「Heya Fran. Congrats on winning third.」
「Kukuku. I’m guessing you realized I didn’t quite mean that as just a compliment?」
Dias began congratulating Fran in a teasing tone the moment we entered his room. It was painfully obvious that he’d totally seen through her and knew exactly how she felt.
「…Because lost to Amanda.」
「You know, a normal C ranker would be more than just bragging if they managed to get themselves all the way up to third place.」
The Guildmaster’s shit-eating grin failed to fade as he shrugged. He was only saying what he was because he knew Fran wasn’t the type to suddenly start boasting about how well she did.
He did have a point though. Common sense dictated that a C ranker beating out an A ranker wasn’t something that could normally be accomplished. It was such a miraculous feat that pulling through with it justified getting full of oneself.
「Also can’t beat Beast Lord.」
「Well, his case is a bit special. Not even I would be able to so much as lift a finger against him.」
「Will win someday.」
「The fact that you’re saying that like you seriously mean it is somewhat terrifying.」
The thing was that Fran really did seriously mean what she said. She wanted to grow strong enough to one day beat the Beast Lord down.
That said, she’d have to first get strong enough to beat down Amanda and Forrund before even considering putting up a fight against an S ranker.
「To be honest, I tried getting you promoted again, but my request didn’t get approved.」
「Even though just became C ranker?」
『Aren’t you pushing for things to happen a bit too quickly?』
「I mean, you guys did actually manage to take down an A ranker. You’re way more capable than the average C ranker should be when it comes to your ability to fight.」
『Yeah, I guess you’re right. But if that’s the case, why didn’t it end up working out?』
Dias’ mention of our strength in battle clearly meant that we weren’t meeting at least one requirement that didn’t relate to it.
「There are actually quite a few problems according to the other guildmasters.」
「Yeah, I used a magic item to speak with a few of them.」
The biggest problem was apparently Fran’s age.
「There were a good number of them going on and on about how there wasn’t any precedent for what I was trying to do. I hate dealing with people like them. I’m actually planning on weeding them all out in due time.」
『Yeah uh, you have fun with that.』
Dias mentioned something that I figured it’d probably be best for us to stay out of.
「Some people also claimed that you couldn’t really judge just how good someone was at adventuring based on their performance in a controlled environment like a tournament.」
I had to admit, the second argument Dias presented to us was a solid one. The tourney had rules and restrictions in place. It didn’t really serve to prove the full extent of one’s skill, nor did it even come close to emulating the many types of situations you’d find yourself in while out adventuring.
One’s caliber as an adventurer needed to be measured through more than just one’s ability to fight. You also had to take into account one’s knowledge of magic and magic beasts, one’s ability to detect and disarm traps, one’s ability to stay calm, and one’s ability to think outside the box.
Of course, combat prowess was indeed still the most valuable of the aforementioned skills, so labeling someone that’d beaten an A ranker a B ranker honestly shouldn’t have been a problem.
「Then there’s also the speed at which you’re rising through the ranks. They’re worried people’ll start complaining because it’d look like you were getting preferential treatment or something.」
The third point was yet another one I couldn’t argue against. Fran had only managed to rank herself all the way up to C because Dias had basically pulled out the nepotism card.
「Another issue they brought up was your lack of experience as a leader.」
「B ranked adventurers are expected to act as commander in times of crisis. They’re supposed to lead other adventurers should they ever find themselves in a situation involving magic beast stampedes, disaster-tier events, or onslaughts made by more powerful magic beasts, just to name a few.」
『Yeah, that doesn’t exactly sound like something Fran could pull off.』
「Nn. Can’t. Too bothersome.」
「That’s what I thought, hence why it was one of the few points I acknowledged as reasonable.」
Fran’s personality more or less made it flat out impossible for her to do anything along the lines of commanding an army.
「The last point made against your case was that you didn’t quite seem to have the right sort of temperament considering that B rankers have to deal with the requests the guild gets from the nobility.」
「Kinda, yeah. Under normal circumstances, adventurers can pick and choose the requests they feel like taking. Some requests come from highly influential locals, others, from royalty. Requests like those are ones we can’t refuse, and so, we assign them to adventurers we know are competent and likely to complete them.」
A rankers were powerful, but few in number, so they were typically kept on hold in case of an emergency. Hence, the requests were instead handed off to B rankers.
The B rankers in question would undoubtedly have to deal with the individuals that’d first made the request. There was a chance that the noble or whatever would end up getting pissed the hell off if the adventurer sent to them didn’t have the right sort of temperament or attitude.
「Though, that didn’t really seem to come off as an issue to me based on how you acted at the awards ceremony.」
In other words, it was something Fran’s Court Etiquette could compensate for. I admitted that the way she talked could likely lead to people thinking she was rude, but that wasn’t really much of an issue so long as she relied on the more taciturn side of her personality.
「I think that’s everything that was said. Sorry, but you’ll still stuck at C rank.」
「Nn. Don’t mind.」
『It’s not really something that could be helped.』
Becoming a B ranker at only 12 years old would essentially label her an exception amongst exceptions, so there being pushback only made sense. I personally didn’t think there was anything wrong with slowly working our way through requests and building up a reputation before finally ranking up, as we could use the events that accompanied them in order to train ourselves up and make ourselves even stronger.
「To be honest, the only reason I tried having your rank raised in the first place was because I felt like I owed you a favour」
「It’s because you’re the only reason I now know what ended up happening to Kiara.」
「Really. You’re the reason the Beast Lord and I were able to talk the way we did, especially seeing as how I can’t help but still bear a grudge against him and his line.」
Dias bowed deeply in order to demonstrate the extent of his gratitude.
「Thank you, Fran. I really appreciate what you’ve done for me, for us.」
Dias was so thankful he completely dropped his usual playful attitude and spoke in a serious tone.
「I’m glad to have finally fulfilled the pact I made with Rumina. It feels like there’s been a huge load taken off my back.」
Hearing him mention Rumina reminded me of her circumstances. I was a bit concerned that she’d be subjugated now that she’d fulfilled her purpose.
『Speaking of which, what’s going to end up happening to the dungeon?』
「Well, Rumina’s lost a lot of her power. The number of monsters within her dungeon has decreased drastically, so we’ll probably need to lower the dungeons’ ranks by 1 letter grade each.」
Fran’s evolution had a direct, negative effect on Ulmutt’s economy, as the city essentially revolved around the dungeon it contained.
Dias probably shouldn’t have been too happy with us, but surprisingly, he wasn’t actually angry. He ended up lightly shaking his head as he smiled.
「The truth of the matter is that Rumina had always thought there was a chance that leading a Black Catkin to evolve would also cause her to lose her life. Having the two dungeons drop a rank each isn’t really anything to note if you compare it to what could’ve ended up happening.」
『Yeah, but the fact stands that you guys won’t be able to get as many materials or magic stones as you used to.』
「I can’t say that won’t happen, but, the dungeons are actually even more suited to training newer adventurers in their current state. They’ll come en masse, so we’ll be able to compensate for our loss of income through increased trade.」
The depth of Dias’ thoughts served to prove that he really was deserving of his position despite his usual attitude. I was glad that we wouldn’t really be damaging Ulmutt’s economy.
「Oh, right. I’ve also got a request here with your name on it.」
『You’re talking about the one you said you’d give us after we ranked up to C, right?』
「Right. I know you and the Beast Lord are no longer on terrible terms with each other, but I’d already informed several other branches that I was going to be issuing a designated request ahead of time, so I can’t be taking it back now.」
『What’ll we need to do?』
「I was thinking of giving you one that’d send you over to the Beastkin’s Country. You should be able to bypass all those troublesome immigration processes if you’re heading over at the guild’s request. Likewise, the branches we have over there should also offer you their support once you arrive.」
「What to do after arrival?」
「I’d like you to locate a missing adventurer that one day just upped and vanished. None of the people looking for her have been able to come in direct contact with her, so they’d like for someone to confirm that she’s still safe.」
So he wants us to look for Kiara? Man, talk about turning a personal problem into official business.
『Sounds good to me. What say you, Fran?』
「Want to go to auction.」
『You mean the one that’s going to take place in the capital? I mean, I’d like to go there too, but it’s not like we absolutely have to. I’d say we should prioritize heading over to the Beastkin’s Country for now.』
（Can maybe get good magic stones at auction.）
『Yeah, but that’s a maybe, not anything guaranteed. The same could be said for the Beastkin’s country anyways. Don’t worry too much about me, and just go.』
「Is something the matter?」
「Want to go to auction in June.」
「Oh, that? You’ve still got a whole month before that happens. You should be able to go to the Beastkin’s Country and come back within 3 odd weeks.」
『Looks like we can make both.』
「Nn. Then will go.」
Fran nodded happily, a clear indication that she’d actually really wanted to go to the Beastkin’s Country from the start.