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Serena and the Knights of St. John (Part 4)

"Here," said the boy, handing Serena a silver drinking cup. "You must be thirsty. I don't know if you understand our language. My name is Jerome. I'll be looking after you while you're on board with us."

Serena took the cup and emptied it. The water tasted wonderful. Then she looked around. "Where are the others? Where's Fatima?"

All about her, the men were looking at the floor or shuffling their feet. At last, Jerome laid a hand on her shoulder, looked at the knight, who nodded his consent, and said, "We haven't found anybody apart from you."

"You're the only survivor. We're very sorry. "

Serena felt dizzy and would have fallen hard onto the planks, had the knight and Jerome not supported her. Then she remembered something and sat back upright with a jolt.

"There must have been a small boat. The captain blew the ship up to cover their escape. I heard them by chance. They're carrying a message for the Sultan."

The knight's face hardened. He got to his feet, pointed at one of the native Maltese and ordered, "You, up to the crow's nest. Helmsman, start cruising in the direction of Cyprus. We have to find that boat!"
(To be continued)