We grew up in Cool Ranch, where the sun was always blazing and the roosters always crowing. It was a simple life for Seth and I, and I loved every single second of it. I know that Seth did too, because he was always smiling, which is probably how he got his nickname: Smiling Seth Xavier. I didn't blame him for smiling constantly either; there was absolutely nothing not to smile about in Miranda. Well, there wasn't, but that all changed one summer day though.
The normally warm colored clouds had turned to a harsh shade of an acidic looking green color, while small strokes of lightning bounced within the clouds beneath our fair city. Everyone within the city had panicked. At the time, neither Seth nor I knew what was going on; we had been practicing our sword fighting while everything had taken a sudden turn for the worse.
We never really had any idea what was going on until we heard a shriek pierce through the air. Both Seth and I froze and tuned in even more. I knew that shriek, I just couldn’t place whose it was, and that bothered me. I looked down at the hilt of my dagger and saw that my knuckles had turned white from how tight I had been holding the weapon. I loosened my grip a tad, but then I wouldn't really know because my brain had already slipped back into a whirl storm. Whose scream was that? It took a minute, but it finally clicked.
“Anabelle!” I screamed, dropping my twin daggers and ran towards the down docks, leaving Seth behind and as confused as ever.
This couldn’t be happening…why did everyone around me always get hurt? Anabelle was the nicest creature that I had ever meant, she didn't deserve any harm! Anabelle was even kind enough to take me in, even after she knew that I had already been through two foster parents—both who had disappeared not even a year after they had taken me in. I blinked away the tears forming in my eyes. Not Anabelle…
I stopped running when I saw her, and almost laughed with relief. Nothing was wrong; I must have imagined the shriek. I leaned against the side of the wall of the general store and sighed. It wasn't until Anabelle backed up that I saw that she was not okay—pirates were in front of her. Ghost pirates. Specifically, Deputy Ashe. My face paled at the sight of him and his gang, who were also undead.
“Please,” I heard Anabelle beg. “We didn't do anything to you!” It sounded as if she had been crying. My heart broke in half. I had to save her. I couldn’t let anything happen to her because of me. I took a step forward, ready to throw myself in front of her and take on Ashe, but somebody pulled me back. I opened my mouth to shout to Anabelle that I was coming, but they put their hand over my mouth and whispered in my ear.
“You can’t save her,” I recognized the voice as Seth’s. Apparently he had gotten over the shock of Anabelle’s scream. “If you interfere, they’ll get what they want and destroy Miranda.
I was almost glad that he still had his hand over my mouth, because I’m sure that if I could speak, any words that I would’ve said would’ve ended in a sob. My brain knew he was right, but my heart told my different. It told me that I should save her while I still can.
“It’s nothing personal,” Ashe cracked a smile. “But a job is a job.” He turned back to his gang and whispered something to them, causing them to break out into smiles. I shivered with disgust, or was it fear? It took all I had to look away from what Ashe was about to do, and I knew it well. In my mind, I saw him reach out his bony pointer finger and lightly tap Anabelle’s head, causing her to drain of all color until she was nothing left but a ghost—a foreshadow of what would happen to every other inhabitant of Miranda.
The events that happened next happened to fast for me to comprehend, I couldn’t even move my feet. They felt like bricks superglued to the ground. Seth took his hand off of my mouth and tugged at my wrist, but I couldn’t even move my head to look at him. My eyes were stuck to the ground, examining every blade of grass and speckle of dirt.
“We have to go, Felicity” he whispered. “We can’t let them find us.”
I nodded my head mutely. Right now, I really didn't care what happened to me. I let Seth drag me through half the town, half running and half stumbling over my own feet. My brain had given up trying to think about anything, only one thought played through my head, as if in a loop: Why me?
Seth had ended up stashing me in a cellar, coming in only after he was sure that no one would find us. Once I found a place that wasn't covered in cobwebs, I sat down and curled into myself. I squeezed my eyes shut, wanting this to be over with. After a while I felt Seth come over and wrap his arm around my, trying to comfort me, but we both knew that I couldn’t be comforted.
“Where is she?” A slightly annoyed voice sounded from above the cellar. My eyes flashed open when I recognized the voice. Armada. What were they doing here?
“I dunno,” I heard Ashe say. “Maybe our sources lied.”
“No, they wouldn't lie to me. Have your men look through everything again. Scratch that, three times.”
“Whatvere you say, Deacon,” Ashe mumbled.
Both mine and Seth’s breath caught. Deacon? As in, Kane’s spymaster? This was so no good. I couldn’t help but to wonder though, why did they want me? I looked up to see Seth, and his constant smile was no longer there, instead a frown replaced it. His eyes no longer glimmered with happiness and warmth, but with worry and sorrow. I did this. My hands curled into fists. It was time to put this to a stop, no one else needed to get hurt. Finding that my legs once again fully worked, I stood up.
“What are you doing?” Seth hissed.
“I’m going to stop this,” I said, jaw clenched.
“You can’t!” Seth said a little too loudly. Once the words were out of his mouth, his hand flew the catch them, but will no avail.
“Did you hear that?” Ashe said.
“Yeah,” Deacon said slowly. “I did.” I could practically see the malicious grin plastered on Ashe’s face.
Seth dragged me to a corner, hidden behind some shelves with various items stacked on them. I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear just about everything. I could hear how loud my breathing was, and the constant drumming of my heart, but most of all I heard the cellar door creak open slowly—as if they were trying to torture us already.
Footsteps followed one another down the wooden stairs, and somewhere along the line the scent of death enveloped the room. Despair clung to me like a twin I never knew that I had. This was it—I was over. Seth was over.
Oh God, what would they do to Seth?
I looked at the brown-haired boy again, wishing that he wasn't here, that he had never even met me. That way he would have been safe, probably playing with another neighbor or even helping his mom cook, like he always did. I shouldn’t have come to Miranda, I knew better. I should have stayed with Jack, like my parents had said.
“Well, now. Lookie what we have here,” I looked up to see Ashe standing over us, grinning that slimy smile of his. Deacon walked over to his, his face never changing at the sight of us. Seth pushed me behind him.
“You’re not going to touch her,” he snarled at Ashe and Deacon.
“Aint we?” Ashe countered, but Deacon only smiled.
“I’m taking both of them,” Deacon turned to Ashe as he said this.
“But—“ Ashe started to protest, his eyes looking greedily at Seth.
“Your pay is on your ship. Good day.” Deacon dismissed Ashe with a flick of his wrist, and away Ashe went, grumbling under his breath.
Two soldiers grabbed my arms, and two grabbed Seth’s. At first Seth struggled as I watched helplessly. These things were too tough for us; we didn't even have any weapons. There was no way we could win, but that didn't stop Seth from trying. He kicked and bucked in every way possible, but it was nothing to the Armada troops.
“Make sure that they are on different ships,” Deacon ordered his soldiers.
“Yes sir,” they replied soullessly. I didn't even protest until we were at the docks, when they started carrying us to different ships going to different destinations.
“Seth!” I screamed and finally starting resisting the robotic minions holding me. He had given up struggling and now just looked at me with sad eyes. “I’m so sorry,” I whispered.
“I’ll come for you, Felicity. I swear it!” Seth called back before the Armada drones through him on their ship. I managed to catch the ships name before they threw me into my ship as well. The Destruction. I made a mental note to remember that.
The cell that they threw me in was dark and cold. There was some straw on the floor and a small bed hanging from the side of the wall. It was the opposite of homie. I spent most days asleep, trying to pin this down as a nightmare, hoping that I would wake up to the usual crowing of Miranda. It never came. One day though, something unusual happened.
Our ship was being boarded, I could tell by the shouts and clanging of swords. Footsteps above gave the hint that pandemonium had arrived at last. I wondered who had the courage—or idiocy—to actually board Deacon’s ship. I got out of my bed and stood next to the cold iron bars of my cage, hoping that the person who was attacking would set me free.
After a while, the dungeon door opened and I heard two pairs of footsteps come down the old wooden stairs. When they exited from the shadows I saw how they were—a big pirate with a wooden leg and a smaller pirate—a monkey to be exact—walking next to him. They stopped a couple feet away from my cell. The monkey was the first to walk forward, analyzing me with every step. Once he had his full of me, he turned back to his companion.
“Is this the prisoner we’re looking for?”
“Hard to say. You there! You’re standing on me blind side. Are ye a boy, or a girl?”
“G-Girl,” I sputtered.
“What’s your name?”
“Felicity Underwood,” I replied, no longer tongue-tied.
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