Around the time the lunch crowding was ending and everything started to settle down.
Even now after the game tournament had ended, there were still people amusing themselves playing Shogi and Go on a few of the tables. Truthfully, Ilya felt that it was slightly bad manners to do so, but as they weren’t doing it during mealtimes, she decided to overlook the matter for now.
Ilya had more important matters to figure out.
“Nadia-san, please, raise your head.”
The blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty looked up only slightly. Coming by herself, this elf that came with the elder’s escorts was a person that everyone knew of in Fountain Village: Nadia of the Flaming Bow. A person of great influence.
Someone who behaved both nobly and elegantly, there were many women that fondly called her Onee-sama in the village. Ilya felt that it was very close to how high school girls might respect their seniors.
A woman like that was currently bowing deeply towards Ilya.
It wasn’t so exaggerated as York’s dogeza, but as Nadia was a woman, Ilya was unable to figure out the reason behind it as a disinterested person, causing her trouble over the matter to be a close match.
“Elder-sama can no longer live without you. Could you not rethink the matter?”
Hearing Ilya’s answer that left no room for discussion, Nadia’s shoulders drooped.
However, using [God’s Eyes] on the girl revealed that the slightly haggard expression on her face was due to mental stress.
“Would you like some food? I could make anything you want.”
“U-umu… sorry, yeah, I’ll have something.”
As elves were a rather exclusive race, other races would attempt to snatch the Crystal Pillar they safeguarded or the elves themselves, causing them to be cautious of them across the board.
Although Ilya had kept that in mind and provided them with accommodations and a place to eat, it was impossible to say that they could live as they usually would.
Due to the stress from being so cautious and inexperienced with her surroundings, her food would have to be thin as she probably wouldn’t be able to keep anything heavy down. So that her stomach wouldn’t feel burdened, she made an egg and rice porridge and a white stew that was filled with vegetables. 
(… I didn’t intend for this to happen, though.)
Seeing the spectacle unfold before her eyes, Ilya was half shocked and half impressed.
“… Only eating that kind of stuff, that damned Jiji won’t stop complaining and complaining how bad it tastes!”
“But Ilya-sama’s food is so good!”
“I think so too!”
Pizza, steamed buns, tofu udon, spring rolls, paella… The elves had multiplied at one point or another, stuffing down dish after dish.
Once they’d heard that Ilya was cooking, the room filled up quickly. Until the moment she had them move to a private room on the second floor, everything was going well.
However, thinking that it would be alright to offer alcohol as elves drank wine, she offered them some fruit wine… that was a bad idea.
“That Jiji isn’t fit for Ilya-chan!”
“”” Yeah! Yeah! “””
“Who would want him to be Ilya-sama’s partner!? He should fulfill his responsibility first!!”
“”” Yeah! Yeah! “””
During the boisterous party, one person would complain, and everyone else would agree, mocking the elder.
They’d probably stored up quite a bit of anger.
Even Ilya, someone who disliked elves, couldn’t help but pity them.
Judging from their discussion, it seemed as though they were the elder’s nurses in all but name.
The food’s bad, your performance is bad, you couldn’t even beat an enemy, etc. If it were Ilya, if it were Ilya, if it were Ilya…
Private rooms were soundproofed, so they could continue their complaints and grumbles without being overheard by the elder.
(Let it all out, don’t worry.)
She would take measures herself as well.
Even patience had its limit. Locked in their drunken talks, none of the elves noticed how Ilya’s smile slowly turned cold.
Evening arrived and Frank had just finished eating his curry. He was starting to work on a souvenir he brought back with him, a linzer torte. 
It reminded her of sachertorte, something close to it, so Ilya decided to add it together along with an improved linzer torte. 
(A humble amount of sugar, topped with plenty of whipped cream…)
She started thinking about sweets to try and escape from reality.
“… Is Ilya in opposition to it?”
Troubled by Ilya’s prompt response, Frank could only scratch his head.
According to him, the result of the Association’s General Meeting between the Association Guild’s General Managers and Branch Managers… was to construct an arena.
It appeared that he had went to Hector’s that morning with the intention to negotiate.
“Is your reason how it will affect public order?”
“There is that, as well.”
“… You have another reason?”
She nodded at Frank, whose brows were knit.
Then, she spoke a sentence aloud.
“Participants will capture monsters and fight them, but monsters attract monsters.”
“Is this the same increase in monsters that you had told Hector-san…?”
“No, this is different. Even if the amount of monsters increase due to an increased number of people, they will fundamentally not leave their habitat.”
The exception was when humans approached them, when the magic source increased, or when they were influenced by miasma. There were also the cases where they were manipulated by existences like the a demon or an evil god, though those could be excluded as they were being actively guarded against already.
“However, it’s a different story altogether if there are monsters in human habitation.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Isotopes… monsters of the same race are able to know where each other are and their general condition.” 
The fact that there were so many immature specimens appearing due to the breeding season was in no small part dependent on this ability. 
So then, what would they do about the monsters that realized what were happening to their isotopes and came to attack humans?
“Calling in comrades, huh.”
Just like what Frank muttered, someone that was experienced in fighting against monsters would generally reach that conclusion.
To be exact, it was more correct to say that their excited states would cause other monsters to be lured in, their destructive instincts aimed toward humans.
“There is one more reason.”
“… Oh? Tell me.”
“Monsters that have stayed among human habitation for a sizeable amount of time change, both their appearance and their abilities.”
Hearing that fact, Frank’s eyes opened wide and he stiffened.
Although his reaction wasn’t unreasonable, as it was information that was known amongst the upper echelons of the countries that seized monsters to research them, she found it a little more surprising that Frank hadn’t known about it already.
Well, although it was known by some, it was said that the cause was unknown. She decided to keep the fact that it was the shadow source that humans emitted that brought about the change in monsters, improving their intelligence and making them have a more human physique.
“The extent of the mutation and the period of time it takes isn’t known, so the danger is unknown…”
“Huh… It sounds like that could be dealt with by strengthening security though?”
In truth, it was possible to roughly predict what they would become judging by their race, but as there hadn’t been any countries to clarify that openly, she kept silent about that as well.
She felt bad for Frank, who had fallen into silence, but she was glad that she was able to let him know how dangerous it was to keep monsters nearby.
“Even so, I am a mere receptionist. If it is the guild and country’s decision, I will not raise any objections.”
“… You saying that is a big help.”
Saying that, Frank leaned back against the sofa, exhausted.
He didn’t appear to be physically tired, so he was probably worn out mentally. That happening was predictable. Yet in the end, nothing could be done about the monsters calling for each other but to beat them down as they come. It wasn’t something that would need to be worried about to this extent.
In that case…
“Did something happen while you were there?”
“Nn? Ah, no. It’s not a big deal.”
So something did happen.
Just as Ilya felt like it was alright if he didn’t want to talk about it, Frank continued.
He was thinking back to the dialogue that was tossed about in the general meeting.
They had talked about where the arena should be placed and about the fixed match problem that had occurred the last time.
However, things weren’t so simple. The factional disputes between the Association’s various General Managers and General Vice Managers were spurred on by people that desired money and power, turning the conference into more of a political one.
In the end, the major powers decided that it would be in Lunéville, which had Frank, a person who did not belong to a faction.
“Because the Lunéville branch has no conflicts with the country and is trusted by guild members… is what they said.”
“… Haah. My condolences.”
“Really. It would have been great if Ilya had come along too.”
Ilya only answered with a smile.
She didn’t voice it directly to Frank, but she absolutely refused.
The reason for a country’s relationship to deteriorate was due to not managing things that were recognized as having shared possession. As for getting on bad terms with guild members, that was generally due to the Association taking advantage of people.
Playing it off as if they were innocent, they pushed troublesome things off onto others while envying things they themselves ruined.
Ilya had no intention of being caught up in things like that.
- Check this page out to find out more about White Stew. Return
- More info on Linzer Torte here. Return
- More info on Sachertorte here. Return
- It hasn’t been explained yet, but I am translating ‘douitai’ as ‘isotope’. For now, I am just taking it literally. However, given future context—which I am not sure exists—it might be more accurately ‘similar physiques’. Return
- As in, similar monsters actively search each other out to propagate. Return