Ilya and Hector formally answered the prime minister.
After seeing everyone off, Hector summarized information on this matter in a document.
Considering, noting, and observing.
Even if the truth is hard to understand, when one improves their understanding by using those, they might gain a flash of insight. From his experience, this was a custom that Hector had practiced for many years.
“I brought tea.”
The person to say that presenting a cup was the maid, Sibyl.
Taking the cup with his hand, Hector leaned back in his chair and took a break.
“What’s the matter?”
There was no response from her, but with her wry smile, Hector guessed her discontent.
“Is it what Ilya said?”
She responded with an affirmative this time. However, Hector wasn’t agitated. He had repeated that dialogue over and over in his mind ever since then.
“… It wasn’t anything personal.”
“However, she has a lot of mysteries!”
When Hector was a knight, he saved the life of Sibyl, who was also a knight. She firmly believed that it was her duty to support Hector in order to repay his kindness, so she now served as his maid.
For this reason, the Ilya whom she couldn’t fathom the depths of caused her anxiety, it was frightening.
“She… still, didn’t tell you everything she knew.”
His calm response caused Sibyl to be at a loss for words.
“Then even though she was giving advice, why do you think she didn’t say everything?”
“That’s… so that I could prevail… probably?”
Recalling his unease while saying those words, his words lost their strength by the end.
Thus far, he hadn’t seen Ilya attempt to improve her standing with him.
Although she followed Hector’s instructions due to him being the lord and Luke being the branch manager, she didn’t attempt to do anything outside of branch-related affairs. She would only act when there was a commission or demand for it.
Sibyl had thought that about her, and if her previous remarks were wrong, she would be the first one to admit the mistake.
“In my opinion…”
Sensing Sibyl’s unease, Hector didn’t refute her, but rather began to talk about his views on it.
“Ilya, isn’t she matching our growth?”
Towards Sibyl who was involuntarily repeating it, Hector nodded.
“When someone progresses too fast, one wrong turn can give birth to arrogance. Ilya gives us information matching our growth, warning us… leading us on the right path.”
“Leading… does she intend to pose as a god?”
Hector laughed at Sibyl’s dangerous tone.
“She walks the streets, laughing together with the people, sharing their pain. Isn’t that an adorable god?”
That, as a ruler, could only be called fortunate.
However, that ideal lord was something he strove for.
Rondéville Kingdom had little precipitation through the year and was a land of relatively mild weather.
A river crossed its territory as it flowed from the Loa Mountain Range to the north to a caldera lake to the south. With its abundant amount of subsurface water stored throughout its territory, it wouldn’t be affected by a water shortage.
So as an agricultural nation that made use of that, if you limited it to the royal capital that was a metropolis, there was an appreciation for plant cultivation in the upper class elites like nobles year-round.
As their culture developed, it came to the point that other countries that saw them cultivate plants made greenhouses heated by fire stones. However, likely due to the nutrients in the soil being different, they were only able to grow things that paled in comparison of color and size to Rondéville’s.
So Rondéville’s royal capital, that had accumulated an unshakable position in horticulture, came to be called the City of Blossoms with flowers blooming year round.
Besides being shipped to nobles of other countries, the cultivated flowers are also used for seasonal competitions and are popular among noble women, so much so as to being to the point that even royalty from other countries cross oceans expressly to visit.
Abstaining from the winter show, a certain cultivating farmer held a signed document from Rondéville’s royal family. He woke up earlier than usual from nervousness.
“… Today’s even colder.”
The man warmed himself while rubbing his trembling body. Because he couldn’t use heating due to the flower’s management, he wore a large amount of clothes.
The man went out to his farm and encouraged the flowers that endured the cold and tried to bloom, inspecting each one carefully.
Just then, something landed on his exposed nose. When he reached up and touched it, his glove was slightly dampened.
Although the man initially thought it was morning dew, his eyes widened in amazement when he saw small white objects enter his view.
“This is… snow…!?”
It had been dozens of years since he last saw it.
The fantastic scene drifted down from the sky. With a complete change, the man returned to reality and ran around carrying poles and sticking them into the ground in order to take measures against the snow, taking off each layer of extra clothes he wore one by one and shielding the flowers with them.
Nobles were infatuated with the spectacle, children running around excitedly from seeing snow for the first time.
While cold knights made their rounds and children stood after falling over, in some respects they viewed the snow care-freely.
Then, several days after that.
Rondéville Kingdom’s royal capital, where flowers of all colors should have been blooming everywhere, was turned into a world of silvery snow by the snow brought upon them by the ice dragon.
In a corner of the private room on the branch’s second floor.
“Well then, [Blue Sword] will be in command of the mercenary guild’s representatives. Please present your registration cards.”
The eight representatives that assembled nodded and uniformly presented their registration cards. Ilya passed the registration cards she collected to Cynthia, leaving her with their registration.
“Are there any questions or comments?”
It was a representative from the commerce guild, [Dawn’s Furrow], that raised a hand.
“Who were the ones who left earlier? Two groups went to the royal capital.”
“Those were Beaulieu-sama’s groups. A report came from the royal capital the other day.”
“R-really? What’s the situation? How many people are being transferred?”
“One hundred and fifty people. Several citizens were injured, though all from snow cover-related events.”
“One hundred fifty… then, don’t they need more blankets and food?”
“The transportation of supplies will be handled by the trailing group. Since the royal capital’s residents were told to expect this some time ago, no one needs to bring anything other than the journey’s supplies.”
Don’t try to make a profit this late in the game.
With that implied by her words, as expected even the merchants quieted down after sensing the mood.
One of them raised a hand.
“Who are you? You’re speaking awfully clearly, but is your information authentic?”
“Yes. Being informed isn’t limited to only commerce and thieves guilds.”
Hearing the thieves guild mentioned, the person’s eyes shifted slightly.
(Your occupation being listed in the status column as well was useful this time, right, [Wind of Falling Tears]’ spy-san?)
By not providing feints or preparing countermeasures, the flow of the conversation after giving information would take a huge turn.
While Ilya would make the best use of her eyes to keep things moving advantageously, on the other hand it was hard for her to explain how she knew information that she shouldn’t know. This was a drawback.
Although the latter part seemed to cause a bit of distrust—
“Ilya’s information is accurate. We guarantee it.”
[Blue Sword]’s testimony, as an A-ranked mercenary guild, dispelled their complaints.
Just as the man winked as if to say no one else would say anything, Cynthia came back with the registration finished.
“Is there anything else?”
A silent affirmation.
“Then, we shall return your registration cards. As soon as the seventh caravan group is organized, please extricate the royal capital citizens… I sincerely hope for everyone’s success.”
Among the representatives that were leaving the private room after receiving their registration cards, Ilya called for two of the representatives.
The mercenary guild [Scarlet Twin Blades]’ representative Grace, and [Blue Sword]’s representative Fidel. Although [Scarlet Twin Blades] was full of powerful members that weren’t inferior to those in [Blue Sword], Grace wasn’t suited for command due to her excessive personality.
However, exactly because Grace was like that, she could entrust it to her.
“Please have everyone from [Scarlet Twin Blades] be vigilant of [Wind of Falling Tears].”
“… Arrest them?”
“No, there’s no problem cutting them down if you need. They would be a nuisance.”
“Merciless as ever, Ilya.”
With Fidel’s bitter smile, Grace laughed merrily.
“It can’t be helped if they’re enemies.”
Although the subject was dangerous, neither of their responses wavered. These two’s characteristics came about from acquiring various experiences and could figure things out even if they were left unsaid.
“My best regards.”
“”Leave it to us.””
While the two were being seen out of the private room, Fidel halted and turned around.
“We only decided to participate in the rescue groups because you were here.”
“Why aren’t you joining that meeting, I wonder?”
By that meeting, she was probably referring to the subjugation group’s formation that was being conducted on the third floor’s parlor.
“Only asked because it was on my mind a bit. Sorry.”
“It’s nothing. I’ll wish for your safety.”
With Fidel’s exit from the room, the only people left in it were Ilya, Haku, and Cynthia.
“I was also a little surprised there.”
Cynthia spoke while moving a chair back to a table.
“When Ilya processes commission acceptances, don’t you occasionally give advice? Even when they don’t ask. You only say something to people that would be in danger if they attacked a monster head on.”
“… Un. Well.”
Cynthia was a human.
Although their upper limits were lower, there were many humans that held all kinds of skills. In a race like that, with the [Observation] skill she forged as a receptionist, she was able to see through people’s abilities to some extent as they accepted commissions.
It wasn’t surprising that Ilya could see through people like that as well, but she was at a loss for what to say with this timing.
“That’s why, there’s a lot of people thinking, ‘Will Ilya advise this subjugation group too?’ You know? People that you’ve given advice, and the staff.”
“It’s not as though it’s decided that they won’t succeed without advice. Even if they don’t know that.”
“Un. That’s right, isn’t it.”
However, Cynthia looked up into the air.
“I just feel a little anxious. Like I wonder if we’d be alright if we didn’t have Ilya~, or something.”
“Because I’m not defeating it.”
She knew that Cynthia’s laugh had no ill will in it. Even so, Ilya still felt like it hit the bull’s-eye. She didn’t want to participate in the ice dragon’s subjugation.
It was because the ice dragon wasn’t a monster.
It wasn’t because she looked after Haku, who was a far away relative to it.
In this world where survival of the fittest reigned, she had no objection for people to collide against those that couldn’t coexist. She didn’t mean to say something like killing was no good.
To begin with, she, who had killed many species, had no qualification to say that.
—Just, if she joined, it would be different, like greatly shifting the balance of power.
As Cynthia said, Ilya would limit herself to giving advice when monsters were the opponents. For subjugation commissions that weren’t against monsters, she wouldn’t stop them unless there was a difference in power to the point that they would certainly die.
Only through killing would the world’s gloom abate… she wouldn’t hesitate in giving advice if it was demons or monsters that were themselves born from the world’s distortion. But in addition, when it came to wars between humans, she would ignore them without hesitating at all.
She wouldn’t help since it wasn’t a monster. However, what if it came to this town?
Unable to come to a decision by just thinking about it and not knowing what she’d do, Ilya let out a sigh.