48 Hours a Day
Chapter 216 - Patience
“What’s the meaning of this, Captain Zhang Heng?”
Jarvis looked at the gun pointed at him, and the smile on his face instantly vanished. He was baffled by Zhang Heng’s actions. A few other captains that stood beside him were equally shocked. However, what Zhang Heng said next shocked them even more.
“A fleet of navy battleships and pirate hunters have been following us since we departed Nassau. They are planning to attack us tonight. Our enemies are on their way to this island as we speak. I believe they would appear anytime now.”
“How is that even possible? We’ve sailed for many days, and we would have seen a tail. Unless…” said Black Prince Sam.
“Unless someone betrayed us. The traitor has provided our itinerary to our enemies. With that, they would be able to follow us without being noticed. It was no wonder that someone randomly attacked my ship. I see that you have sold your soul to the nobles. What do you think? You like licking their butts, right, Jarvis?” said Brook.
Jarvis was one of the most experienced pirates amongst them and remained calm even after he was accused.
“I can understand your anger. All the time, you suspected that the ambush had something to do with me. Of course, it is human nature to believe someone the moment they point out a traitor. Luckily, there are more sensible people here,” replied Jarvis as he turned around and looked at Zhang Heng without waiting for Brook to respond to him.
“Captain Zhang. You have made grave accusations towards me. I would like to ask if you have any evidence to prove your claims. For all we know, you could have been the one who betrayed us. Or, perhaps, you’re trying to use a dirty trick to make us leave the island so you can take possession of all that gold!”
Jarvis’ statement sounded logical, and most of the captains on the beach agreed with him. Especially the last sentence, powerful enough to make everyone suspect Zhang Heng as the traitor. Even Brook started leaning towards Jarvis. As compared to Zhang Heng, they knew Jarvis longer than him, being one of the longest-serving pirates in Nassau. Amongst the old-timers, Zhang Heng was just a newbie, only arriving in Nassau not too long ago. Technically speaking, this was their first time working with Zhang Heng. When it came to credibility, they had every reason to lean towards Jarvis. No one could say for sure that Zhang Heng wasn’t lying.
Jarvis was sure good at what he did. Previously, he was confident no one would find out about his relationship with the navy. He did not expect his plan to be eventually exposed by Zhang Heng. After doing some thinking, he figured that the people assigned to guard the little boat must have been captured by Zhang Heng. Since those were his men, he knew that they would never admit to the accusation. However, there was still a possibility that they would spill the truth under a death threat.
With a knife on their throats, they could have been forced to admit to crimes they didn’t commit as long as they got to keep their lives. Jarvis figured that he could convince everyone that the captured men were interrogated under duress. Although doing that would not exonerate him completely, it was enough to stall them until his allies came to his rescue.
However, he had to admit that Zhang Heng’s accusation had brought with it significant trouble. Initially, he planned to pretend to fight the attacking navy. Now that Sam and the rest of the captains started to suspect him of treason, that plan was officially over. With Zhang Heng’s warning in mind, the other captains and pirates would definitely watch out for him. He needed to figure out a way to protect himself when the navy arrived here later. As of now, he managed to deflect the threat away from him.
After Jarvis was done defending himself, he looked at Zhang Heng calmly.
“We need to investigate this matter first. I have a proposal. Since I am not accused of anything, I can ask my men to watch the bay…” Sam added, but before he could finish, Zhang Heng interrupted him.
“All of you have misunderstood my intention. I’m not here to accuse Captain Jarvis. I’m only here to break the news to you. I don’t care if you guys believe me or not, but I’m leaving with my men right now.”
“You want to leave? Now? How about the gold at the bottom of the ocean? And are your men sober enough to even climb on board?” asked a shocked Brook.
It was just then that Anne, Dufresne, and the rest of their party emerged from the woods. Anne still held onto her bloody dagger. As for Harry, a few strong pirates took turns carrying him back to the beach. Ramsay, on the other hand, had put in his best efforts to earn the double-reward he would get. He gathered all the Jackdaw’s pirates in the shortest time possible. Most of them were drunk, going on endlessly about how they’d be rich once they sold off the gold.
“You guys can keep the gold bars,” said Zhang Heng while pointing his gun at Jarvis.
“I’m sorry, Captain Jarvis. Please ask your men to lower their weapons. I will lower mine once my men are safely back on our ship.”
Jarvis did not expect Zhang Heng to be so decisive in a critical moment like this. He had no intention to reason at all. Technically, Jarvis had more pirates than Zhang Heng. Should the worst happen, he could order his men to force Zhang Heng to remain on the beach. By doing that, however, everyone would know that he was indeed the traitor. The other captains and pirates would not hesitate to fight him then. Although it was possible that Jarvis wouldn’t take such risks, Zhang Heng took no chances, ensuring that he made his men stand down.
It had been almost an hour since the little boat that Harry saw left Parrot Island. The more time passed, the more dangerous it was to remain there. Besides, Zhang Heng had spent an extra fifteen minutes on the beach.
He knew that it was time to leave this island immediately. Seeing that Anne and the rest of his men were back, Zhang Heng quickly asked Dufresne to send them back to the Jackdaw. The cramped boat could only fit around ten people, and they would need seven to eight minutes from the beach to the Jackdaw. In other words, a total of thirty minutes were required to take the entire crew back to the ship.
Thirty minutes was simply too long, and Zhang Heng knew they didn’t have the time. Suddenly, the Warrior’s ferry caught his attention.
“I’m going to borrow your ferry,” Zhang Heng suddenly said.
Without waiting for Jarvis’ reply, Zhang Heng instructed Anne to approach the boat. Immediately, a group of pirates from the Warrior jumped up and tried to stop her. Though outnumbered, she had no intention to retreat, quickly drawing her saber to resist. On the contrary, Zhang Heng had acted faster. He pointed his gun at Jarvis’s feet and pulled the trigger! The bullet penetrated his boot, causing him to scream in agony. Next, Zhang Heng took another gun from his men and aimed at Jarvis’s head.
“Do not test my patience.”