“Bastard, say that again!”
“I’m saying, with you guys’ skills, this commission is waaay to dangerous for you!”
Across from Bard was a group of five guild members. Luke’s restraint on him wasn’t effective either, so it turned into a head-on confrontation.
When Ilya moved while letting out a small sigh, Haku followed her without the least care in the world.
Although she also had trouble abandoning the subject out of care, she would subdue herself and give a clear cut attitude while working.
“The f*ck would a receptionist like you know!?”
“I said you’re in for a painful time if you take this li—”
“Could I have a moment, Bard-san?”
She addressed him with a sweet smiling face, but he quickly shut his mouth as though out of fear.
(That’s odd~. Even though I smiled normally.)
“Aah!? Who are you to call Ilya a monster, bastard!!”
Everyone blinked towards Luke’s sudden anger, Ilya included. Let alone exhibiting anger, this was the first time he’d even shouted.
What brought that on?
(… Wait, not that!)
Coming back to her senses, she recovered her expression and asked the two.
“Could you explain what happened?”
“Ah, yeah. I looked at the commission chart he handed me and told him it was dangerous.”
“Oi, that’s not what you said! Don’t lie!”
Temporarily leaving the apology towards the exasperated customer to Luke, she checked the commission charts.
There were two of them, the first was for rondélocusts. Then, the second one was—
(A laoloa boar…)
She had seen its name in the registry relatively recently. In addition, the commission’s designated area was the same place too. The subjugation commission for the laoloa boars before was successful and their numbers should have decreased, but—
(I wonder if I should check to see if they are multiplying or not?)
A thought floating in the corner of her mind, she looked at the guild members that tried to accept it again. Their formation was one swordsman, two pugilists with one of the two having a chain technique skill, one mage, and an alchemist. 
“Bard-san. Please properly explain why you think it is dangerous.”
“A-ah? Nah, too troublesome.”
“Did you want to pick a fight? Or did you want to advise them?”
His silence meant that it was without a doubt the latter. Taking his gauche character into consideration, his way of speaking bluntly when giving advice would generally be due to embarrassment.
(… Is he a child!?)
While giving him a tsukkomi in her mind, she once again smiled outwardly. 
“If you were just picking a fight, will you accept the suitable punishment?”
“I-I get it! I’ll say it okay!? You guys… you fought against a locust-type or laoloa boar before?”
“Aah? ‘Course we have.”
“In the warrior examination.”
“Then, have you fought them together?”
“… No, but—”
Convinced, Ilya was relieved.
“If you’ve fought locusts you know they have a toxin… you know that right? Laoloa boars have low toxin resistance, it infects their whole body very fast. It’s the same with the rondélocust… get it?”
The two pugilists frowned. Though the other three were puzzled, they immediately frowned when they also figured out what he meant.
“It’s not a problem if you hunt ’em separately. But if you encounter them together and the boar is infected?”
At a time like that, a laoloa boar would probably be enraged. It was a terrifying condition where you’d have to keep running until it loses sight of you or you kill it (or until you yourself die). You’d be afflicted by the toxin if you weren’t careful.
Rear guard mages were good still. Though its body fluids would spread if its cut by the swordsman and the pugilists would have to hit it directly. If they touched its body or blood that was infected by the toxin, they would probably only hold on for a few seconds with their resistances.
Could they defend their comrades while fighting a group of enemies infected with the toxin?
Seeing them, Bard had judged it to be difficult. That’s why he advised it was dangerous.
“… What’ll we do?”
They were also beginning to worry.
Especially the pugilists that had particularly high levels, their other comrades seemed to be avoiding saying anything direct.
Ilya decided to ask Bard a question to advance the conversation.
“Well, what does Bard-san think they should do?”
“It’s not advice unless you give a suggestion. You shouldn’t just say it’s impossible to people alright?”
“Even if you say that…”
Bard brooded over it, but couldn’t easily reach a conclusion.
Luke, who had been watching the situation progress from the side, opened his mouth after being unable to endure any longer.
“You could also bring someone from the Magic Guild, how about trying to have your main offense be magic?”
When Luke spoke, the five just looked at each other awkwardly.
Although mages belonged to the Magic Guild, their ability varied widely. Mages that were able to kill a lot of things even with low class magic like Lula and York were rare, and it was unusual for excellent practitioners to join a faction to begin with.
Even without being able to distinguish ability like Ilya, you could roughly predict how capable a mage travelling with a group of warriors was.
“But my magic isn’t that strong.”
Luke wasn’t perturbed by his confession. On the contrary, he smiled to relieve them.
“By prioritizing safety over efficiency, you can do it with either a large or small power. Even with a moderate power, you can defeat it if you shoot several.”
“Well, more or less.”
“Even if you could defeat one, isn’t it your end if other ones showed up?
“Does everyone know how the boars chase after foreign invaders?”
“With their legs… wait, that’s not it. Isn’t it with their eyes?”
“Though they do of course ultimately find their enemies by their eyesight, in general, boar-types living in forests have poor eyesight. They are unable to search for enemies while running like carnivores are able to. They use their protruding snouts to search for their enemy’s smell, chasing after the scent. Due to that, I recommend everyone to use a sachet or perfume. 
“So that disturbs the scent huh?”
Understanding that they needed more experience, the group of five devised a strategy.
If they were the standard party, they would put something that had a stronger smell than themselves in bags or the like to use as decoys. If they left it on a tree they could even likely come out of it without taking damage at all.
However, they had an alchemist with them. Ilya knew that he could only grow plants, but he could improvise by making a trap by growing thorn-like branches on a tree and placing the scent there or something like that. She also expected that setting up a bundle of vines in the shape of a person at a cliff or waterside would be effective enough.
Of course, she wouldn’t go so far as to interrupt their conversation. It was probably enough with just Luke’s advice this time.
“Prepare your stuff at a tool shop. If you do that, I got no complaints about you accepting the commission.”
“… Please remember about the rondélocusts as well.”
“We get it.”
While receiving Luke’s support, Bard falteringly completed registering that they accepted.
Seeing off the group of five leaving in high spirits as though they’d already forgotten about the quarrel, Bard felt relieved.
“… You… helped me. Reception work is hard too, heh.”
“That’s right. That just now was second-hand information though.”
“It was? Did the Branch Manager say it?”
“No no, Ilya did. Most of what I just said, she said beforehand.”
He looked towards Ilya with a sour expression.
(… I wonder if he dislikes me that much?)
Though it wasn’t like she felt Luke didn’t have to give out her name, she felt a bit unpleasant that her attempt at modesty was denied.
“Whether or not they’ll be able to put the information to use is up to them. Bard-san could also learn various things from Luke, too.”
His shady-looking face had eventually gone away, but this time Bard straightened his posture without any of his rebellious attitude.
As for Katie, who was still carrying trays timidly, Ilya merely wanted her to acquire and improve her skills.
(From the looks of it, Bard-san is predicting what commission people will bring over to accept.)
And he would check over the raw materials upon a subjugation’s completion.
Just that was plenty enough of a change, he was likely striving to improve.
Ilya, who was returning to the counter while thinking so, locked gazes with a person who came into the branch.
“Morning. Is Frank in?”
As for who went towards the counter, it was Hector, the lord.
“Good morning. I think he is in his room right now, should I call for him?”
“Yeah, thanks. Could we use the parlor?”
“Yes. This way, please.”
Holding Haku, Ilya went up to the third floor accompanied by Hector.
“Those were the people you mentioned at the counter?”
“Yes. I had them help starting today.”
“I believe it’ll be fine since it was your decision… but busy waiters aside, was it necessary for him to be at the reception desk?”
The reason she proposed to hire them wasn’t just for their sake.
“I expect that there will be more commissions from now on, I’m preparing for it.”
“More commissions? The construction work?”
“… It’s not unrelated to that, at least.”
Ilya held her tongue, not saying anything further.
She couldn’t disclose information that no one other than her knew. That was one of the bans she’d imposed on herself. She couldn’t tell them the cause of there being more monsters. Still, knowing what the outcome this time would be, she would make sure to ambiguously tell them to prepare.
“… Is that so. The Elves’ Precepts are troublesome.”
“They are… I’m sorry.”
Though there really were things called the Elves’ Precepts, in truth they held no influence. They were just used to cover over the elves’ behaviors as they weren’t concerned with other races.
The restoration magic used to treat the beastkin group attacked by Bard, as well as things like their knowledge of seasonings, were hidden by the elves’ wit.
The elven race was an intelligent one, widely known as having insular personalities. No one would even hold a doubt to her lie.
“Frank-san, good morning. Hector-sama is here to see you.”
“… Morning, Ilya. Haku too.”
After that, she prepared black tea for them in the parlor and tried to run away. However—
“Ah, it’d help if Ilya stayed to listen as well.”
Like the time before, she wasn’t able to get away this time either. Although they were her superior’s orders, she felt it wrong for a mere receptionist like her to be present in such an important conversation.
(Even though I’m not something like Frank-san’s butler or secretary…)
Their conversation primarily comprised of the construction work’s progress and the cost of hiring people for additional construction. Another thing was guards for an investigation around Lunéville to study the monsters.
Monsters were a threat to all races, all nations would cooperate in studying their ecologies and capabilities… Be that as it may, they wouldn’t release all of the information regarding their ecologies to those who weren’t their allies. This lead to the present state of going to a guild for information regarding a monster’s capabilities for practically any subjugation.
Though you may think that each nations’ research facilities would feel ashamed from it, they probably didn’t want to compromise their position. It was just better that they weren’t disseminating strange information with empty theories.
When their business talk ended, the two proceeded into small talk.
Even though Hector and Frank weren’t direct acquaintances, their careers held things in common. A lot of places other than Rondéville came up in their talk.
Since Hector built up a considerable amount of stress every day in the royal capital, he was more talkative than usual.
Ilya was doting on Haku since she thought it would be boorish to interrupt their conversation when there was a knock at the door.
Ilya walked over and opened the door. Coming into sight, Ria bowed.
“Frank-san. Aryune’s mayor is here to see you. Should I ask him to wait on the second floor’s private room?”
“Did you hear his business for coming?”
“He said it was about monster subjugation.”
“… If it’s alright, I’d like to attend as well. Do you mind?”
Receiving Hector’s proposal, Ria left to guide Aryune’s village head to the parlor.
Ilya stayed as though it were natural.
(Either way would be fine though.)
She would likely hear about it afterwards if it’s about a commission.
Thinking to herself, Ilya made some black tea for the village mayor as well and moved to wait behind Frank.
Taking the signal, the village mayor started talking falteringly.
“Branch Manager-dono. Do you know about the presence of monsters surrounding my village recently?”
“Yeah. We received a subjugation commission for that, and if I recall it was registered as accepted at our reception desk.”
“… Yes. Though that is true…”
Frank and Hector each frowned at his vague behavior.
However, if what he was hesitating to say was what Ilya expected, it would be a difficult situation for the two. Judging so, Ilya helped.
“Did the same kind of monster reappear?”
“—! You knew?”
“No, it simply felt that would be something difficult for you to speak about. Should we put out an emergency commission?”
The village mayor looked down again.
(Well, I understand what he wants to say.)
“Though I tried to put together the funds from the village to put out a commission…”
“There are those who doubt that they were hunted at all the previous time?”
There were few monsters in the Lunéville region. If the same kind of monster reappeared so soon, it might not have been hunted at all. It was reasonable that people might think that and harbor doubts.
Even though it was impossible to deceive the amount subjugated in the subjugation book’s system, there was a possibility that the Guild Association could be suspected of pocketing money.
“Then, this time we will show proof they were hunted. As soon as you consent, how about we pay the intermediary fee and commission reward?”
“Is that alright!?”
As for who the village mayor was looking to, it was Frank, the branch manager, and not Ilya, the one who proposed it.
Though that was natural when you took their positions into account, his reaction was something not seen that often in this town and was something fresh to relish.
“… We’ll handle it as a special case.”
After the village mayor signed the commission chart created after that and left, Ilya was asked for an explanation by Frank.
“The problem didn’t look to be enough to go that far for though?”
“Treat it like a sort of investment for the future. When the amount of monsters increase from here on, there will be more damage if there are people who are unwilling to pay for commissions from them holding distrust towards the guild.”
The two agreed with her.
However, Hector still hesitated.
“Still though, you think there’s going to be more monsters in the future?”
“… It’s likely, at least. The village may have trouble bearing it. You might want to think about some countermeasures, such as increasing taxes or taking a loan.”
“To go that far…”
Frank wore a serious look.
(Ah, oops. Did I say too much?)
Without changing her behavior or tone, she continued to explain to the two as though it weren’t something to be too concerned about.
“There’s no downside to being prepared, I think it’s fine so long as you keep it in mind.”
Though Ilya was trying to avoid fanning the flames of anxiety as much as she could—
(It’s better than making it worse.)
She decided to think positively.
- Not sure if this explanation is necessary, but ‘pugilist’ is just another word for ‘unarmed fighter’. Return
- For a good description of what tsukkomis are and what brought them about, I highly recommend reading this entry of a few sentences. Return
- Satchet! Return