Esmerelda, Jackson, and Asher navigated their way through the winding streets of the unfamiliar town. It was a busy place, and at times they had to fight there way through the crowd. Esmerelda had to practically tun to keep up with the men's long strides as they hurried to the inn.
An older, graying man in royal clothes pushed his way toward them. "Relda?" he called. "Relda?"Esmerelda started. Relda had been her nickname back home. "I'm here" she answered before she knew what she was saying."What's that?" Asher asked, turning toward her."Nothing" Esmerelda said. "Just...talking...to myself."The older man must have been looking for someone else because he walked past them without a second glance.Esmerelda wanted to kick herself.That's it. she thought. From now on I must even think of myself as Caspian before i wreck everything. One mistake is all it takes.She hurried after Jackson and Asher before she lost them. As the sun was going down, they reached the inn...which looked like it was in shambles. Asher pushed open the creaking door and they walked in.Inside was badly lit, smelly, and noisy. It was easily the worst place Esmerelda had ever been in. Jackson and Asher didn't seem to mind it, and stepped up to a counter at the front of the room."Supper, and a room for three" Jackson said loudly, throwing several coins down."There's one empty" said the man behind the counter, who looked like a cross between a weasel and a rat. He pocketed the coins saying. "I'll show you to it now."The three of them followed the small man down a dark hallway and into a small room with a bed and a chair."Two of ye will have to sleep on the floor," the man said apologetically. "But I might be able to scrounge up some blankets...if the mice 'n' lice haven't gotten into 'em...Esmerelda tried to contain a shudder at the thought."Come on, lets go get some food" Jackson said."I think I'll stay here" Esmerelda suggested. "Its been a long day...get some sleep..." she trailed off as they stared at her."Whatever" Jackson said. "You starve, not my problem." The two of them left the room, leaving Esmerelda alone.Looking around Esmerelda spotted a balcony off their room.Its kind of warm here, she thought. Sleeping outside looks like my best option.It actually was freezing outside, but Esmerelda was asleep as soon as she lay down. Still, she spent the early hours of the morning shivering, and was happy when the town finally awoke."Cap'n gave me some coins to buy supplies today" Jackson told them as they ate a breakfast of porridge in the inn's dining room. "The place is not too far from here."Half and hour later, the three of them hurried through the streets until they came to the specified shop."Stay here" Jackson ordered her and Asher. "I'll get the supplies."Esmerelda and Asher sat down on a wooden bench near the door, with nothing better to do than watch the town life. One man caught Esmerelda's eye...he looked very, very familiar. Its Bekker! she thought. Thomas Bekker was a close family friend back in Jamaica. He was across the street, nailing something to a post. Then he turned, and walked directly over to her and Asher. Coming up to the shop, he nailed a piece of parchment to the door. Squinting, she was just able to see what it said.There was a large portrait of her- done at her 16th birthday party. Underneath were the words:MISSING FROM JAMAICA.NAME: ESMERELDA.AGE: 17 YEARS.REWARD OF 5000 POUNDS TO WHOEVER FINDS HER.Bekker picked up his hammer, and walked over to them. His eyes settled on Esmerelda, and he studied her intently."Esmerelda?" he said cautiously."What???" Asher said.Esmerelda froze. Time to get out of here- NOW! she thought. She jumped from the bench, pushed past Bekker, and sprinted down the street. panting for breath, and hearing foorsteps behind her, she ducked behind a pile of firewood and hoped desperately that they wouldn't find her. Trying to slow her heartbeat, she listened to two British soldiers talk a few paces away."I can't believe we're doing this" the one said. "We must be crazy! We're going on a ship whose mission is to hunt down the Maelstrom and capture her?? We are crazy.""Well its too late, we can't back out now" the other one said. "Come on lets go- ship leaves in 20 minutes. Listening to their footsteps fade away, one thought was going through Esmerelda's mind. I MUST GET ON THAT SHIP.Thank you so much, Kay! This was an amazing chapter! Aislinn Brown, it's your turn! Can't wait to hear what you have next!