Carina started to get nervous when she saw a couple of people staring at her with sly smiles on their faces. Unconsciously, she took two steps back. There were others too in this small alley, but none of them had the intention to help as they were used to these things happening around them. Poverty had made them numb with their surroundings.
Before the leader of the thugs could say anything to Carina, a black shadow covered him, and his smile froze.
“She’s my guest, Andy,” said the black man that looked as strong as a bull.
The other young thugs looked at each other, and their leader named Andy quickly put both his arms up.
“This is all just a misunderstanding, Cauchy. We’ll never harm your guests,” said Andy with a wide grin on his freckled face.
After that, the young thugs quickly fled the scene.
“Don’t thank me first. Check if your pouch is still with you.”
Immediately, Carina checked her pockets and was unable to locate her pouch.
“That bunch of kids!!!” exclaimed a shocked Carina.
“Don’t worry. I know where they are. I will help you get your money back. Let’s go. He’s waiting for you.”
Andy then brought Carina to the slaughterhouse. Several workers were busy slaughtering pigs in front of them. None of them seemed to care about Andy and Carina entering the slaughterhouse. After that, Carina followed Cauchy to go to the basement, and she finally met up with Laeli. The last time they both met was about a month ago. Zhang Heng had given Carina some money and asked her to pass it to Laeli. Laeli went dark after that, right up until two days ago. He was the one who had taken the initiative to contact Carina.
“Thank you, Cauchy.”
The boss of the slaughterhouse nodded at Laeli and left the basement.
“Cauchy is not from my tribe, but he is someone I can trust. No one dares mess with him in this street. He’s helped me out a lot recently. I’m so sorry that we have to meet here in this basement. Malcolm is a very cautious person, but he has a weakness as well. He usually focuses on the enemies that could affect him more. He would spend hours studying your behavior, pattern, background, and even your childhood. He is determined to look for the most effective ways to crush you, people. Captain Zhang Heng and you seem to have become worthy enemies for him.
“However, there’s only so much he can do. When Malcolm focuses on one thing, he will not care about all the other unimportant enemies around him. For example, the slaves and me from Terrance’s Mansion; we’ve become no different from the trees around us. He no longer cares about me the moment I was dragged out from the banquet hall. The supervisor would also never tell him that he sold me to Zhang Heng. However, if he finds out that I’ve been talking to you, he will realize that I’m still alive. From there, he will start to assess all the possible threats that I can bring to him. This could cause me a lot of trouble.”
“I can understand that.”
“Let’s talk about your father.”
Laeli was back to the topic that he wanted to discuss with Carina after explaining to her why he chose to meet up with her in this basement.
“I have used my methods to contact my people in the mansion. Just like what I told you earlier, my people do not matter to Malcolm. To be honest, there’s nothing they can help me with. All the young muscles are stuck at the farms and orchards, and most female servants are tasked with the cleaning and reception work. It’s not possible that they would come across anything valuable. However, there’s one exception. Her name is Leah.”
“She’s one special kid. She managed to differentiate herself from the others even when she was still in the tribe. Malcolm must have found out about how special she was as well. So, he focused on grooming her. He didn’t ask her to entertain the guests like the other female slaves. Not only did he teach her to speak other languages, but he even hired someone to teach her how to read. After that, she was tasked with settling Malcolm’s paperwork. For example, she would be asked to write some greeting letters and invitation letters. Every Saturday, Leah was asked to clean his study. No one is allowed to enter the room except for him and Leah.”
“Anyway, I have managed to contact Leah. She’s agreed to help us search for evidence that Malcolm was behind your father getting into jail. However, she’s only allowed to clean Malcolm’s study for no longer than 15 minutes. So, she has to finish her task first before searching the room. She has to make sure that the guards won’t notice anything fishy as well. That’s why she needed a long time to find something useful for you.”
Laeli then produced a letter.
“I don’t know what’s written in this, but Leah told me that it could help you guys.”
Carina took the letter, and her face changed the moment she read it. It’s contents were relatively simple. Sent from Malcolm’s family, everything that was written on it sounded somewhat vague. It invited Count Slaughter to dine at his place, and that the problem had been dealt with. The letter was sent precisely half a month after Carina’s father was put in jail. After connecting with what Laeli heard from Malcolm, Carina confirmed that Malcolm did indeed have something do with her father’s imprisonment.
“Can this letter help you bring them down?” asked Laeli.
Carina had to try her best to overcome her blinding rage.
“This letter might be able to bring him some trouble, but it’s not enough. We need more solid evidence to prove that he was the one who had put my father in jail.”
After a short moment of hesitation, Carina returned the letter to Laeli.
“Put this letter back to where it belongs. I don’t want Leah to get into trouble.”
“Don’t worry. We are close. I will ask Leah to continue searching for more solid evidence. Once I find something useful, I will contact you again,” said Laeli.
“Please ask her to be careful. By the way, is the money enough? Do you still need more?”
“I still have more than half of it, miss.”
“Come and look for me if you need more money.”
At that, Cauchy returned her pouch to her before she left the slaughterhouse. He even escorted her out of Smoked Fish Alley. After thanking him, Carina went to look for Malone in her horse carriage. When she saw boxes of items being moved to the Gentle Breeze, she felt a sense of uneasiness looming over her.