"Well, if it comes to this, why don't I sneak into the suspicious hut that the noble frequents and expose his true colors tonight or something?"
"Oh, it's Dad's voice."
As Zora thinks about sneaking into Neil's laboratory, she hears Ronim calling Zora in the distance and Zora rushes toward him.
"Oh Zora, I've finished my work, now let's go to the dining hall for dinner."
"What's the matter? You don't look well."
"It's not like that. Hey, Dad, what time will you get home?"
"Umm, let's see, there are still a lot of things to build here, so I can't go back right away. What, are you missing Mom?"
"It's not that! I just thought that she might be lonely all by herself."
"Is that so? But what she misses is probably the alcohol here. She hogged all the alcohol I brought back as souvenirs, even during the New Year's farewell, she said 'please take care of the souvenir sake'."
Remembering the beaming smile of her mother when they were sent off, Zora could only nod her head.
Ronim wondered about his daughter's strange behavior since they arrived at the settlement, and deliberately raised his voice to cheer her up.
"All right! Let's eat more than usual today!"
"Well, dad, I think we always eat extravagantly."
"Don't be stupid. Just because we have a warm nest egg, doesn't mean we can eat to our heart's content every day. If we continuously spend recklessly, the money will run out sooner than we know it. We control ourselves more than you think."
Zora looks at him suspiciously, and Ronim gives her a sly grin.
"I'm sure! That's why today, you can order whatever you like, Zora!"
"Well, if you say so, dad, I guess I can go along with it."
While Zora says "I guess I can go along with it," she had unknowingly become captivated by Narsht's cooking over the past week. Zora found out when the sincere dwarf finished his work and returned to the city.
Meanwhile, there was a group of people in the forest watching the family heading towards the dining hall.
They were the ones who were after the secret of the settlement, which had been mentioned numerous times in Neil's conversations.
"Sigh, those dwarves are making a fuss again."
"Which means they won't move from that building for another two hours. What are we going to do?"
"It doesn't matter what our intentions are and what the dwarves are doing. Plus, during that time, the servants will frequently go back and forth between that building and the residence. Sneaking into the settlement carelessly increases the possibility of being caught by someone."
"So, we're going to act at midnight after all? But then the patrolmen will wake up. If that happens, we won't have enough time to carefully examine the crops... Or do we really know the secret of how the crops are growing at this rate?"
"...What were the results of the investigation?"
One of the two people in the conversation asks the other, who has stayed out of the conversation.
"I haven't found anything particularly secret in the soil of the fields. The only suspicious thing is that all the nutrients in the soil are at normal levels, despite using so much alchemy fertilizer every day."
"Is it possible that those crops that grow so quickly are absorbing all the nutrients given to them at once?"
"It's possible, but it's strange that they're still absorbing nutrients at that rate but there are still nutrients remaining in the soil. It's as if someone is manipulating the supply of nutrients, when normally such a rapid rate of absorption would have sucked up all the nutrients in the soil."
"Is it possible that there are some magic ingredients in the fertilizer?"
"Magic already exists in the soil, so even if there were some kind of magic mixed into the fertilizer, it wouldn't be detectable. It would be good if we had access to the fertilizer before it was mixed into the soil."
"The crops are fine, right?"
"That's been investigated separately by the client, which is why they asked us to investigate the secrets of the settlement directly."
"If checking both the crops and the soil is pointless, then there won't be any more information to be gained by blindly searching the fields."
"What should we do? It's been a week already, and I'm starting to get worried about the food supplies and test supplies we brought."
"We need to contact the courier before we run out of food, or else we'll be stuck here in the forest living off the land until they come to get us."
At their words, the leader of the group thinks for a while as he stares at the settlement.
"...Let's contact the courier."
"Does that mean we should try again after some time?"
"No, if we withdraw and find no information during the next attempt, we'll take a big loss."
"So should we withdraw now before we take a big loss? We can use the advance payment to break even."
"Don't be so quick to answer. I haven't said we're giving up yet."
"Huh? What do you want to do then?"
In response to the rude question from the man, the leader looked again towards the settlement, or more accurately, towards a certain building.
It was a location that seemed to hold the secret of the settlement that had been revealed during their investigation over the past week, and it was located in the center of the settlement. However, despite searching the fields thoroughly, they couldn't gather any information, and the man became impatient and decided to take bold action.
"Tonight, we'll sneak into the hut beside the mansion. If we can't find any information there, then our job is over."
This was an invasion of Neil's laboratory. Over the past week, the man had roughly figured out the behavior patterns of the people in the settlement, and he knew that the guards wouldn't enter the laboratory.
He thought that if he could sneak in during the night and search the laboratory, he would be safe.
But the man didn't know that there was someone else who was planning to break into the laboratory at the same time.
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