Allways look at the bright side of life


The second part of the 18th chapter

Rhoda tried to remember what length of time had she really been on the island, before the demons had taken her. She didn’t have any success at all. When she tried to remember, the dreams appeared like spots of light on a dark floor, that has very clear boundaries, and around them the floor looks even darker. Any attempt she made to go a little further beyond the edges of the lighted patches, ended with a feeling of diving into deep darkness, and with a deep sense of loss.

“I wonder” Rhoda said when she thought about her first dream “What was the purpose of the voyage on which I was kidnapped? And who was onboard, except the girls that were with me and the crew of the ship?”

After she had thought for a few more minutes, she said “It is clear that it happened after the night of the comet’s first appearance. But I don’t have an inkling of an idea if it is a long time after that night or just a short time after it.”

Mee listened and nodded, and then said “That means it might be that you weren’t with the pirates a full year and a half, your majesty, and that the ring might have been hidden for less than a year.”

“If so, it is interesting to know what happened between the night in which the comet showed and the day in which I was kidnapped.” Rhoda hoped that maybe if she would say it out loud, something of the things that happened to her would gleam in the dark, and was disappointed again. It was clear to her, that at least for the meanwhile, she will discover nothing new this way.

While they were speaking, Rhoda and Mee wandered through the garden in a random walk, now they approached the grape arbor which Rhoda saw on her first day in the palace. She went into it. The sun was already low above the horizon. Rhoda told Mee “I want to stay alone here for some time. Go to the palace to inform them that they need to prepare dinner, and find someone that will make my intelligent talking parrot for me. I will enter the palace later. Maybe only after the sun has set. I need to be alone now. To think.”

Mee only said “As you wish, your majesty.” And went towards the palace.

Rhoda watched Mee getting further away and waited. When it seemed to her that Mee got far enough away, and will not hear her, Rhoda sat on the bench that was surrounded by the arbor and started crying bitterly. She didn’t want to do it in front of Mee, but the acknowledgement that she can’t know anything about herself, and even the things she knew might be wrong, because they were only dreams, made her feel lost and miserable. And to add to that, since she discovered the meaning of the ring, she stopped feeling relaxed.

For long minutes Rhoda kept on crying, feeling deeply sorry for herself. Life seemed to her to be dark and hopeless and her state seemed as bleak as the darkest night.

After crying this way for some time, other thoughts started to rise in her head. She thought that if her dreams were real, as she thought they were, then her state now is much better than it was with the pirates. And to be the demons’ queen wasn’t such a bad thing, considering all. And she didn’t remember her parents’ house, and because of that, she didn’t miss it too much. Still, her eyes kept tearing a few more minutes before she was calm again.

After Rhoda had cried enough, she lifted her watery eyes. The setting sun painted a brilliant display of colors, and the crying cleared the bad feelings from her. She reminded herself the atmosphere that was in the dream, at which she has spoken with her mother about her future. If the astrologers would have predicted for her a bad future, her mother would not have seemed so relaxed while they were talking. Her own state now was reasonable, and her bad time with the pirates she remembered only in a fragmented way and through dreams. All in all it seemed to her that there were enough good things happening to her at the moment, so she could not complain too much. The only thing that she wanted to make sure of was – that no one will know that she cried. Rhoda went to a nearby stream, washed her face thoroughly, and turned towards the palace with emboldened steps.

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Waking up


The end of the 17th chapter

Rhoda opened her eyes, confused, and asked loudly “What do you want?” but then she noticed that she was not on the island but on Belshazzar’s back, and saw that he was starting to lose height and getting ready to land in the garden of her palace, and she breathed with relief.

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The ring


The third part of the 17th chapter

Rhoda came to a bank of one of the little brooks and sat down with her legs dipped in the clear water. The feeling of the water on her feet made her peaceful, and she stared into it, forgetting herself and the entire world. At a certain moment she felt that for some time her eyes were fixed on something shiny that was stuck between the stones at the bottom of the brook. She woke herself from her trance and looked at the shining spot. It wasn’t a ripple on the water’s surface. There really was something in the water. Rhoda went into the water, shivering from the chill, and bent to get the thing that was there. After some effort she managed to free it. It was a simple gold ring, without any ornaments. It came, doubtlessly, from one of the pirates treasures and had fallen on the way to their hiding place, without them noticing its loss. The pirates were very meticulous in everything that they had robbed, treating it like a heirloom which passed in their family for generations. Rhoda decided, with a strong feeling of rebellion, that she will keep this ring for herself. The big problem was – how could she hide it? It was clear that she couldn’t wear it on her finger, where it will be seen immediately. She had to find another way. Rhoda thought for a while. The garment she wore was worn and without pockets. It was mended so many times, as best she could, just so that she will be able to remain dressed. It was clear to her that for as long as the pirates didn’t take her to be sold, they will not give her any proper clothes. The solution was clear – she will sew the ring to the inside of her sleeve. That way no one will know the ring is in her possession. Rhoda hurried towards the pirate camp in order to follow her plan, holding the ring in her tightly closed fist.

When she got near the camp, Rhoda saw that some of the pirates had already woken up and were gathered around the table, eating, drinking and cursing. She didn’t want them to notice her, so she sneaked around to get to the room the pirates had given her. She was about to go in, when one of them saw her and called “Come here you prinzesa! My pitcher is empty!” With great haste she dropped the ring into a thorny bush that grew near the entrance to her room and hurried to fill his pitcher. A nervous pirate, at an early morning hour, after a wild night of drinking and cursing was not something you could ignore.

When Rhoda got to the breakfast table every one of the pirates made demands of her, and the following hours passed while she was brushing shoes, combing mustaches, serving food and drink and cursing (in her heart) each and every one of the pirates she took care of, with the most aggressive curses she could think of.

When the blond pirate woke up too, and grabbed her shoulder to make her turn to him and give him the pitcher, Rhoda woke up from her sleep, probably because she slept a little to the right, and her shoulder hit the side of the seat.

Can she trust them?


The end of the 16th chapter

“So, the punishment he gave you is that you can’t rule yourself?” asked Rhoda. It seemed to her to be a very reasonable punishment for their theft of the kingship from King Solomon, and didn’t think there was anything problematic with it.

“It is only a small part of the punishment, your majesty.” answered Mee. “The really despicable part of the punishment is that we have to have someone, a human being, to rule over us in order for us to be able to really live.”

“But you did go on living, and you could have gone on following the ring, so in what sense did you not live?”

“There are so many things that we couldn’t do as long as the ring hasn’t come to your finger, your majesty, that there is no point even trying to start telling you about them.” said Mee. “It resembles living with plaster all over your body, in your bed, when you are sick. You are presumably alive, but what kind of a life is that? You can imagine how glad someone will be, who can at last be free of his plaster, and can start going around again.”

“And how can I know that none of you is setting me the same trap that you set to King Solomon?” asked Rhoda. “How can I trust you?”

Mee smiled understandingly.

“You just have to remember that you have the ring, your majesty. Since it was not such great fun to be encased in plaster, you can be sure we will not cause ourselves such harm anew, and we won’t make you lose your rule over us. We prefer that you, and after you all of your descendants, will rule over us, than the ring rolling in the world again. That is our insurance against the plaster…”

“Oh” said Rhoda, though she wasn’t sure that the explanation felt satisfactory to her. But she couldn’t explain to herself what exactly she didn’t like in the explanation.

She sat, sunk deeply in thought for a few minutes, and then the smell of hot food getting cold on her plate reminded Rhoda how hungry she was. She was so hungry, that she immediately turned to eat, and until she finished eating, Rhoda didn’t even think about what she heard from Mee. After finishing, Mee served her with a steaming glass, full to its brim with a fragrant drink. Rhoda drank the glass to its end, and when she finished, felt certain tiredness. She told Mee “I want to get going, I want us to manage to get back today.”

“Your will shall be done, your majesty.” Said Mee with a smile, turned her face, and in no time all the things were back on Belshazzar’s back, Rhoda was sitting comfortably in the canopy, and Belshazzar was flying through the sky at a comfortable height to watch from.

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