Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

“You’re back! I used the unsold sea snails and oysters to make a pot of seafood soup. It’s still hot!”

Marvin heard someone coming from outside. Immediately, he ran out of the kitchen with a leather apron to welcome Zhang Heng. To his surprise, he saw a crimson-haired girl standing beside him.

“Anne, this is Marvin from the Sea Lion. Marvin, this is Anne of the Golden Swallow. She will stay with us for some time until… erm… until she finds her own place to stay on this island.”

“Seafood soup? Can I have a bowl?”

Anne took a deep breath.

“Sure. I made enough for three, but…”

Before Marvin could finish, Anne was already in the kitchen. She looked for the largest bowl and scooped the soup, sieving up as many oysters that she could scoop. It appeared she had been starving for some time.

“But what?” asked Anne.

“I was thinking of adding some salt into the soup,” muttered Marvin softly.

Marvin was startled by Anne’s dominating presence.

“It’s just food. I don’t really care how it tastes as long as my hunger is curbed,” replied Anne as she carried her warm soup to the dining table.

“I… I can’t agree with such a ridiculous saying.”

Marvin finally managed to muster enough courage to express his opinion. However, his voice was still as soft as a mosquito flapping its wings.

According to Anne, she was actually born into a very wealthy family of lawyers, and her dad owned a huge orchard. He also had his hands in other businesses as well. As for her mother, she was simply a servant of the house. Anne was their illegitimate daughter. The moment Anne was born to this world, she and her mother were quickly shuffled into a mansion nearby. Luckily, her father was a responsible man, making sure not to let them suffer. When Anne grew up, he even hired a teacher hoping that she would learn how to behave like a real lady.

Unfortunately, Anne was very different from all the other girls, having no interest in studying or dancing. Instead, she gravitated towards messing with various weapons. Due to everything she went through in her childhood, she desired freedom more than anything else in the world. Her ears would instantly perk up whenever she heard her mother telling pirate stories.

In the end, she eloped with a pirate who passed by the mansion. The moment she was free from her father’s control, she immediately traveled to Nassau with the pirate. There was only one way she could achieve her dream, and that was to get to the legendary pirate kingdom.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go well for her, and she was jobless for a long period. Even though she managed to beat all the pirates the tavern recruited, there was still no pirate ship willing to take her in. All this because she was female.

After staying in Nassau for some time, the pirate, Jaime Bonny, told her he wasn’t about to feed her and give her free lodging anymore unless she would become his wife. Anne was so angry that she landed a kick on his crotch before leaving him.

But that was all in the past, anyway.

She would join the Golden Swallow really soon. She even found a place to stay, as well. A new dawn for her seemed on the horizon, with a chance for a brighter future.

…..

Anne was just a small interlude in Zhang Heng’s quest. He stopped bothering her after getting to know her a little better. The best thing about his rented shack was its size, where it remained rather spacious even after Zhang Heng gave her one of the rooms. Strangers would sometimes trespass the house when Zhang Heng and Marvin left for the sea. Instead of letting some rough sleepers mess up the place, Zhang Heng was more than happy to let Anne bunk in instead.

Meanwhile, Zhang Heng focussed on the next most crucial thing. Knowing that he had ample time for this quest, he had no intention to recruit many people in these early stages, having something the other players did not have, and that was time. He could make use of 1 to 2 years to master his skillsets before working on the main goal of this quest.

Anyhow, he was lucky enough to land himself on the Sea Lion, a vessel containing one of the most influential pirate groups around here.

That meant he would be granted with countless opportunities to learn different skills from those around him. For one, mastering the art of taming the mainsail something he really wanted to learn.

Soon, he would need to head out to sea for the fourth time. One night, before setting sail, he looked for Sea Lion’s boatswain. Many pirates left their hometown for a few years hoping to make some money for their families. Rothko was different, being previously a captain of a cargo ship.

One fine day, he was pulled over by a Royal Navy warship for no reason. Without so much as a warning or an explanation, they attacked his vessel, sinking it eventually.

Tragically, he lost his wife and five-year-old daughter during the skirmish.

Though Rothko managed to survive, he had lost everything. To make matters worse, no one would believe his story. With shoulders anchored down by debts, he decided to leave the civilized world and join the pirates. As he had no family or property on the island to turn to, the brothel was his venue of choice each time he disembarked his ship. Considering that he was not that old, he managed to be quite an energetic lad on the bed.

That said, he was left with only two desired endings for his tragic life. He either wanted to die at sea or on a bed in a brothel. In order to make sure that nobody would profit from his death, he spent all the money he earned with not a cent left in his savings.

…….

Rothko was role-playing ‘king and criminal’ with a prostitute when Zhang Heng found him. The moment he saw the rumblings taking place inside, he instantly closed the door and exited the room. Half a minute later, the fuming prostitute ran out of the room with only a blanket for cover. No one would be too happy having somebody interrupting the court that was in ‘session.’

“How many times have I told you: you will learn nothing until I retire from the ship. This is non-negotiable! You have until three to leave the room. Otherwise, you will not learn…”

“Rothko… your daughter… she floated on the sea for three days after your cargo ship sank. Luckily a Spanish civilian vessel passed and saved her life. After that, someone from England adopted her. You were no longer a part of that world when it happened. She is married to a mill-owner, and they both have three sons and two daughters. Right now, she is a grandma!”

“That’s not possible! You are lying, you despicable liar! Where did you hear such a tall tale? Are you using some cheap lies in an attempt to trick me into teaching you stuff? I can assure you: you will never get what you want!”

Zhang Heng then placed the wooden horse in front of him without saying a word.

“I made this toy for Koror on my ship! Where did you get it?!” asked Rothko with eyes as wide as grapefruits.

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