“How did you get on this ship?” asked Anne.
Harry was in total shock when he was found in the cabin used to store wood. There was a piece of stale bread and a half-eaten sausage beside him. Other than that, there were two wooden buckets nearby him. One of them was used to store clean water and the other for his excrement.
Harry scratched his head, not knowing what to say in a situation like this.
“No wonder you kept begging me to bring you on the ship recently! You have been planning all along to sneak onboard, right?
Anne grabbed Harry and lifted him by the collar.
“Not bad. You knew how to scout the place and make good use of me, huh? I can see that your guts are getting bigger and bigger,” she growled.
Harry started trembling in fear as Anne confronted him.
“Calm down, boss. I have begged you so many times to let me set sail with you. You tell me each time that you’ll ask Captain Zhang Heng about it. However, I know that you’ve never asked him even though you promised me again and again, which is why I had to find a way to get on board. It’s always been my wish to work on this ship.”
“You are only seven, kid! You need to know that you are not old enough to work on a ship!”
“Boss, I’m twelve. Look at my body. It’s impossible that I look like a seven-year-old kid, right?”
“Is that right? Now, why do I feel that your brain stopped growing at seven? Captain, according to the rules on this ship, what do we normally do to intruders?” asked Anne while turning around to look at Zhang Heng, who was standing nearby.
“Oh. To save us from unnecessary trouble, we usually kill them.”
“Well then, it seems that would be the only way to solve this problem.”
While she spoke, Anne drew her saber from her waist with a sly smile.
“I think you know what happened to the Skeleton, right?”
Harry was bewildered by their rough treatment. When Anne placed her saber on his neck, Harry felt that he was a step closer to death. Finally, the last line of defense in his heart crumbled, and he broke down, starting to cry hysterically with streams of snot flowing out of his nose.
“Boss, save me, please! This is all my fault. I swear I’ll never do something like this again.”
“Hmm. If that’s the case, then, what other ways can we punish him?”
Anne turned around and looked at Zhang Heng; saber still glued on Harry’s throat. Harry was so terrified he couldn’t move a single muscle on his body.
“We shall see how much he’s worth. We can stow him as a prisoner first. After that, we can exchange him for something more valuable, “smirked Zhang Heng, who was playing along with Anne.
“You heard that? Do you think you are valuable to us?” asked Anne while kicking Harry.
“No. I have no value at all! I’m currently staying with my aunt. She won’t pay you guys a single dime even if you kill me in front of her!”
“Don’t blame me for not giving you a chance to redeem yourself then.”
“Hang on… hang on… actually, I’m valuable in my own way. I don’t eat much, and I’m extremely agile. And I’m also hardworking. I will do whatever you ask me to do! I’m willing to clean the deck, climb the mast, and learn how to be a good helmsman. I can do all kinds of things you ask me to,” said Harry while tapping his chest.
“Fine. You can stay on this ship.”
Harry was elated the moment he heard that. After that, he saw Anne laughing at him.
“Isn’t that what you wanted to hear the most? There is no punishment for you. Your wish has just come true.”
Knowing he had been duped, Harry scratched his head in embarrassment.
“You will clean the toilet and help out in the kitchen. I will make sure you get off the ship when we are back in Nassau,” Anne went on.
“Hey!!! That’s not fair! I’ve always kept you company when you couldn’t find a job. I have never abandoned you. Now, I…”
However, before he could continue, Harry saw Anne cracking her knuckles and instantly changed what he wanted to say.
“…I think your suggestion for me is perfect.”
Once Harry kneeled to Anne’s absolute dominance, the ‘rat problem’ on the ship was finally solved. After that, Anne brought Harry around the boat and introduced him to the other pirates. She emphasized to all that Harry was just a temporary sailor. Nevertheless, the crew was unhappy when they saw the boy. For the past two days, they had been searching high and low for the rat, and it had been a chaotic and tiring situation. It was a miracle that they did not bludgeon Harry up when they saw him.
Anne had no intention to side with him either. She wanted to let Harry experience the reality of life on a pirate ship. By doing that, she hoped to change his mind about staying on. Anne mentioned to Zhang Heng before about Harry wishing to work on Jackdaw, but after much consideration, he didn’t agree to it. It was too A twelve-year-old boy was simply too young to work on a ship. If this was the modern world, Harry should have been attending primary school.
Despite all that, Zhang Heng didn’t mind the extra stowaway on his ship. All of them were pirates after all and risked their lives every single day onboard. Once an attack against them commenced, the enemies would not care if Harry was still a kid or not. They would kill him, regardless. He wanted to make Harry wait for another two years or so before letting him join his ship. Unfortunately, Harry thought differently.
Anne returned to the deck after arranging for a cabin for Harry to sleep in. It was at that time that the Quidah raised her flag to signal all the other ships, a sign that summoned all five captains to gather together. Upon receiving the indication, Zhang Heng brought two pirates with him and rowed to the Quidah. Erik, the helmsman, was a good friend of his, and he automatically greeted Zhang Heng when he saw him.
“Captain Zhang Heng, how have you been? Sam is in the captain’s quarters. Everyone else is already here. You are the last to arrive.”
A young sailor led Zhang Heng to Quidah’s captain quarters. Other than Sam, another four captains from four different ships surrounded the table, looking at a nautical chart. Zhang Heng closed the door upon entering the cabin.
“Let me explain the plan since everyone is here. For now, we know that two corvettes are protecting the Spanish ship. Each corvette should be armed with at least 50 cannons. Now, the Spanish ship is even more powerful than the corvettes. If we all attack all three at the same time, we can only last two rounds, give or take. We will lose a lot of people even if we win the battle.
“However, they have their weaknesses as well. Although their hull is tough enough to withstand our cannons and protect its cargo, it’s challenging for them to maneuver their ship. If we can dodge attacks from their side cannons and instead, fire at their bow and stern, I think we should yield some good results.”
“How are we supposed to do that?” asked the Warrior’s captain.
“They are not nearly as agile as us, and the sea is vast. When they see us charging at them from afar, they still have enough time to change direction unless we split up and surround it from all directions. Still, don’t forget the two corvettes guarding it. They could sink our ships one by one if we were to do that.”
“Good insight. Parrot Island is only three days away. If I’m not mistaken, the galleon should cross it in about five days. We can ambush them from there,” said Sam while pointing to an island on the nautical chart.