Volume 1 – Chapter 1.1
The musty smell in the cell was diluted a bit by the morning air when the sunlight shone through the bars. The moss on the walls grew vigorously due to the damp air and the dim light.
Cells were always filled with noises in the morning.
The prisoners who had slept for a day knocked on the iron railing restlessly. The jailors got used to such a situation long ago. Only two of them, maybe in good spirits, shouted at the prisoners, hammering on the railing with baton, while the others were just chatting with no distractions.
The night shift of guards were waiting for the next shift to take over.
They did not have the leisure to fuss over the prisoners.
The factotum prisoners were called out.
The jailors put them in light chains and let them start working.
These prisoners, who committed lesser offenses, were less aggressive and easy to use.
Many of these prisoners were underage. They were the youngest of the prisoners, and would not be locked up here if they were any younger.
In one of the most desolate and darkest cells of the prison, Vaihi was the only prisoner who was sleeping.
He was not interested in the pigwash offered in the cell, and it was time for him to be released.
Fabian had fiery hair; he’s the only juvenile delinquent who hadn’t to be a factotum in the prison.
“Tang, tang, tang,” the jailor banged the iron bars of Fabian’s cell, making deafening sounds. “boy，get up and pack your things. You can go now.” The jailor said.
The jailor picked keys from his belt and opened the door.
“Boy, see you! ” said a dishevelled prisoner.
“Don’t take up my bed next time when I come in,” Fabian said.
“Hey, don’t forget bring me a blanket when you come in next time,” another aged prisoner shouted.
“Alright, but give me the money first.”
The jailor became impatient as Fabian kept chatting with other prisoners.
He poked Fabian’s shoulder with a long, iron-bound wooden pole. “Quick, no more words!
You’ll come back in a few months anyway. If you have anything to say, say it next time.”
Fabian left his quilt and blanket to the other prisoners and walked out of the cell.
As they walked along the corridor, prisoners in the cells were greeting Fabian.
“See you next time.”
“How soon will you be back?”
“Send a message to my families …”
“Coma back sooner.”
The jailor was tired of hearing the prisoners’ cries. He hated the prisoners, the rotten scums.
“Hurry up!” he pushed Fabian’s back with the pole again.
When they arrived at the Warden’s office, the warden looked at Fabian and thought: this guy was a regular guest of the prison and there was nothing to say to him. So he signed the certificate of imprisonment for Fabian without wasting any seconds.
“You can go now, but I know you’ll be back soon, won’t you?” The Warden said.
“Yeah, yeah, I hope the food here will be better the next time I visit.” Fabian said with a grin.
The warden wasn’t very happy, he turned to the jailor, “take him out.”
Upon receiving the warden’s order, the jailor immediately kicked Fabian out of the prison.
The heavy iron door slammed behind Fabian.
Fabian shrugged and patted his clothes, then headed to the downtown.
He was familiar with every street in the city, but he was in no hurry to return home.
Fabian wandered for a while, then entered a clothing store at the south end of the street.
There was no one else in the clothing store. Fabian rang the bell at the counter.
A small door behind the counter opened and the owner walked out.
When he saw Fabian, he shouted with joy, “Oh, you’re out! I totally forgot that you would come out today. ”
“Give me a new set of clothes and tell the old man that I’m out. I’ll go to the streets first.” Fabian said.
“Bad luck, I don’t have your size right now. But I do have a set of larger size, you can wear them first.” As he spoke, the shop owner got into the room behind the small door and soon returned with a set of clothes which were used but still in good condition.
“Not bad, not bad, it would be fine.” Fabian nodded.
Fabian walked into the fitting room with the clothes and quickly came out, being nicely dressed.
He looked very sprightly now.
Walking along the streets, Fabian observed the people around. After three months in jail, the people outside had already taken off their thick winter clothes and put on light spring clothes.
“Fabian, is it you?” a voice sounded from behind.
Fabian looked back and saw Jeren, the fast hand of Beta who controlled the south street.
“Haven’t seen you for three months,” Jeren smiled.
“That’s right, I’m almost unable to recognize the road back.” Fabian was anxious to know the situation.
“Oh, a new store opened in the south of the city. I heard that it’s quite good. Silk and leather.” Jeren said.
“Thanks, I’ll go check it.”
“Have a fun!”
Fabian headed to the south immediately. He couldn’t be more familiar with the city. Just as every store knew him, Fabian knew every store very well – what it was selling, who its owner was, how vigilant its clerks were, what kind of customers it had.
Fabian quickly found the new store.
As expected, the owner did not know him, but the two clerks were locals.
Fabian knew that he had to act quickly. He must have identified targets before the clerks noticed him.
The store was selling luxuries such as perfume and jewelry. Just as Jeren said, the customers were all rich people wearing silk and fur.
Their carriages stopped in front of the entrance; their servants were nearby. It wasn’t easy to get a chance.
However, it was trivial for Fabian. He slipped into the store, and when he came out, he had two wallets in his pocket.
Fabian was quite satisfied. He ducked into an alley, looked around for a while, then he took out money from the wallets and put them into his pocket. The empty purses were simply threw away.
He patted his pocket – now it’s full of money – and walked towards the Old Nest.
As soon as he stepped into the alley to the Old Nest, he received a lot of greetings.
“Fabian, it really is you!”
“Jeren said you’re back, I didn’t believe it …”
“How’s your luck today? Jeren said you went to the south of the city. ”
Fabian slapped his pocket. The clear and loud sound of coin-clashing was more convincing than anything else.
“Wow, quite earnings on the first day.”
“Fabian, you are really good.”
In the midst of the clamor, Fabian was finally back in the Old Nest.
The Old Nest was a three-story house in a deep alley. It was no different from other three-story buildings in the city – simple and plain, only good enough for people to live in.
The alley was so deep that the sunlight in the house was dim. The small rooms were messy, stuffed with different things; they were no better than the jail cells.
However, Fabian felt that this house was his real home.
“Is it Fabian?” With an aged voice, a short old man walked down from the stairs.
He was slightly bald; his grey hair sparsely fell around his cheeks. His beard was similarly sparse. He was wearing old black trousers with worn cuffs.
“Welcome home,” the old man said.
“You’re still alive,” Fabian smiled and replied.
“No one would welcome you if I died,” the old man chuckled.
“We would have parties every day if you died,” Fabian responded.
“Alright, no more joking. You’ve got a good haul today, bring it!” the old man spread his hand.
Fabian grabbed a handful of coins and placed them in the old man’s hand.
“This isn’t enough. We haven’t bought any wine for tonight yet,” the old man shook his head.
“Greedy vampire,” Fabian laughed and took out all money in his pocket.
“Go take a bath first. The old Peter had already brought the clothes of your size. They are a bit old, but look pretty good,” the old man said.
Fabian smiled and followed the old man’s orders.
Having a hot bath was the first thing that jumped into Fabian’s head when he returned to the Old Nest. It’s impossible to do it in the jail. In the past three months, Fabian could barely take showers with lukewarm water that was slightly warmer than the cold water.
Fabian enjoyed the bath very much; he had completely forgotten the time. The sky began to darken when someone came to call him.
The old man was quite right about the clothes – a little worn, but the style was quite good.
Unfortunately, Fabian could only wear them tonight, for they would be eye-catching on streets.
Well-dressed Fabian walked into the hall. The hall was already prepared. A table was placed In the middle of the hall, on the table was a large barrel with smell of alcohol.
Fabian hadn’t had a sip of alcohol for three months. So this was the second thing on his wish list.
The meal wasn’t really luxurious, but quite abundant.
Roasted meat and chicken, big fish, a pot of stewed lamb; all were big temptations to Fabian who had eaten jail meals for three months.
But Fabian didn’t start eating immediately. He tasted all the dishes and poured a glass of beer for himself. Then he sat at the door and looked at the younger brothers who were returning to the nest.
The news of his return had obviously spread amongst people. As the sky wasn’t fully darkened, people were returning to the Old Nest one after another.
Every one greeted Fabian who was sitting at the door and drinking beer.
The Old Nest quickly became busting with noice and excitement.