Night dominated the neighborhood when all the prostitutes and their customers had entered the world of dreams, inside a room on the corner of the mansion hall, one man was still waiting for someone.
“Fumu… The meeting seems to have dragged on considerably, eh?”
Showing a wry smile, the man crosses his legs while looking at the clock hanging on the walls. And slowly he picked up the glass filled with bright red liquid from the table beside his sofa.
The moment the rich aroma spread throughout his mouth, the man nodded deeply satisfied and swallow the liquid slowly.
Blissful sensation wrapped his entire body. It was the only time the man who was always drenched red with schemes and violence could feel such relaxation.
While he was enjoying the taste of the drink, the sound of knocking on the door could be heard, he immediately returns his expression to normal and allowed the person to enter the room.
Such was the manner of a boss who was about to meet with his subordinates.
“Sudou-san, I’ve finished talking with Saitou-kun for the time being…”
“Thank you for your hard work. It seems you’ve taken quite a bit of time, did something happen ?”
After the man took a glance at Kikukawa who entered the room, the man showed his usual smile on his face.
Hearing such words from the man, Kikukawa directed his eyes at the clock hanging on the wall and sighed.
It took one hour more time than he initially thought.
“I’m very sorry. It took me quite a while… But well, looking from his point of view, I can understand his feelings.”
Pain from losing a family. Such loss would give pain and sorrow to a person.
If it was from sickness or accident, then people might be able to move on relatively easy.
However, the story would be different if the pain was caused by losing a loved one because of other people using force.
Similar flame of intense hatred was held by many people belonging to the organization.
Even Saitou held such feelings despite how cool and cold he was on the surface.
It would be understandable if he felt restless as the day of revenge comes closer while serving the enemy he hated so much.
“I see… Well, it is natural for him to feel that way…”
Sudou beckoned Kikukawa who said those words with a bitter smile.
“Alright then, thank you for your hard work. Kikukawa-kun. Don’t just stand there, come sit down and have a drink…”
Sudou’s attitude won’t change even if he was working as a senior executive of the organization. Speaking frankly it was his nature to be like that.
And on the other hand, Kikukawa took his attitude as a matter of course.
“Thank you, well then, please excuse me…”
He sat down on the sofa opposite to Sudou, and lift the cup from the desk.
It was a silver cup carved with detailed artistry.
Kikukawa slowly drinks the liquid inside the cup after enjoying the carving.
“This is quite good alcohol huh… It was quite a waste to drink this with just us, men…”
Rich fragrance entered Kikukawa nostrils.
The drink was wine made from good grapes. The wine they had was around ten years old.
“Of course, it was a famous product I bought from the south, you know? Well, It is certainly true that it would taste much better if we drank this with a woman…”
Enjoying a feast while being surrounded by beautiful women. It was something every man at least had dreamed once.
Furthermore, in this world where amusement was limited, such entertainment was one of the few things that could be considered as such.
“Indeed that would be a nice suggestion but, we’re not yet done with our work…”
Hearing Kikukawa saying those words while giving the documents to him, Sudou shrugged his shoulders like a father listening to his children being stubborn.
“How diligent… But well, that was why you’ve been appointed as executive despite being young…”
“That is the report this time…”
“I see I see, I guess this is to be expected based on his character…”
After roughly skimming through the documents handed to him, Sudou lifted one of his eyebrows.
Inside the reports were written the movement of Mikoshiba Ryouma, Simone Christoph, and her collaborators.
“Because I was being warned by Sudou-san beforehand, I managed to prevent some serious damage to our profits this time. But still, that Mikoshiba Ryouma… He’s quite the crafty one…”
Zalda and Ortomea.
The war between the two countries had increased the prices of goods in the entire continent.
In a sense, it was natural for that to happen.
A war consumes a large of amount of goods, which was the best condition for merchants to perform their activity, and if the consumption was drifted upward without being balanced with the supplies, the prices would rise without control.
It was some basic economy that anyone could understand if they used their brain a little bit.
The difference was how much you can understand and how much you can make use of such situation…
“Well, I guess so, he is crafty because he is young after all…”
In this world, it was questionable as to how many people could move like Mikoshiba Ryouma….
Most people can’t even use the opportunity even when it presented itself in front of them.
“Apart from the reinforcement mission he took, I’ve never thought that he would dig into the Ortomea Empire who was his enemy. Above else, to think that Christoph firm had some channels to compete ruthlessly against the firms with political ties in the imperial capital….”
“To be frank, he seems to only know about his surroundings. It’s just that his luck is considerably good, and he also knows how to make use of it. He’s quite the promising young man, isn’t it? “
In response to Sudou who laughed hard, Kikukawa shrugged his shoulders.
Certainly, one cannot deny Sudou’s evaluation of Ryouma.
Indeed Mikoshiba Ryouma was someone who was loved by the Goddess of destiny and he seemed to know well how to make use of such things.
However, he might become an obstacle that the organization could not ignore…
“This is not something we can laugh about, you know ? Do you know how much profit we might lose if I didn’t put pressure on their business partner ? If that had happened, then…”
“It was nice that we could prevent it before the prices collapsed, wasn’t it?”
Lifting the value of goods was similar to sending air to a ballon. And balloon with too much air in it could burst easily with just a little poking around using a needle.
At the very least, the organization wanted to be the one who decided the timing when the balloon burst…
And in the meantime, they also earned profits while maintaining the high prices with balance.
Since Sudou was someone who wouldn’t change his attitude, Kikukawa could only shake his head and breathed out a small sigh.
Had counter-measures been delayed, the organization wouldn’t be able to reach their target. If that happens, they would need to revise their plan.
A plan that the organization spent years preparing. A chill runs through Kikukawa’s back thinking what if that scenario had happened.
If it did, it meant the organization’s goal getting farther away.
“Well, I certainly don’t want that to happen… That is why I told you to be careful and watch his movements, no?”
Without breaking his attitude, Sudou expressed some grudges in his words.
“I know that… However, since there is a lot of risk coming from him, why don’t we do something more?”
Indeed, Sudou had informed the organization about the existence of Mikoshiba Ryouma. He had warned them to be careful and watch Ryouma’s movements.
However, he did that only just to be sure.
That was why the organization didn’t take Sudou’s information seriously.
If one were to question who should take responsibility for such mistake, it would be the upper echelons who didn’t listen to Sudou’s words seriously.
Kikukawa himself also understood that. However, he also wanted to voice his dissatisfaction.
Towards such Kikukawa, Sudou only keeps talking without changing his expression.
“Anyway, the results won’t change much either way. Even if I had predicted these movements by the time I gave you the information on that man, I cannot imagine how much the organization would have believed in my words. And if we strengthened the surveillance of that man poorly, the result might turn worse instead.”
Who would’ve thought that this kind of situation might happen. It was impossible to predict everything accurately.
Also, even if the organization took Sudou’s information seriously and strengthened the surveillance of Mikoshiba Ryouma, they still won’t be able to stop his movements.
Although the organization had a huge power, enough to make a dramatic influence within countries, there were no choices other than to spread their power carefully, because there were two gigantic enemies equal to them, namely Kirtantia and the Empire.
“Well, for now, we should keep an eye on him…”
“That is the intention of me and the others for now… But then, we still have no information regarding them at all… Recently, I’ve set up a request in the Guild, but I was declined with them saying that they had their hands full with monsters…”
Hearing Kikukawa’s words, Sudou narrowed his eyes and asked.
“Hohou… There’s still no information regarding the Peninsula?”
“That’s right since I was refused by the Guild, I’d picked some people from the eastern part of the continent and sent them to the Peninsula, but I’ve not yet received any report back from them. I’ve hired some people in the fortress located south of the Peninsula as contact person, but all of them said they had become prey to the monsters. Recently, the rumors of disappearances have spread, because of that the adventurers and mercenaries have intentionally avoided work that is related to the Peninsula.”
“I see… I guess they are intentionally blocking information from leaking, isn’t it ?”
“As expected, Sudou-san also thought of that ?”
It was normal for people to rely on the Guild when it comes to dealing with the monsters.
Of course, some influential aristocrats might have powerful vassals to deal with it themselves, but it was weird that Mikoshiba Ryouma, an upstart noble, didn’t rely on the Guild at all…
The only possibility as for why he didn’t do that, was because he didn’t want any information related to the Peninsula to go out…
“What should we do ? Should I get the people among the hunting dog to perform a raid on the peninsula?”
“Fumu… Moving the S rank is it?”
The S rank, officially they were known as the strongest force the Guild had.
They were individuals boasting the strength of thousand men, and also the best fighting group within the organization.
Just by sending 20 of them to the Wortenia Peninsula could be enough to reduce it to ashes.
(I have no objections when it comes to killing him but…)
It would be easy for the organization to just kill him, but for Sudou, such things had no style…
Sudou kept silent for a while then he shook his head.
“It would be better for us to not make a move on him. It would be no good for us to move the hound dogs and show some opening to the Knights of the Church.”
If the hounds were the trump cards of the organization, there was also another one belonging to the light god religious organization, known as the Church’s Knights.
The fighting power of both can be said as nearly equal.
It would be a dangerous decision to move a fighting force and showing an opening against such antagonistic opponent.
“If that’s the case, then what should we do ?”
After his suggestion having been rejected, Kikukawa words sounded sharp.
However, he immediately raised his eyebrows the moment he heard Sudou’s words.
“Let’s see… How about we left him alone for now ?”
To the unexpected words, Kikukawa was at a loss for words.
“Are you serious? I’m well aware of the danger caused by that man. To leave him alone is…”
“Well, certainly he is a dangerous man, but I think if we can use him properly, then we can use him as a shield… Especially when he reeks of a smell similar to us…”
Kikukawa leaned his head unintentionally towards those meaningful words.
But after a brief silence, only one answer comes to his mind.
“Shield ? As a decoy against Kirtantia and the people of the church, is it ?”
“That’s right, the more he blocks the information, the more those cultists and the Kirtantia people doubt our relations with them. Furthermore, looking at his movements, it looked like as if we had been working together… With that, it would be impossible for our enemies to wipe away any suspicions. Along with their suspicions, they won’t be able to stay silent then… Which in turn would make them meddle around with Mikoshiba Ryouma. See ? What do you think ? He’s a good shield for us, no ?”
“But, won’t that let him do however he pleases as well ?”
“That is why we need to let him do whatever he pleases to make this work well…”
Sudou didn’t think that Mikoshiba Ryouma had the whole picture of the organization inside his mind, but he should at least be aware of the existence of a group that thinks just like him.
In reverse, if an organization using the same method as him appeared in front of his eyes.
He would also place a priority when it comes to counter-measures.
“So we meddle with his priorities, huh ?”
“Right, he should not find any difficulties in making such a judgment…”
Just like how people won’t care if their relatives are the victims of an earthquake when their own house is currently on fire.
“I see… That is indeed not bad…”
Listening to Sudou’s plan, Kikukawa showed an admiration.
A medicine could be a fatal poison if it was not handled properly.
Conversely, whether it would become a medicine or a poison, it depended on the people handling it.
In contrast to Kikukawa who wanted to eliminate the poison called Mikoshiba Ryouma, Sudou’s plan was something that made use of him as a medicine instead. It clearly showed the difference in experience between Kikukawa and Sudou.
“I understand. I will tell Sudou-san’s plan to the representatives then. But I’m sure the representatives will not oppose this plan.”
“Is that so ? Well, I will leave it to Kikukawa-kun then…”
“Well then, since it is already the time, I should leave soon. Counselor Sudou…”
“Alright, once again, thank you for your hard work. Please do contact me if there’s anything else…”
They said what needed to be said. Soon after that, Kikukawa left the room after he deeply bowed toward Sudou who didn’t show any change in his attitude.
After Kikukawa left, Sudou relaxed his body on the sofa while glancing at the ceiling.
‘Khukhukhukhu. This will be fun…”
For Sudou, the organization’s ideals and desires were no longer important. He did things only because he held some obligation.
Blood, more blood, red blood…
That was the only desires Sudou wanted…
“Now then… How are you going to move, Mikoshiba-kun?”
Sudou words echoed inside the room followed by a merry laughter.
It was as if he was the strong man looking at the weak one.
He didn’t know that Mikoshiba Ryouma had already begun to move.