The barrage was so precise that, when the powder-smoke cleared, the Ineffable‘s gunwhales and ports were clean, with nary a living soul to be seen. Those few survivors visible were rigging the sails for a getaway tack.

“Chain shot!” roared Black Ned.

“Chain shot!” the cry was taken up below, where the gunners of the Merciless Anne loaded their cannon with the lethal mixture of ball and chain. The deadly links exploded outward moments after, sundering the fore and aft masts of the Ineffable and leaving her dead in the water. Normally, a privateer with such a prize would be loath to destroy her–there were men who would pay good coin for a lightly-used frigate still in Royal paint–but Black Ned wasn’t interested in prizes.

“Hooks and planks!” he cried. “Make ready for boarding!”

Grappling hooks sailed out, drawing the two ships closer until Black Ned’s crew scrambled across, cutting down all in their path with ball and cutlass. Ned himself was at their fore, flintlocks blazing, and led the charge belowdecks. He burst into the captain’s cabin like an elemental force, unloading a miniature broadside of shot into its occupant, leaving him slumped across a Spanish treasure chest.

Black Ned kicked the man’s corpse aside and sundered the lock with a dagger. His eyes grew wide as he beheld the golden figure inside.

“Let that be a lesson to all who’d steal the captain’s rubber ducky!” he bellowed, holding the prize aloft and giving it an exultant squeak.