CHAPTER 6

Edo Castle 1604

While shooting the breeze on their regular morning golf around Edo Castle, Kintaro quizzed Dougal on his seafaring knowledge, especially his past voyage to the Spice Islands with Dutch hero Captain Houtman who had stolen precious navigation information from the Portuguese.

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“If you were to sail home which way would you go?” asked Kintaro.

Dougal had thought about this a lot, eager to get home but keen to avoid the treacherous Strait of Magellan from whence they came.

“Ayutthaya to pick up fresh supplies, Maluku Islands for nutmeg and cloves, Jayakarta for pepper, through Sundra Strait and round the Cape of Good Hope. Best to avoid Malacca Strait, full of Portuguese carracks.”

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Kintaro was more worried about Chinese pirates than Portuguese warships.

“Could you pilot us?” Kintaro asked casually though he had been planning this for some time.

“Back to Holland? How about Will Adams?”

“Shōgun has forbidden him to leave, too valuable. Can you do it?”

Dougal couldn’t believe his ears. “Aye, that I can!”

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Ito 1604

Meanwhile William Adams was wondering where Dougal had disappeared to.

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While Adams was busy building diplomatic relations and ships for Shōgun, his indolent crew would sneak off to chase women or play golf.

Just then Dougal staggered in.

“Where the devil have you been?” bellowed Adams.

“Sir, I was kidnapped by a samurai who forced me to teach him golf. Now he wants me to sail him to Holland.”

“By Golly! Well, if anyone can do it, you can.” Adams had already been told by Shōgun he couldn’t leave Japan. At least now he could get a letter back to his wife saying he was still alive along with a box of silver.

–> Chapter 7