48 Hours a Day
Chapter 143 - Alliance
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Zhang Heng’s was in great luck, managing to spot the intruder’s shadow the moment he entered the house. It appeared that the person was sitting right by the table. The sound of the front door opening managed to capture the person’s attention, who turned around to glance at the door quickly. However, it was too late, for, at the same time, Zhang Heng came in from the window. Before the person could turn around, Zhang Heng used his gun and knocked the intruder out cold.
The night was bathed in a pale glow from the full moon, and Zhang Heng used the light to check his surroundings ensuring that there were no more enemies lurking around. Next, he stealthily tiptoed to the first floor, checking all the rooms. Once he was sure that the house was clear of intruders, Zhang Heng lit up the oil lamp.
Anne was now back from the tavern. She noticed a lady in her twenties lying on the table, and Zhang Heng was frisking her.
“Oh, gosh! Did I come back too early? I’m so sorry for interrupting your session!”
Immediately, Anne turned around and was about to leave the house.
“Stop fooling around. Come back here! Do you know this woman?”
After Zhang Heng searched her, he found no weapons or dangerous items on her. He was shocked to see that the intruder was a woman. Though she entered the house without permission, she didn’t touch anything apart from the cup of tea on the table. Judging from her skin tone and attire, Zhang Heng guessed she hailed from a wealthy family. Usually, a lady like her would not come to a place as rough as Nassau, let alone breaking into a house. That was why Zhang Heng could only guess that she was Anne’s friend.
“I don’t know her,” replied Anne with a burp.
“You didn’t even look at her properly!”
“That is because I don’t have a single female friend ever since I was born to this world,” said Anne while shaking her hands.
Under the influence of alcohol, Anne’s face flushed bright red.
“There’s only one way left now.”
“Let’s ask her about it when she comes to.”
Zhang Heng did not hit her too hard because he did not know what her intention was. In less than two hours, the lady regained consciousness. Zhang Heng made use of the time to finish up supper. As for Anne, she was fondling with the makeup mirror that she found on the lady.
“I thought you don’t like things like this.”
“You are right. I don’t like these kinds of things but I remember that my father giving me a mirror when I was 14 years old. This mirror looks quite expensive, actually. I believe that it can be sold for a handsome amount of money.”
“You can have it if you want it,” said the mysterious lady suddenly.
Once she woke up, she found out that her hands and legs were bound. Still, she managed to stay calm. Her behavior did not match her age and family background. Unfortunately, she expressed her kindness to Anne in the wrong way.
“I don’t need someone to give me something I like. I will take it from the person myself!” exclaimed Anne with a burst of laughter as she placed both of her legs on the table with her chair leaned back.
Noticing that Zhang Heng was glaring at her, she instantly removed her legs from the table.
“I believe that you are the captain of the Jackdaw, Mr. Zhang. I have to admit: you are way younger than I thought.”
The mysterious lady then took a good hard look at Zhang Heng.
“Who are you? Why are you in my house?”
“I’m so sorry. Forgive me for breaking into your house without permission. I bear no ill intention. I just want to discuss some business proposals with you. I’m left with no other option because this is a special period for me.”
“My name is Carina Portman. I’m a businesswoman. I think the people of Nassau prefer to call me a black-market merchant. Anyway, I do business on this island, and I have worked with many pirate ships before. Captain Fuller from the pirate vessel Archer and Captain Randall from the Duke are my customers. Oh, and Elwin from the Flying Fish too. They are all my good partners.”
While talking, Carina was observing the reaction on Zhang Heng’s face. Unfortunately, she did not manage to read anything from him.
“I heard that you had spent a lot of time at sea, and you just got back today. You might not know the island as well as you think. Four months ago, all the black-market merchants were talking about forming a trade alliance to solve the chaotic way of trading on this island. This alliance is coming to an end soon, and so they have come up with a few unanimous decisions. That includes lowering the share ships led by new captains. I believe that you looked for a few back market merchants this afternoon, right? And you are not happy with the outcome.”
“A similar thing happened three years ago, right? I heard that the alliance did not end well.”
“I know what you are thinking. I’m afraid that the alliance won’t be dismissed that easily this time. The old alliance was formed by a couple of powerful black market merchants. So, they were the ones that made the rules. It’s different this time because pirates are invited to join the alliance as well.”
“I’m not sure if you have heard of the name, Frazer. They say he was highly respected amongst the pirates, being the person to convince other pirate groups to join the alliance. The merchants have increased their buying price in exchange for a long-term partnership. The value that the black market merchants generate can buy up 70% of the loot that all pirates bring back to Nassau. With that being said, the merchants that are not part of the alliance will be unable to buy any valuable loot. All those who initially refused to join the alliance will now change their minds. Right now, there are only a couple of merchants left in Nassau that refuse to join the alliance.”
Finally, Zhang Heng understood the reason why the other black market merchants treated him in such a cold manner earlier. If Carina was telling the truth, then the alliance would have absolute power over the market once it was officially put in place though they would need to pay to buy off the pirates’ loot. One should know that being a pirate wasn’t precisely the most stable and safest of jobs. As time passed, pirates who were promised with a high price became lesser and lesser and, young pirates like Zhang Heng would emerge.
The merchants would then design a new contract for them where they could buy off their loot at a lower price. In other words, the profit they gained would only increase over time. By that time, the alliance would have dominated the entire market, and the pirates would have no choice but to accept the price offered by the alliance.