From Investigator Felix’s Notebook:
All we’ve found has been smoke and mirrors. A labyrinth of smoke and mirrors. My notes leave us twisting and turning like the streets of Shan Fan. Here’s what I have, for what it’s worth. I am sure we’re on the brink of discovering what happened to Min’s mother and wrapping this up neatly.
On Mr. Wen’s body we discovered:
- a simple badge with a leather back, with the chinese symbol for deliverance
- $20 Shan Fan currency
- a ticket for a bathhouse, punched 4 out of its 5 slots. On the back: "3pm. Mr. T/W.”
- a gun with a pale sheen in its metal. Maker’s mark: Zang Wei. The most common Chinese name.
In Mr. Wen’s room at “Tree Blossom and Bridge Inn”:
Exhibit A. Toshi’s Lucky Warehouse & Storage details. Address. Number of guards. A list of regular delivery times and companies/ ships.
Exhibit B. Notes on a Rat-Skinner Hou. When he attends the “Parts Market.” “Enjoys mah-jong and blood-fights.” “What’s his stakes?” “His agents frequented Parlor House a year ago.” “Something to do with what happened right before mother’s death. Should I talk to Chang-Tse Hung about him?” – all comments in margins, presumed by Mr. Wen.
Exhibit C.c. “Thin Noodles Ma – jealous of Min’s mother’s success? Worried? Part of her success? What did he know? His brothels took a bit of a hit in the nearby area. Some of Big Boss T’Sang Po Tam’s best agents preferred her Parlor. Me included.” “Why does Kang’s name come up so often? Does it have to do with that night the pale woman visited?” – again, all notes scribbled by Mr. Wen in the margin of other comings and goings. He was watching Thin Noodles Ma for a while.
Exhibit D. “Does the feud between Rat-Skinner Hou and Ma have anything to do with this?” – an odd note to scrawl. Mr. Wen should know that Ma and Hou are both enforcers for Big Ears Tam, but then again, I met the British diplomat who seemed to think Thin Noodles Ma was working for Kang of the Iron Dragon Rail Co.
Exhibit E. List of items stolen and the homes. See below.
Exhibit F. Calendar of visits approximating the two weeks before we arrived: Ma’s as guard, Parlor, Ma’s, Parlor, Yan Lo, Ma’s, Chun, Yan Lo, Ma’s, Chun, Toshi’s, Toshi’s, Parts Market, Toshi’s, Parts Market, Parlor, Yan Lo, bathhouse, Zan Wei.
Items of Min’s Mother’s and Where Mr. Wen tracked them to:
Her personal items went missing shortly after her death. Not in her grave. All items she favored (the comb has been seen with an ex-soiled dove serving her, the locket with Min and her portraits went to an antiques dealer named Yan Lo, an ivory hair pick from her mother is now with Chun Le Han, an aristocrat in Taeltown, and her favorite kimono, stolen by a soiled dove now serving Thin Noodles Ma personally). Addresses for all these in Mr. Wen’s notes. He was busy for months before this.
Other information we know:
- Min’s mother’s grave is empty. Simple marker in Shan Fan’s major cemetery.
- Rat-Skinner Hou knows something about Min’s mother’s death, something sensitive enough. Also, he knows Min’s name now, ever since the fight in the Parts Market.
- Toshi’s Warehouse run by Toshi, apparently a “little brother” working for Rat-Skinner Hou.
- Family of Deliverance has been hunting us doggedly on the night we came in, trying to burn Mr. Wen’s body, trying to keep him from investigating, trying to poison Min, trying to do who-knows-what with those saddle burs. We hear from Yamaziko the chinese herbalist that this is what they do with people inconvenient to kill who they think they can convince to give up. Foreigners generally.
- Mr. Wen had a message for Min. “The bullets are for your mother. You must finish the job I can not.” Apparently he had a handful of silver-plated alchemically treated bullets for her.
- Now been invited to Big Ears Tam’s estate on the edge of Taeltown.