“I’m sorry. But that is simply not enough money. The boat is worth more than that.”
“It is all that we have. And more than we offered the last time.”
“It is not enough,” the man repeated stubbornly.
Cassandra was getting irritated. This man was denying them the boat for the second time in a row. She could tell that Charlotte was getting restless and the tensions were growing between them by the second. Without noticing it, her hand had tightened on the hilt of her sword.
“Since the money is not enough,” Charlotte stepped in, “how about we offer you our horses and the money in trade for the boat?” When the dock master remained silent, eyeing her, she continued. “The horses would be worth a good price at the market. They are fast, strong and in very good health.” She was trying to persuade him before her sister got out of hand.
At this, the dock master lifted his head a little, seeming more interested in the offer. “What would two young women such as yourselves want to do, sailing off into the dangerous waters?” There was suspicion in his tone of voice. “You’re not from around here, are you?”
“The fact that we are women should not affect what we can and cannot do,” Cassandra said simply. “All we are interested in is the boat. There is no rule that states that a woman cannot control a boat.”
“What is your business in sailing off? Why is this so important to you? Very seldom do people offer up such a great price for one boat,” the dock master said.
“Indeed. And very seldom does a dock master question other people’s business. I do believe it is not in your job description. Our business is our own and I would appreciate it if you keep your nose out of it,” Cassandra replied, her temper rising.
The dock master eyed Cassandra and Charlotte with suspicion. He leaned down to his apprentice, who was standing beside him quietly, and whispered something in his ear. The boy nodded and ran off out of sight. The dock master straitened up and looked to the two sisters with a smug look on his face.
Cassandra didn't let up her grip on the hilt of her sword. She knew he was up to something. On her right, Charlotte shifted a little, looking from her sister to the dock master and back again. “So how about it?” Cassandra said. “The money and our horses in exchange for the boat.”
The dock master looked around. “Just one moment,” he said. He seemed amused by something but it was difficult to figure out just what it was. Cassandra was about to speak when the dock master’s apprentice came trotting into view. Behind him were two guards. One of the guards was portly. He looked to be the moronic one of the two. He seemed to follow in the other one’s footsteps somewhat, and was looking to the two sisters with a confused look on his face. The other guard, thinner than the first, looked as if he had something smelly underneath his nose. He seemed to be boss of the other, yet stupid in his own way. He glanced over at his partner as they came into view before turning to the sisters on the dock. The dock master looked at the two sisters with a satisfied look as his apprentice approached with the guards right behind him. He looked to the guards before turning to Cassandra. “Now perhaps you would like to tell me, what is your business in sailing off into the dangerous waters all on your own?”
Again, Cassandra repeated that it was none of his business. She could see that the two guards were starting to catch on to the situation and were shifting a little. They were watching her intently and it did not help the situation one bit.
Charlotte looked to her sister. She was starting to get a little scared of what Cassandra might do. She knew very well that when her sister felt cornered, she was capable of doing anything, and would not think twice before unsheathing her sword on the two guards and the dock master.
Cassandra didn't move from her position and stood her ground. The dock master shifted a little and sighed. “Alright, are you going to tell us, or should I ask you? Are you two pirates?” his voice was rising somewhat. He was as stubborn as a mule.
At this, the two guards exchanged glances before looking expectantly at the sisters. Charlotte had realized that the very thing that she didn't want to happen was happening...and she was starting to doubt that she and Cassandra would get out of this.
Cassandra knew that this wasn't going to get them anywhere. Whether she admitted to being a pirate or not, it would end the same way. She was aware of the fact that she had to loosen her grip on her sword, but her anger wouldn't let her. “We are not pirates,” she said, not taking her eyes off of the dock master. She did not like lying, but she had to. There was no other way.
“With all due respect, miss. I was not born yesterday. Now, I am going to ask you one more time, and this time I would like an honest answer. Are you two pirates or are you not?” the dock master demanded his voice more harsh than before.
“You can ask that question a hundred times and the answer is going to remain the same,” Charlotte stepped in. She was getting into her defensive mode as well. “Whether you believe us or not, the answer will not change.”
“I don’t believe you,” the dock master said with suspicion.