“Stay calm! Hold your ground! Where’s the ammunition? When is the next batch going to be here?” shouted Billy as he shuffled around the deck.
“It’s on the way. It will be here soon, Mr. Billy.”
A short-looking sailor dragged two crates of ammunition while trying his fastest to get to Billy.
“Mr. Billy. Two of our cannons were destroyed, and three of our cannoneers are wounded.”
“Quickly! Get someone to replace them.”
Just as Billy turned around, a cannonball suddenly landed half a meter away from him, penetrating the ship’s hull! The short sailor had taken most of the brunt of the attack. His arm was completely shattered, crushed beyond redemption. The pain he was in caused him to fall to the ground, screaming hysterically for help.
“Quickly send him to Vincent. The rest of us continue with the attack!”
Instantly, two men came over and carried the injured pirate to the doctor. The crew had seen an incident like this far too many times, and thus, none were distracted by it. After all, most of Jackdaw’s recruits were experienced pirates. All that was in addition to the recent violent skirmishes they went through. Even if there was someone new onboard, they should be all grown up by now.
“Damn it! These guys outgun us by a large margin. It would be nice if we had our twenty-four-pound cannons here,” gasped one of the cannoneers while wiping the blood off his face.
“Everyone! Hang in there! We will defeat them and take back our gold!”
The busiest person on Jackdaw right now had to be Vincent. He had once dreamt of becoming a botanist. Right now, he played an essential role on the ship. There were injured lying everywhere in the sickbay. Due to the lack of beds, some had to make do with the tables and the floor. Blood could be seen on every surface of the infirmary, only to be made worse by the screams and howls of decapitated men.
Luckily, Vincent was well-prepared for such a situation. Before they departed to Parrot Island, he had collected some fine sand from the beach and scattered them all over the floor. By doing that, he solved the problem of the bloody, slippery floor. Right after he was done extracting a bullet from a pirate’s arm, the short pirate was carried into the infirmary. Vincent quickly examined his wounds and discovered that the bones in his arm had been completely shattered. Not to mention the flesh hanging off it, the mangled mess was a lost cause. It would have to be amputated right away.
He took out a wooden stick and asked the short pirate to bite on it. Then, he instructed his assistants to hold the man’s limbs down. Vincent then brought out a hacksaw and prepared himself to sever the poor pirate’s arm. Suddenly, he remembered what Zhang Heng told him earlier. It was crucial for him to apply heat to the tools that he used on his patients. Before he carried on, he retrieved the stick from the man’s mouth and fed him some rum.
“Are you ready? I will begin if you are ready.”
On another note, the plan that Zhang Heng, Billy, and the senior officers coined was finally working. The strategy Worden was so proud of was ineffective against Jackdaw. Instead, Jackdaw was the one constantly putting them under the limelight. Until now, Worden still didn’t dare show his face. However, despite the chaos, he remained very calm. Though half of his men were either injured or had died in battle, he had no intention to retreat. That was because Kent’s cannons still had the upper hand in this battle.
This had nothing to do with the courage and skill of his cannoneers. It was simply because Kent had greater firepower than Jackdaw. Jackdaw and Kent were battleships of the same type. Technically, they should be equal in firepower as well. However, Jackdaw now sorely lacked ammunition. Left with no other options, Zhang Heng had to replace all the twenty-four-pound cannons with the twelve-pounders. Thanks to that, they were now significantly weaker than Kent.
In reality, Jackdaw’s cannoneers actually exceeded Worden’s expectations. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that they were equally as potent as the formally-trained Royal Navy.
“If this goes on, we won’t be able to hold up for much longer,” said Billy who sounded very worried.
Zhang Heng managed to kill another red-uniformed gunner before he replied.
“Time to use our backup plan,” Zhang Heng replied while looking at Anne.
“Is… is that doable?” asked Billy.
“We have killed two-thirds of the enemy’s gunmen. I would say our success rate has gone up, but I will need someone to cover me,” Zhang Heng said.
“Are six men enough?”
“Two is more than enough. It’s pointless to have so many cover me.”
While he talked, Zhang Heng sent his men to the captain’s quarters to get his weapons bag. There were four rifles in it. Ever since Zhang Heng bought them from Baal, he realized that they were of great help when taking over Scarborough. From that day onwards, Zhang Heng realized that rifles were an invaluable piece of weaponry in any battle. However, he was still under Blackbeard at that time and hence, wasn’t allowed to get three more rifles for himself. Right until he set sail to plunder the Spanish treasure ship, did he purchase three more of it from Baal.
This was their moment to shine. Zhang Heng crouched and crept to the gunwale. He then lifted one of his rifles. At such close proximity, the smoothbore gun would be an excellent choice as well. However, a rifle was definitely more reliable since it allowed the shooter to administer a lethal shot to his enemy. He then took aim at Kent’s helmsman.
“Follow my orders. Get Jackdaw closer to Kent.”
Jackdaw’s maneuvers couldn’t fool Worden’s eyes. Though he was ready to fight if the pirates boarded his ship, he had no reason to give up the advantage he had right now. So, he quickly ordered his helmsman to stay as far as possible from Jackdaw. Before Worden could even finish explaining, Kent’s helmsman suddenly dropped to the ground, dead as a doornail.
Worden frowned in frustration. Accidents like this happened all the time during a battle. Although unsettling, he was used to it. Immediately, Chris looked for someone to replace the dead helmsman. Right after the new helmsman took over the wheel, Zhang Heng killed him as well.
“Captain, someone is targeting our helmsmen!” shouted Chris.
“What are you afraid of?! They are just aiming for one person. Use whoever we have to block him from the bullets. Our human wall should suffice for now. Just hang in there. Soon, we will sink them indefinitely.”
Right after Chris received the order, he ordered some men to form up and block all incoming bullets. Of course, all those chosen were extremely unhappy with the decision. However, they had worked for Worden for some time now and knew about the consequences they would suffer if they disobeyed him. They might just be able to live if they followed the order. However, if they left right now, they would be ensured an ending worse than a crumbling wall.
Leaving with no other choice, they were forced to barricade the new helmsman to protect him. With no qualms whatsoever, Zhang Heng killed all who formed the human shield first before again. taking out the helmsman. Faced by Zhang Heng’s masterful marksmanship, everyone was soon too afraid to step up again. Chris had to keep on repeating himself, screaming for sailors to step up, and man up. However, no matter how desperate his orders were, no sailor would budge from where they were.
Unfortunately, Zhang Heng’s position was exposed. Due to the overwhelming firepower of the enemy, the pirates that covered him and reloaded his guns were hit. No thanks to that, they managed to buy Jackdaw enough time to get closer to Kent. They were now only ten meters from each other.
In the chaos of raining bullets and thunderous cannons, Zhang Heng took the opportunity to change position. He then continued to reload his rifles and kept firing at his enemy nonstop. Once both ships were side by side, Anne and the rest of the pirates launched their signature grappling hooks over Kent’s gunwale, bridging the two vessels together. Then, under heavy fire, she led a group of pirates to board Kent, the flagship of the Royal Navy.