Chapter 9: Davy Jones' Locker

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It's only been three days, but the tropical herbs are doing wonders for the captain's health. Of course, the terrible weather we've had almost since leaving the island has also helped. Although it's slowed our course, it has also forced Kincade to stay inside and rest.

Unfortunately, the more time he's been awake, the less I've been able to spend at his side.

Because his life no longer hangs in the balance, my constant attention is no longer necessary. From what I can tell, most of the captain's energy is focused on maintaining the ship's safety in the gale force winds. He's only on deck briefly to check our position with his beautiful, golden astrolabe and consult with Sailing Master Till about the ship's course; otherwise, he's holed up inside. Other crew members come and go, but apart from dressing his wounds twice a day, I am left with few other reasons to enter his cabin. 

It becomes quite fortuitous, however, when Benito's little joke from the other day leads to an excuse I may use indefinitely.

I didn't tell the captain about the incident with the limes, but it seems it didn't escape his attention, after all. After regaining his strength, Kincade immediately remembered seeing the mess in my room and questioned the most obvious culprit - the ship's cook. Although I'm not certain of what transpired, Benito spent most of the day cutting and squeezing lime juice into the spare grog barrels. Better yet, the captain has since insisted I personally pick up and deliver his meals.

This newfound duty is reminiscent of my past as a housemaid, but I don't mind it one bit. The other injured crew members are also healing well, so the need for my assistance with their ailments is  waning. I'd rather spend my time doing something useful than sitting idly in my cabin. Being able to do something for the man who holds my fate in his hands is just a bonus.

I could, however, do without getting tossed about as I descend into the galley, but hopefully these storms will pass soon.

Many of the men are already standing in line, quietly waiting for the cook to parcel out their lunch. As it's now become usual, I go to the head of the queue. 

"Oye! What do ya' think yer doin', chica?" a clearly agitated man yells above the cacophony of the howling wind, flapping sails, and knocking crates.

While most of the men have made their peace with me being on board - a good few do owe their lives to my presence - I've learned to ignore the few that still haven't. I remain in place, waiting for Benito to give me the captain's plate.

"Are ya' too good to answer, puta?" he continues, but unlike the first comment, this one garners a reaction from the others. Muffled murmurs run through the crowd, followed by the shuffling of boots on the wooden planks. I look behind me just in time to see one of the new gunners shove the big, black-haired man who I suspected was the source of the vile language.

"Leave her be," the younger man admonishes the sailor who's been nothing but trouble since Kincade took him on. He's the one who lost his temper when he couldn't master prepping the cannon after just a few tries. He's been the same with every other task he's gotten and I'd love to see his comeuppance, but not like this and certainly not due to me.

"Thank you, Mister Winchell, but there's no need to worry yourself. I'll be on my way in a minute," I smile at the gunner's gallant effort, but I don't want things to get out of hand. His opponent is already rolling up his shirt-sleeves preparing to strike and I suspect my self-appointed savior would end up on the losing side in a fight with the brute.

However, Winchell takes the slight to heart and doesn't give up easily. "No, miss. He insulted ya' and I'm going to make sure he makes it right. Go on, Cortes. Apologize to the lady."

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