Part the One Hundred Eighty Second: Abigail’s Captive Sings
“Tell me more of these galleons,” Abigail asked John Cooper, the defeated captain of the captured Cormorant.
Hope wasn’t sure if the captain realized what danger he was in. The edge in Abigail’s voice, the narrowing of her eyes, both warned Hope that she was anxious for word on the promised prize of the Little Plate Fleet. And that made her worry for the life of the man before Abigail if he could not provide what she wanted…
“Well,” John replied, “they seemed weighed down and running low to the waterline, though also heavily armed, a good twelve gun to either side on all of them. And they were not afraid to fire at us when we came close to them.”
“How close were ye? And have ye any guess what they fired?” Abigail asked, stepping closer to him, threatening to crowd him off his decks.
“I’d say about 120 fathoms, with a mix of six and four pounders.”
“Sounds like they were anxious to be ready but stuck with what they had on hand before they… Where be your charts?”
“Richard,” he commanded to the man at his side, “get those for her. And a bottle of Port; we may want to use that to plead for our lives.”
“Your lives are worth just the charts and your strongbox, though if it be a good bottle there might well be less pain involved.”
“I’ll have all that brought to you.”
“Your subservience is quite admirable,” said Abigail with a slight smile. “If I didn’t expect a trick from ye, I might be charmed at having a man willing to do everything I asked of him.”
“I fear if you were to ask me rise up with a trick, I’d be coming up with little to offer, m’lady. If I am to lose everything in this venture, though, let me at least say it’s a joy to lose to the lovely, feared Abigail Sanders.”
She smiled at him long and hard before she nodded to Goor and commanded, “Take in fore and keep an eye on him; if he tries anything, break him in two.”
As the two men went towards the bow of the Cormorant, Hope said to Abigail, “The way you smiled at him, I was almost convinced that you were going to…” .
“Lead him into my cabin?” she replied.
“I’d be doubly a fool to do so. He’d be a distraction even were we in the doldrums, and with our-”
She held up her hand to keep both their mouths closed, then motioned across the gangplank back to the Gale, to be among her crew.
She continued, “With where we need to be, his charms and gifts would be too much of a diversion, even if I were desperate for it. Not until we have what we’re looking for would I even consider it.”
Hope took a look at him, behaving himself under Goor’s watch while the strongbox and port came aboard the Gale.
“I suppose there’s better out there than him, maybe,” Hope said with a nod.
“Mind ye, if there’s no venture about, then maybe.”
“Really? How’d you…”
“Probably not,” said Abigail. “The last time I took a hostage, the way that turned out…”
Hope laughed, despite being the butt of the joke…
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