Morning Breaks, A Ship!
That night I slept better than I had in weeks. But I was abruptly awakened by Barrelhoop, who was shouting, “Ship! Ship!”
I stood and looked out to the horizon and could see the sails of a ship far in the distance.
“To the ship lads,” Captain Peanut Butter shouted.
As we got in the rowboat, the Captain said, “We don’t know if she is a merchant, naval, or pirate ship. No matter. We must sail quickly and find out. They have no doubt seen our ship also, and their actions now will tell us a great deal. If they flee, they are likely merchants rightfully fearing us as pirates. If they approach, they are likely pirates looking for prey, or military looking to capture pirates. Row lads, row!”
We reached The Jellyfish and climbed aboard. The crew rushed to get her ready to sail. Once that task was complete, we started out, pursuing the other ship. We followed it, keeping it in sight but not attempting to catch it.
Andelbert and I walked up to the railing and stood next to Captain Peanut Butter. The Captain was looking through his spyglass. He lowered the spyglass and turned to us.
“She is attempting to flee, which means she is likely a merchant ship. This is not a common merchant lane, and she has no naval escort. I suspect their Captain may be trying to beat the competition to its next destination to secure a better price on goods. Or he is lost. Or a fool. Perhaps all three. We will follow her for a while and watch her moves.”
“Why don’t you just approach her like you did the Sea Merchant II?” I asked.
“I know the Sea Merchant II on sight, and she knows The Jellyfish. This ship, I do not know. We must be cautious. Pirate ships will often fly false flags, or act like their ship is in trouble. Or even pretend to be naval ship to lure in prey. And while it very unlikely, it could also be a naval ship trying to attract pirates.”