My Thoughts

Mystification focuses on a very unique and magnetic character, Baron Ritzner Von Jung. The story is a lesson on the old maxim by the great Sun Tzu:

Know thy enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be defeated in every battle.

When a confrontation arises between the Baron and a young man called Hermann danger becomes imminent. Hermann is a master duelist and the Baron knows that Hermann's skills are far superior to his own. There is no chance of winning a duel, but he knows he can pacify the situation through subtle manipulation, or social engineering. The Baron is a very intelligent person and had preemptively delivered a book about dueling to Hermann. The Baron knew that Hermann had no choice but to read it due to his pride regarding his complete knowledge of the subject. He would have "died a thousand deaths rather than acknowledge his inability to understand anything and everything in the universe that had ever been written about the duello".

The Baron uses this knowledge of his enemy to compose a letter that absolutely satisfies Hermann's concerns. In the end, Hermann found the letter to be of the most unequivocally satisfactory nature and lost his desire for revenge.

My Rating

I would rate this story a 3.5 out of 5. While the dialog is a bit dry, the application of human manipulation is exquisitely portrayed and a dire situation is diffused. This is a story I will likely come back to.

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