“Don’t underestimate a businessman’s networks, scumbag.”
I yanked the scammer’s head up by his hair. His mouth was bloody, and his teeth were strewn on the ground. He desperately tried to struggle, but the muscles behind him grabbed his arms and legs with vice-like grips, completely immobilising him.
“You scammed her, didn’t you? You scammed Veirya for her sword with that glass pearl of yours. Don’t explain anything to me. I just want to know where the sword is.”
The place he stayed was comparable to a rodent den; it was a pigsty. We fumbled through the entire place but couldn’t find the sword. I could recognise Veirya’s sword. It was an impeccable sword that Sisi gave her. Plus, the inlaid diamonds definitely weren’t glass pearls. Unfortunately, it wasn’t at his place. All we found was a bag of gold coins. By the looks of it, he must’ve sold it for money.
I had to locate the buyer. That was Veirya’s most important possession; it was her glory as a soldier. Veirya had never given up her honour or glory. She would never throw away her long sword and the emblem. The fact that she sold her sword indicated that she had foregone her pride as a soldier.
I couldn’t accept that. Veirya should’ve been the most outstanding soldier by my side. The first half of her life was lived as a soldier. If we denied that part of her history, that would be the equivalent of denying her of everything as a human and her past. There was no way that I could accept that. I was going to protect everything she had be it her past or future.
“I sold it to a scholar! He’s in that area! He lives in the area where the scholars live! He paid a large sum for the sword. He’s over there! He’s over there! Edward knows him. He’s the one that’s with Edward every day! I really don’t know! I really don’t know! Spare me. I’m sorry. I’m a con artist! I really didn’t do anything.”
“You scammed Veirya. That’s enough of something.”
I poked his face with my cane and coldly demanded, “I need you to go and send a message. I know that Veirya is stupid. It couldn’t be any easier for you scam artists to scam her, so I need you to go and share a piece of information. Tell them what the consequences of scamming Veirya are.”
“I will… I will… I swear I will!”
“Are words of any use?”
I snickered; then shifted away from him a little, “Corpses hold more weight than words. Do it. Don’t worry. If anything happens, I’ll take responsibility.”
A painful cry was the end of it all. I went down the tilted stairs and to the outside. I gently adjusted my clothing, and then took in a breath of the clear night air to calm my mind.
I had been given a good opportunity. I always wanted to meet the steam-engine inventor. And what do you know? We were going to meet now. I didn’t know what the purpose of buying the sword was. The gems on a sword wouldn’t be of much use to a scholar, would they? It was valuable to a merchant. The sword handle’s significance was probably more important.
“Might he be interested in history, as well?” I wondered.
I think he was conned, to be honest. Veirya’s sword isn’t actually decoration; it’s a consumable… According to what she said, a sword wears out very quickly, consequently making her have to pick up other objects from the ground to us, be it hammers, axes, spears or even wooden rods. Veirya didn’t have a fixed weapon. The sword wasn’t the sword used to slay the Demon King.
The muscles from upstairs came down dusting his hands, “What next? Do you need us to do next? Do you have anything else for us to do? But with that said, he is Edward’s associate, so it would be somewhat dangerous to deal with me. Do we just kick his door down?”
“No need. Leave it to me.”
I clapped my hands, “Thank you for the hard work. Here is your payment.”
I tossed them two gold coins then asked them for directions. The southernmost part of the six corner city was the area for scholars. They were situated there because of the usual direction of the wind from north to south. They were bound to conduct lots of risky experiments, with bad smells left behind. Therefore, they had to be situated there to avoid it spreading to everyone else. Perhaps the place was where chemistry would originate. I assumed their experiments to be so-called chemistry experiments. Humanity’s science must’ve been developed in that area.
I headed over toward the area. Getting the sword back was one thing, but my main purpose was to come into contact with the steam-engine inventor. Edward was most likely useless. My ruses would only work on scholars. Even if the sword was the one used to slay the Demon King, it was clearly abnormal for a merchant to give a con artist so much money; or rather, for someone to believe the words of a wandering “merchant” as that con artist, the scholar’s IQ was probably only around Veirya’s level.
‘This guy will be easy picking.’
I arrived at the southernmost area of the city. The area wasn’t as prosperous as the city area. I’d argue that the area in the south was desolate, probably due to the people in the era being less inclined to buy things in the area, while merchants weren’t willing to approach the place. In addition, while other places were within every corner of the six corner star, the centre area wouldn’t have obstructions. This place, on the other hand, had a thick wall up, separating it from the area on the other side.
I went inside the area. There really wasn’t a soul around at night. It was dark but not scary as there was nobody around. The buildings on both sides resembled buildings that children built by chucking together timber however they pleased. They looked slanted and wobbly as if they’d come crashing down any moment. I counted the buildings as I walked along the street. Some houses were still bright inside; however, the majority were dark.
“This is the place.”
The timber door must’ve been there for ages already for it was already completely black. I had no idea what was spread or poured on the wall. I grabbed the doorknob and went to turn it, but then saw white text on the door.
“What does twenty four divided by six equal?”
‘You knock by solving an arithmetic equation here?!’
Given the era, there shouldn’t have been many people who could do division. I knocked four times on the handle. Unsurprisingly, footsteps approached the door from the other side. I took in a big breath and took a small step back. My life was riding on the meeting with the scholar. If I could get my hands on the steam-engine, I wouldn’t have to worry about money for centuries to come.
The saying, “Science and technology are a primary productive force,” is absolutely right. I just happened to not be a scientist. No matter, though, for I was a businessman.
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