August 13, 2011

Tou Lang Merry Rose [Chapter 2]

Originally posted @ on August 2, 2011

After leading Azalea and Dulcie to a store called Canary Hall, Auguste invites them inside. Looking at all the art works inside the store, Azalea asks if he is an art dealer. While lighting a lamp, Auguste tells her yes, he is, but he isn’t that knowledgeable about art, so he is the owner only by name. After telling them to put their luggage at the side, Auguste says that the former owner gave this store to him. “The things there are popular items though not necessarily of high value. Eastern people like Western products. Western people like Eastern products. The ones that are more popular are items has an ethnic characteristic, as well as, ceramics [pots and porcelains].” Azalea remembers that Tou Lang is a place where East and West intertwine, thus there are a lot of stores like that in that place. Then, she notices a small straw doll with a nail on it and the sign ‘blame’ [/grudge]. She thinks that there are also a lot of strange things there. Auguste says that is very cute. Holding the straw doll, Auguste happily tells her that he bought this plain doll so if she wants it, he can give it to her. He heard that it is used for worship. Thinking that he has bad taste, Azalea refuses by telling him that she doesn't need it. She is startled when something is fluttering. She notices that it is a canary that flies on top of two beautiful children dolls. She exclaims in surprise when the girl wakes up and moves. The girl asks her who she is. Azalea realizes that they are humans. Auguste goes to them and says that it turns out that they are there. The girl calls out to him as ‘Kai’. Auguste says that he’s back. The two children hug him and welcome him. Surprised Dulcie comments that the children are like porcelain dolls. Azalea asks about ‘Kai’. Auguste explains that is his other name. He introduces the girl as Simone [希諾; ‘xi nuo’], while the boy is Kenny [肯加; ‘ken jia’]. They are 13 year old twins. Thinking that she cannot differentiate them, Azalea asks if the children are his younger siblings. Patting the twins’ head, Auguste says no, though he would have wanted to.

He tells Simoune to accompany Dulcie to the guest room for her to rest, and asks Kenny to help carry the luggage in. Flustered Dulice tries to tell him that she is already alright. Smiling Auguste tells her to treat it as a way for them to be at ease. Azalea urges Dulcie to go rest. This made Dulcie relent and agree to go with the twins. As the others leave, Auguste tells Azalea that she ought to be also tired but can she let him verify some things. Later on, Auguste examines Edgar’s letter to Azalea. He says that it is indeed from Tou Lang. They can verify the post stamp at the post office. And about Edgar Berufort’s death, there are many things he has to confirm because Tou Lang’s civil registry isn’t too trust-worthy [/dependable]. As Auguste returns the letter, Azalea asks him if there is no law and order in Tou Lang. He tells her that even if she said it so bluntly but it is also a fact which he hopes that he is mistaken about the people there. He says that if he has time, he’ll go investigate tomorrow but for today, Azalea should rest. He then tells Kenny to get the hat from the harbor, that he gave him. Azalea is surprised that it is her hat. While putting the hat on Azalea, Auguste says that he is honored to have a chance to return it to her. Azalea looks surprised at smiling Auguste. In her room, Dulcie is already sound asleep on the sofa. Sitting on the bed, Azalea looks at her hat. She wonders if she is right about following Auguste to that place for it seems that he knew from the start that they are coming. Occasionally, he’s kind when he mentioned about hoping that he is mistaken about the people there. Yet at times, he would do an inappropriate conduct like when he asked her if she wants to bet with him. Azalea looks at the hand gun on the bed and thinks that she cannot guess through what Auguste is thinking. When the moon is shining brightly in the sky, Auguste tells the twins that he is going out to work and they should lock the doors properly. The next day, Dulcie wakes up and yawns. She is surprised to see Simone looking down on her. Simone says that she’s awake. Dulcie quitely watches the twins tidy things up. She then asks them where Azalea is. Simone tells her that Azalea went out.
Flashback: Azalea told them not to wake Dulcie up. The twins told her that Auguste will be coming back at noon and she is to wait at home until he returns. Azalea said that this is her problem so she doesn’t want to push everything to someone and just don’t do anything. End flashback. Simone pours tea for Dulcie and says that is what Azalea said. The twins serve her breakfast but it seems Dulcie is uneasy about being served that she mutters Azalea’s name. Meanwhile, Azalea verifies from the post office that the post stamp of the letter is indeed from Tou Lang. She decides to go to the registry office next. Azalea asks the receptionist about confirming death certificates. The receptionist asks if she is a tourist and Azalea should go get a temporary registry at the consulate. [<- for identification] Azalea says that she is the decease’s relative. The woman says that a lot of people used that alibi before, using someone’s private information to do fraud. Azalea is irritated that she was accused of planning to fraud someone. Walking out of the building, Azalea thinks that woman is rude and Tou Lang is that kind of place. Then, she notices that there are a lot of people around. Then, she sees a huge ship by the port. She realizes that a lot of people are coming and going to that place so it will be very troublesome if they are to correctly register all of them. She remembers Auguste telling her that the civil registry isn’t too trust-worthy. She thinks that if the information isn’t reliable then even if she confirms it, it is also meaningless. She wonders if there is some other way. She decides to find some people who are acquainted with Edgar. Then, she notices a lady talking in a different language to her. Since she is holding a map, Azalea thinks that the lady is asking for directions. She apologizes to the woman that she doesn’t understand what she is saying and she isn’t familiar with.. She stops and realizes that she doesn’t know anything. Remembering the registry’s receptionist asking her if she is a tourist, Azalea wonders how she is going to find the people who knew Edgar. Even if she is run all over the place with her all might, it feels like her feet has not yet step on the ground. “Edgar, where are you?”
Then, she notices someone drops something on the ground. While she bends down to pick it up, she hears the two men talking about getting in touch with Edgar and yesterday, he should have come back. Azalea quickly turns around to call the men but a cart quickly runs by her and shouts for her to look out. After evading the cart, Azalea thinks that it might just be someone with a similar name but she has to confirm it. She squeezes through the crowd to follow the two men. She wonders why those two men are going on a winding route and she no longer knows where that place is. She sees the two men entering a building. She looks at the door and thinks that it is the backdoor. She hears some voices as if there is a dispute. She is startled when someone shouts that it is important to finish up the work or else, the police will be alerted. Another person calls the man stupid for shouting so loud. While thinking that these men seem to be plotting about something, Azalea didn’t notice someone is approaching her from behind. Then, she realizes the men inside are coming out to check if someone heard them just now. Suddenly, the man behind Azalea, puts his hand on Azalea’s mouth. While Azalea tries to shout and resist, the man takes off his hat and says, “It’s me, Miss Azalea.” Azalea notices a scar on the forehead and realizes that it is Auguste. Removing his hand from her, he whispers to her not to say anything. As Auguste puts on his hat, a couple of men come out of the building. They suspiciously ask the two what they are doing there and did they hear anything. Auguste starts saying something in a different language. The light haired man tells the dark haired man that since they don’t understand what they are saying, it should be okay. The dark haired man is still suspicious but he shouts for the two to leave. While Auguste is leading her away, Azalea remembers about the dropped item. She turns back to see the dark haired man taking out a knife to stab Auguste. Auguste pushes Azalea forward and tells her to run ahead. Auguste punches the man and starts running with Azalea. The two men start to chase after them. While running and holding up her skirt, Azalea exclaims that they will be caught so he should go ahead. Auguste says that it should be okay if they are in that distance from the place because what’s next is..
To the surprise of the two men, the police come out to arrest them. Auguste tells her that those men had repeated went after the products in the harbor. They belong to a theft ring and if thought to be enemies by their comrades, one won’t get away simply with a scratch. Auguste asks her why she is there. “We were always been secretly watching that place and waiting for all of them to be gathered before capturing them in one swoop. But, I’m quite surprised that you suddenly came out there.” Looking at the side, Azalea says that she heard them say ‘Edgar’. Auguste says that it is probably Edgar Nash, the dark haired guy who was after them. Azalea is sad to hear that it is someone else. She is embarrassed when Auguste asks her if she came all the way there for that. Holding a notebook, she retorts that she picked this up and wanted to return it. Auguste asks to see it. To Azalea’s irritation, Auguste burst into laughter. She angrily asks what’s so funny. Auguste tells her that he had spent two whole weeks investigating the theft ring’s members and their base yet she amazingly managed to do it for only one day. This puzzles Azalea. Then, a policeman calls out to Auguste as ‘Sir Kai’ and tells him that they have arrested 16 people and it is thanks to his help. Auguste apologizes for putting them on stand-by until he can get Azalea away. Giving to the police the notebook that Azalea had picked up, Auguste tells the policeman that it is a fake passport. It has the same name of the unconfirmed identity of the warehouse’s owner, so the stolen goods should be there. As Azalea looks surprised by this, the policeman thanks Auguste. While Auguste takes off his hat and puts on his glasses, Azalea mutters, “You..” Auguste tells her that she did a great service. Azalea shouts what kind of person is he, isn’t he an art dealer. Smiling Auguste says that he is, but because he is fluent in a lot of languages, he is frequently asked for help by all sorts of agencies. “Tou Lang has only been recently established and there are a lot of new things continuously coming in. Latest technology, all sorts of tradition, good things and bad things, they all come thick and fast. So whether it is the civil registry or the police, they are all very busy.” Azalea thinks that even if she has some suspicions, she can still distinguish whether what Auguste is saying is real or not, and she doesn’t understand Tou Lang.
Azalea notices that Auguste changes his tone when he said that he has other ways of getting information. “Edgar Beruforte apparently had truly passed away.” Azalea thinks that for a moment, Auguste had a deeply concerned expression, which made her decide on something. Auguste tells her that he investigated the hospital where Edgar died. “He died last December because of an illness. It seems that he isn’t suited with the very hot and humid weather of Tou Lang that his health is always in that condition.” Remembering Edgar wanting to go to Tou Lang, Azalea thinks that even if it is like that, Edgar still stayed at Tou Lang. Azalea notices Auguste calling to a flower vendor. Holding a flower, he asks Azalea what is Edgar’s favorite flower which they can bring to his grave. Azalea looks sad over this. At the cemetery, Azalea puts some flowers on Edgar’s grave. She tells Auguste that she got the letter after Edgar died so did someone else wrote it. Auguste says that for the meantime, he doesn’t know. “If it is truly like that, then it has to be investigated in order to know the motive for calling you to Tou Lang...” Azalea wonders if the person who sent it is still in Tou Lang since the letter is from that place. Azalea calls out to Auguste and says that she wants to investigate about the letter but she couldn’t do it on her own. She wonders what kind of person Auguste is and if she has suspicions, it will be endless [if she keeps on thinking about it] so in order to move forward, she needs his help. Holding out her hand to him, she says, “I will pay you a reward so can you give me a lending hand? I need you.” Auguste looks at her then he smiles. She is surprised when he says that during this time, she would still say that kind of thing. “I’ve told you that I’m gambling my life on you.” Wondering if he agreed to it, Azalea tells him, no, do not gamble on life. Auguste holds her hand and lightly puts it on his lips. He asks how about adding the other things they have [to the gamble]. Azalea looks dark about this that Auguste starts to giggle. Azalea angrily shouts for him to please not tease her. Auguste continues to laugh, and then, he asks if she is hungry, then they should head back to the store. When Auguste turns to walk, he seems to look serious again yet he seems to have a faint smile. Azalea follows him to the store where Dulcie, together with the twins, is holding the canary. Azalea thinks that even if she still doesn’t know anything about Tou Lang, but compared to walking alone, right now, her feet are truly walking on Tou Lang’s ground.
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