By: Lord Sopping
As she watched the coastline slip slowly towards the horizon, Cinderella thought of how it was not only her home she was being forced to leave behind forever, but also the only life she'd known. She'd been born in the kingdom, raised by a loving father after her mother had died. When he too had been taken from her, and her stepmother and stepsisters had made her a slave in her own home, she'd tried to bear it by putting up an cheerful, optimistic front. Then had come that magical night at the Royal Ball, when she and the Prince had fallen in love, and after he had searched for and found her, had married. Now all that was gone, thanks to the actions of her Stepmother, Lady Trelaine, and her stepsisters Drizella and Anastasia. They'd somehow gotten their hands on the fairy Godmother's wand and had used it to totally alter the events of the previous year. In the blink of an eye, Cinderella was no longer a Princess, the Prince had no recollection of who she was, and it was Anastasia who the glass slipper had fit, not her. Now the three of them were at the palace, no doubt laughing over their victory while she was being banished to the Lord knew where.
So lost was she in her sorrows, Cinderella didn't hear the thud as the ship's helmsman was struck from behind nor did she hear the splash as his unconscious body was dumped over the side. Other splashes followed as the rest of the crew was overpowered and disposed of in quick succession, but Cinderella was unaware of them as well.
"Hello Poppit!" Cinderella turned around to find herself face to face with a short, filthy man in ragged clothing that grinned at her lecherously with yellow, rotted teeth. Behind him was another man, just as filthy with a wooden eye in one of the sockets in his face. Behind them was a growing group of other unsavory characters.
"Pirates!" Cinderella thought as a chill ran through her as she backed up against the gunwale of the ship. First she had lost her home, now it seemed she was about to lose her virtue or worse.
"You're a pretty one aren't you Poppit?" the first man said as he and the others advanced on her. Cinderella considered leaping over the side and into the sea; she was a fair enough swimmer, but by now the ship was too far offshore for her to ever reach it without tiring, not to mention the threat of sharks. Still, death was preferable to what these men had in mind for her.
"Back you dogs!" A handsome young man with long brown hair and dressed in a leather greatcoat leapt between her and the pirates and brandished his sword at them. "This lady is now under my protection!" He turned and saluted her with his sword. "William Turner at your service Miss?"
"Cinderella," she replied, "And You're cute!" she thought to herself. "Thank you for coming to my aid, Oh I don't know what I would,"
There was the swish of metal slicing through the air and the razor edge of a rapier was hovering less then an inch from her throat. Cinderella's eyes followed the blade back to its hilt and discovered a young woman with russet red hair was wielding it and dressed as a man. "Terribly sorry," she smiled as she cocked her head to one side, "But I'm afraid this one is already spoken for!"
"That's right Turner, you have a wench!" One of the pirates was saying, "This one is fair booty along with the rest of the cargo!"
Just then there was the long drawn out sound of canvas ripping coming from overhead, and a moment later Prince Greg dropped into their midst. He was quickly overwhelmed by the pirates just as there was an angry bellow from the quarterdeck.
"There is a hole in my mainsail! Mr. Gibbs, why is there a bloody great hole in my MAINSAIL!" All eyes turned to see another man, obviously the leader of the pirates swaying unsteadily, no doubt due to the rum in the bottle he held in one hand.
"We have the culprit here Cap'n!" Answered the mate as he tied Greg's hands behind his back and marched him aft. Cinderella was likewise bound and prodded along until they were standing in front of the pirate captain. He was dressed in a long faded black greatcoat festooned with tarnished brass buttons. Underneath were a gray tunic and a bandolier holding a brace of pistols. His black hair was long and braided on the sides into dreadlocks. A red bandanna was tied over this and was topped by a battered leather tricorn hat. He had a moustache and slight beard and his eyes were outlined in black makeup.
"Where did you come from mate?" he asked, the smell of rotten breath and cheap rum making Greg's nose twitch in disgust.
"From up there." Greg replied, jerking his head towards the high bluff where the old mill he'd hastily exited with the help of his horse sat.
"You Jumped. From up there?" The captain said slowly. "And people say I'm bloody crazy!" He turned his attention to Cinderella. "And where did this comely wench come from?" he smiled as he stroked her cheek with a ring laden hand.
"She's a passenger Cap'n." Answered one of the pirates. "We found her sitting up in the bow."
"And I've placed her under my protection Jack." Turner added, with a challenging eye to the others.
"Have you now William." The captain said softly, "And what does your sweet Elizabeth think of that?" he added as he looked to the female pirate.
"I am the Crown Prince Gregory," Greg said drawing himself up as regally as he could considering his present circumstances, "And I demand that you return the young lady and myself to," He stopped as Cinderella kicked his leg and he became aware of the widening eyes of his captors, as he realized his mistake. Until he'd gone and opened his mouth, he'd been just an annoying nuisance who'd dropped in from the sky. Now, he could almost hear their minds counting the huge ransom they'd no doubt demand for his release.
"A Prince of the blood. Interesting." The Captain mused as he rubbed his chin. "And you my dear," he said turning his attention to Cinderella, "Would you be a Princess?"
"I used to be." She answered.
"Well then, this calls for some thought over a good meal and some rum in my cabin. You do like rum, don't you?"
"I detest it," she answered.
Casting a meaningful glance towards the woman called Elizabeth, the Captain turned towards the doors leading below decks. "I had a suspicion you wouldn't. No matter, come along then."
To be continued.