Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Mike Joseph took out his handkerchief, covered his mouth, and coughed several times.
The smog in the factory district was thicker than anywhere else. The air was gray with a yellowish tint as though it was floating dust. Occasionally a pungent, suffocating odor that even Mr. Reporter, who was long used to the Backlund air, could not bear.
He turned to Klein who was also coughing softly.
“I’ve always been a huge supporter of the government’s establishment of the National Atmospheric Pollution Council and the alkaline industry inspector, but only today did I learn that the problem has become so serious.”
“If we don’t take effective measures, it may become a tragedy in the future.” Klein tried hard to clear his blocked nose.
Perhaps the whole of Backlund would be shrouded in smog that results in one’s vision not exceeding five meters, and it’s possible that an evil god would descend or be born in such a backdrop… he added silently.
Old Kohler didn’t quite understand the conversation. He cleared his throat that was filled with thick phlegm and led the reporter and the detective around the watchman and into a lead factory.
Most of the workers were women. They were working busily without any protection, and the factory floor was filled with dust.
Looking at the “tiny particles” floating in the air, Klein felt like he was looking at toxic gas. The young ladies without masks were like lambs waiting to be slaughtered.
For a moment, he felt as though he was back in Tingen, back to the time when he had helped Sir Deweyville deal with the grievance haunting him.
He seemed to have already witnessed the future of each and every female worker—some of them with throbbing heads, some with blurred vision, some turning hysterical, some with gums with a blue line, and finally, they either went blind or fell dead.
It’s like a large-scale, bloody sacrificial ritual. The only difference is that the target is that flashing symbol of money… If the Aurora Order, Rose School of Thought, and other evil sects could make good use of similar situations, just like what Lanevus did, there would be a huge problem… Klein covered his mouth and nose as he quietly watched.
Mike Joseph muttered in surprise and anger, “How can this be?
“How can they be like this?
“A while ago, all sorts of newspapers and magazines were focused on the issue of lead poisoning. Why aren’t they using any precautionary measures at all?
“They can’t even bear to use a mask?
“These factory owners are murderers!”
He truly is a reporter with a sense of righteousness. Even though he isn’t young, he’s rather stingy, and his acting is pretty outstanding, he still retains his original pure motives… But how is he so aware of lead poisoning? Right, I forgot. I had gotten Sir Deweyville to advertise the dangers of lead poisoning on the newspapers and magazines… It seems like he did it well, but for some people, what does it matter if one or two of the lower class commoners die? There are plenty of people waiting for jobs! Klein thought with a heavy heart.
As a senior journalist, Mike didn’t lose his reason. He quietly observed and asked a few workers who had changed shifts, then he left the lead factory.
Subsequently, they entered one factory after another, but lost their mood to discuss anything when they saw the squalor of the place and the intensive labor involved.
It was almost noon when Klein suddenly discovered that there were a lot of people gathered outside a factory. They were mostly women, and they were excitedly shouting something and were trying to rush in.
“What happened?” Mike asked Old Kohler, puzzled.
Old Kohler was also puzzled.
“I’ll go over and ask.”
He jogged to the outside of the factory and blended into the crowd. It took him several minutes to get back to Klein and Mike.
“They’re going to smash those new machines!” Old Kohler took a breath and got to the point.
“Why?” Mike hadn’t been in charge of similar news before, and so he didn’t know much about the situation. As for Klein, he had an inkling of the reason.
Old Kohler pointed to the factory and said, “This is a textile factory. They wish to use the latest textile machines, so the number of people in charge of controlling the machines needed will decrease. It seems… it seems like they’re going to fire a third of the workers!
“The female workers want to smash the machines and get their jobs back, or else they’ll probably not survive. Perhaps, the only choice is for them to become street girls.”
Mike opened his mouth. From the shape of his mouth, he looked like he was going to say “fools,” but he didn’t say anything in the end. He just looked in silence and didn’t even move closer.
“Let’s go back. I’ve pretty much finished my investigative interviews.” After a long time, Mike sighed.
All three of them turned around and began to walk out of the factory district. No one spoke as they walked.
As they were about to part, Mike glanced at Klein and spoke in a low voice.
“Do you think those women can still find anything else to do if the lead factories who do not provide protection are shut down, or if their bosses are sent to court?”
Klein gave it some serious thought and said, “If it’s just a few factories, there won’t be much of a problem, but some female workers might suffer from the hunger and cold while looking for other jobs, and they would gradually lose their strength because they don’t have any savings.
“It would be a disaster if too many factories are shut down in a short period of time, not to mention the people who lose their jobs after the new textile machines are used.”
The Backlund factory district alone might have thousands or even tens of thousands of unemployed workers, who have no food or clothing, roaming the streets like zombies. They might lower the conditions of their pay in order to snatch the jobs of others… Who knows how many people in East Borough will lead an even more difficult life or die as a result. It would be a hell-like scene, and even if this world doesn’t have Beyonder powers, it would still bring about a huge disaster. And now, the various evil gods are lurking in the darkness, waiting… Klein swallowed all the words in his mind.
Mike fell silent again, and after paying ten pounds and six soli, he left the smoke-emitting factory district in a carriage.
Klein looked at the carriage ride into the distance but didn’t say anything.
Back when he was a Nighthawk, he had known and come into contact with the lives of the poor, but the impression left on him wasn’t as deep this time.
A multidimensional observation revealed a human abyss in front of his eyes.
East Borough is truly filled with hidden dangers and tinder-like threats. If one isn’t careful, it can be ignited by a cult… Klein pondered for a few seconds and said, “Kohler, I’d like to ask you to help me keep an eye on the situation in East Borough. Oh, only when you’re not bogged down by work.
“I’ll pay you, giving you the money to build a relationship with the other workers. Every week, we will set a time to meet at the coffee shop from before.”
Old Kohler’s eyes lit up.
He made no mention of the price, and he fully trusted the good detective.
Klein weighed his options and said, “Every time we meet, I’ll give you 15 soli as funds and compensation. If you provide me with information that I’m satisfied with, there will also be an additional 5 soli as payment.”
“A pound?” Old Kohler blurted out in shock.
In his warmest and happiest days, he was paid only twenty-one soli a week, or one pound one soli.
“Yes.” Klein nodded. “You have to pay attention to your words and actions. Don’t be in a hurry to gather information. Maintain a state of speaking less and listening more. Otherwise, you’ll be in danger.”
Informant fees such as these can theoretically be reimbursed, but I’m now a self-sponsored fifty-pence party 1. Klein sighed as he gave a self-deprecating laugh.
Empress Borough, in Miss Audrey’s study within Count Hall’s luxurious villa.
The blonde was listening to Miss Escalante, her psychology teacher, as she occasionally stroked Susie, the big dog who was sitting beside her.
With dark hair that went all the way down to her waist, Escalante Oseleka noticed that the dog also seemed to be listening intently. She couldn’t help but smile and pause for two seconds.
Following that, she continued with her introduction.
“There are currently no completely orthodox theories in the field of psychology. There are several schools of thought, such as Psychoanalysis, Personality Analysis, and Behavioral Psychology.
“Of course, research on the mind is not only performed by psychologists and psychiatrists. Many professionals in the field of mysticism are also doing similar work. Among them, the most famous one is, heh—sorry, I’ve deviated from the curriculum. Let’s return to the topic just now and talk about Psychoanalysis.”
Audrey could clearly notice Escalante’s intention to guide the topic; therefore, she feigned ignorance and asked curiously, “Teacher, I’d like to know more about the research situation for the mind in the field of mysticism.
“As you know, I’m very interested in that.”
Escalante pursed her lips, frowned, and said in embarrassment, “But there are vows of secrecy. I mean, these theories and research are part of the secrets of the mysticism circles. They’re privy to those on the inside.”
“Is that so… Th-then can I join?” Audrey asked expectantly. “They aren’t involved in anything evil, right?”
“Ha, how is that possible? It’s just a seminar organized by enthusiasts.” Escalante diverted the topic after mentioning it. “Let’s talk about this later. Let’s continue with the lesson first.”
I’ve got to know where to draw the line. I’ll do it one step at a time. If this is the general trait of the members of the Psychology Alchemists, then I don’t have to worry too much about it being filled with lunatics and perverts like Mr. A… Audrey deliberately put on an expression of reluctance when skipping the subject, but she still politely listened to the theoretical foundations of Psychoanalysis.
When the class was over, and after sending Escalante off, she returned to the study, carefully closed the heavy wooden door, and said to the huge golden retriever, “Susie, what do you think of her?”
“She’s not sincere!” Susie answered flatly.
Then, she tilted her head and said, “However, what she said is very interesting. I think it’s even more interesting than meat and biscuits!”
Susie, do you wish to be a psychiatrist in the future? Specializing in the treatment of mental illness in animals? For example, that horse which is suspected to suffer from depression at the Glaints… Audrey suddenly fell into deep thought, wondering if she should prepare a special white coat and gold-rimmed glasses for Susie to look a little more professional.