The girl was awakened by the head maid before dawn the next day.
The head maid dressed the girl with a simple, crude robe and a headscarf that ordinary servants wore. The headscarf covered the girl’s hair, nose, and mouth. Underneath the robes were trousers that the girl could move freely in and a few hidden weapons and tools that could protect her safety should anything happen. Although the “outfit” looked clumsier than what she was accustomed to wearing, it effectively concealed her identity.
“This is the address,” said the head maid as she handed the girl a small piece of paper. “Destroy the paper after you have read and remembered the content. You will depart with the servants responsible for purchasing food. Once arriving at the market, you may go anywhere you want to start your investigation. As for the other piece of paper, read it when necessary.”
“The port…” The girl read the paper out loud and soon realized what she had done; she quickly shut up. Surely that was the address of Jharif’s office at the port. It would take more than an hour to travel from the Juan family home to the port, which would leave her ample time.
The girl’s heart was racing and she could not hide her excitement even by the time they set off. This was probably the first time she went on a mission without Lazer by her side, not to mention that it was a mission assigned exclusively to her by Diana. That alone made the mission all the more important.
She arrived at the market with the other servants, just in time for the opening of the market. The sky was still dim, but the market was already open and many vendors were hawking their merchandise. The Juan family servants ignored the girl, as if she had never traveled with them, and proceeded to go deep into the market to purchase the ingredients they needed. The girl touched her nose and observed the increasingly busy market before hurrying in the direction of the port.
The port was located close to the market, as evidenced by the smell of sea breeze and fish. She traveled along a stone road and enjoyed the comfortable temperature created by gentle winds. Although the Desert Kingdom rarely rains, places near the port always look like they have been washed by seawater.
There were rows and rows of houses in the surroundings, some of which were squarish, while some contained beautiful domes. The walls were covered with repetitive and regular patterns, and the public buildings featured semi-open arched doors that allowed people to enter and leave the buildings freely.
She took a deep breath; she was very familiar with the environment here.
Since living with the Juan family, she had rarely visited the market. Except for the few shops that had changed, the place was exactly the same. The changes did not affect her investigation, however—she repeated the address in her head and took a detour from the stone road, which now saw an increasing number of people, to shuttle through the narrow alleys between buildings—she knew every brick and tile here. Living the life of a beggar for many years had enabled her to familiarize herself with every alley and locations where she could scale the walls of buildings. After climbing up, she could travel between connected roofs quickly to reach her destinations while avoiding guards and patrol personnel.
She removed her long skirt in an empty alley, exposing the trousers that she could move freely in. She made the skirt into a long rope and wrapped it around her waist; the rope would be useful for hooking the protruding ornaments that stuck out from the walls. She climbed over a cracked cob wall with ease, reaching a roof platform in no time.
She identified Jharif’s building, which was a building painted in aqua blue. It was about the same size as other buildings; at most two stories high and designed using colors and patterns that were low-key, but still managed to preserve a beautiful aesthetic. She peered down from the roof of another building and saw two lizard standing on guard at the entrance. She quietly climbed to the roof of Jharif’s office. The rows windows near the roof of the office contained lovely symbols; the size of the windows were not big enough for people to pass through but big enough for her to peep inside.