The Kicked Out S-Rank Appraiser Creates The Strongest Guild - Chapter 13: Court Seal
*(T/N: Previously, I translated 貴族のお墨付き as peerage. It’s literally ‘a noble certificate’. But this chapter explains a bit more about what the author actually means by this, so I will be changing the translation to ‘Court Seal’. Sorry for the confusion. Anyway, enjoy!)
All the alchemist guilds participating in the fair were presenting their silverwork masterpieces at their booths, but it was beyond clear that Arsenal of the Spirits’ silverwork was superior by far in the quality of its silver and the elegance in its shaping.
Ranju was frantic as he tried to speak to the swarm of spectators gathered at his booth. “Ladies and gentlemen, over here, we have a completely ordinary jug of water. But if we pour this in here…”
Ranju poured the water into the demonstration goblet. In an instant, the clear water was dyed red.
The scent of fermented wine wafted over the area.
The spectators exploded into noise.
“The water became red?! What is this? Is this some kind of trick?”
“But this scent… is it wine?”
“A spirit that transforms water into wine dwells within this goblet. A curious piece of silverwork, isn’t it? Go on, everyone. Have a taste,” Ranju said. He held out the goblet, and the spectators took turns tasting its contents, passing it around.
“This… It truly is wine!”
“And it’s good wine.”
“I can’t believe it. Is there really a spirit living in there?”
The sound of the fuss being made and the rich scent carried by the wind drew the interest of other spectators from other booths, and they gathered at Arsenal of the Spirits’ booth.
By the time Laurent and the others arrived, the place had descended into chaos and Ranju was on the verge of being overwhelmed.
“Wow, that’s a lot of people.”
“Ah, Laurent-san, get over here and help me, please. I can’t keep this up by myself for much longer.” Ranju was holding the jug of water in his right hand, and in his left hand there was the silver goblet. He could barely even look in Laurent’s direction as he was speaking to him.
“Alright, Arrie, bring more water. Charl, look over the silverwork.”
“Yes, sir,” Arrie and Charl said in unison.
“Were you the one who made this goblet?” one of the customers asked Ranju.
“Uh, no, it wasn’t me.”
“Then who?” The customer spun toward Laurent next.
“No, it wasn’t me.”
“Then it has to be…”
Laurent took Charl’s hand and presented her before the spectators. “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to Arsenal of the Spirits’ silverworker—Charl!”
At the introduction of this young, tiny girl, the spectators’ uproar only surged.
“A child like this…”
“But isn’t she an elf?”
“It’s no wonder there was a spirit imbued.”
Charl turned red beneath the crowd’s curious attention, but she was also enjoying their shock and praise.
Count Elson looked over at the throngs of people gathered around Arsenal of the Spirits’ booth, excited.
This is it. This is exactly what I had dreamed of.
A small alchemist guild.
Obscure, but full of youth and energy and in possession of immeasurable talent.
The alchemist was an elf, to boot.
This factor was the cherry on top, fulfilling his eccentric curiosity and bold dreams.
Lucius stared at Arsenal of the Spirits’ booth, dumbfounded.
Impossible. How could this have happened?
“Well, well, look at that girl. Her designs could use a little more work, but the potential is there. I didn’t think there was an alchemist like her in the city,” Daevin said, as though he was commenting on the weather.
“Oi, what the h**l is this? Why do they have A-grade silver?” Lucius lashed out at Daevin.
“I dunno. Seems more like the kind of question you should be asking the person in charge of clamping down on the guilds.”
Lucius growled. As he raged in his waking nightmare, elsewhere, Arsenal of the Spirits’ popularity flourished, and their overwhelming lead continued.
In the end, it was Charl’s, Imbued with spirit, Goblet that was selected as the winner of the grand prize.
The award ceremony commenced.
Count Elson’s daughter, Hilda, was seated on a temporary stage. Charl knelt before her, offering up her silverwork.
The silverwork Hilda was being presented with was a little different from the showpiece; it was even more brilliant.
Hilda received the goblet, and spoke solemnly, “I bestow upon you the title of Champion of Elson Province’s First Silver Fair.”
“Yes. I humbly accept this honour.”
It’s hard to believe that just a little while ago, I could only dream of touching metal, Charl thought. Now not only have I become a silverworker, I’m also receiving such an honour. It’s all thanks to Laurent-san. Thank you.
A tear trailed along the curve of Charl’s cheek.
Hilda grew flustered. “Is something the matter? Is this not a public honour? What could be so distressing for you that you are instead shedding tears?”
Charl wiped her tears away as she spoke.
Of how, even though she had won the fair this time, the guild she belonged to, Arsenal of the Spirits, was a small one.
That no matter how excellent a product she made, she would not be able to sell her work in stores, and she would not be able to receive any kind of profit.
That, at this rate, they would soon face bankruptcy.
How, if that happened, she would not be able to be a silverworker any longer.
And more than anything, how sorry she was to the guild members that had supported her this far.
When she thought of that, it didn’t matter how grand a prize she was being awarded, she could not help but fall into despair.
“I see. How terrible,” Hilda said. She turned to Count Elson, who was at her side. “Father, did you hear all that she has said?”
“Yes, I heard everything. To think that because of what’s happening, talented alchemists are unable to work. This is a grave matter. I shall immediately grant Arsenal of the Spirits the protection of the Elson family name. I decree that Arsenal of the Spirits will receive the Elson family’s Court Seal. Hereafter, I allow you to use my family’s crest and name in whatever activity you wish to engage in.”
The venue exploded into cheers.
Charl clapped her hands together as though in prayer, and offered her blessing.
She turned toward Laurent and stuck her tongue out in a flash.
Laurent was torn between being impressed and amazed by Charl’s skilful manipulations, and gave a wry smile.
That little brat. It’s not like anything she said was a lie, but she milked it for all it was worth. Count Elson didn’t realise, though, so it worked out.
As the venue was engulfed in applause, a black flying object appeared in the sky.
It was Lilianne soaring through the sky, astride on a broomstick. “I made it to the award ceremony somehow.”
“Lilianne-san, did you come to see us?” Laurent said happily.
“Yes, of course,” Lilianne said, winking.
Laurent took Lilianne’s hand and helped her off her broom.
“Lilianne…” Count Elson said, peering at the unexpected intruder in shock. “That is to say, the A-rank adventurer from Guardians of the Magical Tree?”
“Yes, she is our guild’s investor. She has extended her generous aid to us from the very beginning. Even when we had no achievements to our name,” Laurent said.
“Congratulations on your award, Charl-san,” Lilianne said. “As an investor, I’m also proud of you.”
“Thank you,” Charl said.
“Well, then, Lilianne-san, what do you think?” Count Elson said as he approached Lilianne. “After this, I plan to invite Charl-san along with the members of Arsenal of the Spirits to dinner. As a proud investor, will you come with us?”
“Ara, is that alright?” Lilianne said. “Well, if you’re offering, I won’t refuse.”
When Lucius saw Lilianne, comprehension dawned on him at last.
Lilianne? Laurent is working with Guardians of the Magical Tree? I see, Lucius thought. I see how it is. I understand now. I was wondering how he manufactured the A-grade silverwork, but it was by using Guardians of the Magical Tree’s funds that he managed to train an alchemist. Which means that the one who provided Guardians of the Magical Tree with [Earth Stones] was also him—Laurent!
Lucius glared at Laurent.
I thought he was just playing around in a pathetic little guild, so I overlooked it. But from now on, I can’t afford to turn a blind eye any more. I’ll pour even more effort into strengthening Golden Hawk, and I’ll crush you, Laurent!