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Chapter 30: The Empire’s Worst Psychopath (3)

Anyone who has played Blood and Bone would inevitably develop a disdain for the Empire.

Its strength is disgustingly overpowering, making cooperation almost a forced strategy for easier progression in the game. Yet, allies as despicable as these are rare.

Their actions are consistently off-putting, with backstabbing at the slightest distraction being a given.

They’re a group of lunatics who will do anything if it benefits them.

This led me to be certain about one thing:

The Empire must have had a hand in this incident.

There’s a level of despicableness that, once crossed, paradoxically turns into reliability.

If it’s the Empire, they’re undoubtedly concocting some abhorrent scheme. If it’s the Empire, they’re surely up to some dog-like trickery.

I trusted in the Empire’s despicableness.

‘Thinking about it, that fake Black Fang was too strange.’

It was obvious.

I couldn’t understand their motives at all.

The idea that they came to steal something from the black market doesn’t hold up since they showed no interest in the largest warehouses.

To say they came for slave liberation is contradicted by the numerous slaves who lost their lives to the Black Fang’s bombs.

If their purpose was truly humanitarian, there were surely better means than terrorism.

Moreover, targeting this black market specifically doesn’t make sense.

Only the protagonist of the prequel and I know that the Archmage is already dead.

To the outside world, this place is still reputed to be operated by that great Archmage.

There couldn’t have been a more inappropriate place for thievery.

Then, why do it?

The reason is quite simple.

There had to be a reason that it had to be here.

A reason to attack the black market.

This brings me to a logical suspicion.

What if this fake Black Fang was associated with the Empire?

The Empire’s disdain for this black market was a fact even in the prequel.

The Empire certainly had a motive for such an act.

‘Then, why impersonate the Black Fang?’

That, too, can be somewhat surmised.

Using an enemy to control another enemy, such tactics were commonly employed by the Empire in the prequel.

From the Empire’s perspective, they likely aimed for a scenario where the Black Fang and the Archmage were at odds.

Moreover, many guests of the black market were also caught up and killed in this terrorism. Naturally, only the wealthy noble class would have access to such a place.

‘This might be a bit of a stretch, but.’

Perhaps, that too was part of the Empire’s cunning strategy.

Consider the current situation.

What if the Empire publicizes this terrorism as an act committed by the Black Fang?

What happens if this incident, which resulted in the deaths of numerous civilians and many nobles caught in the explosion, is entirely blamed on the Black Fang?

What if public opinion is swayed to believe the Black Fang orchestrated this terror attack on the black market with the intent of massacring all the nobles?

It wasn’t hard to imagine.

In an instant, the Black Fang would be reduced to an extremist revolutionary group, intent on killing all nobles.

‘Then, that would complicate the revolution.’

It’s obvious.

The reason I held the Black Fang’s revolutionary potential in high regard was because they had been more rational in their actions than expected.

They do not harm civilians.

They do not kill people simply because they are nobles.

Their rebellion targets only the imperial royal family.

If things continued this way, it was likely that the Black Fang could secure the nobility as their backing.

Not all nobles are evil, despite the Empire’s corruption.

Surely, there are those who, if persuaded well, could become valuable allies.

Considering the strength of the Black Fang, there would be those among them willing to betray the Empire for their own gain.

But if things proceed in this manner... the Black Fang becomes the public enemy of the Empire’s nobility.

Being a guest at the black market would not justify death.

Sure, some may have come here for unspeakable and vile purposes, but others were here searching for materials available only here.

Didn’t I also visit purely for shopping, without any malicious intent?

If this incident became public, the tarnishing of the Black Fang’s image would be unavoidable.

Even nobles who were somewhat favorable towards the Black Fang would turn their backs.

Facing the imperial royal family is challenging enough without making more enemies. For the Black Fang, preventing this scenario is imperative.

‘So, this is where I come in.’

With that thought, I allowed myself a slight smile.

In the current situation.

There’s only one thing I need to do.

To ensure the Empire doesn’t distort the event at will, it’s essential to firmly establish our stance in advance.

To declare that this massacre was not the work of the Black Fang.

Rather, it was a punishment for those who massacred civilians in the name of the Black Fang.

“Siel. Make sure it’s untraceable, handle it with care.”

With my words, Siel leaves a trace with magic. In time, this message will rise high into the sky with a loud noise.

In other words, this is the Black Fang’s first official statement to be commemorated.

Well. I’m not exactly the leader of the Black Fang. Leaving a statement on my own does weigh a bit on my conscience.

‘After all, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.’

I already figured out that the Black Fang had a tolerance for this sort of thing through the incident with Lien.

Be it the assassination of the Empire’s knight commander, the elimination of its leadership, or dealing with dark mages.

Among the feats known to be accomplished by the Black Fang, the annihilation of an elite unit was actually orchestrated by Lien.

I’m certain of it because I witnessed it myself.

However, in the public eye, it’s treated as an act committed by the Black Fang. And the Black Fang hasn’t denied it either.

The reason for their acceptance is simple.

Claiming such deeds as their own builds the necessary prestige for the revolution.

The Black Fang isn’t some incomprehensible monster group.

They’re a revolutionary group that acts surprisingly sensibly.

This statement will definitely support the activities of the Black Fang. So, there shouldn’t be any significant backlash from their side.

They’ll probably turn a blind eye to it like the last time.

Well, even if my assumption is wrong and the Black Fang becomes furious over this matter, having Lien and Siel means there’s not much to worry about.

‘If this goes well, maybe I’ll try to initiate contact with them once.’

They seem to act in a manner I respect, and we seem to be somewhat on the same wavelength—a powerful force that could be a decent ally.

“It’s done,” Siel announced.

It ended so quickly I worried the spell might be flawed. But astonishingly, there wasn’t a single fault to find.

The completion was almost artistic.

I’ve felt this before, but Siel is just as much of an overpowered as Lien.

If not for a poorly drafted contract, their pure magical talent alone would make even an Archmage drool with envy.

‘Is this what it means to be a protagonist’s companion?’

It’s incredibly reassuring.

Though, their personality does give me a bit of worry.

‘The kid is just too naive.’

Considering the absurd request to leave a statement in the name of the Black Fang.

Yet, as always, Siel didn’t utter a single question.

They just went ahead and did as I said.

They’d probably nod without hesitation even if I asked them to vouch for me.

I appreciate their devotion, but I can’t help worrying if such naivety can survive the world.

While harboring these thoughts and observing Siel... I suddenly realized something peculiar.

Now that I think about it, why don’t Siel and Lien question my actions, but more puzzling, why doesn’t Miss Rubia ask why I’m doing this?

Am I really to believe she has nothing to say while I impersonate the Empire’s most nefarious secret organization and issue a statement? Does that make any sense?

Driven by curiosity, I asked Miss Rubia if she wasn’t at all curious about why I was engaging in such actions.

“I, I support whatever you do. So, if there’s anything you need, just let me know.”

But the response I got was a rambling one.

It was clear what had happened in this situation.

“It seems you still don’t quite understand.”

She must still be half asleep, not fully grasping the situation yet.

Siel is one thing, but she’s really something else. How has she managed to survive in this harsh world being so absent-minded?

And her personality is oddly too kind. How she succeeded as a businesswoman is a mystery to me.

Our potion business, which involves duplicating money.

Miss Rubia plays a crucial role in it, yet my trust in her as a business partner is plummeting in real time.

I had hoped to benefit from her expertise in promotion or networking as a businesswoman. I’m already worried about whether we can actually get this business off the ground.

‘It seemed like she wasn’t even listening when I explained the business plan earlier.’

Well, given the help I’ve received from her,

It’s only right, out of loyalty, to share the profits, no matter how unreliable she seems.

I remember the amount I’ve borrowed so far. With the help I’ve received, it’s only right to return at least three times that amount to save face.

“Oh, no! I, I do understand everything! I completely empathize with you!”

As my expression darkened, Miss Rubia hastily exclaimed.

Did she ingest something wrong?

While I was bewildered, Miss Rubia continued to ramble on.

Saying things about overthrowing the Empire together, how she genuinely agrees with my ideology.

Her voice trembling as if she was undergoing some life-threatening ideological scrutiny.

A completely incomprehensible situation.

After a moment of contemplation… I finally realized what was happening.

The cause of Miss Rubia’s sudden erratic behavior.

I had a rough guess as to what it might be.

‘What in the world did Asher put in that drink?’

I couldn’t be more grateful that I hadn’t drunk the alcohol provided in the VIP seats.

I knew Asher was extreme, but I never imagined he would stoop to such actions even towards his auction house customers.

I had no choice but to retract any declaration of support for Asher.

To think he would exterminate so many fake Black Fangs without blinking an eye, and even feed Miss Rubia some bizarre drug to the point of putting her in this state.

Truly, the more you dig, the more horror stories you find about him.

What kind of monster does something like this?

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