48 Hours a Day

Chapter 144 - Business

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

“I heard that they are planning to set the price at five different tiers. The powerful and big crews will be placed at first-tier if they are willing to sign the contract with them. As for those medium-sized crews, they would be placed at the third or fourth-tier. A new pirate group like you can only start from the bottom.

“Of course, if you manage to acquire a huge amount of loot and sell everything to them, they would surely increase their buying price. Perhaps you could get to fourth-tier pricing in three years if you’re lucky. I assume that would be the shortest time for you the get there. Surely, this is not fair to your crew,” said Carina as she tried to nudge her slightly swollen wrists that was still tied up.

Upon seeing that, Zhang Heng drew his dagger and cut off the ropes tied around Carina’s wrists and legs.

“What do you mean by business?”

“I want to work with you for the long term. I’m willing to buy all the loot that you acquired from the merchant ships. Don’t worry. My buying price is definitely higher than the price that the alliance can offer you. I can offer you a fourth-tier price right away.”

Carina was confident that Zhang Heng would surely take the deal. To her surprise, Zhang Heng rejected her without even thinking twice.

“I’m sorry. I’m not interested.”

“Why not? Right now, you need a stable partner to trade with you. The price that I offered you is at least 40% higher than the alliance’s price. My offer is only valid for a captain like you. Accepting this deal will help you to secure your position as a captain. Also, there’s nothing for you to lose if you accept the deal.”

“You calculated the money that I’m going to get if I sell my loot to you but you didn’t calculate the risk I will face. Surely, my actions would anger the entire trade alliance if I work with you. In other words, if something bad happens to you, no black market merchants on this island will do business with me.”

“You don’t have to worry about that. I’ve stayed in Nassau for a very long time. Nothing bad has happened to me so far.”

“Is that right? Why didn’t you join the alliance then? According to your description, you should have had countless trading partners before they set up the alliance, right? What about now? How many captains are still willing to sell their loot to you?”

This was the question that Carina could not avoid. While she was on the way to Zhang Heng’s house, she had made up several versions of the story in her mind. To her, Zhang Heng was just a lucky bloke that happened to get his hands on a navy battleship, thinking that convincing Zhang Heng to work with her would be easy. The moment the two started talking, however, Carina started to realize that she was too naïve in thinking that Zhang Heng would agree to work with her. To her surprise, Zhang Heng’s thought process and how he managed to stay calm did not match his age at all. He was scarier than all the pirates that she dealt with before.

It was at that moment that Carina realized the story she had made up sounded absolutely ridiculous. She was left speechless. The atmosphere in the common area suddenly turned into an awkward silence. All that could be heard was Anne’s loud snoring, obviously uninterested in Zhang Heng and Carina’s conversation.

Zhang Heng then stood up and draped his jacket over Anne.

“There’s no way that I will work with you if you don’t tell me the truth.”

“Well, I’m afraid that you will not work with me if I tell you the truth.”

“Try me.”

Zhang Heng poured two glasses of tea and handed one to Carina.

“Actually… I’m not a black market merchant on this island,” said Carina after hesitating for quite some time.

While she was telling the truth, she took the opportunity to observe Zhang Heng on how he would react to the thing that she was about to say to him. Again, she found out that Zhang Heng was not surprised by her truth at all.

“You know that I’m not a black market merchant? Do I look like a clown in front of you?”

“Not really. How long have you stayed on this island?”

“Two months.”

“It’s not easy to do what you are doing right now since you have stayed here for only a short period. Your attire and behavior were very convincing. Most importantly, you seem to know your way around this island quite well. You wouldn’t have raised my suspicions if your skin color was darker. The black market merchants on this island are required to check their items under the hot sun. That is why they are more tanned than most. Here, you look like someone who hasn’t stepped out from the house much.”

“That’s the reason? Before this, I stayed in New Hampshire. My father was a black market merchant here in Nassau. When I was a kid, he would tell me stories about this island. He would say that this is the land of money, where only the fearless could survive on this island. Of course, I wasn’t interested in what he had to tell me.”

“So, why are you here now?”

“It’s because of my father. Six months ago, he was arrested at New Hampshire, convicted of working with pirates. They threw him in jail and confiscated his ship. Ironically, the port chief and customs officer took a huge bribe from him a week ago.”

“My mother took over his work the moment she knew that he was sentenced. She offended a powerful local businessman by selling a batch of similar products. I did ask someone to help me to bail him out from prison. Unfortunately, the guy demanded an astronomical figure. I can’t even match his number even if I sold everything valuable in my house. That is why I’m thinking of taking over his business to earn more money to bail him out.”

“The moment you came here, the alliance had just been set up.”

“Yes. I couldn’t join the alliance because I’m simply not qualified. I did try to look for several captains who used to work with my father with the hopes of working with them. Unfortunately, his previous contracts are void as my father hasn’t shown up for a very long time. His old friends told me that they couldn’t help even if they wanted to. I was left with no option until I saw your ship this afternoon. All I thought was to try my luck and convince you to work with me.”

“My father left me a ship to move his product. After working as a black market merchant for years, he had established quite a few connections. He told me all those names when I visited him in prison. Besides, he has a permit that allows him free passage through the customs of most of the colonies. Though I can’t access New Jersey right now, I can still sell my stuff at other ports that he used to frequent.”