Chapter 491 A Small Injury
The Baker Street Irregulars were among Sherlock Holmes’s large deck of trump cards.
They were made up of a group of street children employed by Sherlock to run errands and track down information. Due to their age and social status, people paid no attention to them, and they were practically invisible within the city’s confines. Even if they were to trail someone undisguised, it rarely raised any suspicions.
“Instead of letting them wander around aimlessly around the streets, it’s better to give them something to do. Don’t underestimate those urchins—sometimes they are even better than a dozen police officers. They can go everywhere and hear everything,” said Holmes as he picked up his violin. “Since we have nothing else to do, any songs that may tickle your fancy?”
“Please, just play whatever you wish.”
“Then it’ll be Sarasate’s Introduction and Tarantella,” said Holmes. He placed the violin between his chin and left collarbone and began playing Zhang Heng guessed that Holmes’s violin level had to be between Lv.1 and Lv.2, a little less skillful than professional players, but it sounded terrific all the same to the untrained ear. Listeners enjoyed his playing a lot, especially in the times he put special effort into it.
As Holmes became completely immersed in the sea of music, Zhang Heng took the opportunity to see his chosen case.
In all fairness, it was actually quite interesting.
This was especially true, considering how he learned programming and communication for quite a while in the previous quest. In comparison, these cases were far more captivating, particularly when the collection of newspaper clippings played out like the scenes of an eloquent story, where each uncovered plot would be more bizarre than the last.
Zhang Heng understood why Holmes was so fond of solving crimes. It was like playing a crossword puzzle. It’s participants had to utilize their full knowledge and concentration, and finding the answer itself was enough to bring satisfaction and a great sense of accomplishment.
Of course, there were more urgent things Zhang Heng needed attending to. Sherlock was finished and Zhang Heng asked him a question. “Do you know of a way I can earn money?”
“Why? Are you short of money?” Holmes raised his eyebrows. “For someone who pays half-a-season’s rent as a deposit to someone he hadn’t met before, it’s rather strange that you’re in need of money.”
“That money was given by an elderly friend when I told him that I had found lodging. The truth is, I don’t have much left,” confessed Zhang Heng. He examined his pockets at the beginning of the quest, and there were about five pounds and seven shillings in it. Even though the rent was paid forward, and meals were provided at home, the money wasn’t nearly enough to support the daily expenses of London.
Holmes shrugged. “I would like to hire you so that you can assist me in solving crimes. We worked well together in that textile factory, but I may not be able to pay you any salary. If I did, I wouldn’t have needed someone to share the rent with me.”
“Solving crimes is something I’m interested in, so you don’t have to pay me anything, but it looks like I would need another job, perhaps something that won’t take up too much time,” said Zhang Heng.
Even though it was still early in the quest, beating Sherlock Holmes at solving crimes wasn’t going to be an easy task. That said, Zhang Heng was ready to put in the work. In fact, he did not need much money, just enough to cover his expenses. Earning that much here would be useless as he couldn’t bring the money out into the real world anyway.
There were plenty of ways Zhang Heng could make money in this era, but they were all jobs that took up long hours. What more, the more important thing here was to explain to Holmes his source of income.
“Hmm… I do happen to know a way to make money.” Holmes touched his chin. “I did it for a while, and although it wasn’t for the purpose of making money at the time, it did bring me a considerable income. It meets your requirements perfectly. Also, it won’t take up too much of your time. All you need to do is free up an evening, but…”
“It won’t be easy. You have to show me that you are indeed capable of making this money.”
The private detective got up from the sofa and gestured to Zhang Heng. “Come with me, leave your hat and coat, we won’t be gone long.”
The two walked out of 221B Baker Street and came to an open area with no one around. Holmes stopped, turned to face Zhang Heng, and raised his fist without a warning. Zhang Heng immediately reacted by moving out of the way and avoided being hit.
“Not bad,” Holmes praised. “I can tell from your physique that you’ve probably been trained to fight. Great. I shall not reserve my strength then.”
Holmes constantly shifted directions so his opponent couldn’t tell when or how he was going to attack.
Zhang Heng, on the other hand, remained in his place, not moving much.
The next minute, Holmes suddenly threw a punch again, but this time, Zhang Heng did not sidestep. Instead, he stretched out a hand to block Holmes’ punch, this time, much stronger and faster than the previous one.
Holmes did not seem surprised but rather excited by his flatmate’s resistance. Now, he appeared to be more motivated to win, and became a lot more focused.
In truth, his punch was not all that unusually strong. His moves were quick, clean, and straightforward. In a way, it was very similar to Zhang Heng’s style.
Holmes’ boxing skills, like his violin playing skills, however, were at the highest level for an amatuer. It more than sufficed for the detective industry, but was worlds apart Zhang Heng’s decade of training in deadly battlefields. Right now, without a sword in hand, Zhang Heng was somewhat handicapped and he would have to rely on his body posture and movements to avoid most of Holmes’ attacks.
“I’m going to start my counter-attack,” announced Zhang Heng.
Holmes hesitated. He could already tell that Zhang Heng was a lot stronger than he was, but at the same time, it made him even more curious about how good his opponent really was. Since they had already started, they might as well go on, he thought to himself.
Five minutes later, Holmes returned with Zhang Heng to their apartment with one hand covering his eye.
“Do you need me to get you something for that?” asked Zhang Heng.
“No need. It’s just a minor injury,” said Holmes. “I was hit harder than this every day when I was a boxer.”
The moment Sherlock uttered those words, he quickly realized that it was nothing to be proud of.
“Anyway, I can introduce you to a few underground boxing arenas, but if you really plan to make money from this, you’d better throw a game every now and then. Don’t win too effortlessly, otherwise, there won’t be any excitement and suspense, and the handler will have a difficult time.”