48 Hours a Day
Chapter 176 - Pincer Movement
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Once the helmsman was gone, Hutcheson spoke again.
“I’m afraid I can’t accept this deal. What am I supposed to tell my crew later? Am I supposed to tell them that the other two ships received the same amount of loot, but we are the only one receiving less?”
“This has nothing to do with the captain’s prowess? Amongst the three ships, you guys are the weakest one amongst the three pirate ships. If your crew is wise enough, they should know that this deal makes perfect sense,” said Black Prince Sam.
“Hmph! If thye were wise enough in the first place, they would never have chosen the pirate’s life then. Please, the two of you are captains as well. You know that these shoes are hard to fill as well. I’m fine with the deal, but I can’t accept it just like that. Otherwise, my crew would think I’m weak. They’d kick me off the ship even before I return home!”
“There’s nothing we can do,” said Black Prince Sam. “I’m not asking you to change the terms, but isn’t there anything you can do to make it seem a little less obvious?”
“I’m willing to give my privilege of selecting the loot first, and yes, I’ll accept the deal. The least you could do is make me look good in front of my crew.”
“What do you have in mind? How are we going to take down the Goddess’ Spear later?” asked Hutcheson.
“As usual, we attack them with our cannons first. Once they surrender, we’ll send a boarding party. All their sailors are real men. I believe you’ve heard about the Pelican incident, right? We have to make sure that we are well prepared before we attack them. Let’s each send 20 pirates to board the Goddess’ Spear later.”
“What if I choose not to join the fight? With that, I’ll be able to convince my crew that we got lesser loots because we didn’t join the fight.”
“So, you want a share of the loot without participating in the fight?!”
“Technically, I’m saying that I’m only joining the fight that happens on the ship. Of course, we, too, will fire on them during our coordinated attack later. After that, I will help you to secure the perimeter when you send your men to board their ship. I will stand guard and make sure no other external forces interrupt us. This is so that I can calm my crew after they find out they’re getting a lesser portion. Though the Goddess’ Spear is fearless, they not no idiots. They know that there is no way they can defeat three pirate ships at the same time. In other words, it is implausible that they’ll set up an ambush when we board them. Am I right?”
Black Prince Sam then took a look at Zhang Heng. He instantly realized that Black Prince Sam had accepted Hutcheson’s proposal. It was out of courtesy, that he asked for Zhang Heng’s opinion first.
“I’m fine with it.”
“Then, we will each send 30 men to board them. Let’s all attack at the same time in about 15 minutes,” said Black Prince Sam.
Zhang Heng and Hutcheson were fine with his idea. All three sides wanted to attack the Goddess’ Spear as soon as possible knowing that that other competitors plied the waters, and their loot could easily be hijacked by any opportunistic pirate vessels. Once the plan was set in stone, Zhang Heng and Hutcheson returned to their ship to discuss the battle plan with their respective crews.
Back on the Jackdaw, Anne cleaned her saber with a smile on her face. She was excited to join the fight later.
“You stay on the ship this time,” said Zhang Heng.
“Huh? Why?! Aren’t the crew of the Goddess’ Spear known to be good fighters? This is when you’ll need me the most! Before this, didn’t you use the Pelican as an example to warn us about the crew of the Goddess’ Spear?”
“I’m not worried about the Goddess’ Spear. The Quidah will send their best to attack them. Combine with our pirates; it should be more than enough to deal with the sailors on their ship. Once I leave with my boarding party, the Jackdaw will become extremely vulnerable. As compared to the other two pirate ships, we have the least people. Since Hutcheson is not joining the fight, I have to bring at least half of our people to join the fight. I don’t plan to bring our best men with me. I’ll take some of the experienced fighters, and I’ll leave the rest with you to guard our ship. If everything works as planned, the Goddess’ Spear should go down without much of a fight.”
“You’re the captain. I will comply.”
15 minutes quickly passed, and the Quidah gave the signal to attack. The Jackdaw and the Blizzard followed right behind the Quidah. Three pirate vessels had successfully surrounded the Goddess’ Spear. Just as expected, they had no intention to go down without putting up a fight, knowing it would be impossible to attack all three pirate ships at the same time. So, they decided to pick one as their main target. They hoped to put some fear into the other two pirate ships by focusing all their fire on one. The Goddess’ Spear didn’t have many options anyway, knowing that the Quidah was the largest ship here, and it was protected by thick armor. As for the Jackdaw, the Goddess’ Spear knew that it was a bad idea to attack a battleship as well. In the end, they decided to focus all fire on the Blizzard.
Hutcheson was furious at this. Not only was he given the least of the share of loos, and now, they were now taking heavy fire from Goddess’ Spear as well. However, he was smart enough by slowing down his ship to dodge the Goddess’ Spear’s attacks. Being a qualified captain of the Blizzard, he must have possessed a particularly good skillset. In fact, he was excellent at maneuvering his ship, managing to evade half of the Goddess’ Spear’s attacks. The Blizzard might have looked like it was in a tight spot, but eventually, they didn’t sustain too much damage.
With the Blizzard drawing the Goddess’ Spear’s attention, the Quidah and the Jackdaw managed to close into their target really quickly. Zhang Heng fired first, and the Quidah followed suit. The Goddess’ Spear wasn’t prepared when two powerful pirate ships attacked at the same time. Their crew started to panic. Still, they didn’t surrender, believing that they could defeat them like how they beat the Pelican.
Unfortunately, it was a pointless struggle trying to beat two powerful pirate ships. Five minutes later, the Goddess’ Spear finally raised a white flag. Zhang Heng led 30 of his men to the gunwale. Once they got closer to the Goddess’ Spear, they launched a landing craft and rowed towards Goddess’ Spear.
The overpowering scent of gunpowder still lingered in the air when they boarded the Goddess’ Spear. The sailors were glaring at all the pirates that boarded their ship in anger and frustration. Zhang Heng didn’t go straight to the goods. Instead, he waited for Black Prince Sam to board the ship. He then handed the list of goods to him.
“We are in luck. This ship hauls a lot more than we initially thought. It looks like we can still earn a lot even if the goods are evenly distributed amongst the three pirate ships,” said Black Prince Sam.
The pirates erupted into cheers after hearing what he said. On the other hand, the dejected sailors of the Goddess’ Spear could simply glare at the pirates with a murderous stare.