What keeps you smiling on the worst of days?
“How do you do it?” Robyn’s small voice reached through the dark.
Kita shifted against the wall, her shackles clanking as she tried to find a more comfortable position. The princess was asleep so the question could only be for her. “How do I do what?”
She heard the girl roll over in her bunk to face her. “How do you stay positive when everything’s gone to rot? Aren’t you scared of what they plan to do to us?”
“Aye,” Kita said softly, the word escaping her tongue before she could stop it. She really had spent far too much time of late in the company of pirates. “Yes, I am scared.”
“Then why do you smile?” She could hear the frown in Robyn’s voice. “It’s too dark for me to see you, but even now I’m sure you’re smiling.”
Kita suppressed a chuckle. “Why shouldn’t I smile? I’ve found you and the princess and we’re going to get out of here. It’s something to be happy about.”
“But what if the plan doesn’t work? What if they decide to kill you after all?” Her voice cracked. “Your shackles are so heavy. You must be in pain. So how can you keep smiling?”
The chains rattled as she rolled her shoulders to keep them loose. The old wound from her fight with Rhea still ached. Could she call it an “old” wound if it had only been a few months? No matter. “I’ve had far worse,” she said. “And besides, my mission isn’t complete.”
“To see you girls home safe, of course.” She grinned in the darkness. “I always complete my missions.” She couldn’t fail yet. She had a much bigger mission to complete, one she felt certain was her destiny to succeed. Until she ended the war, her mission would not be complete. Her pirate friends would help her with that, and they could help her here. “Besides,” she added, “we’re not alone. We have allies outside of this cell. Nothing is hopeless.”
Kita’s eyes were far more accustomed to the dark than Robyn’s and she could see the child’s fears dim. “Kaine,” she whispered.
“That’s right,” Kita said softly. “Your brother will come for you. They’ll all come. The Captain will have a plan, too.”
“Can they do it?”
Kita nodded. “They can, but they won’t have to. Because we’ll save ourselves, right?”
Robyn’s lips twitched in a grin. “Right.”
“That’s a good girl,” Kita laughed. “Now get to sleep. We’ll need to be well rested if we’re going to make our escape tomorrow.”
“Thanks Kita,” Robyn yawned, pulling the rag of a blanket tight around her shoulders. She was asleep shortly after.
“You are certain your friends will come,” Brynja said from the other bunk. So, she hadn’t been asleep after all. “You are counting on it.”
“I trust Leo,” Kita said. “He will have several strategies ready.”
The princess frowned. “Accounting for your plans?”
“He knows I won’t just rest on my laurels and wait for rescue,” Kita said. “His plans will not hinder my own, only serve to help.”
“You must know some will die.”
Kita’s smile turned sad. She hoped to avoid more pirate bloodshed, but it was in their nature to fight. To protect what was theirs. Kita and Robyn weren’t pirates, not exactly, but they belonged to The Eternity all the same.
“Yes,” she said. “But so will your people.”
Brynja made a vexed sound. “Traitors.”
“They’re still yours,” Kita said. “And not all of them will have chosen that path willingly. We may even have allies among them. We mustn’t judge them all so swiftly.”
“What would you have me do? Pardon the lot of them?”
“I would have you trust me, highness,” Kita sighed. “I will get us out of here, with or without help, and with minimal loss of life.”
Even in the darkness, Brynja regarded her with regal scrutiny. “Very well,” she said. “I suggest we both take your advice and get to sleep.”
“Yes, your highness,” Kita grinned.
The princess rolled away from her and joined Robyn in slumber soon after. Kita watched over them both. She would sleep when she got back on the ship. She chuckled silently. She never thought she’d miss sleeping on a ship.
She closed her eyes and felt for her. For him. Leo would be with her. Could Kita reach him? Could he feel her as she could feel him, across the distance? She wanted to tell him not to worry, not to be reckless. That she would come back to him. She hoped he knew that without her needing to say so. He said he trusted her. She hoped that trust extended to letting her plan her own escapes.
Kita grinned. Well, either way, the zealots were going to be in for a rough day. Tomorrow was going to be fun.
Notes: Kita is perpetually happy-go-lucky, almost frustratingly optimistic. Nothing really gets her down, and she often makes light of dire situations. This prompt was great for her. I’ve also been wanting to write her again anyway, so I was glad to get to explore more of her personality here.
This scene was sort of a continuation of an earlier prompt (over two hundred prompts ago, wow). It seemed like a relevant question that Robyn would ask her. She wants to be strong like Kita, but she’s just a kid and she’s terrified. Brynja, on the other hand, is a realist. She’s a Viking princess after all. She’s putting her life in Kita’s hands, but she also understands that “no plan of attack survives first contact.”
I’m a bit like Kita in this way. Whenever I have a really bad day, I try to focus on the positives. I think of all the good things in my life, and I also try to look forward. I think “will I even remember this day five years from now? Did anything life-altering happen? Tomorrow is another day. I can try again tomorrow.” I allow myself to be frustrated or upset, because those feelings are valid and shouldn’t be repressed, but then I move on. And I keep smiling. Because the bad days will pass and there will be more good days than bad. Plus, when all else fails, the bad days give me fodder for writing. And if I’m writing, I’m happy.
How about you? What keeps you smiling on your worst days? What do you do to get through them? How do your characters cope? Get to writing! I’ll see you tomorrow!
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