Though the sun had long set and the hour struck late, the mansions of the nobles and the stores continued to illuminate the streets of the city. Such was the night in the imperial capital, its resplendent cityscape reminiscent of the scattered fallen stars of the night sky, a sight a glance of which was worth a thousand gold nuggets.
On a small hill could be found a large residence, within which was a man that beheld that resplendent sight through a window.
“How are the plans against Gimuru proceeding?” [Man]
The man asked without averting his eyes from the window.
The shadows in the center of the room behind the man stirred, and a suspiciously dressed man that donned a mask ill-fit his gentlemanly fashion appeared.
“We succeeded at causing the public order to deteriorate to some extent, but they responded much better than expected, and the public order is starting to get back under control again. At this rate, the plan will likely fail.” [Masked Man]
“In other words, your fears have come true… Ryouma Takebayashi. I first heard that name from you, but it appears that I’ve underestimated him. Who would’ve thought he could prepare a vessel big enough to receive all those people? One could say that he merely solved the problem by throwing money at it, but… It’s not stupid if it works. I have to acknowledge that.
Still, even if he was able to think of it, he wouldn’t have been able to execute without enough money. And yet the reports say that the duke’s family haven’t offered any such support secretly? Could it be? That a lone boy his age really has enough wealth to support this much of an undertaking?” [Man]
“We can’t deny the possibility that they might’ve simply evaded our people, but the movement of wealth becomes increasingly difficult to conceal the bigger it is. Hence, I’m certain that it was Ryouma Takebayashi that financed their response.” [Masked Man]
When the man heard that, a hint of displeasure surfaced.
“Have you investigated his background?” [Man]
“The report we’ve given so far is everything. We’ve already had the Dark Guild that specializes in investigations pursue the matter, but other than the time when the duke’s family brought him to town, there were only three things that we were able to find out. One, that he lived away from civilization in a forest. Two, that he came from a village in the Great Shurus Forest. And three, that he was treated poorly there. Other than those, there’s nothing.” [Masked Man]
“Could he be like you? Someone that lives in the shadows?” [Man]
“We have considered the possibility and have made inquiries, but have found no evidence of any involvement on the part of the Dark Guild or the underworld.” [Masked Man]
“We refer to them collectively as the ‘Dark Guild’, but there are many factions within. Perhaps one of those factions are protecting him?” [Man]
“Certainly, the Dark Guild is by no means united, and there are subdivisions that specialize in various fields, ranging from banditry, to assignations, to fraud, to smuggling… But the reason why we can’t find anything about Ryouma Takebayashi is likely because of the special traits of that place known as the Great Shurus Forest, and his own abilities as someone who was able to survive that special environment.” [Masked Man]
“Such certainty. In that case, you can forget about his origins.” [Man]
As the man said that, he turned around and gazed at the masked man. His eyes contained a cruel light.
“I care not what methods you use.
“…Are you sure? The duke clearly attaches much importance to him and treats him well. If we were to eliminate him, the duke won’t stay quiet either.” [Masked Man]
But the warnings of the masked man were met with a snort.
“For some time now, Reinhardt has been appearing personally in the social gatherings to warn the aristocrats in on the plan. Clearly they’ve started to take this matter seriously. It should only be a matter of time before our existence comes to light.
The opportunists have already started taking measures to protect themselves, but I haven’t the slightest intention of bowing my head and begging for forgiveness. I would’ve never come up with this plan in the first place if I was only going to regret it later. If we’re going to be exposed either way, then we might as well hit them as hard as possible until then.
If Reinhart treasures Ryouma Takebayashi, then losing him should hurt him just as much. Besides, he got in our way. An unruly child has stuck his head in adult business. It is only right then that he pay the price.” [Man]
The more he spoke, the stronger his tone became, but perhaps it would be more apt to call it madness.
Now that the man has shown his resolve, the masked man abandoned all thoughts of persuasion.
“I understand. Our priority is always the client. Since that is your request, then we shall come up with a plan that meets it. That is the duty of us ‘Planners’.” [Masked Man]
“I’ve always look highly upon that thoroughness of yours. Let’s get into the details then, shall we? What kind of plan do you have for me?” [Man]
“If we are to deal with Ryouma Takebayashi directly, then we will need a group of experts to carry out the job. Moreover, we need to isolate him before the attack. We should also tire him out to some extent first.
From the reports so far, Ryouma Takebayashi appears to be someone who hates seeing those near him getting hurt more so than himself. That’s why he’s been moving against us so proactively. So instead of doing something about him directly, it would be better if we cause a huge commotion in town, and get someone close to him involved. It’s doubtful that he would turn a blind eye to that person’s trouble. If we put both these plans into action, then we’ll surely be able to deal with him.” [Masked Man]
“Is it necessary to go so far against a lone child?” [Man]
“In my opinion, this is the
When the masked man said that, the man thought back to the previous reports.
“Alright. I’ll trust you. Let’s go with your plan.” [Man]
“Thank you very much.” [Masked Man]
“No, the boy has ruined all of our plans. It’s only right that we be as cautious as possible. Ah, this is bad… Before I knew it, I’ve started underestimating kids.” [Man]
“Normal kids really can’t do much, though. This boy just happens to be an exception. It was only because I was blessed with the opportunity to meet him in person that I was able to correct my prejudices. That’s all.” [Masked man]
When the man heard that, he remembered another matter.
“Come to think of it, you did hide in Gimuru for some time, didn’t you?” [Man]
“The original plan needed me to prepare the location, so…” [Masked Man]
“Did you see something then?” [Man]
“Rather than seeing something, it would be more apt to say that I felt something. When I first found out that our plans have been ruined, there was a convenient job at the time, so I took advantage of that to incite some greedy fools and get some payback. The way he responded then, those movements, that atmosphere… I can’t put it into words all that well, but… That boy is dangerous. And I strongly felt that I shouldn’t lay a hand on him directly.” [Masked Man]
“…You, the ‘brain’ and ‘commander’ of the Dark Guild, responsible for drafting the plans, deciding the necessary materials, selecting the people needed… Someone who even I, the client, can only refer to as an ‘advisor’ would go that far?” [Man]
“There are more experienced people among the ‘Planners’, who’ve also been around for longer than I. Compared to them, I’m nothing worth mentioning. And in fact, he has already crushed my plans
The masked man seemed to be mocking himself, but there was power and confidence behind his words.
“Hah… Whatever. Let’s go back to the topic. We’ll use the plan you mentioned earlier as the general outline. As for the finer details, I’ll leave that to you. If possible, when trying to tire out Ryouma Takebayashi, I want you to target the president of the Morgan Company. They’re working together, so if one of them were to disappear, it should prove painful to both sides.” [Man]
“Very well.” [Masked man]
“Also, since I’ll be adding more conditions to our contract, how much do I have to pay?” [Man]
“It will depend on the experts we’re hiring. I’ll need some time to come up with an estimate. However, we’re only in this situation due to my failure to produce results. I have my pride to as a Planner, so I’d like to give you a discount.” [Masked Man]
“I don’t mind, but do carry out my request as soon as possible. You won’t be able to get any money from me once I’ve been arrested, after all. I’m sure that’ll be troublesome for you too.” [Man]
Despite knowing that he would lose to Reinhart, he still laughed.
“Oh, right, since you’re giving me a discount, there’s another thing I’d like to ask of you.” [Man]
“What is it?” [Masked Man]
“If I―― then――.” [Man] 
“I could certainly do that, but are you sure? If things go poorly, you’ll only be strangling yourself. And in that situation, you won’t be able to stop the job nor change it.” [Masked Man]
“I don’t mind. If I can hurt Reinhart and the Jamil family even a little, no price is to great too pay. If you want, you can take this.” [Man]
The man took an extravagant sword decorated on the wall, and thrust it at the masked man.
“This is a treasured sword made from Orichalcum that my ancestor from three generations ago acquired. It should fetch a good price even if melted back down to an unprocessed metal.” [Man]
“That’s quite the expensive item you have there. How about paying for Ryouma Takebayashi’s disposal and your other request with that?” [Masked Man]
“If you’re fine with that, then sure. I’ll be able to save myself the hassle of preparing the money too.” [Man]
And so, the two mysterious men concluded their deal.
As soon as the masked man received the sword, he melted into the shadows and vanished, and then the man looked out the window again, his lips twisted into a dark smile.
 – It’s like that in the RAWs.