Chapter 40 | Right Hands

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Ethan, however, was the worst of them all. The way his fury displayed made him look beyond his character. It was strange to see such dark rage, just as it was strange to see this heavy misery drowning him.

I knew he felt helpless and distressed to a point that he felt suffocated. He looked so forlorn, almost confused even. And for some reason, it stung my heart to see his raw vulnerability.

I'm sure people would have given me the odd eye if they ever found out that I felt sorry for him rather than myself.

Lastly, I let my gaze spill on the Musketeers, my French friends that I had befriended in my time here on this stupid ship.

D'Artagnan and Aramis were concentrated on something that I could not interpret. Their glares followed every movement, almost as if they were waiting for the right moment to attack.

It wasn't before our orbs encountered that I could see the smile of reassurance sparkling in their eyes. Confusion was summoned, displayed by my furrowed eyebrows.

That's when it hit me.

Where are Athos and Porthos?

Abruptly, the dagger disappeared along with the captain's painful grip. He was ripped off of me in an instant, freeing me from his claws and hatred.

Oxygen, hallelujah!

I fell on the wooden deck, gasping for air as relief filled the ambiance around me. My hand went straight to my collarbones to stop the bleeding, but the touch of it made me hiss out in ache. The raw wounds had worn my body out, and God, did I yearn for some rest.

"Elena!" Ethan was on my side in a heartbeat. He draped something thick and warm around me, shielding me from the rain. To feel his presence this close made the elation grow bigger, and for the first time, I could breathe. "Let me see," he gently brushed my wet hair away to see the bleeding wounds, softly placing a handkerchief against my injuries.

"I will kill all of ye!" Claes screamed through the wall of Musketeers that held him down. "Mark my words, rat - I will come back for ye and yer precious, little Doll!" He sneered at the brunette who slowly helped me to my feet, his hands supporting me from putting pressure on my foot.

Ethan's actions felt like a blanket of security. Perhaps his hug was a reality check; that I was actually here with him and not in some cold cage regulated by pirates.

"Oh, have I been looking forward to this moment, sous-merde," Aramis' towered over the captain that was sprawled on the floor, his French accent almost disappearing in the threat.

"Come on, Ella," Ethan carefully tugged me, pulling me towards the direction of his ship. When I looked over at him, I realized that he wasn't wearing his thick, red cape.

Because I was.

Despite the short distance, it still felt like a long walk. Thankfully, Ethan let me lean on him, his hands supporting me in every step. It was a nice gesture, a warm and welcoming action that made me inwardly smile.

"How are you doing?" He whispered with saddened and softened eyes, his face twisted into a hard worry.

I shook my head slowly, "Did I ever tell you that I don't like to sail?"

And that's when I saw that one thing that I had missed ever since my kidnapping, a faint light illuminating in the dark rain: his smile. "No, I don't think so. But you can tell me all about it later."

He led me under the deck, shielding us from the heavy shower outside. It was warmer inside, but due to my clothes being exposed to cold water, my body still continued to tremble - both in pain and coldness.

I struggled with the stairs. For each step, a spasm exploded in my right foot that slowed me down. Although I was trying to cover it up, Ethan seemed to notice it right away.

"Here," he said and picked me up, carrying me the rest of the way.

It was weird to be held like this, I'm not going to lie, it was not something I was used to. But it still felt nice and warm, almost like a hug.

By the time we reached the room, I was already losing consciousness. I did catch pictures of what was happening, albeit it was rather foggy and unclear images.

Hands came from all directions, causing the warmth to vanish. A door closed and another opened, my wet clothing disappearing, and suddenly I was in a warm tub, getting cleaned and washed up.

I don't remember the faces who helped me, only the feeling of the water stinging and burning my injuries. Afterward, I was dressed in dry clothes, which felt like an incredible luxury.

Tiredness had completely worn me out, causing me to fall on my way out of the bathroom.

Someone called for Ethan, and the next thing I know, his warm hands were helping me to my bed.

The softness of the mattress felt almost unfamiliar. Most of my time in captivity, I only had a hard, cold wooden floor to lay on. Thus, an inward gleam was summoned at the gentle touch.

"Thank you," I whispered as sleep welcomed me with open arms. Ethan gently brushed my hairline and below my bruised eye, something that caused my tense muscles to relax.

If he had responded to my gratitude or not, I had not been able to detect it. Sleep was growing stronger and darker every time his soft touch brushed my skin, especially after his kiss on my forehead. It was becoming heavier and heavier with each breath, and quieter for every second.

And then I disappeared again, but this time, I fell into the right hands.

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