After a long week ashore heeling his injuries Horatio had found out about his father's illness, Horatio had been staying at his uncle's, Horatio's uncle is an horse trainer.
Horatio had a horse called Fire, Fire was a chesnut coloured thoroughbred in which he rode around the town and country on.
"Uncle, may I go to Plymouth this morning on Fire?" asked Horatio.
"You may but be back before nightfall, I need to change your dressings." His uncle replied.
"Aye, aye sir" he answered with a sarcastic smile.
As Horatio rode out on Fire, he remembered the wind in the rigging of the Indefatigable and he missed the fresh sea air.
He galloped across the meadows going towards Plymouth he so longed to be aboard his ship again.
Firstly he went to see his father who lived on the outskirts of Plymouth.
"Hello Mrs jones" said Horatio to the girl who opened the door.
"Hello Sir, your father is going to die very soon sir I am so sorry sir." She informed Horatio.
The surprised look on Horatio's face told it all, the girl led him up to his dying father.
"Horatio" said his father.
"Yes" answered Hornblower.
"I have not long left but I need to tell you something before I go"
"Yes what is it?"
"how do I say this, mmmm, I am not your real father and neither was your mother your real one, when you were three we adopted you one day you will find your father but I am not that man" and with one final gasp of breath Horatio's father died there and then.
Horatio was ashamed of the news and left the house and rode into the town of Plymouth.
Horatio rode down to the Plymouth docks where a lot of ships boats were loading supplies he sat upon Fire, his horse and stared at the docks and the ships that were docked there and one he knew well ' the Indefatigable' his ship was still there and docked.
As he looked along the dock he noticed the men from his own division and his two best friends were stood there in charge of the loading.
He then noticed a sailor he knew well looking at him riding over towards them, it was Styles and he told Mr Kennedy and Mr Bush.
"Sir?" he asked, the two leiuftennants swung round to see there frien and officer sitting upon a horse.
"Hello Styles" answered Horatio.
"Horatio what are you doing here?" asked Kennedy.
"I came here about some family business." Said Horatio.
"Horatio, we went to your father's house and a woman called Mrs jones answered the door she said you had disappeared after your father told you something, she said you would be at your uncle's. we were bringing your sea chest you see. Captain Pellew is at the admiralty at the moment and he has given a couple of us shore leave until you can return to your duties." Explained Bush.
Horatio still had tears in his eyes from when his father had died and told him the truth, the two men noticed that something was distressing him but their friend had made it clear that he wanted to hide what happened.
"Yes that is where I am staying till my back heals at least, I wish I was on the Indefatigable again though, it is nice to be on land and to see my uncle and help him." Said Horatio.
"I did not know you could ride Horatio what is your horses name?" asked Kennedy.
"Oh, this is Fire, his full name 'Fire Arrow' I needed some work and my uncle would not let me rest after a few days so I am training fire for him until I am allowed back on the ship" said Horatio.
"nice, oh here comes Captain Pellew, what are you going to tell him?" asked Bush.
"I do not know William" answered Horatio.
Suddenly he was disturbed by a gunshot ringing out, it was some of the Spanish soldiers escaped from prison trying to shoot him because they were the men who used to toture him and now they are trying to kill him.
"Steady Fire, Steady" Horatio spoke softly.
"Who are they Horatio?" asked Archie.
"They are the Spanish troups who have escaped from prison and now they are trying to kill me for what I did, and they are on horses so I may have to get out of here" said Horatio.
"Mr Hornblower what are you doing here and who are they trying to shoot you?" spoke Pellew from behind him.
"I just came down from my uncles to take my horse Fire for a ride and to check the Indefatigable was still here and they are Spanish troops escaped from prison who are now trying to kill me because I looked them up so I have to go" explained Horatio.
"Oh and Sir, I will be honoured if you would let me re-join the Indefatigable tomorrow" added Hornblower.
"very well Mr Hornblower I will send a boat to take you off at four bells tomorrow afternoon" Pellew told him.
Pellew added noticing the young officer was distressed. "Are you alright Mr Hornblower it seems you are distressed, what has happened?"
"Nothing!, sorry sir, just something on land" he snapped at his Captain.
"very well Mr Hornblower" said Pellew
A lady appeared behind Mr Hornblower it was Mrs Jones.
"Hello Sir" she said
Quickly Horatio turned Fire and galloped away.
"Miss do you know what is troubling him?" asked Pellew
"I am Mrs Jones I was the housekeeper of Mr Hornblower, Mr Hornblower's father died a few days ago and he went to his uncle's but his father told him something and I did not see him since today, he was so very angry but upset when he left, his uncle said he hardly ever speaks with him I do not know what he has been told but you must be very careful sir." She explained.
"Why must I be careful Mrs Jones?" asked Pellew
"because Mr Hornblower will be angry and he will not talk to anyone you must try and persuade him to tell you or he will not speak to anyone and will just start getting worse" she told the men
"Very well I will try and so will my men" answered Pellew.
They were then startled by two gun shots in the air one was at the Spanish troop who had not been caught so he was killed and another but they did not know that one.
As they looked around they saw another one of the Spanish troops they saw him on a wall ready for Horatio to gallop round.
The odds were in his favour when he missed Horatio as a shooting target he decided to jump out at him flyng over Fire but taking Horatio with him.
"Horatio!" cried Archie.
It turned into a punch fight Horatio still recovering made it hurt even more with each punch, suddenly the men of Hornblower's division and also the Captain and his fellow officers reacted and ran over to help their officer and friend luckily Fire did not go far in fact she stayed around her owner.
As the men got closer they saw the Spanish officer with a dagger trying to stab Horatio, Horatio was being surrounded by spectaters watching the fight but not helping him, Oldroyd caught Fire but,
suddenly Horatio herd someone shout "kill him or are you just like your father, a wimp!"
It was one of his old classmates from when he was at school 'Henry Bigglesworth' he was in the army.
Horatio had a sudden burst of energy and got the knife out of the Spanish troops arms and returned the knife right in to his heart, killing him instantly. Horatio then stood up and walked over to his old classmate and told him that if he wants to have a fight he can have one but Henry was a coward but Horatio had him up by the wall but Henry took an unexpected strike and punched him in the face, Horatio then fought back but returned the favour and punched him in the face almost breaking Henry's nose, two marines of his division then stood in and stopped the fight.
"You Are Just Like Your Father!" Henry shouted.
Horatio turned "I am nothing like my father, and he is not my father! So if you want to fight I will oblige!"
"Sorry Horatio I did not realise" Henry answered softly.
"You will be" Horatio answered.
"Mr Hornblower what did you mean by what you just said" asked Pellew concerned.
"I meant, hhmmm, I meant that my father is dead and left me with a message concerning family, SO It Is No Buisness Of Yours!, leave me alone I will meet you here tommorrow" he snapped at his Captain and his friends.
"Mr Hornblower I am sorry but you cannot speak to me your friends or your crew this way now I will see you tomorrow aboard the Indefatigable" he answered.