The Best Assassin, Incarnated into a Different World’s Aristocrat - Chapter 87
- The Best Assassin, Incarnated into a Different World’s Aristocrat
- Chapter 87 - The assassin offers chocolate
- Chapter 87 : The assassin offers chocolate
After we finished checking our skills, we held a tea party.
There was some food I wanted the girls to taste.
The party wasn’t held in the mansion, but at a desk and table with a view on the vegetable garden my mom had grown, which could be considered our flower bed in name only.
…After seeing the world’s most beautiful flower garden at the castle, I could see the terrible gap between the two. But my mother declared, and I quote,『Vegetables produce flowers too. So if we grow flowers, we may as well grow edible ones』.
The vegetables we grew here were excellent, and I actually agreed with her idea.
[Girls, everything’s ready.] (Lugh)
I put together a specially made herbal tea and a special pastry that was finally on the verge of being commercialized.
Normally, this would’ve been Tarte’s job, but this time, I took care of it to surprise them both.
[Ah! This is the stuff you brought me as a souvenir a long time ago. It was so delicious I wanted to eat some again.] (Dia)
[I’m glad you remember it. Back then, it was still in the trial stage, but I finally made it into a real product last month.] (Lugh)
[I love it too. It’s slightly bitter, and sweet at the same time.] (Tarte)
[I know, right? Chocolate is great!] (Dia)
What I gave them was chocolate.
A long time ago, before Dia became part of Tuatha Dé, I brought some to her as a souvenir during one of our monthly secret meetings for her to eat.
That’s how she knew about chocolate, and so did Tarte because I had her taste-test the trial product.
[Go ahead, try it.] (Lugh)
[Hmmm~! It’s yummy. It gives such a luxurious feel, am I right?] (Dia)
[It truly does! No other sweets can provide this mysterious and enchanting sensation.] (Tarte)
The two of them immediately savored the chocolate.
I took a bite too.
Yeah, it’s well done.
The texture was smooth. And the ratio of cocoa was good, just one step away from being too bitter. If it contained any less cocoa than this, the chocolate would’ve been lacking in cocoa flavor and unsatisfactory, and if any more than this was used, it would’ve been too bitter to enjoy.
The milk chocolate that was commercialized in my previous world had a cocoa ratio of 20% to 40%, but for this one, it was about 45%. It was called dark chocolate.
This was the best way to let people enjoy the appeal of chocolate.
[But compared to the one you let me taste before, this one feels less smooth, a bit crumbly, and lacking in flavor. Ah! But it’s still a marvellous treat. I apologize for being inconsiderate.] (Tarte)
[No need to apologize. If anything, I’m glad you noticed. Because you’re right, this chocolate is of lower quality than the one I gave you before.] (Lugh)
[Is that so? Was it made with different ingredients?] (Tarte)
[I’ll reveal the secret later. For now, just enjoy the chocolate.] (Lugh)
[I will!] (Tarte)
Tarte’s palate seemed to be improving in proportion to her cooking skills.
It was pretty impressive of her to notice the difference.
[Hmmm~! It goes perfectly well with herbal tea!] (Dia)
[It’s not bad, but I think coffee would pair up better with chocolate.] (Lugh)
[What’s “ko-fi”? I’ve never heard of it.] (Dia)
[I’ll find it someday, because I’m sure it’s out there somewhere in the big wide world.] (Lugh)
Coffee. If I could be the first to find it and distribute it on the whole continent, I would definitely be able to amass a huge fortune.
[But this really took a lot of time. We managed to make a prototype back in Milteu, but I cannot believe we couldn’t commercialize it until last month.] (Tarte)
[Yeah, that was laborious. Making chocolate from cocoa fruits took an awful lot of hard work. It was time-consuming, complicated, and it required special skills. If I had been the only one who could make it, we wouldn’t have been able to make it a product. So I recruited a skilled pastry chef to train with me. And after less than a year of trial and error, it finally reached a level where it could be sold.] (Lugh)
Making chocolate from cocoa fruits was extremely difficult.
For the preliminary arrangements, the cocoa beans were removed from the fruits, wrapped in stuff like banana peels for fermentation, and then dried.
…It may sound simple, but the taste and flavor varied depending on the quality of the yeast used for fermentation, and it was necessary to pay close attention to the environment in which it was fermented, and other factors like the number of days it took depended on the surrounding environment.
The drying process was also tricky, even the slightest mistake could ruin everything.
Then after preparing them, we had to roast the beans, peel off the shells… Again, this required the patience of a saint. Next, we had to smash and grind them, and mix them with the ingredients… And then we move on to kneading the chocolate through a process called refining and conching, but it was a daunting task that took about 72 hours of continuous kneading. Once again, in order to make it smooth, mixing it with all our strength wasn’t enough, it required technique.
After that, there was the tempering process, during which the chocolate was repeatedly boiled in hot water at different temperatures to adjust the fat crystallization and improve its texture and flavor.
That part was the most difficult of all. Once this was done, it was finally ready to be molded.
I had recruited a first-class confectioner to help, but it took them a year to finally get a passing grade.
After all that hard work, the chocolate they finished was right in front of me.
[Though this one was made by a different person, so it doesn’t taste as great as the one you made, Lugh-sama.] (Tarte)
Tarte stated so as she brought the last piece to her mouth, and had a melty expression on her face.
Dia was making a similar face too.
They both had a real fondness for chocolate.
If it made them this happy, then it was worth the effort to commercialize it.
[Phew, I ended up eating it in a flash.] (Dia)
[…I should have taken the time to savor it more.] (Tarte)
Their plates were now empty.
Normally, I would still have some in reserve for another serving, but this time, there was no extra.
[Do you think it’ll sell?] (Lugh)
[Yeah, it definitely will! Every nobleman would pay gold to buy it!] (Dia)
[I agree. If it was sold at a price I could afford with my allowance, I don’t think I could help myself either.] (Tarte)
In reality, it wasn’t only the taste that made people attracted to chocolate.
The polyphenol and theobromine contained in cocoa had anti-fatigue and relaxing effects.
It was a medicine, so to speak. Once you had a bite of chocolate, your body would subconsciously yearn for it whenever you felt tired, and eating it at such times made it feel special.
[I distributed it to our regulars last month, and it’s been pretty well received.] (Lugh)
Sending it to our regulars was a measure against resale and to prevent congestion in the store, but more than that, the overwhelming advantage of this system was that it made them purchase any product we wanted.
No matter how good a product could be, it was meaningless if the customers didn’t pick it up.
But if you made it one of the assorted products, you could easily clear up the hurdle of getting people to pick it up.
Moreover, the customers I sent the product to were all wealthy aristocrats who had the power to transmit information.
In no time at all, rumors of chocolate spread explosively, giving it the reputation of a phantom candy.
[…I think the complaints must be flooding in at an alarming rate.] (Dia)
[It was my first time distributing candy, but the tea leaves were well-received too. I’m sure they won’t complain if I include chocolate with them.] (Lugh)
[I don’t mean that kind of complaint, I mean claims like ‘Make more of it’ or ‘Sell it in your store too’ and such.] (Dia)
She was right. I had already received countless of that kind of claim.
Such as requests for additional purchases, pleas for us to sell it in store for sure next month, confirmation of whether there would be a line or not, and so on…
We had quite a few unreasonable customers.
[Good inference. If we’re talking about those kinds of claims, then Orna is drowning under them. But Maha is dealing with them like a champion.] (Lugh)
Anyone other than Maha would’ve already snapped and resigned, I’m sure.
There were a ton of claims, each as annoying as the authority of the sender could allow.
[Wow, that’s brutal.] (Dia)
[Um, Lugh-sama, if it’s so tasty it’s become this popular, won’t other establishments try to copy us?] (Tarte)
[I think that would be hard. Our cocoa supplier is overseas. Orna is the only one who does business with them, and more importantly, making chocolate is too complicated. …They would need a hundred years to properly research how to make it.] (Lugh)
Even if they had access to a cocoa purchasing route, they wouldn’t even think of wrapping cocoa beans in banana peels and fermenting them as a starting point.
Following that, it was one difficult process after the other, such as tempering and whatnot, which required not just knowledge, but incredible dexterity as well.
It was impossible for other stores to copy that.
[The problem is if they try to bribe or kidnap the confectioner.] (Dia)
[I haven’t omitted anything on that front. I’ve invested so much in this, so I’ve taken every precaution. If anyone attempts anything against him… they’ll regret it for the rest of their lives.] (Lugh)
I had dealt with a bunch of individuals like that back when I put moisturizer on the market.
That’s how I had accumulated the know-how on how to handle them.
Although, the major trading companies were already suffering from that time, so I was convinced that they wouldn’t try to lay a hand on us this time.
[This chocolate is so delicious, yet so difficult to make.] (Tarte)
[Yeah, I guess. But that’s what makes it a weapon. In order to make this weapon stronger, I will sell chocolate only once a month, and alternate once every two months between selling it in store and selling it to regulars. I distributed it to them last month, so this month, they will be available in store for one day.] (Lugh)
[Wow, that’s some nasty strategy. You’re going to make it one heck of a premium product.] (Dia)
And that was my aim.
Only Orna could make it. Not to mention, it was the phantom candy that was sold only once a month.
That sense of scarcity raised the value of chocolate even higher.
But Tarte tilted her head to the side as if to say she didn’t understand the point of doing all this.
[Um, even if it had no scarcity value, we would still get numerous orders for it, wouldn’t we? Then shouldn’t we make them anyway?] (Tarte)
[If we’re only thinking about profit, yes. But if it has a scarcity value, then there are other ways to use it. …This is the phantom candy, the hottest topic among nobles and millionaires alike right now, so they would be pleased to receive it, right? I developed this chocolate for entertainment purposes. …Also, it has another purpose.] (Lugh)
The more rarely available something was, the more people envied it, and the more noblemen and wealthy men desired it.
In that respect, chocolate was perfect. Eating it filled them with pride, only Orna sold it, and it was available only once a month.
And it came with the right quality.
[Oh! I get it! Earlier, you mentioned how Orna was drowning under tons of claims, right? Then does this mean you can impose some crazy conditions to fulfill in exchange for chocolate?] (Dia)
[You’re very perceptive. Way to go. …It helps that aristocrats and millionaires are such show-offs. Especially men who try to look good in front of women. The latter urge the former to get chocolate, the men promise to get it no matter what, and once they’ve backed themselves into a corner, if I ask them for information, privileges, or any kind of accommodation, they’ll easily accept.] (Lugh)
[Wow, what a black heart you have. Even darker than chocolate!] (Dia)
What Orna demanded as conditions for sending chocolate wasn’t money, but things that no amount of money could buy.
This was what would create tremendous profits for Orna in the future.
To my surprise, even the royal family of another country had fallen under the spell of my candy and offered me something unbelievable.
This was made possible by the scarcity of chocolate.
[Anyway, without further ado, I think I’ll take this as a souvenir and go make a request. Chocolate is already more valuable than gold in the eyes of nobles. I’m sure they’ll do me a huge favor for it.] (Lugh)
I took out an elegantly wrapped paper box.
[Ah! Lugh, that’s not fair! You had one more full box! So you do have extra chocolate!] (Dia)
[I told you, this one is a gift.] (Lugh)
[Just who are you going to meet?] (Dia)
[The light magic user. To make use of your skill. You’re impatient to try and use light magic, right?] (Lugh)
[Hrrm… I can’t complain if you say that.] (Dia)
[Good girl. As a reward, I’ll ask for even more chocolate next time.] (Lugh)
[Yay! I love you, Lugh!] (Dia)
Dia gave me a hug, and Tarte looked at us enviously.
Same pattern as usual, I guess.
…Or so I thought, but then Tarte gave me a hug as well, saying『I love you, Lugh-sama 』. Maybe that became the catalyst that changed her mind.
[For now, let me go. I have to get ready to go see them.] (Lugh)
[Um, I’m sorry.] (Tarte)
Initially, I was going to send a written request for a light magic spell, but then I decided to meet her in person.
The one I was going to meet was Nevan, the daughter of Duke Romanlung. I asked her to teach me light magic with chocolate as a gift.
And the reason I decided to go see her in person was because I wanted to ask her for something I couldn’t address the last time we met.
It was a request for her help in assassinating the Second Prince for sure.
Knowing the daughter of Romanlung, she would surely be able to do what I expected her to do.
…And I also had a concern. I wanted to reconfirm whether she and the others really wanted the Second Prince dead. In this industry, even if the clients requested it, there was a possibility that their true motive was something different.
Regardless of how it turned out, I was hoping the chocolate would make her feel a little more relaxed.
Sometimes, the candy could be mightier than the sword.
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