48 Hours a Day
Chapter 135 - I’d Like to Hear the Details.
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
In the darkness of the night, a wave of uncertainty bathed over Orff. This was not how he imagined it to be.
He had been plotting revenge for fourteen years. After all the sacrifices he made… for it to end so abruptly like this… it was like a cruel joke. If Teach was still around, he might even consider abandoning this expedition and simply wait for the next opportunity.
Now that he was the only one left, Orff was uncertain if he was still able to continue down this road. He was way past his prime and getting older every day. His skills were deteriorating, and while time brought with it experience and wisdom, it could not make up for his lost youth. These days, every night, his back and legs would ache in his sleep. Every fight of his was getting more and more strenuous, and his wounds took a much longer time to heal as well.
He did not know if or when he would be presented with a chance like this ever again – tonight was as best of an opportunity as he could get.
Although Teach had lost, the battle was not over yet. He still had the Queen Anne’s Revenge, loaded to the brim with 90 cannons and a complement of nearly 70 sailors. If managed well, they might still have a chance.
The problem was that once the news about what happened on the shore spread throughout the ship, the pirates on board would surely unanimously demand that they set sail immediately.
Fortunately, the only ones who knew about the matter were Owen and the eleven men he brought back. As per Orff’s instructions, most of the pirates were on the ready by the cannons on the second deck. The few pirates on the first deck were some of Orff’s most trusted men.
The helmsman was silent for some time. Then he said to one of the pirates, “Go and tell the people down there that everything is as usual, and tell them to get prepared as per the original plan, and then, to wait patiently.”
Owen, who was still pressing a hand against his abdomen, looked to be startled. “Mr. Orff, as the boatswain of this ship, I cannot turn a blind eye to you trying to deceive the crew.”
Orff looked around at the others and said, “Will you give us a minute?” He then turned to Owen, reached out, and said, “How are you doing? Can you get up? Let’s go talk in the captain’s cabin. I need to know the details of what happened before we can make a final decision.”
Owen hesitated for a second but eventually got to his feet with the help of the old helmsman.
The two men arrived at the captain’s cabin. Orff closed the door and moved a chair over for Owen to sit. Once they were both settled down, he said, “When and where were you attacked?”
“What’s the point of discussing this now?” Owen smiled bitterly, but he answered the old helmsman’s question. “The battle started about twenty minutes ago. We were only a street away from the governor general’s House Inn. We were basically retreating as we fought. To escape, we even set a guest house on fire!”
“You said that Elmer was killed instantly, which meant no one else knew what your actual purpose was,” Orff muttered as he was deep in thought. “The wedding ceremony will surely be postponed because of this, and Bellomonte wouldn’t have escaped. The garrison will attack us soon enough. We should fight back first, give them a taste of something sweet, and once we have the attention of all the defending troops, we’ll send twenty men–no, fifteen should be enough–to the city to search for Bellomonte.”
“I’m afraid you’re a little irrational right now. We’ve already lost. We don’t have enough manpower on this ship to carry out that plan. Also, even if, under the premise that we’re able to attract the defending troops, and if we can gather 15 people, there’s still no one suitable to lead them,” said Owen as he shook his head.
“I’ll do it.”
“I said that I’ll lead them,” declared Orff with confidence. “Why? You think I’m too old to get back on the battlefield?”
“I hope that you will be as wise as you were, and not act out of impulse and adrenaline, lest you might drag the ship into more dangerous situations,” Owen said. “What we need to do now is to accept defeat and leave this place, not continue to raise our stakes in a hopeless situation.”
“Interesting,” Orff suddenly commented. “This is the third time in five minutes that you’re saying we have lost.”
The boatswain’s brows furrowed. “Isn’t that typical? If you didn’t keep throwing caution to the wind, pestering me to go along with your crazy plan, I wouldn’t keep repeating that.”
Orff ignored the remark and continued, “From the moment you set foot inside the room, you’ve glanced at the clock at least four times. Why? Are you in a hurry?”
Owen answered feebly, “I can understand how you’re feeling after tonight’s failure. I saw the captain being shot with my own eyes. Right now, I am just as grief-stricken as you are, but suspicion is not going to help us get through the difficulties we’re facing. The sooner we leave this place, the smaller the loss we’ll suffer.”
“Perhaps you’ll allow me to guess why you’re in such a hurry,” Orff answered squarely. “Could it be that if we wait a little longer, we’ll find out that there are actually no troops chasing you? Or should I say that you’re worried that the captain might come back soon and expose your deceitfulness?”
The helpless smile on Owen’s lips faded away. This time, he said nothing.
“I’ve known you for so long, but this is the first time I’m noticing your excellent acting skills,” Orff jibed. “I have to admit–I nearly fell for it. Would you like to know how you gave yourself away?”
Owen raised an eyebrow. “Sure, let’s hear it.”
“I’ve seen that name list that you compiled for the advance team. You said you were with Teach when the battle started, but the eleven men you came back with were all from your own team. None of them were from Teach’s team. That’s just too much of a coincidence.”
Orff paused for a moment to let it sink in before continuing, “Your plan for tonight is almost perfect. When the advance team arrived on the shore, they were completely disconnected from the ship. After your team and Teach’s split up, you immediately faked evidence of a battle, killed the men who didn’t belong to your group, then come back covered in blood with the sad-sob story about how our mission has failed. Most people would believe you without question. You knew how the crew would react if they heard this–they would choose to leave this place. That way, you can easily get rid of the ship’s biggest threat, like blowing off a cloud of dust.”
“But with Teach gone, you are the most popular candidate for captain. Why would I go through all that effort so that you can replace Teach as Captain? That’s not very worth my while, isn’t it?” retorted Owen.
“Me? No, no. I’ve never been a threat to you. The failure of tonight’s mission will lead to a series of events. With so many casualties, someone must be held responsible. If you’re not stupid, you will use this to challenge me. When that happens, I won’t even become a helmsman, let alone become the captain.”