By: Karalynn Shade
When Esmeralda finally came to, someone was holding on to her as they bobbed up and down on the water. A sudden fear overtook her and stopped her heart! Who was this and why were they in the ocean!? When she suddenly realized it was just one of the crew and that being a cabin boy was part of her new life, her fear subsided.
Everything came flooding back to her during the shipmate’s telling of what happened, “As soon as the shout went up, you fell like a sack of salted pork, on the spot! I had to get you onto the longboat before the ship started to sink. The sea king’s swordfish, you’re light, lad! Don’t know how you aimed to be of any help on our wretched ship!”
Esmeralda’s face flushed with resentment at this comment, but she must keep her calm and more importantly, her job, to be able to find Caspian. She tried at a man’s voice once again, “What are we going to do now?” her voice cracked up pitifully at the end, earning her a small boy’s voice, at best.
The sailor bellowed with laughter. Her face flushed awfully at this. He continued with a grin, “Well now I see why you’re so slight and weak; you’re changing! You’re in the stage between boyhood and manhood!” He clapped her on the back. It was soft for him, but it earned her a one-way ticket forward.
She stopped herself with a yelp before she toppled over and onto the crew seated before her. They all laughed as they continued to row.
“But fer an answer, we’re headed to a port nearby. The Cap’n has a mighty good sense of direction and we managed to salvage most of the maps. The cargo though, is a different story. That’s all long gone.”
Esmeralda was glad they weren’t headed back, but worried that with the loss of all the cargo, they would all have to find jobs other places at the port at which they were headed. Mostly, she just feared she wouldn’t get a new job on a different ship, then she couldn’t find Caspian! What was happening with him right then, anyway?
The crewman noticed her worried expression and put her at ease, “Don’t worry, we won’t have to be on different crews. The Cap’n has enough money to buy another ship and more than enough cargo and supplies.”
This made her wonder. The drop-off they had planned out in the middle of the ocean was a little weird before, but now it was mysterious. With all the money they had, Esmeralda knew they could have bought a better ship before this incident. They looked like common traders and sellers, but then where would they get all that money? It just didn’t add up.
She looked out to the sea and noticed that the land has snuck up on them while they were in conversation. This new interest put the mysteries of the ship all behind her. She wondered what it would be like at this new place. She had never been out of her home settlement before. She was definitely getting a lot of adventure, but of course, that came with her life as Caspian.
“All off the longboats! Let’s go get supplies!” The captain barked the orders, “Caspian, you’re with Jackson and Asher.”
Esmeralda’s stomach sank when she heard these orders; not Jackson! Of all people, she had to be stuck with Jackson. When everyone was off the longboats she met up with Asher, figuring that at least she had a friend with her, or at least, the closest to a friend that she had right then.
Jackson finally joined them with a pointed glance in Caspian’s direction. The three of them walked inland a bit to an inn. Esmeralda glanced around trying to add it all up. What were they doing here? She decided to play it cool and figure it out.
Jackson took the lead by going in first. Asher and Esmeralda walked in behind. When Jackson went behind the counter and into the room beyond, Asher leaned against the wall near the door. Esmeralda did the same, but listened in to what was being said in the room beyond. A girl can’t lose all curiosity just because she’s acting a boy.
She couldn’t hear much, but she definitely heard a bit. She heard Jackson’s low rumbling tone, “We lost our ship and it’ll take us a few days to recover. Tell them we’ll be a few days late with some of the cargo gone.”
Another man’s words, “Alright, but they’ll be none too happy about it.”
She couldn’t hear the beginning of the conversation, but she tried to get the entire end when Asher turned to her and asked, “So, how come you’ve become our cabin boy all of a sudden? Did your ship go down or are you just poor?”
Esmeralda was startled someone would question, but she didn’t stay silent for long. Taking on her boy voice and trying not to crack it, she replied, “Uh, yeah. My old ship went down and I needed to find work again.”
Asher’s eyes sparkled with laughter, “But what did you do on the old ship if you can’t even lift cargo?”
Esmeralda’s face flushed and she scrutinized some very interesting cracks in the floorboards. She was going to get laughed at but, she had to save herself some way, “I did chores for the old captain, like take him his food and such. He was a lazy old bloke.”
Asher chuckled quietly and told her his story, “I was just poor. You wouldn’t believe some of the stories of these men!”
Just then, Jackson came back out and announced, “We’re done here, but since we don’t have a ship, we’re going to be staying in an inn tonight.”The three of them headed toward the inn that the captain had specified to Jackson.