A short while before at the branch’s reception, the last of the commission registrations were about to be completed.
Handing the registration card back to its owner, it was time to commence the operation.
After seeing him off, it was time for her true role to begin.
Returning to her private room, she soothed Haku who’d woken up and undid her barrier.
By gradually releasing her mana, she magnified the stone’s effective range from the branch to being able to reach the general area around the arena.
She breathed in and out, slowly.
By taking very, very deep breaths, she managed to settle herself down.
She was afraid.
Even while self-aware of that tremble-inducing fear, just this once, she didn’t want to falter here and regret it later.
Since defeating them herself wouldn’t simply end in her regretting it, she would give it her all as her truly final resort so that it wouldn’t come to that.
She used [Presence Inference] to its maximum.
She then used [Detection], a skill that perceived things within its range with its invoker at its center.
Birds, people, things, drifting waves, water droplets hitting stone, each and every leaf on every tree, fallen berries on the ground around trees, people carrying out their daily business… her senses spread out to cover the entire world, acknowledging every object as an object.
Of course, that included every disgusting insect. All of them.
Her body covered in goosebumps and chills running down her spine, a wave of pain assaulted her mind.
(No, I can’t faint…!)
She felt nauseous, her body feeling like a weight was holding it down as she wanted to scratch all over more and more.
She held herself back.
“UaaaAAAAaaaH! Ugh, geh, ueeehh…”
Unable to endure it, she cried, snot coming from her nose.
Haku came to lick her face and she held him close. Right now, the only thing that could be with her at full power was this hatchling.
She’d always regretted becoming this ludicrously strong, but right now, Haku’s existence there helped her.
She gradually suppressed the skill’s power, limiting its acknowledged range to just encompass Lunéville. There was a demon that was at a location close enough to make one wonder whether it was coming to Lunéville or not, but she left it alone since it moved away. Most importantly, she simply didn’t have the ability to be concerned about it just then.
There were many new buildings in Lunéville, so there was a considerable decrease in the number of insects about. Thanks to that, Ilya was somehow able to reorder her breathing and check the situation at the arena.
(Had they already been brought in before the arena was completed…? No, perhaps the merchant left them to mutate into those from the start…)
Unable to figure it out through sheer speculation, Ilya stopped her impatient guessing.
The battle was currently at a deadlock, but the ones having a harder time at it were the ones assaulted, the patrol group.
Monsters were waiting to take advantage of the underground labyrinth-like complexity, appearing as though they were enjoying the hunt. Although [Clairvoyance] could allow one to see things from far away, it wasn’t suitable for getting a good grasp of three-dimensional layouts, reaffirming Ilya’s decision to use [Detection] instead.
If it were her old self, she would have killed them remotely through remote-activated magic. Throwing the thought away, she contacted Bard, who’d went ahead.
[Uooh, ya startled me!]
A familiar voice came from the wind stone in her hand.
“When you arrive at the arena, please descend the stairs that will be at your immediate right… Don’t forget to erase your presence…”
[Y-Yeah… is that safe?]
“… Fufu, don’t worry.”
Because they hadn’t used the confusion to turn the other arenas into empty lots.1
“When you finish going down them, please turn left at the second intersection.”
[Got it… Wait, are you looking inside the arena?]
“… No, I am merely looking at a map. I am making estimates on Frank-san and the others’ locations based on where they might be.”
She kept track of the time between her responses, making sure that she didn’t have any strange timings.
She’d given him the safest and fastest route to Frank as possible from the start.
“Ah, please wait one moment…”
Pretending to check the map, she confirmed where the monsters were.
“… I believe I know where he is. Go straight ahead to the next intersection and take the stairs down there.”
As she continued to keep track of the monster’s general trend in movement while reviewing Bard’s destination, the reinforcements from the guild arrived at the arena.
Temporarily severing her stone’s connection to the one Bard held, she used her mana to connect her stone to one of those in the group.
It was hard for her to connect to as it had no mana it it.
[Was that the stone!? We can just put some mana into it right!?]
The merit of guesses was something that rose according to necessity, but this time, Ilya was happy for that.
If they found out she could fill them with mana all the way from the branch, that would have spawned too many speculations.
[Reinforcement group here! We’ve just entered the arena now!]
“Understood… We have received a report from Bard-san who’d went ahead, so everyone will divide into units that will exterminate the monsters on the first floor and units that will transport the stones.”
[Understood. What will our compositions be?]
She observed the demons, checking their statuses. There were four species of monsters that had become the source of the mutation: Ronde Red Apes, Raobra Felis, Laoroa Chyroptera and Ronde Glyptodons.2
Although they were all species that would normally deserve C-Rank commissions even as a group of monsters, most of them had risen to B-Rank strength due to the mutation.
“Five or so people capable of completing B-Rank subjugation commissions, please provide backup to the rescue team… For the remainder, please split into as many units of three or more capable of handling B-Rank subjugation commissions.”
[Understood! Everyone, you got that!?]
[[[ YEAH!!! ]]]
She reconnected to Bard while they were organizing themselves.
“Continue descending to the second underground floor.”
“After that, please follow the outer circumference and proceed to the second intersection.”
Meanwhile, the monsters in the basement sensed that the reinforcement group invaded the first floor, so they hastily changed their movements.
They’d intended to try and organize an interception group, but them dispersing their war potential in a situation where they weren’t aware of how strong their foes were was an entirely bad move.
(Hey you, stuuuupid, stuuupid!)
She abused them in her mind, but that immediately turned into self-loathing.
She was having to endure disgusting feelings, so her self-thoughts were basically regressing to infancy.
[Ilya, we’re done splitting up.]
“Understood… Then I’ll confirm each unit’s mana, so please give your numbers in turn and state your number.”
[Understood. I am the first unit.]
“I have confirmed your mana.”
[I am the second unit.]
Excluding the group heading to help out the rescuers, there were five units in all.
When she gave instructions to each of them on where to go, Bard reached the intersection.
[Ilya, I arrived.]
“… Understood. Then please go left from the direction you came. The next intersection is straight after that.”