Everyone is thunderstruck. Silver is the first to regain his composure and quickly think up a new plan. He slips a pistol to Jim and begins to quietly move away from the hollow. Then he nods at Jim, who whispers to Silver that he’s switched sides once again.
Although Silver had been just as focused on the treasure as the others, he quickly recognizes (as does Jim) that he’ll need to dream up a new plan as fast as possible in order to save himself.
The pirates leap into the pit, and Morgan finds one gold piece. He shakes it at Silver, cursing at him for all their wasted efforts. Merry accuses Silver of knowing it all along, and while Silver casually makes fun of him, the other pirates are soon of Merry’s opinion. Soon they’re facing each other across the pit, two against the four (without Dick). Merry begins to make a speech, taking on his role of new captain, but suddenly Silver shoots into Merry’s body and he falls into the pit. The three others turn and run away.
Silver had quickly realized that the pirates would immediately turn against him once again, now that their guide to the treasure has proved useless. Now Silver is once again on Jim’s side, though he remains as merciless and cold-hearted as ever—it’s only thanks to luck that Merry, not Jim, is the one Silver kills.
Instantly, the doctor, Gray, and Ben Gunn emerge from behind the trees. The doctor cries that they must chase the pirates away from the small boats they’ve left in an inlet. After pursuing them through the woods, they realize that the pirates have headed in the opposite direction, towards Mizzen-mast Hill. Gunn and Silver greet each other, and the group proceeds down-hill, with Gunn relating the long tale.
It seems that these three men have been watching all the while, and have been waiting until the moment of greatest tension in order to emerge from their hiding place. Now, though, a new challenge arises: they must prevent the pirates from escaping on the boats meant for themselves.
It was Gunn who had found the skeleton and the treasure, and he who had dug it up and carried it to a cave on the north-east part of the island for safekeeping. The afternoon of the attack, the doctor had gotten this information from Gunn, so the next morning, seeing the Hispaniola gone, the doctor had given Silver the map and the provisions, since Gunn’s cave was well-stocked, as well as the stockade, so that the doctor could be certain the group could safely leave for the hill to keep watch over the treasure.
Now Jim finally begins to learn just what had happened during the time he was imprisoned with the pirates. The doctor had given Silver the map in order to trick him and the other pirates into thinking that the treasure was awaiting discovery—and so that the pirates’ enemies could know exactly where they would be at a given time.
That morning, when the doctor found out that Jim would be part of the pirates’ surprise (and might be in danger), he had taken Gray and Gunn across the island to lie in wait. Gunn, who had gone out ahead, hoped to play with his fellow pirates’ superstitions. Silver says that it was lucky Jim was there—otherwise they would have killed Silver, too, without a thought. Dr. Livesey agrees with this, cheerfully.
It turns out that Jim’s skepticism about the curses and spirits is proven right, as Ben Gunn was the mysterious voice in the trees. Livesey’s response to Silver underlines just how little the doctor thinks of the pirate, even if Silver is now supposedly on their side.
The group reaches the boats and head out around the coast to North Inlet. Passing around the hill, they catch sight of the squire waiting outside Gunn’s cave. They finally reach the Hispaniola, which is in good shape, apart from the cut mainsail that Jim had dealt with earlier. They drop anchor and pull around to Rum Cove, near the cave.
With the moment of greatest danger and excitement now over, Jim prepares to actually discover the treasure that Gunn had dug up much earlier. He also is able to show the others that his previous escape was worth it, as they now have the ship back.
They climb to the cave and meet the squire, who treats Jim kindly and doesn’t mention his escapade. The squire tells Silver that he’s a villain and impostor, who deserves all the blame and guilt for the men who have died, even if he has been told not to prosecute Silver. Silver salutes and thanks him, to which the squire cries that this is against his duty, not something to be thanked for. Inside the cave lies Captain Smollett, resting, and surrounded by heaps of coins and gold—the treasure that had cost the lives of seventeen men, not to mention all the other lives and ships sunk by its allure.
While the doctor had lectured Jim somewhat regarding his escape from the group, the squire mainly seems content with their current situation, and more willing to cast the blame on Silver than on Jim for all the violence and strife. Silver, in turn, is just as plucky and unconcerned with morality as usual. Jim, though, as he surveys the treasure, is more aware of the high human cost of such wealth.
Captain Smollett tells Jim that he’s done well, but that neither of them should go to to sea again. He asks Silver what he’s doing there: Silver says he’s returned to his duty, and the captain simply says, “Ah!” They enjoy a feast that night, and Silver remains at a slight remove from the rest, acting like the same bland and polite sailor who had begun the trip with them.
The captain hasn’t played a role in the plots on the island since being wounded, but his casual response to Silver suggests that he’s not exactly shocked that Silver has switched sides once again—they all now recognize his remarkable abilities.