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PRINCELESS by Cam Jace Storykiller

Chapter 8

Copyright©by Cameron Jace

January 15 2019

Fishing Ship, Middle of the Atlantic Ocean

Angry tides whipped at the ship in the middle if the ocean — which looked more like a large boat sometimes — as the fishermen pulled up the fishnets from the deep waters. They had failed to catch what they were looking for today and it devastated them.

Venus hung onto a pole, doing her best not to fall or slip to the water covering the deck’s floor. She wore the Sailor’s  yellow fisherman outfit and it only made her looker smaller than she already was.

Older men and women grunted and growled and spat and cursed each time the net came up on board. Not that it came up empty. It’s just that whatever they expected didn’t latch onto their bait. Venus wondered what kind of fish they had been looking for.

None of them cursed when the boat rocked up and down in the middle of the ocean. Not even when rain poured and threatened to drown them. These kind of worries only mattered to Venus. Those fisherwomen — and men — were trained by the Princeless. They feared nothing.

Yesterday she’d seen a man topple off of the boat in the storm. She had screamed and called for help, surprised that none of them cared.

“A man fell off the boat,” she had spat rain in the Sailor’s face.

“Man eats fish. Sometimes fish eats man,” He had replied. “Darwin is pretty happy now.” And then he left.

Seven days now and she hadn’t trained to shoot a gun or workout her martial arts capabilities. All she learned was how to catch fish. And she sucked at it. Hated it every minute, appalled by the smell and stains. Disgusted by how they had to eat it raw at times because fire and cooking wasn't part of their plan.

Today was different though.

The men and women were unusually tense and upset. The sun was about to sink into the ocean. Soon darkness would be their worst friend. Yet they hadn’t found what they were looking for.

Sailor watched his men from the buoy. He stood there like a rock, as if cemented to the floor. The tides and rain spat onto his face but he didn’t flinch. In fact, he tried to defy the laws of science and light up his pipe. With the tattoos and pipe, he reminded her of a chubbier and older version of Popeye the Sailor Man. She knew John Long Sailor wasn't his real name, but who cared.

“Go help them, princess!” He laughed at her.

Venus wanted to punch him for calling her princess again and again. But she couldn’t. He was right. On this boat, she disappointedly acted like a spoiled princess. A hopeless damsel in distress who could barely move fish from one barrel to another. She ended up sneezing. It would be embarresing if she died of cold instead of drowning in a storm. She hated that about herself.

“I don’t know what they’re looking for,” she shouted back.

“Mermaids.”

“Stop mocking me.”

“I’m not. Legend has it that mermaids once swam these forsaken waters. You catch one, and the raging ocean calms down.”

“Mermaids don’t exist.”

“Neither does Prince Charming,” he tongued a fish's thorn in his mouth. “but you believe he does.”

“So you’re letting your men chase phantoms and risk their lives? For what?”

“Reality is nothing but chasing the same phantoms on a daily basis.”

Venus rolled her eyes. She had come to understand that Sailor loved to talk in metaphors and riddles. It still puzzled her why he was chosen to transport her to the Organization. He didn't strike as the most apt or trained. Probably because he was low key. A camouflage of a man you would hardly suspect could mentor an assassin.

“I found one!” An old fisherman exclaimed. “I found a mermaid!”

Venus craned her neck to look, but the hordes of other fisherman obscured the scene. She had to give up on the pole and glide down then try to stand on her feet. She barely balanced herself upon the drenched deck floor.

Sailor didn’t move, but watched from afar.

Venus saw the fishermen gathering around their so-called mermaid. It looked like some kind of a fish. A huge one, actually. The size of ten men combined.

Was that really a mermaid?

Her fairytale readings hit her hard. She still longed for miracles and magic to happen, and it urged her to grip onto big boxes filled with fishing gear and scramble her way to the edge of the boat.

“Woah,” a fisherman chirped. “This mermaid is loaded.”

What the heck was he talking about? Venus climbed up on a nearby box to get a better view, risking to slip and break her neck.

“Shit,” she cursed under her breath.

What she saw looked like a real mermaid, only the skin appeared gummy and unnatural. Venus couldn’t see the mermaid’s face, but the hair was jet black and curly. This mermaid was truly big. She realized that when she heard the fisherman say ‘loaded’ he probably meant ‘bloated.’

“Cut her open,” Sailor demanded.

“What?” Venus objected. “Is she dead? Why cut her up?”

For the shiny golden ring inside, of course,” Sailor advanced toward his men, winking at Venus. “I thought you read a lot of fairytales and knew that mermaids are loaded with diamond rings.”

Venus stood perplexed, not sure what was going on. She saw a fisherman stab his large jagged-edged knife into the poor creature’s gut. She was dead, right? Or why hadn’t she cried for help?

A shriek of opposition was about to spurt out from her lungs.

Then when a loud horn sounded in the distance behind her.

She looked but fog had settles and she had to squint. She glimpsed a huge silhouette in the distance. A looming ghost dressed in black amidst the waters. Another large ship?

Venus saw the fishermen and woman panic to sound of the approaching ship.

“Open her up, fast!” Sailor ordered.

“It’s them!” A fisherwoman announced.

“Right on time, I guess,” Sailor mused bitterly and dipped a hand into the mermaid’s gut.

It occurred to Venus that she hadn’t seen blood seep out from the mermaid’s wound. She finally realized what the mermaid really was.

The Pillar pulled out a hand devoid of any rings on his fingers. Instead, he gripped several guns and rifles from her stomach. The mermaid was only a vessel they used to transport weapon underwater, probably to fight off the ship honking in the back.

Venus was in the middle of a war. Real assassins shit, she liked to think. The rush of adrenaline and excitement surging through her body excited her in the most unexpected ways. Maybe she was truly her mother’s product, and it was time for her to kill someone–or die prematurely.

“Venus,” Sailor never looked so serious, throwing a chain with one key in it. “Climb down the boat and lock yourself in my room.”

“What? No! I want to fight.”

For a moment, a look of admiration shaped Sailor's features. But soon he switched back into asshole-mode, “Don’t defy me,” he said, “Don’t you know they’re here to kill you?”

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