"Sigh!" Caelan sighed despondently.
"It was true that Lady Linette and Vaan played a big part in finding the Stalactite Milk, but we obviously discovered it at the same time, and yet we only get a mouthful when we could have gotten three bowls worth each."
"Yeah… How is a mouthful enough? I really want to take another mouthful, sigh!" Reid grumbled.
Captain Rhys watched the young warriors with a gloomy and strict look as they complained over the Stalactite Milk Pond.
Even he was not immune to the temptation of the Stalactite Milk and felt sad over the reduced share.
But more importantly, the recruits' incompetence and lack of discipline infuriated him.
"Suck it up and be grateful that Lady Linette is generous enough to leave us any at all! If you still have a problem, then go and complain to Lady Linette! See if it doesn't get you killed!" he barked.
"Perhaps you have lived too comfortably in your households, or I have been too lenient on your training, but don't forget that you are on an escort mission! Lady Linette paid us to escort her to the capital, do you understand?!"
"She is not only our client but also our boss! She employed us to protect her! Other than our duty to protect and escort her, only the spoils of our hunts belong to us! Nothing else! So stop believing the Stalactite Milk is your right! It's not!"
Captain Rhys poured his hearts out, lecturing the good-for-nothing recruits harshly for them to understand.
Despite that, some of them remain unconvinced.
"When adventurers and mercenary parties band together, they split the rewards equally among themselves; how is our escort group any different from that? So naturally, we should have gotten an equal share…"
A young warrior beside Reid muttered quietly to himself, but alas, Captain Rhys still overheard the young warrior's complaint.
"You… little shit! Have you not listened to a word I said?!" Captain Rhys exploded with veins protruding on his forehead.
"Do you think we're the same as mercenaries and adventurers? We're nothing alike! They can share rewards equally because they have a cooperative relationship! As for us, it's an employer-employee!"
Sometime later, Captain Rhys's furious lecturing died down after being the last to drink a mouthful of Stalactite Milk.
The young warriors heard so much of their captain's thunderous lecture that their ears grew calluses from it.
"Seems like they've become a little more obedient after Captain Rhy's harsh lecture," Linette casually commented.
"Far from that, my Lady." Vaan shook his head with a smile and said, "They are just too busy absorbing the miraculous power from the Stalactite Milk. Nevertheless, it's finally our turn."
"Does that mean I can drink some now?" Lillias asked eagerly with sparkling eyes.
Linette hesitated for a moment, but she eventually gave her little sister the nod.
"Yes, but only take a little sip. And if you feel something wrong, stop and tell me immediately," Linette instructed her little sister.
She could not help but worry.
Lillias began taking several sips after the first one and allowed the Stalactite Milk's efficacy to flow through her body, improving her body's defense and sensitivity to mana…
Vaan studied Lillias's changes with Magic Vision before he suddenly paused.
"Hold on… Improving sensitivity to mana?" Vaan muttered before his eyes flickered solemnly. "My Lady, you better stop Lady Lillias from drinking any further."
"Why? Is my sister in danger, Vaan?" Linette's worried expression slightly deteriorated.
"Not yet, but if she keeps it up, she will be. The Stalactite Milk improves her body's natural ability to absorb the surrounding mana, and this cave is currently full of mana."
Linette's expression drastically changed from bad to worse in that instance.
"Lillias, stop drinking right now!"
Linette bellowed as she rushed over to pull Lillias away from the edge of the Stalactite Milk Pond, startling her in the process.
"Eh? Eh?! I haven't had enough yet, sister!" Lilias was startled.
"That's enough. It's not too late to drink the Stalactite Milk after your mana veins perfectly reconnect and work properly."
After Linette explained the problem, Lillias had no choice but to give up on the Stalactite Milk, albeit in a sulky and dispirited manner.
The Stalactite Milk wasn't just beneficial to people; it was very tasty!
"But how are we going to take all of this with us?" Lillias cannot help but ask.
"Have you forgotten that your sister is a True Witch?" Linette puffed her chest proudly and said, "I can mold the earth into portable containers to hold the Stalactite Milk."
"But how will we get out of the Blackmoon Region with the Rank 3 Dark Hellhound hot on our tails?" Lillias expressed her doubt.
"Oh yeah…" Linette recalled the matter before uttering softly, "We still have that problem to worry about…"
She had completely forgotten about it.
"What should we do?"
Linette pondered with a frown for a moment before subconsciously shifting her gaze to Vaan to seek his opinion.
She had unknowingly developed a dependence on him.
"I do have a plan that can resolve your dilemma, but I wonder if you're game, my Lady?" Vaan asked if she was up for the challenge.
"Let's hear it first."
"Fair enough," Vaan nodded.
"Originally, our chance of fleeing is higher than trying to kill the Rank 3 Dark Hellhound. However, since we found the Stalactite Milk Pond, we have an absolute shot at killing the Rank 3 Dark Hellhound."
"Are you trying to say that the Stalactite Milk will give me the strength to kill a Rank 3 Dark Hellhound? Surely not, right?" Linette doubted.
She was just a Mid-rank True Witch, while it would take the power of Early-rank Senior Witch-level magic at the bare minimum to kill a Rank 3 magic beast.
"Of course, I am saying this under the assumption that we have time to prepare. I wouldn't be this confident if it were just the Stalactite Milk, but my Lady's specialized magic is Earth Acceleration, is it not?"
"This… How did you know that, Vaan?" Linette was stunned.