119. Side: Bluke
「What!? What in God’s name is going on!?」
Why won’t everything bend to my wishes!? Barbra is nothing short of a metropolis, and I, Bluke Krysten, am its Lord’s second son. By that logic, the very city should bend to my will!
「Zerais! Did you not claim that the city would be thrown astir? Explain yourself!」
I glared upon the petite man standing before me. He appeared thin and unhealthy as ever, but he more than had his uses.
His name was as I’d shouted moments before. He was former disciple to the Adventurer’s Guild’s famed Eugene, and also the reason for which the great alchemist was expunged from his companions’ circle. The same fate had naturally befallen Zerais, and hence, he’d fallen into the grasp of Barbra’s underground. His current tasks mainly involved participation in the illegal.
Frankly, he was a madman. His research involved infusing magic crystals into human flesh, all in the name of creating members of the demon race. Truly, a realm of research from which even the Gods themselves would veer. However, the man was quite competent in spite of his lunacy, and as a result, he and I had experienced together .
The potions and poisons he produced truly put their value on display in my times of need. They would allow me to overturn a woman’s decision should she reject the offer to be made into one of my concubines. More importantly, they could even be used to silence the commoners that wished to prattle to my father of my misdeeds.
Our association has granted me the ability to prosper, and it is through him that I was able to obtain my current position.
「Oh, that. Looks to me like someone’s been getting in our way.」
「I demand more details.」
Had my plans been exposed…?
「Are you familiar with the name “The Black Tail?”」
「I haven’t the slightest clue.」
If I were to guess, I would likely assume it to be some sort of restaurant. I fail to see how a mere restaurant would have any sort of association with my goals. 
「The Black Tail is one of the participants in this year’s King of Cooking.」
「And what of it? I see no correlation.」
「The stall I mentioned earlier is making use of magic-infused water in its products. Specifically, it’s using the Water of Recovery, which dispels the effects of any abnormal status conditions cast on the consumer within the past few days.」
I doubt that a mere street stall would have the capacity to mass produce magic-infused water.
「It’s true. I had one of my subordinates get his hands on one of their products. Their items have recovery-based properties.」
「Tsk. In other words, they are ruining our plans then?」
「Yeah, especially seeing as how they’re selling their products for just ten Golde apiece.」
「So they’ve essentially flooded the markets?」
「I’m pretty sure they’ve been selling at least five thousand units a day.」
「There’s a fair chance that most of The Noble Dish’s customers will have ingested their products as well.」
I doubt that their decision was one made as a result of their knowledge of my plans. That, however, doesn’t change their fate. Anyone who stands in my path shall be eliminated, be their intrusional intentional or otherwise.
「I already hired and sent a few people over, but none have managed to succeed.」
「Did they hire some sort of guard?」
「It seems like they’ve Iron Claw Colbert. He practically stays with them all day. The shopkeeper’s also an adventurer herself, and a D ranked one at that.」
「And what of Rynford’s subordinates? The only reason I decided to shelter him was so that he could be of use at times like these.」
Rynford was the name of one of Zerais’ fellow researchers. Specifically, Zerais had introduced him two months prior. Though he was a researcher, he appeared moreso like a mercenary. Most of his subordinates were well versed in combat. Many of them bore scars upon their knees, and thus, were suspicious. They likely would not have been allowed to enter the city if not for my influence. Nowadays, the man spent each day holed up within this precise manor. He was an even more peculiar man than Zerais himself, but, he too was useful, especially when it came time for the application of violence.
「Rynford had sent several of his level twenty plus subordinates, but…」
「You mean to say they failed? How ridiculous! The shop’s owner is but a mere D rank!」
「Not a single one of them has returned. Rynford’s assault was not actually the first. I began by hiring a set of lackeys from the city’s underground, but lost contact with them after sending them on their way. I can’t even confirm as to whether they’re dead or alive.」
「That… is concerning. Does the shop’s owner perhaps have some sort of hidden escort guarding her at all times?」
「I have no idea. I tried looking into her, but I all I could dig up was that she was a D ranked adventurer, and that she’d been rewarded with a near excessive number of spices for her contribution in defeating a set of pirates.」
「Place more effort into your investigations.」
「I already tried that. She’d only just arrived in Barbra, so detailed information about her is difficult to come by. The only other fact we have is that she came to the city aboard one of the Luciel Conglomerate’s ships. We did manage to bribe one of the ship’s workers, but all we got from him was the time in which she’d arrived at the city.」
In other words, there was no way for us to grasp ahold of her weaknesses!? Accursed peasant! I cannot believe that my plans are about to be spoiled by a mere plebeian.
「Shall we employ mercenaries then? I doubt she would be able to survive a wave of thirty regardless of the extent of her abilities.」
「Won’t your honoured father catch wind of your movements if you don’t keep them in moderation?」
My old man did have several subordinates within the city’s confines. There was a chance he’d catch wind of my plans for a coup d’etat if I didn’t keep my actions minimal. Fuck!
How obnoxious. How long does that old shit plan to stand in my way? The only reason I wished to take his seat in the first place was because of his lack of ability to discern quality.
“Your not worthy of the Lord’s position” my ass! My older brother is nothing short of trash. His only defining trait is his ability to be diligent. He lacks my intellect, and even so much as fails to to understand what it means to have a nobleman’s pride. The fact that he takes a servile attitude even when speaking with commoners irritates me to point of wanting to fucking strangle him!
He was nothing but a weak, weak man. I was a far more suitable heir, and it was precisely the knowledge of that fact that led me to wish to wrest the position from right under his nose.
My plan was to cause Barbra to descend into mayhem and then shift all the blame onto my father in order to force him into retirement. Normally, my brother would end up becoming the lord in such a case, so I’d arrange to have him killed in the chaos.
Causing all that chaos was Zerais’ job. The first plan we had was to have him poison a group of plebeians and have them rampage. However, we soon realized that such a meagre act would take a few dozen lives at most.
Such a small scale event was far from what we needed to fulfil our desires. Thus, Zerais crafted a second, more devastating scheme, one that would cause the whole town to descend into not but madness and destruction.
Naturally, I accepted his proposal. It was one that would cause many to perish, but I paid it no mind. Most were mere plebeians, and thus, irrelevant. Little of value would be sacrificed.
There was, however, one key factor required for our plan to come to fruition: Waint Krystan, my mentally deficient younger brother.
Waint was so stupid that not even I, his flesh and blood, could resist proclaiming him a retard. He’d been born as a Marquis’ third son, but he ended something as peasant-like as a chef for reasons nothing short of ridiculous. I paid little care to the details, but I recall his reasoning as something as nonsensical as adoring the taste of the food the Royal Palace’s dishes.
He and I had two clearly distinct mentalities. If I were to follow ambitions like his, I would seek to become a titan by acquiring cooking-related businesses and expanding through investment. He, on the other hand, actually became a stupid fucking pleb, and even went as far as to open his own shop. I remember trying out his cooking once, but it’d consisted of nothing but flavourless garbage. Believe it or not, the moron had even lost all his ambition. All he desired now was become a famous chef, and so the retard developed the habit of buying expensive materials just so he could transform them into worthless plates of junk.
I never once suspected that his meaningless, idiotic ambitions would culminate in a form from which I could find use. I employed him by investing into his shop and financially subordinating him.
Nobles that wished to build connections with my father and I frequented the shop. However, for reasons unknown, they soon began to flatter the wrong individual. They spoke of my brother’s accomplishments and named him a chef of skill. Sheer nonsense. Waint’s ability was laughable. He himself lacked the skill to break through King of Cooking’s preliminaries, so I offered my assistance through the act of donating to the Chef’s Guild a large sum. Through said donation, I allowed my brother to bypass the initial competition and immediately enter into the second round.
I later discovered, however, that he was even less of an intellectual that I’d surmised. The retard hired a gathering of loose-lipped grunts in order to harass his competitors. Shocked I was to see him even send a group after his own shop so he could perform a sort of stage act. His actions naturally led the guild to immediately begin an investigation, and thus, I once again had to step in as to prevent his disqualification. Many of the guild’s staff members worked to retain the competition’s fidelity. However, as was with all other organisations, there lay corrupt individuals within their ranks, all of which happily casted their duties aside in order to accept my bribes.
And that was the sequence of events that led up to this point, the point where I could finally put my plan into action.
The concept was as follows: Waint would make use of a specific class of magic-infused water, one that cursed any who ingested it. Of course, the plan was one doomed to fail lest we won over individuals within the guild — but that was a hurdle long overcome.
Our magic-infused water was a formula that Zerais and Rynford had developed in cohesion. I knew little of the details, but I was aware that the curse it spread was one that caused evil thoughts to develop within its victims. It could provoke any given individual into throwing a fit of violent rage so long as they consumed a substantial quantity of the substance. Most impressive was the substance’s delayed effect. The plebeians that consumed it would only lose their minds after enough time had come to pass. Thus, they would disperse from the water’s source before any sort of unnatural occurrence. Waint himself was nothing short of an idiot, and for reason unknown, thought what we had given to be plain magic-infused water. Everything was perfect; my pawn had not even so much as realized that he was being merely being used.
The publicity provided from the King of Cooking provided The Noble’s Dish a grand total of 3000 customers each day. Basic mathematics led to the conclusion that the number of customers would ultimately culminate at approximately 10000, a number that more than satisfied my requirements. All that was needed was for us to let loose the familiars upon which Zerais had research in order to accomplish our goals.
The occurrence of such widespread insanity would leave Barbra’s lord with no choice but to claim responsibility for the events that had perspired. He would be pardoned with only retirement if luck were to be on his side. However, there was also a chance that the Lord himself would be resigned to a status equivalent to that of a criminal’s. Barbra was a major portside city, and of great importance to the Kingdom. Failing in its governance was a grave sin.
Hah! The thought of sending my father to trial put an unerasable smile upon my face.
My plans had been perfect.
Yet, they’d failed.
A fool had accidentally thrown off my predictions through the act of creating a sort of bread that nullified curses. Ridiculous! It was nothing but ridiculous! Don’t fuck with me!
Zerais’ reports stated that the crime rate had indeed risen on a year to year basis. However, the situation had yet to spiral out of hand.
Something had to be done.
The Black Tail must be no more.
「Are you sure? He may end up causing quite the amount of damage.」
「He is our only option!」
「Alright. I understand. I’ll bring him here.」
A man over two meters tall appeared before after ten minutes worth of waiting. His body was covered in a layer of scarred, coppery skin. His muscles appeared so expansive that the simple act of witnessing them led me to suspect that we never had the need to employ a method as roundabout as cursing the citizens in the first place. His flesh bore such strength that I would not have doubted any claims suggesting that his heritage had been part ogre.
He was Rynford’s strongest subordinate, a former C ranked adventurer. The rumors said that he was just as strong as any B rank, but was denied promotion as a result of his behaviour. To verify the claim, I had him duel one of my former C ranked subordinates. Lo and behold, he lived up to his reputation and vanquished the man in a matter of moments.
They called him Zerrosreed The Berserker. He had little interest in anything but strengthening his body. He was what one could call a battle fanatic, a warrior sought out powerful foes for the sole sake of self improvement. He was known to even turn his blade on his companions and allies on a daily basis without even the slightest shred of care. More than one of these occasions had culminated in the act of manslaughter.
That alone did was but one of his many faults. Zerrosreed was well known for a certain incident, an incident that provided him two things: expulsion from the adventurer’s guild, and a bounty that extended throughout the continent. The man had been employed by a nearby country for the sake of war. However, as anticipated by many, he turned his blade on his allies for the sake of testing his strength, and so, he’d felled the country’s prince, slayed him in cold blood. The act destroyed his allies’ chain of command and caused them to to lose most their forces. The country suffered a huge territorial loss, and thus, issued a price for his head. Such a act would cause many a warrior to live their lives in shame. He, however, had not the slightest semblance of repentance or atonement. In fact, the man claimed to be grateful. The bounty had led many a powerful to challenge him to combat.
Comprehending a specimen such as himself was impossible. All that I knew was that his brain was constructed of muscle, and that he possessed a ridiculous amount of power.
「I’ve a job for you.」
「Haven’t any chances to go on a good old rampage lately, so gimme something that’ll let me loose.」
「I see no problems satisfying that condition. A rampage is all I would ever hope from you to begin with.」
「Hah hah hah! True, true.」
I failed to see the reason for which the oversized man had clasped his belly in laughter, but cast all considerations aside. I needed not to understand but the fact that he could be used.
「What was that…?」
I could have sworn that I caught wind of some sort of bark-like noise from a nearby room. That, however, was nonsensical. This manor was one that kept no pets, it was simply not possible for there to be such a sound.
「Perhaps I have allowed myself more exhaustion than is reasonable.」
The dog I heard was ultimately dismissed as a mere figment of my imagination.
 “The Black Tail” is not actually the full name, but I left it like that because it sounds better. The last character in the name is 亭, which can mean inn or restaurant amongst a few other things. Hence, the actual name can be, but is not always necessarily interpreted as “The Black Tail Restaurant.” Hence, he’s unsure but able to guess correctly.