The King of Summer was not happy. He was not happy at all. He was never happy with the Queen’s idea of arranging marriage for Princess Cinnamon, and obviously was not happy with the result. Of course the little boy in him wanted to shout out and blame his beloved wife for what has happened, but the wise man who has been taught a lot by Time understood completely how useless that would be.
She was the daddy’s little girl. Princess Cinnamon was. The King was pretty sure she would inherit his throne one day and he had so much hope of the brilliance in her that nobody had ever noticed. Of course as a father it would be wrong if he openly admitted that he loved her more than the other children, but he did.
It’s not the scandal that upset him. It was that she was not here in the castle.
He was a busy man. Everybody knows how busy it was to rule a kingdom. It was never his choice, he was born a crown prince. If he had a choice he would rather be a farmer so he would have more time to take care of his daughter.
Sometimes from the window of his royal study room, he could see Princess Cinnamon and her servant reading books in the garden. Or sometimes they were just having a nice chat there. Or argue, from the look of it. However, they were seemed happy and for awhile he would feel contented as a father. That was not an ideal way to see how your daughter grow up, but that was the closest he could get.
And it was for the sake of her happiness that he let her go away. It would be nobody in the palace garden, well… Maybe the gardener, but that was not what he had been expecting. One person less (or two, technically) and the palace felt as quiet as the royal morgue when nobody dies.
“I think you should stop being angry to me,” the Queen placed his favourite snack in front of him. He wondered if it was some kind of bribery.
“I was not angry at all,” he said. Lying. But everybody lies anyway.
“I did what I thought was the best for our daughter and our kingdom,” the Queen continued.
“Therefore I said I was not angry,” the King tried his best to make his voice as calm as the old monk in the monastery up in the mountain whom he visited every three months.
“You know that I was never meant to make her run away,” the Queen looked upset and left the room without waiting for the King’s reply.
Woman. The King grunted. They would never listen to what you said. It was what in their mind that mattered.
He tried to go back to the book he was reading, and tried to find where he stopped before all those nonsense in his head took over his brain. He could not read a word. Damn women. Mother and daughter, all they did was making his life miserable.
Coco hated the ship. She believed she have said that a million times, but today she loathed the ship with her heart and soul. Why?
Because the princess suddenly decided that being a sailor/fisherman was apparently a fun job. She has been doing this whale hunting for days now, with the captain’s supervising she ALMOST caught one. She has got some small fishes though, and they tasted surprisingly and incredibly delicious, but Coco prefer eating ones than being covered in slime and sweat catching ones.
Her only concern was, if the princess had found this job fun, and decided that this was what she wanted to do for life, than Coco would be doomed to live in the ocean forever. Seasickness was not the main problem now, but living in the ocean, floating in the middle of nowhere, and had to risk her life of being eaten alive by the whale? That was a quite grimm thought. Oh yes she could just desert this quest, but she would not be able to come home to the Kingdom of Summer as a deserters. It would be the end of her career as a royal servant, or the end of her life actually.
And if the princess decided to be a sailor; considering how she started to dress like one; it was about time she would curse like one. She was always a barbaric princess, but a princess who curse like a sailor would be outrageous.
“Coco! You see that? I almost shot whale!” Coco could hear the princess shouted at her from afar. She could not even compose a complete sentence, Coco thought in despair.
“Coco why not answering?” Princes Cinnamon approached the sulking Coco.
“Why are you talking like this?” Coco refused to respond to a question that was not properly composed.
“You are talking like you are one of these people,” said Coco tried to control her facial expression so that it would not show any disgusted gesture.
“Everybody is talking like that, Coco. It is odd to talk as if we were still in the palace,” the princess argued, and suddenly she talked just like a normal human being.
“You don’t need to talk as if we were in the palace, Princess. But you don’t need to talk like these sailor. That is too much. Are you going to start swearing like these people for the sake of blending in?” Coco could not hide her disapproval.
Princess Cinnamon sighed.
“You wanted to go to the Land of Four Kingdom and Four Season, didn’t you? You will leave these people eventually, my princess. Please keep that in mind. You are not a sailor, you don’t want to be one,” Coco reminded her.
“What if I do?” asked the Princess stubbornly.
Coco rolled her eyes and stormed out. It’s so much better be in her room and read some good books to remind her of the cultured society.
Princess Cinnamon, or Cinnamon – that’s how they call her now – smiled a little while her servant, or her ex-servant stormed out. Not only that she felt a slight victory from the walk out, but mostly because she noticed that she’s not the only one adapting with the life outside the palace walls, Coco was too. Imagine doing that storming out, pouting, arguing when you were under the royal radar (no radar is not yet invented, but you know what I mean).
But she realised that Coco got the point. It was too much, and to be honest she also felt ridiculous for talking like an illiterate. She had to admit that she was carried away a little… Too much. But who can resist the temptation of freedom?
“It must be the food,” Coco mumbled angrily while busy checking Cinnamon’s temperature. It was still as high as yesterday, the cold cloth over her forehead did not work.
“Coco. Bucket please!” Cinnamon asked hurriedly when she started to feel the unbearable sickness in her guts. In her agony she realised this must be what Coco felt when she had the endless seasick at the beginning of their voyage.
“I can’t believe I did not check the kitchen. I should not trust these savages to serve you food from their filthy kitchen…” Coco continued her vent while passing the princess her vomit bucket.
Nothing came out though. Cinnamon had not really eaten anything since she felt not quite well few days ago. She held the bucket, just in case.
The storm outside kept the ship crew busy; including the captain. Well, especially the captain because he had to make sure that every part of the ship would be intact when the storm stopped. And that every single crew in his ship alive. And of course the paying passengers too.
Coco had tried to find the captain to ask him to stop by the nearest port so she could find a doctor, a real doctor – not the ship doctor who know nothing about food poisoning. But Captain Whale could not be found anywhere, and it made her even more furious. All she can do was making sure the princess alive until the storm passed. No pressure, she’s just a princess.
“Don’t cry, I am not going to die before we reached the promised land,” Cinnamon chuckled.
Coco wiped her tears swiftly. She did not even realised that she had begun crying – something she had never done in front of the family she’s serving. And to be honest, even she did not know why she cried.
Maybe she cried because she just desperate. She just did not know what to do, and she did not know how long she could keep the princess alive. And if the princess ever died, she would either be beheaded in front of the town hall in the midday when everybody’s having their lunch. And people would throw whatever they could not finish for their lunch to her before the shiny blade separate her head from her neck in a clean cut.
Either that or the idea of living alone. Because the princess was the closest person she ever had in her life. If she died it would be worse than leaving her family in the coast when she was young. It would way worse than leaving Bull in the Kingdom of Summer. For whatever selfish reasons, the princess just can not die. Not in her watch.
Or, she cried because of this situation. Seeing the princess that she cared about lying weakly, still trying to comfort her that everything would be alright, although none of them really believed that. Seeing the princess in the agony and there was nothing she could do to help. Her heart broke whenever the princess told her about the pain she suffered, because she knew it would take a lot to make Princess Cinnamon to admit her weakness.
“I’m sorry I took you with me. This journey sucks,” Cinnamon mumbled.
“No. Don’t you dare start with that, Princess,” Coco stared at her, trying to send the angry vibe just to let her know how she despised the idea that is playing in the Princess’ mind.
Cinnamon chuckled again, she could not help it although it made the banging in her head so much more severe. It was so funny that Coco was telling her off while still addressing her with “Princess”. She understood completely now that it’s been more than a decade Coco called her that, and it would take ages to get used to the idea that she’s no longer a princess.
“I’m going to have some sleep. I think you should too,” said Cinnamon finally.
“I’ll be alive when you wake up. You can kill me if I did not keep my promise…” Cinnamon laughed at her own grim joke.
If she wasn’t her princess, Coco might have punched her hard in the face.
Coco woke up instantly when there’s a knock in the door. Why were they knocking at the door? Did the storm hit so hard they need to evacuate now? Was the ship sinking they need to run to save their lives? She looked at the princess warily, and wonder what she should do if the worst happened. She wouldn’t be able to leave her, but it would be a pain in the buttocks to carry a sick person in the evacuation boat.
Or maybe they should go die together?
However, despite all these scary thoughts in her mind, she walked to the door. She was not surprise that the Captain was the one who knocked their door – she would not expect anyone else, but she was surprised with the amount of food the captain had behind him. Those food, she thought angrily, were those which made her princess fell ill. She felt more angry to herself because the smell of the food successfully provoke her stomach – growling wrathfully, asking for offerings from its owner.
“Is the princess alright?” asked Captain Whale looking behind Coco’s shoulder.
“She fell ill since the storm hit. I wonder if we can go to the nearest port to get a doctor for her when we can…”
“She was sick, and throwing up a lot. And her temperature was high…”
The captain rushed to see Princess Cinnamon, and checked at her temperature. It was warm, but nothing serious. This little servant must have either done a really good job or been overreacting. It’s just a cold, and the ship doctor should be able to cure it in no time. A good food would help, and this little girl might need rest – the captain looked at Coco pitifully. She must have spent sleepless nights taking care of her beloved friend.
“You eat well, and then go to sleep, Child. I will ask the ship doctor to take care of this. The storm is over and everything will be alright,” the captain said.
In a very weird way Coco felt so much better. It’s like all the burden was lifted from her shoulder. It’s like the sound of a father.
She never actually talked to his own father. In her life, father was the one who went to the sea in the middle of the night and went back home just before midday with some money or some fish, and collapsed to his bed just to wake up few hours before midnight. He always looked miserable, and Coco never wanted to remember him. She never had a real father figure in her life.
But the captain might be a great father.
Or at least he sounded like one.
It was weird because for the first time, as long as she could remember, she actually missed a figure she never had known before. All she wanted to do was to run to the captain and cried like a baby, and being thankful that someone took care of the mess, took the control, and let her rest for awhile. She wanted to let down her guard. She wanted to, for just few peaceful hours, let go the responsibilities on her hand.
“Are you okay Coco?” the captain looked worried because Coco started to cry.
“I thought my princess was going to die,” Coco bursted in tears.
It was so hard not to laugh, but Captain Whale tried to sympathise with this poor little girl. The life in the sea was hard even for his men, let alone for a girl who never really live outside the palace walls. He brought her in and let her sit while his men served the food in front of her and told one of them to call the doctor to come.
“Now eat. Everything will be alright…”
Everything will be alright. Coco repeated it for herself.