The ability for weapons and accessories to become more powerful was something highly valued by adventurers, as they would often find themselves in life or death situations, and the added power from gemstones could determine the outcome.

That power came in different forms as well, being either a boost to physical strength or resilience, and magic power as well. It was not a complex system, but it had clear effects which put them in high demand.

There was a cap on how much more power a given weapon or accessory could gain, which hinged on the materials used to build the item, as well as the skill of the one who crafted it. Even if an extremely powerful gemstone was used, it would only grant as much power as the limit allowed.

One factor was more important than the rest though, and it was the master craftsman Julius had mentioned earlier. Even the best materials would be wasted unless someone with the necessary skill could realize their full potential, a talent possessed by very few.

Mira was able to extract and condense those secondary effects from materials through Refining, but that was not enough to actually activate them. Her plan was to Refine all the materials she could and keep them in storage until they could be used.

Though she also suspected Solomon already was employing a master craftsman like that, and she just had to remember to ask about it. And thinking of which, she also made a mental note to visit the gemstone store later. It was best to have the materials ready as soon as possible, since crafting took a long time, even for master craftsmen. Then again, the main reason was simply that Mira enjoyed window shopping.

Mira continued walking along the street, sometimes exchanging a few words with Julius, until eventually he stopped in front of a building. It was a magnificent mansion, with a large sign in front that read Baron Hotel. At first glance, it seemed to be a lodging establishment built to entertain the fantasies of people who desired to live like nobles.

「I’ll go call the chief now, so please wait in the lobby for him. Also, you can leave the wagon in the parking lot, they won’t ask for anything if you show them the business card I gave you.」

With those trailing words, Julius quickly ran into the hotel. He seemed to value Mira’s presence greatly, and was excited to announce the arrival of the Spirit Queen.

「Well, I’ll just listen to what he has to say, just listen…」

Mira began to question what to do as she took the wagon to the parking lot.

Information about Fuzzy Dice was the top item in her list of priorities, and she had the perfect chance to obtain it. The problem was the request for assistance.

Julius’ excitement at the prospect of catching Fuzzy Dice was almost palpable, and he had stressed just how intensely Chief Detective Wolf had followed the phantom thief, either out of pride or obstination. It reminded Mira of a certain interpol inspector that kept chasing after a master thief who was the third in line of his family.1

Meanwhile Mira was not exactly too thrilled about it. Her main objective was to find the location of a mysterious orphanage located in a nameless village, and she had no concrete evidence that Fuzzy Dice knew where it was, so Mira’s only motivation was to ask whether he knew about it or not. If he knew, then it would be a great success, if he did not, then she would just have to search elsewhere.

But now she had encountered another problem, Fuzzy Dice’s fans. They were a group of people she certainly did not want to rub the wrong way, for her own mental and physical safety.

(I know they said I don’t have to give anything in return for the information, but I still feel bad just taking it…)

Julius mentioned they would still share their knowledge if Mira did not want to work with them, but such a selfish act would naturally also bring its share of guilt, as it was human nature to want to return favors. Mira was no exception to that, which brought her to her current dilemma.

There was something else in Mira’s mind though.

Mira turned back and carefully opened the door leading from the driver’s seat into the wagon and peered inside.

The water spirit Anlutine was still sleeping in the wagon, showing no signs of waking up any time soon. Leaving her there would be clearly irresponsible, even if she was a spirit.

The Spirit King had said she would be asleep for a couple of days, but could not provide a specific number. Mira still had a lot to prepare in anticipation of Fuzzy Dice’s entrance, which required her to move around a lot, meaning it was highly unlikely she would be near the wagon when Anlutine woke up.

Considering all of that, she decided to summon an Ashen Knight to stay as guard inside the wagon, while also leaving a written note on the table. In it she briefly explained the current situation, while also letting Anlutine know she could just relax and wait for Mira to return to the wagon.

Just like Julius had mentioned, she was allowed to park the wagon with no questions asked once she showed the business card. It was not without incident though, as the clerk tending to the parking lot noticed Guardian Ash pulling on the wagon and seemed to get really excited about it.

As it turned out, he had been working there for thirty years, so he had seen all sorts of wagons and rides, but this was his first time seeing a gray bear. And his hobby was recording all the rides he saw.

Mira thought that was a rather uncommon hobby as she stepped down from the wagon, but she could not help breaking into a smile as she watched the aging clerk happily take pictures of Guardian Ash. The camera he used, which looked like a really high quality item, was not his, but the hotel owner’s. The owner was aware of the clerk’s hobby though, so he did not mind letting him borrow the camera. Overall the owner sounded like a nice person.

Once the clerk had taken all the pictures he wanted, he realized there was no stable for bears in the establishment, and just as he began to get worried about that, Mira smugly sent Guardian Ash away, and just as she wanted, the clerk looked at her with surprise, before laughing at the realization that Mira was a summoner.

Mira spent some time declaring that the summoning class was still alive and kicking, and once she was satisfied she headed back to the Baron Hotel’s lobby.

The inside of the building was no different from the outside, looking like a mansion a noble would live in. Everything was carefully designed, like the style of stairs, the portraits hung on the walls, the chandelier on the ceiling, a strange landscape painting, and various vases that looked expensive at first glance. The guests came from all branches of life though, some being merchants, adventurers, or travelers.

The reception desk was next to the stairs, but as Mira was not staying at the hotel, she had no need to check in there. Mira looked around at the various guests, then went to sit down at the waiting chairs while she waited for Julius to return.