Chapter Thirteen

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1868, the Dawrey Ocean

Adelyn could hear everything. The blood rushing through her ears, the steady thuds of her heartbeat, and the pounding of footsteps above her. Every so often, dirt would trickle through the floorboards as someone walked by, falling through the air and disappearing on the floor.

It wasn't long before Adelyn heard the rushing of water against an incoming ship. She peered out the porthole, watching as the waves bent and rolled, and the black boards came into sight. The first thing Adelyn saw was the terrifying sculpture that was nailed to the front of the vessel. It reminded Adelyn of a serpent, leaping off of the bow and into the sky. It's teeth were far larger and far sharper than those of the siren on the Siren's Beckon. Adelyn shivered, watching the ship creep up to the side of the one she stood on. It was only so far away-- she could hear the screams of it's crew. They were slinging threats and cheering, as though they were going to war.

Adelyn forced herself away from the porthole, deciding she didn't want to watch what came next. She stepped back into the corner, lodging herself between Nina's bed and the wall. She heard the ruckus start on the main deck only a few moments later. Boots thunked against the boards as the invading crew swung aboard. When she closed her eyes, Adelyn could see it happening. Men flying over the sea on ropes tied to the mast, with swords and guns and all kinds of deadly weapons.

A shiver crept down Adelyn's spine as a scream pierced the air. Yelling soon followed, and Adelyn heard a familiar voice in the middle of it all. Captain Greywell's voice was not one that Adelyn would have forgotten so soon.

"Kors, long time no see." Greywell's said, arrogant as ever. "Where ya heading?"

"Here and there," Nikolai said. Adelyn didn't have to see him to know he'd shrugged, playing Greywell's hidden accusation off as though it wasn't there. "Nowhere in particular."

"You're a liar and a half, you know that?" Greywell hissed. Adelyn heard the soft thumps of boots clicking on the boards above her. Dust fell from the cracks between them. Adelyn pressed herself further against the wall, closing her eyes in the hope that Greywell's crew would go back to the other ship and sail away into the night.

Adelyn flinched when she heard the sound of the door to the lower deck open, it's handle slamming against the outside wall. It happened whenever it was pulled open too fast. Adelyn flinched, her eyes shooting open. She watched the door to her and Nina's room with wide eyes, terrified that it, too, would open. She'd locked it, but Adelyn knew for a fact that no lock was entirely reliable. There was always a way to unlock them.

On the main deck, Adelyn heard Nik's voice yell out, "All that's down there is empty beds and storage, matey. Don't waste your time."

"If that was all that was down there," Captain Greywell cooed, "then you wouldn't be trying to keep him from checking it out. Down you go, sailor."

Adelyn listened as shoes thudded against the stairs. The sounds of hinges squeaking made Adelyn's breath waver-- they were opening doors. It was only a matter of time before they got to hers, and a locked one would raise suspicion.

Adelyn swallowed, quickly getting to her feet. She hesitated for only a second before flipping the lock on the door and crawling under Nina's bed. Adelyn clamped a clammy hand over her mouth and pressed her body as close to the wall as she possibly could. Part of her wanted to close her eyes and pretend she was elsewhere, but a bigger part of her couldn't tear her eyes away from the door.

All Adelyn could do was watch as the knob turned and the door was pushed open. Two pairs of leather boots filled her vision, both old and worn. She'd never thought shoes could be so frightening.

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