The two black slaves had been digging the ground for some time and were completely drenched in sweat. Zhang Heng noticed that hey had dug a very deep hole. Quickly, they tossed in two bodies into it. Immediately, Zhang Heng recognized the two bodies were the fighters that performed on the stage earlier. One had a scar on his left face and was dead, and the other, his opponent, was still breathing.
After tossing the bodies into the pit, they filled it up again with dirt. Suddenly, a man seeming to be their supervisor noticed Zhang Heng watching his men. So, he decided to approach him.
“Can I help you?”
“I think that man is still breathing.”
“Oh. His nose is broken, and he’s blind in one eye. He can no longer perform on stage. Keeping him alive is a waste of energy and food. Considering his severe injuries, we would have to spend a great deal of money treating him. So, Mr. Malcom has ordered me to bury him alive with the other dead slave.”
“Can I have him since you guys don’t want him anymore?”
Seeing the supervisor hesitating for a moment, Zhang Heng tossed him a small bag of coins. He opened it up, counted, and found out that there were 20 silver coins inside it.
“He now belongs to you, mister!”
Turning to his workers, he snapped, “Why are you still standing there?! Move the injured man to this gentleman’s carriage.”
This time, the two slaves looked at each other and refused to follow the order. In the act of intimidation, the supervisor lifted the whip in his hand. Left with no options, they quickly carried the slave who was alive from the hole and moved him to the horse carriage that Billy rented.
Anne and Billy did not think too much about it, believing that Zhang Heng rescued the black man out of kindness. Billy, however, was worried about what Malcolm told them earlier.
“I think the black-market alliance is about to do something to Carina. What should we do?”
“What do you think?”
“I don’t like them at all. I guess his theories about ‘order’ and all might make him famous in other colonies, but this is Nassau, the city of freedom! He can’t be ordering us around like his slaves in his mansion.”
“You are right about that, but the black-market alliance has grown really powerful in Nassau. All the great pirate crews have joined forces with them. The ones supporting us are just small-time pirates. I know them quite well. Though there are many of them, they can’t provide us with much help during critical moments. Once Carina loses her foothold in Nassau, we will lose the channel to sell our loot as well. When that time comes, we would be forced to partner up with the black-market alliance.”
“This is the very reason why we can’t ditch her and partner up with the black-market alliance. Malcolm has bigger ambitions that you think, and he’s not that simple. Setting up an alliance to increase his wealth is just one of his goals. He wanted to make use of the alliance to take control of the Nassau’s pirates. If he succeeds, he would be powerful enough to assign captains that he likes for every pirate crew. And no one will be able to go against him.”
Then, Zhang Heng finally voiced out his opinion.
“Actually, the black-market alliance has a weakness as well. The are formidable when we look at them as an alliance but the truth is, their inner structure is not as tough as we think it is. The core members of the alliance are Redmond and Malcolm. Redmond is the wealthiest and most experienced black-market merchant in Nassau.
“For his sake, all the black-market merchants of Nassau gathered and came up with a proposal that everyone could agree on. Sadly, Redmond is getting older. Even though he’s the leader of the alliance, his job is limited to stabilizing the structure of the alliance and resolving conflicts. Malcolm is the real guy running the whole thing. He rose to power too quickly in Nassau, and in his quest for ultimate control, he’s offended many people. This is why he needs Redmond’s good reputation to help him set up the black-market alliance.
“Are there any conflicts between the two of them?”
“I have no idea.”
“Both of them are powerful individuals in the alliance. I know that they would have to put on a show that they are good partners. However, I don’t think outsiders know the true nature of their relationship. A few days ago, I got to know that Redmond already knew Malcolm before Malcolm came to Nassau.”
“That should mean that they are in good terms, right?” replied Billy.
“No. I don’t think so. Malcolm and Redmond are both successful businessmen, and I believe that they are professional enough not to allow emotions to ruin their work. Meeting Malcolm tonight confirmed my speculations. He is very confident. Though he dislikes us and knew that we have potential to bring massive trouble to the black-market alliance, he remained calm and put only said positive things. To eliminate any future problems, he’s willing to put the past behind him. Likewise, he’s not one to allow friendship to determine his decisions. After working with Redmond for so many years, it’s impossible that there are no problems between them. We just need to dig them out.”
“You’re talking about driving a wedge between Malcolm and Redmond?”
“It hard to go up against a huge alliance like this from the outside. Like I said earlier, their inner workings aren’t as stable as we think it is. Once the relationship between Redmond and Malcolm becomes sour, the black-market alliance will lose its stability. But even that’s not enough. We need to make sure that we can attack them from the outside as well, and speeding up the process of destroying them is essential. I will talk to Carina about this once she returns to Nassau. Right now, we need to figure out how to ruin their relationship.”
“If there are conflicts between them, I don’t think outsides would know anyway since the top is very secretive. Perhaps we can create some friction between them.”
“That’s a good idea as well. However, I will only do that as a last resort. Redmond and Malcolm are sharp enough to spot any engineered conflicts. Things might become worse for us if they find out.”