Part the Two Hundred Twentieth: Sander’s Golden Treasure
“My… God…” Hope said as John of Mersey’s friends carried him away from his interrogation.
“Quite a tale he had,” said the drunk, wiping the blood from the dagger. “I’d had no idea this de Colera was such a man as this.”
“It makes you question much about the world.”
“Perhaps, though the Spaniards’ condition would make them likely to allow such a man amongst them.”
“Their condition?” Hope asked.
“Aye, de falta de cabezas. With aged King Philip on the throne, his arse no more dynamic than just one more cushion there upon it, and his court a set of snipes awaiting their moment of personal glory, there’s plenty of opportunity for a man such as that among the Spanish holdings.”
“You seem quite well equipped, sir.”
“Eh now?” he asked, confused.
“A man as handy with a blade as you, able to pull the tale you did from him, and at the same time quite aware of how the royal court of another country affects the politics of the New World. You have the makings of a skilled privateer, sir.”
He smiled. “And you, Miss Harvey, have certainly lived up to the name whispered behind your back.”
Hope took a second to shake off her surprise. “Pardon me?”
“I’ve heard from travelers in taverns of ‘Sander’s Golden Treasure,’ the lady taken for ransom by the Gale who earned her place with the crew. And ye certainly lived up to your reputation, lass.”
“So our adventures are the grist for the mill of tales, then. What other stories do you recall of the Gale’s travels?”
“Most of her encounters since Abigail Sanders’ captaincy,” he said. “Her revelation off Campeche, that right there’s a good yarn, spun enough to keep others’ interest in what she did next.”
“I see. Which, as we just learned, could be used against us.”
“Aye, but there are more advantages to having a reputation that precedes ye, as it allows the Brethren of the Coast to introduce each other amongst themselves. Which here proved fortuitous.”
“For which I owe you thanks,” said Hope. “You do, however, have me at a disadvantage, sir.”
“Oh, aye, that… Henry Morgan, Gentleman of the Sea, at your service.”
“A service I am grateful for,” she said with a slight curtsey.
“Knowing what you now know, lass, what will ye do?”
“I need to consider that. While waiting for the rest of my company to return, I need to keep that in mind. I must also look for fellows that-”
Morgan held up his hand. “My apologies, but I have ventures prepared for that will take me elsewhere anon. Would I were at liberty to consider this venture, but alas.”
Hope took a good look at Morgan, examining him closely, before she asked, “Then perhaps there is something I can offer, sir?”
“Yes. Do you recall what you asked me when I first came here?”
“I think I do, aye,” Morgan replied.
“Well, I think with everything that has happened, I have changed my mind.”
“Have ye now?”
“Yes,” said Hope. “I would like to have a drink with you, sir.”
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