48 Hours a Day
Chapter 197 - Betty
“It’s okay. We’ve got nothing to do anyway. Let us help you,” said Zhang Heng.
Seth forced a smile when he heard Zhang Heng had offered to help.
“What’s going on? Seth, do we have guests?”
“It’s Sean and… erm… two more friends.”
“Aren’t you going to invite them in?”
“Oh… I almost forgot! My house is kind of messy now, and I hope you guys won’t mind.”
Seeing that he was about to have visitors, Seth moved the chairs back into the house. Zhang Heng, Anne, and Sean followed him from behind.
“Tracy, go make our guests some coffee, will you?”
Seth was talking to a voluptuous lady. This should be the woman that Seth married not too long ago. Tracy nodded and headed into the kitchen. After a short while, she talked to Seth again.
“Seth, where are the coffee beans that Beth gave us?”
“Ah! I know where they are. Let me go get them.”
As he talked to Tracy, Seth went upstairs. Half a minute later, Tracy emerged from the kitchen with a plate of fruit in her hands.
“I’m so sorry. Seth kept away all the utensils and there are only some fruits left in the kitchen,” said Tracy.
Zhang Heng took the plate of fruit and thanked Tracy and started a conversation with her. Talkative by nature, she answered every question he asked with no misgivings. Obviously, she wasn’t the cautious type. When he was done talking, he knew then that Seth didn’t tell her anything about the carrack. It also seemed that she knew nothing about what happened last night.
Zhang Heng looked at Anne. Both of them knew that Seth was the person that they were looking for. They decided that it was time to confront him once he came down.
“What’s taking him so long? All he needs to do is to get the coffee beans,” said Sean while looking at the stairs.
“Let me go get him,” replied an embarrassed Tracy.
She proceeded to the storeroom beside them.
“Ahem… Seth is upstairs,” Sean reminded Tracy.
“Huh? But the first floor is empty. There’s nobody there.”
Immediately, Zhang Heng ran upstairs and found out that there was indeed no one there. All he saw was an open window. Through the window, he spotted Seth running away from his house as fast as his legs could carry him. He even looked back a few times!
“Let’s spread out and go after him!”
Zhang Heng wasn’t to be blamed for not being more cautious. After all, he came with the sole intention of talking to Seth and had no plans to rough him up to extract information out from him. Other than breaking into Vincent’s house and almost scaring him to death, Seth didn’t do anything that harmed anyone. Logically, there was no reason for him to be running from them.
Anne quickly ran out of the house. As for Zhang Heng, he exited through the window and climbed onto the roof. That said, he was in no way trying to be like Ezio Auditore from Assassin’s Creed. The area Seth lived in was similar to the Smoked Fish Alley and was one of the more famous slums in Nassau. The only difference was that it was a lot more crowded, with squatters literally stacked on each other. The entire area was also extremely disorganized.
Seth had an advantage here since he had stayed here for a long time. To make sure that he could keep track of him, Zhang Heng had to continually find high vantage points. As for Anne, her job was simple. All she needed to do was trail Zhang Heng.
It was at that moment when Seth noticed that someone was coming after him. Not only did he continue running, but he ran even faster than before. At the same time, he kept switching directions erratically, hoping to take advantage of the familiar terrain to lose Anne. Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to shake off Zhang Heng, and that made him more nervous by the second.
Running along the rooftops allowed Zhang Heng to disregard the slum’s haphazardness. All he needed to do was to move in a straight line. His balance had gotten a lot better after living at sea for almost a year. Though the rooftops of each house were at different heights, he still managed to maintain an excellent balance.
Seeing that he was getting closer to Seth, Zhang Heng estimated that he could jump off from the roof after another ten steps. Unfortunately, all his calculations and effort went to waste during the most critical moment. The roof that he just jumped on caved in all of a sudden due to its dilapidated condition. Immediately, he grabbed on to a wooden support pillar, but even that broke into half as well.
Seth was delighted when he saw Zhang Heng falling into one of the houses. Suddenly, a shadowy figure appeared from the left of the alley. Before Seth could react, the person landed a kick on his chest, sending him flying to a wooden rack beside him. Seth ignored the pain on his back. He hurriedly got up and started to limp away. However, before he could make any headway, he found a sharp dagger on his neck.
After a while, Zhang Heng came out of the house he fell into with a dust-covered face. He compensated the owner with two gold coins, an old man that was sunbathing at that time, before heading to Seth.
“Why did you run from us?”
Seth merely remained silent.
“Give it all up now. We already know. You were the ‘monster’ that broke into Vincent’s room, right?” asked Zhang Heng. “How did you pull it off when the storm hit us back then? Did it have something do with the thing that you found on the carrack?”
This time, Seth finally lost his calm. He was hoping that Zhang Heng was here for some other issue. After all, he was all alone when it happened. No one should have seen what he did. Any ordinary person would definitely not connect the matter to the storm. Hence, Seth had no idea how Zhang Heng could grow suspicious of him. After two successful voyages, Zhang Heng’s reputation had skyrocketed amongst his pirates.
After a short moment of hesitation, Seth finally spilled everything out.
“I’m sorry, captain. I… it wasn’t me who found the thing. She was the one who found me.”
“Her?” asked Anne.
“Right after we separated, I heard a woman’s voice. She called herself Betty. I searched the entire cargo hold, but I couldn’t find her.”
It was a familiar name to Zhang Heng, having being mentioned numerous times in the poetry book that he read. At first, Zhang Heng thought that Betty must have been the captain’s wife or lover. Now, it seemed that the identity of this Betty was more complicated than he initially thought.
“Why didn’t you tell us about it?” asked Anne.
“I thought there was something wrong with me. The woman, Betty, gave me a warning. She said if I told anyone about this, they would consider me a lunatic and maroon me on that carrack!”