When Marco comes back from the dungeon, he was called into the Guild Leader’s room.
「…These are the outlines of what happened in the dungeon. 」
He reported his judgment on how Lilianne owned a large quantity of 『Earth Craft』.
After Lucius heard Marco’s report, he opens his closed eyes and glared at him.
「In other words, something like this happened? Although you arrived at the bottom of the dungeon, you tried to turn back without fighting. On the contrary, you didn’t do anything when the rival guild was trying to capture the dungeon and just looking at them. Is that about right? 」
「Guild Leader, at the time our forces were in a state of exhaustion? Fighting 100 Skeleton Warriors without an Earth Craft… 」
「Don’t make excuses. Aren’t you a senior member of 『Golden Hawk』? 」
「Um, I’m sorry. 」
「Enough. You can leave now. 」
Marco nodded his head and left the room, looking crestfallen.
Lucius sighed sullenly.
（Good grief. This will be trouble if I can’t handle it. Even though I had a connection with the nobles, right now I’m in a delicate situation that can make or break my control over this town. ）
His facial expression looks unusually troubled.
（Count Elsen is in contact with us because we are the best guild in town. If the story about our dungeon capture gets snatched spreads, our reputation will plummet. ）
「Deanna, Marco is demoted. 」
「Hai. Who will replace him as the commanding officer? 」
「Right. Do we have someone capable to fill-in? 」
「What about Jill? She’s on-board and has the ability to back it up. No one will complain if you select her. 」
Lucius put his hand to his mouth and ponder a little.
（She’s someone that Laurent raised. ）
「No, wait. It’s too early for her. Let’s pick another person. 」
「I understand? I’ll create a list of potential nominees. 」
「Do that. 」
Since before, Lucius has tried to keep off the people that Laurent raised from the position of power.
Because if he did that, whether he likes it or not, all the top brass will be filled with people that Laurent raised.
If Laurent’s supporters dominate the Guild’s executives, he will soon hear people saying, 「Laurent should become the Guild Leader. 」
And even though he’s no longer here, he still has to make sure the executives are filled with his people.
「By the way, where did 『Guardian of the Magic Tree』 get their hands on 『Earth Craft』? All the alchemist who can refine the 『Earth Craft』 in this town should be in our control already… 」
「Perhaps some of them has betrayed us. 」
「Get the alchemist guild representatives right away. I’ll find the traitor and screw them up. 」
Laurent and Lilianne met in a coffee shop.
The coffee shop is suitable for couples or business meetings, and anyone can easily stop by.
「For the first time in a long time, our guild managed to clear the dungeon earlier than 『Golden Hawk』. It’s all thanks to Laurent-san. 」
「I don’t do much. 」
「Last month Jill-san won the top spot in the battle ranking, but this month, I’ll catch up one way or another. 」
「Congratulations. I heard that you killed 35 Skeleton Warriors alone. It’s a remarkable achievement. 」
「It’s also because of Laurent-san who worked hard to supply a lot of Earth Crafts. I could’ve defeated more, but I was in a position where I think about my whole party than my own performance. 」
Lilianne quietly sipped her tea.
Today she looked more beautiful than ever.
Right now, she has this kind of grace of a woman with full accomplishment.
「It’s tough. Protecting your honour as an A-rank adventurer. 」
「Mm, I can feel that. We’ve found a mine inside the dungeon, so we can get a lot of 『Earth Craft』 ores. Will you take over the refining 『Earth Craft』 with 『Arsenal’s Spirit』? 」
「Sure. I will do it. I also have a request for you. 」
「Oh, what is it? 」
Lilianne leaned forward, eager to hear what Laurent’s request is.
「Right now I had someone with 『Ore Mining』 and 『Mine Management』 skill on my guild. 」
「Hmm. If Laurent says it like that, he seemed to be a talented person. 」
「Would you like him to join us in mining the dungeon? 」
「I thought there were not enough people to help collect items from the dungeon. If you have someone, I would like to request one too. 」
She takes out a piece of paper on the spot and writes a permit to enter the dungeon.
「This is the permit. You can go into the dungeon any time you pass this to the guarding member. 」
「Thank you. 」
「No problem. Oh crap, look at the time. I have to be somewhere else for a meeting now. I must leave now. Excuse me. 」
「Okay, see you later. 」
「Let’s get the meeting started. 」
In the 『Arsenal’s Spirit』’s workshop, Lange started today’s meeting with a board to take notes and planning in one hand.
He was also in charge of relaying these messages at the workshop.
「Today I’m going to excavate the ore mining at the dungeon that 『Guardian of the Magic Tree』 captured the other day and I’ll leave the workshop throughout the morning. Laurent-san, please support Arie-san for today. 」
「Today’s plan for Arie-san is refining 30 Earth Crafts. 」
「Let’s do our best today. The meeting is over. 」
After Lange finished the morning meeting, everyone begins to do their work.
Lange prepares to go down to the dungeon with a pickaxe in his hand, Arie set the fire, and Laurent holds the ores and tools from the warehouse and begins to prepare for refining.
Before Lange left, Laurent decided to say something to him.
「Lange, this is an opportunity for you to develop your 『Mine Management』 skill. Not only 『Mine Management』 skill, but you can also develop 『Ore Mining』 skill. 」
「Hai. I’ll try my very best. 」
「I’ll put in a request to assemble all the people you need for 『Mine Management』. You can make any request if you need something. 」
「Hai. I’m off to observe the dungeon’s mine, see you later. 」
Then, he’s leaving the workshop with his favourite pickaxe.
While he’s busy supporting Arie, he was interested in the way Lange organizes the ore workshop neatly.
（My decision to entrust it to Lange was right after all. ）
When I appraised Lange’s skill this morning, his 『Workshop Management』 skill is already B-rank.
（The efficiency and cost control are a perfect fit. Now that we managed our human resources, I do not doubt that I can leave the workshop with him. ）
「Arie, how is it going? 」
Seeing her looking at the furnace, he asked.
「Everything seems in order. 」
Arie retrieves 『Earth Craft』 ore, which hadn’t yet been produced from the furnace.
「Are you going to take it out already? 」
「Hai. Once we cool down the 『Earth Craft』 here, the quality will become higher. 」
「Oh—, really? 」
「It takes a little time. It’s all thanks to Lange-san that I noticed this. 」
「That’s good. 」
Arie hammered the ore she had retrieved with a little hammer and then put it back into the furnace again.
Now she knows the timing when she could pick up and strike the heated ore.
（This is strange. I couldn’t do all of this before. I can do it easily now. Thanks to Laurent-san, I can do this. ）
Seeing Arie’s growth, Laurent felt complicated emotion inside him.
She was growing beyond his prediction.
Eventually, she will surpass him.
He never felt that loneliness again.
Because he understands, like all the people he has been raised, Arie was about to become more independent.
「Laurent-san, I’d need the prepared coal soon. 」
「Oops, sorry. 」
Laurent, who was engrossed in deep emotion, came back to reality when he heard Arie’s voice.
「That’s no good. Lately, I’ve been entrusting things to Lange that my skill became dull. 」
「He is amazing. Working has become so much easier since he’s here. 」
「Lange is unmatched. 」
「But recently Laurent-san isn’t around much. I’m kind of disappointed. 」
She said that in a low whisper, face red with embarrassment.
Too bad Laurent didn’t hear it well.
「Eh? What? 」
「No, it’s nothing. Thank you, Laurent-san. 」
「Eh? What’s the matter? Why suddenly saying thanks? 」
「Before I meet Laurent-san I couldn’t keep a steady job, I always ended up getting fired repeatedly. I couldn’t improve my skill like this. Because of Laurent-san showing me that I have talent in 『Refining』, I could be what I am today. 」
「I only helped awaken your talents. 」
「Laurent-san, if you like, tonight… 」
At that moment, Laurent noticed black smoke rising from the furnace.
「Hey, Arie. The ore is burning. Was it supposed to be like that? 」
「Eh? Oh, noo— 」
She quickly put out the fire and took out the ore.
Ah, she is wasting one and feeling down about it.
「We can’t use that. As I thought, I’m no match with Lange. It seems like my presence only distracting you. 」
「No, that’s not it. 」
She was squirming and her face still red.
If he knew she had failed because thinking of him, she would have died of embarrassment.
She then went on making more 『Earth Craft』 without fail, but because of the mistake she made, she could only make nine 『Earth Crafts A』.
In the afternoon, Lange brought back the ore.
「Otsukare. How was it, Lange? 」
「I brought back good ore. I’ve been digging a lot of different mines, but this mine is likely to yield pretty good ore. 」
「OK, let’s talk about the arrangement. 」
They quickly went inside the workshop and started the meeting.
They were talking about the mine’s size, ore’s quality and the number of people needed.
「Can I get five people with B-rank in 『Ore Mining』 and another five people for transport? If you do that, you can extend Arie-san’s refining 『Earth Craft A』 up to 15 pieces a day. 」
Said Lange with confidence.
「Is ore quality bring so much difference in the end product? 」
「Yeah, if the ore is in good quality, then the refined 『Earth Craft』 will be better than that. 」
「I see. Then, I’ll manage the personnel on my part. 」
「Thank you for the assistance. 」
「Arie’s break will be over soon. I will go to the quest reception office and commission for a job. You prepare for Arie’s support. 」
When Laurent was about to go to secure the workers, there was a sign of someone coming in.
（Who is it? ）
There was someone he hadn’t expected in the workshop’s entrance. He was startled.
「Hello. How are you, Laurent? 」
She had a cruel smile on her lips, coming into the workshop and looking at it with scornful eyes.