Chapter 10: Fiend (1/5)

Monisa stepped onto the third floor and rounded the corner. Immediately, the maid Linda pointed left from her spot.

Entering the pointed room, Monisa noticed the two had everything set up already. A table was placed at the center of the room with an ivory stand. Affixed in place to the stand was an eye-shaped crystal. Emitting light from it, the crystal looked almost like it was the pupil of an actual eye.

Her own eyes were affixed attentively to this hallow. A divine instrument capable of peering into and manipulating the memories of others, the Oculus. The indescribable color was just as enigmatic as the god that had created it, Monster Kazmyreus, the Soul God. The god, as Monisa understood it from her teacher, was a heretical deity in the same sense that the Abyssal God was. The two of them were both dark gods.

The light that shined out from the crystal bathed the room in a color Monisa had never seen before. A color she could at best compare to blue. Bathed in the mysterious light, Siren and Fiana look even more mysterious than before. The two, in fact, seemed more like demons from the deepest abyss of Nadirelm.

“We’re done with our preparations.” Siren smiled at her. “How’re things on your end?”

People would normally describe Siren’s smile as being as sweet as honey and loveable to all. But under the light, her smile took on an eerily dark undertone.

“Where’s that concoction of yours?”

“Take a look.” Raising her hand, Fiana showed her a mug whose liquid was somehow still crimson red despite being bathed in the hallow’s light. 

“The strongest of its kind—made from the nectar of the mare rose. We threw in all the nectar we had to make sure that person is affected. It’s enough to muddle ten dragons.”

Monisa felt parts of her previous meal threaten to come up back through her throat. They were planning to go that far for an innocent young male? 

But then again, that same young male was rumored to be powerful beyond relief. Going this far was only natural to safeguard them from any unexpected events from one supposedly capable of standing on equal ground with Kebrilio.

She took the substance from Fiana. Pouring it into another mug already prepared with wine, she watched as the two mixed together as one. The redness of the nectar was slowly starting to blend together with the wine and an even stronger aroma. Soon, the mixture was complete and without any trace of the drug. Just a single sniff of the aroma was enough to permeate the entirety of Monisa’s body with its smell.

“How generous of you to avail yourself to the eighty-four-year-old Purdok wine for a single guest.” Monisa chuckled.

“Someone like him most definitely deserves it. I must admit, he deserves a special reward for his future service to us.” Siren replied.

“Yes yes yes, I get it. Hurry up and get ready.” 

And with that Monisa left the room. Drink in hand, she slowly walked down the stairs while trying to calculate the cost of the drink. Perhaps twenty-thousand gold pieces would be a conservative estimate? Only wine that came from Purdok can be said to be the greatest in its category. It was the type of luxury good only royalty could enjoy on a special day. Even the wealthiest of people would find it hard to find a distributor or source. Vintage wine was worth even more. A bottle of the same vintage as this one had once sold for the stunningly high price of a million gold. 

An exorbitant sum like that was unprecedented and remained unbroken in the last fifty years. It wasn’t as though no one had the gold for it, but that no one was willing to sell any bottle they had. Why sell it on the regular market when someone could sell it on the black market for three times the value?

But the price of Purdok Wine compared to the amount of mare rose nectar in it? The difference was…staggering, to say the very least. There was only one place in the world that produced the nectar of a mare rose—the Carnalio Duchy. The Mosya Caverns, to be exact. With an annual harvest of twenty kilograms of the mare rose, Carnalio would often only have a total production of two grams of its nectar. Normally, this nectar would be used for the production of a panacea, but a little bit of it could be used to put even a small dragon to sleep. 

Earlier, Siren and Fiana said that the amount they added was enough to put ten fully-grown dragons to sleep, meaning at least three to six grams were used just now. What a staggering number! It’d take a year or two for that amount to be produced! 

Five million gold. 

That was how much Monisa figured this mug was worth.

Back in the tavern, Elric quickly rose to his feet when he saw Monisa return. Taking the offered cup, he took a deep whiff of the mug and immediately regretted it. Not being a drinker, Elric wasn’t even close to being accustomed with the smell of wine. He didn’t even want to touch a mug of the wine, let alone one that was worth more than every single alcoholic drink in his home combined. 

Forcing himself to smile, Elric slowly raised the mug to eye level to stare at it. As he was swirling the mug, Elric noticed that Monisa was looking a little unhappy. Elric closed his eyes and began to gulp down the wine as though he was drinking medicine. Once the last of the beverage disappeared down his throat, he began to suck in deep breaths as if trying to put out a giant fire within him.

The miserable expression on Elric’s face was making Monisa just as miserable. After working at a tavern for so many years now, she was an expert and aficionado of alcohol culture. A near-priceless treasure was right in front of her and was being guzzled down by a greenhorn that didn’t know better. Like pearls before swines, having someone who didn’t even know a single thing about what they were drinking pained her heart. Had she known earlier she would’ve just brought over a mug of juice and save herself the trouble.

Elric didn’t know good wine from bad, but that didn’t mean the rest of the tavern didn’t. They were all seasoned veterans of alcohol. Men who drank almost religiously. Drunkards, to be exact.

The moment the sweet-smelling aroma wafted out from Elric’s mouth and mug was the moment everyone else in the tavern began to water at the mouth. It was legendary, that Purdok wine. It was said that any Purdok wine past a particular vintage would have its aroma linger around the mouth for three whole days and leave its drinker satisfied. Here in the tavern, every patron near Elric was definitely enjoying the aroma.

Mouths filled with saliva, the patrons slowly stood up one by one to stare enviously at Elric.

“Hey boss, what drink is that? I want a mug!”

“Aye, one for me too.”

“I’ll take a mug too, I’ll pay whatever the cost!”

“Gods damn your money! Boss! I’ll buy that wine from you!”

The tavern was ablaze with offers and shouts.

The headache was getting unbearable now. Damn those two for causing so much trouble! If she didn’t placate the patrons soon, then Monisa was confident the Forest Nymph would be destroyed from the chaos.

She quickly stood up onto a nearby table. “Quiet down! This Purdok wine was something the great Chancellor Roth imparted to us. That mug was the last!”

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