Chapter Three

The Decision

(Part 10)

 

 

The ice dragon, which had remained at the top of the Loa Mountain Range a little ways off of the royal capital, magnified the damage on the royal capital by sending snow down to it on the wind.

The king didn’t control the nobles that attempted to be the first to escape, so the knights that originally should have protected the people became the nobles’ escorts. As a result of the knights becoming escorts for the city’s upper echelons that were scrambling to be the first to escape, their fighting potential to subjugate the ice dragon became insignificant. In the end, even the royal family ran away.

The present situation was that the knights couldn’t move far from Greizeville because they were babysitting them.

Accordingly, it was decided that the guild would be used to hunt it.

Pretending to be a caravan for the rescue commission, it somehow turned into a subjugation commission since money would be paid afterwards.

 

“—Then, we shall return your registration cards. As soon as the thirteenth caravan group is organized, please extricate the royal capital citizens… I sincerely hope for everyone’s success.”

Seeing off the representatives as they left the room, Cynthia breathed out a great sigh.

“Finally done~”

“Thank you for your efforts. Though we finished a little early, shall we stop for the day?”

“No way! We get paid by the hour, it’d just get wasted if we stopped now!”

“It’s alright. Today’s duties also have a special wage, different from working until the regular time.”

“… No no no! Don’t want to! I don’t like that difference!”

While saying she didn’t like it, Cynthia seemed to be a little worked up.

“How about a break for now, then? Wait a moment. I’ll bring some tea.”

“It’s fine, I’ll do it! Ilya can take a rest!”

As soon as she said that, she practically flew out of the room.

The subject matter of Ilya’s duties were certainly more demanding, but her stamina wasn’t exhausted at all due to her cheat.

While she sat on the chair and waited as Cynthia suggested, Haku jumped onto her apron.

Incidentally, this reminded her about her cat that would hop onto her keyboard when she was using the computer in her previous life.

(Haku also gives that kind of a feeling, doesn’t he?)

Putting the problem about the ice dragon into the corner of her mind, she passed the time calmly petting Haku on his head.

However, it couldn’t last long in this time of emergency.

“Ilya, you were here?”

As for who poked their head in from the door, it was Frank, not Cynthia.

“Did the meeting end?”

“Yeah, though, just troop ranks and formation. Concrete plans haven’t been made yet… At least, it would have been good to know what kind of magic to use against it.”

“I take it that there wasn’t anyone who has fought against an ice dragon?”

Frank smiled wryly at Ilya’s words.

“Such veterans aren’t that readily available.”

“Is the departure tomorrow?”

“No, we are waiting for Charon’s report. We’re getting cooperation with other branches.”

As they had to climb the snowy mountain as well as engage the ice dragon in battle, she thought it to be a natural decision.

“Thanks for waiting~… Oh huh, Frank-san… Did I interrupt something?”

“It’s nothing like that.”

“Cynthia should rest too. You’re worn out right?”

“I-I’ll accept your offer then…”

They exchanged idle talk while taking a rest with some of Cynthia’s favorite green tea.

Though really, the majority of it was Ilya and Frank keeping company with Cynthia while she grumbled her complaints. When Ilya escaped to care for Haku, Frank sent her a glance as though seeking saving, but—

(I’m sorry, I think it’s a superior’s job to give mental care to their subordinates.)

Making that excuse, she didn’t look him in the eye.

And so, the first day’s affairs came to an end like that.

However, the next day was just as busy as the day before since the caravan was sent out. Miraculously, the highway’s final developments were completed just the other day. Although all of the large-scale construction was completed, the completion festival that was scheduled to be after it was completed was, as to be expected, postponed.

Two days later, the caravans had evacuated each town’s citizens.

Ilya, who had been distributing supplies to various inns, went to the lord’s mansion after receiving a summons from Hector.

Both Hector and Frank were waiting for her in the parlor with pensive expressions.

The subject matter the two were talking about? The failure of the ice dragon’s subjugation.

As well as the ice dragon descending the mountain as though to give chase to the subjugation corps—heading towards Lunéville, it was a fact that it was moving towards the south.

“The ice dragon… is coming here?”

Hector’s expression was stiff as he nodded in silence. Frank couldn’t just sit by and continued speaking.

“With their exhaustion, the decision to withdraw was not a mistake. However, no one thought that it would pursue the subjugation group.”

“Right. Dragons are a strong species that are generally aware of territorial bounds, but it shouldn’t have gotten to the point of chasing a retreating enemy past those bounds.”

“Yeah… It’s currently being confined by guild members from Harville that are rotating in and out with each other, but it looks like it will immediately mobilize towards the direction of Lunéville the moment it can.”

Ilya regretted not paying proper attention and escaping from reality. She wouldn’t be able to understand its inexplicable behavior by just observing it now. If she wanted to be absolutely sure, she would have to look over the subjugation team with [Clairvoyance], not just the rescue team.

“By the way, it’s been said, but this isn’t something like when the flying dragon eggs were taken before.”

“Is… that so.”

Frankly, if there was such a comprehensible reason like its eggs being taken, that would be good.

Even if the ice dragon had no ill will, it’s true that it brought harm to people. It’s also true that people directly struck out against it. As for who held responsibility, neither did.

The parlor was wrapped in a heavy air.

A knock broke the silence, resounding through the room. It was the human butler, Fabio.

“Hector-sama. The evacuation advisories sent out to the various places have been completed.”

“Thank you… how did it go?”

To his master’s question, Fabio lowered his eyes with a stiff expression.

“… It didn’t go well.”

It didn’t go well. In other words, they didn’t attempt to evacuate. Unable to guess the reason, Ilya asked.

“Are those that came from the royal capital complaining?”

“No, Ilya-sama. They are actively seeking refuge. However, neither do Lunéville’s citizens seem to be looking away from the ice dragon’s danger.”

She wasn’t able to understand all the more.

Even if they were unwilling to part from Lunéville, the town they were born in, living comes first. However, assuming they hadn’t truly lost their sense of danger, they may be able to be persuaded by the people that saw the ice dragon firsthand.

“Where are the injured people currently?”

“Since the transport group left from Willville, they should arrive by tomorrow.

“Is that so… Has the report already been sent to the other cities?”

“Yeah.”

Hector responded with an affirmative.

“They went to Veluun where there’s a liaison for the king, they should be returning to the branch tomorrow.”

“You know those guys well, too.”

“?”

A lot of people came to mind so she couldn’t figure out who he was talking about, but it should be easier to ask them if she was acquainted with them.

The supplies situation, creating the last line to start the enforced evacuation, and securing guild members as guards.

By the time Ilya finally completed all of these discussions and was returning to the branch, the sky had started to darken.

On the roadside, Ilya met Cecilita and Lydia. Although she found it natural that the two people who worked in the branch’s kitchen to be leaving from the branch, from what Ilya recalled, they didn’t have shifts today.

As Fabio said, there were people like these two that didn’t feel like they needed to fret.

Although she wasn’t really satisfied with that, she put on a pleasant smile so as to not worry them.

“Ilya-chan, you went to Lord-sama’s place?”

“Yes. Have you two finished with your evacuation preparations?

There was a brief moment where their eyes blinked in puzzlement. Lydia put on a cheerful smile.

“No way Ilya-chan. If I ran away, who’d make the boss’ food?”

“Is that… so?”

“… Fufu. Even if we don’t worry so much about it, we’ll run away at top speed if it gets really dangerous.”

With the skills Ilya had, she could perceive the credibility of someone’s words, no matter who they were. However, even without things like that, she could understand these two’s lie just by looking at them.

To Ilya who couldn’t seem to respond that well, the two smiled and continued talking.

“Besides, if the branch left before everyone else in town, they’d be sure to say stuff about it after all this!”

“We also have to hand over money for the commission that was sent out.”

“The… commission?”

“”Un!””

The two nodded. Then, with unwavering expressions—

“”For the ice dragon’s subjugation!””

They said.

“Umm… why would you go that far?”

For subjugating a divine beast that was at the calamity designated level, it was something that should be considered between nations and guild headquarters.

Before coming to Lunéville, Ilya had seen victims that had experienced disasters. There were people that didn’t even try to escape, saying that since it was their homeland, they would go down with it.

Stubbornness and resignation dwelled in their eyes.

But now, the eyes of the two girls before her sheltered what looked like hope.

Unable to understand why, Ilya involuntarily asked the two. Both of them answered with unchanging smiles.

“The same as usual you know?”

“Everyone loves it here!”

(—Ah, that’s right, isn’t it.)

She forgot. Or rather, she realized that feeling once again.

By getting mixed up in this and that, she forgot about the weight of those words: ‘I love this town.’

This town was loved.

Since this land had been lived on for generation after generation. Since this is the town they were born and grew up on. It wasn’t related to something like birthplace or stubbornness, it was an incredibly simple answer.

“There’s no helping it, then.”

The weight of the love was different.

The profundity of emotional attachment was different.

That’s why it was unreasonable for her to say something like that to everyone’s determination.

“Un. We absolutely won’t stop this time, even if it’s Ilya-chan.”

“Sorry.”

Rather than rejecting them, their determination caused her to agree. Because she thought that, Ilya shook her head.

“I won’t stop you.”

“Eh? Really?”

“Yes. I won’t stop it if everyone in the town wants it.”

If it’s the citizens’ intention, she wouldn’t deny them.

“Because… I also love this town, and everyone in it.”

—So I’m sorry, ice dragon whose name I don’t know.

The ice dragon’s subjugation.

—This time, it’s a commission sent out by the branch from everyone in this town.

Ilya decided to aid the commission.

 

 

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