The current location of the fleet was near Guangping Prefecture.
There are few rivers in Guangping, so when the drought occurs, it is particularly serious. Because of this, even if the people here were to take on the life of plunder, they generally became bandits rather than pirates. After all . . . none of these people here could swim. Therefore, Zheng Yi felt that he would be safe. However, they were still in danger.
The first thing the watch spotted were the pirates’ boats that were in front, and after seeing those, one of them blew on the alarm whistle.
The harsh and miserable sound pierced through the night sky and resounded all over the canal, waking up all the people asleep on the ship . .
Jiang Zhen rolled over and crawled out of bed. He had heard that harsh whistle before, so he knew its meaning. They were in danger.
“Jinge, hurry up and get dressed and go up the deck,” Jiang Zhen said to Zhao Jinge.
Then in the shortest time possible, he got dressed and hurried up to where Zheng Yi roomed.
“Master Zheng,” Jiang Zhen called out.
As soon as he finished speaking, the cabin door opened.
The one who opened the door was Zheng Yi’s servant boy. Zheng Yi was still fumbling with his clothes. When he saw Jiang Zhen, he immediately asked, “What’s going on outside?”
“The specific situation is not clear. I think the first ship discovered pirates.”
Jiang Zhen opened the window of Zheng Yi’s cabin, so they could clearly see what was going on outside.
Under the bright moonlight, Jiang Zhen clearly saw many dots from torches moving towards them.
“There are too many pirates. We are surrounded,” Jiang Zhen said again.
Some shouts came from several other ships and floated into the cabin, but these could not be heard clearly because the wind was too strong.
In these ancient times, communication was hampered and inconvenient. Right when it was nighttime, even the news from several other ships could not be transmitted easily.
Zheng Yi was upset for a while, but Jiang Zhen was very calm.
“Master Zheng, I’ve come to ask for help. Can I move freely later?”
“Move freely?” Zheng Yi asked in bewilderment.
“I’m leaving the ship,” Jiang Zhen explained.
He had no experience in directing battles in the water, but he was used to sneak attacks with several men.
The moonlight was very good that night. Zheng Yi saw Jiang Zhen’s expression in the moonlight and subconsciously said yes.
“I’ll arrange it right away,” Jiang Zhen said, exiting through the window.
Zheng Yi quickly reached the window and saw that Jiang Zhen had already landed on the deck.
On that deck, Jiang Zhen had gathered more than thirty of his men, arranged them neatly, and as soon as Jiang Zhen went down, he kicked a few of the latecomers.
Zheng Yi finally put his clothes in order. As he was doing a final checking, Lu Da came in a hurry. As soon as he came in, he became dissatisfied.
“That Jiang Zhen rooms much closer, so why did he not come to protect the young master?”
The young servant boy beside Zheng Yi gave Lu Da a complicated look.
“Master Lu, Boss Jiang has already been here and left.”
Lu Da’s expression froze. Zheng Yi also looked back at the window. “Jiang Zhen and his men have all already gathered on the deck.”
Lu Da was suddenly embarrassed. He hurried to the window, and sure enough, he saw that Jiang Zhen’s people had gathered on deck.
But his people . . . Were they the ones rushing out still putting their clothes on?
As a matter of fact, the people under Lu Da were experienced and have performed very well. They soon came to their respective posts, but they were inevitably messy and did not seem to be as neat as the people under Jiang Zhen.
At this time, Jiang Zhen actually wanted Lu Da’s men more than his own men; after all, none of his men had experienced a water battle.
But now that it was done, it was time to try.
Fortunately . . . a large part of the people he gathered were thugs who dared to do it anyway.
Jiang Zhen called out several names, and those seven or eight people called out were good swimmers.
“You will go into the water with me, and others will stay under the command of Zhao Jinge!”
“Yes!” All the people responded in one voice. If they didn’t listen to Jiang Zhen, they would be facing serious consequences for that disobedience, and they were used to listening to Jiang Zhen’s words.
“Zhao Jinge, protect Master Zheng!” Jiang Zhen took a look at Zhao Jinge and asked him to protect Master Zheng. That is to say, Zhao Jinge being closer to Zheng Yi, would also be the safest.
“Yes!” Zhao Jinge answered.
He actually wanted to follow Jiang Zhen, but at such times, he would only hamper and trouble Jiang Zhen if he didn’t listen to Jiang Zhen’s words.
Jiang Zhen took a look at Zhao Jinge and another at the He brothers. Before many people could reacted and those pirates could approach, he went quietly into the water with his men.
Those pirates were getting closer to them!
Most of these ships were small, which made them very fast, and they quickly approached and surrounded not only the Zheng family fleet but also separated the five big ships of the Zheng family.
“Which brother is coming?” Lu Da stepped forward and shouted loudly.
Many pirates would not kill all people in a fleet. As long as these ships greeted them and paid the toll, they would let people go. After all, if they really wanted to kill all the traveling merchants, they would have no business in the future.
Therefore, Lu Da and Zheng Yi first planned, after encountering this situation, to negotiate with them.
Soon afterward, Lu Da spoke out when someone from a relatively large ship not far away also shouted, “You don’t have to make friends with us. Our leader said that if you let us keep the ship and cargo, we will let you live. Otherwise . . . don’t blame us for dying in this place without a funeral!”
Lu Da was shocked in his heart. And then the pirate said, “I’ll count to ten, and we’ll start!”
Counting to ten and then doing it . . . The other side had no intention of discussing it with them at all. They were determined to rob them forcefully!
Zheng Yi went out to trade and had encountered dangers before, but now . . . seeing more and more small boats around him, his face inevitably blackened.
“Young master?” Lu Da looked at Zheng Yi.
“On guard! Prepare for battle!” Zheng Yi said.
His fleet and other ships were mainly loaded with grain and fabric. If he lost them, then he lost them. But the cards on the main ship, the treasure he wanted to make a fortune with, must not be lost. Moreover, with the current situation as it is, even if he didn’t want to fight, those pirates might not let them go.
He didn’t know why these pirates would act like this at this time . . .
Zheng Yi couldn’t understand why these freebooters were unwilling to make peace, but Jiang Zhen knew the reason by then.
The pirates weren’t close when he brought his men into the water, so no one noticed that he had gone in, and because of this, he was able to bring his men and quietly approached the pirates’ boats.
Of course, this was also due to the darkness surrounding them and the fact that he was well-prepared.
In the more than twenty days before Jiang Zhen wandered around Hecheng County, he took a lot of people into the water, and he made a lot of preparations before coming out this time.
Right then, the men who were submerged in the water had thin bamboo poles that allowed them to breathe underwater, not to mention that each of them also had a thin line tied to their hands, and his men were led by him to ensure that they would not go astray . . .
Jiang Zhen came out of the water next to the boat, just in time to hear those buccaneers discuss their operation.
“Those five boats look really good.”
“That’s why the boss is interested.”
“With five boats like that, we’ll be able to do even bigger business in the future!”
“These ships are supposedly full of food, so we won’t have to go hungry.”
. . .
It turned out that these freebooters had been living in the water for a long time, and as their numbers grew bigger and bigger, they became intent on getting several large ships; that’s why they disagreed with Zheng Yi’s request for a little toll, intending to wipe out Zheng Yi’s fleet of ships altogether.
Edited by: Faro