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Time Smuggling Starting From The Year 2000 - Chapter 38

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Chapter 38: Spitsbergen Islands (Part Two)

Translator: Kim Guo Editor: Tehrn

The port closest to Longyearbyen was Green Bay, the floating ice on the surface of which won't

melt until summer when big ships started to come and go, making the port as prosperous as

Amsterdam.

Green Bay was indeed green. Since during summer, there were 113 polar days, when the southfacing

slopes were ablaze with beautiful flowers, very similar to the common southern scenery

in China, except for the chilly air, not only the people who were used to glaciers but also Huang

Xuan who just got there from Brazil felt that it deserved to be called ’’green’’.

Masset seemed to be very proud of this. He was a Dutchman born in Spitsbergen, and except for

fishing, he had never left Longyearbyen. It had been said that this year would be a harvest one.

He wanted to find a job because the gains one received when working with the crew on a boat

were much more than fishing alone.

To the Chinese people living in the 21st century, Longyearbyen could barely be counted as a

small town. Maybe it could be called a big village. There were about 1,200 dwellers in it.

Fishermen only swarmed in summer. Even so, since it accommodated one-third of the

population of the islands, Longyearbyen was still the biggest city of Spitsbergen Islands.

At this moment, Huang Xuan was frustrated. He had brought so many grains, but since the city

was so small, with only around one thousand people in it, how was he supposed to sell the 1,500

tons of grains? One ton to each person?

Masset didn't notice Huang Xuan's frustration. He had just intended to come with Huang Xuan

to Longyearbyen. Now that Huang Xuan had arrived here, he was ready to leave because he was

anxious to find a boat with a job. Since summer would be over in one month, he was running

out of time.

’’Wait a minute.’’ Huang Xuan grabbed Masset, making his last effort. ’’Where is the

government?’’

’’East India Company? It's right here.’’

Huang Xuan blinked. Behind him were ten-odd bungalows making up a courtyard. He had

thought they were civilian residences and never expected them to be the headquarters of the

famous Dutch East India Company in the Archipelago.

There wasn't even one guard.

’’Where are the people?’’ Huang Xuan wondered, looking at the closed gate.

’’A batch of fishing boats are arriving today. Naturally, the governor has gone to the port.’’

Masset had become a little impatient: time was too valuable to be wasted on a guy coming from

Java Island. Fine, maybe it was called Guwa. Who cared?

Huang Xuan exhaled and pulled his clothes. ’’Can I go with you to Green Bay?’’

’’Whatever...’’ All Masset cared was for him to go to Green Bay.

Huang Xuan followed Masset in low spirits until they got to Green Bay. In that time, Green Bay

was a huge port. By the road were two sailboats with a displacement of 200 tons. According to

Rolin, the biggest boat built then weighed just 600 tons, almost the weight of a destroyer in

World War II.

However, what had shocked Huang Xuan wasn't the dorky-looking sailboats but the stone

platform on the bank and the enormous body on it.

’’Is that... a whale?!’’ Huang Xuan let out that sentence, having forgotten to cover his trembling

voice. Rolin's interpretation sounded like an echo. Luckily, Masset himself was too excited to

pay attention to it. ’’The first batch of whaling ships is back. I will board the ship and look for a

job.’’

Then, Huang Xuan stood there alone, watching a dozen men performing an autopsy on the

whale.

Huang Xuan had known since he had been little that the blue whale was the biggest animal in

the world. He had also once thought that all the whales were as big as the blue whales, but when

he really got to see one of these gigantic animals, he was still astonished.

Nevertheless, when he saw that tens of whales were being cut into pieces, greediness took the

place of the astonishment. Guilt? If beef was delicious, whale meat should bring people

happiness too, especially in this era when the whale wasn't rare yet but an ordinary commodity.

Huang Xuan was wondering how he could sell it, but he already knew that shipping it wouldn't

consume much energy.

’’This one is a Minke whale in the suborder and family of the fin whale, weighing nine tons or

so. The one next to it is in the family of the fin whale and the genus of the humpback whale,

weighing about 30 tons. On the sailboat to the south are two gray whales, weighing 28 tons and

35 tons respectively. No whales in the toothed whale family so far. The men have caught about

70 Bowhead whales, which are the most of all kinds.’’ Then, Rolin started chattering about

whales. No one knew since when he had been popularizing knowledge to Huang Xuan, not only

during the travels but also in his daily life. Huang Xuan didn't mind his gabbling, as long as he

was not too noisy.

’’Rolin, what's the price of the whale meat on the international market?’’ Here came the core

question Huang Xuan cared about.

Rolin searched quickly and then answered, ’’Due to the limitation of whaling, the price has been

increasing: the better part like the lean meat near the tail is sold for as high as $60 per kg, while

the common part for only $6 or so.’’

’’Not so high.’’ Huang Xuan became less enthusiastic, but looking at the thousands of tons of

whale meat, he was also excited. He looked around and asked Rolin, ’’Do you know where the

governor is?’’

’’There is a crowd of people, 300 meters ahead to the right. You can inquire about it there.’’

Saving energy remained Rolin's priority.

Huang Xuan wiped his nose, which had become red because of the cold. He pulled the scarf that

covered his face even higher and then walked over to the right against the wind reeking of

whales. The ships anchored here were all around three tons in size. The sailors were carving up

the whale meat and some Dutch blue jackets were guarding upwind. The Dutch in the middle of

the crowd was talking to some guys in top hats with his hands at the back.

A guard stopped Huang Xuan when he was about one hundred steps away. That was a spearman

whose responsibility was to protect the musketmen in the army order of the 17 century.

However, in Spitsbergen, its rank seemed to have been elevated dramatically.

The guard could tell from Huang Xuan's forehead and eyes uncovered by the scarf that he was

not a caucasian, which was enough to stop him. The guard put his spear down, blocked Huang

Xuan using his body and said, ’’Hoi, step aside!’’

’’I am an employee of the East India Company.’’ Huang Xuan shrugged. Anytime, arguing with a

soldier was inefficient. He didn't take off his scarf because he couldn't match the shape of the

mouth, so he just moved his lips slightly and let Rolin do the talking. ’’I have brought a ship of

grains and want to see the governor.’’

Green Bay had been in a mess today, so the guard wasn't sure whether a ship carrying grains

had arrived. Having sized Huang Xuan up suspiciously, he said loudly, ’’Aborigine, pull off your

mask!’’

Huang Xuan pulled off his mask obediently and said in the slightest lip movement he could

make, ’’Guard, you just need to do your job. I need to see the governor, but you can't decide for

the governor whether to see me or not, can you?’’

The Dutchman among the crowd seemed to have heard their voices. A guy with feathers on the

head said something to the person beside him. Then another guard came over and said, ’’Let

him pass. The governor wants to see him.’’

The spearman looked at Huang Xuan resentfully but moved away. Huang Xuan shrugged again.

The guys who had come to this place were all those who couldn't make it in Europe, even

criminals. If Spitsbergen hadn't become the center of whaling, the East India Company

wouldn't have remembered this land on the northernmost end of the Earth. Hence, it would be

totally unnecessary to talk about manners with these guys.

’’You are?’’ Huang Xuan took his hat off and bowed a little.

’’Vanhogue Walue.’’

A haughty old man. This was Huang Xuan's first impression. He was older than all the others

and spoke first. Huang Xuan smiled and returned, ’’Mr. Governor, Mr. Jorma Ollila sends his

greetings to you.’’

Huang Xuan was right. Walue thought that he had been heard before and gestured the guard to

leave. ’’Mr. Ollila is?’’

Huang Xuan answered with a smile, ’’He is the CEO of Nokia Corporation, sir. I have carried a

batch of grains here for sale as ordered.’’

People around all started laughing. A man with a big nose almost laughed his head off. He said,

pressing his hat, ’’Came to Spitsbergen to sell grains? Let me tell you something, kid: we have

fed the entire Europe!’’

How arrogant! Huang Xuan's second assessment. However, he kept his smile and said, ’’Nokia

Corporation has just been founded and isn't familiar with the situation yet. But since the grains

are already here and the fleet has left, I am hoping to find a buyer.’’

’’Oh?’’ Apparently, Walue was intrigued. Although he was addressed as governor, it was a title

completely different from the Hong Kong Governor that Chinese people had been familiar with.

The East India Company in the 17th century was like the advance troops for colonies and the

development department of the tertiary industry of the Netherlands, and it was the latter one

that was the driving force of the colonization. So, the governor was actually a businessman, a

powerful and greedy one.

’’Mainly rice and wheat. There is a little spice and cane sugar too. All good.’’

In Europe, spice and cane sugar had just passed their highest prices, but were still expensive; as

to grains, they were always in short supply. The rise of the Netherlands had benefited from its

fishery which had provided so much food. According to technicalism, it was the Dutch who had

invented the method to remove the fish intestine with only one chop. The wheels of history

started moving swiftly.

’’All good stuff,’’ the man with a big nose was honest. But he was stopped by Walue with one

stern stare as soon as he had made the first exclamation. ’’It's a busy season with whaling. I am

afraid there are few boats available to carry your goods.’’

Huang Xuan knew that guy was trying to haggle, but he had no time to waste. If he couldn't

make a deal in three days, he would have to bring the grains back, which meant millions of kWh

of electricity would be wasted. Furthermore, he wouldn't take them back.

’’Rolin, can't we snatch some?’’ Huang Xuan lowered his head and said, looking at the whale

meat. ’’It will be put in the passage anyway. Why bother to give these scums money?’’

’’We can if you are satisfied with taking only ten-odd of whales back.’’ Rolin didn't object. ’’But

if the Dutches attack you, I can't guarantee your safety. Since the base is only level 22, using

energy through the passage will consume a huge amount of energy. Once the consumption

exceeds the storage, you won't be able to go back.’’

’’You can't even beat the people from the Middle Ages?’’

’’The times after Renaissance aren't the Middle Ages,’’ Rolin corrected. ’’Your body can't even

resist one spear. There are so many of them. I think the ratio cost/effect is too low.’’

’’What cost? Nonsense.’’ Knowing that he had to stand the exploitation, Huang Xuan quieted

down. He clenched his teeth and said, ’’Mr. Governor, since there are a lot of grains, if there are

not enough boats, I can leave some here and deal with them until the fleet come next year. And

I would like to trade the grains for some whale meat.’’

Walue squinted at Huang Xuan. ’’Leave some?’’ He was wondering whether that was a bribery.

A Dutch that looked like a big orange and was standing behind the governor said, ’’We can ship

the blubber to Europe by ourselves. Svalbard Archipelago needs neither grains nor blubber.’’

On hearing this, the crowd started laughing again.

Blubber was the fat of the whales, which was an important industrial material and fuel, and the

staple cooking oil of Europe too. It could be used to make margarine, soap, lamp oil, and so on.

In this era, if the whaling ship was too small, people would cut the blubber off and threw the

rest of the whale back into the sea. Hearing Rolin's explanation, Huang Xuan felt some regrets,

but then said happily, ’’Mr. Governor, I would like to purchase the entire whale. Anyway, the

price is negotiable.’’



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