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Serena and the Knights of St. John (Part 3)

It's been a while since Serena prepared to flee from the ship. If you'd like to read part two, I posted it on 10.05.2014.

Serena jumped up and ran on deck, dragging Fatima with her. They climbed the railing and jumped into the sea. Summer was still far, the water like icy needles. The fabric of their voluminous dresses sucked up the water, became heavy and made movement difficult.

Serena had just fought her way back to the surface, when the explosion tore the merchant ship apart. The air was like liquid fire.

Pieces of cargo, planks and bodies rained from the sky. Within minutes, the wreck leaned to its side, then sank like a stone. A barrel popped up a few metres away from Serena. With her last strength she paddled over and clung to it.Her head was pounding terribly and the light hurt her eyes.

"There, she's coming round. Give her some room, men," a deep voice said. The man spoke fluent Maltese, but with a strong accent she wasn't able to place.

Serena forced her eyes open. She was lying on the wooden deck of the Knights' Galley. Men in light armour and some dressed like fishermen were goggling down at her. A boy of about her age and a man were crouching by her side. Over his armour, the man was sporting a black cape with the white cross of the Knights of Malta. The boy was wearing a simple uniform with the same symbol.
(To be continued)