Princess Aleretta-Rose was very bored. She had already rock-climbed, run, and ridden Alana (her golden horse). Now it was time to take a walk to the lagoon by her garden. She put on her dress and strolled to the lagoon, her blonde hair bouncing. Captain Jonah MacSwizzethounder was a pirate. He wanted to be a king. A LOT. He had a plan. The law said the princess could marry anyone she wanted. If he kidnapped the princess and forced her to marry him one day he would be king. "Men," he called from below deck, "set sail for the lagoon!" Aleretta-Rose reached the lagoon. She was about to pull a rose from a flowerbed when she heard footsteps and voices. "Twenty-three bottles of rum on a dead man’s chest," the pirates sang. Pirates! thought the princess, fear reflected in her golden eyes. She started to run, but she was grabbed and knocked out. Hmm, thought Captain Jonah. She’s quite a beauty. She will do as an excellent bride. "Put her in the best chambers." The men obeyed and soon they were sailing out to sea.
Aleretta-Rose woke up. It took her a moment to finally climb out of the bed she was in. She ran to the door and tried the handle. Locked. She spied a window and looked out. Instantly she felt seasick. She sunk to the wooden floor and tried to control her heaving stomach. She moaned. Aleretta-Rose had always hated boats. She saw a note for her on the floor. It said:
You have ten days to marry me or I will drown you in the ocean
- Captain Jonah MacSwizzethounder
Aleretta-Rose clutched her stomach as the ship hit a wave. She stumbled to the porthole and was sick into the sea. The ship hit a couple more swells and—gasping and dizzy—she collapsed on the floor. Captain Jonah was worried. He had seen Aleretta-Rose collapse and it was bad. He couldn’t have her dizzy and sick for their wedding. He hoped to marry at sea and dispose of Aleretta-Rose in the ocean right then and there. Aleretta-Rose slowly wobbled toward the bed. She just wanted to lie down and think of escape plans. Suddenly the door burst open. In the doorway stood the most handsome man Aleretta-Rose had ever seen. He had windblown black hair and sea-green eyes. But Aleretta-Rose noticed none of that. She was too busy trying not to collapse as the boat danced a jig! "I am Captain Jonah MacSwizzethounder," he announced. "You may have got my note? I am here telling you, you must marry me." Aleretta-Rose was scared. She didn’t want to marry him but she was positive he would drown her if she refused. "O-Okay," she stuttered. She was very afraid. "Good," he said, and left the room. Aleretta-Rose fainted. Jonah smiled. His plan was working. If all went well he would be king in ten days! He went back to his room on the pirate ship and pulled on his best vest. Then he went to see first mate Joanne, his sister. She dressed as a boy so that no one would see she broke the pirate law. Joanne was working on her kung fu. She expertly sliced a pole in half-blindfolded. Jonah walked up. "Joe," he called, "bring the princess some food!" "On it," she called back. Aleretta-Rose heard footsteps. A second later, a small pirate walked in. He was holding a food tray with bread and water on it. He placed it near the door and left. Aleretta-Rose drank the water to control her seasickness but didn’t risk the stale bread. She looked at the tray for a second and had an idea. Jonah went to the hold and got a snack. He was about to eat it when it fell out of his hand and rolled onto the deck. Jonah chased after it. "Okay," said the princess, “testing.” She had set up an escape. A rope was tied round the plate. The plate was wedged between the wall and the hinge. The rope was pulled through a hook on the ceiling. Aleretta-Rose grabbed the rope and pulled. Clang, went the hinge. The plate had pulled it clean off. BAM. The door fell over. Aleretta-Rose ran to the deck. Captain Jonah ran on deck. Where was his apple? He saw it near the edge of the deck. No one else was there. He went to retrieve his fruit. Suddenly he saw Aleretta-Rose come onto the deck and see him. Aleretta-Rose saw Captain Jonah. She tried to run past him but the boat turned sharply and Captain Jonah fell into the swirling waters. Without a second thought she dived in after him. Jonah saw Aleretta-Rose dive in after him and almost thought he was going crazy. But no, she grabbed his wrist and pulled him back on the boat. "Y-You saved me," he stuttered. "I can’t swim. Th-th-thanks." And for the first time he realized how pretty she was. Even when dripping wet she still had golden eyes and shiny red lips. And her bravery - she was awesome! Aleretta-Rose knew he would not hurt her now. "Well, I really want to go home. My mom is probably worried sick. But it was - it was nicemeeting you." "Oh, please don’t go yet. I - would you like to have some dinner? It’s time." "Well I am a bit a bit hungry," said Aleretta-Rose. They went off to the galley. Together. The more Aleretta learned about Jonah the more she liked him. He was kind, smart, dashing, handsome, brave, funny, and charming. And he liked her. For her. Not her royal status. Her. Aleretta-Rose had fallen in love. Jonah stared into Aleretta-Rose’s golden eyes. He wondered how a person could drown in something he had plundered for years. The more Aleretta-Rose talked to him the more he liked her. Suddenly the ship hit a huge wave, then slid over its crest, then bounced into the air then crashed back down. Aleretta-Rose landed on top of Jonah. Her lips fell onto his. Then she pulled him in for a kiss. Aleretta-Rose simply fell more in love with Jonah in each day that passed. The two of them talked for hours, walked along the pirate ship and explored a secret treasure trove that even Joanne didn’t know about. Going home was the last thing on her mind. Jonah knew there was trouble afoot when the letter came. It said the Kingdom of the Dove knew he had abducted Aleretta-Rose and would send their navy to blow up his ship unless he placed the princess unharmed on the beach of the kingdom. He didn’t want to do it but he had no choice. He sent this reply:
I will return the princess to you only if she marries me so I become the king or there are 500,000 gold pieces, 600,000 silver pieces, and 700,000 copper pieces waiting for me on the beach
- Captain Jonah MacSwizzethounder
He put the reply in a bottle and gave it to a member of his crew to send. Then he went down to Aleretta-Rose’s chambers to ask her if she wanted to go to the treasure trove with him. Aleretta-Rose loved Jonah. She wanted to marry him. She didn’t know about the message in a bottle. Meanwhile, the kingdom had seen Jonah’s reply. They were very frightened because if they gave him the money, the kingdom would go bankrupt. Then one of the king’s courtiers had an idea. The Kingdom of the Breeze owed them 500,000 gold pieces and 700,000 copper pieces. If they made the Kingdom of the Breeze pay them, all they would have to take from their own pockets would be 600,00 silver pieces. Jonah MacSwizzethounder didn’t want to only marry Aleretta-Rose to become the king now. He wanted to marry her for her. He proposed to Aleretta-Rose the very same day. He did it when they were both sitting on the side of the ship. When he proposed to her she said yes. Suddenly Joanne came up on deck in a panic. ‘’What’s the problem, Joanne?’’ asked Jonah. "‘Yeah?" inquired Aleretta-Rose. She was the only person besides Jonah who knew Jo’s secret. "Today is the day," Jo whispered and Jonah turned pale and gulped. He had not realised the days had passed so quickly. He had to return Aleretta-Rose and he realised something. The villagers would probably kill him in a trap when he returned their princess to them and he would never see or kiss her again. Aleretta-Rose looked at Jo and Jonah, becoming worried. What were they talking about? But then Jonah turned around and asked Aleretta-Rose if she would like to go to the beach with him. When they got there Jonah saw the treasure on the sand. His men loaded it onto his ship. Then he turned around and told Aleretta-Rose everything. She started to cry. Then she said something. "Go, get on your ship," she sobbed. "If they find you - my parents - they - they’ll kill you. Go. Now." She stopped crying. "Come back for me next month and we’ll run away together." Then she kissed him before he got on his boat. Dreamily, she watched as he sailed off to sea. About the author: Radha is a nine-year-old Nigerian girl living in Lekki. She loves writing, reading, and tinkering with small objects. Radha won the Creative Writing Prize at her school last year. When Radha grows up she would like to be a writer, an artist, an astronaut, and an inventor.