Pearl woke up early that morning, having already made all the necessary arrangements the night before. Her only task now was to ensure she arrived at work on time.
During the daytime, the red light district was relatively quiet, as its liveliest moments occurred during the night. Nevertheless, Pearl had arrived early to acquaint herself with the area’s layout and understand its intricacies.
While obtaining information was relatively easy, navigating the complexities of the red light district was proving to be more challenging.
The district in Mernaut was situated a bit further from the city, requiring a ten–minute car ride to reach it. Here, such activities were legal, and the presence of police was minimal. Instead, one could see satisfied but tired–looking men preparing to head home.
Pearl couldn’t help but feel disgusted by the scene but managed to suppress her disdain as she continued walking. However, her progress was interrupted when a man whistled at her.
Turning around, Pearl faced a blonde man with blue eyes who had a somewhat devilish appearance. He possessed an average build and could be considered a pretty boy there.
The man had whistled due to Pearl’s beauty. “Hey, hottie, are you alone?” he inquired with an
Pearl glared at him. “Don’t even try. I’m not someone you can offend,” she replied in Ealdasy.
The man, noticing her fluency in Ealdasy, inferred that she must have lived abroad. He became more reserved, adopting a somewhat annoyed expression. “I just want to be friends with you. No need to be rude.”
Though he claimed to want friendship, his expression appeared scornful. He had a fair idea of the kinds of women who frequented this place, and he assumed Pearl wouldn’t be much different, either seeking to engage in business dealings or working as a prostitute.
Pearl balled up her fists and regarded him with interest. “Why? Don’t you have friends?”
The man’s face turned purple with anger. “Watch how you talk!”
Pearl had just arrived and didn’t want to create too much trouble. While the man irritated her, she decided to calm herself and proceed with her day. “I don’t want to argue so please just be more respectful.”
She turned away, flipping her hair in his direction as she left, a gesture akin to a dismissive slap. The man seethed with anger but realized he couldn’t win an argument, so he just ground his teeth in anger.
Knowing that fighting in the red light district was prohibited and would lead to arrest, Pearl had dared to challenge him. With that in mind, she briskly walked away in search of her workplace.
Using her connections, she identified the person in charge. The lingering atmosphere of the previous night’s activities clung to the area, and the cleaners responsible for disinfecting it filled the air with the unpleasant smell of cleaning agents.
There weren’t many people around, so Pearl approached one of the cleaners, a modestly
dressed woman. Attempting to speak in Ealdasy, she asked, “Hello, ma’am. Is Mister Zinedine here?”
Hearing that, gloom flashed in the woman’s eyes. “This place isn’t for you.” When she spoke, her face trembled, like a piece of shrunken dry skin–a rather unsettling image. Puzzled by the woman’s response, Pearl took a few steps closer, hoping for clarification.