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Chapter 184 – Gerardo’s Scheme, Gerardo’s Perspective

    Chapter 184 - Gerardo's Scheme, Gerardo's Perspective

    I received an invitation to Gran's party.

    Huhu, he still hadn't given up even now.

    I had already bent the Commerce Guild and several influential people to my will.

    It was too late for him now, even with the party.

    Still, I should be careful.

    I had heard a rumor that his chef was the assistant head chef of a famous restaurant in the capital.

    That just wouldn't do. Should I get rid of the chef?

    I laughed just imagining Gran panicking because he wouldn't be able to serve food at his party.

    I immediately called for Blood and instructed him to, if an opportunity presented itself, make it so that Gran's chef could no longer cook.

    「Shall I kill him instead?」

    「If you did, Gran would use that as an excuse to stop the party. Just hurt the chef's hands or something, so he won't be able to cook anymore. Also, do it right before the party. That way, Gran won't have enough time to get a new chef.」

    「Understood.」

    Blood responded and stepped back into the shadows.

    He was a C rank adventurer I had found fighting with a fellow adventurer at the capital.

    Even though his opponent had kept apologizing and begging for forgiveness, Blood had kept hitting him.

    When I had looked into it, I had found out that Blood was quite the troublemaker.

    He was rather calm normally but lost it when he saw his own blood. He went into a fit of rage, and nobody could stop him. Even though he was strong, nobody wanted to party with him because of that.

    I wanted his skills, so I had invited Blood to work for me. He had agreed immediately.

    When I had asked him why he had accepted without taking any time to think, he had told me he was sick of being an adventurer and was willing to work for me only until he was bored of it.

    Blood was very useful and followed all my instructions perfectly.

    His personality was a bit of problem, but his skills were invaluable to me.

    Just recently, I had asked him to attack some merchants who didn't listen to me, and he had done it without anybody noticing him.

    If I asked him to capture someone for me, he would do so without complaint.

    I was lucky to be able to get such an excellent pawn. When I had no further use for him, I could just get rid of him. Even though he was better than most people, there were still plenty of ways for me to kill him.

    Well, he was very useful to me at the moment, so I wouldn't need to do that anytime soon.

    Three days before the party, Blood came back to report to me. He managed to hurt the chef's hands, so the chef could no longer cook for the party.

    The party would be ruined without him; I just couldn't stop laughing, imagining how Gran would be apologizing to everyone.

    Well, he still had three days, so it was possible that he would try asking another chef, but with the time left, he would not be able to ask someone from another town. His only choice was to find someone in our town.

    Before he could even start looking, I threatened and bought out all the good chefs.

    I didn't need to do that for all the chefs, of course. If he ended up with a second or a third-rate chef, there would be plenty of ways to ruin his party.

    I soon received information that Gran had indeed tried to find someone in the town, but everyone had refused him. Now his only choice was to ask a second or a third-rate chef.

    On the day of the party, we set out to Gran's mansion early.

    His place was about the same size as mine, and I often thought that this town only needed one lord and one big residence.

    When my father had been on his deathbed, he had told me to get along with the other lord, but I found no reason to do that.

    Letting two families govern the same town was stupid. I would push Gran out and make this my town.

    I had already given lot of money to the Bornard company and had even changed out the Commerce Guild Master.

    I had bought some merchandise from the merchants belonging to the Bornard company as collateral for a promise not to sell their goods in the areas governed by Gran.

    It had gone so well that all goods had completely vanished from Gran's areas while the sales in my territory had increased considerably. As long as this continued, it was only a matter of time before the entire town would be mine.

    When I entered the party hall, there were already quite a few people gathered around.

    Some merchants who I had bribed approached me the moment they saw me.

    These merchants only knew how to sell flattery and were my precious pawns.

    I took some time to greet a few other people before making my way to Gran.

    This would be the last time he would hold a party in this mansion; might as well give him one last greeting.

    I almost broke out laughing when I saw how peaceful he looked.

    What a foolish, soft-hearted person.

    Well, my father had been the same, though.

    They trusted everyone and believed anything you told them, so they were easily taken advantage of.

    After I greeted Gran, I returned back to the other side of the hall and watched him from afar.

    I wanted to see the people who approached him.

    The most problematic person here was probably the owner of Crimonia, the head of the Foschuroze family.

    Recently, due to their connection to the sea, they had began gaining a lot of power.

    I had ordered the Commerce Guild to get me information on Crimonia's merchants, and all the information I received was strange.

    Like a bear digging out a tunnel, a bear opening a shop, a bear selling pudding, a bear being dangerous to go against.

    I should probably consider doing a proper research on Crimonia after I took over this town.

    Right now, I should be more concerned about the merchants from Crimonia coming here, rather than some weird bear.

    Everything was going so well, after all, so I shouldn't let that weird little thing bother me.

    Gran then made a short speech, and food was brought into the hall.

    I wondered what kind of garbage food was going to be served, but the food that was brought in all looked and smelled rather delicious.

    Had I missed a chef from this town who could make such good food? No, I should have gotten everyone.

    I tried the food and found it delicious.

    Really, where on earth had he found a chef that could make such delicious food?

    I should have brought some trash with me...

    I had been sure that the food he would be serving would be bad, so I had thought that just insulting the food would be enough. Yet, the food actually tasted great, and I found no problems with it.

    I really needed something to throw in, so that I could complain about it.

    Was it possible that the chef's hands had already healed?

    No, that would be impossible. I had even made an underling go check on his condition. The chef should still be injured and unable to make food.

    Had the report been wrong, then? I didn't see how, but could he still make food?

    For now, I should just observe.

    I ate some more food and spoke with a few more people.

    Many approached to talk with me. Well, the smart ones knew which side was more advantageous to be on. Anyone joining Gran's side at this point was stupid.

    Discussions could wait, so I finished them up quickly. I casually glanced towards the door, and noticed a man standing there, his hands wrapped in bandages.

    Based on the reports, Gran's chef was a red-haired man, so the injured man standing there was was him without a doubt, and a different chef must have made all this food.

    I didn't know who it was, but to be able to make these delicious dishes, he must be an excellent chef.

    It bothered me that someone like that would help Gran, but I just had to recruit this person to be my personal chef.

    They would regret helping Gran out today.

    Now that I confirmed the chef was indeed different, it was time for me to ruin this party. I sent a signal to those gathered around me.

    「I have had enough! Just what is with this disgusting food!」

    Once I yelled that out, the hall went silent. Then, the merchants I had been speaking with earlier began to agree with me one by one, gradually making others whisper as well.

    Gran approached me, but I knew that as soon as I pointed out the problem, this party was over.

    When I complained about the food to him and asked if he had changed chefs, Gran easily admitted that a different chef had made the food. Heh, it would have been better if he had just lied or kept quiet about it.

    Shouldn't he at least try to strategize against me? What would he do if I told him to bring the chef out? Such a boring, simple man.

    As we continued our complaints, a man wearing a chef's outfit entered the hall.

    Hmm? I had a feeling I had seen this man before. I couldn't recall when, though.

    Maybe I had seen him at some restaurant.

    「Please excuse me. My name is Zelef, and I have been given the opportunity to be in charge of cooking for the party. Is my cooking really that unsatisfactory?」

    So, this man made it? I almost felt bad I had to crush him.

    I carried on with the plan.

    I figured that he would apologize if I continued to complain, but instead, he kept asking what I didn't like about the food.

    Usually, if a noble said that the food was unappetizing, then even good food becomes unpleasant for others.

    It seemed like this man didn't understand the situation he was in.

    A mere chef had little power compared to a noble.

    「All of it is bad! Your master doesn't know any better. How can your master be satisfied with this cooking? The Faren Gramm family has hit rock bottom, for them to leave their cooking to a chef like you!」

    「I see. I will relay that message to my master, His Majesty.」

    「...His Majesty?」

    What did he just say? The king himself was his master?

    The hall started getting noisy again. Then, somebody else spoke.

    「No wonder he looked so familiar. He is the royal head chef...」

    「The royal head chef...」

    As I murmured to myself, the man re-introduced himself.

    「Yes. My name is Zelef, and I cook for the royal family. Now, could you please tell me what you found bad about my cooking? I must not serve bad food to His Majesty, who always tells me that my food is delicious.」

    Why was the royal head chef here?

    It was strange, no, impossible.

    Since I couldn't give him an answer, the chef began asking the other people who had been insulting his food. He didn't look angry, but he had an expression that told me he would not let them off with a simple answer.

    「Weren't you gentlemen surprised, exclaiming that the food tasted bad? If you could explain in more detail, that would be great. I must not serve low-grade dishes to His Majesty.」

    The other guests didn't know how to respond and looked at me for help.

    I didn't know what to do, either, and wanted to ask them that question myself!

    After I ignored their glances for a while, one of them started to cough.

    He then proceeded to claim to have a cold and ran to Gran.

    He betrayed me, but I couldn't say anything at this point.

    Once one of them ran, the other guests also followed with the same excuse.

    Shit, why was this happening!?

    「W-why is Zelef-dono, the royal head chef, cooking at a place like this? Does His Majesty know about this?」

    It would be bad if the king knew about this. How much could he possibly know of the situation in my town?

    「Of course His Majesty knows that I am here. I did come for a personal reason, though. You see, the injured chef is an old friend of mine.」

    Okay, maybe he was not here under the king's orders, then. While that was a relief, it was still a fact that I had called the royal head chef's cooking disgusting.

    He continued his explanation, and it turned out that Eleanora from the Foschuroze family was involved. So, this was all Crimonia's fault.

    It was still strange that he was here, though. Sheelin was quite the distance from the capital.

    There was no way he could have made it here in time, even if he had set off the moment he had received the report of Gran's chef getting injured.

    「You came running here right after their chef got injured? That's impossible, timewise...」

    「Please excuse my rudeness, but were you aware that the chef Botts was injured, Gerardo-dono?」

    Zelef heard me murmuring to myself.

    「No, I didn't know. I only learned about it when Gran-dono told us earlier.」

    Shit, this wasn't good. They suspected me for sure.

    「I see. If you know anything about it, or if you might know of any witnesses, please let us know.」

    「I'm sorry that I can't be of any help to you.」

    「Oh no, he was attacked in a deserted alley, so finding a witness would be a miracle.」

    The hall got even noisier when Zelef said that.

    Since I had revealed that I knew about the chef attack earlier, some guests must be suspecting me, too.

    Shit, everything was falling apart because the royal head chef decided to show up.

    This entire situation was so vexing. My plan had been ruined by a single chef.

    「Zelef-dono, please don't misunderstand. It's not that the food didn't taste good. It was very delicious.」

    「Is that so? I heard you exclaiming that the food tasted bad, however. Everyone else heard you say it as well, right? Of course, I have no intentions of complaining if you thought so, but as a chef and the person in charge of the food for this party, I have to apologize if you really thought that the food was bad. I would also like to know what you did not like about it.」

    Shit, even saying it was delicious couldn't get me out anymore.

    He even cornered me loud enough that everybody heard him. I should have investigated more beforehand...

    How had he come here so quickly all the way from the capital? No matter how I looked at it, it seemed impossible!

    I couldn't think of any other excuse to cover this up.

    I couldn't tell him that it was delicious, and I couldn't tell him that it was bad. I would be insulting the food the king and his family ate if I dared to call it disgusting.

    So, the only thing I could do was act the same way as those men who ran to Gran.

    「Zelef-dono, I must apologize. It seems that I am also feeling unwell.」

    It was regrettable, but I had to pull back.

    I apologized to Gran, grabbed my son, and started to leave.

    Nobody followed us.

    I bit my lips so hard that my mouth began to bleed.

    「Father.」

    My son looked at me, but I was too preoccupied to pay attention to him.

    「We're going home.」

    「Father!」

    「Silence.」

    I made my son shut up.

    Why had the royal head chef come here? Why?!

    Once I returned home, I went straight to my study and began shouting all the things I couldn't say earlier.

    「Don't mess with me! The royal head chef?! How did someone like him end up being here?! Also, those merchants! They were all over me earlier; how could they just run to Gran like that?!」

    I got angry just thinking about it and had to sip some sweet juice to calm myself down.

    No matter how I looked at it, this must be the fault of that Cliff from the Foschuroze family. He had managed to get in my way. If he hadn't been there, I would have ruined the Faren Gramm family for good. Just thinking about that blond guy's expression made me angry again.

    Once I was done with disposing of Gran, he was next.

    「Father!」

    「Randall, you're still here?」

    「That's not the point. Why did you back down? He's just a chef.」

    「He is not just a chef; he's the royal head chef. If he tells the king what happened here, His Majesty's impression of our family will be ruined.」

    「It was so unlike you not to say anything back like that, though.」

    「Randall. You should think about your position a bit more.」

    Perhaps because nobody scolded my son, he believed that everything would go smoothly no matter what.

    I was the one who taught him that nobles were superior people, of course, but I didn't realize he was stupid enough to think that the royal head chef was just a regular chef.

    He could not tell the difference between his foes and friends. He was fourteen already, so I wished that he could understand at least that much.

    「Are you just going to leave it at that, then?」

    「I will see how the situation plays out for now. The tide has changed with what has happened today. It's possible that many people will side with Gran now.」

    「If that's the case, just threaten them some more, or bribe them with more money.」

    「I can't do anything until Zelef leaves...」

    I shouldn't try to stir trouble right now. It would be a problem if His Majesty caught wind of this.

    If he ended up doing an inspection here, it would cause us some problems.

    I told my son not to cause any trouble for a while then kicked him out from my study.

    Author's note:

    We will return to Yuna's perspective next chapter since the battle-between-nobles party is now over. w

    Gerardo believes that it's all Cliff's fault, but really, it's all due to a certain bear.

    Even if he finds out, some unbelievable thing may happen if he tries to go against her. w
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