Part the Two Hundred Sixty Sixth: The Plan Discarded
“Yes,” said Hope to the men, who all stared at her with eyes agape, “the map that de Colera made must be burnt.”
Even Samuel and Osei hesitated as they stared at the monumental plan.
“Burn this,” she pointed to the map. “This, and any other papers you can find. Even if the papers are nothing of import, the loss of the main map should be enough of an impediment to his plans.”
Not waiting to see if anyone would follow her, she grabbed a fat candle and touched its flame to the edge. In a matter of seconds, the flames started to catch and the map was being consumed by the growing fire.
“Would he were here now,” said Hope, “to watch us burn his map the way he burned the Gale.”
“If those flames get too much higher, he will be soon,” said Samuel. “Especially as the corners are tied to the roof beams. They are going to ignite once the fire reaches them.”
“Then grab what gold you can, THEN throw papers on the fire and run!” Hope declared, finding a reserve to bark with that she hadn’t had before.
Whether it was surprise or urgency, everyone hearing her command did as she said, save Abigail who propped herself up on Hope’s right shoulder.
“You’re doing well,” she said to Hope. “You’re showing your mettle in getting their attention and being as clear as possible. You’ve got the makings to make a good captain should you stand to be chosen.”
“But-” Hope started to say, before she continued in a lower voice, “But I wanted to sail under you. That’s why we’re here, to have you back leading us.”
“That’s dedication, I’ll give ye. And I’d be very eager to head on that course were I at me fullest.”
“So with a little rest and a chance to get your strength back, you’ll be leading us all again in no time.”
Abigail nodded as she watched the flames consume the grand plan, the light from the fire now as intense as a head-on sunset.
Hope noted that everyone else in her crew was weighted down with bags of gold dust and some of the better adorned furnishings and objects as the map’s conflagration started to spread to the roof as Samuel predicted.
“Our work here is done,” said Hope. “Back to the Swan.”
The crew piled out of the chapel and started to make their way back to the ship, getting a few paces out of the burning building-
-before shots rang out…
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