Chapter Eight

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1868, the Dawrey Ocean

With two portholes and a lockable door, Adelyn found that she was quite happy with the room her and Nina were set to share. The portholes brought in enough light that Adelyn could see well enough, even if both of them were tinted yellow from age and dirt. She made a note to spend time cleaning them at some point in the next little while. With no sign of books or anything of the sort, Adelyn didn't imagine there would be much else for her to do on board.

Maybe she could clean all of the portholes, she thought. It was the first time in her life she'd ever been happy to clean.

Tucked away in the corner of the room, Nina sat on the only bed. A hammock was slung between a bolted-down bookshelf (full of nothing but candles and clothes—Adelyn had looked) and the wall. Adelyn quickly realized it would be the closest thing she got to a mattress.

It was still a step up from the floor, Adelyn thought.

"Can I see it?" Nina said, watching Adelyn as she dropped her bag into the middle of the hammock.

Adelyn frowned, giving the pirate a confused look. "See what?"

"The mark," Nina snarled, as if it should have been obvious. Adelyn's hand closed in a way that was almost protective. Nine mistook her silence for further confusion. Maybe even stupidity. "The Witches Map."

"Oh," Adelyn swallowed. She kept her feet firmly in place, unwrapping the loose bandage Harlem had tied around her palm. Underneath, her skin was raw. She held her hand out just in front of herself. Nina stood, her eyes boring holes into Adelyn's skin.

Adelyn suddenly felt like a museum artifact. She didn't like the way Nina was looking at her palm. It was as though she'd just seen a ghost.

Or magic, Adelyn thought. Nina looked as though Adelyn's hand had just caught flame, and then produced a bouquet of flowers from thin air.

"That's something," Nina whispered. She didn't look away. Adelyn's arm was beginning to cramp up.

A knock on the door made Adelyn bring her hand back down to her side. She was grateful for Nik's intrusion, and she almost caught herself smiling as he pushed the door open and mocked them with a bow.

Nikolai grinned, "Miladies."

"Bobolyne," Nina muttered.

Nik gasped, his eyes widening with an imitation of shock. After a moment, he shrugged it off, "Yes, I suppose I must be a fool. After all, I called you a lady."

Nina reached behind her and pulled a pillow up off of her bed, throwing it at Nik with impressive speed. He caught it, throwing it right back. Nina was not as lucky as he'd been—it hit her square in the face. Adelyn laughed, and though she sobered quickly, the sound made Nik's grin come back.

"Let me see your hand," Nik said after a few seconds of silence. Adelyn lifted her palm again, holding it out towards him. She wondered if Nina noticed that Adelyn had held far less hesitation towards his wanting to see it than she had to her. She hoped she hadn't.

"Don't wrap it with that stuff," he said, motionning to the bandage she held in her other hand. "That's meant for cuts, not burns."

"I didn't realize you were a physician." Adelyn mocked.

Nikolai reached into his back pocket, pulling out gauze and tape. Slowly, he pushed her back towards Nina's bed, and she fell back to sit on the covers when her knees hit the frame. Nik crouched down to the floor in front of her, setting the tape on her lap while he measured a few layers of gauze around her hand. Adelyn felt Nina watching them, and her cheeks heated.

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