48 Hours a Day
Chapter 206 - Draw Lots
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“How are we supposed to ambush them? For now, their planned route is the only information we have. We can all hide behind the island, but how are we supposed to know how far they are away from us? Anything more than half a nautical mile, and it would be impossible for us to ambush them,” said the bald captain.
Most of the captains nodded, echoing his concerns.
“That’s why we to bait them. We can’t all be hiding behind the island. One of us will need to initiate the attack and draw them toward the island,” Sam continued.
“What if the treasure ship doesn’t follow us, but the two corvettes follow us instead? You mentioned that two corvettes are escorting the treasure ship, right?” said the Warrior’s captain.
“We need to take out the corvettes first. Once we disable them, we will turn around to take out the treasure ship. I believe we can surround it easily without the interference of the two corvettes. For that, we will need two ships to bait it. If we use only one, there’s a high chance that only one corvette will come after us. Two pirate ships will force both corvettes to come after us at the same time. We need to make sure that everything goes according to plan. There’s a high chance that the treasure ship will follow the corvettes and attack us,” Said Sam.
None of the captains went against Sam’s idea. However, everyone became quiet when Sam mentioned about bait. Undeniably, this was the most dangerous part of this operation. The two pirate ships that were deployed would have to face the brunt of two heavily armed corvettes and the Spanish ship. Before they reach the ambush point, no one would be able to help them. In other words, they would have to brave the attacks alone.
“I wish that I can take part in this operation, but my Quidah’s only advantages are a tough hull and the naval ram. When it comes to speed, my ship falls far short of the others. Though the treasure ship is slow, the two corvettes around it are extremely agile. This is why we need two ships that can travel fast. At the same time, we also need experienced captains to lead this operation. Considering that our ships have to face various uncertainties and risks, I suggest changing the ratio of the loot. The two ships acting as bait will get 50% more loot than the other four ships. Everyone agree?”
After a short hesitation, all six captains, including Sam, raised their hands in agreement.
“Great. So, volunteers?”
“Count me in!”
A man with a bony face and sunken eyes spoke up. From the moment Zhang Heng entered the captain’s quarters, he remained there like a log. Other than speaking up during voting, he did not speak a single word during the entire discussion. However, he wasn; surprised when the man volunteered to become bait.
He was known as Full Speed Brook, the fastest pirate in the entire Nassau. His ship, the Swordfish, was a heavily modified vessel. To become the fastest pirate ship in the whole Nassau, he had sacrificed some of his ship’s firepower and armor. The one incident that made him famous was the time when he plundered four different merchant ships at four different locations on the same day.
That was how he got his name. Besides, he was extremely good at steering his vessel, on par with Hutcheson’s talents. Amongst all the captains, he was best suited as bait. However, one pirate ship wasn’t enough. There were only 31 nine-pound cannons on the Swordfish. Drawing the attention of two heavily armed corvettes was going to take a lot more than his streamlined speedster.
“We need one more volunteer. Anyone?” asked Sam.
No one said a word even after an entire minute. One thing was for sure, nobody in this room were cowards, but it didn’t mean they would take unnecessary risks just to prove their bravery either. All these captains had led their pirates through countless battles on the high seas and had made a name for themselves. From the outside, they might look fearsome. However, they had the uncanny ability to remain absolutely calm and composed during critical moments like this. When Sam offered 50% more of the loot to whoever that volunteered to become bait, everyone in the room instantly started weighing the consequences and benefits if they were to participate.
To Brook, the gains outweighed the risks considering he had the fastest barque in the entire Caribbean. To the others, though, the extra 50% of loot wasn’t worth the risk.
“Let’s use the old way to decide who’s will become the second bait.”
Sam took out five silver coins from his coin bag.
“Let draw lots. I will mark one of these coins. The one that receives the coin with a mark on it will join Brook.”
By utilizing this method, the chosen one might not have the fastest vessel in the fleet, but this was the fairest way to select the second bait since no one wanted to volunteer. Silver coins that were minted in this era looked almost the same when compared. However, due to limited technology in the minting process, each coin had minute defects and differences. Knowing this, Sam asked everyone to turn around when he marked one of the coins. He then tossed it into a bag, shook it, before inviting everyone to pick one. He would be the last one to choose.
Once everyone was done with picking a coin, Sam spoke again.
“Who got the coin with two scratches on it?”
Immediately, everyone checked the coins that they picked. At the same time, Sam picked the last one from the bag. Everyone looked at each other. However, Zhang Heng’s face twitched as he tossed a coin with scratch marks on it back to Sam.
“The second bait is going to be the Jackdaw. Any other questions?”
“We will discuss the rest when we arrive on Parrot Island.”
After finding out that the Jackdaw had become the second bait, the captains found no reason to stay on the Quidah anymore, leaving the ship soon after. However, Sam halted Zhang Heng after rolling up the nautical chart.
“What do you think? Is this going to be too hard for you?”
Zhang Heng shook his head. His Jackdaw was a corvette, a battleship intended to engage in war. Undoubtedly, it could sail faster than most of its counterparts, and his sailing skill had also reached LV2 recently. Besides Brook’s Swordfish, Zhang Heng’s ship was the second-best ship for the role of bait. Although he felt that the risk wasn’t worth an extra 50% of the loot, he didn’t say no since he had been basically chosen by fate.
If he rejected the task, his reputation would surely be diminished once he returned to Nassau. No one would ever work with him anymore.
“Great. See you there on Parrot Island.”
Four days had passed, and Zhang Heng regrouped with the rest of the five captains on Parrot Island. There, they finalized the final plan for the operation. After that, Zhang Heng and Brook left the island with their crew and sailed to their designated spots. They were both separated by around half a mile. They then lowered their mainsails and waited for their prey to arrive.