Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
On the boundless blue sea, the Royal Scarborough patrolled its territory like a lion.
This second-class battleship belonging to the British Navy had a displacement of 2,000 tons with 90 cannons and nearly 700 sailors—the giant of the Caribbean Sea.
Every now and then, the Scarborough would in accordance with the orders of the Admiralty, go out on scheduled patrol to maintain the order of the nearby maritime trade routes. Pirates passing by this area would flee. In fact, just hearing the name Scarborough was enough to send unnerve even the most powerful pirate.
Whence, whenever the Scarborough left the port, she would rarely be involved in any battle—unless you count one-sided attacks where the enemy fled hell for leather.
At the moment, Captain Elmer was sitting on deck, enjoying his wine and a violin performance. He was only starting to immerse himself in the music when someone suddenly interrupted him. The lookout shouted from above, “An armed merchant ship is spotted in the southwest direction!”
Elmer’s brows furrowed, the expression on his face unpleasant.
The first lieutenant quickly marched to the side of the ship and took the copper telescope that was handed to him. After a while, he said, “The flag on the mast is French, very deep draught, traveling at around three knots. They must be carrying a lot of cargo.”
Captain Elmer finally put down the glass in his hand and strolled over.
During this time, the War of the Spanish Succession was taking place. In order to prevent the Bourbon kings from annexing Spain, the new Grand Alliance, which included the United Kingdom, united against France and its allies, and the two sides were in a state of war.
The French merchant ship could only blame its terrible luck to have crossed the Scarborough’s path.
Elmer looked at the sailors on the deck below, and saw their eyes were filled with anticipation.
The captain broke into a smile and said, “If this is a gift from God to us, how can we refuse it?”
The sailors cheered. If they wait until their wages were paid, they would have starved to death. The one thing that motivated them to go out into the sea was extracurricular plunders like this. Even if most of it would end up in Elmer’s and the navy marshal’s pockets, they were satisfied just to be able to drink a little bit of soup. The sailors were already used to it.
With the captain’s permission, the Scarborough began to change its course towards the ‘unfortunate’ ship. The gun port’s lid was opened, revealing the dense rows of black cannon muzzles inside, like a shark flashing its razor teeth.
Although war was about to begin, the atmosphere on the deck was unusually relaxed. The violinist who was performing continued to play his instrument.
The disparity of firepower between the two parties cannot be starker. Had they met each other face to face, the other side would have quickly surrendered and handed their cargo over, so that if Elmer was in a good mood, he might just spare the lives of everyone on the ship.
The sailors of the Scarborough were rejoicing at the prospect of the extra income. Only one officer on board appeared to be slightly uneasy. He said to Elmer, “Captain, isn’t it a little too simple? Our route is not so much a secret—why would a French merchant ship show up now?”
Before he received an answer, his colleague interrupted, “When there’s absolute power, no conspiracy can take effect. Relax, Burnett, we are on the Scarborough; here in the sea, we are invincible.”
The atmosphere in the Sea Lion was completely unlike the one in Scarborough—the pirates were unusually mum because they were about to face the fiercest battle in their lives.
It had been half a month since they left Nassau. Thanks to Goodwin’s betrayal, Orff’s standing on the ship had skyrocketed. Right now, even if there was someone who was dissatisfied with him, they dared not reveal it.
Yet, it was in this particular circumstance that when Orff announced that the fifth piece of the map required them strike the Scarborough, even the most zealous treasure-hunting pirates found it hard to continue to stand by the helmsman.
Because this had nothing to do with courage at all. It was just complete madness.
All the pirates in the Caribbean knew that the Scarborough was untouchable, and although there was no official ban, all piracy activity would make sure to steer clear of the navy. That attack on the navy’s supply ship earlier was already a very risky move. Moreover, the Sea Lion paid a very heavy price for it.
For the sake of Kidd’s treasure, and because the supply ship’s firepower was almost the same as that of the Sea Lion, the crew had reluctantly accepted the decision. As long as the command was expedient, it was possible to win the battle heroically. The Scarborough on the other hand… That was an entirely different topic.
The most experienced gunner was the first to speak up, “The Scarborough has three times the number of cannons we do and are way more powerful. They also have a longer range than we do. We cannot fight this battle. Needless to say, our ship’s hull is not as sturdy as the warship’s. One volley of firing and we’ll fall to pieces. Mr. Orff, I’ve always believed in your leadership abilities, but this time, I really have to voice my opposition, because this is going to get all of us killed.”
The majority of the other pirates backed him up.
Orff had to raise his voice to be heard, “Gentlemen, I completely agree with what you’re saying. We are indeed at a disadvantage in terms of firepower. If we were to fight them head on, we really wouldn’t stand a chance at all, which is why our only option is to connect the bridge.”
“Connect the bridge? I know that we have recruited some really good hands, but even if we include the cook, the doctor—the technical staff—at most, we have only 173 men. How are we supposed to fight 7000 people? Besides, the most alarming thing is the Scarborough’s firepower. I’m afraid we’d sink before we could even draw close to her.” Owen, too, raised his concern.
“Yes, you are all right. That would be exactly the case under normal circumstances.” Orff paused for a moment before continuing, “Except we don’t have to go to the Scarborough—she will come to us.”
“How is that possible?”
“That’s impossible, of course, if we raise our black flag. Once the Scarborough finds out that we’re pirates, they would definitely fire their cannons at us. But if we let them think that we are just a cargo ship, the whole situation would be completely different. No one would rob a boat of chinaware, right?”
Orff pushed everything off the table and spread the map of the ocean on top of it. “Back on the island, I heard that a Dutch ship was carrying porcelain and is on its way to selling them at New York. We’ll take the ship halfway there and then move the porcelain to our ship. Then we’ll raise the French flag and wait at Scarborough’s route.”