Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Once Honegg left, and after the pirates of the Jackdaw got their share of gold coins, Carina quietly approached Zhang Heng and thanked him. She couldn’t imagine what would happen to her if Zhang Heng did not come back in time.
All the while, she tried her hardest to compete better in the world of business, constantly figuring out how to get more captains to work with her, save Malcolm, of course. Also, she made sure that her prices were always high enough to attract as many prospective sellers as possible. As a result of her efforts, she managed to outdo the black-market alliance by a large margin. After what happened to her father, she also made sure to avoid a few large ports controlled by the Malcolm Family. Little did she expect that they would send a gang of pirates to hunt down the Gentle Breeze.
An incident like that hadn’t happened in Nassau for a very long time now. The pirates that Malcolm hired weren’t originally from Nassau and hence, weren’t worried about breaking the rules of the island. Last night was the first time that Carina brushed with the darker corners of the world. After living in Nassau for some time, she had gone through significant changes. At first, she was too shy to talk to men. Right now, astonishedwas bold enough to bargain with a group of fierce captains. As she received compliments from Malone and others, she was glad that she’d officially blended into this world to the point that she could face a group of pirates used to killing for a living.
Last night, Wilton managed to reignite the fear that she once had. The dagger in his hand was only two centimeters away from her neck. It was the very first time she came so close to death.
“I’m responsible for the Skeleton’s attack on the Gentle Breeze. I was the one who told you to remain aggressive on this island. To be honest, I underestimated the magnitude of the threat to you. I’m astounded that Malcolm decided to deal with us a lot quicker than expected,” said Zhang Heng.
He then took a look at his surroundings. Since that morning, a large crowd of people had already been lining up to sell their stuff to Carina.
“You have done a spectacular job so far. I believe that you’ve managed to pressure the black-market alliance.”
“It might seem that there are many people selling their stuff to me, but honestly, I don’t earn much from it. At the end of the day, I still have to rely on the Jackdaw.”
“How many captains looked for you while I was gone?”
“Four captains were working with me, and there were a few interested in selling their stuff as well. I was trying to negotiate and bargain with them. After that, Malcolm suddenly announced that all captains should only trade with the black-market alliance and not random black-market merchants. In the end, only two captains were still willing to work with me. I think things will get better, now that you’ve eliminated Wilton and his goons. Many will start to think that our business might just survive on this island. Just now, a few captains told me that they are willing to stop trading with the black-market alliance and would trade with me instead. Though they are not from some powerful pirate group, they are definitely more influential than these people lining up to sell their useless stuff to me.”
At the same time, Carina glared at a pirate who demanded that he should have been paid two extra bronze pesos.
“Right now, we have a problem. If we are going to expand, I don’t think one cargo ship is enough.”
“Wilton had two ships. His Skeleton can be entered into service after we fix it, and his second ship is totally fine. Though that ship isn’t as well-armed as the Skeleton, it sure is more spacious. I think it’s the perfect vessel for a cargo ship conversion. The only problem is that it was once a pirate ship. I’m afraid the port’s workers might recognize it.”
“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. Wilton told us that he never left anyone alive when he plundered their ships. I’m pretty sure that very few had laid their eyes lay their eyes on that ship before. Before I use it, I’ll hire someone to carry out a refit and some modifications. Then, we can be sure that nobody would recognize it even if they have seen it before.”
“As for manpower, I believe that we can source most of that from this island itself. There are a lot of young people here, and since they can’t earn much by becoming a pirate, I don’t think they’d mind working on a cargo ship as long as their pockets are filled. They are also not asking for much. Most importantly, their family members and friends are living here. If last night’s incident were to happen again, I don’t think they’ll just sit still and do nothing.”
“If any emergency were to happen when I’m not around, you can look for Black Prince Sam or Honegg. They will help you. Alternatively, you can hire private security for your protection. I would say four to five people should be enough to help you to tackle any untoward incidents.
Zhang Heng saw that Carina was about to say something, but held back.
“There’s one thing bothering me. I might be overthinking, but I did work with a couple of pirate ships previously. I never thought that I would be able to keep this a secret from the black-market alliance forever. Still, I did something to make sure that Malcolm wouldn’t find out so soon. Something smells fishy. The moment I started to work with the other captains, I instantly received a warning from him.”
“At first, I thought that perhaps one of the pirate groups had tipped Malcolm off. You know how hard it is for pirates to keep secrets; a glass of rum and a hooker would make them spill all their beans. But, I did notice a problem, though. If they really did tell Malcolm about me, he shouldn’t have known my plans in such great detail. I didn’t expose anything at all when I met up with him, but I felt that he knew every single move that I was about to make.”
“Could there be a mole among us?”
“I don’t know what to think anymore. Everyone who works for me is a trusted ally of mine. I even made sure that only a handful knows about my plan. Most of the sailors on the Gentle Breeze don’t even know what they’re transporting.”
“Do you have any suspects in mind?”
“Jim, for one. He’s young, and he knows how to read. He was initially the records keeper of the Gentle Breeze, and Malone was the one who recommended that I hire him. Right after my father was put in jail, half of the experienced pirates left the ship. They were the ones who my father paid highly. However, Jim chose to stay on. He only joined our ship last year. Technically, he shouldn’t have a strong attachment to it. With his capabilities, it shouldn’t be hard to look for a better job too.”
“I don’t know much about him, but he chose to stick with us during our most trying times. I have to say; he’s helped me a lot for sure. That’s why Malone and I trust him fully. He seems to be serious about his job as well. So, I brought him off the Gentle Breeze and asked him to work with me here. He’s supposed to keep track of all the loot that we buy. He knows where every item comes from. At the same time, he is also one of the few who knows which route the Gentle Breeze takes.”