The first night Nyx had to sleep snuggled up to Livia was torturous. The heat of Livia’s body served as a reminder of her proximity. The feeling of her breath against the back of her neck made her cringe inwardly and a little bit outwardly as well. Nyx was grateful for the darkness which masked her reaction. For Nyx, sleep did not come easily that night. Livia, while also displeased by the sleeping arrangement, managed to drift off with relative ease. Nyx envied that.
As the days past feigning affection of Livia became easier. Nyx still abhorred Livia’s company but she became accustomed to it, better at hiding her true reactions behind a smile. Cassandra was confused by the sudden change in Nyx and Livia’s relationship. Livia had cautioned Nyx not to share the nature of their ruse with the others. There was no guarantee they would cooperate were they told. Cassandra didn’t say anything but she cast them suspicious glances with some regularity. Izzy didn’t appear to consider the issue worthy of her concern. Either that or she was better at masking her confusion than Cassandra. Nyx wasn’t sure.
Nyx took every available opportunity to spend time with Drucilla. Not only did it serve as a convenient excuse to spend time away from Livia, she also enjoyed Drucilla’s company for its own sake. Her initial instincts had been right Drucilla was definitely her kind of person.
Nyx loved helping sail the boat. Drucilla was a good teacher and Nyx had learned quickly. Sometimes Drucilla would even leave her at the helm alone as she attended to other things. It was nice to be trusted that way. Livia didn’t trust Nyx to do anything alone and, while she wasn’t the type to openly say it, she suspected Izzy didn’t either.
When they worked together Drucilla would tell Nyx stories about her adventures as a pirate. She told her about the time she sneaked into the Troll King’s chambers and stole the royal jewels and the time she and her crew kidnapped an Orcish princess. Whenever Livia overheard she would roll her eyes and tell Nyx Drucilla was a liar. Nyx, however, didn’t care whether the stories were truth, exaggerations, or straight out lies. They were entertaining. Nyx’s favourite story was the one about Livia’s father’s warship. She never grew tired of hearing it and frequently asked Drucilla to retell it, particularly when Livia was within hearing range. Livia hated that story. Drucilla was always happy to oblige and managed to add a new embellishment every time she told it.
Drucilla made it her mission to assist Nyx with advice about Livia. She told her all about Livia’s love of cats, emphasising that ginger ones were her favourite, just in case Nyx got stuck on anniversary gift ideas. She explained that Livia had an irrational fear of crabs. Nyx decided to keep that information in mind for later. She even shared, in a whisper, that Livia enjoyed being bitten in bed. Nyx had blushed profusely at that. She would have preferred not to have that knowledge. Ever since she had been unable to get the image out of her head.
Today had dawned a beautiful day. Everyone was on deck enjoying the sun. Cassandra stood at the edge of the boat staring into the water, Izzy was stretched out taking a nap, and Livia sat sharpening her sword. Nyx and Drucilla both sat near the helm sharing a bottle of rum. They passed it back and forth between themselves as Drucilla told yet another story. This time it was about the time she had climbed out a young queen’s window after an intense night of lovemaking only to discover, upon reaching the street, that she had forgotten to put her clothes back on. Nyx giggled almost choking on her mouthful of rum.
“Um… I think there might be a problem.” Cassandra’s voice interrupted her giggling fit.
“What is it?” Drucilla looked up at her.
“I think you should come have a look.” Nyx’s laughter died down as she noticed how pale her sister’s face was. Drucilla and Nyx got up and made their way to Cassandra’s side. Cassandra pointed to something moving in the water. For a moment they all stared at it. The creature wove gracefully through the water beside the boat its green scales glinting in the sunlight.
“That’s huge! What is it?” Nyx was starting to worry now.
“It’s just a sea serpent.” Drucilla looked unconcerned “They are usually harmless so long as nobody antagonises them. Nothing to worry about.” She paused for a moment and turned to Nyx. “Did I ever tell you the story of the time I fought a sea serpent?”
“It disappeared.” Cassandra still looked concerned.
“See, nothing to worry about.” Drucilla gave her a pat on the shoulder. “So, it all started out with a bottle of rum…” She launched into the story.
“Hypothetically” Livia interrupted “if I threw a dagger at it…”
“Please tell me you didn’t.” A look of alarm appeared on Drucilla’s face. Anything that Livia may have said in response was drowned out by a loud crack as a very angry sea serpent punched head first through the bottom the boat.