Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
19 Hope Street, Cherwood Borough.
This area was located close to the Tussock River which went through Backlund. Pedestrians could see the turbid but unusually wide water surface through the cracks and crevices in their houses.
The Daily Observer reporter, Mike Joseph, alighted the carriage and pointed at a three-story, grayish-blue building ahead of them. He said to Klein, who was standing next to him and wearing a black double-breasted suit and a half top hat and gold-rimmed glasses, “That’s the Golden Rose, the best legal brothel in the area of the Backlund Bridge, as well as Cherwood Borough. It opens at three in the afternoon and stays open until two in the morning.”
The best legal brothels in the Cherwood and Backlund Bridge regions? In other words, there are better ones in these two regions but they’re illegal? Klein silently mused and shot a glance at the entrance which had an inlaid golden rose. It didn’t hang any signboards.
“This doesn’t count as a street girl, right?” he answered without thinking.
“Of course, it’s of a higher grade.” Mike personally led Klein to the front of the building and pushed the door open.
As soon as he entered, Klein caught a whiff of a mixed fragrance that was slightly pungent and heard a soothing yet suggestive melody.
Instinctively, he looked around and saw bouncers, in black coats and half top hats, standing on either side of the entrance and in every corner of the hall. As a legitimate business, they were obviously meant to deal with drunkards and boors.
The golden hall was surrounded by all sorts of sofas, chairs, and even a piano. In the center, there was a dancing area.
At that moment, there were many ladies sitting in different areas with their hair colored in gold, brown, pale yellow, or black. Some of them looked mature, some shy and young, some young and attractive, and others who were rather beautiful.
These ladies were either enjoying the melody, giggling whilst in conversations with each other, quietly reading newspapers and magazines, or dancing with the men.
It was only half past three in the afternoon, so there weren’t many customers. At a glance, this place looked more like a proper ball than a brothel.
“If you come after eight in the evening, you’ll see some interesting performances. Heh heh, if any of the ladies catch your eye, go over and invite them to dance and then ask them for their prices amidst the beautiful melody. If both sides can come to an agreement, you can head to the second or third floor and have a wonderful time in some room. Hehe, as long as you’re willing to spend money, you can sleep here the entire night.” Mike turned his head from left to right, suddenly losing his previous calm and gentlemanliness, appearing a little more frivolous.
He walked into the hall with a smile, and he approached a young girl who was at most fifteen or sixteen years old.
I-is he showing his true nature, or is this an conduct of a professional? Klein watched, a little flabbergasted as he subconsciously followed behind Mike Joseph.
“The victim, Siber, was only 16 years old. In theory, a girl of similar age is more likely to be a friend and would know more,” At that moment, Mike lowered his voice and explained.
He then raised his thin eyebrows and asked in a normal voice, “Which lady caught your fancy?”
“I’m just your bodyguard,” Klein responded with very normal logic.
Mike slightly nodded and suddenly laughed.
“I’m not used to being watched when I do that sort of thing.”
“I’ll be standing watch outside.” Klein understood what Mike meant, and took a serious, professional stance.
Without another word, Mike walked up to the young girl, bent down, and extended his hand, inviting her to dance.
Being a prostitute at this age, Backlund sure is so bedazzling and dirty… Heh, to think that there would be a middle-aged gentleman of seemingly good bearing patronizing this place. Even the sides of his hair are white… Klein lowered his hands and stood very straight, watching Mike and the young girl engage in a slow dance.
After a few minutes, Mike walked back and said to Klein with slight annoyance, “It’s too expensive.”
As the two approached each other, he added in a low voice, “The girl knew Siber, but the owner, Ma’am. Lopez, forbids them from speaking with anyone else on this matter; otherwise, they would be severely punished. God, when the punishment was mentioned, the poor girl even shuddered instinctively. I can imagine how horrible it must be.”
Helpless, Klein sighed in sympathy, and asked in a suppressed voice, “So, what are you planning to do?”
“I don’t want to cause trouble for those girls again. I plan on going straight to Ma’am. Lopez.” Mike patted Klein on the shoulder and said, “Protect me!”
Klein turned his body to the side and warned in a serious tone, “If we encounter a dangerous situation, you must listen to me.
“Do you understand? Listen to me!”
“Okay, okay.” Mike raised his hands to his shoulders and nodded.
As he spoke, he walked towards a single sofa in the corner. There was a charming lady, with thick makeup, in a gorgeous dress seated there.
“If you don’t want to give up after a dance and embarrass yourself in front of those girls, I suggest you talk to Ma’am. Lopez first and find out the prices of the different girls,” Mike raised his voice.
The lady heard their conversation and looked over. She slowly got up and smiled.
“Good afternoon, gentlemen. I’m Lopez. Did any girl catch your fancy?”
“Yes.” Mike suddenly sized her up and said with a chuckle, “I really admire you.”
I admire you too… You’re acting like this is your home… Klein’s mouth twitched.
Lopez’s expression froze for a second, then she gave a fake laugh and said, “Sorry, I’m not feeling well today. You should know that there are times every month where women feel quite under the weather.”
Seeing that there was no way to get Lopez into a room for a conversation, Mike fell silent for a few seconds before suddenly turning serious.
“Ma’am. Lopez, I’m a reporter. I wish to understand more about Siber’s matter. Here’s my documentary proof.”
Lopez’s face darkened and she replied impatiently, “I’ve already told everything I know to the police. You should ask them!
“Siber was a vagrant orphan who was adopted by me. That night, she accepted an invitation from a guest to spend the night at his house, and she died on her way back in the morning.
“Alright, please leave! Or invite a lady to dance.”
As she spoke, Lopez waved over two of her bouncers.
Klein stepped in to shield off Mike Joseph and escorted him back to the hall. Upon seeing this, the two bouncers didn’t rashly chase him away.
After a few steps, Klein said in a low voice, “She’s lying.”
“Oh?” Mike turned his head in surprise.
“When she spoke, her eyes darted around. She didn’t dare to look at you directly, but she was also secretly sizing you up, which means she was lying and watching your reaction. In addition, her stance was highly defensive, and she appeared very agitated.” Klein gave his analysis.
Mike opened his mouth and exclaimed after a few seconds, “You really are a great detective. Only with your keen observation and outstanding deduction skills were you able to discover such useful details.”
That’s only because I had my Spirit Vision on and could see that Lopez’s emotional colors weren’t right… I came up with the reasons after… Klein smiled and said, “Thank you, it’s time for us to go.”
Mike Joseph looked back at Lopez and saw that she was walking towards the side door of the hall, as though she was going to her own lounge, and that the side door was in a corner of the room. It was very quiet around there, and there were many areas in the hall that couldn’t see what was going on inside. There were also two bouncers standing guard outside.
“Perhaps, we should follow Ma’am. Lopez and observe her reaction. Maybe the anxiety from just now will make her do something…” Mike suddenly turned his head to look at Klein. “Can you take care of those two bouncers quickly?”
“Sir, I’m only responsible for your protection, and that’s against the law.” Klein smiled in response.
“I’ll pay you more! A total of five pounds based on the combat price from before! If there’s another fight when we run, it would be 10 pounds! ” Mike Joseph gritted his teeth.
“Deal!” Klein reached out and shook his hand.
Afterward, the two of them circled around to avoid the two bouncers from before and quietly approached the side door.
“Guests, please stop. Please leave this area.” One of the bouncers stepped forward and stopped Klein and Mike Joseph.
“Sorry, we’ll immediately…” Klein bowed politely and apologized.
At that moment, his right fist suddenly punched out, heavily striking at the bouncer’s abdomen in front of him.
The bouncer instinctively clutched his stomach, his body bent over. As for Klein, who had now stood up, he raised his left hand and chopped the bouncer at the back of the head.
The bouncer fell to the ground and fainted. His companion was clearly caught by surprise at this turn of events. He just stared blankly and failed to react in time.
Klein immediately slid over and covered the bouncer’s mouth with his right hand and punched his abdomen with his left fist.
The bouncer suddenly bent down and spat out his undigested food, and Klein promptly withdrew his right hand and chopped downward with his palm.
At the same time, his left hand supported his opponent, allowing the bouncer to slowly fall onto the ground without making a sound.
After exchanging looks. Klein turned the knob, pushed open the side door, and stepped inside. Mike Joseph lowered his body and quickly followed.
Why are you so skilled… You’re just a reporter! Klein lampooned under his breath, walking briskly but at a rapid pace along the paved corridor.
Suddenly, they heard Lopez’s voice.
“Tell Capim not to send anyone over in the next few days!
Capim? Send anyone? Klein looked at Mike and found him looking equally puzzled.
At that moment, they heard Lopez’s footsteps that were headed towards the corridor.
“Let’s go!” Klein tugged Mike and ran for the exit without turning back.
During this process, he closed the side door and broke the lock in passing. It could prevent the people inside from coming out for a while.
Then, as if nothing had happened, they hurriedly walked through the hall and approached the exit while hearing faint, angry voices.
After reaching the streets, Mike heaved a sigh of relief and said in amazement and sincerity, “I’ve experienced many similar scenarios, but not once was it as simple and relaxed as it was today.
“Thank you. I need to return to find out who Capim is.”
As he spoke, he took out his wallet, fished out a five-pound note, and muttered, “But frankly, your price is really expensive. It’s worth more than half a week’s salary.”
“But you can claim for reimbursement, right?” Klein answered with a grin. Following that, he asked in concern, “Aren’t you afraid that Lopez will find your newspaper firm and get the police to arrest you?”
“That’s a fake ID card.” Mike Joseph shrugged with a gesture of familiarity.
“…” Klein could only admire him.
After watching Mike board a carriage and leave, he walked diagonally across the street, waited for a public carriage and kept an eye out for anyone chasing after him.
At that moment, a rental carriage slowly approached and stopped in front of him.
A middle-aged man in a black coat stepped out the carriage and nodded at Klein.
He had blue eyes, a thin face, and gray temples. It was the same old gentleman that Klein had seen in the Golden Rose.
He’s not a customer of the Golden Rose… He’s just like us… Klein suddenly came to this realization.
“Hello, I’m Detective Isengard Stanton. I’m assisting the police in this case. Can we have a chat?” The middle-aged man pointed at the carriage tracks.