Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
After waiting for more than half an hour and confirming that nothing unexpected had happened, Klein and Emlyn White left Lawyer Jurgen’s house and proceeded in silence, each of them preoccupied with their own thoughts. Soon, they arrived outside 15 Minsk Street.
The vampire, Emlyn White, put his fist to his mouth, coughed lightly, and said, “The payment has been paid. I hope we won’t meet again in the future.”
That sounds pretty cool, but Mr. White, have you forgotten something important?Klein smiled politely.
“I will visit Bishop Utravsky every now and then, and I hope you will not be at the Harvest Church when the time comes.
“That way, I don’t have to busy myself with finding a way to solve the inducing suggestion planted in your psyche.”
Emlyn White’s expression suddenly became very strange. He stayed silent for two seconds before he raised his chin and said, “We have many powerful mysticologists among the Sanguine. I will write to them for help.”
After he finished speaking, he pressed his hand to his chest and bowed to bid farewell.
Turning around and taking a few steps, he suddenly slowed down, turned his head, and asked hesitantly, “What were you cooking over here?”
“Beef bone radish soup, with rice and chili peppers from the Feynapotter highlands,” Klein said in anticipation as he breathed in the fragrance drifting out from the house.
Emlyn frowned and shook his head.
“Chili peppers aren’t things fancied by the Sanguine.”
Frankly speaking, it’s hard for me to imagine a vampire eating chili peppers. Of course, I occasionally imagine a vampire holding a steamed bun and chewing on garlic and onions… Klein silently lampooned, pointed to the door, and indicated that he was about to enjoy his dinner.
Emlyn White thought for a second, lowered his voice, and said in deliberation, “Last night, I thought over things for a long time and found out that you actually didn’t do anything, so why are you asking for compensation? That old man would’ve let me leave at any moment.”
“No, that’s not how the accounts are done. Your parents assigned a mission to find you, not to save you. In the end, I found you. According to the agreement, the reward should belong to me.
“Besides, if I hadn’t reminded you, you might’ve stayed in Harvest Church for weeks or months before you realized that you were free to leave. Furthermore, you wouldn’t have noticed the seed planted in your mind.”
“Are you hinting that my intelligence isn’t up to par?” Emlyn’s face twisted.
No, I’m saying it directly… Klein smiled but didn’t say anything else. He just opened the door and went straight to the kitchen, his mind full of the clear and alluring soup, the white rice, the soft yet chewy beef, the marrow hidden deep in the bones, the sweet, refreshing radishes with meaty flavors, and the shredded chili from the Feynapotter highlands.
In the spicy-hot shreds, there were also pink rose salt and green parsley leaves.
On Thursday morning, as promised, Klein went to the value-for-money coffee shop in East Borough.
Old Kohler, who was still wearing the same thick jacket as before, was sitting in a corner, matching tea that barely tasted like tea with a loaf of black bread.
Klein came in front of him, took out the things he had prepared long ago, and pushed them towards him.
It was payment consisting of two five-soli notes, four one-soli notes, and a handful of copper pennies specially designed to increase the effect of the payment.
Old Kohler stared straight at them for quite a while before finally reaching out his right hand to take them with a tremble.
He looked at the money over and over again, raised his hand to wipe his eyes, and squeezed out a smile.
“At the dock, we carry the heavy goods and do some troublesome cleaning with our feet in the cold and dirty water, only for one soli a day…”
And there was a total of 15 soli here!
Klein listened in silence. A few seconds later, he said, “What have you heard recently? What did you notice?”
Old Kohler put away his payment, took another sip of his tea, pinched the corners of his eyes and said, “I’ve met a lot of dockworkers, and I’ve reconnected with friends I used to know when I was a tramp. Some of them have found employment in factories, and some of them have been switching between the workhouse and the parks. Heh, just like how I was in the past.
“Recently, there has been a rumor from who-knows-where that since we believe in one of the seven gods, why don’t we directly pray to the Creator of everything? It’s said that ‘He’ didn’t truly pass away, and he remains in everyone’s body and in all things.
“Praying to ‘Him’ will result in our redemption. Not only will we enter ‘His’ kingdom after death, but we will also have a better life before death. For example, we don’t need to work so hard, and we can have butter and oily meat every day.”
This… Is this some theory the Aurora Order has spread about the Fallen Creator? After what happened to Lanevus, they’ve begun to pay attention to the poor in East Borough, the dock area, and the factory district, hoping to use them for certain purposes? I wonder if the three Churches have noticed this… They probably have…Klein tucked a piece of butter between two slices of toast and took a bite without knowing what to expect.
Old Kohler went on for a while before saying, “Mr. Detective, according to your instructions, I paid attention to the female textile workers. In the end, with the help of the police, their struggles failed, but, heh heh, the leaders became the factory’s supervisors, and a third of them lost their jobs.
“Some of them are actively looking for new jobs, some have become street girls, and some have gone off somewhere. The entire East Borough is in chaos.”
If this was the situation when Rear Admiral Hurricane Qilangos came to Backlund, he could come to East Borough to kill one or two people every day without anyone discovering or noticing the act… Klein sighed in his heart.
Old Kohler continued to recount what he saw and heard daily before saying, “By the way, Liv’s youngest daughter has gone missing.”
“Liv?” Klein was certain that he had never heard of the name.
Old Kohler then said in realization, “She’s the laundry maid you and Mr. Reporter met last time, the one who was arguing with someone. She was always at home doing the washing with her two daughters, but yesterday, when her two daughters were returning home from delivering the laundry, one of them ended up missing. The younger one, what a pity. She’s been a widow for years, and she has always been counting on her two daughters, and now… Sigh, the police in East Borough definitely won’t look too hard for her.”
Unlucky people tend to meet with even worse situations because they have no ability to resist danger or change their environment… This phrase suddenly flashed through Klein’s mind.
After a few seconds of stone-like silence, he said, “Take me to see them. I’m a detective, so maybe I can help them find her.”
“… They have no money,” Old Kohler reminded him.
Klein picked up his hat and cane and said, “I occasionally do volunteer work too.”
Cherwood Borough, in the apartment which the two ladies originally rented.
Xio had resumed her life as a bounty hunter, and Fors hastened the pace of her new book, hoping to save the money needed for the Beyonder ingredients required by the Trickmaster potion.
But writing a book wasn’t something one could write that easily. Fors scratched her hair irritably and decided to go out for a walk to seek out inspiration.
As she walked, she found that she had unknowingly returned to a familiar place.
Diagonally ahead of her was the Yosifov Clinic, a fairly large private clinic where she had first worked.
After staring at it for a while, Fors thought of the old lady who had guided her into the Beyonder world. She turned into a small alley on the right and took a shortcut to a nearby street.
The two sides of the street had leaves fluttering down the parasol tree. It was a relatively quiet place.
Fors remembered that the old lady lived at Unit 39. Back then, she would occasionally visit personally to deliver medicine, give injections, or even to help with the daily chores.
It’s almost been three years. That place should’ve been rented out again. There might have been several changes in tenants… I still remember when I came to tidy up the items she left behind. I discovered many notebooks about mysticism… Fors walked under the nearly barren parasol tree and slowly approached Unit 39.
As she recalled her past experiences, she gradually gained some inspiration for writing.
At that moment, she saw an old man in a heavy woolen coat and a black half top hat standing in front of Unit 39. He had rung the bell three times.
After a few minutes, seeing that no one was opening the door, the old man with blue eyes shook his head and turned around. He whispered in puzzlement, “Still no one…”
He suddenly noticed Fors who was looking at him from nearby. He hurriedly walked over, gently and urgently smiled, and said, “Beautiful lady, do you live in this district? Do you know Laubero and Aulisa?”
Aulisa? Isn’t that the old lady’s name? There haven’t been any tenants in this house lately? After some deliberation, Fors said, “I don’t know if the Mrs. Aulisa I know is the one you’re looking for. She lived here for a long time, but she passed away three years ago.”
“Passed away three years ago? What about Laubero?” the old man with wrinkles at the corners of his eyes hurriedly asked.
“Her husband passed away even earlier than she did,” Fors answered honestly.
The elder was momentarily stunned before revealing a sorrowful expression.
After a moment of silence, he said, “Thank you, good lady.
“I am the elder brother of Laubero, and I’ve been living in Midseashire all this time. As I haven’t received any letters from them for a long time, I decided to come and pay them a visit.
“Can you tell me what happened to them in the past few years?”
Mrs. Aulisa’s husband’s elder brother… Could he be a descendant of the family she spoke of? Fors suddenly snapped to her senses and replied with a smile, “No problem.
She quickly thought through what she could and couldn’t say.
The elder pointed behind him and said, “There’s quite a nice coffee shop over there.”
Klein once again stepped into the humid room of a slightly old apartment in East Borough.
He saw the woman who had quarreled with the street girl last time over her contempt towards her profession. She was standing in a pile of clothes. Her wrinkled face had lost a lot of its spirit, she lost her laborious drive, and she looked lifeless.
As for her eldest daughter, the seventeen to eighteen-year-old girl who was sitting by the bed and washing clothes, she kept sobbing.
“It’s all my fault. I didn’t watch over her properly…
“I shouldn’t have taken her into the secluded alley.
“She even said that she was going to learn a few more words at the free school tonight.
“It’s my fault, it’s all my fault….”
Liv suddenly regained her senses and turned to look at her eldest daughter. She wiped away her sad expression and berated her fiercely, “What are you crying for? Get up and wash the clothes!
“Do you want to starve? Do you plan on not even being able to attend the free school?”
After screaming, she saw Klein and Old Kohler at the door.
“Old Kohler… This is?” she asked doubtfully.