Part the Two Hundred Fifty First: What You Don’t Know Can’t
“Land! Land!” said Goddard from atop the mast.
“Help me up to the top of the cabin,” Hope asked Samuel.
He obliged, and she tried to read the wind by touch and smell.
After a few moments, she realized that Abigail made it look easier than it actually was, and resorted to her back-up: “Give me your read on the wind,” she called, not specifying whom she was asking.
“She feels fair,” said de Barrer, “from the east-southeast.”
“Ja, I agree,” said Goddard.
“We need to trim the sails, then,” said Hope. “We need to cut speed.”
“Do you think we’ll make it through without being spotted?” Edward asked.
“Aye, do ye?” Redhanded Jack asked as well, reflecting some of the worry in his ward’s face.
Looking into their eyes from her high position, she tried not to waver in the glare of their gazes. She wasn’t sure which one was more of a heartbreaker, the young lad or his ward…
She climbed off the cabin’s roof and addressed them, “I would be lying to you both if I told you that what we’re doing would be without risk. But for every danger we face, there is a reward waiting for us. And each reward is as great as each obstacle, the greater the better.”
She gave a quick glance to Jack, and he led Edward astern.
She moved bow ward, where Osei had just finished assisting de Rojo and Turely with trimming the jibs.
“You seem troubled,” he noted as she came closer.
“How did she do it with children?”
“I don’t follow.”
“What was the age of the youngest lad who served under Abigail?”
“Hmmm,” Osei thought. “We’ve never had a lad as young as Edward. Does it bother you that he’s here?”
“More now than it should, I gather, as I had said nothing before we set sail. If I’d have thought it through better, I would have reconsidered having him aboard.”
“We would have lost two, as Jack would not have come without him. Had they told yet about their-”
“No,” Hope interrupted, “and frankly if something were to happen to that lad, it would be easier to bear the less I know about him.”
“And as the two do everything together, so Jack remains unknown as well.”
“And should we all leave Santiago alive, I will ask them. Or better yet, Abigail will have the pleasure of hearing their tale.”
Osei waited for Hope to say more before he asked, “So do you have much faith in our chances, then?”
She heaved a sigh, then straightened up and said, “Let’s make sure we’re no closer than this until dusk.”
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