The country neighboring Rondéville, Filéamis.
In the eastern part of a forest, three youths were walking.
One of them, a young raccoon beastkin, raised the bag in his hand and smiled wryly.
“That firehound was pretty strong.”
“Only since you underestimated it.”
Poked with the scabbard’s tip, the raccoon beastkin almost stumbled.
Though he scowled at the youth that looked like a bird with eyes of protest, he knew that he couldn’t deny it, laughing jokingly instead.
Watching the two from the side, the otter beastkin mumbled a complaint as he looked up towards the clouds passing overhead.
“Really though, there hasn’t been any tension recently…”
The three youths were from the same generation of the town. Knowing each other from childhood, they’ve lived their day-to-day lives as members of the mercenary guild together for a long time.
Monster hunting was exciting at first, and even though they could even do a D-rank commission nowadays as long as they didn’t relax their guard, it felt lacking in something.
Still, they didn’t have the fighting spirit nor craving to strive for ranks higher than that, living day by day in a habitual fashion.
“It’s fine, isn’t it? We’re still young, something good will happen sooner or later.”
“Yeah… Hey, how ’bout going to the red-light district with our earnings this time?”
“Aaah, I want moneeey, I want wooomen.”
While talking leisurely, the three people advanced through the forest.
This path was the shortest route to the town and was an animal trail filled with weeds and tree branches extending into it in many places.
Naturally, there were many blind spots. But they were fighters, not neglecting to keep searching for enemies.
After a few minutes, the young birdkin stood still.
“… That thing there, what is it?”
Looking towards the direction he pointed out, there was a pure white oval buried in the tall grass.
The group of three exchanged looks with each other and carefully drew closer to the object.
“… An egg?”
It was an egg slightly smaller than a basketball.
When they moved their hands towards it to pick it up and get a closer look, it shined a wondrous seven-colored light. Before they knew it, the three were entranced by the egg.
Just then, they clearly heard a loud sound resounding from far away. Flustered, the three checked their surroundings.
“… Is something there?”
“N-no, there’s nothing…”
The three once again focused on the egg.
“Not sure, but… isn’t this rare?”
“… Might be expensive, we should probably sell it.”
They all smiled at the raccoon beastkin’s words.
Good luck had unexpectedly rained down on them.
Without saying anything else, the three hurried towards the town.
Changing time and location, now to the east of Rondéville.
“What are you two doing next?”
A Balta Fort sentry greeted the two women.
Unlike the sentries that wore full body armor, the two wore relatively lightweight equipment. But due to the weapons they carried, he could tell the two were guild members.
Though the sentries were all male, he didn’t call out to them with a bad motive. In a short period of time, the two shared an action with each other in understanding. Unable to guess the significance of the gesture, the tiger beastkin inclined his neck.
“What did that mean?”
“Lodging. Can we stay at the fort?”
Saying that, the beastkin woman looked at the human woman next to her.
The two turned towards the sentries simultaneously, the human woman opening her mouth to speak.
“Though that was our plan… is something wrong?”
Towards her concerned expression, the sentry denied it by waving his hand and giving a strained laugh.
“Heading southwest from here would lead you to a town named Lunéville though you know? If you’re planning on staying a while I recommend heading there.”
Speaking of towns near Batla Fort, Pinéaville and Harville were well-known.
As Pinéaville was the closest port city to the Akradist Kingdom’s border, it was famous for its flourishing shipping and fishing industries. In contrast, that liveliness lead to poor security in some parts.
Harville was an inn town that connected the royal capital and Pinéaville on the main road. Gathering many people coming by ship from Akradist and Pinéaville, their lodging and food costs were increasing.
But with the information the women purchased before coming to this continent, they had never heard of a town named Lunéville.
“It’s a good town. Lodging is cheap and the public order is good.”
“No matter what, the food is delicious!”
Another sentry leaned forward and said that.
“Food? That’s it?”
“Yeah! They have really interesting food there!”
“It’s also nice to interact with the children there.”
“Yeah! Everyone is so sociable, and that elf receptionist kid’s listless expression—”
Despite the sentries starting to get on a different topic, the two women exchanged looks.
The human women looked at the sentries.
They weren’t people who would deceive others to earn money, they understood that from the sentry’s conducts thus far. In addition to that, to her who had left nobility, she could easily see through a person’s expression into their true character behind the darkness.
“I think going there is fine.”
“It’s settled then. As for me, I want to see the elf.”
Her motives aside, the tiger beastkin, Katia Maiski belonged to the mercenary guild. The human woman, Elivia Granka, belonged to the magic guild. Their destination changed to Lunéville.
“Heeeh, it’s pretty big.”
“I was pretty anxious when the main road ended midway, but now I’m relieved.”
No longer worrying about having to sleep outdoors, the two walked headed Lunéville in high spirits.
The main street was properly paved and water could be seen flowing under the street from the central park in the distance, producing a refreshing sensation.
Used to seeing Akradist’s uniform bright white townscape of slanted roofs facing the sea, Lunéville and Balta Fort’s townscape looked very ordinary.
However, the branch in front of them stood out.
Though it didn’t change away from the bilateral symmetry it shared with the other buildings, with its steps and porte-cochère projecting from the entrance way supported by stone pillars, looking up at its design from the front gave a solemn and profound feeling. Though it was by no means picturesque, there was a sublime beauty within its admirable harmony. 
But of the few people walking nearby, none stopped to view the building.
“I wonder if everyone is used to seeing it?”
When their eyes met those of people passing by, they were given amiable smiles. They hadn’t experienced that for a long time, recalling that they were countrymen, the two smiled at each other.
“… Go in?”
Asking each other to try and prepare themselves to enter, they opened the wooden doors that gave a dignified feeling. Looking inside the branch, they stiffened at the view once again.
A large number of people were in the dining hall.
There were people talking excitedly, people engrossed in eating, as well as staff running to and fro serving tables. Despite being a reasonably large town, the amount of people on the street felt strangely small. It wouldn’t have been wrong to think all of the town’s people were crammed in there.
A clear voice reached their ears, returning the two who had stopped moving to their senses.
Not needing to search for the owner of the voice, their gazes were attracted to the girl standing behind the reception desk.
With long and radiant golden hair, the girl had snow white skin and deep blue eyes that were reminiscent of the ocean. She expressed a beautiful smile that shook their hearts, her beauty had magic that made it hard to resist and stop looking.
They saw long ears on the sides of her small face.
Though their knowledge wasn’t too precise, there was no mistaking that appearance.
(The rumored elf…)
The same as just a moment earlier, their feet moved forward on their own as though lured in.
They wondered if the people making noise nearby were used to the girl. Or perhaps, they were drunk from her magical power?
While Elivia was suspicious of their surroundings, and while Katia considered her to be a magician, they started a conversation with the elf girl.
“You guys are pretty successful here.”
Letting those words slip out unhindered, Elivia was surprised at herself.
With a smile that filled her whole face, the elf girl responded with a simple, “Thankfully”.
From that single word, the two were already charmed.
Despite being members of the same sex, the two unconsciously embraced feelings of jealousy, not to mention envy. It was a longing similar to veneration, so to speak.
“Are you two here on a mission?”
There were two reasons for them coming to the branch first.
Accept a commission to earn travelling expenses, as well as to collect information while accepting the commission.
“No, we were recommended to this place by sentries at Balta Fort.”
“They said if we were going to stay somewhere, Lunéville would definitely be better than Pinéaville or Harville.”
With the two unhesitatingly answering, the elf girl seemed to be convinced.
“Oh, you girls here for the first time?”
“Welcome to this place then.”
Katia and Elivia were aware that their appearances were ordinary.
But even so, they were two women and it wouldn’t be unusual to be assaulted, and had even been stared at with dangerous eyes several times before. So when the two men seated at the counter gave them words of welcome, they became more vigilant. In order to stop it from happening.
However, despite their vigilance, the men seated at the tables started talking to the guests.
Prompted by the elf girl, the two sat in empty seats.
Looking over the dining hall again, most of the tables were filled with smiles. Of the guilds they’d visited so far, there was the same level of success, but the hustle and bustle wasn’t as harmonious as this place’s.
“Have you decided on an inn to stay at?”
“No, I decided to come and eat first. The sentries at the fort said the food here was delicious.”
Saying it somewhat provocatively, Elivia was surprised.
(It happened again.)
Before she knew it, she had no vigilance or tension towards her like when she talked with Katia, her companion. Her mental state speaking with the elf was amiable.
She thought it was strange, but didn’t think anything was suspicious.
The elf girl’s expression softened a little further at Elivia’s words.
“I don’t know whether or not we will be able to meet your expectations, but… Elizah—”
Calling out in a clear voice, a fox beastkin dressed in the same clothes as the elf girl came over.
Though many fox beastkin eyes were tsurime, hers didn’t seem to be. If anything, they felt gallant. She had swaying light brown hair and large ears with a big tail tipped white. Together with her garments, she produced an adorable atmosphere.
“What’s up, Ilya. Ah—”
Saying up to there, Elizah saw the two girls sitting at the counter and realized why she was called.
“Welcome. You’ll have your menus in a moment.”
With a refined smile that didn’t feel forced at all, she bowed. Taking menus from the stack of them next to the counter’s hatch, she immediately returned to the two.
Looking at the menus in their hands, the two’s eyes opened wide.
Each item listed had realistic pictures next to it. Written along with that was each dish’s effect and the way to cancel it.
Even more so than the amount of items on the menu, just looking at the various pictures caused their stomachs to feel empty, distracting them from being able to choose.
“Let’s seeee. Our gold is a bit spotty, guess we need work…”
While the two were worrying next to the counter, several men and women who were sitting paid their bill and stood up.
One man and woman had a sword, one man had a bow, and a woman had a spear. Belonging to the mercenary guild, their vanguard and rear guard was balanced.
The group stood in front of the bulletin board, talking with each other as they looked through the commission charts. Before long, they picked one.
“Ilya-chan, this one please.”
They brought a commission chart with a monster subjugation written on it.
Receiving their registration cards along with the commission chart, the elf girl, Ilya, began registering the subjugation as accepted.
Not noticing the temperature of the girl’s smile abate somewhat, the group were roused about the commission’s subject.
“Pavel, isn’t this one even easier?”
“Oi oi, that rondébear we hunted the other day was pretty high leveled y’know? Though even if there were a lot of them, it’d be an easy win. Right, Ilya-chan?”
Ilya looked at the commission chart. Similarly, so did Elivia and the others. The subjugation target was a laoloa boar. A huge wild boar that inhabited the laoloa continent’s mountains. As the swordsman named Pavel said, the rondéville boar that lived near Rondéville had weakened abilities and constitutions.
Since they weren’t doing any harm in particular, the subjugation amount of ten was probably to decrease their numbers in preparation for the oncoming harvest season.
As Ilya was thinking that looking at the group of men and women, she nodded without hesitating.
“That’s right. So long as you bear in mind to not get surrounded, I expect you won’t have any problems.”
“However, since their second breeding season has just finished, please make absolutely certain you avoid chasing them too far. When they’re protecting their young, even the non-aggressive ones will be driven into a frenzy.”
“Ah, seriously…? Got it…”
The laoloa boar had the habit of chasing something indefinitely once enraged.
They didn’t rebut her tone of certainty, instead not only embracing it as useful information but as reassuring advice.
Completing the registration while having such a conversation, Ilya presented their registration cards and the commission chart on the counter back to them.
The man with the bow turned his gaze towards Javier.
“So long as Javier-san watches our backs from the rear we’ll be alright. Well then, please give my registration card back.”
“Ah, right! Understood!”
Judging by the strength of his response after hearing his name called, Javier was all fired up.
The women in the surroundings, Katia and Elivia included, obviously shifted their focus to see what happened as usual. However, that wasn’t all this time.
Since the person was Ilya, one couldn’t help but to have a look of compassion. Still, this person was given looks of envy as they wanted to talk to her themselves.
“Please note that subjugation outside of the appropriate area does not count… Good luck.”
When Ilya bowed as though she didn’t mind the situation unfolding in front of her, Orlette, the swordswoman, dragged the man back by the nape of his neck.
“Yeah yeah. Cya later, Ilya. We’re coming back to eat here when we finish the job!”
“I’ll look forward to it, Orletta-san.”
After watching the four exit, Ilya turned back towards the two people sitting at the counter.
“Are you ready to place your orders?”
“Ah, not yet.”
Even though Ilya’s eyes and hers met when she turned, she didn’t seem to be fazed by being watched. Guessing that Ilya was aware of them watching her the entire time she was accepting the registration, Katia hung her head in shame. Elivia laughed in embarrassment.
“It’s my first time seeing an elf, but it’s true that they’re worthy of being called beauties.”
Even when complimented, Ilya almost didn’t show any reaction at all.
Considering that she was in an occupation where there were many chances to meet people, it was easy to imagine that people would say things like that over and over again to someone like her. In truth, Ilya just accepted compliments as though they were for someone else since she knew what made her body when she reincarnated, but Elivia didn’t know that.
(Maybe it seemed like flattery…)
As Elivia was regretting it just a bit while reflecting, Katia noticed her mumbling something.
“The staff here are polite… Elivia, can’t we make this our base for a while?”
“I really want to, but…”
Elivia looked at the bulletin board filled with commission charts.
Though there were subjugation commissions among the list of orders, they were all a ways away from Lunéville. They’d heard people in carriages say that Lunéville was peaceful on their way, but considering that they were doing jobs for the mercenary guild, the distance from the base to the area for the commissions were too far away.
“And so, it’s only fine if you take commissions with big rewards like those people earlier.”
“Ah… so that’s it…”
Muttering her consent, Elivia looked around the dining room.
The number of guests was unusually high, and much like the previous group of people, they stayed around to spend their incomes over and over.
Saying it another way, the only merit to do that is this town… or rather, this branch.
Taking that into consideration, Elivia turned and gave a wry smile to Ilya.
“Ah, umm… Ilya, was it? For a few reasons, we’ll be troubling you for a little while.”
“My name’s Katia. This one here is Elivia.”
“Katia-san and Elivia-san, is it? I’ll do my best to support you.”
After that, the two people forgot about their fatigue from travelling and lost track of time, talking with Ilya about various things.
Rumors like Orbwight Kingdom’s arena being closed due to racket about fixed matches or an ice dragon seen northeast Akradist Kingdom, things like that.
They talked about a wide range of things, but Ilya was a really good listener… up to the point the two girls came dangerously close to saying they were a Windia noble and a commissioned officer’s daughter.
The matter dealing with the arena was also a blunder for the guild. Though the information had also come to the branch, it was too late for etiquette by the time they had the opportunity to listen to the nation’s side of the story, getting caught up in the moment was also one of the reasons.
One of the things Ilya had a particular interest in was the story concerning the ice dragon. Contrasting the disaster designated monster, the Tyrant Spider, that recently appeared near Lunéville, this was a calamity designated divine beast. Snow falling in the surroundings could be a matter of life and death for many people.
[Clairvoyance] [Mind Reading] [Eidetic Hearing] [Prophetic Dreams] [Star Memory]
If Ilya freely used those skills, she could be aware of the world’s past, present, and future. They were difficult to use though.
If she said she knew things imprudently, she would be asked how she knew of them and doubted. After that, working would become difficult since it would put the cart before the horse.
And so, Ilya decided to wait until she came across new information.
People visiting Lunéville, like Katia and Elivia, often bring gossip to hear.
(If people keep coming from the cities, it looks like we’ll need to increase the size of the branch…)
While thinking about such a thing as that, Ilya fell asleep.
Around the time that the people of Lunéville were falling asleep.
A figure wrapped in darkness ran in the forest to the west of Rondéville.
The scorching pain in his throat was worsening, but his body needed air to keep coming.
Though he kept getting tripped up from his foot being caught by projecting tree roots and coiling weeds, he concentrated solely on running.
His name called out, the raccoon beastkin, Gaul, scowled at the owner of the voice.
Though there was a possibility they could lose their threat in the darkness, he couldn’t believe that he gave away their position willingly.
However, the birdkin youth Gaul was scowling at grabbed his shoulder, forcibly stopping him mid-step.
“Oi, are you sane!? Ruben! Run!”
“It’s alright! That guy isn’t coming anymore!”
Looking around while breathing heavily, he saw an otter beastkin running over.
However, his speed was far from his top speed, if anything it was due to being more vigilant toward his surroundings.
Gaul sat down hard on the spot.
Catching up, the otter beastkin hung his head when he looked at the thing Gaul carried.
“The egg… this is all because we didn’t get rid of it…”
“W-we were able to get away somehow! It could have been more dangerous to throw it away!”
Gaul groaned at the birdkin youth’s, Ruben’s, bitter grumble. The tense air faded the otter beastkin’s bitter smile.
Their breathing in order, the three looked around, analyzing the their surroundings, collecting themselves.
“… Where are we?”
“I have no clue since we’ve been running all around… Ruben, can you fly?”
“Yeah. I’ve already recovered my magical power, I’ll go.”
Saying that, Ruben flew off clad in wind.
Normally, people needed to cast magic in order to fly. However, birdkin were able to achieve the same results as flight magic while omitting the chant.
While looking up at his friend flying around in the sky, Gaul asked his other friend a question.
“Teemo… did you see that strange horse?”
In their minds was the image of a horned horse with what looked like scales instead of fur. The three of them had ran away because that horse attacked them.
“But, that didn’t seem like the egg’s parent… it chased Ruben and I as well.”
“… Well, horses don’t lay eggs to begin with.”
“It could’ve been a monster though.”
Gaul tried to dismiss it as him being stupid, but recalled that the horse had been using magic.
Saying it was a monster since it used magic was surprising by itself, but it was more realistic than an ordinary animal using it.
“… Are monsters born from eggs?”
The next moment, an unnatural sound reverberated through the air, cutting through the languid conversation
Scared, they sprung up and looked around. Then, bang. The sound of something huge falling echoed through the air.
Stiffened by the sudden unexpected event, they realized what it could have been after a moment.
“” Ruben!? “”
They pushed their way through the grass to the origin of the sound.
“” -!? “”
When Gaul looked at him in response to Teemo’s words, a figure was clinging to the birdkin’s body.
He couldn’t make out the figure’s identity. However, its arm extended awkwardly.
Feeling he should push Teemo away first in order to ward it off, he felt a dull pain in his upper arm.
However, immediately following that was a sharp tearing pain in his upper arm, drowning everything else out.
Red scattered… faster than he could see, its dagger was wet with blood. Gaul tried to draw his sword from his waist, but he couldn’t move.
Looking at his right arm for the first time, Gaul noticed a dagger sticking out of it.
Frigid pain running through his mind, Gaul broke out in a sweat.
Sinking to the ground due to terror and pain, he saw the black figure that had been standing behind Teemo right in front of him.
Fwoosh, the sound of air being sliced. Guessing that was brandishing its dagger that sliced through Teemo–
In order to defend himself, Gaul immediately proffered the egg held under his arm.
Then, there was a momentary pause.
The attack didn’t come?
As soon as he thought that–
He heard a dull sound, the figure was blown away before his eyes.
Following the figure’s path, he understood seeing Teemo covering the figure.
However, the binding didn’t last long, it kicked off Teemo and tumbled.
Teemo immediately stood up and pulled Gaul’s arm.
“Ruben too! Can you stand!?”
Ruben stirred slightly after hearing Teemo’s voice.
But seeing that he couldn’t stand, Teemo quickly carried him on his back. During that time, his face tightened at his wounds but started running without caring.
“I’m fine being an idiot!!”
Ruben gnashed his teeth at his friends’ excessive dialogue.
Then, he started thinking about their opponent while being carried.
At first he thought it was a bandit. However, with his throwing skills and not killing him when he was down, he didn’t think a simple bandit would use tactics like that to lure his comrades.
But if it wasn’t a simple bandit, why were they being targeted?
“… I think his target is this egg.”
Gaul interrupted Ruben’s train of thought.
Teemo was the one to answer.
“Definitely, when he, almost cut, the egg, he panicked!”
“Then if we hand over the egg…”
“… That’s useless.”
Ruben interrupted Gaul.
“If the egg was his only purpose… don’t you think aiming at me, who was away from the egg, was strange…”
“But when the time comes, use it as a shield… Definitely don’t part with it…”
Saying up to there, Ruben thrust himself from Teemo’s back.
“You’re burdens, sorry.”
With those words, Ruben reigned in his friends that were shouting in anger.
I’m sorry for you being burdens, but I’m even more sorry for your deaths.
“It’s unfortunate, but I’ll be going ahead.”
When his body floated at that moment, they understood he used flying magic.
Something like him escaping by himself, neither Gaul nor Teemo thought that’s what he was doing.
“… Don’t die.”
“Absolutely, make it back alive…!”
However, as soon as Ruben took off into the sky, a dagger pierced his foot.
The dagger was thrown from the direction they were running. Was there more than one enemy?
Drained of energy, he absolutely had to call for help.
Enduring the pain with sheer willpower, Ruben focused his magic.
While hearing the far away sounds of weapons hitting weapons, he cut through the sky like a blade.
Early the next morning. Due to the sound of intense knocking at her door, Ilya woke up.
“Wake up, Ilya!”
Equipping herself in a hurry, she called out to Ria on the other side of the door.
“What’s the matter?”
“An injured person! It’s serious!”
Among those who complete their requests or those who report their failures, there were naturally those who get injured during the mission.
Though the guild was obliged to have someone who could use recovery magic in each branch, their abilities were just to fulfill the requirements of first aid.
Therefore, in the case it didn’t stop with first aid treatment, they would have to get medical treatment at a hospital or a technique user of the church.
However, since Lunéville wasn’t a major city like the royal capital, it didn’t have a hospital. And due to the thieves guild from a little while ago, talks about building a Lottévester Faith church were at an impasse.
Inevitably, Ilya couldn’t help but assist the critically injured cases.
“As usual, it’s at the private room on the second floor.”
Without saying anything else, Ilya heard the sound of her running.
After she finished changing her clothes, Ilya descended the stairs from her private room and headed towards the closest stairway connecting the second and third floors.
Three people were lying in beds.
One male birdkin and two male beastkin. The birdkin’s foot had started to become necrotic, but thankfully it hadn’t been torn off.
(… Normal recovery magic should be fine.)
Checking the three men’s injuries, Ilya determined so.
Though it was imprudent, she was prepared to use revival magic even if it caused others to become aware of a part of her cheat abilities. She was grateful for this miscalculation.
“Ria, please clear everyone out of here.”
“Un, leave it to me!”
Entrusting it to her to usher everyone from the second floor’s hallway and into the eatery, Ilya closed all of the room’s curtains and concentrated on their treatment.
Taking down the [God King Barrier], she began the recovery magic’s chant.
“—Light of recovery, sweep away the darkness of destruction—”
Interchangeable with the top ranked fire-type healing magic, ‘Heal’, it was the light-type healing magic–
A mass of light appeared above Ilya’s head, reacting to the bodies of the three people.
Light concentrated on the parts where they were wounded. The sphere of light disappearing before long and the light covering the three softened.
With not even a single scar able to be found in the places the light disappeared, the treatment ended successfully.
Putting off restoring their physical and mental wounds with recovery magic for now, Ilya went down to the first floor after putting the barrier back up to explain the situation.
“What did that…”
It was unusual for her to directly speak her thoughts.
“Ilya, did it go well!?”
“Ah, un. It’s alright.”
Not just Ria, but everyone gathered in the hall appeared relieved.
Usually, she would find so many people worrying about strangers heartwarming, but right now she was far from thinking about that.
“That, there… how…?”
Following her gaze, it was the large egg about the size of a basketball.
Ria answered her question while stroking the egg.
“Ah, this egg? Those three from before brought it. I wonder if they were attacked by this thing’s parents while moving it…”
“That’s… I don’t think so…”
Due to her skill, she knew the egg’s name–[Egg of the Dragon God].
Who was the dragon god? It was the alias held by the ruler of the skies, a descendant of god with a dragon element. What was a divine beast that was a godlike beast? It itself was a special god, something ordinary humans couldn’t fight against.
Then, given the ability of those three from before, they would have easily been turned to cinders the moment they tried to steal it.
Stifling a sigh that was about to come out at the evident trouble, Ilya turned to Ria.
“Those three’s registration cards?”
“I’ve held on to them. Here.”
That the three belonged to the mercenary guild was marked on them.
She saw that they had accepted a monster subjugation commission, as well as the amount of the stipulated amount to subjugation they’d achieved.
(They happened to just find the egg by chance… maybe?)
Though that was the greatest possibility, in that case, how did a dragon god that should have been in the Heaven Palace drop the egg? It was a complete mystery.
At any rate, although it was unfortunate for the three that carried it to the point they were injured, they couldn’t afford to sell off the egg.
(If things go poorly a city could perish. Ahaha…)
Now that she’d decided to deal with the egg, she noticed the gazes from those around her. Sensing they were waiting for her judgement, Ilya informed them.
“Postpone matters regarding the egg. Desiree-san.”
“The commission that the three registered for, could you look into it please?”
“Ria, since I’m going to wake Frank-san up, could you look after the egg for me?”
Ilya immediately went up to the third floor, knocking on Frank’s private room.
“Branch manager, please wake up.”
The door opened before long with Frank appearing, not wearing his uniform and still afflicted by bedhead.
His appearance may have disillusioned a genuine girl, or maybe have made her heart throb, but with her previous life’s memories she would never be perturbed by it.
“… What is it?”
“I need to consult something with you.”
In order to explain the current circumstances with Frank, she opened her mouth.
Ria’s shout echoed through the branch.
Apologizing to Frank, she immediately headed downstairs.
Ria looked around in silence towards Ilya’s question.
On the dragon god’s egg.
Tiny cracks ran along the rainbow-reflecting oval-shaped egg.
It shook. Each time it did so, the cracks would extend and the shell would peel off little by little.
Surprised, Ria clung to Ilya.
Though she would have separated her from herself any other time, right now she didn’t have the composure to do so.
In order for eggs of named dragons to hatch, they needed to absorb the appropriate elements.
For flame dragons, the fire drake for example, the element was fire. For lightning dragons the elements were both fire and wind. There was a gigantic translucent stone called a crystal pillar for each elemental attribute. The dragon god’s eggs get the wind element from the Crystal Pillar of Wind in the Heavenly Palace floating in the sky. After that, the Heavenly Palace would absorb each of the other elements by floating around the world.
Towards dragons whose upper limits of magical power were removed, having all attributes symbolized the power of the dragon god.
Consequently, though the dragon god’s egg was finally hatching after absorbing enough elements of all attributes, there weren’t any crystal pillars of any attribute near Lunéville either. Although fragments of crystal pillars exist everywhere as buildups of minerals, producing and releasing elements from those buildups wasn’t as effective.
That’s why Ilya couldn’t make light of the egg hatching.
(The main cause its absorbing elements… main cause?)
While thinking, she came up with a possibility.
“Sorry Ria, I need to return to my room for a moment.”
“D-don’t go, Ilya!”
“It’s alright. It’s a dragon’s egg, not a monster’s. You won’t suddenly be attacked, unless maybe its parents see you and misunderstand.”
Several people became restless at the mention of parent dragons.
Many flying dragons and land dragons accompanied animal trainers, so people were relatively familiar with them. Let alone the hatchlings, not many people feared them. Still, being accompanied by dragons other than flying dragons and land dragons was difficult, requiring more power to obtain and was held in prestige.
(Only since it’ll be troublesome this time, I should probably stop it.)
In order to prevent confusion, she didn’t speak her thoughts. Having now returned to her room, Ilya suddenly threw open the window.
Then, she looked towards the sky and used [Clairvoyance].
However, she didn’t see the Heavenly Palace’s landmark or a mass of cumulonimbus clouds at Rondéville.
Continuing to look search after that, she found the Heavenly Palace about four countries away in the skies above Tekyareru Desert. She thought that the cause of it hatching was due to the Heavenly Palace or cumulonimbus clouds, but it appeared her guess was off.
Now that it came to that, the possibility of failure appeared. For hatchlings that couldn’t absorb enough elements, their abilities would stop growing midway.
If its child suffered misfortune due to others, the dragon god would naturally be in a rage.
(I wonder if it can be stopped without killing it… No, it’s no good to abandon hope.)
It might have already absorbed enough elements.
However, when her eyes looked at the egg with [Clairvoyance] again, there was something strange.
The [Presence Isolation] skill was used. Two figures were secretly hiding by the building.
Her eyes saw the [Assassin] in their occupation columns.
(It’d be fine if it turned out to not be something troublesome, but…)
As she headed down to the first floor while clinging to a shred of hope–
There was a hatchling dragon with blue eyes and a pure white body when she returned.
The current dragon god that Ilya knew had jet black horns on its scarlet body, and since the dragon had deep blue eyes, she couldn’t see any similarities. However, it was clearly described in the occupation column as the dragon god’s child with a status that slightly surpassed other dragons.
The hatchling, being gently patted by Ria, turned to face her at the same time.
Then, an unexpected situation for her happened.
The hatchling dragon totteringly ran, jumping into Ilya’s chest.
Standing still so that she wouldn’t avoid it, she caught the hatchling head-on.
It was a confusing turn of events, but the hatchling snuggled up to her with its whole body. Its underdeveloped scales were smooth.
(Its tongue is quite rough… wait, don’t lick me!)
Watching the pleasant scene, Ria spoke to Ilya.
“Looks like you were just imprinted by a dragon’s child.”
“No way something like that…”
Dragons had the trait to imprint their parents. Not from the dragon god, but she heard that information from other dragons. Though she expected it to judge Ria as its parent, it appeared that it didn’t imprint on her.
(… Is it because of the dragon element?)
Since she possessed a higher rank of the dragon element than the dragon god, the hatchling probably mistook her for a comrade.
Ilya, who inclined her head while thinking so, was mimicked by the hatchling that also inclined its head. The surroundings were wrapped in a gentle atmosphere.
“Ilya… you’ve settled down.”
You could say that, thought Ilya.
Most things no longer surprised her since traveling throughout the world, and except being surprised at seeing insects she would never be flustered. Above all, although this time was certainly something unexpected, the hatchling hatched safely. She found that even its current status was stronger than the weaker species of dragons.
With its initial level and amount of skills, as well as having good latent potential, it wasn’t underdeveloped at all. Its potential seemed to be even better than its parent’s.
(The dragon god should be satisfied with this! That’s good, good.)
With that, the immediate problem could be avoided.
While stroking the curled up hatchling in her arms, she addressed the hatchling that lifted its head.
“How about a meal for now?”
Ilya returned to her room on the third floor, taking down the barrier.
Dragons ate pure magic, that is, magical power.
There were two ways to send it magical power. The first way was to mix magical power with body fluids like blood (this is what dragon’s milk does), the second was to apply it with support magic.
Though she would immediately recover when wounded, Ilya didn’t like seeing blood so she chose the latter.
“—Red spirits of power, rage from the abyss. Sharpen what is hard, deepen what is soft. Give power to this person—”
Physical ability (brute strength, leg strength, and explosive strength’s overall value) were strengthened by this fire-type support magic.
Fed magical power from Ilya, the hatchling’s body completely filled with magical power. Then, the elements inside the hatchling’s body interfered with the magic.
(Nn? … Ah, I see.)
Ilya had completely forgotten.
The cause for the hatchling to hatch. It was—
(Probably because I used the healing magic Healing Light.)
The amount of elements collected due to Healing Light was probably enough for the hatchling to have absorbed.
Still, the Tekyrareru Desert that the Heavenly Palace drifted to was where the Crystal Pillar of Fire was. Guessing by that, the Heavenly Palace likely went there to absorb elements of fire.
The hatchling, unable to continue eating the magical power, stopped and leaned against her. Just then, there was a knock at her door.
“Ilya, are you good for a moment?”
“Ah, branch manager. By all means.”
Restoring her barrier and opening the door, she invited Frank inside.
“I roughly heard about it from Ria… It really is a dragon’s child.”
“Though it’s hard to talk about, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“I don’t mind.”
“This child is the dragon god’s offspring.”
(Ah, he’s holding his head.)
Understanding the situation the branch was in from those few words, his intelligence became his enemy.
Ilya decided to wait for him to settle down by stroking the hatchling, but it didn’t take him much time to recover.
“… You’re certain?”
“Yes. One hundred percent.”
“I see… What should we do?”
Hmm, she gave a gesture as though she were thinking.
Should she go to the dragon god’s Heavenly Palace and return it after all? There was only two ways to get there though.
The first would be to fly there with wind-type magic, another would be to borrow the strength of summoners or animal trainers.
If it were the latter she’d have no choice but to hold a ritual at the dragon king’s shrine. Since performing the ritual at the shrine was originally to beg for rain, it wouldn’t give a good impression for the dragon god. In that case—
“There’s no choice but to go and return it.”
“Put out a commission as the guild?”
“That’s right… I’d want the people who found it to bring it there since they are the ones responsible, but…”
“They’re still unconscious, huh.”
“Yes. There’s also the possibility that they brought it without knowing it was the dragon god’s egg, too. I can’t say anything without hearing their side of the story.”
While they were having a serious conversation, the hatchling snuggled up to her while playing with its tail. Attempting to set it down, she leaned forward, but it gripped her firmly and wouldn’t let go.
“… It looks like it’s a good idea to leave the problem of taking care of the child to Ilya.”
“… It seems that way. I understand.”
When she gently stroked its head, it narrowed its eyes in comfort.
Ilya stared outside the window, letting out a single sigh.
A horse was dancing in the air, with scale-like fur and a single heroic horn.
In order to take care of the hatchling, Ilya was temporarily exempted from reception and kitchen duties.
(… Ah, what a pure-white working environment.)
Though Ilya was impressed by the fact she was given leave for child-care, she braced herself and opened the door to the office.
In order to avoid excessive risks, she avoided falling behind on developments.
Desiree called out to her before Ilya even asked.
“Ah, Ilya-chan. I figured out where those three accepted the commission.”
“Thank you very much. As expected of Desiree-san. You work quickly.”
“I’m happy to be praised by Ilya-chan. Well, those three accepted the commission from the Shivarémis branch. The town to the southeast of Filéamis.”
“Do you know who the client was?”
“Of course. The commission was issued by someone from the trade guild in the Shivarémis branch. The contents of the commission was a Filéahound in the forest to the east of Shivarémis.”
Speaking of the forest to the east of Shivarémis, it was famous for cultivating its heat resistant special product, oranges. It was no wonder that the trade guild sent out a commission to protect their product ahead of the stingy agriculture guild.
What Ilya thought incomprehensible was why those three purposely went to Lunéville with that commission.
(… In the end, there’s no progress to be made without speaking to the people in question, huh?)
Turning her gaze to the tiny voice, the hatchling’s legs were paddling in the air.
Holding the hatchling in her arms, Ilya bowed her head to Desiree.
“Desiree-san, thank you for helping me with your precious time.”
“No, no. I’m willing to help you whenever.”
Though Ilya’s hierarchical relationship to her in the workplace was lower, Desiree didn’t appear to care about such things as she waved her hands. Ilya let out a sigh for her workplace that was filled with such tolerant people, returning to her room on the third floor.
As she was gently brushing the hatchling laid on the bed, a knock sounded at the door. Considering the speed and strength of the knocks, she guessed it wasn’t anything urgent.
In fact, she didn’t see anything like impatience or discomfort in Elizah’s expression when she opened the door at like.
“Ilya, they’re waking up.”
“Un, I understand. I’ll be there soon.”
Standing up while holding the hatchling in her arms, she bent down to let it onto the bed. However, the hatchling still held on, absolutely refusing to separate from Ilya.
Reluctantly heading to the private room on the second floor while holding the hatchling, the otter beastkin was the only one awake.
When Ilya entered the room and bowed once, Frank immediately started the questioning.
“Do you hurt anywhere?”
“… No… where is—”
“This is Lunéville.”
The beastkin knit his brows in puzzlement.
“Aren’t you the one that came here?”
“Yes, I… r-right! Gaul and Ruben!?”
The otter beastkin, Teemo, raised his body in order to jump up.
“Please be at ease. Their wounds have also been healed. They’re just resting right now.”
“Is that… so… Thank you.”
His strength left him when he heard they were safe. Frank shook his head towards Teemo bowing his head deeply.
“Don’t worry about it. I want to hear something apart from that. Where did you obtain the dragon egg?”
“Dragon…? That was a dragon egg!?”
Teemo’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Did you move it without realizing?”
Teemo hesitatingly nodded towards Frank’s somewhat puzzled question.
“… Yeah… After finding it, we were going to try and return to Willville to complete the commission. Since it was an egg we hadn’t seen before, we thought it might get bought at a high price.”
“What was its surroundings like?”
Teemo kept his mouth shut as he thought for Ilya’s question.
Since he was overthinking it, she helped him out.
“Something like where the egg fell on the ground, the weather… anything that you can remember.”
“… The area, I don’t think there was anything in particular about it… ah, no, since it fell in a place that didn’t look like a nest, we thought it was strange. As for the weather… sunny, no, maybe a little cloudy…”
“That’s enough. Thank you for the help.”
When Ilya bowed her head, Frank resumed his questioning.
“It might be painful to remember… but were you attacked after that?”
“Did you see what it looked like?”
“Yes. It was a horse that grew a horn. Its fur was distinctive… it looked like scales.”
Teemo’s words troubled Ilya, but she didn’t act on it since she was holding the hatchling.
A horse that had scales and a horn could only be a Qilin. 
(What is it doing in a place like this.)
She knew one was in the skies above Rondéville, but she thought it was here to look for the hatchling. However, hearing Teemo’s story, there were many contradictions.
“Did the horse do this to all of you?”
She continued to listen in.
“No. Though it chased us, we were able to escape while barely dodging its attacks. We got injured after that.”
“Were you attacked by another horse?”
“No… it was a person.”
Frank’s tension increased. If someone was aiming for the egg, that person was probably trying to anger the dragon god. Being stressed was natural.
“Did you see the person?”
“… No, it was a surprise attack, so I couldn’t see much.”
“… You did well to not lose the egg.”
“That’s because we barely understood that the enemy avoided attacking the egg…”
Taking advantage of their opponent’s intentions, they successfully lead the attacks. Making such a wise decision in a situation of life and death, Ilya sincerely admired them.
“After that, we were only able to run towards the walls we saw…”
“Is that so. You worked hard.”
Though Frank sent a glance to Ilya as he replied to him, she had nothing, returning him a nod filled with meaning.
“Sorry you had to wake up so soon. Take care of yourself.”
“Ah, yeah… Really, thank you so much.”
“No, you’re the one to thank. Defending the dragon god’s egg, I give you my heartfelt gratitude.”
Hearing that it was the dragon god’s egg, Teemo’s face paled.
Even if they didn’t want to be involved in something so awe-inspiring, it was decent consideration.
If the three people were thinking about the egg’s protection, they likely would have conveyed their intentions first.
Even so, a respectable person wouldn’t have released the egg and place themselves above all else.
(I don’t know if it’s too sudden… but with those three attacked, maybe I should think about its goal?)
Ilya sorted through the information they’d just gained.
“Take care of yourself.”
The hatchling made a sound along with Ilya’s bow.
Not that the hatchling understood it had received his protection. However, thinking that the hatchling gave its thanks, even though Teemo was embarrassed he felt his mood lighten up.
Meanwhile, Frank and Ilya left the room and moved to the parlor on the third floor.
“It looks like we escaped the worst-case scenario.”
“It does, doesn’t it.”
Ilya gave Frank’s weighty murmur the affirmative. What would the worst-case scenario have been? The dragon god’s anger mercilessly befalling upon everyone.
“What are your thoughts.”
“It might take a little while. I’ll prepare some tea.”
Her leisurely behavior helped to ease Frank’s tension.
As for Ilya, it was neither resignation nor bravado that she was taking her time. She knew that it wouldn’t help to rush.
Pouring the tea from the teapot into a cup, she placed it on a saucer and passed it to Frank.
Seeing Frank settle down from smelling its fragrance, Ilya began explaining.
“Does branch manager know where the dragon god lives?”
“No, I don’t.”
“The dragon god lives on an island that floats in the sky, called the Heavenly Palace.”
“An island that floats…?”
“In the center of the island is a gigantic Crystal Pillar of Wind.”
That the crystal pillar fell and was stolen, with Ilya becoming a wife candidate for the dragon god when she retrieved it for her deed… she left that out, continuing to speak without adding such a superfluous thing.
“So, my first thought was that the egg fell from the Heavenly Palace.”
“Then how did the egg end up safe? … Ah, did you hear about the area?”
“Yes. Even if some power came into play, I don’t believe it would be able to land safely without exerting some influence on the surroundings.”
Even if it didn’t make a crater, something similar should have happened. Still, the possibility that the Heavenly Palace was related after hearing about the weather was low.
“When the Heavenly Palace is in the sky overhead, it just looks like a huge rain cloud from the outside and can’t be seen. It’s not weather that could be mistaken for sunny or cloudy.”
“Then there’s no possibility that it fell…”
“Correct. It’s likely that it was carried to that ground.
Thus, Ilya had an idea of who the perpetrator was.
“Why would they bring the egg to the ground?”
“Though I don’t know why, at the very least I don’t think it holds any ill intent towards the egg.”
“Though they mentioned a horned horse with scales, that horse is called a qilin.”
“Yes. It’s called a mythical beast, the dragon god’s kin.”
What was a mythical beast? The kin of a god. Their existences weren’t entirely confirmed and though they were generally descendants of gods like the dragon god and Demon God, they sometimes resulted from crossbreeding between difference species.
As for the qilin, it was the child produced from breeding between the dragon god and a horse beastkin. Possessing the same horn and scales as a dragon and a lot of magical power due to its dragon element, its appearance was similar to the dragon god and beastkin.
“Due to it having a benevolent disposition, so long as it doesn’t get driven into a dangerous situation, it will not try to harm others. Rather, it would sooner hurt itself than injure an enemy.”
“Then why were they attacked by a mythical beast like that?”
“It was probably just pretending to attack.”
Frank’s expression was saying he didn’t understand. However, seeming to realize it by himself immediately after, his brows furrowed deeply.
“… Why in Lunéville…”
Not even Ilya knew if it guided it here. No, it was more correct to say that she didn’t want to know.
Surely the dragon god didn’t want an outsider like Ilya to raise his child. She didn’t want to think he was the same as that water dragon.
“However, who were those people that attacked them afterwards…?”
“I don’t know. However, I’m certain that they were acting on different intentions than the qilin.”
There was the possibility it was bringing the egg to Lunéville in order for Ilya to protect the egg from its enemies as well.
However, in that case, why was the egg taken away from the Heavenly Palace in the first place? She couldn’t understand its motives. Did something happen in the Heavenly Palace?
Considering how the dragon god doted on the qilin and his other kin, she didn’t think the dragon god would be disgusted at the hatchling. But considering that there could be enemies inside the Heavenly Palace, the dragon god wouldn’t leave something like that alone.
(… Not enough information as expected, then?)
With her current information, she couldn’t determine the truth.
“In any case, if we assume the qilin purposely brought it to the ground, we can’t just return it to the Heavenly Palace.”
“Right. It’d be easy if we could get the truth from the qilin and the people who attacked them though.”
“It won’t go so well as that huh?”
“But, maybe we will manage to before long.”
“Is that so? … Got it. Is there anything I can do to help?”
Ilya thought for a moment for Frank’s offer.
“This evening, is Rachelle taking the reception desk?”
“Yeah, she is.”
“Then, could you tell her to bring a meal here in the evening? I almost certainly won’t be able to go anywhere at that time since I’ll be looking after the hatchling.”
Nodding while gently petting the hatchling, she was stared at by its clear blue eyes. The stifling atmosphere was swept away when the hatchling rolled about, causing Ilya to smile.
“Well then, how about going for a walk?”
Still acting in an easygoing manner, Ilya bowed to Frank, still drained of energy from the situation, before walking out of the branch with the hatchling.
[Hunt the horse with the mentioned features in that area and seize its egg. Eliminate anyone who knows of the egg’s existence without exception.]
Those were the instructions they’d received this time.
Though finding that horse with the information from the suspicious man that called himself Catoh was going well, the wind changed when they encountered a human man on the way.
That’s because in the next moment, that man transformed into a yellow-scaled sea snake with a single horn and attacked them.
Though its powerful body and water magic made it a close fight, its enemies successfully gave it the slip. However, being unable to find Catoh, it would take them time to find the egg again.
When they finally found the egg, instead of seeing the horse in its surroundings there were instead three beastkin.
Surmising the three’s strength, they judged it wouldn’t be a hindrance to their mission.
In fact, they held the advantage of their combat potential increasing in the darkness and by decentralizing their forces. Handling it the same way they’d used for their assassinations until now, they quietly and quickly moved in to handle their targets.
However, there was one thing different from their normal orders this time.
That was the egg. They were not to harm it.
They were unaccustomed to the constraint of not being able to break it. As a result, they weren’t able to kill the three people.
Therefore, they were now in front of the guild association’s Lunéville branch.
The youth named Bard looked to where the beastkin woman pointed.
Looking ahead, a dragon hatchling was tottering in front of a girl.
With the information they’d procured beforehand, considering its unusually white skin, there was no mistaking that it came from the egg.
However, Bard’s gaze wasn’t on the hatchling. It was glued to the girl walking.
It was suspicious to continue watching someone. Thinking that as he forcibly stopped looking at her, he realized that sweat was beading on his back.
“… Bard, what’s wrong?”
“… It’s nothing.”
Right. It was nothing.
Though those three from before were likely stronger than him, with his area of expertise… it wasn’t a problem to go for assassinations.
Then what did he sense just now?
Was he fascinated by her beauty?
He denied the possibility, thinking it ridiculous. A human that had such upright emotions had no place on being something like an assassin.
“What do we do?”
Bard switched his train of thought to the problem at hand at her question.
Even if they did nothing else, they had to fulfill their orders. Seize the egg, kill anyone involved, that’s all. If the intelligence about the egg hatching turned out true, they would already be unable to achieve their goals, but they would at least seize the hatchling and take it back.
“… First, we need to investigate whether or not that hatchling came from the egg.”
His partner readily accepting it, Bard exhaled slightly.
“Katie, you go back to the branch and keep watch for if that elf returns with the dragon hatchling.”
“Got it. And you?”
“I’ll be gathering more information from around town.”
Since becoming his partner, Katie had never second guessed Bard’s decisions.
Rather than leaving the decision-making to him, it was more like she abandoned making decisions entirely.
With a facial expression lacking any emotions, she gave up thinking. When he met her, she was already like that.
Clicking his tongue in irritation, he proceeded to walk through Lunéville.
After finishing his investigations, Bard reunited with Katie.
Though it was called an investigation, with Bard’s sociable disposition, he just listened to residents’ conversations while walking through the town.
Putting together the stories he’d heard, the hatchling had hatched from the egg as expected. Currently, that elf girl had become the hatchling’s parent.
“How’d it go?”
“The child elf returned with the hatchling.”
“Got it. Let’s head into the branch.”
Of course, their objective wasn’t to get something to eat.
It was to find out where the hatchling usually rested if things went well.
However, Bird thought that even if it didn’t go so perfectly, it would still be helpful to reference with the information he’d gained from the town.
You could only trust things you see with your own eyes, after all. That was the rule he’d learned from living this long.
The voice of girls reached their ears.
After roughly surveying the first floor, he saw neither the elf girl nor the hatchling. While wondering if he’d chosen to look in the wrong place, two beastkin girls approached them.
“Are you here for a meal?”
A black panther beastkin and a black cat beastkin.
Not changing their expressions at the curt response, the beastkin girls showed the two to open seats at the counter.
Though he didn’t want the staff to remember his face, it would have stood out to reject.
Sitting down obediently, he appropriately ordered a meal from the menu.
Bard asked for what caught his eyes, while Katie just asked for the same thing. Katie’s expression didn’t change when she looked at the menu, nor when the dishes arrived.
However, when she put the food in her mouth—
She smiled slightly. Bard definitely saw it happen.
His mind slowed by the surprise, he was unable to come up with anything good to say in response. Eventually—
“… Is that so?”
Just that. Holding back his irritation at such an uncontrolled situation, Bard dipped his spoon into the dish, bringing some to his mouth.
“… It’s good.”
Not even realizing he said anything, the two just continued to silently eat their food.
But he never forgot about his mission.
He continued to listen to conversations. They ended up being of little importance and followed along with what he’d heard outside, though.
Just when he began to think it was useless and give up, that man appeared.
“Ah, Frank-san. Good morning.”
Lunéville branch’s branch manager, a specialist in close combat. Also excelling in insight and leadership, he was added to the list of characters to be wary of by the organization. His pressuring atmosphere and stable center of gravity testified to his ability.
Probably due to his instinctive vigilance, he spontaneously became aware of Frank and focused on him.
If he was there, they needed to hurriedly secure the hatchling.
Though Bard was thinking that—
“Did you hear? Ilya is completely taken up by a hatchling~”
“Well, that was pretty indifferent~. It’s no fun if you don’t give more of a reaction you know~”
“I’m not a toy.”
Watching him tease the receptionist who had a cramped expression, he didn’t think that was a person they needed to be vigilant of.
“Anyway, Rachelle. Ilya seems to be tied up by taking care of the hatchling, so please bring a meal to her room.”
“Eh? Me? I’m fine with it but…”
“Ilya nominated you. In the meantime, I’ll fill in.”
“Frank-san, I think Ilya pushed you away.”
She struck a nerve. He was at a loss for words.
“Well, Ilya is strangely serious though, so she might just want to keep the pecking order clear.”
“A little lonely, isn’t it?”
Rachelle left the reception counter behind with those words.
Frank and the remaining receptionist were left wrapped in a mood difficult to speak in.
“I think she didn’t want you to do it because she didn’t trust you in her room…”
“What Rachelle said, didn’t it make some sense?”
“… I know…”
With that, the two people at the counter stopped their idle talk and handled their reception duties.
As for Bard, he wasn’t interested in the internal relationships in the branch at all. However, it became clear that the hatchling was being sheltered in the branch. Referring to a rough sketch of the inside of the branch, his target would be on the third floor.
Judging by the staffs’ conversation, Frank wouldn’t be in Ilya’s room.
“Tonight, we sneak in.”
Exiting the branch, Bard informed Katie so.
Though they were accustomed to infiltrating buildings, there was something they found hard to deal with.
That was barrier magic. Currently, the branch’s windows and doors were sealed off with barriers.
In order to break a barrier, one needed to use the corresponding counterspell to the magic used, otherwise you’d have no choice but to simply brute force it by pummeling it with magic.
However, both of those methods were impossible to them as neither were magicians.
(Should we look for another way in…?)
Though Bard’s thoughts were tinged with irritation, he noticed a single window open while looking around the outside of the branch. It was a hole in the barrier. If they used that, they could get in.
( … )
However, Bard hesitated.
The person of the branch put such a strong barrier up. Would they make that kind of a mistake?
Be that as it may, there was no guarantee they’d find another hole the next day. Something like waiting for another window to be open was out of the question.
The hatchling wouldn’t necessarily be in Lunéville indefinitely.
After his slight hesitation, Bard whispered into Katie’s ear.
They were currently wearing masks that only exposed their eyes while they were sneaking in, so they couldn’t communicate with each other without getting close to each other.
“I’ll sneak in alone. Stand by at the rendezvous.”
Bard was at a loss for words since she didn’t acknowledge it.
“There is the possibility of this being a trap. You will erase all traces of me.”
“… Still, more people is better.”
She was being obstinate.
“… If I’m a nuisance, I’m fine even being a decoy.”
That won’t happen, is what he wanted to shout, but he pushed it back down.
Bard hadn’t thought of a way to argue with Katie, who had never refuted him until now.
“… Got it.”
Erasing all traces of his breathing, Bard climbed the wall first and successfully invaded through the window. Then Katie followed up.
However, the two people who invaded the room gasped.
Because their objective, the hatchling, was sleeping soundly in that room.
More important than that, however, was the thing that completely captivated their sight. The elf girl that was sleeping while holding the hatchling.
The elf girl’s sleeping appearance held a mystique that seemed as though it would disappear as soon as it were touched and held a beauty where not even the smallest distortion was permitted.
They were professional assassins that could kill their emotions, but they might have still been standing there all the way to morning.
Somehow, Bard managed to restore his consciousness and kill his mind and emotions, reaching for the knife at his waist.
Telling Katie to be vigilant of their surroundings with his eyes, he once again turned towards the elf girl.
Without even noticing the sweat running down his face and back, he swung the knife straight for the girl’s neck.
However, the point of the knife that was swung directly downwards and could even pierce a wall.
It touched her skin. But it couldn’t cut it.
Bard raised the knife perplexed, swinging it down towards the girl’s profile for the second time.
However, let alone her skin, even her hair that seemed like it would disappear by a touch couldn’t be cut.
—What is this?
Confused by something that had never happened in all of his experience, Bard retreated a step back.
At that instant.
As Katie began running towards the door, it was forcibly opened.
She wasn’t so stupid as to collide with an opening door.
However, Bard saw Katie fly back and slam into the windowsill.
Looking back at the door, Bard shifted his body as he felt a shiver run down his spine from a piercing blood lust.
Immediately following that, a hammer-like fist scraped by Bard’s cheek.
It was merely a coincidence that he avoided it at the last second due to the shivers.
However, if he took advantage of fighting in close combat in the dark, he would be slightly superior.
The moment he instantly determined such a thing and attempted to hold up his knife, Bard suddenly lost the ability to move as a ballistic shock ran through his skull originating from his stomach.
(Imp… po… ssi…)
He had definitely avoided the attack from that left arm.
However, what he saw in his fading consciousness was the figure of a man slowly pulling back his left arm.
Bard became aware that he was bound. Though he tried to struggle, his body wouldn’t listen to him. Additionally, the pain in his abdomen was almost enough to cause him to vomit.
When Bard groaned, the bulge on the bed stirred.
Slowly getting up, the elf girl didn’t show any reaction in particular even when she saw Bard.
His body shuddered in fear from her gaze that looked as though she knew everything.
Looking away from him as though he were nothing, the elf girl, Ilya, looked towards Frank who’d bound them.
“… I didn’t think they’d show themselves on the first day.”
“There’s a limit to being so carefree!”
With a direct fighting spirit that was completely different from his appearance at the reception desk, his words were sharp. Above all, the gauntlets on his hands stuck out against his uniform.
Next to Bard, Katie had completely lost consciousness.
Seeing the two people restrained, Ilya bowed to Frank.
“My apologies, branch manager. You’ve had to sully your hands.”
Expressing gratitude as though he’d just disposed of an insect that came in, she thanked him for having to deal with it. That was how Bard saw Ilya when she said that.
She was entirely out of the norm. An existence that he could never be a match for.
“S-stay away, you monster…!”
“Please keep quiet. Ah, biting your tongue or drinking poison is useless by the way. I’ll absolutely heal you. Everyone you people attacked are safe as well. Will you believe me with this?”
The beastkin they’d attacked were safe.
They didn’t have any intelligence that said that. If people who suffered fatal wounds were healed, it should have been a topic of discussion. However, he wasn’t confident in the denial that came to his mind.
The reason that the recovery of those dying beastkin didn’t come up as a topic could only be because it wasn’t uncommon for this town.
They didn’t die. There was no way to kill them.
In that case, he had no choice but to defeat them and run away.
But could he?
It was impossible.
He had no way to handle his current situation.
(… It’s useless.)
Bard lost his will to resist.
“That calmness… Ilya, were you planning on being a decoy from the start?”
“Ah, yeah. Though I never would have thought that they’d appear on the first day…”
She made sure they knew the hatchling was in Lunéville by walking the around town.
To show that the hatchling was in her room, Ilya sent the message to Rachelle. The window being left open was of course, also on purpose.
Though Frank understood that now, he didn’t agree with it.
“If I weren’t on alert, what would you have done?”
Of course, I would have captured them.
(Though… this isn’t the time to say that…)
Frank didn’t know about Ilya’s abilities. Seeing Ilya look troubled, Frank sighed, switching the subject.
“I’ll bring these two to the basement. Ilya, wait in the parlor.”
Ilya had no choice but to obediently nod at Frank’s tone of not accepting a refusal.
Likely woken by the turmoil, the hatchling raised its head while half asleep.
As Ilya was lulling the hatchling to sleep once again, Frank told her to would wait in the parlor after changing.
“I said I wouldn’t ask about things relating to your abilities when I hired you so long as you did your job, but I can’t overlook this. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“In order to deceive your enemies, don’t tell your allies…”
“I understand the meaning of preventing them from finding out, but you didn’t need to include me in your precautions.”
Once Frank confined the intruders inside one of the underground storehouses, he immediately turned back to the parlor and scolded Ilya.
Frank himself didn’t realize he changed his phrasing to be about himself.
That was the degree of his anger, but he was also concerned.
“I’m sorry… I’ll be more careful from now on.”
“… You’ll never act as a decoy again right?”
Believing Ilya’s response to be her true feelings, Frank breathed out a large sigh.
When Ilya looked up after feeling that the mood changed, Frank’s expression returned to what one would normally have after dealing with an insect.
“Those two appear to belong to the thieves guild.”
Ilya checked the outstretched registration cards.
“I’ll be interrogating them after this, but is there anything you want to hear?”
“Eh? By yourself… no, it’s nothing.”
Frank would try to get information from them even if he had to use his hands. Noticing that he didn’t want to show her him carrying out a cruel interrogation, Ilya stopped speaking.
(You don’t need to worry about me…)
Though her thoughts were true in various ways, she wouldn’t let the opportunity pass.
“Then, just one thing. I want to ask, rather, I request this of branch manager.”
“I’m fine with Frank. Otherwise you might keep on with the formalities forever.”
Rather than Ilya standing on formalities, it was a habit left over from the characteristics of the vertically structured society from her previous life.
Though she herself was aware of it, it was difficult to explain since it involved her previous life.
(… With how things are going right now, seems like it’d be useless no matter what I say.)
Though Ilya was a little reluctant to refer to her boss so familiarly, Ilya decided to switch her thinking.
“I understand. I’m requesting Frank-san for this, but I want to propose a commission to those two.”
“To disclose all of the information they have regarding the dragon god’s egg. By confessing what they have from their guild, couldn’t we treat them as our spies for the thieves guild? Of course, they would continue to belong to the thieves guild.”
Double agents, so to speak.
The thieves guild utilized a system of independent guild members in various places directly contacting its headquarters. While the structure of its vertical connections were strong, its drawback was that horizontal connections were weak. It was difficult to notice if someone double crossed them.
Fearing that, the thieves guild brainwashed members in their own educational institution, but that wasn’t a problem for Ilya. An eye for an eye. Mental interference for mental interference. If they were brainwashed, her plan was that she just needed to undo the brainwashing.
However, not knowing Ilya’s abilities, Frank couldn’t agree to Ilya’s plan so easily.
“… You want me to turn a blind eye to them?”
“No. Their achievement reward would be to put carrying out their punishments on hold, that is suitable compensation. Since if the dragon god’s anger isn’t settled, we’ll hand them over first and foremost.”
Then, Ilya suddenly realized something.
Seeing that they’d just learned about it, she completely overlooked one thing.
“Those people might not know that egg was the dragon god’s egg either.”
“Are you… sure it’s like that?”
“Yes. Their superiors think of them as sacrificial pawns, or rather just as tools to acquire things.”
Though some would equivocate, Ilya could declare that every person in their management was like that.
Not just the management but also the ones she’d beat up after meeting before, the information she’d received from people who promised to revolutionize the thieves guild supported that belief.
“Please don’t leave me out of the loop regarding the dragon god’s egg.”
Frank stood up, stopping his hand on the door.
“You should get some rest soon. Even if it didn’t wake up from all of that trouble, it’ll definitely be lonely if the owner of that boldness isn’t there.”
Wondering if it became a trauma, Ilya smiled as she saw Frank rub his stomach.
Although she remembered being at a loss with her baby younger sister in her previous life, she didn’t think the dragon hatchling was a handful at all.
It slept well, it didn’t cry at night, and it didn’t throw tantrums.
(Its so cute too.)
With that fleeting thought, Ilya remembered that she was defending herself with a barrier, saying nothing and smiling wryly.
Afternoon the following day.
The scent of tea brewed by Frank spread through the parlor, Ilya and Frank faced each other.
“They knew it was a dragon’s egg, but didn’t seem to know it was the dragon god’s.”
“Is that so…”
“Even so, I believe they’d heard about the dragon god. I got the commission they received this morning.”
Ilya had considered using her [Mind Reading] skill if he couldn’t get information out of them, so she was relieved knowing that it wasn’t necessary.
The [Mind Reading] skill, the kind of thing that would backfire, was improved by her cheat-like abilities. Let alone reading surface thoughts, it could delve into their deep psyche, going so far as to read even their memories. Since it would result in their sense of self collapsing, it was equivalent to suicide.
Besides, although Ilya could remove her barrier to unleash the charming effect, it would completely deprive them of free will and turn them into servants. As far as she was concerned, that was an abominable method.
Understanding that Ilya was put at ease, Frank continued speaking.
“The commission they received was to take back a dragon egg a monster horse had robbed, eliminating anyone related to the egg. They had initially chased after the monster horse as per their commission, it appears they quarreled with someone who was similarly aiming for the egg on the way.”
Towards Ilya’s question, Frank nodded with a slight frown.
“That’s what they said, but… when they first approached, it seemed to be a person. However, it had changed into a yellow-scaled sea snake with a horn before they’d realized. By the time they somehow managed to lose it, it seems the egg had already been taken by those three.”
Hearing the snake’s features, Ilya remembered the Horned Serpent she saw in the Heavenly Palace. 
She was thinking about new questions related to the hatchling: who was the person who first commissioned for the egg to be taken, who was the other person aiming for the egg, and why the qilin was protecting the egg.
(Wow… this is troublesome…)
Reprimanding her dispirited heart, Ilya asked Frank something.
“… How were they ordered to deal with the monster horse?”
“It seems that wasn’t explicitly mentioned. There’s no doubting it since they even met their client.”
Ria couldn’t believe her ears.
The thieves guild was essentially the same as a black company. Its subordinates weren’t humans, but parts. The extremities were just sent the commissions from those at the top. Let alone hear the pros and cons of the commission, they didn’t even meet their clients directly.
“Those two were in a decent position, weren’t they.”
Though Ilya was surprised, Frank didn’t seem to feel the same.
“Yeah. Befitting of their abilities. There’s a huge difference between them and those small time scoundrels from before.”
Though Frank finished it in a single blow, he sensed Katie wasn’t far off from Bard, who had dodged his first attack. Meanwhile, even while Ilya nodded to his words, she didn’t truly agree.
The thieves guild she knew was filled with gerontocracy, a system where blood, not ability, meant everything.
(Allen, aren’t you hurrying to reform the headquarters into a blank slate?)
Since not even a few years have passed since parting with that half-elf, she wasn’t to the point of being impatient. However, if harm reached the outside, she would have to come up with a way to change it from the outside without waiting for it to be changed from the inside.
Halting her thoughts there for now, Ilya returned her attention to Frank once more.
“Did they say anything about the client?”
“Yeah. They said his name was Catoh, though it’s probably a pseudonym. Still, the man’s characteristics are: medium build, slender, shoulder length brown hair, and light brown eyes.”
An appearance you could find anywhere, it very likely wouldn’t be a clue.
“Even so, it seems he had a dark brown scale on his neck. I expect that it’s a species from somewhere, but… do you know which?”
“Yes… I do.”
One scale on the neck.
When returning to their dragon form, their scales would revert. This was proof of a dragon taking human form.
“I see… I understand now with that.”
Although Ilya was composed and nodded, on the inside she was wanting to scream.
The only dragons that could take human form were the dragon god and his kin. The qilin wouldn’t take any actions that would betray the dragon god, it wouldn’t steal a living thing in the first place.
In other words, though it wasn’t good for the dragon god, the person who wanted to use this hatchling and who was obstructing that person were both his kin.
So then, the qilin used her to guarantee the hatchling’s safety. Ilya concluded such.
She seethed in anger from being involved in family troubles.
“Let’s leave that aside for the time being. They should get in contact sooner or later.”
They didn’t have to go to the trouble of heading to the Heavenly Palace. The qilin brought the hatchling here as a diversion, but the hatchling wasn’t at fault for that. She didn’t want to get the hatchling caught up in the trouble.
“Get in contact… not like last night, right?”
It would have been a different story if they aimed for the hatchling before this, but the qilin wasn’t stupid. It always moved before its opponents precisely because it was sensitive to hostility and murderous intent.
She saw the qilin far in the distant sky the day before, its inexplicable actions could be explained assuming it was waiting until the blood lust vanished.
Since it was watching from the sky, it should have seen the assassins were captured and would make its move soon.
Thinking that, Ilya smiled at the hatchling.
“What should I do when it arrives~”
As she caressed the hatchling that was inclining its head, it closed its eyes from the pleasant feeling. If she were told to protect this child, it was important to receive something of equal worth.
(Speaking of the Heavenly Palace’s treasures, I wonder if it’ll be the Dragon God’s Bracelet? No, maybe the Dragon God’s Earrings would be given up?)
The bracelet was a magic tool made from the dragon god’s scales that could use the owner’s magical power to produce a magic barrier. She wanted to put it on the hatchling until it was able to clad itself in magical power on its own.
The Dragon God’s Earrings were made with ashes of the deceased and could turn into a physical barrier. Though the hatchling had a defensive strength that could ignore ordinary attacks at present, she wanted it to have it until it learned how to use wind-type magic barriers.
She’d refused accepting both in the Heavenly Palace previously, but it was a different story if it were to protect the hatchling.
(And since it’s compatible with the dragon element, it’s a perfect fit for the hatchling!)
Not limited to magic tools, she was excited thinking about the hatchling’s future growth.
“Expand your dreams!”
Come if you dare qilin, Ilya thought as she glared looking outside the window.
Though Ilya’s thoughts didn’t reach it, the qilin dashed through the air.
In order to get to that place as fast as possible, it concentrated its magical power into its legs.
As it pierced through the sea of clouds covering the yellow earth below, in the hole on the layer of clouds that seemed to extend onward forever, it saw the swirling vortex.
Descending through the center of the vortex so that it wouldn’t be caught up by the air currents, there was a lush green forest.
In addition to the forest, there was a lone summit that symbolized nobility. A waterfall formed from a spring there, producing a rainbow from its falling water that built a bridge across the forest.
A lake spread out beneath the waterfall. Enshrined in its center was a U-shaped mansion.
As soon as it went down to the mansion, the qilin changed its appearance into a human’s.
Taking out the clothes from the bag on its back, it put them on in the blink of an eye.
Stopping to greet his brethren as he passed them, the qilin headed towards the mansion’s inner parlor.
“Jean-sama! I am here to report regarding the white child!”
White child… hearing the name of his own offspring come up, he wouldn’t overlook it.
Although he was thinking that, he was surprised that the sliding doors opened immediately afterwards.
His expression was obviously exhausted.
It was to be expected, yet his chest tightened anew by seeing his lord’s appearance.
The qilin immediately fell to his knees, reporting to his lord.
“I shall report on the whereabouts of the white child.”
“Is it safe!?”
“It is indeed safe… As he is under the protection of Ilya-sama, please be at ease.”
Jean stiffened for a moment when he heard that name.
Then, as Jean recalled the appearance tied to that name, an image formed in his mind.
Not just her outer beauty, but all of her charmed him. Just remembering her smile made him unable to suppress the throbbing in his heart.
If it was under her protection, then it would definitely be safe.
“Is that so…”
Jean let out a breath in relief and reminisced about his desire.
Standing in front of a private room on the second floor of the branch, Ilya opened the door after knocking.
When Ilya entered bowing—
“I waited for it! Ilya’s love!”
Swinging his scarlet hair that reached his shoulders, a beautiful person came soaring towards her.
Quickly sidestepping, Ilya gave him a gaze of contempt.
“… Shouldn’t you say that to your child first? Dragon God-sama.”
Right, this was the dragon god.
(… I didn’t think the perpetrator himself would come.)
Amazed, Ilya cast a glance towards the youth standing next to the dragon god.
“Don’t you also think so, qilin?”
The brown-haired youth received her glance, looking away embarrassed.
Since the one to blame for this was the dragon god, Ilya didn’t understand why he was embarrassed. But speaking honestly, qilin was qilin after all.
“I was going to hug this child of course… Right. Above all, a splendid child was born.”
The dragon king patted him, but the hatchling wasn’t pleased.
Far from being pleased, it stopped his hand with a slap from its tail.
“Hey you, I don’t like that,” though it didn’t say that, it could be seen with a glance. Jean turned to Ilya and gave her a wry smile.
“Oww… children imitate their parent’s coldness. That’s why, Ilya. Obediently become my wife.”
“Don’t want to.”
Who’s a parent? Who would think of a guy like that who changes his speaking manner as a parent?
Though she had various things to say she held them back.
(This is why I hate getting involved with this idiot.)
Ilya cursed him in her thoughts. However, since Jean likely didn’t notice, or perhaps only pretended not to notice, he continued speaking without looking as though he minded.
“I know that in your heart, you want to know of this body of mine right? A person who would accept you more than me doesn’t exist.”
“No thank you.”
Ilya had memories of being a man, but nevertheless she had no intention of entertaining a hermaphrodite partner.
“Rather than spending your time talking about such inconsequential things, please hurry up and tell me your business here.”
“I often say it’s a habit of my longevity.”
“Someone other than me wouldn’t have enough composure and get caught up by you. I’ll call the branch manager. Then you will explain.”
“It can’t be helped then…”
It couldn’t be helped but the questions and answers were useless.
Called in, Frank sat across the table facing the dragon god. Ilya and the qilin stood behind.
Though the dragon god objected a bit, Ilya completely ignored him.
“Jean-sama, I shall introduce you two. This one is the guild association’s Branch Manager, Deshan. Branch Manager Deshan, this one here is the dragon god, Jean-sama.”
Frank froze at hearing Jean’s identity.
Facing him, the dragon god’s face was similar to a noh mask.
“How about this. Call me Jean, Deshan-sama. Since my wife has received your favor, please call me dragon god or Jean as you prefer.”
“T-there’s no way I would do so. Dragon God-sama. Please call me Deshan.”
“I’ll take the liberty to correct something. Dragon God-sama and I are complete strangers.”
She flatly denied Jean’s frivolous words.
She didn’t want to leave any mentions of that left alone just in case. Since it would be troublesome if he said this and that to hold a ceremony in the Heavenly Palace, she changed the topic before it could come up again.
“Dragon God-sama, would you please let us hear your true intentions as to why you entrusted us with the hatchling?”
The dragon god was brooding, opening his mouth before long.
“First of all I must correct you, I have just recently come to know of this. Aurel. Say it yourself.”
“Certainly, Jean-sama. This all originated from the time when Jean-sama’s two children were born.”
“Eh, two children?”
“To be exact, twins.”
Twins. The family’s secret maneuvering, as well as the qilin’s morals. Obtaining that information, Ilya could now read the current flow as well.
“Usually, there wouldn’t be any problems as the the first child would inherit the title of dragon god, but someone moving behind the scenes appeared to take the opportunity.”
“Succession… no, a factional dispute?”
The qilin nodded at Frank’s prediction.
“When I noted the hostility filling the Heavenly Palace, one had already been encircled. In order to protect the other egg, I reluctantly brought it to the surface. I’m not interested in the factional dispute, nor did I want to use dragon god’s honorable child… above all as Ilya-sama is a person of honor, in order to ensure you accepted it without having your permission, I gradually guided passersby to you.”
He judged that was more or less enough and didn’t say that only Ilya had the power to protect it.
“I sincerely apologize for having involved unrelated people.”
Expressing his gratitude, he bowed deeply.
Though he was kin, qilin, who was of the dragon god’s lineage, showing his sincerity caused Frank’s mind to tremble.
“Please raise your head. Fortunately no one died, and above all it’s over.”
“For your honorable mercy, I am very sorry.”
During that conversation, Ilya wanted to strike the dragon god who was nodding with a self-satisfied expression on the head.
There was a reason that producing kin with those feelings resulted in a faction being born. If he wasn’t interested in putting something together in case of a dispute, he didn’t have the qualifications for making one of his kin act as the parent.
While she was suppressing her anger and playing with the hatchling, Frank was calm.
“So, since you have both come here, is it safe to assume you’ve found a solution?”
The dragon god answered promptly.
To him so easily denying it, Ilya was so amazed she was exhausted.
“As I said earlier, I’ve just recently come to know this.”
“Me coming today was for both my thanks and my apology. At the same time, my request as well.”
The dragon god turned towards Ilya, lowering his head.
“For protecting my beloved child, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Moreover, I sincerely apologize for my relative’s carelessness causing trouble for you.”
“Neither affected me alone. As both require formal documents, please submit them to the guild branch.”
“Understood. I will do so if that is this place’s custom.”
“Then, what was your request?”
The dragon god’s eyes felt unusually serious.
“Well, I want you to raise the child.”
What would happen in the Heavenly Palace if Ilya was pushed into taking care of the child?
The factional struggle would die down and the hatchling’s safety would be guaranteed. Though it could be called too much, since he could make a connection with Ilya, the dragon god only saw advantages to painfully part with his child.
She wondered about the intentions behind the slightly unusual adoption.
At least, that was the conclusion she came to by just thinking about the Heavenly Palace’s motives.
However, when Ilya looked at the hatchling—
Is what she answered the dragon god with.
Other than Ilya, everyone’s eyes opened in surprised.
“However, I have two conditions.”
“Please say anything. Even if it’s my love.”
“I don’t want something like that.”
What love? She looked at Jean with her eyes half-closed as though to say something more.
He could lay eggs without mating. However, with the large amount of kin the dragon god had, she could only think his words of love was an excuse for sex. Ilya couldn’t believe the dragon god.
“First of all, this child’s intentions.”
Ilya held the hatchling in her arms and moved its line of sight, gesturing to Jean.
“That person is your parent.”
Directing its sight to the dragon god, the hatchling more or less understood and let out a whine.
“You can live with everyone there you know?”
“I would stop the factional dispute. No matter the enemy.”
Turning her gaze to Jean as she said that, even the dragon god’s face stiffened. The qilin’s face had paled.
“Where do you want to live?”
Did it understand? The hatchling looked between Ilya and the dragon god alternatingly.
When she let it down onto the table since it couldn’t choose while being held, the hatchling walked nervously.
It was advancing towards the dragon god.
Ilya would suppress the factional dispute. Though it would cause a serious situation, that was still its parent. With a complicated look, the hatchling slowly headed towards the dragon god who couldn’t conceal his joy.
As the dragon god hesitantly held out his hand, the hatchling licked it.
She cast down her eyes, determining something. Seeing the parent and child’s appearances, Ilya smiled.
(I’ll also resolve myself.)
If she just scolded the people who caused the factional strife, it probably wouldn’t break her self discipline. Already thinking up excuses unintentionally, Ilya was disgusted at herself.
“Ilya, though I’m sorry… I’ll leave it to you.”
“Yeah. I understand.”
The dragon god stood up and gave a nod to Ilya. However, when he tried to hold the hatchling—
His hand was repelled by its tail.
“”” Eh? “””
Running to the girl who was blinking her eyes in surprise, the hatchling made a mad dash and jumped towards Ilya.
Licking her face as much as it felt like, the hatchling cuddled with her.
“”” … … … “””
Where did that atmosphere from a moment ago go? Embarrassment and disappointment mixing, a complex mood filled the room.
(That lick a moment ago, don’t tell me it was something like a farewell?)
Unable to find words that would clear the mood, Ilya reluctantly decided to continue the conversation.
“Oh… well, the second condition…”
“Please have the Heavenly Palace fully cooperate to defend this child.”
“Y-yeah. Of course. Whether it’s food, strength, or magic tools, anything is fine.”
Promises being exchanged in that lifeless atmosphere was strange.
Though Ilya worried if he would properly protect it for a moment, since the qilin who could be called a mass of honor was there, it was probably alright.
“T-then please accept these.”
What the qilin passed to her was a decoration with a translucent stone in its center, the Dragon God’s Piercing.
A magic tool close to having the function of a transceiver, the Dragon God’s Piercing could use the wind to contact the dragon god no matter the distance.
Though she didn’t think it would come back to her again after being politely returned in the past, Ilya decided having it would be convenient and accepted the piercing.
“Then Ilya… sorry, but I’ll leave it to you…”
Though the exchange should have been the exact same as earlier, the tension was as different as heaven and earth.
Going as originally planned, the dragon god continued to grow depressed.
(Nice one, hatchling!)
Not letting her cheers escape her thoughts, Ilya asked Jean about something that had been on her mind.
“By the way, what is this child’s name?”
Don’t give me an ‘eh’, idiot. Though she started to say that, she kept it from leaving her mouth.
In contrast, Jean had an expression on as though he were surprised.
“I thought you’d definitely named it already.”
“Though I know who the parent is, isn’t that something you shouldn’t gloss over…”
The dragon god laughed, the qilin letting out a silent sigh.
“Then Ilya, I’ll leave it to you.”
“… Are you sane?”
“Of course I’m sane. Besides, I’m serious. So that you will also bring it up with love you know?”
Was his idiocy calculated, or was it natural?
Ilya couldn’t understand the dragon god’s character that well.
With things concerning the hatchling’s movement settled, the dragon god returned to the Heavenly Palace. However, Frank, likely due to his anxiety, lied down in his bedroom.
(Maybe I should bring him some porridge later?)
Considering herself to be partly responsible, Ilya thought about such a thing from her guild.
Though other than that, there was another problem she was concerned of.
“What should I do…”
After returning to the reception desk, Ilya spent her free time absorbed in thought.
“What’s wrong, Ilya? Is something the matter?”
“Oh, Elizah. Good work today. It’s nothing much.”
Seeing the hatchling whine in worry, Elizah unintentionally smiled.
“Ilya, you’ve been bringing this child around everywhere. Is this child what’s worrying you?”
“Yeah. To tell the truth—”
Just as she started to speak, the entrance door was opened.
Although greeting guests was pretty much a conditioned reflex, Ilya lacked the motivation for it.
(I don’t want to hear bad rumors about the hospitality either.)
Though Ilya was thinking up excuses to justify herself, she didn’t know that the rumors were really being set off by her ‘listless’ and ‘fragile’ beauty.
“Good morning, Elizah-san. Ilya-san, long time no see.”
“Heya Ilya, Eliza. That child is… the rumored dragon!?”
The ones who arrived were Katia and Elivia, having returned from their expedition to gain cash.
Same as the townspeople, they didn’t seem to fear the dragon, instead holding their hands out towards the hatchling.
“Ahaha, it’s so cute~. What’s its name?”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“No way, is that what’s causing you to be worried?”
The first candidate was ‘Chick’. However, that was rejected since it was half-baked; like naming something big ‘Child’.
The main concern for her wracking her brains? Its gender.
As it grew, whether its appearance would incline more towards a man or a woman would become clear. Since that couldn’t be determined at the moment, she was wanting to avoid a name that sounded too rugged or too cute.
“I wondered if Haku was good, but…” 
A white that doesn’t know defilement. A white that shined on everything equally. Ilya really wanted that, but although she gave an expression as though she was embarrassed by wanting it, the reactions from those in her surroundings were different.
“I think it’s good!”
“Un, it’s a beautiful white dragon, isn’t it perfect?”
“Ilya-chan is its parent after all. You get to decide it with pleasure.”
Katia and Elizah, as well as everyone in the dining room who heard the conversation, decided it was Haku before she realized it.
Having no objections at all, Katia smiled while petting Haku.
“Pleased to meet you, Haku-chan.”
“Protect Ilya-chan well, okay?”
With the dining room full of smiles, Ilya smiled wryly.
“Ooh! Reliable isn’t it!”
“Now even Ilya-chan can be relieved!”
While the hall was expressing its jubilance, Lydia, who added herself into the conversation from the kitchen, asked Ilya a question.
“Speaking of children, how are Ilya-chan’s parents doing?”
“They’re living. Probably.”
“That’s good then. You should go and see them occasionally you know?”
“Is that so…”
Ilya gave a vague answer to end the topic. Since even her family more or less excluded her and even her parents threw her away as a child, she could probably get information from York who could leave the village.
(Not coming is fine though.)
“No, it’s nothing.”
While gently petting Haku who was looking up, Ilya remembered her previous times.
Her previous life’s family was just a normal family. Though there was nothing to boast about, there was nothing bad about having a normal family.
At one time, she thought about what if she was born into a more prosperous family, what if she was born under parents with connections. However, when they were about to be fired from making a mistake in the placement of a single digit, when they were dying from being driven out by co-workers and made to voluntarily retire due to taking maternity leave, and still able to give encouragement. That was a normal family.
—She was glad to be born into that family.
She sincerely thought so.
One day, this child will also leave.
Separating will likely be painful.
Being wounded, suffering.
Rather than intimidating others and letting your heart turn rotten like Kramer and the assassins—
Rather than trying to suppress others by scaring them with strength like the thieves guild’s executives—
Rather than shutting your mind to all but your relatives like the dragon god—
It’s fine to run away.
Even if people laugh at you for fleeing shamefully, so long as you are alive in this world, you can try anything over again.
So when the time comes, be at peace and escape from it, returning with confidence to the place you can be safe at…
“Pleased to meet you, Haku.”
—For this child, I hope this can become such a place.
Ilya smiled, looking around the room while gently caressing the young dragon.
<- Chapter One | ToC | Chapter Three ->
- A porte-cochère is a covered entrance large enough for vehicles to stop or pass through, allowing passengers to be discharged. Return
- A Qilin, also written as Kirin, is a mythical chimera between a dragon and a horse originating from Far-East Asian mythology. Return
- A Horned Serpent, also known as a Great Serpent, originates from oral history of many Native American cultures, specifically in the Southeastern Woodlands and Great Lakes areas. Return
- Haku’s name, written in kana ( ハク ), appears inside of the Japanese term for White Dragon, Haku Ryuu ( 白竜 ). Return