Chapter 145 Searching for traces, finding the cause (Part 1)
When Theo entered the tavern, his nose was immediately assaulted by a sultry and moist odor mixed together with the smell of the alcohol.
Under the dim light, he could see a group of men with their sweaty and bare upper bodies left exposed. They sat around the table at the center, pouring one cup after another of the cheap beer into their mouths, all the while loudly laughing and talking with one another. Then there was maid dressed in revealing clothes brought them all a new round of beer.
After looking around the place for a while, he finally found the goal of his coming to this place. A young man was sitting in the corner, which also happened to be the most hidden place in the whole tavern. The only noticeable part of him was the withered wild rose which he had put on the table in front of him.
After discovering the man, Theo went to bar, first getting a cup of beer for himself. While slowly tasting the bitter flavor of the beer, he discreetly screened the room to see whether there were any other eyes that showed any interest to the little man. The result was very satisfactory, although there would occasionally be some people that would look at the corner, most of them were unintentional movements. Only one man, sitting at the central table, was constantly keeping watch over the corner trying to mask it by drinking his beer.
One person as a contractor, one person as a lookout, the typical method used by shady street rats, this was also identical of Theo’s knowledge.
“Once more cup,” he shouted to the bartender, “with ice.”
“Sir, for a beer on the rocks you have to pay double,” the bartender reminded him.
Hearing this, Theo threw a silver royal in his direction, “The more ice, the better.”
Holding his cup with the white mist coming out of it, he went across to the little man, placed his beer on the table so that it swept over the wild rose. The cold beer flowed along the petals, seeing this happen the little man raised his head and looked impatiently at Theo. “Good beer is meant for drinking, not for the table, what madness has befallen you?”
“An offer to the wild rose,” Theo teasingly spoke as he took a seat across from the little men. “I’ve been looking for you for a long time now.”
“That only proves that you haven’t been looking in the right places,” he replied in a raspy voice. “That being the case, as a client… tell me now, what do you want from me? Are you asking for clues, scrounging, redeem lost goods, or do you want to get rid of some stolen good?”
“No, I hope you can help me with spreading a rumor.”
“That doesn’t fall into the business area of the Wild Rose’s.” He shook his head.
“No, don’t be so fast to jump to conclusions. As long you get paid with gold royals, you will be surely interested in this,” Theo shook his finger, “I am not one of those laymen youngsters. Occasionally, so to ensure that the prey takes the bait, you first have to lay out the bait, and rumors are the best way to achieve this. There won’t be any evidence left and with this there will be no way to catch you. This is much safer than stealing.”
“That sounds reasonable,” acknowledged the little man, showing a smile, “Have you commissioned anyone else besides the Wild Rose?”
“I completely trust that you can achieve it alone, after all, this is only a small place. Their name also doesn’t sound as elegant, and they also don’t seem to be as capable.”
“The business area here is just too small, so it’s hard to find the right business, the competition within Silver City is vicious.” He picked up the rose, shook it, and when it was dry he put it into his pocket, “Tell me, what rumor do you want us to spread for you?’
“Some news about the witches,” Theo laughed, “An organization with the name of Witch Cooperation Association has found the Holy Mountain, they were also able to get rid of the pain during the demon’s bite, gaining eternal peace.”
“Bro, this news is…” the little man smacked his lips, “Really outdated. Although I will rarely step away from trying to scam someone, your gossip should at least be a little believable. Let me guess, in case you aren’t trying to abduct a witch, then it sounds like you want to ensnare the church, which is the same as just waiting to be sent to the gallows by a group of judges, so I think it should be the first option… “showing a vulgar smile, “Unfortunately, as far as I know, most of the witch-hunters who’ve wanted to catch a witch by now are all already dead. Even though they were all carrying a God’s Stone of Retaliation on them, those women, after all, aren’t just some idiots.”
“Why shouldn’t it be believable?” Theo asked curiously.
“An organization formed by witches would be as flashy as the moon during the night. If it were true, the church would undoubtedly flock to it. So, if I were a witch, I would naturally never go to such a place, in case the news was a fake, then there would be no reason for me to go. As for getting rid of the demon’s bite, my man, are you serious? The witches are the Devil’s messenger, even the witches themselves would snort disdainfully at hearing such a pack of lies.”
“Then come forth according to this statement,” Theo disagreed.
“In the end, the customer always has the final say,” the young man just shrugged his shoulders, “It doesn’t matter to me, just don’t come to me afterward and say that I didn’t warn you. This job will cost you twenty gold royals.”
“Yes, the Wild Rose does not take deposits, nor anything other than money.” He spread his arms, “this business relies entirely on sincerity.”
Theo sighed, but then he took out a small money bag from his pocket. Turning it around and letting nineteen gold royals fall onto the table, he then took another moneybag from his belt and put another one hundred silver royals on the table and pushed everything to in front of the young man. The latter just checked the authenticity of one of the gold royals and afterward swept everything into his own bag.
“Will the news reach the witches’ ear?”
The moment he had received his money, the little man’s face became a lot friendlier, “The Wild Rose has accepted your commission, it’s nearly impossible that we cannot get the accepted jobs done. Just like I had previously said, the competition within Silver City is cruel. In case we would ever try to deceive our customers, or if anything was to happen to them, our reputation would definitely fall. If you don’t want to rush back towards the West and wait for someone else to take the bait, you can always stay here for the next few days, it won’t be long before you will hear the news spread all over the place.
“Of course, only for as long as they are willing to speak about it. I’ll keep it short and wish you success on your hunt, and if you ever manage have catch one, don’t bring them to the Church. You can make more money by selling them to the aristocrats. And if you cannot find the right person or you’re too afraid of being found by the Church, you can always come back to us, we will only take a small introduction fee.”
With this offer, the young man stood up, took the bag and left the tavern. It didn’t take long before the person responsible for keeping the young man safe also stood up and left. In the next fifteen minutes, Theo just waited and drank his cup of beer, then belched and also left the pub.
With this, the task given by His Highness has finally come to an end, he thought. Fallen Dragon Ridge, Redwater City, Silver City, he had visited them all. Always searching for the local street rats, letting them spread the news up to the last corner of the city. There were always such hidden organizations, even the King’s City was no exception to this. Such organizations were able to reach places and spread news, he could never contact using the legal ways. How successful they were only depended on how much money the customer had already offered.
The only difficulty in this job was to find the contractor, he had to say, as an outsider it was quite difficult to get their trust. Only if he used the right phrase would they try to talk him, but to receive the sentence, he had already had to pay at least five gold royals. Theo lamented within his heart, if I hadn’t already had similar experiences in King’s City, I am afraid I would never have been able to leave the Fallen Dragon Ridge.
On the way back to his inn, he noticed that there was something not quite right.
Someone is tracking me.
Although the other party was very subtle, as a professional bodyguard, Theo immediately became aware of the other’s existence. He pulled out the dagger at his waist, and turned at the next corner, entering an unknown alley.
Are they from the Wild Rose? He had purposely turned his money bag inside out when he had paid the nineteen gold royals, this way he wanted to avoid the other side becoming greedy. In general, hundreds of silver royals weren’t enough for them to go after an already accepted customer.
He pressed his back against the wall, counting the ever-approaching footsteps. The moment the other person was about to pass by the ally he fiercely rushed out from his hideout, instantly pressing his dagger against the unknown person’s neck.
“Don’t move!” Theo lowly hissed.
But he would have never expected that the other one would just turn into fog, disappearing.
It’s a witch! The moment he realized it and wanted to shout out, was the moment he received a severe blow to the back of the neck. Immediately becoming dizzy then losing all of his strength and unable to keep himself from falling to the ground.