The Reason Behind Cook's Death
Emily's Tavern operated as usual.
"Have you heard? Something big happened in Kent!" said one of the drunk patrons.
"I did! Wasn't there a huge brawl? I heard the constabularies couldn't do anything either," muttered another drunkenly.
"You know balls!" the first cried, "Do you know why it happened?"
"Over territory of course! What else?! Hmph! Those syndicates are too audacious! How could they fight for territory so publicly?!"
The first hurriedly cupped the second's mouth.
"Are you drunk or insane?! A few might be here you know! Be careful not to piss them off!"
The second sobered slightly and looked around. After making sure he didn't catch anybody's attention, he sighed.
"Actually, it's got nothing to do with territory," the first whispered, "Have you heard of Dark Requiem?"
"You mean that assassin who caused a lot of trouble for Bloodhand?"
"Yes. He's the reason for everything."
"Did you know Dark Requiem allied with Blackjack to kill Bloodhand's boss, Taewon."
"Not just that. Bloodhand's entire inner circle was wiped out. The two fought in the city before that guy showed up."
"How did it end?"
"Blackjack won. He defeated Taewon with Dark Requiem's help. After that, he took over Bloodhand's operations. The commotion is because of that."
"I see… How do you know?"
"One of my nephews swings with Blackjack. He's a fourth-stratum warrior, and he was there when Taewon was killed!"
"He saw Dark Requiem? How does the man look?"
"I heard she's a woman in her twenties. A really sexy too!"
"Tch, bullshit! I heard he's a man in his forties."
"You know nothing. Dark Requiem knows how to use disguises, you know."
"You know nothing! How can Dark Requiem change genders?!"
So the argument continued...
Vera got two mugs of beer from the counter and laid them on the table.
"I heard a lot of people discussing the incident in Kent a few days ago. Ley's pretty famous."
"Ley didn't," Kurdak smiled, "Dark Requiem did. No one knows the two are the same person."
Years ago, Vera recalled, Leguna told them he had been granted the sobriquet 'Dark Requiem' by someone really impressive. Vera, Kurdak, and Annelotte mocked him for how over-the-top and childish it was. His ego bruised, he blushed and made an oath to spread the name across the world.
Fast forward to two years, his moniker spread to the ears of many following the death of two high-order magi. However, Leguna didn't have any reputation at all. Vera didn't think he would so quickly spread it over here as well. It seemed it wouldn't take long to spread all over the empire.
"I think two people know his identity."
"You mean the Emily and Hans?"
Leguna had announced his intention to wipe Bloodhand out in their presence, surely there weren't dumb enough to not put two and two together.
"I'm not worried about Hans, but the owner..." Kurdak frowned as he considered the options, "Forget it. We'll let Ley decide what to do when he comes back."
"I didn't think Big Bro was a crybaby!" Innilis giggled.
"He was! Big Brother loved to cry, but he would always put up a strong front when he was with me. Sometimes, I showed up suddenly and found him crying, but he would always wipe his tears quickly. D'you know how funny he looks when he tries to look proud, his face full of tears?!" Eirinn laughed.
Innilis often came by to talk and play with her. Eirinn quite liked the bright and lively girl.
"Hey, Eirinn, when did you learn to talk behind others' backs?" a familiar voice asked.
"Big Bro!" Innilis cried and leapt into his embrace.
"Alright, enough," Leguna patted her small head.
The half-elf was also quite surprised. She took two steps forward, but after seeing how excited Innilis was, she stopped and smiled at her friend.
"You're back," she smiles.
"I am. Have you recovered?"
The atmosphere was immediately awkward. Though Leguna had wanted to say something, he couldn't find the words. Innilis stared at him with her big eyes. He suddenly felt rather uncomfortable.
Fortunately, Kurdak was there to save the day. He pushed the door open and revealed a bright smile.
"Brat, now you've greeted your women, come over. We have some things to talk about."
Eirinn's face flushed, and she lowered it quickly, letting her hair fall over her face.
"What are you saying, Uncle?! You're his woman!" Innilis blushed as well.
Kurdak shrugged nonchalantly.
"Alright, I have to talk to Boss. I'll come see you later."
"Where's Uncle Hans?" Leguna asked the moment he stepped into Kurdak's room.
"He left," Kurdak answered casually.
Leguna wasn't that surprised. Hans was rather afraid of Bloodhand. Seeing how Leguna had gone to find trouble, he must have left to avoid any possible trouble. Given that he only know for a few months now, he didn't want to be involved in something that might threaten his life. It was completely reasonable for him to leave.
"Was the potion I gave you useful?"
"I left with Vera just in case, but nothing happened so it turned into a night out under the moonlight."
"I'm glad. What about the other thing?"
"It wasn't hard to find out. I asked around found some thugs. They knew what I wanted to know."
"So why'd he really die?"
Leguna didn't know Cook, he'd never even met him, but he'd helped Eirinn so he owed him a debt of gratitude. The least he could do was find out why he'd died.
"He was poisoned. It's not complicated, really. Mister Cook didn't pay the protection fee for a few years. He got away with it because the previous branch boss was in his debt. The new boss wasn't. When Cook refused to pay the fee again when his thugs came over, they poisoned him."
"How? They couldn't have kidnapped him and forced him to drink it. He died after drinking too much."
"His wife. She poisoned him. The branch boss must have forced her, or maybe she just wanted to take over the tavern. I don't know what her reasons were, but she's the one that killed him."
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