Here is another bit of Saturday fun to continue the tale of Love on the High Seas. In this chapter Count Prince – Captain Von Valentino and crew advance on their journey across the Gulf with Princess Erin in their sites. Follow along won’t you?
We last left the Count Prince and crew of The Black Floof as the ship plopped down on the surface of the water and righted itself…
Chapter 8: ‘Is That Really You Princess?!’
RETURNING TO DREAM SEQUENCE
Relieved we were back on the Gulf, instead of under it, the crew and I sailed on. The Black Floof had weathered the storm remarkably well, thanks to the extra bit of padding she had received as one of her upgrades. The only purr-oblem now was that we didn’t know where we were exactly. I tapped my claw at the glass face of my compass, noticing the needle was spinning out of control. Apparently, it had taken in some water during the storm. “That snake of a cockroach, scurvy ratfink must have switched out the original with this cheap knockoff when he offered to clean and polish it!” I scoffed and coughed, tossing it over to Surgeon Hugo to have a look at it. I gathered my thoughts. “Not to worry my faithful crew, the stars will help guide us tonight,” I reassured them looking up at the sky.
But when nightfall came the stars shone not, for a thick fog drifted in. And so The Black Floof was sailing blind and with no Captain Moet to give her sense of direction. I could see the fear in the faces of my crew. I remained the forever stoic kitty.
As night turned to dawn the crew, having not slept a wink, became a bit uneasy and weary. “Huh-uh…,” I sighed, wondering if I’d ever get to the princess.” Then at once I thought I heard her song, but this time it was louder and closer than it had been on the Purr-cific… “Rrrr—aaaa-rrrr-eee—rrrr—oooo-rrrr-wwww…” it sang. And as the ship moved along the song became more audible. Am I hearing things, I thought to myself. Had my age-old ear itchies finally taken their toll? Could I not trust my ears anymore? I listened… There it was again. “Rrrr—aaaa-rrrr-eee—rrrr—oooo-rrrr-wwww…” I turned around and noticed the crew had heard it, too, and were searching for the source. “Rrrr—aaaa-rrrr-eee—rrrr—oooo-rrrr-wwww…”Barrelcats Andy and Dougy were at the crow’s nest spying to see if they could see anything through the thick fog. But they saw nothing. The rest of the crew saw nothing. I stood and waited. Then I spotted something in a small break. Is that… could it be, I thought to myself, my heart starting to race as I squinted my pale yellow orbs to focus better. At a distance I saw the figure of the princess holding her right paw up. She seemed to be waving… waving us in to shore. “Is that really you Princess?!” I mewed. At that moment the crew turned and looked at me in bewilderment, Mr. Fuzz scratching his head. Princess Erin kept waving up ahead. “Oh dear Princess!” I mewed. Then I realized that I was the only one that could see her. For some reason she only appeared to me. The song sounded again. “Follow that tune,” I hollered to Master Minion. The ship proceeded through the fog following the entrancing sound. We all thought it wouldn’t be long now before we approached Louisiana land.
All of a sudden the air became cold, damp, and humid as the ship came to a stop by some unknown force. “Princess?!” I yowled. To my surprise my voice echoed this time. We all stood looking around, listening for a response. Nothing. The fog slowly lifted and was gone. “Where are we?” Boatswain Angel rubbed her eyes as she took in the new surroundings. It was at that moment that we realized The Black Floof was now in a natural pool of crystal blue water inside a large cave! Condensation from the rock ceiling formed water droplets that went !!Boink Boink!! into the pool. I looked behind me and saw the irregular-shaped opening the ship had come through and had barely cleared. The cave was lit up inside by a beam of sunlight that came in through the opening, the sky blue and clear beyond it. “Princess?” I hollered again. Then there I saw her… at the edge of the pool standing near one wall of the cave waving.
I sprinted to my cabin and glazed in the tabletop mirror. I licked my paw then slicked down my sidechops with it. I checked my teeth and then blew into my paw to check my breath. Still so handsome, my silver twin silently mewed and grinned back at me. I returned the mew and returned to deck. A long boat was lowered from the ship and two mates rowed me across the pool.
With great anticipation I leaped out of the boat, an oar’s length from the water’s edge, and landed a few strides in front of her. I puffed out my chest and strutted forward. “Princess!” I stared at her black and white self, with her signature clipped ears and her sweet face, my heart thumping loudly. “Florentino, err Valentino, my brave dear Prince, you have come for me!” said she. “But Princess.. how… why… are you here in this place?” I inquired, yet I really didn’t care the answer, ‘cause here she was and she was safe before me. I moved further forward. “Oh my sweet, I have been waiting for this moment for as long as I can remember-” she broke off. “Aye, me too,” I now stood right before her, my eyes as wide as saucers as I took in her beauty. “Tell me you love me and that you will be mine forever and our loved sealed with a kiss,” she held our her paw. “Yes, oh yes…” I went down on one knee before her.
But then it happened – as I placed a kiss on her paw – she changed. The princess’s image faded, disappeared and then became the face of a stranger. She grasped at my paw. “But wait… this cannot be… where is my princess, for you are not really she!” said I. Before me now was a sleek, sultry diva, her short coat the color of mocha with a dash of vanilla and chocolate, sprinkled with toasted chestnuts. “Rrr-aw-rr,” she fluttered her dark lashes. I stood upright in shock. “What is this?! You have tricked me!” My scruff and tail furrs were now standing on end. “I will be your beloved if you say you’ll have me,” she said posing with one paw at her hip and one at her cheek. “No, no… no,” I shook my head and moved a step backwards. “I confess you are truly a stunner with your eyes of the sky and your coat fine as can be, but you are not Erin my princess with eyes of the sea,” said I. “Oh, but I can make you happy. I am truly the one for thee,” she purred with a sly look in her eye as she slunk forward. “I do not know you and you do not know me. Me heart belongs to another and her heart belongs to me,” said I as I moved another step back.
As I mentioned Princess Erin again and again the Sirenmese grew agitated. At one point her eyes became cross and she let out a shrill wail, shattering Hugo’s monocle, the glass face of the faulty compass, and my mirror. Then all at once !!AHH-RR-CK-KK-K-ee-RR-KK!! A large rock slab slowly slid into place covering over the cave opening, replacing the light beam with darkness. We were shut in and trapped!! The crew and I heard her words as they bounced off the walls around us, “You will love me and I will make thee mine, less you be trapped here until the end of time!” I could hardly believe my floofi ears! The cracked monocle popped out of Hugo’s eye as he gasped! I think I saw Mr. Fuzz’s eye start to twitch and I coughed.
Try as they might my crewcats couldn’t free the slab that covered the cave exit and the Sirenmese had vanished. They climbed and pawed all along the walls for some type of lever or recess or inner cave that might be the clue to freeing us and the ship. This went on for what seemed four catnaps in time.
Back in my cabin, I found the plushy of the princess on the chair, pawed it softly and cuddled it to my chest, closing my eyes. Oh my love… what have I done, I silently mewed. What kind of captain am I by leading my crew into a trap?! She couldn’t even get my name right. There has to be a way out of this mess. The real you is still out there and you need me!
Little did myself or the crew know that we were being watched by a pair of eyes that we had not yet met. Their owner was perched in a spot on top of the rock peering through a small hole down upon the ship. She had seen me pressing the plushy to my chest. She noticed the sadness in my eyes and droopy tail as I longed for the [rincess. She could sense the solemnness of the crew.
After a short while the voice of the Sirenmese echoed again, “What say you, Prince, have you changed your mind? Will you forget the princess and be mine?” “No, I cannot. Purr-lease listen to me, you don’t want this heart. You want a heart that is only true to ye,” I tried to convince her. The Sirenmese voice responded with wails and then trailed off. The voice visited the next night and the next day, each time asking for my devotion and each time it left in more wails when I declined. And each time the pair of eyes from above took note of this.
Master gunner Toby and the guncats tried to put a hole through the cave with cannon fire but the shots just hit the wall and bounced off like nerfs and landed in the pool. Once there they floated just for a moment or two. Then as they dissolved they emitted little light sparkles that appeared on the surface of the water, sparkles that were reflected in our eyes as we watched in amazement. “Blimey, this cave is hexed fer sure!” caterwauled Angel. “I think ye be right!” I stroked my chin.
Finally, when the crew was starting to panic, the Sirenmese appeared on deck, the glow from a ship lantern lighting up her face. “Arrr!” growled two crewcats threatening with their pikes. I turned and there she was and I motioned to the mates to lower their weapons. “Count Prince, I hope you will forgive my unannounced visit to your ship. I have been watching you and your crew. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Kadae,” she said as she curtsied. “You vixen! You… I told you I cannot be who you want me to be… Release me and me crew right away!” I furrowed my brow. “Don’t be angry. Purr-lease forgive my sisfur. She doesn’t mean you real harm… she really is a good kitty. Oh, if you only knew-” A tear began to well in her left eye. “Your sisfur…?” I took my hat off my head. “Yes, my twin sisfur. It is Kitsu who you saw beyond the cave and she who was with you near the pool,” said she. “You mean it is she who bewitched me and me crew with the allusion that she was Princess Erin!” I growled. “Oh you mustn’t be mad at her… if you only knew her story – our story…” A large tear left her eye and rolled down, pausing mid-cheek. “I am a fair kitty, so sit down and help me understand,” I softened the tone of my voice recognizing her distress.
Kadae told how she and her sisfur had washed up on the rock as orphans years ago after their father, his merchant vessel, and his crew had been lost in a terrible Gulf storm en route from Siam. “For years we waited for some worthy captain to rescue us from this forsaken rock, but no one came. We were about to give up hope, then one day a ship appeared in the distance. And this time its captain heard our song and did not sail off in fear, but instead followed along. “Your sisfur tricked me into marrying her!” said I. “It was only out of loneliness and boredom that, yes, she – we lured thee,” said she. The tear at Kadae’s check dropped as another took its place. “It was my songs you heard that brought you this way and her words that echo in this cave. All we want is to return to our homeland… and she thought to secure your love with thee would set us free,” she sniffled and I handed her a cotton hanky. “But I cannot and will not marry your sisfur or you for that matter, understand. I am to rescue Princess Erin. But time is of the essence and I fear it will be too late if my crew and I can’t leave here right away!” The Sirenmese could see the conviction of my love for the princess. She got up from her seat, sniffled one last time and set out to speak to her sibling.
Kadae shortly returned looking desperate. “My sisfur fears that if you don’t take us away from this rock and marry her, then we will die here alone,” said she. “What’s with the marriage requirement, there’s nothing stopping you from coming with me. I have a lot of furr-iends and we can help you get home,” said I.
I could not help but feel empathy for the sisfurs, for I, too, understood loneliness. I had known it long ago during my youth. “Oh dear Count Valentino, I can see why your princess is so smitten with you. You are so kind and fair and forgiving,” they swooned, as the cave opened up and ship glided through. “Just know that my compass is broken and I don’t know which way to go,” said I. Kitsu responded, “No worries. We’ll get you back on course and up to speed.”
A huge, bulging eye poked out of the water and then went back under. Then two giant tentacles came out dripping, sticking to the ship with suctioned locks. The water beastie jetted The Black Floof like the Northwinds chasing the Tradewinds. And once the ship reached its destination, the tentacles let go and went back under. I took out the spyglass and gritted my teeth as I scanned the shoreline and the scene came into view. “Drop the black sails!” And with that, the masts turned a pearly white.
END OF DREAM SEQUENCE
To be continued…
Hugs to Andy and Dougy at weggieboy’s blog for letting me use their images in this post!
Eek, a Kraken! Do you think the Kraken will be kind to Count Valentino and his crew? I would love for you to comment and I sure hope you’ll stay tuned for the upcoming finale! Mew Mew!
Here is a list of the previous chapters if you need to get yourself up to speed:
‘Laugh and Love Like a Pirate’ – Chapter 1, paw penned by Erin the Cat Princess
‘The Cursed Mousies’ – Chapter 2, paw penned by moi
‘Of Stranger Tides and Mice’ – Chapter 3 Parts 1-3, paw penned by Erin the Cat Princess
‘Count Into the Darkness’ – Chapter 4 Part 1, paw penned by moi
‘Aboard The White Floof’ – Chapter 4 Part 2, paw penned by moi
‘Eeeeeeeek!’ – Chapter 5, paw penned by Erin the Cat Princess
‘Gulped By the Gulf’ – Chapter 6, paw penned by moi