Several days later, it was still raining.
Once the mass production of the Shogi pieces and boards were put in place, notices of a competition were put up.
Because of the argument with the branch vice manager, there were a lot of people anticipating it before the notices went up. Rather than causing it to be an event with a small number of participants, it instead started a war of information of people trying to participate in an event that didn’t focus on those who were strong.
Right now, Ilya felt eyes on her much the same way as when she was having that exchange with the branch vice manager. She believed this was probably due to people trying to pick up any and all information relating to the event.
Additionally, there was another thing that attracted everyone’s attention.
“Ilya-ane, what’s this buffet thing?”
Due to what Partia asked from Ilya’s shoulder, the gazes of people filled with questions all gathered on her.
“A buffet is an all-you-can-eat meal.”
All-you-can-eat. Hearing those words, everyone who heard her grew excited.
She started thinking about adding a buffet to the event after being troubled over how they should use the prize money they received from the snow festival. The amount they would receive per person would drop drastically if they distributed it to all of the branch’s staff, a few people had recommended something along the lines of a company outing.
In the end, after everyone discussed the topic amongst each other, they decided on returning it to the citizens.
They couldn’t provide all kinds of dishes so it would probably only be sweets, but as long as they could see everyone’s reactions to it, that would be enough.
“Even if I say that, it’s only for people who order meals though.”
“So only desserts huh~? No no, that’s good enough!” 
Partia’s mutters on her shoulder was scary.
If there was no background music coming from the band performing right then and just had the sounds of Shogi pieces and stones clanking against their boards as well as the sounds of rain outside, it would have been even scarier.
Around the moment she thought of that sort of thing, the branch’s door was thrown open.
The person to appear from it was a girl with jet black hair and dark brown eyes. Her originally black boots were so muddy that you almost couldn’t tell they were black.
The moment the girl saw Ilya, she tried walking towards her—and fell.
Although Ria was nearby and managed to catch her, the girl’s face was beyond pale.
“Ilya, this girl…”
“Un. A friend.”
It was a face she had seen before. However, the fatigue was so visible on her face that it made it almost impossible to tell at a glance.
“Sorry, Ria. I need to treat her immediately, could you please take over the desk?”
When she went to carry the girl to a private room, she was interrupted by a hand stretching out from beside her.
It wasn’t obstructing her. When Ilya looked upwards towards the person, she saw a soft smile.
“I’ll carry her.”
The person to hold out his hand and carry the girl was Gabriel.
That’s why Ilya was not being obstructed, it was just Gabriel’s goodwill. She noticed that her nerves must have been eaten away a fair amount for her to not have realized that sooner.
(… Let’s calm down a little.)
Letting out a single breath, she calmed her mind.
Gabriel carried the girl to the second floor with his usual nonchalance.
Ilya followed after him once she entrusted her duties to Ria.
Because Gabriel and Parta knew of Ilya’s cheat abilities, she didn’t hesitate to begin healing her. She used the sacred-type mental recovery magic, Recover Fatigue.
Once her fatigue and endurance was recovered, the girl stirred slightly as though to look away from the dazzling radiance of the magic.
“Nn… h-huh…. this is…”
When Ilya called out the girl’s—Nina’s—name, she blinked twice and—
—cried out and embraced Ilya.
However, she wasn’t able to support her own body, so Ilya supported the girl just before she started falling.
Once she had made her sit back down on the bed, the girl was blushing from embarrassment.
“Nina, calm down.”
“U-un. Ilya, I—” 
A loud sound filled the silent, tension-filled room.
Those in the room were Nina and Ilya, as well as Gabriel and Partia. Seeing the girl blushing while holding her stomach, it was obvious where the sound came from.
Rather, because the sound’s origin was more than obvious, it was impossible to endure that awkward silence.
“Ilya, I’m hungry.”
Perhaps due to reading the mood or perhaps because he couldn’t—Ilya and Partia felt that it was probably due to the latter—Gabriel proposed that they all have some lunch.
The human girl that focused on eating her meal even more so than Gabriel, Nina Amal.
Her real name was Amano Natsuka, a Japanese person who lost their way into this world.
As for the ‘I (Boku)’ the girl used, she—not understanding this world’s language—learned it, intending to use ‘I (Watashi)’, but it wound up like that, leading to the healthy young girl having strange charm to her.
As a talented mage that specialized in wind magic and spirit magic, she was a delivery person residing in the Archipelago Countries Alliance. Although she was a delivery person, she shouldn’t have received a commission that brought her from the far-away alliance all the way to Rondéville.
The reason for that is because of her magic teacher, the person that was her beloved birdkin.
Ilya felt like a memory suddenly hooked on to that word. When she thought on it… she realized what it was.
Hearing her unintentional sigh, everyone looked at her.
“Mogu? Mogo, momu.”
“Swallow first, please.”
With a gulp, the girl downed what was in her mouth. After waiting for her to finish that, Ilya asked.
“Are you searching for Elias-san?”
“Amazing! How’d you know!? I still haven’t said anything!”
Nina waved her hands buzzingly, her eyes sparkling. If she were a beastkin, her tail probably would’ve been wagging too.
Meanwhile, Ilya’s tension fell. She wasn’t wrong in thinking that she had seen that person somewhere before, and she was seized with a sense of guilt for not realizing that the person was a friend’s important person.
“Elias-san has turned into Sylph’s playmate.”
“Eh, really!? Then I can just go to where this Sylph-san person is!? … Wait, Sylph!?”
“Hey you, don’t go yelling so suddenly.”
“Ah, s-sorry… A fairy!?”
Finally realizing that Partia was there, Nina jerked. There was a thief guild that over hunted fairies in the Archipelago Countries Alliance in the past, and since it was rare that fairies would approach people, it was no wonder.
Even so, her tension was high.
(That part of her hasn’t changed…)
Although Ilya was worried from seeing her former exhaustion, she was relieved to see that that part of her friend was the same as usual.
She was overwhelmed by the thought of it.
A great spirit of wind and a wind mage. Focusing on being able to manipulate wind elements, it would be like the difference between a Queen and a Pawn in Chess. Her depression was no wonder either.
“How could I defeat that…”
Ilya’s hand was on her temple.
Don’t try to keep a girl in love from showing her strength.
Nina leaned forward and retorted to Ilya, who had stopped her.
“Even Sylph isn’t an idiot, it wouldn’t end its playmate’s life.”
“But—… mou, he hasn’t been home in three months…!? I didn’t understand why, but those Spirit-sans that always help me wouldn’t tell me where he went either…”
Nina was clenching her fists tightly in vexation.
Partia and Gabriel looked as though they sympathized with her, imagining if their positions had been switched.
Ilya didn’t intend on stopping her for no reason either, she just needed to confirm one thing.
“Hey, Nina. How long have you been looking for Elias-san?”
“For three months! It was strange that darling hadn’t returned after a day!”
(She used another strange word as usual huh…)
While escaping from reality, Ilya slowly looked down due to the room somehow being filled with a weird mood.
(… Un. Let’s just think of it as lovey-dovey love! Getting in the way of a person’s romance is no good!)
Summing it up like that, she made her decision.
Ilya stood up, smiling as though to put Nina to ease.
“At any rate, please rest for now.”
“Do you think that Elias-san would like to be saved by you injuring yourself?”
Nina cast her eyes downward, not being able to respond.
Ilya knew that using his name was foul play against her. Even so, she prioritized that calming her down took priority.
Even if it was to save him, there was no reason for her to thrust herself into danger alone.
“You need to rest. You haven’t slept much right?”
She had probably stayed up for many days straight, flying everywhere.
Even if she had her fatigue and endurance recovered, her magical power should still be practically exhausted.
If she kept overworking herself as she had been, there was a danger of her mummifying herself.
“Don’t worry. I’ll think of a proper method.”
“… Got it.”
Nina nodded meekly, finishing her meal and slipping back into the bed.
Ilya was worried that she might try to sneak away, but saw the girl fall asleep immediately after she laid down, telling her that it was nothing to worry about.
- Random person in the room talking here. Return
- She uses the masculine ‘Boku’ to address herself. Return