Kara's green eyes never left the doc on the first bit of land they'd seen in a month. The glare of the sun bit harshly into her vision, but she scarcely blinked as the ship grew closer.
Her attention didn't waver as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other, acknowledging the girl standing to her left.
"Are you sure about this?" she asked, almost timidly.
Kara let out a long exhale and closed her eyes, head dropping as she gripped the deck railing and swallowed.
"I made a promise. I can't just break it. He'll be waiting for his prize and then he'll-" she bit back the rest of her sentence. It was for her to worry about alone.
"But Captain-"
Kara's eyes snapped open and she lifted her head. She held up her hand to silence the short girl beside her and turned to face her.
"Minsun, you are not the Captain, nor the First Mate, yet I have allowed you to speak freely on all matters. This is something that does not concern you. I recommend you remember your place before I have to remind you myself," her voice was low and sharp. Her eyes narrowed dangerously as they bore into the barely 18-year-old girl.
"Y-yes Captain!" Minsun's voice shook.
She wasn't used to this tone or bitter warning. None of them were. It was the darkness inside her that Kara tried so desperately to conceal, but today, she had no time for niceties or coddling. If Minsun needed to press the issue, she would suffer the consequences.
"Good, now go ask Cleo what you can do to take your mind off my decisions."
Without uttering another word, Minsun hurried off down the steps of the Captain's Deck, onto the main Deck where Cleo was barking orders to the runts to clean the still blood-stained wood from the fight they'd been involved in two nights back.
Kara felt guilty for how she'd treated the girl, especially as she watched her run away like a dog with its tail between its legs, but she had to learn the way of the ship sometimes. She couldn't be coddled for the rest of her life.
She watched as Cleo gave Minsun a brief hug before putting her to work alongside the runts. She turned her attention back to the rapidly approaching land and glanced up toward the sky, shielding her eyes from the sun as she found the Crows Nest, where the man with the best eyesight on her crew stood with a telescope held up to one eye. She waited for any signal from him for a long moment. She waved up at him when he removed the telescope from his eye and looked down.
"Smooth!" He bellowed down to her.
With his signal, Kara grabbed the wheel of the ship and spun it counterclockwise, straightening it up for dock as they pulled into port. She gave the command for the anchor to drop and the ship came to a steady halt at the island dock.
"Are you sure about this?" a voice said from behind her.
"I have to be. All your lives are in danger if I don't," she whispered her response.
She never should have made that vow all those years ago. Then she wouldn't have to do this. But now, she didn't have a choice.
"Everyone is to remain near the ship! This should not be a lengthy stay! We are here to restock and keep a promise! Today is not the day to get drunk in a bar!" she ordered loudly.
"Ay, Captain!" an uneven chorus responded.
The crew de-boarded first, she followed close behind, gripping her first mate's shoulder.
"You're with me," she whispered lowly.
He nodded and walked ahead of her off the ship. Once their feet hit the sturdy dock, he responded. "Let's go kidnap a prince."