One monkey zips up the hook before it disappears behind them.  Some of the white ropes holding the Insatiable Princess in a cocoon metamorphose into sails of fortune as the others retract and disappear back into the hull.  Soon, they’re cruising through pink and mauve skies that deliver them with a cool breeze and, possibly, a sense of independence, as if they might be heading somewhere, anywhere.

“Some illusion…” the Captain snarls.

“A pro-life seed”, Chloroph says.

“Deadly,” the King adds, “but worth it, we made it through.”

“Another nightmare of your own making?” the Captain continues.

“It’s to do with expectations,” Chloroph answers.

“Are we alive?” Labaguette inquires.

“Unusual skies, the old woman remarks.”

“All the same,” the Captain continues, “whatever we do, wherever we are, and regardless of what we may think or dream up, we remain prisoners of your creations.”

“Grow up!” Labaguette says.

“You just set the tone,” Chloroph remarks angrily to the Captain, “we’re in it because of you.”

“That was uncalled for!” the King adds, looking at the Captain, as if he’d committed some wicked and appalling act that would bring them all misery and ruin.

Then, without any warnings, Chloroph attacks the Captain, who receives a well-placed punch onto the cheek, loses his balance and falls unconscious onto the boards.  Now the King is onto Chloroph before he finishes the Captain entirely.

“Spinostress!  Get what remains of your guards to hold Chloroph,” he commands, realising when he looks at her that the old woman looking haggardly at him is barely able to stand and that her guards are a few bold men with grey beards.

To be continued…


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