Verus went inside the office and bowed to Eugene who was sitting on a sofa. With her permission, Verus sat down at the seat across from her. “I have come to report my findings regarding the matters you asked me about.”
When Chancellor Verus had requested for a meeting, she initially thought that he would ask her more questions pertaining to the investigation. But in just about ten days, he managed to gather the information she needed. Eugene was highly impressed.
She was slowly adjusting to this world’s much, unhurried pace. Even a simple order given to a maid took quite a while. In this world, ten days was nothing much, so it made sense that the chancellor’s skills were known to be top-notch.
“You said that you had suspicions regarding the information broker, Cage, had been using his brokerage fees for some underground purpose. So I dug into his records pertaining to his wealth.” Verus said.
Since he had been ordered to investigate in secret, he had been extra careful to not raise suspicions. He didn’t think that it was anything serious, and even if these suspicions were true, the worst thing he could be doing was paying the nobility for support.
In Kingdoms like the Hashi Kingdom where non-violent Kings reigned, people who are vying for political power seldom resort to bloodbaths. It differs for each Kingdom, but basically it was all the same.
But the fights for economic power were quite intense. Merchants would usually form alliances amongst themselves, even working with noblemen in order to run scams or even commit assassinations just to get rid of their competition. All of them would resort to drastic measures to get to the top.
Verus was originally in that track, investigating more about the disputes the bourgeois normally had, but then he found something unusual.
“Cage didn’t have any property or assets under his name. But then I found out that he was running a small store under a false name.” Verus said.
Eugene listened in on Verus’ words, concentrating deeply on what he had to say. It seemed as if Rodrigo purposefully made those different identities, to use it to his advantage.
“The store made little to no profit. And under the possession of the store, there was a small warehouse too.”
Verus had a persistent personality. If he started digging and had found something relevant in his searches, he won’t just stop there. He would probe even more, trying to tie up the loose ends of everything he’s managed to get his hands on. It would sometimes take him the whole day, and he’s not stopping until he’s satisfied. His fruitful investigations make him forget all the exhaustion he went under.
He thought that it was strange that Cage had a warehouse when he’s barely making any income from that store. There’s no use for that since he had nothing to keep anyway. And if he wasn’t using the warehouse to store goods, what is he using it for, then? It would have been a smarter choice to have it rented out to generate more money, right? Since making profit was the sole purpose of any merchant.
Verus also found out that the warehouse had been recently built, and he took it upon himself to see what construction materials were bought and used for the assembly of the warehouse, and from there he found another loophole. “It appears that the warehouse was originally built as a darkroom.”
“And? Is there something odd about it? Eugene asked, raising her brows slightly.
“The rent for a darkroom is quite high. On top of that, there are almost none of them readily available in the market. So a tenant could price it whatever he wants since it is a rare commodity.” Verus explained.
It would make so much sense to simply get rid of the unprofitable store in its’ entirety and to just have the darkroom rented out.
“But the warehouse isn’t even registered as a darkroom warehouse, which is pretty suspicious.” Verus said.
“Did you check to confirm that it was indeed a darkroom warehouse?
“Not yet. But based on the materials that were used to construct it, there’s no doubt about it.”
Eugene furrowed her eyebrows. “Did Rodrigo do something inside that warehouse?” She thought that maybe the ritual Rodrigo was talking about had something to do with the warehouse.
“Your Majesty. Building a darkroom warehouse costs a lot of money. Based on the store’s lack of profit, it would be impossible for them to construct one. They didn’t even take out a loan. If I may ask, how much did you pay Cage in brokerage fees?” Verus asked, waiting for an answer.
Hearing Verus’ question made Eugene silent, making her break out in a cold sweat. She wanted to lie, but she knew that there would be bank records and statements regarding her spending, and she would be eventually found out when an investigation takes place.
Since it was the queen’s account, Verus wasn’t allowed to investigate unless she permits it. And she decided that there was no point in deceiving the chancellor with lies.
Taking a deep breath, Eugene spilled out the amount that had been spent over the past three years, the sum making Verus hitch his breath.
“Your Majesty.” Verus said, falling silent for a moment. The sight made Eugene feel embarrassed as she let out a small cough.
“It seems that the man has used the money you’ve given him for his own accord.” Verus said, still stunned with how much money the queen had spent. But still, he didn’t make any conclusions based on his personal bias. If the queen had spent the money from the kingdom’s treasury, then that would be a huge problem, but using money out of her own pocket is an entirely different story.
He thought that the queen probably did not understand how huge the sum was.
“The amount you paid him is more than enough to build a warehouse. I will investigate what else he might’ve used the money for, and we have enough grounds to chase him down and arrest him. What would you like to do?” Verus said, intently waiting on the queen’s answer.