48 Hours a Day
Chapter 102 - Black Sail VII
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Having settled his dinner, Zhang Heng checked on his character panel. He noticed that it had been updated.
Name: Zhang Heng
Player ID: 07958
Games completed: 3
Current game points: 777
Items in possession: Shadow Key (E), Shadow Moment (D)
Skills: Piano LV 1. Language proficiency LV 1 (able to communicate in three languages). Modifying and repairing LV 1. Skiing LV 1. Rock climbing LV 1. Archery LV 2. Outdoor survival skills LV 2. Driving LV 2. Shooting LV 2.
Evaluation: Player is protected by a shadow. He knows how to drive, shoot a gun, proficient in archery, and can survive in the wilderness. Player has the ability to protect himself. No other outstanding issues. He is estimated to be able to complete at least seven rounds of the game.
After three months of practice, coupled with the extra 24 hours he had in the real world, Zhang Heng had increased his rock climbing level from LV 0 to LV 1. Right now, scaling most man-made rock walls wasn’t much of an issue for him. As for natural rock walls, however, there were different angles to worry about, and the compound of the rock greatly affected its climbing difficulty.
Shooting and skiing were the two new skills that he learned during his quest. Until now, his shooting was the best skill amongst all the others he possessed, spending only a month to improve it to LV 1. During the night he escaped the base camp with Simone, his hidden potential was showcased as he went up against the mysterious shooter that was almost invisible in the woods. Not only did he win the shootout, but he even managed to increase his shooting skills to LV 2 as well.
That was not the end of it, though. When he was with Simone in Sweden, they would both constantly head to the woods to hunt, where Simone would teach him everything she knew. In other words, Zhang Heng’s shooting skill was actually higher than LV 2. The only thing he was unsure of was how far off he was from LV 3.
Besides, he noticed that upgrading from LV 2 to LV 3 was a tall order to say the least. Being at LV 2 meant Zhang Heng could perform those skills better than the benchmark.
For example, Zhang Heng felt that no matter what he did, he could no longer improve his archery skill from LV 2 to LV 3. He would need the assistance of external factors and move above and beyond his capabilities if he wanted to stimulate his archery prowess.
The shootout at the Finnish lakeside was an example of an external stimulant—however, it was merely a chance encounter, and if possible, Zhang Heng wished that he would never have to risk his life like that ever again.
After reading all the information on his character panel, he turned it off. The ocean turned out to increase in ferocity during the night, violently rocking the vessel as high waves crashed into the boat with no respite.
His dinner churned in his stomach, and he felt queasy. This, however, wasnt his first experience on a ship. That said, his journey only lasted half a day, and seasickness didn’t present itself in such a short period.
It was a whole new ball game now, having being stuffed inside a tiny room, coming in contact with sweaty pirates who had not bathed in a long time. The foul air in the cramped space soon turned his stomach upside down. The rocking of the boat was no lullaby either.
In the end, Zhang Heng could not hold back and wrenched his guts out, puking out everything he had eaten in a matter of seconds.
“What a joke?! Is this your first time at sea?”
“I’m starting to regret that he joined us.”
Since they had nothing better to do, it was basic instinct for them to look for something to entertain themselves with. Fortunately, there was still kindness amongst them. A pirate of African origin handed Zhang Heng a barrel, asking him to throw up into it. He even brought a glass of water.
After turning his stomach inside out, Zhang Heng felt much better. He gave his mouth a quick wash with the drinking water as he thanked the pirate.
“You are welcome. Don’t mind them. They may have a mean mouth, but they have good hearts. You will know I’m telling the truth after you stay with us for some time. My name is Goodwin, the Sea Lion’s cannoneer,” he continued while extending his hand to Zhang Heng.
With one hand holding the barrel, Zhang Heng quickly put out his other arm to shake the black man’s hand.
“I saw your performance on the deck earlier. Awe-inspiring stuff, I must say. What did you do before this? A soldier?”
“Yes. Something along those lines. I fought in a war before.”
“Did you win?”
“Not really, but at least the person I cared about survived the war.”
“You are one lucky guy. I was in a war before this, but unfortunately, we lost the battle in the end.”
Goodwin pulled his collar aside, displaying a badly burnt scar on his left chest to Zhang Heng.
“My tribe was defeated by another tribe. They killed my father, mother, and all the elderly during the war. After that, they captured me, my brother, and my little six-year-old sister. They then sold us to a gang of slave traders. We were being shoved into a ship. I don’t remember how long I was down the deep, dark hole. All I can remember was that we were all shackled and we were packed in the worst unsanitary conditions you could think of. I could hardly move and breathe inside the hold. When we arrived at the place they called the New World, there were less than 80 of us still breathing out of the 300 that came. Oh, and my little brother died in my arms.”
“I’m so sorry you had to go through that.”
The trading of black slaves started in the 15th century, reaching its peak in the 17th and 18th centuries. To carry out their massive expansion plans, the colonial powers needed a tremendous amount of manpower. Clearly, immigrants from Europe weren’t enough, so, the crafty powers that be turned their sights to Africa.
Europe and several other countries competed against each other to build trade centers or fortresses over there. Their goal was to mess up tribal relations. When they fought, they would incite trouble by suggesting that the winning side capture the losers. They then would buy the slaves from the winners. Some would even go as far as to hunt the natives on their own.
The era that Zhang Heng was in right now was the era where a triangular trade thrived. A large number of business people would travel from Europe to Africa to purchase black slaves, consecutively selling to large plantations in America. After that, they would purchase gold, coffee, and cotton from America and send them back to Europe, a venture which raked in massive profits for the prospective merchants.
This culture lasted until the end of the beginning of the 19th century. England, America, and other countries started to ban the slave trade. Although such culture no longer gained the support of the governments, certain quarters still did it in secret. The trading of black slaves officially ended by the 19th century.
“I was working on a coffee plantation in Charleston for eight years. After that, the owner sold me to a ship, and I became a sailor. I was forced to work nonstop and was fed with the least food amongst all the sailors until she found us.”
“Who found you?”
“The Sea Lion. She gives me freedom and accepts me for who I am. The people here see me as their partner and brother. During our battles, we would watch out for each other’s backs. There’s no such thing as slavery here. Everyone is equal, and all of us here are from the same place.”