The pirates were greatly moved when they saw the black flag of Jackdaw flapping in the wind. It had been nine days since they witnessed their bitter defeat right before their very eyes. The navy was happily trampling and burning the black flags they were once so proud of.
The saddest thing of it all was the death of Black Sam, one of the greatest pirates ever known. Swordfish, Quidah, and Warrior had been sunk by the navy-pirate-hunter collaboration, and those still breathing were now screaming and crying out for help. However, the navy had no intention to grant them any mercy. The pirates on the beach were forced to watch as their enemies brutally slaughtered their helpless allies. This whole incident left the pirates a deep scar, a memory that would remain with them till the very ends of their lives.
This was one of the largest defeats that Nassau’s pirates ever suffered. For that reason, the atmosphere on the island was one filled with despair and anxiety. Those tough men who braved countless battles had now lost all hope. Whenever they saw anybody wearing red, they would drown in fear, hiding for dear life. Until they saw Jackdaw again, the black flag on her mast was sending the navy a message. The great oceans belonged to no country or person. It would take the side of warriors bold enough to seek freedom.
Worden and his men surrounded the pirates, killing them one by one. Of course, he wouldn’t repeat the same mistake, which was why he docked his ship outside the harbor. The spot was sufficient to monitor the pirates’ movements and, at the same time, a good one to defend themselves from incoming threats. The moment Jackdaw appeared near Parrot Island, the sailors quickly informed their captain of their sighting.
Chris put down his monocular and found it hard to believe that Jackdaw had the nerve to return to Parrot Island. She just wouldn’t quit.
“How… how is this even possible? Why would they come back here?!”
In fact, Chris wasn’t supportive of this whole pirate-hunting plan. He didn’t mind staying alone on Parrot Island to keep an eye on the pirates, confident that no threat would come to him. Thanks to the awful weather that greeted them, Chris figured that it must have brought Jackdaw down to an underwater grave. However, Worden wanted to make sure that all pirates were dead. This was his stand, and nothing could make him change his mind.
Since they had literally nothing to do during their stay on Parrot Island, they figured that it would have been a better use of time to search for Jackdaw. Even if all they found were the ship’s remains, they would still be awarded merits. That was why no one went against the idea in the end.
Chris was baffled, wondering how Jackdaw could actually survive the storm and dodge the ships searching for them. He also noticed that it looked different compared to when it left the island. It appeared that they had it all in for a good fight.
“They got lucky and managed to run the last time. Since they are here now, let’s make sure that they never get to leave this place! Raise the mainsails! It’s time to go and greet them,” growled Worden in a deep voice.
Chris was ashamed of himself as he felt panic grip him the moment he saw Jackdaw coming for Parrot Island. Being part of the Royal Navy, this wasn’t the time for them to step back. Though Jackdaw was also a battleship with equal firepower, the navy wasn’t supposed to be afraid of a band of pirates. At the same time, Billy kept his eyes glued at the enemy’s movement. He spoke up when he saw that Kent was on the move.
“The Ford guy wasn’t lying. He was right about their commander’s arrogance.”
“Considering the feats he achieved in battle, I would say he has all the right in the world to be haughty. I heard that pirates are almost nonexistent in the places he swore to protect.”
“Why?” asked Harry.
“Because he hung all of them,” replied Zhang Heng.
When Harry heard that, he was frozen in shock and fear. Despite that, he still did his best and squeezed out a smile to show he wasn’t afraid of the commander. Anne knew Harry very well, and no matter how good his acting was, she knew he was almost scared to death. She couldn’t help but roll her eyes at him. Whenever a battle was near, he would pester her to allow hin to join. Now that his wish had come true, fear had gotten the better out of him. Anne was annoyed by his immature antics, and she wasn’t bothered to entertain him.
“Let’s prepare for battle. Remember, we don’t have as much ammunition as them. We will only fire our cannons when we are very, very close to the enemy.”
“Understood,” nodded Billy.
“How are the cannoneers? Are they ready to put up a hard fight?”
“They are in position. We can begin out attack any time now.”
Through Ford’s descriptions of his Worden, Zhang Heng understood the commander better now. He wanted to learn the man’s routines and tactics.
Worden was considered one of the most hardened navy officers in the fleet; his strategies just as ruthless as his character was. He enjoyed engaging his enemies at close quarters, where according to him, was the rawest method to test someone’s courage in battle. No fancy outmaneuvering here; only one true warrior would prevail at the end, with the other meeting their demise.
This was precisely what Zhang Heng planned to do. Right now, Kent had more ammunition than Jackdaw. If Worden decided to test them with a few rounds, Zhang Heng would be at a disadvantage since they couldn’t fire in return. Nevertheless, his problem seemed to have sorted itself with Worden wanting to get up close and personal.
Worden had his reasons for would choosing such a risky tactic. Other than his skillful brigade of cannoneers, his gunmen were all well-trained marksmen as well. They would join the battle once their adversary was around forty meters away. With the overwhelming firepower, he would usually be able to pressure their enemies into submission or submersion. After dealing enough damage and taking charge of the situation, he would then declare victory. That explained his extremely high win rate.
Throughout his long and eventful navy career, Worden had only lost two battles before. One was to a French battleship that had almost double the number of his cannons. The other was because of an enemy ambush. This time, he knew that Jackdaw was once a corvette that belonged to the navy. He also knew that it was all alone. Accordingly, both ships held on from firing until they were fifty meters from each other. Then, they turned at the same time and took aim with their side cannons.
Zhang Heng was the first to act. He instantly found the right window and ordered his cannoneers to fire. The swift and powerful assault dealt some good damage to Kent. In times like these, the exceptional quality of Kent’s sailors was on display. Not only did they remain calm, but the first thing they did was to get their wounded to sickbay. The rest continued working the cannons without so much as a flinch. Like a well-oiled machine, the crew ticked like clockwork.
At the same time, Worden’s trusted gunmen could finally be put to good use. Along with Chris’s order, the gunmen in red fired at Jackdaw! To their surprise, the pirates were ready for them. Having brought a shipment of planks salvaged from Miranda, they used it as a makeshift armor to repel the bullets.
Once the gunfire died down, the pirates emerged from their shield and started to fire back. It didn’t matter who took the helm right now. Zhang Heng relieved himself as helmsman and passed the position to one of the pirates. Then, he pulled out his weapon and jumped into battle! This was the best time to showcase his Lv.2 shooting skill. For this fight, he had prepared a total of six guns for himself. There were also three people standing behind him, helping him to reload those guns.
Within a matter of three minutes, Zhang Heng managed to exterminate all the gunmen on the watchtower. Apart from that, he killed two officers as well. Unfortunately, Worden was cautious enough not to show up after noticing that his men were getting picked off, one after the other.