Laurent had come to the Quest Reception Office to secure the people that he needed.
「Ah, welcome, Laurent-sama. 」
The young receptionist who had previously welcomed him in a patronizing manner looked deeply sorry and was in an overly polite manner.
Even though she was sitting in a chair, she stood up and nodded her head.
Ever since he became 『Spirit’s Arsenal』’s representative, this has been happening.
Lilianne also pressured them on how cold the treatment Laurent gets.
The receptionist and her superior were rushing to Laurent and apologized.
『Gurdian of the Magic Tree』 was still inferior compared to 『Golden Hawk』, but they were still a significant customer of the Quest Reception Office.
Even though it was at the 『Golden Hawk』 request, she apologized for getting too carried away and began to treat him with a fearful look ever since.
The way she apologized was so frantic that Laurent was horrified.
「What can I do for you today? 」
「Today I’m looking for five people with 『Ore Mining B』 skill or better and five people with 『Item Storage C』 skill or better. 」
「I understand. Excuse me for a moment. 」
She flipped through the file with uncanny speed, looking for the person who would meet Laurent’s requirements.
「There are five people who meet the requirements have 『Item Storage C』 skill. 」
「Then, please set the interview immediately. 」
「Right away, sir. 」
She fills out the paperwork quickly.
「What about 『Ore Mining』? 」
「I apologize. Currently, we don’t have any job application for 『Ore Mining B』 or above. 」
She apologized profusely.
「Ah, no, it’s okay. Please raise your head. You didn’t have to go that far. 」
Laurent took her by surprise.
After that, she continued to be very polite and her attitude changed.
（This is troublesome. I can’t fulfil Lange request for Ore Mining personnel.
As I thought, when it comes to 『Ore Mining B』 workers, it’s not very often that you have free workers. ）
By the time Laurent left the Quest Reception Office and fretting about getting more workforce, it was already nightfall in the city.
The stores were lit up and everyone was stopping by the bar on their way home from work.
（Shall I stop by the bar for the first time in a long while? ）
Laurent remembered that when he was an adventurer, he always exchanged information in the bar to get insights for their adventures.
It’s been a long time since he walked through the bar’s western door.
Then he happened to meet someone from the alchemy guild, with whom he had been in contact during his time in 『Golden Hawk』.
「You are Laurent-san, aren’t you? 」
「Zens-san, long time no see. 」
Since they hadn’t seen each other in a while, they decided to have a drink at the table together to keep their old friendship warm.
「So, Laurent-san, aren’t you no longer a member of 『Golden Hawk』? 」
「Yeah. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been expelled. 」
「Really? Then I have no problem complaining about Lucius to you. 」
Combined with the alcohol, Zens began to vent his frustration towards Lucius.
「Really. This is just awful. He wanted me to deliver 200 gold worth of Iron A, and then he asked me to suspend the refiners who could make 『Earth Craft』. On top of that, he insists on making the best wedding trinkets using silverwork. 」
「I heard a high ranking nobleman is going to hold a silversmithing competition to celebrate his daughter’s wedding. They want people to make pieces that will be showcased there. In short, it’s all about trying to get us to work for their pleasure. How are we supposed to make the finest silverworks when we are suspending our high-rank refiners? 」
Zens stirred up his ale impatiently.
（What makes Lucius demand such an outrageous thing? It’s not easy for Zens-san. And they are the largest alchemy guild in the city. ）
Laurent couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
「It’s a big mess at the scene. I’m sure Laurent-dono know this. How much money does it cost to increase a skill rank? 」
「Yes, I feel you. 」
Once you acquire a skill, the skill will not deteriorate easily, but it will cost you a good deal of money to raise it.
Zens must have also invested a good amount of money upfront into improving his craftsmen’s skills, however, the expenses are all covered by his guild and Lucius won’t be responsible for any of it.
「Right now, the people under Lucius’ command are watching our furnaces. Anyone with an 『Ore Refining B』 or higher who can refine 『Earth Craft』 is not allowed to go near the furnace. The refiner who was about to acquire 『Ore Refining A』 in a few more days was not able to train at all. By the time they get back, we’ll have to start over from the beginning. 」
（Lucius is Lucius. 『Guardian of the Magic Tree 』 only snatched one dungeon from him. I can’t believe he’s pressuring the alchemists under his guild control like this. ）
Laurent was feeling even more sorry for Zens.
Then a brilliant idea comes to his mind.
「Hey, Zens-san. Would you like to buy some of our iron? I don’t mind selling the iron A for 100 Gold. If you sell it for 200 Gold, it would be profitable, right? 」
「100 Gold for Iron A? That would be helpful, but are you sure selling for that price? 」
「Yeah, the quality is good and that guy is dominating the alchemy-related market. So it’s just sitting in a warehouse, stashed away with no buyers. 」
「I see. No, but I feel somewhat bad. Even though we are on the same side as Lucius. 」
「Would you instead be willing to loan five people with 『Ore Mining B』 to me? Of course, they will be paid. 」
「Huh. That’s totally fine with me. 」
Zens was just getting pressured into refining by Lucius and he has some mining staffs that he doesn’t know what to do.
「So it’s settled then. How about you loan the refiners who are being suspended to me as well? And I’d be happy to take care of the Iron A and the Silverwork materials at my place. 」
「No, that would be perfect. But is it really a good idea to do that? 」
「Don’t worry, just make sure that Lucius doesn’t find out about this, will you? At the moment Lucius is on my tail and I think it would be a bad idea if he found out I was outsourcing from Zens-san. 」
「Hmm, okay. 」
（There’s something there. ）
Even Zens realized that there’s something behind Laurent’s story.
However, Zens also didn’t expect that there was someone in 『Arsenal’s Spirit』 who could refine 100 『Earth Craft』 in a month by herself.
Besides, now was not the time to be picky.
If this continues, his workshop will have tremendous expenses and he will be forced to fire a large number of staffs, and if he is not able to do so, he will be bankrupt.
「I understand. I’ll do as Laurent-san tells me. 」
They decided to meet somewhere secluded tomorrow to discuss the details.
As he left the bar, Roland felt as though a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
（Fuu—. Somehow I’ve managed to find the workforce to do it. It looks like we’ll be able to handle the stock, and that’ll help Lange develop his management skills. ）
Roland needed to make sure that he continues developing not only Arie’s skills but Lange’s as well.
There was an urgent need to secure staff to develop and maintain Lange’s management skills.
（The more people I hire, the harder it is to maintain. ）
Anyway, now that he was free from hiring people, Laurent began to think about his next move to surprise Lucius again.
Laurent stopped at a weapons store that was still open at night.
Currently, almost all of the alchemists’ guilds were under Lucius’ control, so everything in the city’s shops was weapons made by the alchemists under Lucius’ control.
（That’s cheap. ）
As I looked at the items, I thought.
They were all unbelievably cheap and no matter how hard I tried, our guild wouldn’t be able to make weapons cheaper than this.
（Lucius may be buying up cheaply, but I’m sure there’s a big difference in capital and scale. ）
If you order bulk items at once, you get more discount.
The alchemy guild’s part would also be able to use the large amount of cash they received for workforce and equipment to produce products even cheaper.
The ten alchemy guilds under Lucius have more than 500 excellent alchemists under their control in total.
Over 500 alchemists are scrambling every day to figure out how to make weapons cheaply and in large quantities to supply the market.
On the other hand, Laurent’s workshop still only has two employees.
Even if we were to recruit staff this time, it would still be less than 20 people.
（It doesn’t matter how much I turn upside down, I’m not going to win. ）
In fact, Lilianne could only buy 『Earth Craft』 from Laurent, but when it came to normal weapons, she was forced to buy them from the Alchemy Guild under Lucius.
Roland thinks about it.
He wondered what he could do to counter Lucius.
（『Guardian of the Magic Tree』 won’t be ordering the 『Earth Craft』 from us forever. So eventually, we’ll have to go up against them head-on in the weapons market. But the scale and capital difference are too big to win the price war. If that was the case, the only way is to make a weapon that fills the gap in the market that can’t be made by the guilds under Lucius. We need to make one product that stands out. We can’t just use our current staff to do that. No matter how high quality we can make, we can’t create with only one staff. We need to find staff with more unique skills… ）
As Laurent walks back to his room, thinking, he sees a girl selling flowers.
She is talking to people on the street in a faint, confident voice.
Her gestures were awkward and she was clearly not a good salesgirl.
「Ano, excuse me… Ah. 」
She tries to talk to a man walking down the street with flowers, but the man doesn’t even notice the girl and quickly walks away.
The girl nodded with a pout.
（Poor girl. There’s nothing sadder in life than being forced to work a job you’re not suited for. ）
Laurent suddenly decided to appraise her skills.
The following were her skills.
『Spirit Jewelry Addition』Ａ→Ｓ
（Woah. 『Silverwork』, 『Product Development』, 『Product Design』’s potentials are all above A?! No, more importantly, what is this 『Spirit Jewelry Addition』 thing? I’ve never seen or heard of such skills. Is that a unique skill?! ）
Laurent uses 『Appraisal』 to display more detailed explanations for 『Spirit Addition』.
『Spirit Jewelry Addition』
The skill used to seal a spirit inside a gold or silver gemstone.
It is especially common to be sealed in silver.
The gold and silver gems in which the spirits are sealed have special effects on them.
「Hey, you. 」
Roland unconsciously approached the girl selling flowers. The girl who turned around was an elf girl with flowing silver hair, deep green eyes, and pointed ears.