48 Hours a Day
Chapter 148 - Fresh Water Island
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Zhang Heng knew better than anyone that the maiden voyage was extremely important for a new captain. Besides, many from Nassau were hoping that Zhang Heng would fail his first sail. He had to prove them wrong. The moment he returned to Nassau, he noticed that a lot of people were paying attention to him. The combination of a mighty battleship and the overly young captain seemed like vulnerable prey to a lot of people.
Once the Jackdaw pulled into shore, Zhang Heng had to consider his worst-case scenario. He did not doubt that Billy and the rest of the old crew members were loyal to him, and after the Kidd’s treasure incident, Zhang Heng knew that all 16 of them would not betray him–for now, at least. That said, he had to consider the possibility of them being manipulated by others.
When they were told that the ship that carried perfume and the Daffy would cross an unpopular shipping line, Zhang Feng felt that it was simply too much of a coincidence. When he thought of how stern the black market alliance was, he realized that his first sail had gone too smoothly to be true. Luckily, he still had a trump card with him. He and Carina were considered as outsiders on the island. Since she hoped to earn little more money to rescue her father from prison, she was devastated when she found out that a black market alliance was being set up on the island. Right now, she needed the Jackdaw to supply her with loot so she could sell them elsewhere. At the same time, Zhang Heng needed someone like Carina to get rid of his plunder as well.
Zhang Heng thought differently from Billy and the rest of the pirates. From the very beginning, he had no intention to work together with the black market alliance. Frazer was not the only problem. A lot of people did not realize how dangerous the black market alliance was. Once these people dominated the market in Nassau, every pirate would lose their rights to negotiate the buying price.
Undoubtedly, it was not that easy to become a captain of a pirate ship. One had to be courageous, valiant, and filled with experience to master the position. The crew believed that their captains would lead them to wealth and glory all around the world. Loot that could not be sold out wasn’t wealth to them. In other words, if the black market alliance dominated the market in Nassau, they were capable of refusing the loot from the captains that they wanted to eliminate. With such power at hand, the black market merchants would continuously have a grip over the fate of the pirates.
This was a situation that Zhang Heng dreaded. Other captains might have already figured this out, but it was hard for them to reject the black market alliance’s offer. Not only would the alliance increase their buying price, they even told the captains that the proposal was only valid as long as they remained captains. That would mean their crew had to think twice before they betrayed their captains as it could cost them tremendous loss.
Undeniably, this could help fortify the captain’s position on the ship. Of course, there were risks to be considered if they decided to take part in the black market alliance, but they figured that they’d only cross the bridge when they came to it. Fundamentally, being a pirate was always a high-risk occupation; most of them did not care about what happened tomorrow.
Zhang Heng was different from them, though. The existence of the black market alliance interfered with his growth as a captain and here, Carina was offering him another way out. Billy and Dufresne might consider her inexperienced, but Zhang Heng begged to differ. He yearned for a trade partner that allowed him to preserve his rights when trading took place. He needed to know that the loot his pirates acquired could be turned into cold hard cash. Carina was perfect for him, but of course, he still wanted her to prove her worth.
The Jackdaw reached Freshwater Island before sunset, an uninhabited blotch of sand with a landmass of fewer than 20 acres. There were thousands of islands like this in the Caribbean, and most didn’t even have a name. The island was named Freshwater Island when Magellan landed here as he traveled around the world. For years, many were confused by the name of this island, as the place was, in fact, devoid of fresh water. Magellan named it Freshwater Island because of a mighty storm that swept through the island. The arrival of the storm enabled his crew to collect enough fresh water for drinking.
After the conditions on the island were made known to many, it became even more desolate. Zhang Heng moored his ship close to the island before rowing to it in a small boat with Anne and Billy. To their surprise, they quickly discovered that someone was here before them. As a result, they did not continue forward. Instead, Zhang Heng made a signal by whistling. Soon, someone emerged from the forest. Zhang Heng was left in shock when he saw who it was. Earlier, Carina told him that she would send a messenger to deliver news to him. He did not expect to see her here in person here.
She did not look too good. Zhang Heng figured she might have been alone on this island at least for a day or two. Even though the boat that dropped her here left her with enough food and water, it was still no less of an impressive feat that she was here all alone. Carina was bursting with excitement the moment she saw Zhang Heng. Considering that the area wasn’t a popular shipping route, she could have easily died if Zhang Heng hadn’t come to pick her up.
“I have checked everything you’ve asked me to check. I think you’ll be interested in one of the ships. Half a month ago, it departed North Carolina, and it’s hauling a full load of spice.”
“Yes. Nutmegs from the Maluku Islands! Surprisingly, they appeared in a New World colony as they are planning to return to Europe. I heard that in London, the price of nutmeg is comparable to gold!”
“How far are we from the ship?”
“I just consulted my ship’s captain, and he said that we should be able to catch up to them in about ten days if we continue at our current speed–provided that the wind is at our back.”
“Come on then. Follow me to my ship.”
Zhang Heng walked towards the boat lying on the beach. Billy was still rather startled after hearing what Carina said.
“I asked Ms. Carina to do us a favor. She used her connections in Boston to tell her if there any ships that are worth our time.”
“But… wasn’t she in Nassau?!”
“After we were done talking that day, she traveled back to Boston immediately. I chose to stop at Freshwater Island because this is the island closet to Boston. But, I have to admit that Ms. Carina is really good at what she does. I told her that our time is limited, which means she was only in Boston for less than a day since she managed to meet us here.”