you a turn as well."
"That's a deal," Harald said. He turned towards the stove. Serenity left the kitchen and headed back up to the top deck. The late afternoon sun bore down on the Dracorex. Chris was still up at the helm deck. Serenity ran up to join him. He smiled at her.
"Where's Harald?" He asked.
"He's grilling cod for us," Serenity said. "He insisted." Chris shrugged. "And he said he's anxious to get back to is island so we're going to do shift tonight." Chris didn't look happy.
"You sure about this?" He asked nervously.
"It'll get us there faster," Serenity said.
"I don't want you being out here alone with this stranger on board," Chris said. "You're completely defenseless." Serenity put a hand on his shoulder.
"How about to sleep here on the helm deck," she suggested. "So you'll here me if I call you." Chris relaxed a bit. Serenity laid her head on his shoulder. Chris wrapped his arm around her waist. They watched the ocean ahead. The only things to be seen were a few sea birds.
"Dracorex, full speed," Chris ordered. The ship sped up, the waves rolled it up and down.
Harald came up to the helm deck, with two plates of grilled cod. Serenity was at the helm, guiding the ship between a group of icebergs.
"All done," Harald announced. He handed one plate to Serenity. "There's one more down in the kitchen for you Chris, I only had two hands." Chris narrowed his eyes.
"I'll go get that one," Serenity said. "You can have this one." She handed her plate to Chris. Harald didn't look pleased, but said nothing. Serenity headed down to the kitchen. Chris took over at the helm. Harald ate his fish in silence. Chris was very weary of him, but stayed focused on the ocean.
"You're wife is very beautiful," Harald said. "And quite talented." Chris started on his fish.
"I know," he said. "She's everything to me."
"You have any children?" Harald asked. Chris hesitated.
"A daughter, Edelweiss," he said. "She's grown up now, and living her own life." Harald looked down towards the staircase that led below decks.
"I'd give anything for a woman like that," he said confidently. Chris put his empty plate on the floor near the helm.
"Good luck with that," he said, taking hold of the wheel again. At that moment Serenity came back up with her plate of fish. She sat on the railing, looking out at the water.
"What's your daughter like?" Harald asked, looking right at Serenity. She looked back at him.
"She's adventurous, and brave," she said. "In fact I'd say she's a lot braver then me."
"I find that hard to believe," said Harald. Serenity finished her cod. She got to her feet.
"If you guys are done, I'll take your dishes back down to the kitchen," she said. Harald handed her his empty plate. She took it silently. Chris handed his out, but Harald took it.
"I'l help you," he insisted. Serenity sighed, but didn't argue. She headed down the stairs, Harald right behind her. Chris went back to steering the ship.
Down in the kitchen Serenity put the dishes in the wash basin. She went over to the water barrel and filled up a bucket, and poured water into the wash basin. Harald caught her eye.
"You can go back up if you want," she said, tossing a few soap flakes into the water.
"I don't want to leave you down here all alone," Harald said innocently. "With no one to talk to." Serenity said nothing, and started washing the dishes. "Here I'll dry for you." He grabbed a cloth. Serenity handed him the first plate and he wiped it dry.
"Where's your daughter living?" Harald asked.
"On an island called Huttsgalore," said Serenity. "She's found some friends there that she relates to."
"Has she found anyone, you know, special?" Harald asked.
"No," said Serenity, handing him another dish. "Maybe one day though."
"Well, if she's as pretty as you are I'm sure she'll turn someone's head," Harald said. Serenity blushed a bit. She finished washing the last dish, and handed it to Harald.
"I'm heading back up," she said. "It's my turn to drive." She dried her hands on another cloth. Then she left the kitchen, and head back up.
The sun was setting. Serenity was now at the helm. Chris sat near the railing, and was dozing off. The sea was very calm. Serenity kept the ship steady.
"You don't like me do you?" Someone said behind her. Serenity turned to see Harald at the top of the stairs.
"I don't know you that well," she said. Harald walked closer to her.
"Well, how about I fix that," he said. "All I want is to be your friend. Please." He held his hand out to her. Serenity looked at it. "Come for a walk on the deck with me, just for a short while." Serenity sighed took his hand. He pulled her close to him. They walked down to the main deck. The moon and stars soon came out. Harald escorted Serenity to the bow of the ship.
"We should reach your island tomorrow night," Serenity said.
"Then we will have to say good bye won't we?" Harald said.
"Yes," Serenity said.
"Or you can come live on my island," Harald said. "It has the most beautiful forest, with wild flowers and birds. You can leave this ship, and live a better life with me." Serenity backed up from him.
"I'm sorry," she said. "But Chris is my husband, I would never betray him." Harald narrowed his eyes.
"You're quite sure?" He asked slowly.
"Yes," Serenity said. "I love him very much, he's my whole world." Harald sighed.
"Very well," he said. "I wouldn't want you to be unhappy."
"I should get back to the helm deck," Serenity said. She turned and headed back up the stairs. She check on Chris, who was still asleep. Then she took the wheel again.
The night wore on. The ship sailed through the calm sea. Serenity navigated using the stars. Chris was snoring behind her. She looked over at him, smiling. She walked over and knelt beside him. She stroked his face gently. Chris stirred but didn't wake up. Serenity leaned closer to him.
"I love you," she whispered. "I love you very very much." She softly kissed his lips. "I'll see you in the morning." She kissed him one more time, then went back to the wheel. She suddenly heard someone coming up the stairs. She turned to see Harald approaching her, holding a silver goblet.
"Shouldn't you be asleep?" Serenity asked.
"I slept for a while," Harald said. "But then I thought I'd check on you." He gave Chris a passing glance. He then handed Serenity the goblet. "I brought you some water. You must be thirsty." Serenity took the goblet and looked into it. It was filled with clean water, that smelled of only water.
"Thank you," she said. Harald smiled and leaned on the railing.
"Have you thought any more about my offer?" He asked.
"No," Serenity said, sipping the water. "I'm staying on this ship, with my husband." Harald's eye twitched.
"Very well, you have plenty of time to change your mind," he said. He looked out towards the sea. Serenity drained the goblet. She put it on the floor near the wheel. She suddenly felt a bit sleepy. She shook her head to keep herself awake. Harald looked at her.
"You feeling all right?" He asked, concerned.
"I feel sleepy all of a sudden," Serenity said. She found herself leaning on the wheel, her eyes were growing heavy. "I think I've been awake for too long." She shook her head again. Harald walked closer to her.
"Maybe you should get some sleep now," he suggested. "I'll take over driving." Serenity nodded. She turned towards Chris, but her vision was so blurry from exhaustion she couldn't see him. Suddenly she collapsed. Harald was quick to catch her before she hit the deck. He picked her up in his arms. He smiled down at her lovely face. He carefully carried her down the stairs towards the master bedroom.