48 Hours a Day
Chapter 150 - Leadership
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
After Carina emptied down an entire bottle of rum, Zhang Heng finally managed to divert her attention from the ship that carried spices. After a short moment of silence, she eventually switched topics, beginning to spiral into a rant about her childhood. She spoke of an absent father, a mother that was addicted to partying, her mother’s lover, an older sister that liked to take her stuff, and a dog named Parker. Everything that she said was in pieces, but it was indubitably filled with emotion.
“I thought that we didn’t like each other that much. I thought that my mother would have gone away with her lover when my father was sent to jail. I thought that my sister would have gone to London to learn how to paint better. My family was born broken. I’ve realized it when I was only six. Everyone, including me… we just bloody mind our own business. The strange thing was that no one left the family when we received the bad news.”
“This doesn’t make sense to me. We spend our entire lives trying to get out of this hellhole. Why did everyone stay when we had the opportunity to run from it?”
While Zhang Heng was waiting for her answer, she suddenly changed topics again and was now rambling on about the salon. She started complaining about how terrible the dessert was and how the guests around her behaved like hypocrites. After that, she began an incomprehensible mumble before falling into a deep sleep on the table. Zhang Heng decided that he would not wake her and left her to sleep it off in his room. He then left the captain’s quarters. Zhang Heng wasn’t worried about Carina finding out his secret as the captain’s quarters only contained books and nothing else.
There was no one in the corridor when Zhang Heng left the room. He walked for a while but stumbled all of a sudden. Leaning on the wall for support, he closed his eyes. This time, he could feel exhaustion and fatigue engulfing him. The ship was now in a completely different atmosphere from when they just left the harbor. The entire Jackdaw was surrounded by hopelessness.
After the perfume ship and the Duffy incident, almost everyone started to become suspicious about the intel provided by Carina. Even after Zhang Heng told them about the boat that was loaded with spices, none of them seemed too enthusiastic. As time passed, more and more crew started to groan and complain. Even Zhang Heng himself wasn’t as calm as before. If his first voyage ended a failure, things would surely get worse for the Jackdaw. As the captain of the ship, Zhang Heng would be held responsible for every single thing that took place on his vessel. His situation would turn even more dangerous if he returned to Nassau with no loot on the ship.
Everyone on the Jackdaw had the right to complain and be cynical about the voyage, except for Zhang Heng. He couldn’t afford to show his crew any negativity. The only person that they could rely on in their helplessness was their captain. No matter what, they would always turn to Zhang Heng, hoping that he would somehow solve their current predicament and guide them to the path of success. His confidence and calmness were the only things that could put everyone’s mind at ease.
This crisis had a silver lining, though. If Zhang Heng managed to lead them out of the rut, he would be able to gain massive respect from the new recruits and the old members alike. His position would be legitimized, and they would see him as the true leader of the Jackdaw.
But would he be able to do it?
Zhang Heng did not know the answer to this question. For the few quests that he completed earlier, he just needed to take good care of himself and complete whatever tasks that were given to him. When he was in school, he always preferred to be alone than to mingle around. It was not that he was bad at socializing; he just did not fancy it.
His main goal for this quest was to build his force, a challenge that he had never faced before. From the very beginning, he was involved with Frazer and Orff. Not only did he spend a great deal of time learning different skills from different pirates that served on the Sea Lion, but he also considered a lot about the way Orff and Teach led their people. When it came to this, Frazer undoubtedly provided him with lots of guidance, teaching him that not all captains shared the same characteristics. The only trait they shared was to utilize the people that they led fully.
Just like Edward Teach, he rarely got involved in the things that happened on the ship. However, he still managed to earn a lot of respect from his crew. For three years, no one on the ship had the guts to challenge his authority. One legendary pirate such as Sam, the Black Prince, was known as the best captain in the entire Nassau. Everyone on his ship remained loyal to him to the ends of the earth. And pirates like Honneg was known for his generosity, having a huge following even after he had retired.
Zhang Heng woke up early in the morning and started to think about his signature trait. He could not use fear to rule his people as Teach had, and neither was he a social butterfly like Black Prince as well. Also, he was not as generous as Honneg. In the end, Zhang Heng decided that trust could be his signature trait. He hoped that the people on the Jackdaw would continue to trust him no matter what, especially during a crisis like this. So far, his people would execute all his commands even if they did not know the reason behind his decision. This was made possible by the deep trust they had in him.
Zhang Heng knew that this was not going to be an easy path, realizing that he could not gain their trust just like that. He had to endure several massive crises with his crew to gain their absolute trust. If he managed to succeed, his pirates would be equipped with an excellent ability to execute orders and possess a strong will. It would be hard for their enemies to break them down. Right now, Zhang Heng had to lead them out of this crisis to kickstart his plan.
“You look tired.”
Zhang Heng heard someone talking to him from the dark. He then opened his eyes and saw Anne standing in front of him with an oil lamp. Because of the eerie atmosphere around them, Anne looked like a ghost poised to haunt Zhang Heng.
“The two of you…”
Anne grew slightly suspicious when she saw the door that was closed behind him.
“Erm… she’s here to talk about the plan for tomorrow.”
“Plan for tomorrow? Aren’t we supposed to go after that ship carrying spices.”
Zhang Heng was left speechless. Of the entire ship, Anne was the only one that had never doubted his plans. He was relieved when he saw that she wasn’t that worried. Before he could reply to her, the watcher suddenly shouted at Zhang Heng.
“Ship spotted!!! There’s a ship in front of us!”