h? Ehhhh!?”

 Well, different from the other four, there are few people that would know of me.
The position of Enchanter is also inconspicuous, and I was mostly dealing with the behind-the-scenes work for the Hero Party. 

 That’s why I was not heavily featured in the news. 

 By the way, you might be wondering why famous and promising-looking explorers are featured in newspapers.

 That’s because aristocrats or some big companies invest – or in other words, use the news as one indicator of whether they should sponsor and fund certain explorers, as well as parties or Clans. 

 The typical explorer basically sells magic stones and materials obtained from exploring the labyrinth to the Explorer Guild to earn money. 

 This money is not just used as a living fund, but also the explorer’s activity fund.

 There are various uses for these activity funds, but expenses for weapons, armour, and magic tools are some of the usual ones.
Of course, there are all sorts of products out there.
So if you’re looking for something good, you need to fork out enough money. 

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 However, to have all your party members well-equipped, covering the costs only with the money made from selling items to the Explorer Guild would be rather difficult. 

 That’s where the earlier mentioned aristocrats and big companies come into play.
With their financial support, higher-quality, better equipment can be prepared. 

 So then, why exactly do they fund explorers?

 Of course, it’s not the case that they only have good intentions for spending so much money.
Well, although there might just be some crazy people who invest only with such good intentions. 

 These investors, known as sponsors, don’t really consider it as funding explorers.
In their view, what they get in return is the ability to make direct purchases from explorers… or so this had become the case. 

 As mentioned above, magic stones and labyrinth materials, as a general rule should be purchased by the Explorer Guild.
After which, the Guild sells them to interested parties.
Therefore, apart from magic stones, there is no guarantee for anybody that they will actually get their hands on the materials they want. 

 Consequently, these investors pay explorers in advance, and in the event that they require certain materials, they will have those explorers obtain them.

 With this, they could reliably acquire their desired materials. 

 That’s why for the purpose of being able to select explorers with higher chances of returning alive, investors refer to information from the news.

 Well, apart from this, there are also other reasons to fund explorers, but I’ll omit mentioning them for now because it’s getting long. 

“Ah, ahem, um…”

 Sophia has been nervous since I met her, but now she seems even more nervous. 

 After all, a beginner explorer who doesn’t really know much about it would probably feel awkward about how to act around someone holding the title “Hero”.

 Although there’s also the chance Sophia is simply nervous by nature. 

“It’s alright, in the first place there’s no real need to be respectful or anything you know.
And anyway, I’m also not a Hero anymore.”

 As much as possible, I try to talk to Sophia in a gentle tone, but she can’t loosen her tension, and just shakes her head up and down without saying anything. 

“…Hmm? Not a Hero? Don’t tell me you left the party?”

 Selma’s keen ears picked up the words “not a Hero” that I’d said and quickly hit the mark that I’d left the party. 

 As expected, information about the Hero party can’t be ignored huh. 

 I said it quite casually, so I thought it might’ve passed unnoticed. 

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 Well, in a short while, it’d probably appear as big news, so maybe there’s no problem mentioning it. 

“Yeah.
I left the party yesterday.
I met Sophia today because I wanted to get a grasp on my current abilities and ended up going to a lower difficulty labyrinth.” 

 Today’s labyrinth exploration as a Swordsman showed me that my acquisition of various knowledge and skills has made me much stronger than the previous me at the point when I’d quit being a Swordsman. 

 Because of that, I realise that even in the middle layers of the Great Labyrinth, I will not have any problems exploring it alone. 

 From now on, I will be working solo, and if I can have income from the middle layers, it will be unlikely that my money runs out.

 I was also able to rescue Sophia, so today’s harvest was satisfactory.

“To let go of someone like you, is Oliver sane? No matter how anyone thinks about it, you should have been held back.
Besides, why did you leave the party?”

 Somehow, it seems Selma thinks I left the party on my own initiative.

 There’s no particular need for me to correct her.
Regardless of how I say it, it’ll just be lame to mention that I was actually kicked out. 

“There were some party circumstances.
Oliver and I both have a mutual understanding.”

 After being ridiculed to that extent, I had no plans to return. 

“I see… Then, Orn, you’re free now right?”

“Well, well, that’s right.”

 Selma looks like she’s planning something.

 Might it be a Clan invitation? It would be an honour, but currently I don’t feel like belonging to any Clan or party. 

“If your schedule is open, then the day after tomorrow, would you be willing to participate in our Clan’s guided exploration? Of course, we promise you appropriate remuneration.”

“…Guided, exploration?”

 It wasn’t a Clan invitation.

 In response to words I wasn’t used to hearing, I ended up unconsciously repeating what she had just said.

 

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