Jharif’s private room was on the second floor and boasted a markedly impressive layout filled with handwoven, detailed design pattern-based carpets and tapestries. The bookshelves and office desks in the room contained numerous paper rolls and books sent from foreign kingdoms. The enormous space was compartmentalized using screens imported from the east, and a powerful exotic feel was created with the decor.
Jharif was sitting at the desk.
His pale scales and gemstone ring-filled hands were easily recognizable. To his right stood an unknown lizard, who seemed to be an assistant recruited to help him handle port-related matters. The lizard spread a document open on the table to discuss it with Jharif.
The sun was rather “cooperative”; that is, it was facing her and cast her shadow outside the building as opposed to inside. Nonetheless, staying where she was for too long was dangerous because the guards could see her any time. Based on her experience, she had at most five minutes… on the roof.
She listened attentively to everything they said, hoping to find useful clues from their conversation.
“There is a discrepancy between the number of products ordered and that indicated on the list. Our account balance yesterday revealed a shortage of 23 gold coins and one piece of porcelain. Interrogate the sailor who ordered the products yesterday,” said Jharif to the man beside him. The calm and elegant demeanor Jharif had displayed at the banquet was no longer there; he knocked on the table impatiently, as if he could break someone’s head with his walking stick any time. Perhaps this was more in line with who he truly was. “Hurry up, what other questions do you have? I am running out of time.”
“The captain is waiting downstairs.”
“I know, but what do you want me to do? I am the one who lost the money here, and I need to ask him just when exactly he plans to take action.” Jharif pat the table and stood up. He shook his silver robe and grabbed his walking stick with his tail before passing it to his hand. “Get lost. Do not help me, I can walk myself.”
“It is really annoying to lose money,” whispered Jharif as the two walked out of the office swiftly. After the door slammed, no other noise was heard.
The girl waited for a while to make sure that they would not return again before clinging tightly to the wall and swaying her body gently and silently. She pushed open a stained glass window under her feet slowly, using her tail, and jumped into Jharif’s office. She was sweating nervously. She had not stolen anything for a long time and felt a little rusty. She was unsure whether the guards downstairs heard her.
She rushed to the desk and flipped through thick stacks of documents and letters.
The result was disappointing.
There was no evidence showing Jharif’s communication with Shaquille—although this was expected as it was unlikely that Jharif would leave any incriminating evidence—this meant that she could not prove what Jharif and Shaquille had planned to do.
The only things found on the table were account books and transaction details. She flipped through them and found a few particularly suspicious merchant ship records; they were records of merchant ships entering the port and unloading cargoes during the festival. She recalled what she had learned in the Juan family classes: During the festival, the kingdom would ease travel restrictions imposed on foreign tourists. To make the port available to foreign tourists, the kingdom would limit the number and even the sizes of merchant ships entering and leaving the port. However, Jharif’s records showed a particularly high number of large merchant ships loading and unloading cargo during the festival.
Additionally, the shipping records were vague only during these few days; all the leftover items were casually categorized as “miscellaneous goods”. For Jharif, who fussed over a few dozens of gold coins, recording these shipping records so casually was highly unlikely.