Evacuees from Akradist arrived several days after that.
Making use of their previous experience in it, the town didn’t have any problems in particular when it came to taking them in. Now, the only problem that needed to be solved was the one about the monsters.
However, unexpected things happening just when everything was going smoothly was just the way the world worked.
There were two boys standing in front of Ilya’s reception counter.
They were around ten years old, each having brown eyes and blonde hair. Looking at their appearances, it was possible to think of them as brothers.
“You two are children from Akradist, right? Did something happen?”
The two looked at each other, nodded, and looked back at Ilya.
“We want to join the Mercenary Guild!”
“Please let us into the Mercenary Guild!”
It wasn’t just Ilya.
Most of the people nearby turned to look at the two kids, speechless.
The Mercenary Guild. With that in mind, Ilya asked the two a question.
“Why would you two wish to be in the Mercenary Guild?”
The contents of the exam that needed to be taken varied depending on the occupation one wished to take. There were age limitations set up as well.
The two both looked down for a moment and, looking like she’d shaken away some internal struggle, looked back up.
“” Hunters! “”
She looked the two in the eyes.
“Have you two brought your parental consent forms?”
The two simply hung their heads.
If the applicant’s parents were still alive, a parental consent form was required for a minor to apply to a guild.
Because there was a greater degree of danger for the Mercenary and Magic Guilds’ work, those up to and including the age of ten were almost always refused entry to those guilds regardless of their parents’ consent. Even if these two attempted to apply, given these rules, there was no doubt that they would be rejected. 
There were exceptions to the age restriction as well, but they were for those who were abandoned by their parents, war orphans, or other children whose circumstances could only be improved by joining.
Those that came to Lunéville from Akradist were those who hadn’t suffered much harm and could make the journey. And even just by looking at the way the two children looked, one wouldn’t think that they were in some sort of a pinch.
“B-but, you could recommend us if we pass the exam, right…?”
“Y-yeah! Please recommend us, Nee-chan!”
It was clear that the silky blonde-haired child and—even more so—the spiky-haired child didn’t understand that.
Really… who told them about that? Suppressing her urge to criticize the person responsible for teaching them something as irresponsible as that, she thought about a way to explain it in such a way that even these children would understand.
“Do you know what the exam is?”
“Yeah, a guild examiner person will check our ability out, right!?”
Good job! He was still off, though.
There were two methods to get a recommendation.
You could have a bout against a guild member who was qualified to serve as an examiner or you could present your merit by demonstrating your skills.
The former’s meaning was clear, while, for example, the Mercenary Guild could have people hunt monsters for the latter. This could be thought of as a way meant to achieve excellent results through competition.
And to be more precise, recommendations weren’t only able to be given by guild staff that could review the exam results, but also by guild members of B-Rank or higher in the corresponding guild.
However, it wasn’t so easy even after getting in.
That’s why the people that belonged to a guild and knew the pains and annoyances about it wouldn’t think that there would be children willingly wanting to suffer that kind of life.
Whether they knew it or not, the test method the two children chose was the easier one.
It could be called the most optimal solution, but it wouldn’t be so simple.
“Shall we have you examined, then?”
“We did it!”
Seeing the two children look so happy, Ilya felt guilty.
“Please wait for a moment, allow me to call for the person that will be charge of it.”
“Eh, it won’t be Nee-chan!?”
“I still have to work here at reception. Sorry.”
The examiner wouldn’t change the results of the examination, but the children’s shoulders had obviously drooped.
Alongside her wondering if they appeared cute—
(I know I’m not someone who should say something like this, but they really don’t match their appearances huh?)
Smiling wryly, Ilya noticed someone arriving and turned around.
“Claude-san, please take care of the rest.”
“Yeah. Understood. The applicant?”
When she showed Claude, who’d just come from his office, the children, his eyes flickered.
“Let’s see… these kids?”
“Yes. If you would.”
“” Please!! “”
Although Claude was surprised at first, once he saw the two’s appearances, his usual smile returned to his face.
“Understood. Alright, this way.”
The three of them headed out to the courtyard.
People would normally choose a wooden version of the weapon they were familiar with, but as the children didn’t appear to have learned anything in particular, the exam would be taken with wooden swords. For Ilya, who’d analyzed them together with using [God’s Eyes], the result between the children and the adult was obvious.
“Ilya. I’d like to register for this commission.”
After completing a few commission registrations, the three came back in from the courtyard.
Due to being struck a few times, the children’s eyes had some blood in them, same for their nose.
“How did it go?”
“They’re totally useless right now.”
Ilya smiled wryly at his quietly spoken words.
The two kids’ statuses were below that of Lunéville’s children.
Even among children around their age that Ilya knew of, if the ones taking that exam were the girl whose body was embraced by the Crystal Pillar’s protective turtle hatchling or the boy who was raised by the jade wolf, the examiner would have been defeated rather quickly. 
Let alone those children, the fact that they were also inferior to the ability of the children that lived in the peaceful Lunéville as well pointed out that their living condition so far had to be the cause.
Seeing the two children start crying, Claude shrugged his shoulders with a troubled expression.
“Why do you two want to be hunters?”
Patting their heads, Ilya took out a handkerchief from the pocket of her apron and wiped away their tears. The children raised their heads a little after hearing Ilya’s question.
“… I-I, wa—”
“We waush… hachyuu!”
The two were the sons of a peddler who’d brought supplies, Bonett’s children.
The delinquent-looking spiky-haired elder brother, Karel.
The soft-spoken silky-haired younger brother, Reno.
They said that they hated their helplessness and how they could only run away and be protected, as well as how their parents worked to make a profit even in a time like this.
So after thinking about it on the way here, they decided to become one of those hunters from the guild that had helped them out countless times.
“Why not be soldiers?”
“Because soldiers have to fight people right? We want to protect people!” 
“We want the power to fight monsters.”
It was true. If the Guild Association or Mercenary Association ordered it, you would have to fight against humans or suffer penalties if you refused.
Nonetheless, as there’s a way out from that order which is to accept a different commission, it’s not as if choosing hunter or soldier doesn’t make a difference.
However, even if there were no differences between their jobs, there weren’t many examiners that would give recommendations for the hunter occupation.
Those who belonged to the hunter occupation were usually either misanthropists or those who hated monsters. Although it wasn’t like all of the hunters in Lunéville fell into one of those two categories, it wasn’t a very desirable goal to have.
At any rate, all of that was irrelevant to these two that had just finished failing their examination.
“Thank you, Claude-san.”
“… Thank you…”
“You’re welcome. Come again.”
Like a wicked, invigorated elder brother, Claude returned to his office.
Left behind, the children let out a sigh that seemed to ease their mood a little, but they still seemed frustrated.
They could be called childish, but they could also be called rather simplistic.
“Would you two mind going somewhere with me later?”
“” ? “”
- Note that “up to” usually means “and includes” in Japanese. Also note that that isn’t always. Because of that, I can’t be 100% sure if it’s actually saying “up to 10” or “up to 11” in English, so I added the “and includes” to be on the safe side. Return
- Not sure what to make of the first child mentioned here. It reads like a super chuuni line that needs way more explaining before I could put it into English properly… As ever, I’ll come back to this to update it if it is mentioned again with more information. Return
- This is the first time it becomes apparent, so I’ll mention it now: Karel refers to himself as ‘ore (masculine)’, while Reno refers to himself as ‘boku (default male)’. Return