Chapter 495 The Idle Days
“That was an exhilarating fight! You followed all the pointers I gave you, won the fight, and fooled all the spectators at the same time. Here’s the money you won.”
Holmes handed all thirty pounds to his flatmate.
As a participant, Zhang Heng couldn’t bet on himself, so he had Holmes place the bet on his behalf. In addition to the two pounds he won, he received a respectable 32 pounds from the fight alone.
“You have no prior reputation, and no one knows how good you are. What more, this is just some lowly anonymous fight, so the fee for your appearance is only this much. It will get better, but it looks like you’re too eager to make a name for yourself, haha!”
“Like I said, making money is of secondary importance to me,” replied Zhang Heng as he wiped the sweat off his face with a towel.
“Pity. If you continue participating in fights, you might very well become a well-known boxer. You have the skills, the composure, and you come from some ancient, mysterious land from the far east. It would be an excellent gimmick,” Holmes remarked. “But I’m glad that you’re willing to work with me. I really do need a partner.”
Two weeks had passed since the River Thames case. At that time, Zhang Heng managed to sieze Pearson who was trying to escape, and Gregson interrogated him on the spot, thus confirming Holmes’ deduction. The inspector had Paul immediately released, but bad news awaited him when he went to John’s house with his men to arrest him. They learned that he had gone on vacation and had left the night before-clearly, the movements of a guilty man.
Gregson slapped his thigh in a fury. What worried him most was that John would have escaped to some obscure colony and would never return. He could be a long way from England and it would be nearly impossible to catch him then. But Holmes had suggested that unlike Pearson, John was a man of good standing in London, owning many factories and plots of prime estate.
He wouldn’t have abandoned all of these things and escape to the colonies, where life was far less colorful than a big city unless it was his last resort. His escape was more of a temporary nature. Holmes’ proposal to Gregson was also straightforward.
“Capture” Paul, and then pay John’s house another visit with the excuse of inviting him to attend Paul’s trial in court.
Gregson thought about it and did as he was told, and it did not take long for this gambit to bear fruit.
it turned out that John had never left London at all. Instead, he had been hiding in a secret manor on the outskirts, keeping a close eye on the situation, while his old housekeeper would report any news to him. The arrest of the “murderer” instantly made headlines on the Echo and newspapers such as The Times and The Evening News. Headed by Inspector Gregson, Scotland Yard was lauded for their efficiency and valor. Furthermore, unions and activists were also demanding for the personal safety of female workers be improved. With the matter seemingly concluded, John returned to his home a week later, worried that a lengthy absence would raise suspicion.
As soon as he set foot into his house, he was instantly surrounded by the police.
Gregson could finally breathe a sigh of relief. Smugly, he put John in cuffs, and the next day, Echo printed a new article detailing how the astute Inspector Gregson had used the media to deceive the killer, lowering his guard down, before finally nabbed the real perpetrator.
The citizens of London felt as if they were witnessing the unfolding of a sensational detective story. They little expected the case to hold so many unforeseen surprises, where a battle between sheer wit of police and criminal ended with justice triumphing over evil. Who would hate to read a story like that?
Holmes had also been keeping track of the case’s progress, but mostly, of whether his deductions of the criminals were accurate or not. Everything else outside of that didn’t seem to concern him.
Holmes even made a trip to see John personally after his arrest. He returned to 221 Baker Street that day, looking extremely pleased. Zhang Heng thought it was rather amusing. Sherlock Holmes’s obsession with deduction and reasoning had reached a tipping point where most people found difficult to understand. He was addicted to it, like a child preoccupied with toys, unable to withdraw no matter how hard they tried.
“The case itself isn’t complicated. In fact, it was quite simple. If I had been put in charge, I would have been able to tell that John was the killer right off the bat. Even if the evidence was insufficient and I couldn’t make an arrest, I would have my men follow him and keep him form escaping. Thank goodness, it’s finally over,” said Holmes.
It took Zhang Heng two weeks to go through all the cases Sherlock had handed him. They really opened his eyes, especially some of the more compelling crimes committed by the more crafty murderers.
Holmes, however disagreed with the quick scanning
“There’s no need to rush. This is just the beginning. After this, you’ll need to summarize and analyze the similarities and differences between these cases, then remember them. You might encounter similar cases in the future, and you’ll be able to make quick, efficient deductions. As for the knowledge of soil, tobacco, and all that, I’ll be teaching you that as well. But not now… At least not until you’ve completed the first stage; otherwise, you might just bite off more than you can chew.”
Zhang Heng nodded.
With the stipends he earned from the boxing match, money wasn’t going to be worry for the next two months. Of course, as the odds of him winning increased, things wouldn’t be that simple anymore. His appearance fee would increase, of course, but he would have to participate in two or three fights a month to make enough money to cover his expenses.
Sherlock Holmes was consulted on two more cases after the River Thames case, one from a fellow detective, and another commissioned by a client. After listening to detailed accounts, Holmes compiled a list of deductions and solved the cases without even visiting the scene of the crime.
These two cases earned him some money. But after that, there was an idle stint.
With no work available for the entire week, Holmes finally found the time to complete his paper on the effect of the shape of hands on different professions. Then began the screeching and howling of his violin, until he finally succumbed to the boredom and became a sack of potatoes.
When Zhang Heng enjoyed his breakfast, which he rarely had the opportunity, Holmes was still fast asleep. In fact, he spent the entire morning in his room.
Zhang Heng knocked on his flatmate’s door and let himself in.
Holmes was slouching on his suede armchair with his head tilted back. There was a syringe on the side table and a couple of needle holes in his arm.
“Do you know that this only serves to kill you?” asked Zhang Heng.
“Don’t worry; this is only 7% of the solution. I’m aware of the harms it can bring, but I am not the type of who can just sit and do nothing. I need to be doing something! Even if I am given the most difficult problem or the most difficult case, I would be happy. I detest living an uneventful, mediocre life! The side effects of this drug is nothing by comparison.”
Holmes’s eyes were shut as he spoke, “Every earthling pursues stability and comfort, getting married, having children, and a stable job. But what’s there to look forward to in a life like that? Don’t get me wrong. I’m don’t look forward to chaos all day long, but if there are no criminals in London, then I will consider relocating! Otherwise, I might just die in this chair sooner or later!”