21 A Distrupted Trade
As she recovered, Jemima was kept in the captain's quarters of the Jackdaw, a makeshift bed set up in the corner with a curtain around it. Kenway was suspicious of the curtain at first but after Thomas insisted it was for medical purposes, he would throw his hands in the air and leave them be, unaware of the woman that lay behind it. And so Thomas stayed with her for the first few nights, sleeping on the chair behind the desk as Jemima slept nearby. He changed her dressing and her wounds soon healed.
"My first bullet wound." She smiled, sitting up, checking the bruised, raw hole that struck the right side of her chest, just below her shoulder.
"Let's hope it's your last." He said, rolling up the bloodied dressing.
"Aye. Thank you, Thomas. Really." She told him, genuinely grateful for what he had done for her.
"No problem. Whether you're Jack Thatch or Jemima Thatch, you're still my friend and I'll help you, no matter what."
Jemima stood, wobbly and Thomas gently pushed her back down.
"Not yet, you're still weak."
"Ah, come on! It's been three days!" She protested but lying back down all the same.
"When you can stand strong, then you'll be healed."
She rolled her eyes.
"Fine, Doctor Young." She folded her arms.
As she grumbled, he grinned and left the bedside. Jemima watched him go, amused by the hard exterior but the gentle, compassionate character of the assassin, a good man loyal to his friends. She was glad to have met him.
Thomas stepped down the gangplank from the Jackdaw and jogged away from the docks, approaching the forms of the two pirates.
"Here's how it goes." Kenway murmured, his hood up, disguising his face as he spoke in hushed tones to Adé and Thomas. "Torres meets with Prins carrying a portion of the ransom, saying the rest is close behind." They stood nearly concealed behind a market stall by the docks of Kingston, watching the Templar figures nearby. "When we see the Sage, you bring in the rest of the gold, make the swap and get out. I'll be watching from close by."
"No, Kenway." Adé said, reaching for him as Kenway made to leave. "You run this scheme alone, at the risk of losing the faith of your crew. It makes me ill to think of you bartering with that wretched slaver."
"Adé's right." Thomas agreed. "Do this by yourself and we'll be the ones watching close by."
"Come on, mate." Kenway grew irritated. "Once we have the Sage, we'll all be rich!"
Adé's eyes wandered past Kenway and Thomas followed his gaze.
"Not if young Master Kidd gets to him first."
"Kidd?" Kenway turned, catching sight of the girl he knew as James Kidd, her back to him, stalking the same prey. Kenway stepped towards Mary, hurriedly. "Jaysus, that lad's here to kill him."
"Wouldn't be the worst idea." Thomas shrugged.
"We've been over this, assassin." He hissed, turning on him. "The Sage lives until I get what I want."
"Edward! Thomas!" Mary said, turning to see the pirate. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Leaving." Thomas growled, glaring at Kenway.
"No." Mary shook her head. "It'll be good to have another assassin around here. Someone with higher morals than others." She glanced back to Kenway. "What about you?"
"I'm tailing these men to the Sage. Can you two hold off 'til he appears?" He said, following Mary as she walked ahead of him, inconspicuously holding a conversation while hunting the Templars.
"We're not promising anything." Thomas said under his breath.
"But just this once you can have your way." Mary said, stopping, allowing Kenway to pass by her. "Do the right thing."
Kenway disappeared among the crowd, occasionally sighted on the rooftops and Thomas joined Mary in keeping watch. They crept around the area, giving Torres and Prins a wide birth, assisting Kenway in clearing the scene of any possible 'inconveniences'. Anyone who was hunting the assassins could have easily found them by the trail of bodies that they left behind.
Torres and Prins eventually left the maze of the town and wandered along a heavily guarded path. However, this was a minor issue for the assassins and Mary and Thomas ducked down in the bushes, the soldiers around them oblivious to their presence.
"Now's the time." Mary said, ready to stand as Kenway joined them.
"No." Kenway held her back. "Not until we see the Sage."
"Here's a quiet spot." Prins observed, seemingly unaware of the audience they had obtained. "I'll see the money."
Torres held out a small purse of gold.
"This is but a portion of the ransom." He insisted, noting Prins expression. "The rest is close at hand."
"It pains me to traffick a man of my own race for profit, Mister Torres." Prins sighed, shaking his head as he turned away.
"Yeah, right." Thomas muttered.
"Tell me again..." The slaver continued. "What has this Roberts fellow done to upset you?"
"Is this some sort of protestant piety I am not familiar with?" Torres questioned.
Prins weighed the purse in his hand for a moment, before tossing it back to the governor.
"Perhaps another day."
"Next time," Prins said, walking away, "see that we are not followed!"
The three exchanged a look.
"Deal with this!"
The bewildered Torres hurried away, clutching the purse as the discovered three stepped out from the bushes.
"You've cocked up my kill, Kenway!" Mary spat as they engaged in battle, soldiers racing for them, weapons raised.
"For a better cause!" He insisted, slicing at the first victim to meet his sword.
As Kenway and Thomas battled on, Mary slipped from the fight, darting away.
"You lost your chance, man!" She yelled as Kenway kicked the last brute off his blade. "I'm going after Prins!"
"Kidd, no!" Kenway exclaimed, chasing after her, Thomas behind him. He wasn't in the same rush to catch her as Kenway was.
"Jim, stop!" He continued to order, cutting through the town and its people as he bolted after the fleeing assassin.
"Not this time, Kenway!" She called back.
"Come on, man! We can work this together!"
"You had your chance!"
"Stay your blade, Kidd! Wait!"
The debate continued, on the ground and along the rooftops, the pirate struggling to keep up with the young assassin. Thomas watched from below, running alongside the buildings, keeping in pace with the shadows that ran beside him.
Mary leapt to the ground, Kenway close behind.
"Thomas, grab him!" He ordered and instinct kicked in.
For years, Thomas had been used to being told what to do, given constant instruction. By leaving England, he had been granted freedom but that brief order from Kenway sent Thomas's mind spiralling back to the assassin training grounds in London.
Without thinking, Thomas tackled Mary to the floor.
"What are you doing, man?" She yelled, pushing him off her. "I thought you stood by me!"
"I'm sorry, I do! But-" He tried to apologise but Kenway approached, nodding to Thomas as he pulled up Mary from the floor, gripping her arm.
"Damn you, old Scratch!" She yelled, turning on him. "Keep your natty hands off me!"
"I can't let you kill those men, Kidd. Not until I've found the Sage."
"I've been stalking that pig for a week now, charting his moves! And here I find not one but two of my targets and you rob me of both!"
Kenway held up his hands in surrender.
"Patience, man. You'll have your kills."
"When I locate the Sage, you're helping me take Prins. Got that?" Mary shoved him away. "And you." She growled, facing Thomas. "You should have left when you had the chance. And here I was thinking two assassins were better than one." She stepped closer to him, glaring darkly. "Or maybe you're not an assassin at all..."
And with that said, she stormed away, leaving behind an agitated pirate and a doubting assassin.