Malone was lazing on the bed in a brothel as an attractive prostitute helped him to spread some medicine on his wound.

Previously, when the Skeleton pursued the Gentle Breeze, Malone insisted that they were black-market merchants, but the pirates from the Skeleton ignored the claims. As captain of his ship, Malone tried his hardest to fight off the pirates bravely with his crew. Unfortunately, the Skeleton was way more potent than the Gentle Breeze, and within three minutes, every single one of the Gentle Breeze’s sailors was defeated by the Skeleton’s pirates.

After that, they started to kick and punch Malone. He fell to the ground the moment one of the pirates landed a heavy blow on his stomach. The searing pain from the bludgeoning caused him to drop the dagger in his hand. When the pirates were done bashing him up, Malone was dragged and locked up in the depths of the ship’s hold. When he was finally alone, he quickly checked his body and realized that it was bruised and bleeding from top to bottom. Not one part of him was left unscathed.

Just like the entire crew of the Gentle Breeze, Malone thought that those pirates would surely kill him. While they sailed back to Nassau, the Skeleton took the opportunity and plundered another merchant ship. Malone witnessed first hand on how Wilton gleefully tormented the Gentle Breeze’s sailors for sport. Even after all the experience gained from working at sea for decades, Malone still trembled at the sight of the inhumane pirates that plundered his ship. He became so hopeless to the point where he wanted to kill himself.

Right until when his freedom was granted back to him, he couldn’t believe that he had to endure such unspeakable horrors. When he was sure that he was no longer in danger, the first thing he did was run the tavern and drink as much as he could stomach. Having his fill of alcohol, he proceeded to the brothel he visited regularly. Finally, he found some peace and quiet that he craved for so long in a familiar place he was comfortable with. When he woke up the next afternoon, he was met by Carina.

“Hold on. You suspect that Jim is working for Malcolm?”

The prostitute left the room half a minute ago. Malone blinked, shaking his head as he tried to clear the awful hangover that was pounded his mind. Through his daze, he was shocked to hear Carina suspecting that Jim was a mole. He quickly fumbled around, eventually finding his shirt before putting it on.

“To be honest with you, I won’t believe such accusations if I don’t see solid evidence. Jim is a good kid. I dug around, asking about him when I thought of recruiting him to the Gentle Breeze. Everyone said that he’s a terrific kid. He’s one hardworking lad, never allowing the slightest bit of laziness to get the better of him. Though he could be boring at times and has no sense of humor whatsoever, that didn’t stop me from putting him on my list of favorite persons. Have I told you about his sister?”

“What sister?”

“Jim has an adopted little sister who is two years younger than him. During that time, his family was doing well, and he was taught how to read and write. Unfortunately, the happiness was short-lived. Shortly after that, both his parents were tragically killed in an accident, leaving the two of them alone. Of course, they needed money to support themselves. So, some people suggested that he send his stepsister to an orphanage or a monastery. Jim rejected all of them with a resounding no. In the end, he had to sell off everything valuable in his house. It was then that he started to look around for a job that could support him and his sister. He was only 14 years old.”

Suddenly, Malone paused.

“What’s wrong?”

“Speaking of his sister, I heard that she had just recovered from a severe illness. Jim spent quite a huge sum of money, looking for a doctor to cure her. I did ask him earlier if he needed my help, but he told me that he had settled his debts. Apparently, he has a distant uncle who sent him some money to deal with his crisis.”

“Could this man be Malcolm?”

“I have never thought about it from that angle. I still don’t think that Jim will sell us out and let Wilton know which route the Gentle Breeze took.”

Malone shook his head, and he had put on his clothes. He then moved his shoulder, and the pain from his wounds caused him to wince and grit his teeth.

“Have you talked to him about it?”

“Not yet. I don’t want to be rash and alert the enemy. Right now, we don’t have any solid evidence about him selling us out. Once he notices that we are on him, it would be extremely hard for us to catch him red-handed. This matter is of the utmost importance to us. Even though Wilton and his pirates are dead, our next journey would be perilous if we fail to catch the mole. The worst thing would be that Malcolm will know all of our moves.”

“Whoa, whoa, hang on. Wilton and his pirates are dead?! How is that even possible? Is this supposed to be a joke?”

Malone had no idea about the entire incident on the island since he slept through the day.

“If you didn’t get drunk last night and unleash your inner beast at the brothel, you should have heard of the big news. Right now, you are probably the last person on this island that finds out.”

“Haha… this has to be the best news I’ve heard in a long time.”

Malone pretended that he didn’t hear the undertone of sarcasm in Carina’s voice.

“While I was on my way back to Nassau, I cursed Wilton, hoping that his pirates would be somehow engulfed by the ocean. I didn’t even mind being a casualty alongside them as long as they’re dead. Anyway, I’m cool with this ending as well. How did they die, eh? Who killed them? How did they get killed? How many survivors are left? To be honest, I find it hard to believe that anybody could kill them. Wilton had over 200 pirates with him, and they were bloody good at what they did. How did this person kill him under the protection of his men?”

“You should go look for the answer yourself. Back to our little Jim, then. Is there anything you wish to add?”

“Let me think… well… I think that should be it, I suppose. I have known him for some time now, and he is a good worker, a good brother, and a good neighbor. I reiterate. I don’t think he is the mole.”

“Regarding your last point, we will make sure to get to the bottom of it.”

“What are you planning to do? Send someone to spy on him?”

Malone gulped a mouthful of water and rinsed his mouth. With that, he was done cleaning himself for the day.

“No. I want to give him a reason to sell us out.”

“Huh?”

“Just now, I ‘accidentally’ spilled some top-secret news to him; deliberately of course. I said that two powerful pirate ships are planning to leave the black-market alliance, choosing to work with us instead. If he is indeed the mole, he will surely tell Malcolm about it.”

“After that?”

“Malcolm will surely do something. As compared to the small traders we deal with, he won’t just stand aside and watch us snatch away his powerful clients and will definitely try to stop it from happening. Judging by his personality, he would approach the two captains and convince them not to leave the alliance. All we need to do right now is to watch them closely. Once he meets the captains, we can go ahead and apprehend Jim.”

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