The branch sub manager wanted to object after being interrupted, but was drowned out by the crowd’s voices.
However, there was a problem within those voices. They weren’t shouts of joy, it was closer to anger.
“One month of meal tickets!? I didn’t hear about that!”
“If that bastard chose for that, I want a redo!”
“Curry… I want to eat more…”
It was easy to set up measures if you could understand the trend of the voices that were coming from everyone.
God Rattle was an existence equal to this world’s creation god.
However, as ages passed, the human god was confused with being called the founder of all gods, with the human god supplanting the place of God Rattle in the end.
God Rattle, who didn’t possess a distinct figure, was also often drawn in with the appearance of the human god’s elf and human appearance, becoming the ideal target of faith for human supremacists.
If you were to consider that there were three meals a day, that was about 100,000 Gils. Taking that into account, with a reward even greater than third place’s 10,000 Gils and the suspicion towards the branch vice manager being a human supremacist being practically palpable, it might have been someone attempting to pander to his preferences.
While thinking about that sort of thing, she looked towards the pharmacy [Quiver’s Branches].
“I-Ilya-chan… is it alright?”
Looking around, she felt everyone’s intense gazes.
“It’s alright… Sure.”
“”” Ilya-chan!? “””
Ilya could only come back with a troubled smile.
However, it was widely known that people that did strange things wouldn’t be allowed to enter the branch, so she judged that it probably wouldn’t be a problem even if she didn’t do too much about this.
But even so, it was still a fact that the venue’s atmosphere took a sour turn. Ria raised her voice as though to forcibly cut away the stale air.
“And for the final special prize, Lord-sama’s choice! If you would, Lord-sama!”
“Un. I’ll announce it now. My choice is the thing that expressed everyone’s joy in Lunéville, the guild association branch’s entry.”
Similar to Ria’s voice, all of the staff members were dumbfounded like they had just been attacked.
There was a different number written in first place on the voting sheet he had received just after the tallying, the snow sculpture of Haku that was outside the branch, but for Hector’s impression, that didn’t fit right.
Sensing thoughts like those being harbored by the staff members, Hector continued speaking.
“Of course, I also like the Haku statue. I love the work that everyone did together, in that courtyard.”
All of the staff was at a loss for words due to their embarrassment.
In the branch’s courtyard were snow sculptures everyone jokingly made to poke fun at each other’s appearance.
However, it was placed in such a way that it absolutely couldn’t be seen from outside and the first and second floors’ dining halls. The only people who could see it and know about its existence were the staff and those who came to the reception room.
However, nobody objected to Hector’s decision. This also showed that there were many people that knew of the sculptures.
“I would like for you all to receive the 100,000 Gils reward… How about it?”
When Hector turned towards the plaza, applause and voices of praise rose up from here and there in the audience.
It didn’t take long for it to spread amongst the whole crowd.
“U-umm… thank you so much!”
Matching Ria’s bow, Ilya and the rest of the staff bowed as well.
“W-well, let’s get back to it! I think it’s time to announce first place!”
The applause stopped, everyone quieting down.
“Obtaining the most points of them all at 3030, registration number—”
Everyone held their breath, waiting for Ria’s next words.
Even under that wintry sky, everyone’s tension and enthusiasm caused sweat to run down their cheeks.
Meanwhile, Ilya quietly left the plaza.
“35! Team [Goddess of Life]’s… The Goddess and Her White Dragon!!”
At that moment, ground-shaking bellows resounded from the crowd.
The emotion swirling through the crowd now was opposite the negative one from before.
Everyone’s faces were filled with joy and excitement as they praised the team that made it along with their congratulations.
“And now, representatives from the three top teams, please come up onto the stage! The one to present you your prize money is our very own goddess—huh? Ilya? Ilyaaa?”
She heard Ria call her from quite a distance away.
(Sorry… someone else do it!)
It went without saying that there were people who went to find Ilya, who was running away with all her might.
It also went without saying that no one found her.
After that, Ilya, who had no choice but to return to the branch, was scolded by all of the staff who’d been waiting for her.
Who would have been better to close than Ilya?
Towards that sort of argument, Ilya could only pout, mumbling that it was impossible in her mind.
They wanted her to praise it fairly and use fixation magic on it, without breaking it. Even if it was a snow sculpture that appeared to be a copy of her.
Moreover, she was told to join in on praising the person who made it.
(What kind of torture was that?)
Even now, several weeks after the festival had ended, she felt disgruntled when she occasionally recalled it.
“Are you listening, you…!!”
Brought back to her senses due to the branch vice manager’s angry voice, Ilya’s reviving disgruntlement was subdued.
“Yes. Concerning the aim of this event—”
Ilya took a fleeting glance over the crowd of people in the dining hall.
A few cheers arose.
As well as groans.
And bitter grumbles.
The sound of the rain falling outside didn’t reach the ears of those who had gathered.
A few days prior to this.
The snow festival that was held concluded, a great success for entertainment.
The snow was cleared away, the citizens’ pent-up anger cleared, and furthermore, a lot of people came to visit to see the snow monuments lined up in front of the buildings.
The costs had been completely recouped.
However, there was an unexpected ambush.
“The rain’s still going huh…”
Hearing Ria’s mutter, the staff and guests shared her sentiments. Stopping the flow of customers, depriving people of their morale, confining everyone to their houses—strong winds and heavy rain.
The rain that everyone expected would only last a few hours continued on to the following day, the clouds increasing in volume before long.
The same with the day after that, the next few days, the next week…
The majority of Rondéville had fallen into a gloom with the rain whose end was nowhere in sight. As a small mercy, it already turned into a leisure season for agriculture.
The sight of snow sculptures standing in the rain was very surreal. They weren’t affected by it thanks to Ilya’s fixation magic, but it was obvious that there would be people who would think that the snow would have long since melted due to the extended rain, so the effect of them drawing customers to visit and see them couldn’t be counted on much longer.
Looking at the snow sculptures lined up outside, Cathy suddenly opened her eyes wide as though she had suddenly come up with something and ran over to Ilya, who was standing at the counter.
“Ilya, do you have any good ideas?”
It was as though she had suddenly come up with something, but she was actually just leaving it to her.
However, as Katie implied, the situation now was similar to when the snow was continuing to fall.
“… Right. I think I’ll go visit Lord-sama when my shift is over.”
That was if he was there, at least.
She couldn’t say that to Katie, who was wagging her tail, though.