On the evening of the day Serge was attacked, within the reception room of a certain store of Gimuru, were two men in the middle of a disturbing conversation.
“How’s it going, Wanz?” [Man]
“Everything is as the report stated.” [Wanz]
“Not even a week to prepare, and yet everything instructed was carried out perfectly, huh. I’m sure some weren’t happy about us taking command.” [Man]
“You’re right on both. We’ve been lurking in this city for a long time preparing. Months for the most recent, and years for the least. But just when our efforts were about to bear fruit, the orders were suddenly changed. Moreover, you people, who brought the new orders out of the blue, would also be the ones taking command of the operation. Naturally, there would be people unhappy.
But while the way we do things might differ from you, in the end, we also belong to the Dark Guild. Orders from above are absolute. So long as there’s an order, we’ll follow it even if that means doing our best under you.” [Wanz]
“…I see, that is true. Well then, assuming that the plan is ready, I have an inquiry I’d like to make.” [Man]
“Whatever you want.” [Wanz]
“Tell me everything you know about the boy named Ryouma Takebayashi.” [Man]
When the man said that, Wanz’s expression stiffened.
“I believe I’ve made a report about that boy already.” [Wanz]
“And your report has been received. Consider this a confirmation of sort. Tell me everything about him, down to the smallest details. Because part of our new orders – aside from the plan – is the assassination of that boy.” [Man]
“Oh? You’re going to assassinate him? You and your men against a mere child? Talk about excessive. I almost feel sorry for him.” [Wanz]
Despite saying that, Wanz’s face was filled with glee.
“We think so too, but orders are orders, and besides, the boy is too good at magic to be taken for a mere boy.” [Man]
“He goes around every morning shoveling snow with that huge water spell of his. I don’t know how good he is in combat, but he appears to have a lot of mana. And I hear he managed to make some delinquent adventurers submit to his strength too, but even an amateur like me could tell that those adventurers are complete rookies compared to you and your men. Well, he did lecture me pretty arrogantly, and got in my way too, so… He knows how to talk big? That would probably be it as far as his skills go.” [Wanz]
“…Is that really all there is to him?” [Man]
“What do you mean?” [Wanz]
“One of our men went to assassinate the president of the Morgan Company, but the man hasn’t returned yet, while the safety of the president has been confirmed. It’s safe to assume that he failed.” [Man]
“The president of the Morgan Company appears to be deeply involved with the duke’s family and the boy, so it’s understandable that he would be targeted. But for the boy to prevent the assassination? The president has mercs from the Wild Golden Falcons around him all the time. If anyone’s stopping anything, it’s got to be them.” [Wanz]
“We’re aware about the Wild Golden Falcons. That’s why we prepared the ‘invisible blade’ that could assassinate the target even while under the protection of the mercenaries.
The location of the attack was Ryouma Takebayashi’s security company. According to our intel, they should have been dining together. Moreover, our instructions explicitly stated that the president needed to be murdered in a way that Ryouma Takebayashi would immediately learn of it. They wanted us to have him at the scene if possible, so it’s likely that he was there.” [Man]
“Even then, I’ve already told you everything I know that might relate to his combat abilities. Perhaps, he did something with his magic, but I still don’t think he would be able to stop the Invisible Blade.
I think the Wild Golden Falcons were still the most likely culprit in stopping the attack. It wouldn’t be strange to suspect that the security company might’ve hired an upper-tier adventurer too. If it’s about that, then I still have some information I can share.” [Wanz]
“Let’s hear it then.” [Wanz]
Like that, Wanz presented the information that he knew to the man one after another.
“Well, that’s about all I know.” [Wanz]
“…I see, you’ve done well.” [Man]
The moment he ran out of things to say was the moment his life would come to an end.
The small knife the man had hidden on him had found its way into the pit of Wanz’s stomach.
“! …W-Weren’t… You… Going to save…” [Wanz]
“If I hadn’t said that, you would’ve run away without completing the preparations. I just wanted to get the most I could out of a useless man.” [Man]
“N-No… Someone… Save…”
Wanz strained himself to eek out that voice, but it reached no one but the man before him, and then… He died.
After confirming Wanz’s death, the man pulled the knife out and cleaned it with Wanz’s outfit, then opened the door.
There, appeared a man wearing clothes too similar to Wanz’s murderer, a man that looked just like an unimpressionable traveling merchant.
“I’m done. You?” [Man 1]
“I’ve installed those things all over the store. The office will be the point of origin.” [Man 2]
“In that case, I’ll bring the corpse there. Just to be safe, this room should be covered in oil too.” [Man 1]
“Alright… So, Wanz was done away with, after all.” [Man 2]
“He seemed aware of how useless he was for failing to carry out his orders, but he still clung to hope, thinking that he’d be able to survive as long as he showed his worth. Yet for all that, he could barely present any new information. In the end, all I got from him was an opinion piece filled with unnecessary conceit.” [Man 1]
“He must’ve fancied himself to be a member of the Dark Guild, so he thought he’d be able to explain himself at least. But as far as we’re concerned, he’s just another disposable pawn.” [Man 2]
“If he understood that much, then we might have still had some use for him, but… It’s all water under the bridge now. More importantly, has the Invisible Blade not returned yet?” [Man 1]
“Even the last of the regular reports say that he’s yet to return.” [Man 2]
“I see… Even if something just went awry in our communications, the antidote won’t make it in time anymore. We’ll just have to carry out the plan without him. We’ll use as many disposable pawns as necessary. And while there’s a chance of a third party having intervened, we should be wary of Ryouma Takebayashi too. Contact me if there’s any movement. The operation starts now.” [Man 1]
“Understood.” [Man 2]
The two men that looked like traveling merchants quickly carried away Wanz’s corpse. When they came back next, they had a bottle full of oil that they scattered all over the room, then they took off their clothes and left.
Before long, all that was left of Wanz was a corpse that spoke no tales, but it would be a long time before anyone would find him.