Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Inside the soon-to-be abandoned medical school building, Audrey suddenly felt adrift as she took a detour to leave the gathering which had just ended. She saw the familiar thick gray fog and the blurry figure situated in the center high above.
“This is a clue.”
Accompanying Mr. Fool’s solemn voice were scenes that looked like a film reel, a colored one at that!
A man who wasn’t particularly muscular but was nearly two meters tall in height was wearing a black priest robe and standing in the shadows. His light yellow hair was slightly curled, and his dark brown eyes were cold with malice. The corners of his mouth drooped slightly, making him look like a ferocious wolf.
A clue? A clue to the bombing on East Borough’s Dharavi Street and Gavin’s drowning? Is this the murderer? Audrey stared blankly for a moment before immediately coming to an understanding.
Mr. Fool already has a clue… He’s really impressive — No, he’s omnipotent. After sighing to herself, she turned to look at Fors.
As soon as Fors removed her mask and surgical cap and got into the carriage, she noticed Miss Audrey’s slightly strange gaze. She immediately asked in puzzlement, “Is there something on my face?”
“Nope.” Audrey looked away and sat down before removing her disguise.
Fors recalled the gathering and asked curiously, “Miss Audrey, why didn’t you announce that you were purchasing the Spectator formula? You could’ve established contact with the Psychology Alchemists that way.”
She remembered that the generous Miss Audrey had remained silent most of the time and only sold some spirituality-infused materials and responded to buying other varieties accordingly.
Audrey smiled faintly and said, “This is my first gathering in this circle. I think it’s more important to observe and wait.
“I’m looking forward to the potion formula and even more so, the mystical items, but I told myself that there’s no rush. It would be a better strategy to familiarize myself before taking action.”
This is also a ‘professional habit’ of the Spectator pathway. Moreover, there were no Beyonder ingredients like Dark Patterned Black Panther Spinal Fluid or Spring of the Elves Marrow Crystals which Mr. World wishes to obtain… Audrey silently added.
Looking at the girl who wasn’t eighteen yet, Fors suddenly felt that she was more mature than ever before.
She suddenly laughed at herself and said, “If I had been like you back then, I wouldn’t have wasted such a precious opportunity.”
Audrey gave a reserved smile as a response before saying, “I’ll ask some special friends in the morning if they have any leads on the Dharavi Street bombing. Wait for the information at the same place with Xio.”
“Alright.” Fors nodded without any doubts.
Instead of returning to Minsk Street, Klein slept in the one-bedroom apartment in East Borough’s Black Palm Street.
He was afraid that the suspected murderer in the black priest robe had accomplices who could be searching the streets for him.
Although the probability of meeting him wasn’t high, and he had disguised himself ahead of time so that it was unlikely he could be recognized, his divination indicated that there was a possibility. To be cautious, Klein made do and decided to spend the night at East Borough.
At dawn, he changed into another dark blue worker’s uniform, put on a light brown cap, and left the room. He went down the stairs and into the street.
At that moment, the white fog with a yellowish tint shrouded the surroundings. There were blurry figures of people passing by, and the cold morning air was soaking into their clothes.
Klein lowered his head and hurried along, just like the people around him who had gotten up early for work.
While walking, he saw a man in his forties or fifties ahead of him. He wore a thick jacket and had gray hair around his temples. He was pacing in place and fumbling for a cigarette while shivering. Finally, he took out a box of empty matches in his clothes’ inner pocket.
Just as he opened the matchbox, his right hand quivered, and the crumpled cigarette fell to the ground and rolled in front of Klein.
Klein stopped, picked it up, and handed it to him.
“Thank you, thank you! I can’t live without this old friend. There’s only a few left,” the man thanked him sincerely and accepted the cigarette.
His face was pale, and he appeared to not have shaved for quite a while. Exhaustion was expressed without reserve from the corner of his eyes as he lamented, “I haven’t slept for another night, I don’t know how long I can last. I hope the Lord will bless me so that I can enter the workhouse today.”
He’s a homeless person who has been chased away. Klein casually asked, “Why doesn’t the king and ministers allow all of you to sleep in the park?”
“Who knows? But to sleep in this kind of weather outside, it’s very likely that you’ll never wake up again. It’s still better in the day, since you can find a warmer place. Sigh, but this will make us lack the time or strength to look for jobs.” The man lit a cigarette and sucked at it delightfully.
As though he had some of his strength restored, and he walked beside Klein. It was uncertain if his destination was at the end of the fog or somewhere deep into the fog.
Klein had no intention of exchanging pleasantries and was about to speed away from him when he saw the man, who had spoken clearly, bend down and pick up a dark object from the ground.
It looked like an apple core that had been nibbled clean.
The man swallowed his saliva before stuffing the dirt-covered fruit core into his mouth. He chewed it until it was mashed up before swallowing it down with great familiarity. Nothing was left.
Looking at Klein’s surprised eyes, he wiped his mouth, shrugged his shoulders, and smiled bitterly.
“I haven’t eaten in almost three days.”
This sentence struck Klein’s heart, causing him to feel indescribably moved.
He silently sighed and said with a smile, “Sorry, I didn’t introduce myself just now. I’m a reporter, and I’m currently writing about homeless people. Can I interview you? Let’s go to the café up front.”
The man froze for a moment before he smiled and said, “No problem, it’s much warmer inside than on the streets.
“If you can stay a little bit longer after the interview and let me sleep inside for half an hour… No, fifteen minutes! That would be even better.”
Klein turned agape, momentarily at a loss for words. He just silently led his “interviewee” into the budget café at the end of the street.
The tables and chairs in the coffee shop were quite greasy. Due to the walls and windows inside, there were quite a few guests. The average temperature was indeed much higher than the streets.
The man scratched his throat, concealing his Adam’s apple that was squirming from the fragrance.
Klein motioned for him to sit down and went to order two large cups of tea, a plate of lamb stewed with young peas, two loaves of bread, two pieces of toast, a serving of low-quality butter, and a serving of artificial cream for a total of 17.5 pence.
“Have some food to eat. We’ll have the interview after you eat your fill.” Once the food was ready, Klein carried them back to their table.
“This is for me?” the man asked with anticipation and surprise.
“Except for a piece of toast and a cup of tea, the rest is yours.” Klein smiled in response.
The man wiped his eyes and said with a slightly choked voice, “… Y-you truly are a kind-hearted person.”
“After starving for so long, make sure not to eat too quickly,” Klein warned.
“I know, I had an old buddy who died just like that.” The middle-aged man worked hard at eating at a slower pace, occasionally lifting his cup of tea and gulping it down.
Klein easily finished the toast and watched quietly, waiting for the man to finish his meal.
“Phew, I haven’t eaten until I was this full in three months, no—half a year. In the workhouse, the food they give is just enough.” After a while, the man put down his spoon, leaving empty plates in front of him.
Pretending to be a journalist, Klein asked casually, “How did you become a vagabond?”
“It was bad luck, I was originally a worker leading quite a good life. I had a wife, two cute children, a boy and a girl, but a few years ago, an infectious disease took them away, and I also stayed in the hospital for a long period of time, losing my job, my wealth, and my family in the process. From then on, I often couldn’t find a job, and I didn’t have any money to rent a house or buy food. All I could do was wander on the different streets and in certain parks. This made me very weak, making it harder for me to find a job…” the man spoke with a hint of nostalgia and sadness in his numbness.
He took a sip of his tea, sighed, and spoke again.
“I can only wait for an opportunity to enter the workhouse, but as you know, every workhouse only takes in a limited number of people. With good luck, and if I queue up in time, I can spend a few days in peace, recover my strength a little, and then find a temporary job. Yea, temporary. Soon, I’ll be jobless again and the previous process will be repeated. I have no idea how much longer I can last like that.
“I should’ve been a good worker.”
Klein thought for a moment and asked, “How many cigarettes do you have left?”
“Not many left.” The middle-aged man smiled bitterly. “This is the last of my assets, the only thing I have left after I was chased out by the landlord. Heh, one can’t bring them into the workhouses, but I’ll secretly hide them in the seams of my clothes. I’ll only take one out to smoke during my worst hardships so that I can have some hope. I don’t know how long I can last, but let me tell you, I was a good worker back then.”
Klein wasn’t a professional journalist and was momentarily at a loss on what to ask.
He turned his head to look out the window and saw faces with obvious hunger plastered across them.
Some of them were relatively sober and they belonged to the residents of East Borough. Some of them wore looks of numbness and exhaustion, nothing like that of humans. They were vagabonds.
There is no obvious gap between the two, the former can easily become the latter. For example, the gentleman in front of me… When Klein looked back, he discovered that the man had fallen asleep; his body curled up on a chair.
After a few minutes of silence, Klein went to pat the man awake and gave him a handful of copper pennies.
“This is the payment for the interview.”
“Okay, okay, thank you, thank you!” The man didn’t realize what was happening, and when Klein reached the door, he raised his voice and said, “I’ll go to a budget motel and get a bath, get a good night’s sleep, and then get a job.”
At noon, Klein attended a party at the Sammers. There were ten guests.
There was apple juice with steak, roast chicken, fried fish, sausage, cream soup, lots of delicacies, two bottles of champagne, and a bottle of red wine.
On his way back from the bathroom, he met Mrs. Stelyn Sammer. He thanked her sincerely, “It was a sumptuous lunch. Truly delightful. Thank you for your hospitality.”
“It cost a total of 4 pounds and 8 soli. The most expensive were the three bottles of wine, but they were all part of Luke’s collection. He has a liquor cabinet.” The pretty Mrs. Stelyn smiled in response.
Without waiting for Klein to speak, she said, “You earned ten pounds from Mary’s matter alone, and if you can keep up the good fortune, you’ll soon be able to have a banquet like this. For people of our class, you have to invite friends once a month and also be invited by friends.”
Klein, who was already used to her mannerisms, obliged politely, “Well, I’ll have to wait till my income settles at four hundred pounds a year before I can be like you.”
Stelyn immediately raised her chin slightly and tried hard to make her smile faint.
“430 pounds, it must be 430 pounds.”
Dock area, East Balam Dock, Workers Alliance Tavern.
Xio wore boots that gave her height a huge boost and stuck on a thick beard, making herself look like a short man.
She tried to recall the portrait from Miss Audrey, trying to engrave in her mind the image of the man who might have been the murderer.
If Gavin had been killed by him, the murderer probably frequents this tavern… Xio ordered a glass of rye beer and a lunch set before huddling in a corner and eating slowly. From time to time, she would look around furtively in search of her target.
After a while, the tavern’s door was pushed open again, and Xio reflexively looked over.
With just one look, her pupils shrank so thin that they resembled needles as she nearly became petrified.
The patron who entered was nearly two meters tall!