WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Fena: Pirate Princess Episode 7, "The Burning Sea," now streaming on Crunchyroll and Adult Swim.
In Fena: Pirate Princess, Fena sets off on a journey to fulfill her father's final wish to find Eden. Her memories blocked, this journey also becomes one of self-discovery, where Fena hopes to find out who she really is. Most recently she's discovered that she has a connection with British navy commander Abel through the name of La Pucelle.
Abel is oddly obsessed with Fena. Every action that he has taken, from affiliating with the Rumble Rose crew to his behavior towards Fena, has had an unsettling undertone. Thankfully, Episode 7 finally sheds some light on what exactly might be driving his obsession.
When Fena first meets Abel, he has a calm, amiable demeanor and treats her reverently. On the outside, it seems like he has no other motivation other than finding Fena and protecting her. But as the episode continues, Abel's behavior gets into disturbing territory. It gets even creepier when it's revealed who the mysterious woman in the painting is.
The woman in the painting turns out to be Fena's mother, whom Abel had previously addressed as La Pucelle. Not only is she Fena's mother, Helena, but Abel tells Fena that the portrait was hand-painted by him, all from his childhood memories -- and it's currently the only existing picture of her. Abel also has the same heart-shaped pendant that Fena and Helena used to have. But it doesn't appear to be the same pendant that the two Houtman women have, since it was gifted by O'Malley, assuming that it's a family heirloom. Through his admissions, Fena deduces that Abel had been in love with her mother and, most likely, it was unrequited.
Knowing now that Abel is in love with her mother, his interactions with Fena before and after the reveal are ten times more disconcerting. He might actually see Fena as a replacement for Helena, since she had apparently never returned his feelings. Even seemingly benign things Abel's done, like kissing Fena's hand, a gesture usually befitting a princess, now in retrospect have a possessive edge to them.
For example, when he holds Fena's face and asks whether her mother had ever loved him. He even asks why she left with Fena. When the explosion from the Rumble Rose knocks the two of them off-balance, there's a shot that focuses specifically on Abel's lips as he reaches out to catch Fena and calls her Helena again. He seems completely lost in his memories and doesn't see Fena anymore -- he sees her mother in her place.
There's an irony in Abel warning Fena about how the "dangerous" Goblin Knights will only use her, since he isn't looking out for her out of the goodness of his heart. His warning might be alluding to the fact that Helena later marries Franz Houtman, who is connected to the Goblin Knights. His fear for Fena being led astray by the Samurai Seven may just stem from his paranoia that Fena will be taken away from him just like Helena was.
Things get complicated when Abel reveals more about who he is and how else he might be connected to Helena. Abel claims that he had an appointed task, as he wistfully holds the pendant that looks so much like Helena's. There's a sinister smile that appears on his face just before he closes his hand over the pendant as he proclaims that he will finally be able to see her again. Abel doesn't seem interested in the treasures that are promised in Eden. In fact, Eden might hold the key to him finally reuniting with Helena and that location resides in Fena's memories.