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Sid And The Pirates 3

'You must negotiate,' he spoke up now, speaking to the pirate in his own dialect and wondering at his own daring, 'The British are simply too powerful. You can either choose to bring about your ruin or let your people live.'
'Wise as well as sensible, I see. Where is Mr. Doyle?'
But he was interrupted by one of his men from across the other boat, 'Sardar, the prince is terribly sick, he cannot hold down his food.'
The pirate captain looked worried now. It would be an even more serious crisis if the prince of Ava died while he was a prisoner of the pirates.
He thought for a while, raised an eyebrow speculatively and asked Sid, 'Why don't I take you hostage instead? Till your people pass our message to the British?'
Sid did not hesitate. He only glanced back once, hoping to reassure Mr. Doyle who was awake now and was following the proceedings intently. Mr. Doyle gave him a quick nod in reply.
Things happened at a faster pace the next few moments. An exchange of prisoners took place as the two boats heaved and swayed in the restless waters. Soon Sid in place of the now released Prince of Ava, found himself sailing eastwards keeping an eye on the purple clouds of the horizon.
He must have dozed at his oars for when he awoke it was evening already. Sid realized it had been a long day. What was it that Mr. Doyle had wanted to tell him, and where was he now? The pirate captain was a friendly man, who was trying to explain how the ships moved studying the direction of the stars. .They were walking around the deck when from the other side of the cabin, a dozen men appeared and in no time had surrounded the pirate and Sid. 'It's a mutiny,' it was a voice Sid recognized too well. A man who moved fast despite his limp.
'Why you traitor,' but the pirate captain could speak no further as a hand was clamped over his mouth and he was dragged away by two of his own men.
The mutineer laughed as he took off his turban, his scar showed up clearly in the moonlight and Sid knew at once who it was. Rahim chacha?
Don't call me chacha, the man snarled, bringing out a fine dagger that lay sheathed in his belt. 'You son of an outcaste, you half-breed.' There was something menacing about the way he polished his knife as he spoke.
'Weren't you in China, to help in the Opium trade?' asked Sid refusing to be cowed down.
He gave a sly smile. 'I decided I was needed here instead. You seem to be giving the captain here some, rather well-intentioned advice. So I thought why not try and get into the British favour by using your same advice... negotiate and get a share of the diamond trade. It will just mean getting rid of this tiresome pirate captain here. I have already promised his men a share in the profits...'
He smiled in a very sinister fashion and went on, 'So, dear nephew, if you want me to save him, get the prince of Ava back. I will use him as a negotiating tool'.
'You wouldn't know how to deal with the pirates, they can be a wily lot, 'said Sid, hoping to bluff his way through and save the captain, 'Only Mr. Doyle knows their ways ..
'Quick now, the storm's here, 'said the captain who spoke through clenched teeth. But the wind came up so suddenly that the boat rammed into the fragile wooden pier that stretched out on an island. Everyone got to working fast, they tied anchor and then tied themselves up too. Some to the deck, others to the trees on the coastline.
It was the longest hour Sid had ever known, as the storm howled its way over them, coming back repeatedly, over and over again. The rain came down in blindingly heavy drops, and the boats around creaked terrifyingly. As they lay drained and spent, and had no idea of passing time, Syed's boat returned, and Sid was overjoyed to find Mr. Doyle back. He still looked pale though and his face thinner than Sid had ever seen him look before.
'I am glad you could do this on your own, my boy. I am proud of you It was your uncle who tried to create trouble. Trying to drive a wedge between the pirates, and getting into illegal trade...'
Where is he now?' asked Sid for Rahim chacha was literally nowhere to be seen.
'Oh he has a way of disappearing. But what I did want to tell you is this. You must rush to Pillaura, near Kanpur. That is the place you were born, and where I took you away from, the time of the mutiny those many years ago. Your grandmother is still there..
He paused and then with infinite slowness, dug into his coat and pulled out a piece of paper folded over many times, 'Here, this is the map that will take you to where the seals and the family treasure is hidden... I have hidden it away from your uncle, all these years.'
Sid couldn't believe his ears. All these years, and he didn't even know anything about Pillaura..'
Mr. Doyle read his thoughts, 'Its your uncle, he did not like your father... the bravest man I ever knew. An Irish soldier, I tried to save you from him but you have shown your mettle, my boy. The governor would also like to meet you and thank you in person.'
He looked at the sun now, rising slowly in the eastern sky. A new day that held enough new promises for him was now beginning. Mr. Doyle smiled gently in understanding and from the boat nearby, he heard the pirates break into loud applause.
As they sailed away, the pirate captain waved, 'Call me when you need me... the fisherfolk know where to find me'
And Sid waved till the boat was a mere speck in the vast sea, now turning orange in the new sunlight.

Story by Anu Kumar

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