Chapter 42 – Problem(Magic Artificer Guild 7)
A report saying that there was a problem with the submitted crystal balls.
And so the guild chief and vice chief rushed to the house of the marquis.
“A problem? What kind of problem is it!”
The marquis sighed gravely as he saw the two panting men run towards him.
“I am sure you already know what I’m talking about.”
His eyes looked out of the window, where the midday light poured in.
“Now, do your best to explain it to me. Why you did what you did.”
He said admonishingly. A chill ran down the guild chief’s spine.
(What…? Why is he so angry…?)
They had met the deadline.
And the quality of the products should have been fine.
They had paid a high price to acquire those crystal balls, and he had polished them himself.
Surely they should have been better than anything they had shipped out before.
(In that case, it must be because they had changed the manufacturing method…!)
“I am terribly sorry! However, we constantly strive to improve and polish our products. We do not fear to evolve. We take risks and march forward bravely. That has always been our way. Indeed, you might have been surprised at the differences compared to before. But knowing you have such a wonderful eye for such things, surely you understand the value of our new crystal balls.”
The marquis listened to the guild chief’s words silently.
The room was quiet for a moment.
And then he finally opened his mouth.
“Indeed. I know the worth of these crystal balls.”
His voice was calm as he continued.
“You purchased finished products from somewhere, and merely changed the surface so it resembled your own. I will agree that in terms of appearance, these are more beautiful than the others. However, the value that the other crystal balls had are not present with these. They have not that miraculous quality, that must surely have been the result of a skilled crafter’s blood and sweat.”
The marquis turned to the guild chief.
“What you have made here…is a fake.”
The guild chief could not understand the meaning of those words.
After so much time and money went into them… Why?
“Please wait! I do not understand what you mean. Surely these new crystal balls are superior. You must be mistaken…”
“So you do not understand it at all then.”
Came the cold reply. The guild chief became frantic.
He had to get through this somehow, and avoid being cut off from the marquis.
“I’m terribly sorry. Perhaps we were unable to meet your expectations this time. But we can do it again! Next time, you will not be disappointed. We will go back to the previous manufacturing method.”
“Can you do that?”
“Of course. We did it before, so there is no reason that we cannot do it again.”
The guild chief smiled reassuringly.
However, what came back was an icy voice.
“You should know that I’ve done my own investigation on you. And your lack of good judgment has given me a terrible headache. I feel ashamed of myself, for getting carried away due to how wonderful the products were. But it cannot be helped now. Who could have imagined that such miraculous things could have been made in such a vile environment?”
The marquis continued.
“I heard that you ridiculed the magic artificer who was in charge of crafting your crystal balls, and had her fired. One of the crafters who left you came and told me about it. That it was all her doing. Her job.”
“I beg your pardon, but I must tell you that you are severely misinformed. Indeed, we did dismiss the previous person who was in charge of crafting the crystal balls. But it was due to a complete lack of basic skills. That was all it was. And while it seems that you believed the words of a certain disgruntled former employee, you should know that such people always speak ill of their old employers. The truth is quite the opposite, I assure you…”
“Do you think I just believed him without obtaining supporting evidence?”
His glare was like daggers.
The marquis continued.
“Since you don’t know, I will tell you. The reputation of your guild is currently in trouble. Selling someone else’s products as your own is false advertising. You treat smaller trade partners with contempt. And you made your magic artificers work in such horrible conditions, that they might as well have died. The union has already started to act. The business suspension order will arrive soon enough. And your guild will be stripped of its magic artificer license.”
Upon hearing those words, the guild chief forgot to breathe.
Business suspension order…?
Such an outrageous thing could not be possible…
Success had been right in front of their eyes.
But now, everything they had worked so hard to build was about to come crumbling down.
“Perhaps this is a good opportunity for you. If you have no love for magic artifacts and crafters, then you are not suited for this job. You should find work elsewhere.”
The guild chief could not think of a reply.
And so he left the room, gliding like a ghost.
The vice chief bowed frantically and followed after him.
Once he was out of the mansion, all expression was gone from his face.
When had it gone wrong…?
The answer came to him immediately.
There was only one thing that led to this destruction.
When they had dismissed the lowly, useless magic artificer.
Well, there was nothing to do but accept it.
It wasn’t that the marquis and Grand Duke Oswalt had no eye for quality products.
They had seen with precision, the value of what had been made, and everything moved from there.
The lowly magic artificer had been doing better work than anyone, in spite of the terrible environment.
No amount of regret would be enough.
Cutting away one person was going to result in him losing everything.
Business suspension order.
Being stripped of their guild license.
“It can’t be allowed to happen…it can’t…”
However, no amount of denial was going to change the reality in front of him.
And so the guild chief walked as if wandering, until he reached the carriage parked outside of the mansion.
He saw the crystal balls that were loaded in the back.
He stared at the things that had sealed his fate.
His eyes trembled.
And even as he shook, he picked one up with his hand.
If this job had gone well, then he would have had everything.
He didn’t even feel human anymore.
He screeched as he threw the crystal ball to the ground.
The vice chief tried to stop him, but to no avail.
He picked up another, and then another. The destruction continued.
The unending echoes of shattering.
Shards littered the street.
“Damn it. Why… Why me…!!”
He continued to act like a violent beast until all of the crystal balls were destroyed.