Part the Two Hundred Twenty Fourth: Coming on Station
“Do you trust him?” Charity asked.
“For the eighth time, yes,” Hope replied. She wasn’t sure what was worse, the waiting or the incessant questions that punctuated the silences.
“It’s only six.”
“I’ve only asked you six times if you trust him,” said Charity.
“My mistake, then. And to spare you the need to ask a seventh and eightth time, yes I do trust him.”
“Why did we agree to that, anyway? How do we know he will hold up his end of the deal?”
“Because Osei has proven time and again,” said Hope, “that when it comes to measuring men, he is the best at it.”
“So why is it taking them so long to come back here? How many days do they need?”
“He said he and Goddard would be finished and here within four days. This is the fourth day, and I expect them to return shortly.”
“Your faith in them is l’extrordinaire,” said Charity.
“You’re just unhappy we’re in the worst tavern on Lyme Street this afternoon.”
“Unaccompanied, I may add.”
Hope sighed and said, “Do I need to remind you that Samuel is trying to see what we can use for a ship? He’s appealing to Don Hernando and the rest of Am H’Sefer in Port Royal for a vessel, any craft we can for the venture.”
“And what’s he promising them in return for this vessel?”
“He must have something he can offer them.”
“From what he said about his fortunes being seized and his fellows’ reaction to his pursuing l’trésor de la flotte, he might need a king’s treasury to make his case,” said Charity.
“I have faith in him too.”
“And in me, je présume?”
“I find it hard since Tortuga to believe that you could not protect us if pressed,” said Hope as she kept a wary eye on the patrons of the tavern.
“It’s not the fight I fear, but the unending boredom before it comes.”
“I’d rather you were bored than- Hello, it’s them.”
Osei caught sight of Hope in an instant, and soon led a mob through the tavern, consisting of Goddard and nine other men.
Hope kept her seat, back to the wall, as Osei paraded them before her.
“I bring you,” said Osei as his recruits introduced themselves, “Pedro de Rojo.”
“Señora,” said de Rojo, a lanky young lad, with a slight bow.
“Señorita,” Hope corrected.
“Redhanded Jack,” Osei continued as a large man with wild red hair came up.
“There’s no problem with the lad, is there?” he asked Hope.
“Edward the Slight,” said Osei, introducing a boy who looked no more than thirteen years old. “The two are inseparable and insisted on staying together.”
“I can do most anything asked, Miss,” said Edward. “I was a cabin boy before.”
“He’s a fairer seaman than I, I’d say,” said Jack.
“And your abilities, sir?”
“Ah, that’d be for the time we’re not sailing, that.”
“I see,” said Hope with a sigh as she briefly looked away, catching sight of Samuel as he entered.
A brief read of his face warned her that something unpleasant was about to occur…
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