Chapter 124: The guild below, part 2


Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama


Having nothing more to do downstairs, Viks and I left the underground guild via a route different from that which we came. Opening the door at the end of the path, I found myself in a vacant house located within a slum.

「You a seasoned killer, Slade?」

「I guess you can say that. What kind of quests do you do the most, Viks-san?」

「Espionage. Mostly gathering information. It’s not flashy, but it’s honest work.」

Espionage… perhaps this guy is more useful than I thought. He added that he also did things like supplying false information to stir up the masses or mislead the other party. As he puffed up his chest and continued bragging about how certain things had been his doing, I let his words go in one ear and out the other.

If I had been allowed to go alone, this would have been a done deal. Since we’re doing this for money, however, there might be others looking to commission me in the future. This is a good opportunity to test myself.

「First of all, we have to learn where the kingpin is and get a sense of his daily routine.」

Mhm, nodded Viks intently as he gave me his full attention. I was slightly surprised that he was willing to listen to a complete newbie.

「I might be good at gathering information, but I’m not a killer. That’s why it’s better for me to follow the plan of a seasoned killer like you.」

Only speak up if you know what you’re talking about — that’s the way it works for him. I gave him a series of very detailed instructions. Viks, who had built his career around espionage, did not hide it when he had difficulty understanding what I was saying. All in all, it was a fruitful meeting to prepare for what lay ahead.

「Man, Slade, if it had been anyone other than you, he’d have taken all the profit for himself. I’ll do what I can to be of use.」

「Same here.」

We neither asked nor talked more than what was necessary. Our lines of work may be different, but we’re both pros, I thought to myself, finding solace in the fact that there was no excess conversation between us.

「I don’t need as much as three million. One will do the trick. I’ll find out everything about that Veskoda, down to when he shits and when he fucks his women.」

After we decided on a meeting point and the date and time, Viks took a single wad of cash and placed it in his shirt before leaving the vacant building. In all honesty, this was actually my first time teaming up with another person for an assassination.

With someone who’s that good at supplying information, this is going to be a piece of cake.


A week later, Viks showed up again at the empty house at the time we had agreed on.

「Boy, do I have information for you.」

No formalities or beating about the bush from him — just straight to the topic. Such a refreshing person to work with.

「Tell me about his daily schedule and his contacts.」

「Hold on.」

He produced numerous scraps of paper and torn rags on which arrays of numbers had been written. Looks like some sort of code.

「I see that each number represents a letter.」

[T/N Note: The Japanese alphabet is made up of 50 syllables.]

If one figured this out, the incomprehensible array of gibberish would become instantly readable. Having looked calm throughout our rendezvous, Viks was unable to contain his surprise.

「Wow, you got it instantly. Kuku, try not to scare me like that. Now I’m worried that others can crack it too」, he said, forcing a smile and telling me what he had found out. 「His real name is Veskoda Rateau. Forty-three years old. Single. Has five lovers, swaps them around every night.」

Though a womanizer, he still carried himself with considerable self-discipline, following a similar routine every day.

「That makes things easier for us, then.」

Viks arranged a few loose sketches to form a rough map of Veskoda’s residence as he spoke. It was about seventy percent accurate. Even though I gave him my undivided attention, I noticed no inconsistencies in his words. He didn’t seem like he was lying, and he was able to answer every question I threw at him.

「I’ll enter his house by myself –」

「I already bought the guards off. We get unrestricted access to his bedroom as long as I’m there on the day itself.」

「It’ll be riskier for two people to go together. If those guards decide to play dumb, it’ll put us in a tight spot.」

「You’re right.」

While Viks continued telling me his findings, I planned a few possible entry and escape routes. We then decided the day that we would take action, and adjourned again. Although having someone else gather the information was no doubt convenient, going solo my whole life has made me uncomfortable with information I don’t obtain personally.

But this guy’s a pro, I told myself, deciding to trust an accomplice for once.


On the night of the big day, Viks and I convened at the street where Veskoda’s house was. Amidst the silence of the sleeping street, a mansion towered quietly over the rest of the houses.

「That’s the one.」

Viks had indeed captured every important detail of the mansion on paper. What a useful accomplice.

「For today only, the guards have agreed to see nothing and hear nothing.」

「I have no intention for them to spot us at all, but okay.」

「I’ll wait for you to give the signal before entering.」

Nodding, I began following the pre-planned route, scaling the high wall in one smooth motion. I landed noiselessly in a garden, using the shadows created by the moonlight to continue infiltrating the mansion.

It was then that I felt the garden being bathed in a faint light, and noticed rings of magicka rapidly clustering around me. Before I knew it, my hands and feet were bound by those rings.

「…」

Men carrying weapons spilled out of the mansion. Viks, who had been waiting for my signal, entered proudly through the front door.

Aside from Viks, I hadn’t told a single soul about our entry route.

「Hmph. I see how it is.」

I’ve been tricked, backstabbed and most certainly bamboozled.

「Didn’t I tell you that I bought them off? Hold on… all this, and you didn’t even raise an eyebrow. Who the heck are you…?」

「Now that the cat’s out of the bag, does it matter whether it’s a Persian or a Siamese? Are you after my share of the rewards or what?」

「I am. What else is there for me to be after?」

I guess he’s still a pro in his own right, although that may have made things easier…

With a shout, the sword-wielding men swung at me.

「‘Dispel’.」

The magical shackles fell away at my command.

「Wha –!?」

Slow. Far too slow. I even had time to look at each of their shocked expressions.

「Attacking as multiple people allows me to analyse each of your strengths and weaknesses.」

Nabbing one of their swords, I cut him down with a diagonal slash to his shoulder. Dodging the blood that spurted out, I canceled my backswing. The next two men to come at me had their hands sliced off, complete with sword in them.

It’s almost as if I had never put down the sword.

I heard a war cry coming from behind me.

「Uoooooh!!」

「Good for giving yourself an adrenaline boost, bad for keeping your intentions hidden.」

I whirled around to thrust the sword at the assailant. It pierced his skull like it was made of butter, and he fell to the ground facing the sky.

「Come on! What are y’all doing? It’s just one man! Five hundred grand to whoever gets him!」

Guess he was trying to use the guards to cut me down. Like game show contestants seeing money fall from the heavens, four more men charged in my direction. I ended their lives without a moment’s hesitation, each in a different way. One had his heart pierced, another his head lopped off, a third his throat slit and the last his chest cleft in two.

After the slaughter, I found that the roses were red, and so were the violets, for the entire garden was now drenched in blood. Two minutes of intense combat was all it had taken for Viks and I to be the only ones left standing.

「That’s… that’s crazy. Not a single splatter of blood on you…」

「I don’t want to return covered in the stench of blood.」

Using one leg to hold one of the corpses down, I yanked the sword out.

「It felt off for you to listen so readily to me, but it all makes sense now. You did it to gain my trust, didn’t you?」

「Wait… wait! You can have half of my rewards…! How about that? Good deal, ain’t it!?」

「I was never in this for the money.」

The only reason why I had asked for a higher bounty was because I found it an insult to do this at the original price.

「Take all of it then! Pretend this never happened!」

With a slash, the blood-covered blade of my borrowed sword glinted in the moonlight. Viks’s head, now separated from his body, traced out a parabola as it rose and fell to the ground. The headless body crumpled like a puppet with its strings cut.

「I’m running a little late.」

I hadn’t planned for this skirmish, but it was well within the buffer time I had allowed for.

Expect the unexpected, is what they all say — probably because it happens so often.



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