48 Hours a Day
Chapter 175 - Distribution Plan
It was rare for pirates to be seeing their prey but yet, unable to attack.
At the moment, the Quidah was the strongest vessel, followed by the Jackdaw, and at the very bottom of the list was the anonymous pirate ship. But those were just dry comparisons. In reality, the vessel and firepower of the unnamed pirate ship were actually not that bad. Unfortunately, they came across two vessels that were way more powerful. That said, neither one of the three ships could take down the prey by themselves.
Should one of them attack first, the other two would surely team-up. What’s more, the seamen on the Goddess’ Spear would not just stay still and wait for the enemy to attack. In the end, the Quidah was the first to signal the other two captains, inviting them for a parlay over the loot’s distribution.
As the first pirate ship to discover the Goddess’ Spear, the Quidah clearly did not want the situation to drag on. No matter how valuable the cargo on the Goddess’ Spear was, once it was divided between the three ships, it would surely be a lot less abundant. Should another pirate ship join in, only scraps would be left for the three of them. They might as well just try their luck on robbing other passing merchant ships.
“Black Sam has a pretty good reputation in Nassau, and he’s known for his loyalty, solid reasons on why his men are so willing to follow him,” said Billy. “Even though he sides with the black-market alliance now, he’s not one to double-cross us for something like that. At the moment, it looks like other than a negotiation, there are no better ways to go about this situation. We should discuss it first.”
Zhang Heng nodded, indicating that he agreed with Billy. “Send a message to the Quidah. I’ll go over.”
On the other side, the unnamed pirate ship found themselves in a bit of a dilemma. Even though they had heard so much of the famous Black Sam, this was their first-time making contact. They did not know how much of what they had heard about the guy was true. Now, seeing that Zhang Heng’s ship had deployed a small boat, they were worried that the two parties would form an alliance to kill them first, so in the end, they too sent a boat out.
Since it was just a negotiation, Zhang Heng brought only a few men with him–only Dufresne and another pirate. In case of any untoward incidents, Bill and Anne remained on the Jackdaw.
The reason Zhang Heng agreed to it so readily, apart from Black Sam’s reputation, was that he had his Shadow Moment on him. Should something unfortunate really happen, he could at least escape to somewhere nearby even if he could not return to the Jackdaw.
The captain of the other ship, on the other hand, was very much on edge. He brought eight men with him, all armed to the teeth, seeming as if ready to face some sort of confrontation.
For some reason, Black Sam did not show up at the Terrance Mansion’s dinner party, so it was the first time Zhang Heng would be meeting him.
To Zhang Heng’s surprise, the captain who equally notorious as Blackbeard looked to be no older than him, probably around twenty-six or twenty-seven years of age. He sported bright blue eyes and long black hair neatly tied into a ponytail. If Teach’s presence was like a looming mountain in the night, then Sam’s was like the first rays of the morning light.
He had an easy-going, infectious smile that made people forget about all their troubles–it was no wonder that his other nickname was ‘The Prince of Pirates.’ While utterly unrelated to his attire, occupation, or activities he was engaged in, some were just born as natural ‘princes’ of whom people were drawn to ever so willingly.
The pirate group led by Sam was also the most stable in Nassau. No one had ever challenged his position since he became the captain. The idea of his replacement was never even raised.
Naturally, rumors about him were also rife. It was said that he often used his own portion of loot to compensate those who wounded or those who died in battle, and since he didn’t possess his private residence on the shore, he often woke up in different places every day. Furthermore, he was extremely generous to his prisoners. In his early days as a pirate, after taking over a ship, he would give his old ship to the poor people they robbed so that they could escape, sometimes going as far as to distribute the proceeds to the poor on the island. His crew even dubbed themselves ‘the merry men of Robin Hood.’
As Zhang Heng was studying Black Sam, the latter’s gaze also fell on him. It could have been merely his imagination, but Zhang Heng felt that Sam seemed to be usually friendly toward him.
“Captain Zhang Heng, I have been looking forward to meeting you for a long time. There has been a lot of talk about you and your Jackdaw in the streets of Nassau recently. I should’ve met you earlier, but thankfully, it’s still not too late,” smirked Sam as he offered a hand coupled with a wide grin on his face.
The third group of pirates that boarded grew even more uncomfortable upon learning that Zhang Heng and Sam had come from the same place. When they noticed that the two planned to continue their conversation, the one appearing to be the captain quickly interrupted the conversation. “Time is precious. I believe none of us here wants anyone else to interrupt us. If that’s the case, let’s start the negotiations then.
Black Prince Sam nodded and said politely, “How should I address you?”
“I am Hutcheson, the captain of the Blizzard. My crew and I have been chasing this whaling ship for more than a month. Frankly, she’s ours. If both of you are willing to return her to me, then you have earned yourself the Blizzard’s friendship,” said Hutcheson.
The Quidah’s helmsman, a black man, sniggered, “There has never been such a thing as ‘first-come-first-serve’ on the high seas.”
“Based on each of our strengths, I think that forty, forty, thirty sounds like a reasonable plan.” Black Sam did not want to beat around the bush and instantly laid out what he thought to be a sensible division for the loot.
“I have no problem with you guys taking forty percent of the portion since I’ve heard of the famous Quidah before. But forgive me for my frankness: why should this guy get a thirty? Is it because the two of you come from the same place? I’ve been at sea for so long, but I’ve never heard of the Jackdaw.”
“The other forty percent is actually for him, not you, and the reason is simple–he has a warship.”
Hutcheson’s eyes widened. “Hah! Since when the quality of a vessel became a measure of a pirate gang’s prowess? If that is so, then no one will have to do anything anymore. We might as well just compare our ships every time we meet.”
Black Prince Sam frowned. “Watch what you say, Captain Hutcheson. We called you over to parlay because we respect you. If you don’t know how to respect others, then this negotiation cannot go on.”
“Fine. Thirty percent it is then. But I want to pick out two things first. Only then will we split the rest of the goods according to your proportion.”
“We all know that the most valuable item onboard is the ambergris. If you take them right away, then what else would be left for our taking?” the Quidah’s helmsman spoke up.
“I’m sorry, I thought this is just a discussion among the Captains,” grumbled the captain of the Blizzard.
“Erik.” Black Prince Sam glared at his helmsman.
Eric simply shrugged. “I’ll go check on the guys on the second deck to make sure they are not loafing around,”