Early morning the next day, Ilya was heading to the branch’s basement warehouse.
The whole warehouse was made so that it was impossible to enter or leave if you didn’t have the key. It was currently being used as a prison to confine the two assassins.
Though they were being confined, it was better circumstances than a bad inn with the provided bed and three simple meals.
However, the residents’ gazes that met Ilya opening the lock were exuding wariness.
“You’ve been restrained for so long, I’m sorry.”
Even though they heard Ilya apologize, the two didn’t let down their guards.
Ilya, who had judged that such roundabout methods wouldn’t make any progress, decided to immediately get down to business.
“Thieves Guild members, Bard-san. Katie-san. Your sentences have been decided, so I’ve come to inform you.”
Their names called, both of their bodies jolted.
Their restraints had been undone when they were put in the prison after their interrogation. And now, Ilya had opened the only escape route. However, their bodies couldn’t move.
It was as though they couldn’t go against this girl in front of them, like their bodies were ordered to stay still.
“Sentences huh. Is there any use negotiating with the guild?”
Bard had trouble holding back his voice from quivering, doing his best to hold up his facade.
“Well, even though I said your sentences have been decided, the final decision is based on what happens next.”
Both of them expressed a questioning look from Ilya’s strange phrasing.
“Let’s play a game of tag.”
They doubted their ears.
Although they went through childhood without its normal naivety, they knew the rules for tag.
Due to that, they couldn’t understand her intentions at all.
Ilya watched the two perplexed people in satisfaction, continuing to speak.
“The range is the entire town of Lunéville. You run away, I look for you. If either of you two manage to keep away until nightfall, you will be acquitted. If you are caught, both of you will have to do what I say.”
Don’t fuck with me.
Though he wanted to shout that, he did his best to suppress it.
“… Any other rules?”
“At the point in time you go out into Lunéville, please know that your lives are forfeit should you injure any citizen.”
Her expression hadn’t changed at all. This girl’s dangerous manner of speaking caused them to hold their breath.
“There are no additional rules. Please, any questions?”
Seeing the two react with silence, Ilya nodded.
“Well then, I’ll return to the branch. Feel free to take this time to leave.”
Ilya saw them off with a bow, leaving Bard dumbfounded.
It was good he was being underestimated. If she had any ulterior motives, he just had to overcome them.
“Katie. We will operate separately after leaving this warehouse. Focus on that woman, think only about staying away from her.”
When Ilya’s presence was completely gone, Katie nodded at Bard. Carefully, the two quickly distanced themselves from the warehouse.
Though he thought that Ilya would go for them right from the start, it was later that afternoon before she actually left the branch.
Currently, Katie was hiding a distance away and could just barely sense Ilya’s presence and had kept her distance in order to secure her escape route. Bard was erasing his presence while concealed in a spot where he could see the branch, outwitting the premise of him running away. He was contriving to escape detection while shadowing the oni’s actions. 
Since it was early morning when Ilya went down to see them, half of the time had already passed.
(Is she planning on exhausting us mentally…?)
The anxious Bard didn’t look weary at all. He smiled, thinking it was unfortunate for her.
But in the next moment, Bard stopped smiling and immediately left as fast as he could.
Ilya, who had just exited the branch’s staff entrance, uneventfully stopped for a moment and stared at Bard, beginning to walk straight towards him.
(Didn’t I erase my presence!?)
He reconfirmed his situation in a confused state of mind, but none of the citizens payed attention to Bard, not a single one.
Bard was running away at full speed thinking that Ilya was in pursuit, but there were no signs that she would catch up.
Since he was calming down thinking that he wouldn’t lose in leg strength, Bard started to search for a suitable position to watch for Ilya’s approach again.
Meanwhile, Katie was flustered.
(Eh…? She disappeared…!?)
When she left the group of presences… the branch, she lost track of the feeling.
Though Katie couldn’t sense presences down to breathing fluctuations like her partner, Bard, she couldn’t feel Ilya’s presence in the slightest.
With that, she was incredibly shaken.
(What do I do…)
Bard told her to devote herself to evading that presence.
She couldn’t find the presence. So now she had to run.
Based on what?
Her mind only able to think about finishing that thought, her body naturally didn’t move.
(What do I do…—)
A chill ran through her. Thinking was hopeless. Her head started to issue complaints from the problem continuing to make its rounds.
Katie couldn’t hold back a feeling she’d forgotten for a long time now, the feeling that she was [Caught].
“Be at ease, please rest for now.”
Sensing her presence and hearing a voice, it was without a doubt Ilya.
She was caught.
Immediately after realizing that, Katie lost her hold on consciousness without even seeing Ilya’s face.
Several hours after Katie lost.
Bard was completely exhausted.
Even though he hid himself while running away, Ilya slowly approached him no matter what he did.
Her walking never paused; she obviously knew where Bard was at all times.
(I can’t run away…)
At least, so long as he was inside Lunéville. As soon as he thought that—
“You’ve obviously slowed down. Are you becoming tired?”
Ilya, who should have been about as far away in the distance as to be as large as his thumb, was in front of him.
Did I black out?
Although Bard thought that for a moment, the positions of people around him had hardly changed.
(So I can’t win in speed either?)
Bard, who was standing still in a daze from realizing that, felt Ilya’s touch on his shoulder.
Bard looked at Ilya.
Although the elf girl’s smile was beautiful, she was more like a monster or demon.
Bard was drained of strength, losing his will to run away.
“Allow me to guide you to the inn Katie-san is resting at. Since the inn is also the branch’s lodging, please don’t do anything strange there okay?”
“… Like I have a choice.”
Obediently, he followed Ilya’s guidance.
In this way, Ilya’s first goal of determining their treatment was achieved, as well as her second goal of having them recognize the difference in their abilities.
The next day.
A man and woman standing in front of Ilya were wearing the branch’s uniform.
“… Hey, why do I have to wear something like this?”
“I thought it suited you nicely though? Don’t you think so too, Katie-san?”
“Un. Bard, it fits you.”
Praised by Katie, Bard seemed to lose himself a bit.
However, when he noticed Ilya looking at them, he immediately went back to scowling.
“… You really think we can do something like serve customers?”
“It’s not impossible and you can do it, so do it. You lost the game right?”
Bard held his tongue with that line.
Bard, who was a black panther beastkin, had black hair and tanned skin. His slim and tall figure’s muscles were moderately showing through the branch uniform that looked like butler clothing. Katie had soft black hair and was fair-skinned, and with her being a saluki-type dog beastkin, her ears hung down. Her black-based uniform provided a wonderful contrast with the white frills that swayed as she moved. 
The only thing that dissatisfied Ilya was that she was trained so that her tail wouldn’t react alongside her emotions.
(Such a waste.)
By having offered up more information on the Thieves Guild, their punishments were deferred. Though even if they were on parole, it was unclear how they would eventually deal with the two of them.
Ilya got Frank’s permission to meet them, but seeing that they didn’t kill themselves or do anything weird despite having their restraints undone, she once again judged that they weren’t brainwashed.
Accordingly, she suggested a game.
As for what Ilya, the winner, told the two to do? Of course, it was to work as staff for the branch.
“And so, you two will work here from now on. I’ll give you both manuals, so Bard-san, please learn reception duties from Luke. And Katie-san, please learn waitress duties from Ria.”
She poked Bard in the forehead.
Even though she was suppressed by her equipment, if she put in a bit of effort it would be like being hit from a blunt weapon.
“Take this lightly and I’ll seriously beat you up.”
Training at the start was important. Although she didn’t like violence—other than love taps on her enemies—she boasted to Frank beforehand that she would take responsibility, so she wouldn’t do this half-baked. Somehow or another, it seemed to be effective.
It was still early in the morning so there weren’t many guests coming in. It could be called the optimal time to learn their duties. Learning the basics of their job while the amount of people eating breakfast continued to increase, they would learn while following their surroundings. Nothing was to be left to chance.
… At least, nothing should have been.
- Oni are a sort of yokai (spirit/demon) from traditional Japanese mythology. Often translated as ogres or demons in contemporary English works, they tend to have sharp claws and wild hair, with horns sprouting from their heads. The very image of fear. Return
- The saluki is a dog breed originating from the Fertile Crescent (ie: the Cradle of Civilization, ‘Mesopotamia was here’-type thing). Known for their eyesight and have droopy ears with long, curved tails. Return