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Efa stared at the bright blue sky with terrified eyes. The icy Irish Sea churned beneath her, throwing itself against the ship, ready to pounce.
“Please! I didn’t mean to!” Efa screamed as she struggled against the guards’ stone grip. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted the princess, gazing in awe at her, her mouth slightly agape. Efa looked in her eyes, begging her to do something.
“Guards, I don’t think she took anything-” the princess, Caron tried to settle the guards, finally breaking from her statue mold.
“No!” the guard refused to cooperate as he hung Efa over the stern. “A woman of this class should not be found snooping in the princess’s chambers!” one guard snapped. Princess Caron winced in fear.
Suddenly, the guard released Efa. Yet, before she could drop to her possible death she grabbed Princess Caron’s hand. Both Efa and Princess Caron fell to their certain demise and were devoured by the icy blue water.
The Irish Sea swallowed them both, freezing their warm skin. Efa willed her legs to push, and kicked to the surface. Princess Caron burst from the water seconds after, her teeth vibrating from the cold.
“A r-r-raft!” the princess stuttered, trying to communicate by limply gesturing toward the inflated red boat bobbing in the water. Efa struggled to get her numb limbs moving again, but surged toward the lifeboat. Frantically, she snatched an ore from the bottom of the raft and rowed toward the princess, who was flapping around in order to tread water.
“C’mon!” Efa called, using all her strength to pull Princess Caron up. Exhausted, both of them fell atop one another, breathing heavily in a heap. “Are y-you o-okay-y?” Efa forced the words out of her frozen body.
After a few deep breaths, Princess Caron glared at her with a heat in her eyes that would generously warm them both.
“What were you doing?” she yelled. Efa’s forehead furrowed in confusion.
“Just saving your life your majesty.” Efa huffed sarcastically.
“No!” the princess snapped. “I mean in my room!” Efa turned away from her coldly, falling silent. “Speak now peasant!” Princess Caron ordered.
Efa spun to face her, infuriated. “You can’t call me that!”
“Of course.” Princess Caron began, but the view before her made her stop. Her ship was gently pulling away from their raft. The princess’ elegant clothes and royal treatment leaving her behind, a victim to the open sea. Princess Caron’s eyes grazed her soiled and drenched clothes and her soaked curly hair. Her mask of royalty was washed away and replaced by a gasp of desperation. Suddenly on the raft her royal status was drowning with her in the depths of the water.
Efa grabbed an ore and began muscling through a tedious paddle. Her arms were already hanging like noodles. She grit her teeth, then dropped the ore into the boat and covered her hands with her face, the water jostling them.
“Do you think they’ll come back for us?” Princess Caron whimpered. Efa looked up as a tear plummeted down the princess’s cheek. Efa dried her eyes quickly and cleared her throat.
“They’ll be back for you. If it were only me I don’t know if they’d come.”
“Why not?” Princess Caron gawked at her in surprise.
“They don’t care about us. Have you been outside the castle?” Efa said through gritted teeth, trying to hide the anger which painted her tone.
Princess Caron had, Efa just didn’t remember. When she was young, her father had taken her out of the castle to show her the city of St. David, Wales. The poor flooded the streets, some bowing at the sight of the king and others hiding their faces as if wishing to disappear. The young princess remembered a small, blonde haired girl peering at her. Dust from the royal carriage fogged the child’s face, but her eyes were alight and full of hope at the sight of the princess.
But after her parade around the city, Princess Caron was ashamed of herself and her wealthiness. She wanted to help the starving people and innocent children who had been slapped by poverty. She didn’t know how and that kept her from returning to the village again.
“Of course I have,” Princess Caron finally answered a waiting Efa.
The fiery girl retorted, “Then why haven’t I seen you?” Princess Caron swallowed the growing lump in her throat.
Efa believed the princess would never understand the troubles Efa went through. She probably stayed away from the poor because she thought she was too good for them. After all, classes never wanted to be seen with each other, let alone try to understand them. That’s why this introduction was so strange, but it had to be done. Princess Caron had to know what Efa felt. Snooping in Princess Caron’s room was the only way to get off the ship and one step closer to finding her mother.
Efa barely remembered her mother. Golden blonde hair swooped like eagles down her back. Sapphire eyes gleamed in the sun. But for some reason she fled and Efa was determined to find her.
A soprano scream interrupted Efa’s thoughts. Her head bolted toward the direction of the noise. Princess Caron’s eyes were the size of golfballs, gazing west at the shifting waves.
“What’s wrong?” Efa asked, gazing at the Princess with a mesmerizing stare.
Of in the distance a lone yellow raft rocked in sync with the waves. It gradually crawled toward them. The more it inched closer, the faster Efa’s heart began to beat.
“We’re not alone! We’re not alone!” Princess Caron jumped to conclusion. The raft was a speck in the billowing blue, so small that you were afraid to blink because it may disappear.
As the raft rubbed against theirs slowly, displaying a sight that clawed Efa’s eardrums with Princess Caron’s unbearable screams. A petite girl lay unconscious at the bottom of the raft, curled in a ball.
No, they definitely weren’t alone.