Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
St. George Borough, Sird Street.
As soon as Klein and Jurgen alighted from the carriage, they saw a massive object parked in front of Inventor Leppard’s door.
It was iron-black in color, with a dozen wheels in three groups, the top of which towered like a ship’s chimney, and smoke was emitted from it.
It was a steam engine that Klein had seen in magazines and on the streets, often described by the public as an ironclad warship with a rather exaggerated body.
If the streets that hadn’t been built or rebuilt in the last twenty or thirty years, then it would’ve filled the roads and left no room for horse carriages. Therefore, transportation vehicle such as this could only be seen in certain areas and places.
At this moment, the heavy glass window and door of the car opened, and two figures stepped out.
One of them was the steam power mogul, Framis Cage, whom Klein had met before. A quarter of his blood was of the Feysac Empire, and he had pale blue eyes and a tall, but bulging build. He had a pipe in his mouth.
The person beside him was wearing a heavy black coat with a gray scarf wrapped around his neck. His features were unremarkable. He looked common with his black hair and brown eyes; yet, he exuded an inexplicable sense of familiarity.
“Hi, Detective Moriarty, you’re really punctual. This is my lawyer and partner, Pacheco Dwayne.”
While they conversed, two burly men got out of the steam-powered vehicle. They were obviously Framis’s bodyguards.
How unprofessional? Shouldn’t they come down first and then open the door for their boss? Klein grunted, smiled in greeting, and introduced his lawyer, Jurgen.
While he was waiting for Leppard to open the door, he casually chatted with him.
“Mr. Cage, is this kind of steam-powered vehicle popular? Do a lot of people like it?”
Framis Cage laughed.
“Those who think that they’re decent say that it’s too barbaric and crude, and ordinary people can’t afford it. Only I, an enthusiast of such machinery and steam, would be willing to buy it.”
“It’s mainly because many streets are too narrow,” Klein said in consolation.
Framis Cage was the investor he found, and he had little to do with Leppard.
When he was playing cards at the Quelaag Club, he had deliberately mentioned it, and the equestrian teacher, Talim, immediately mentioned that Framis liked similar inventions, offering to introduce them to each other.
This made Klein sigh with emotion. The club really was a great place to develop connections, and the members who joined it were never really interested in the free food, drinks, and activity venues.
“Haha, this is indeed one of the reasons. As the population increases and the cities grow larger, the horse carriage will definitely be eliminated. It’s just too slow. What this world is pursuing now is efficiency!” Framis said confidently.
He then revealed a smile.
“Also, I’ve already obtained an order from the military. They want me to make some improvements, just like it was mentioned in Roselle’s manuscript; increase the armor’s bulletproof plating, cover the tracks so that it can drive on a simple road. In addition, add a thick cannon barrel, and then this will be a brand-new weapon.”
Roselle’s manuscript… Klein sighed silently and for a moment he didn’t know what to say until, finally, Leppard opened the door.
In the discussion that followed, the main people talking were Jurgen and Pacheco. The two lawyers would argue with each other and discuss the terms with their employers, while the completely unprepared Inventor Leppard sat there in a daze. Only when asked would he give his opinion.
Finally, the three parties agreed that Framis would invest a thousand pounds to take 20% of the shares, and the shares of Klein and Leppard would fall by an equal ratio, 28% and 52%.
At the same time, Framis agreed to buy a further 18% of Klein’s shares at a premium, and this cost him a thousand pounds after taxes.
Similarly, he would buy a 9% stake in the company at a post-tax price for 500 pounds.
As a result of this deal, Framis became the largest shareholder in the newly established Backlund Bike Company, with a 47% share. He became responsible for the subsequent industrialization and marketing, while the company would be funded with the 1,000 pounds he invested as the initial capital.
Leppard was the second largest shareholder, with 43% of the shares. His job was to help in the setting up of the assembly line for mass production.
Mr. Klein, who only had the remaining 10% of the shares, became a purely financial investor.
And the 1,000 pounds he earned from selling his shares had sent his personal wealth skyrocketing to 2,235 pounds, almost enough for him to buy a main ingredient for a Faceless potion. As a private detective, he still continued accepting commissions in the past month or so, so his daily expenses didn’t drain his savings.
I still have to pay 50 pounds to Lawyer Jurgen, leaving me with 2,185 pounds… I’ll have to thank Talim when I see him… A thought flashed through Klein’s mind. He signed and stamped the contract. Then, he stood up and shook hands with Framis and Leppard.
“I hope for a pleasant partnership.”
Framis took out his golden pocket watch and looked at it before chuckling.
“Normally, we should have lunch together to celebrate the closing of a deal, but there’s an important person waiting for me. I’m really sorry, but there will still be a lot of opportunities in the future.”
An important figure, another one…. The one behind Talim? The one that I claimed reimbursement from using fake information that points to the Aurora Order? Klein suddenly felt a little guilty. He hurriedly smiled and said that he didn’t mind.
After exiting the house and getting into a carriage, Jurgen suddenly frowned slightly.
“Sherlock, you agreed too readily.”
“Why do you say that?” Klein asked curiously.
He didn’t even know what Jurgen was talking about.
Jurgen said rather seriously, “When we were talking about the transfer of shares.
“Based on your description, and on Framis’s performance, I can imagine a bright market prospect for bikes. Although it’s just an invention at the moment, deflating the overall valuation, you should’ve kept more shares even though 5,000 pounds is a good price. That way you can get better returns in the future.
“I thought you were only going to sell 8% and have the confidence to haggle for 500 pounds, but you actually agreed to 18%. Even if it were only 500 pounds, you would have made a severalfold return on the investment. You shouldn’t have been in such a hurry.”
Because I’m in need of money… However, I did agree very readily without any hesitation. It was a huge transaction, so that does seem rather abnormal for me… As Klein thought back to the scene from before, he began to have some doubts deep down.
Was I unconsciously influenced by Framis or that Lawyer Pacheco? One of them is a Beyonder? Fortunately, the price was fairly reasonable… As he pondered over the matter, Klein said to Jurgen who was waiting for an answer, “The new year is coming soon…”
He had no idea how to explain it, so he randomly chose an opening.
If the other party was a smart person, then they would go along with the opening and perfect the explanation with their own reasoning. There was no need for Klein to describe it any further.
Of course, this was a move aimed at smart people. Ordinary people would end up pressing, “so” or “what exactly happened.”
Lawyer Jurgen was obviously a smart man. Noticing Klein’s brief silence, he nodded and said, “I understand.
What do you understand? I haven’t even thought of what to say… Klein pointed to the steam metro station in front of them and said, “I’m getting off here. I need to meet an informant.”
As the steam-powered vehicle roared forward, Framis, who was sitting in the front row, wound down the window and blew out a ring of smoke. He said to the inconspicuous Lawyer Pacheco, “Did you use your powers just now?”
“It was passively triggered,” Pacheco said with a smile. “My powers aren’t suitable for such situations. I prefer to face government or enterprise employees.”
Framis nodded slightly.
“I just wanted to remind you.
“There’s no need to use your powers in such situations. Do not let this affect what matters most.”
“I understand,” Pacheco replied in a low voice.
East Borough, in a cheap coffee shop.
When Klein arrived, Old Kohler was already waiting for him.
He removed his scarf, took off his hat, sat down across him, fished out a stack of one-soli notes, and handed it to him.
“For next week’s expenses and a bonus for the information you provided me the last time. That’s a total of one pound.”
He was recently very generous with giving bonuses since he had already found a person to claim them from.
Old Kohler, whose face was clearly ruddier than before, received the cash, feeling a little embarrassed.
“The information I gave you previously didn’t seem to be that important…”
“No, the importance depends on who wields it. There are a lot of things that you might find trivial, but it’s how other people earn their money,” Klein explained with a laugh. “What happened this week?”
Old Kohler took the stack of bills and stuffed it into his pocket. He said thoughtfully, “Just like before, many people are still looking for the believers of The Fool. Haha, how could anyone believe in The Fool? That isn’t a good name.”
… The corners of Klein’s mouth slightly twitched.
“Are they making progress?”
The Aurora Order is really persistent… Klein thought helplessly.
“No, there’s no such person.” Old Kohler shook his head and then said, “There are a few people organizing strikes recently. They came to me a few times, claiming that they will be fighting for reasonable working hours and salaries.”
It’s a very normal thing in this era, but it can lead to quite serious consequences…Klein thoughtfully said, “Pay attention to the organizers of this matter. But don’t be too anxious. Safety first.”
“Alright.” Old Kohler cleared his throat and said, “There have been a lot of gangsters and bounty hunters looking for a person these days. I don’t know why, but I believe someone has offered a bounty.”
“Who are they looking for?” Feeling the cold, Klein took a sip of his coffee.
The warm liquid ran down his esophagus and warmed his belly.
Old Kohler thought for a moment and said, “A man named Azik Eggers.”
Azik Eggers… Azik Eggers? Klein looked up from his coffee cup and stared straight at Old Kohler, who was sitting across him.
Isn’t that Mr. Azik’s full name? Why would someone suddenly offer a bounty for him? Ince Zangwill? Relying on his Clown powers, Klein feigned indifference as he asked, “Did it say what kind of person he was?”
Old Kohler recalled and said, “He seems to be of Balam lineage and was once a university lecturer.”