「……Is this enough for material？」
「Yeah, I’d say so.」
After defeating a snake that one of the priests carelessly provoked by entering into its territory, Rainy checked with Tatsuya and Makoto. This snake in particular was not only quite well-behaved, but also didn’t have any sort of venom in it. Still, its tackle combined with its constrict move could potentially crush your bones if worst came to worst. By this point you probably understand why Hiroshi wanted to send guards alongside the priests, with all the monsters they provoked in their negligence.
「Alright, looks like we’re going to have a little review meeting when we get back for everyone from the temple.」
「Yep. A little bit of carelessness is to be expected, but we need them to be just a bit more careful.」
Tatsuya and Makoto discussed the plans for when they returned as they drove out the grasshopper that was aiming at a priestess. Considering how they would need to collect materials by themselves, it was imperative the priests learn how to focus specifically on finding materials while paying attention to their surroundings and gently taking what they needed.
At first glance, it sounded rather unreasonable, but Fum and Lime were already doing that all the time by themselves. The priests were adults, so it would be shameful if they couldn’t do what even children could. Even Makoto, a complete outsider to harvesting, could focus on it enough to get some results, so this wasn’t unreasonable in any way.
Then again, since Makoto’s harvesting skill was at the first bonus at level 10, she couldn’t even tell the difference between half the things she found.
「Hate to break it to you, but regardless of what it is, you won’t be part of it.」
「……Even though I knew you’d say that, you’re such a horrible choice for educating children……」
「Makoto, you do realize that you’re not one to talk, right?」
After Rainy heard the term “review session” and decided to link it with the word “punishment”, Tatsuya and Makoto looked at her, disgusted, as they continued a rather indescribable conversation. The worst part about all of this was that Haruna was probably the only one here safe for educating children.
「Anyhow, are we still going？」
Despite this being the conversation she started, Rainy acted as if it had never happened, instead asking a question about the present situation.
「Mm？ Oh, right. It’s almost lunchtime, so we’d best head back soon. Let me go check something.」
Answering Rainy’s question, Tatsuya decided to see how the harvesting squad was doing.
「Nora, how’s it going？」
「Well, judging from the amount in my basket, I’d say that it’s pretty good for today.」
「Alright. Well, it’s almost lunchtime, so let’s finish up and get back.」
Nora obeyed Tatsuya and went around to call Teres, Fum, and the priests. As they watched the priests walk toward them with tired, staggering steps, the three girls from Azuma Workshop regrouped with Tatsuya and Makoto.
「Well that was something……」
「Indeed, those three temple people need plenty of guidance.」
「So even you three thought that was pretty bad？」
「Although this is the first day they tried harvesting, so this is the expected outcome…」
「Still, this is comparatively terrible to the time we took Lime out for her first harvest, and in more ways than one.」
Tatsuya and Makoto gave them a faraway look, clearly taken aback by Teres and Nora’s harsh words. Even they were displeased with the priests.
「So Tatsuya, you guys also thought that was pretty bad？」
「I know it’s unfair to compare them to the likes of Hiroshi’s crew, but usually you try and keep a lookout, right……」
「……They’re full of openings.」
Even Tatsuya and Makoto were merciless in their criticism. They honestly weren’t sure if outsourcing was such a good idea.
「Anyhow, when we get back it’s a lecture of love.」
「……I get the strangest feeling that you just made a reference to something, but I do agree on the thorough lecture aspect.」
Grimacing at Nora’s expression (rather reminiscent of the kind of language that late-night shows used), Makoto made a mental note of the plans they had after returning to the Darl workshop. Things never went quite according to plan, but they couldn’t just run around aimlessly.
「So was I useful？」
「Hm？ Yeah. You were quite the help.」
「That’s because the temple group scattered everywhere. These two were probably the busiest out of anyone.」
They answered Rainy’s sudden question, and there was a slight expression of relief on her face. Her sense of self was going in a bit of a different reaction from Mio’s, so although Rainy was still expressionless, there was a definitive change in her personality as the days went by.
「So could I plead for a reward？」
「……Maybe, depending on the reward.」
「Maybe a towel drenched in Deary’s sweat or something?」
「……You really are as straightforward as they come, kid……」
Then again, this developing personality just reeked of stupidity.
「Well, maybe you could try some negotiation？」
「I’ll do my best.」
「I think you have your priorities wrong.」
As they continued their conversation, they waited for the temple group to regain their walking ability. A bit of a troublesome situation would occur soon after at the workshop, but as none of them were divine entities, they could not anticipate what lay ahead.
「Alright, guess it’s time for lunch, y’all.」
After receiving Tatsuya’s message that his party was on their way back, Hiroshi and the other two decided to start on lunch. Still, thinking of the kind of lunch every time was just plain bothersome.
「Sensei, Haru. Nora’s gang and the people from the temple are also here, so I think we’ll have difficulty making a variety of food.」
「True. With all that considered, is there anything you’d like to eat, Mio-chan?」
「Something on the refreshing side, not spicy.」
Hiroshi and Haruna wracked their brains after hearing Mio’s roundabout but difficult request. Refreshing probably meant some cooled food…
「In this case, the available options are……」
「Zaru soba, cooled udon, soumen, cooled chinese food, cooled pasta, stuff like that？」
「Yup. And when ya consider how ain’t no one from the temple can use chopsticks, cooled pasta’s prolly the best option.」
Nodding at Hiroshi’s proposal, they checked off the ingredients one by one.
「So we got cool pasta, but do we make regular and then cool it or make a cool soup?」
「We have plenty of roots, so a cold soup pasta is probably the better choice.」
「Alright. Then let’s go wi’that.」
And so Hiroshi began gathering all the ingredients for a cool cream soup but made sure not to put too many different ingredients in. As per usual, with rock worm just casually thrown in, this was no diet to be trifled with.
「Hey, Mio. How about ya go ‘n make ice cream or somethin’？」
Once Mio had switched over the ingredients, Hiroshi called her elsewhere and Mio began making the ice cream with an oddly cheerful attitude. She certainly did have the equipment and the skill to make ice cream, but because of her lack of skill in the crafting field, she wasn’t able to sell it, especially not in Darl.
In addition to that caveat, she could only really make vanilla, matcha, and a few fruit flavors in ice cream. Mio had simply made flavors that catered to women by-the-by, and by this point she was pouring her everything into challenging her limits. She had started out with the orthodox vanilla and matcha, but whenever Hiroshi vacated the kitchen, she would work together with Haruna on chocolate, chocolate mint, and things like that.