48 Hours a Day
Chapter 220 - Perhaps, I Could Try?
The Jackdaw had never been attacked by so many cannons before, and within a matter of minutes, her hull was riddled with holes. Throughout the entire battle, Zhang Heng managed to outperform himself, dodging most of the lethal shots. Right now, they were only a quarter of a mile from the navy. The attacks grew fiercer as The Jackdaw drew closer to them, with cannonballs raining down on them like hailstones.
“Captain! Captain! We can’t go on like this! The Jackdaw will be in pieces before we can get close!” shouted a desperate Dufresne.
“Repair the damage! It’s too late to back down now! Do you really think they will let us turn around and flee?” asked Zhang Heng as he guided the ship through choppy waters.
A few moments ago, a cannonball flew past Zhang heng’s elbow, the shockwave it produced stunned him silly. He and Anne were at the most dangerous spot on the ship. All his men could hunker down except him, having to make sure that his hands were always dancing with the wheel. The only thing he could do was pray that the Lucky Rabbit Foot was in effect.
“Even if we manage to break through their defensive lines, the Jackdaw can’t get far. Look at her state, Captain! We’ve lost a topsail and a mainsail!”
“We will discuss this problem after we get through their defensive line.”
Soon after that, his voice was overcome by the sound of deafening cannons firing at them. Dufresne realized that this would be the ship’s most precarious moment. He ran out instantly, pulling pirates that were still sober to fix every damage he could see. Even Ramsay turned acting carpenter, looking for everything around him to patch up the ailing boat. Unfortunately, the crack-team of workmen couldn’t keep up against the ever-increasing holes no matter how quick they worked. Helplessness began setting in.
It was then when Zhang Heng’s strategy finally worked. After a few volleys of continuous firing, the entire area was covered in thick smoke. It was time for the Jackdaw to enter the smokescreen. Now, the navy would be staring into a grey mist, let alone aim at anything. Naturally, Worden wasn’t very pleased. They were now in perfect alignment to deal a fatal blow to Jackdaw, now that they were close enough. If they waited until the Jackdaw exited the smokescreen, it would be impossible for some of the ships to attack as they would emerge misaligned to their cannons.
Wanting none of it, Worden ordered his men to continue firing into the thick fog. That said, the Jackdaw could relax a little for now.
At the same time, the battle on the beach was reaching its climax. Since Jarvis’ betrayal had been exposed earlier than expected, pirates from the Warrior were well prepared to face the inevitable battle. Still, they didn’t manage to hold the upper hand for too long, soon to be rendered passive. Under the command of Black Prince Sam, every pirate fearlessly charged at their enemies like stampeding rhinos. Since they were severely outnumbered, the Warrior’s pirates were in deep trouble. They could only hope that the navy would come for them after dealing with the Jackdaw. Unfortunately for them, that wish didn’t come true.
“Sir, the battle on the beach is wrapping up! I think the Warrior’s men are about to lose. The remaining pirates might bring us a lot of trouble if we let them get back to their ships.” said the chief officer after he put down his monocular.
“Inform the Miranda and Warrior. Let them deal with the corvette we lost in the smoke. We have damaged them severely just now. A few hits, and that’ll be the end of her. The rest of us will prioritize attacking the pirates on the beach. The first thing we need to do is destroy all their ships,” Worden muttered while rubbing his chin.
Although the Jackdaw was concealed in the smoke, Zhang Heng was sharp enough to detect that their enemies had been significantly weakened. However, he could hear their cannons firing again. Zhang Heng guessed that something must have happened to the beach. The navy must have turned some of their fire and focussed it there. It would seem this was the best time for the Jackdaw to flee the place.
Right now, they were extremely close to the enemy. At such close proximity, it would be impossible that he could escape detection. All of a sudden, the fog cleared just enough for Zhang Heng to see his enemy pointing their cannons at him. The enemy, too, had noticed the Jackdaw, and without hesitation, opened fire! In such moments where life hung by a thread, all of Zhang Heng’s sailing skills were rendered useless. There were no dodging attacks when both ships were so close to each other.
All he could do right now was to point the Jackdaw to the beach and sail there full speed ahead. Dufresne led a few men to fix a massive hole in a cabin under the main deck. Without warning, the spot that they just patched blew up in their faces, and a cannonball squashed one of the pirates’ heads. Before they could react, more and more cannonballs were launched at them. The hole started to let seawater in.
The flooding water into the cabin gushed at everyone with mighty force. It threw Dufresne off balance, and his head hit a barrel beside him. He went unconscious, only to wake up a moment later after he almost drowned. Dufresne got up and touched his forehead. It was bleeding profusely, stinging from the salty seawater. Dazed and confused, he vaguely saw broken pieces of wood floating everywhere around him. With the water up to their knees, his injured men lay sitting at a corner, crying for help. He then looked to his left and saw a hole that was as big as a basin, filling up the ship fast with seawater. He shook off the pain in his throbbing head and quickly grabbed a floating board to fix it.
With Dufresne’s initiative, the pirates that weren’t too injured jumped in to help. They managed to plug the leak in the shortest time possible, but the water level still didn’t go down.
“There’s one more hole at the end of the ship. I think it’s behind a wine cabinet, and my hands can’t reach it,” said one of the pirates.
“Let’s work together then. We will have to first move the cabinet.”
Instantly, a few pirates went into action, trying to pick up the fallen cabinet. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t budge, lodged securely in the hole it fell in. The water had now reached their waists, and if nothing was done, the Jackdaw would sink indefinitely.
“Can we cut it into half?”
Dufresne asked a bald pirate standing beside him, the only qualified carpenter on this ship.
“Yes, we can, but it will take some time. I don’t think we have enough,” replied the carpenter after a short moment of hesitation.
Just when the last drops of hope were almost dried up, a young man spoke up.
“About that… perhaps, I could give it a try?”