“Any ideas?” Esmeralda asked with a weak grin.
“Well, not exactly….” Asher returned the smile.
Suddenly a plan formed in Esmeralda’s mind.
“Asher, you saw how heartless those men were on the way here. Don’t you think they would enjoy having people serve them for free?” Esmeralda asked, hoping Asher wasn’t as greedy as some other sailors.
“I guess, I mean…they’re British soldiers. You can probably expect to be treated like dirt.” Asher seemed a bit hesitant at the idea.
“Well, that’s where you would come in to help me. There probably will be no other women on the ship but I can cook and they may let me help in the kitchen. They would probably take you on as a cabin boy. How do feel about gaining a sister?”
Asher chuckled, “I always wanted one.”
Esmeralda and Asher formed a plan, being very careful to cover all the details. They decided Asher would keep his name, and Esmeralda would take the name Mailee because who knows what the soldiers had heard of the search for Esmeralda. They boarded the ship, the Providence, and after a bit of hassle and getting pushed around they were given the positions Esmeralda had planned to be given.
Esmeralda was placed under the order of the cook, Eli. He was a cranky old man who always had a reason to get on to her. She did not enjoy it, but she knew it was worth the whole world to find Caspian. Who cared about the pointless scoldings of an old man? She still did not know why Asher had decided to join her and why she found it so easy to trust him. She hardly saw him as he was usually running errands all around the massive ship, but whenever he could he would come talk to her. From these talks, she learned Asher was an orphan who took care of himself, abandoned when he was younger and kept himself out of the orphanages by being a cabin boy his whole life.
The days passed slowly and Esmeralda often got tired of the same old thing every day. Asher told her that was what it was like on a ship especially when you are just searching the ocean. But after a week at sea a cry was heard from the crow’s nest. A small life boat had been spotted!
The news was passed throughout the ship quickly since there had been really no excitement at all on the ship yet. Esmeralda’s heart swelled with happiness when she heard it was indeed a life boat from the Cleopatra. Asher and Esmeralda had told no one of their search, but Esmeralda could not contain her excitement. She hurried up the rope ladder that went down into the dark, hot kitchen from the upper decks.
“Girl! Where are you going?? We aren’t finished with this! Thinks she can just run off whenever something happens…” Eli angrily shouted behind her.
Esmeralda ignored him in her excitement and ran full fledged into Asher as she reached the deck.
“Es- er…Mailee! They only found dead men on the lifeboat, they had no provisions…but they found a map in one of the men’s pockets. Mailee, we are going to follow the path of the Cleopatra!” Asher said quietly.
Esmeralda clapped her hands in joy, “Finally, Asher! Now we have leads to Caspian!”
She looked up at Asher surprised to see his face had turned to a shade of white. Esmeralda turned and looked into the angry, bloodshot eyes of Eli.
“Care to tell me who Caspian is, dearie?” he chuckled.