Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“Is this why you wanted me to recruit ten French-speaking men back on the island?”
“Yes. We will keep thirty men on deck, pretending to be sailors of a merchant ship. Mm, try to pick those who don’t look aggressive and appear thinner and weaker. The rest will wait in the secret mezzanine. Oh, right, the cannons. We have too many cannons on board, get rid of half of them.”
“Are you serious? Keep only sixteen cannons to battle against the most powerful English warship on the Caribbean?”
“Trust me, it wouldn’t make a difference even if we had thirty-two cannons—not when you’re up against the Scarborough.” Orff shrugged. He glanced around and asked, “Anymore questions?”
“Even if we do as you say and are lucky enough to be able to trick the people on the Scarborough into believing that we are a French merchant ship, and successfully connect the bridge, we are still at a disadvantage in terms of manpower.” Zhang Heng who had been quiet all along also spoke up.
“Good question. We all know that there are 700 men on the Scarborough. But the number is actually pretty diluted. Captain Elmer is of noble birth and lives in luxury. This is true even on the Scarborough. He spends his money on musicians, private chefs, and stewards… all kinds of people to ease his boredom, people who are not equipped to fight. Then there’s also the logistics on board. The actual number should be only around 600 men.”
“Like you said, I don’t see how 600 people is any different from 700,” Owen said.
“I’m not done yet. The situation in Marbella is very tense. At the beginning of this year, the navy hired a group of experienced sailors from the New World. Right now, about two-thirds of the Scarborough are new recruits. Most of them are fishermen and farmers from the colony who had undergone only two months of training. Their combat skills are average. As long as we stun them with our first attack, they will very likely break ranks after that. So, our real enemy is only the 200 veterans; everyone on this are real men. One-on-one, I don’t believe that you will lose to anyone. ”
Orff’s last comment successfully stirred the crew, but only a few of them responded.
That was mainly because of the Scarborough’s reputation. She had always been every Caribbean pirate’s nightmare. Just the thought of challenging this behemoth extinguished whatever morale that was roused.
Orff clapped his hands. “Gentlemen, I know what you’re worried about. I’ve already said since the beginning—this is not going to be an easy journey. The treasure will not come looking for us. There is no doubt that on this voyage, we will ego through trails, face challenges, but as long as we work together…”
Owen could not help but interrupt him. “Challenging the Scarborough is not just any kind of trial. This is too dangerous. Even if nothing goes wrong, we don’t know if we’ll really be able to take her. You said that we have to keep the treasure map a secret, and for so long we’ve been obeying your instructions unquestioningly. I’m afraid not this time. If you want us to agree to this, at least tell us why we should do it.”
Owen’s resonated with the other pirates.
When Orff saw that that was the general opinion, he nodded. “Alright. Since we’re so near to the target already, I should tell you guys that I’ve received confirmation that the fifth piece of the map is in the hands of Bellomonte.”
“Bellomonte? The earl of New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire?”
At first, some of the pirates did not understand what the name meant. But when they heard this question, they inhaled sharply. If there was a list of the most powerful people in the New World, then Belmonte would be among the top few. It was nearly impossible to take the treasure map from a man of such standing.
“Yes. He was also the one who sent Kidd to the gallows. After Kidd’s death, a large portion of the relics fell into Belmonte’s hands—not just the fifth piece of the treasure map, but also the clues related to the sixth piece of the map.” Then Orff threw out the final card. “What’s more, his net worth is no less than a piece of treasure. If we manage to capture him, we could, at the very least, get 400,000 pounds for his ransom.”
The number had everyone holding their breaths. Kidd’s treasure was still far away, but the ransom money was right before their eyes.
But it was Orff’s final statement that really played a decisive role. “Belmonte will leave his territory after a month and a half and go to Charleston to attend his youngest daughter’s wedding. That is our best chance. After we take the Scarborough, we can seal off the Port of Charleston and go ashore to capture our man.”
“I must have lost my mind when I voted in favor.” Marvin’s hand trembled as he picked up the potato peeler. “We’re dead, right? Scarborough’s cannons will rip us to shreds, or the sailors would rush aboard and slaughter all of us. My god, I should’ve listened to you and voted against.”
“It’s useless. Even if you vote against it, they would still carry out the operation.” Zhang Heng said, holding a spoon and as calm as ever. If he could decide the direction of things, he would not have chosen this. Orff was the one who wore the pants on Sea Lion. Even though he had voted against, other than Marvin, he did not try to dissuade anyone else.
Now that things had gotten to this point, there was no use complaining. The only way out of this was to take down the entire the Scarborough together.
Since Zhang Heng’s and Marvin’s ‘less menacing face’, they were chosen to be part of the group acting as the crew of the merchant ship. They were now the cooks of the ‘French merchant ship’.
Zhang Heng took off his black clothes and handed all the weapons he had on him to the ambush group for safekeeping in the mezzanine. But as insurance, he kept a dagger in case he needed to defend himself; and that dagger was hidden under the pile of potato skins by Marvin’s feet.
After a while, they heard footsteps approaching the door. It was the record keeper Griffin coming down from the deck. “The Scarborough has taken the bait. They are approaching. Mr. Orff asked me to inform you to get ready. Don’t give anything away.”
Clearly, the poor man had not done anything like this before. He was so nervous he was stuttering a little. But given the circumstance, that they are about to encounter the British warship, it was expected.