48 Hours a Day - Chapter 827
Zhang Heng smiled, and he did not dwell on this issue.
Five minutes later, those that were supposed to be on duty tonight had gathered downstairs. The entire patrol team had a total of twelve people. Usually, they were divided into two different teams, where one would be responsible for the day patrols and the other, the night. With such a clear division of labor, both teams should get enough rest every day.
However, the twelve-man patrol team was not enough to take care of such a large area, not to mention that they were divided into two teams. Even Black Mamba’s gang had more people than them. Among the patrol team, some were young men, and some were older. Except for Aris, the captain who injured his leg and fought on the battlefield before, the other patrol members did not even have proper combat experience.
In fact, most of those assigned to this area had either made a huge mistake or offended someone powerful. Zhang Heng could also not rule out that some more unfortunate ones were sent here without knowing this place. Their roles were solely to fill up the shortage. And once they were stationed here, leaving this place would prove extremely difficult.
Aris and others had attempted escape before, but their attempts were all but futile. After all, no one wanted to stay in a place infested with criminals and chaos. Even if their welfare wasn’t a priority, they had to think about their family members.
But for some well-known reasons, all of their efforts were in vain.
Aris was considered to be one of the more responsible captains. When he first came here, he thought about bringing sweeping changes to the place. He had written countless letters to the top until now, telling them about the area’s problems, hoping that they would send more people and allocate more funds. Unfortunately, no one responded to his letters.
He even attempted to, within his power, try to influence the people around him a little by little, hoping to bring back the order to the chaotic streets. However, this whole place was like a vast quagmire. No matter who stood in it, moving forward would prove challenging. In the end, the person would only sink deeper and deeper until it engulfed them. Aris did not know how long he could hold on. To him, this was all but a hopeless place now.
“Your circumstance is not looking good,” Zhang Heng said. He saw Aris taking out his armor and putting it on neatly before the patrol. This was the armor he wore when he last fought on the battlefield. After that, he brought it with him here, and it looked well maintained.
However, his five subordinates were not so lucky. Some wore wearing rusty armor, some had incomplete armor, and some wore no protective gear at all.
“Because every time we place last, we get very little funds. They are barely enough to make ends meet, so we have to get our own weapons and armor elsewhere,” Aris said. “Do you have armor with you?”
“I don’t need that kind of thing,” replied Zhang Heng.
“Trust me. If you have it, you’d better wear it because you are going to need it,” Aris insisted. “I know you’re a good fighter, and although I never witnessed your heroic achievement in the arena, I guess you must have beaten up your opponents pretty well. You could even fight two enemies simultaneously, but trust me, this is different from the opponents you encounter in the gladiatorial performances. Gladiators value honor a lot and will never do anything that will make the audience despise them. These people here are different. You might not get to fight them face-to-face, and it can happen at any time, anywhere. The person next to you might just suddenly draw a knife and stab you. The worst part is you have no idea who the person is and why he wants to kill you.”
“Thank you, but I can handle an assassination without armor.” Zhang Heng raised his eyebrows.
Having learned and familiarized himself with an assassin’s methods for some time now, if he were stabbed by someone random here, Dadatis’s teaching would be in vain. After that, Aris did not try to persuade him anymore. After all, it was the first time that the two met. Aris had reminded Zhang Heng of the danger of this place only because they were colleagues. To him, Zhang Heng was an arrogant man, and he did not have high hopes for him.
Although there were rumors that the emperor attached great importance to Zhang Heng, being assigned here said a lot about him. Out of good intention, Aris reminded him again, “Have you offended someone recently?”
“Yes, for now.” Zhang Heng smiled again, but he seemed to not want to dwell on the issue. And soon enough, he changed the subject. “You mentioned the assessment just now. Can you tell me more about its rules?”
This part was something Zhang Heng could not inquire about earlier. Such information could only be received from the patrol team.
“Of course, this is also something that you should know.” Aris nodded, “As you can see, each team is responsible for patrolling different areas. Every two months, the higher-ups will send someone to conduct a statistical inspection. Mainly, they will check on the crime rate in different areas, for instance, the number of burglaries and homicides in each area. They need to know whether the cases have increased or decreased. They would also want to know how many cases we have solved. Finally, they will randomly select residents in the area and gauge their satisfaction on current public security.”
Aris paused when he said that, “We are in a special area. I believe you had checked this place out when you came here. We have a large number of Jews and some from the eastern provinces and immigrants from Egypt or Mauritania. We don’t even know where a number of them come from. In short, this is a very complicated place. With so many people from different places cramped altogether in such a small place, conflict inevitably breaks out every day.”
“Unsurprising,” Zhang Heng said.
“We see a robbery or street fights every day. Sometimes, people of the same race would fight among themselves. And in order not to be bullied, many choose to join a gang. In the end, countless armed gangs are born because of this reason. The smaller gangs have a dozen members, but as for those big gangs, they have at least hundreds of people. And many of them embark on the journey of becoming a criminal once they acquire enough weapons. The small-time thugs and the gangsters on the street are backed up by the gangs here. Sometimes, you might offend the entire gang if you catch one of them. And it could cause a lot of trouble… The patrol team can’t do anything about it. After all, the patrol team was led by a lame man, and they were abandoned by Rome as well. We don’t even get a full salary.”
When Aris first came here, he was worried about how the safety of the residents in this place. However, after he experienced living here for so many years, he had become a little numb by it. To him, no one could solve the problems in this place unless the government decided to bring in the armies to kill all the people here. Otherwise, this place would always be a paradise for the thieves, villains, and murderers.
“Fortunately, we are just a patrol team. We don’t have much money with us. Under normal circumstances, the criminals will not target us. However, if you want to live here long enough, you have to remember a fundamental principle, that is, don’t be nosy,” warned Aris.