“Captain, I think we should have gone with them…” I commented, worriedly.
The moon illuminated the land before me only faintly, and the emitted light from the torch of the trio was slowly losing its fiery glow.
“You’ve got plenty of work to do my boy. I haven’t forgotten -not for one second- the amount of silver that you owe me. Don’t even think about escaping from your duties.”
“But sir, it’s the middle of the night. I’ve completed all my tasks for today. What work could I possibly do now?” I said, sounding rather annoyed.
I hated being in debt. I knew that I owed him my labour, but I didn’t owe it to him while everyone else was allowed to sleep.
“And what work could you possibly do tomorrow without some decent rest?” said the tall man in front of me, using an equally irritated voice. “Go to sleep, Thomas. Unlike you, the lady with the rapier paid to be shipped out on an adventure. I highly doubt that you’ve got anything of value to spare.”
A disapproving look emerged onto my face. “But what if something happens to them? You should have at least sent a few men to accompany them.”
The captain laughed condescendingly. “My boy, you’ve got a lot to learn about the world. I may have been kind enough to accept their small offer in exchange for the use of my rowboat, but they certainly could not afford the use of my men. I am not responsible for them. I made that clear when they boarded, and they certainly know that we’ll be gone without them if they’re not back by a certain time.”
I held on to the same opinionated look, in efforts to conceal my surprise. Why would they bother to journey at such hour? One could hardly deem a trek through the dark as exploring. If they were thinking of harvesting fruits for profit, they were earnestly mistaken. I had already determined that this island was barren of the edible kind.
The bearded man tilted his head to take a sip from his bottle of whisky meanwhile glancing at me from head to toe to head again from the corner of his eyes. “Well, be gone already! I would like some time to myself on my deck you know.”
I sighed. “Good night, Captain.” I said, sounding defeated. My captor smiled approvingly and waved me off.
I looked over my shoulder to the island once more before descending into the depths of the large wooden ship. I could only see a spec of auburn moving from behind the vegetation now. I suddenly remembered that they suited up in battle gear before departing. Perhaps they were not searching for fruit after all.
“What’s on that island worth wearing and wielding expensive equipment for?” I wondered to myself. I didn’t like being kept in suspense. I decided to go. Maybe I would find something more profitable than what I had in mind…
Twenty minutes later, I found myself looking back at the ship from the shore. I had managed to borrow one of Captain Thames' rowboats. Borrowing may have put me into his debt in the first place, but it was for a good cause this time. I seriously wanted to pay him back and there was always a chance that this island would provide me with the means to. I was actually doing him a favor too; watching out for his passengers and all, even though he claimed that he didn’t care. I highly doubted that he was that heartless of a man… After all, he wasn’t a pirate.
I had nothing on me except my clothes, some rations in a small pack of essentials that I had put together myself, an unlit torch and a machete that I had borrowed from a fellow crewman. Being accustomed to the darkness, I moved swiftly in the moonlight through the trees. I was lucky that the dirt was damp enough to display footprints along with disturbed leaves and a few broken twigs. Overall, their trail was fairly easy to follow. I eventually reached a small hatch with signs of the trio heading nowhere but downwards. I couldn’t believe it. Was this a secret hideout? Perhaps they were following a treasure map! I was more excited than ever. I set down my torch on the dirt and lit it with the sparks that spewed from my flint and blade. I tucked the flint away into a pocket on my belt and I gripped the torch in my left hand while being cautious with the machete in my right. I quietly descended the stairs and walked under an arch that was inscribed with symbols that I did not recognize. I was glad that it was the only path available. I moved forward hoping that I’d spot them before they noticed my torch in the tunnel.