48 Hours a Day
Chapter 181 - A Sudden Storm
Chapter 181: A Sudden Storm
The torrential rain fell faster than everyone’s expectations. Worried about the Quidah’s newly repaired hull, Black Sam didn’t stay too long on the Jackdaw. However, as soon as he got into the boat that was supposed to bring him back to his ship, rain started pouring from the skies with a fury, and the sea started to swell.
Bright, menacing whips of lightning flashed across the dark sky, followed by deafening claps of thunder. The sights and sounds were nothing less of apocalyptic, and seemed as if the world was coming to an end.
Both ships were less than 30 meters apart, but it took Black Sam a solid ten minutes of hard rowing against before he got to his ship. As they were climbing up the vessel, one of his men fell overboard and was swept away by a massive wave.
There was nothing that the other pirates on the Quidah could do; all they could do was watch as their companion disappeared into the depths of the turbulent ocean. It was impossible to rescue anyone in such unforgiving weather.
On the other ship, Zhang Heng did not retreat to the captain’s quarters. He stood at the bow of the Jackdaw next to Billy, who was busy directing the crew to prepare for the storm.
A frown hung above Zhang Heng’s eyes. His opinions about the weather differed from Black Sam, who probably thought nothing more about the weather other than its sudden emergence. Zhang Heng had some knowledge about gybing, something he learned from Roscoe, who had also taught him how to read the winds and predict the weather.
Whilst not as accurate as the old pirate in terms of forecasting weather, his conjecture about this abrupt meteorological change was at least eighty percent right. The storm had emerged so abruptly and without warning. Just a minute ago, the sky was still clear and cloudless. Based on the experience Roscoe had relayed to him, the sea should have been calm until the night.
In a matter of ten minutes, however, the weather changed drastically. Zhang Heng had only encountered this situation once, and that was when the carrack appeared. However, the wind and waves were not as wild as it was right now, Today, the sea was like an outraged monster, battering one giant wave after another against the ship.
Zhang Heng held onto a rope with one hand to steady himself, and with the other, he pulled out the bronze telescope he carried. First, he looked toward Black Sam’s direction. The Quidah was bustling, with their sailors running frantically to hunker everything down. However, everything seemed under control for now, so Zhang Heng looked further out.
To his greatest surprise, he did not see the ghost ship from a century ago. On the contrary, as fast as it appeared, the terrifying storm began to subside. The waves gradually became smaller, and the raindrops slowed to a drizzle. In a mere five minutes, the sun peered from the clouds, and the waters resumed their earlier calm. The dark clouds that had hung over their heads like an ominous veil had all but disappeared.
JAnd just like that, the ordeal lasted a short twenty minutes. Even the absent-minded Anne found it incredulous. When the rain finally stopped, she shook the rain off her drenched hair and said, “What is this? Some kind of joke?”
Zhang Heng was just as baffled, but as a precaution, the first thing he did was to examine the two boxes of silverware in the storeroom. However, he found nothing unusual. He then picked up the ring and the necklace from the drawer. Again, he did not get any prompts from the system.
Was it merely a coincidence?
There was no way to be certain. He kept having his nagging feeling that he’d missed something about that carrack, but he had nothing to go on. He would just have to wait for Vincent to complete the translation of the notebooks to see if he could get more information from them.
For most people, this sudden storm burst was just a brief interlude in a lengthy voyage. Very soon, the pirates on the ship turned their attention to other things, such as the person who always slipped into the kitchen at night stealing bread, or where they should go once they docked.
The Jackdaw was drawing closer and closer to Nassau, and Zhang Heng had no inkling that another storm awaited him on the shore.
Carina’s secondhand business was blooming on the island. There was never a shortage of pirates at the warehouse’s doorstep. On top of that, she possessed an uncanny boldness and willfulness that was uncommon for her gender at that time. She never turned away used goods. As long as they weren’t completely worthless, the tradeswoman was willing to purchase it. This won her the favor of the smaller pirate gangs.
Captain Malone bid goodbye to his time in the brothel and resumed his busy life. The Gentle Breeze started to travel back and forth from Nassau to the colony’s port, exchanging covertly acquired goods for bags of gold coins. Although most of the income was used to subsidize the secondhand business, Carina offered a very high price, and it turned out to be ideal in terms of profit. This was nothing like the time when her father, Fegan, was on the island.
Nevertheless, they were all still profitable. At least everyone was not bored out of their minds when the Jackdaw went out to sea.
However, nothing lasted forever; for all good things, at least. Not long after that, the secret about Carina using the secondhand business to cover-up the under table trade was soon exposed. In a single night, the news was made known throughout the entire island.
It was followed by the news about her father being detained in the colony. This wasn’t a secret among the black-market merchants, though. Some of the more well-informed people on the island heard about it too, but the fact that it was so suddenly made public told of a malicious intention behind it.
The captains who traded with Carina were getting overwrought, having only wanted to earn some extra money. Of course, they did not want to be tied to this sinking ship that was Carina. Every one of them insisted that it wasn’t their men who had exposed the secrets. They even suspected that Carina herself was the one who did it. They believed that if their relationship with the black-market alliance was ruined, the one benefiting from it at the end of the day was Carina.
Carina had to personally go up to each of them, attempting to convince them that their black-market alliance wouldn’t fulfill the sanctions on the statement. Doing that would just be pushing the pirates to her side. In the end, however, only two captains agreed that if Carina could solve the problem of the leak, they would continue doing business with her.
Malone shook his head. “There’s no way to solve this problem. We’ve already done a fine job here. We had people guard the warehouse, and even our sailors didn’t know what cargo we hauled on each trip. There’s no way the leak came from our side. The other pirates, on the other hand, are mouthy. As the saying goes, never trust pirates to keep secrets–especially when they are drunk.”
Carina shook her head in protest. “Most of their men didn’t know that they sold the goods to us. This must be the work of our trusted aides. Everyone else only cares about the money that they would get in the end. The black-market alliance might have caught wind of it, but they couldn’t have investigated it that quickly.”