I nodded and turned to the next page. There was immeasurable gossip and titbits about different nobles and their families. There were also announcements on and parties going to be held in the future. The newspaper rarely had any column about the real issues in Schway.
I wondered why this newspaper was so popular. It didn’t, to my knowledge, contain anything useful. It seems useless to me because it only contains rumours and gossip. But there were advertisements about popular products in the market. So, it must be helpful to some businessmen. There were also adverts about jobs and such so people could contact the clients directly for an interview.
I stopped for a second on the next page. A grotesque illustration showed an image of a woman hanging on a store sign with one eyeball hanging around the centre of her face and her tongue sticking out.
<Another prostitute murdered!>
Out of curiosity, I read the article.
<Another body of a hanged prostitute was found in the Underground District. The woman was hanged on the store sign of the place where she worked. She was found by a delivery boy in the morning. This is what the boy said about the terrible state of her body, “Both of her eyeballs had fallen out and only black holes were left, her mouth was torn, and her blue tongue was hanging at her chest. Her hands were tied at the front, and she had only one shoe on. As if wet, her hair was sticking on her face, neck, and shoulders. Unfortunately, this is the fifth prostitute found in this state in the Underground District in the last few months. Safety measures are needed for local prostitutes, but the Schway guard does not seem to intend to take any action on this matter. They only ask local women to pay more attention to their own safety.>
Goodness! A murderer is loose in the capital? I looked through the pages for more information but there was nothing further. I looked at Alex. “Where is the Underground District?”
Alex looked shocked. My parents and grandfather stopped their conversation. Belatedly, I realised I had made a very big mistake. I looked at them with an awkward smile.
“Um… it’s written here that…”
“Ah, yes,” said grandfather solemnly, “Another story featured in ‘One Week in Schway’.”
My mother and father visibly relaxed. “It is inappropriate to put such ghastly stories in a newspaper where everyone can see. But nobody knows the owner of the newspaper so nobody can point it out,” said my father, clicking his tongue.
“You shouldn’t care about places like the Underground District. It’s better if you don’t know,” said mother in a stern tone. I tried not to frown. Obviously, I knew what kind of a place it was. It was a decadent slum where poor people at the bottom of the barrel tried to survive. But I wasn’t asking’ what’ it was, I wanted to know ‘where’ it was.
“It’s not a place for young, decent ladies to wander into,” said grandfather, “But… It certainly is concerning that brutal things like these are happening to people there. I think it should be a cause for concern and nobles should look into it.”
Dad let out a sigh. “I’m worried that Schway’s public order levels are lowering. No matter, if it’s the Underground District we’re talking about, the fact that these things keep occurring…”
“It’s not that public order is declining, but these things are concentrated in certain areas. I’m talking about areas like that unnecessary Teresa District,” said a voice. Everyone looked up. Aaron entered the drawing room, still rubbing his eyes, His hair was dishevelled as though he had just woken up, which he had. He would have been petrified to appear in this manner if there were guests in the household. He was comfortable if it was just family.
“They completely took out the security troops operating in places like the Underground District. I’m not sure if the security goes there even once a day. And then there’s the rumour of the numbers of Schway’s security soldiers decreasing.” Aaron walked and sat next to me and stretched like a cat. He took the teacup and gulped the tea down. Alex reached a hand behind me and hit Aaron on the back of his head. Aaron spat out the tea which splashed all over his clothes. He glared at Alex.
Boys. I rolled my eyes.
“Isn’t Teresa District here? Why would we need security here? Isn’t it enough for them to check sometimes?” I asked. Schway’s busiest and most luxurious area where the nobles resided, Teresa District, is a place where crime is rare.
If somebody is found stealing in a noble household, which sometimes happened in the past, there was no appeal allowed even if the said noble cut off an arm or a leg of the thief. This was not a democratic society. The noble’s authority was only next to the King and God
And there were nobles who had the same authority as the King. Therefore, nobles executed the punishment as they saw fit.
“The royal family wants to show that they care about the nobles, since His Majesty doesn’t have the best relationship with the nobles. What will patrolling the Underground District do? People living there aren’t helping the royal family. They are of no use to the Royals,” explained Alan.
I couldn’t say a word.