On the morning of my break day, I set foot into the guild’s reference room.
To adventurers with guild cards, it was a room anyone could use.
In it, there was information on the monsters around Dalien and various other materials to be browsed through.
There were also books with the essential knowledge for adventurers recorded.
“Ah, here it is.”
What I picked up was a heavy book.
The one who was put in charge today, the Second Generation, gave some orders from the Jewel.
『Lyle, our knowledge is fundamentally old. It’s not that we couldn’t teach you, but you should definitely check a modern reference book first. And wait, it would be bad if you didn’t.』
What the Second Generation spoke of was something I was painfully aware of.
I mean, after I woke up and asked Novem about Growths, she dropped all the plates she had on hand.
It was good that they were made of wood. But still, since it made her look like she wanted to cry, I wanted to stop pressing her in various senses of the phrase.
(Just what was she thinking of to get that teary?)
The reason the Second was here to teach me about it was because he was the one who molded the Walt House’s customs.
At the same time, the Second, Crassel Walt, used the information he got from the Forxuz House as a base to form the foundations of the true provincial noble Walt house.
In order to facilitate Growth, his son and grandson… and the rest of his descendants were given a custom of going out monster hunting, it seemed.
The reason I said “seemed” there was that I had never partaken in such a custom.
Defeating monsters to encourage Growth. That was a sort of superstition.
The reason it was thought of as that was because Growths happened when carrying out life normally as well.
There were large gaps based on individuals, and this was concluded to be based on the sort of talent one had.
The Walt House’s Fourth Generation and predecessors understood the notion of monster hunting as learning to move people and polishing the coordination and ability or troops for war.
Of course, Fifth onwards only stuck their hands into the basics and started to trend towards leaving the rest to their subordinates.
『I never thought the Third Generation, Sleigh, would fail to hand down an important part of it.』
A large portion of the Walt Family’s Growth-related wisdom was, when the Third died in battle… No, it was passed on in form alone it seemed, with the most important part, the contents, omitted.
Becoming the Head at a young age, the Fourth Generation, for argument’s sake, upheld it because it was a custom.
I sat on a nearby chair, laid the book on a table, and opened it.
『Pertaining to the Connection of Growth and Slaying Monsters… it seems they’ve gathered quite a few case studies there.』
In it were examples gathered by the guild, followed by an interpretation by the author.
Sudden changes in one’s senses or physique were known as 『Growth』, and it seemed the study of them has continued from times old.
As I flipped through page after another, the Second halted me.
『Stop! Lyle, you’re a little fast. Actually, I’m surprised you can even read at that pace.』
I looked around, and made sure no one was watching before I responded.
It didn’t look like there were all too many adventurers using the resource room.
“Well, my life was pretty much reading inside and practicing magic and swordsmanship outside.”
I mean, that really was my life since I started to be rejected.
Thinking back, it was as if I was locked inside the mansion.
『There’s quite a bit of beneficial information put down, but based on my experience, it’s a little different.』
Hearing him say it was slightly different, I offered an explanation of what I had just learned about Growth.
The current established theory was that humans stored up various life experiences, and those bloomed in a phenomenon called Growth.
For that sake, fighting monsters was a single, large type of experience, and not what facilitated Growth in itself.
That was a bit convoluted, but pretty much, it wasn’t that defeating monsters caused one to experience Growth, but that Growth was the result of accumulated life experience. Apparently.
“Is there a problem in that?”
『No, that’s not wrong, but… it’s definitely possible to accelerate the process by monster hunting. I mean, in just what I can recall, I felt Growth at least nine times.』
Nine, when a civilian would go through one or two, was quite irregular.
A majority of the adventurer’s guild’s backbone went through it four to five times.
“Grandfather… the Seventh had quite some experience on the battlefield, did he not?”
The Second expressed his theory.
『I think you can accumulate experience like that too, but the efficiency with monster hunting is different. Especially against ones stronger than me, it felt much faster.』
“Stronger ones, is it?”
By battling against stronger and stronger enemies, Growth can accelerate, according to the Second.
『Of course, if you defeat enough small fries, it’ll happen eventually too. Back in my day, I went through quite a spot of trouble having the soldiers go through them during group battles. That was back when I made records and worked earnestly.』
Without any useful knowledge, having suddenly received the seat of family head from the First, the Second was surprised having learned the state the reason was in.
What was more, the Walt Family’s rule was held together by nothing but the First’s charisma.
Despite his barbarian style, among other things, the First was quite respected by those of the same sort.
『Even if you get in experience of the same quantity, the speed of personal Growth and Growth rate varied. There were some who experienced them at the same time, but within them, there were some times when only a portion of them did. Besides, in their worst fields, I felt quite a bit of Growth from some.』
It wasn’t like you’d yourself rapidly change.
Just that… there was a wall you were never able to go past, and you finally surpassed it. That sort of sensation.
That was Growth.
“What about my type of person?”
『Individuals can grasp it intuitively, so I can’t really say anything about that… but you should be able to recognize a change within yourself. The fact that you hadn’t experienced one was shocking, though.』
Starting with the Second, the ancestors had listened to my words in surprise.
In any case, it was a phenomenon that everyone experienced.
Children experienced one in the first half of their teens, or even before ten if early. Adults confirmed that and imparted their surprised children with their knowledge on Growths.
That was common sense. General knowledge…
(But I didn’t know that.)
I thought, as I continued to turn the pages.
『It’s just that there’re a lot of superstitions and lies about stories like these. Back in my day, there was a trend called a power stone that was supposed to speed up Growth, but it wasn’t effective at all…』
“I see you tried it.”
The Second’s tone had gone dark, so I was able to comprehend he had actually tried using and testing it.
What’s more, according to him, it was something intuitive, so finding evidence that he had been fooled was quite difficult.
『In the end, it ended up that their sale was prohibited on Walt territory. Good grief, those were some severe expenses, you know.』
With the Second, I continued all the way to the end of the book. There was still some time left until the designated meeting time with Novem and Aria, so I picked up another one.
There was one book that had caught the Second’s interest.
I returned the thick guide to its former shelf, took the interesting book in hand, and returned to my seat.
“What sort of book is this?”
『No, I just found it interesting due to its age. Lyle, can you read that book?』
Hearing that, I tried to read it, but perhaps because of the changing of times, or the author’s way of expression, it was much different from modern tongue.
“It’s a bit difficult, but I can manage.”
『Really? Then I guess that’s it…』
When I voiced my lack of understanding, it seemed the Second was able to understand something, and he told me it was alright if I put the book back already.
『Well then, you can’t leave the Ladies waiting. Lyle, how about we arrive at the meeting point early?』
“Understood (Just what was he trying to learn from that?)”
I was curious, but it didn’t seem like the Second was in the mood to answer.
The meeting point was a space a little removed from the guild with good public order.
For better or worse, the guild contained quite a few ruffians.
Within all of that, meeting the two of them may invite a bit of trouble.
In order to avoid something like that as much as possible, we set a well-patrolled area as our meeting point.
Before it became noon, I arrived at the space.
I was a little early. Our set time was in the afternoon.
Around me, nice smells emerged from a food cart, tickling my nose. I turned my eyes to it, and saw something being taken out of a saucepan filled with oil.
So it was something fried.
The First Generation reacted to that.
『Oy, Lyle. What sort of food is that?』
There were some people I occasionally saw around me, so I put my hand to my mouth and responded in a small voice.
Looking at the nearby cart, it looked like he became curious.
“It looks like something made of potato fried in oil.”
As I said that, the First showed his admiration.
『I see, so there are things like that as well. My time had none of these things…』
The First said the time he lived in was one where the chaos finally died down, and where they went through quite some stress getting back on their feet.
It seems we’ve an incomparable abundance of resources than the world he saw two hundred years ago.
『It’s a good era.』
The Third said that, and the Fifth opened his mouth.
『I think that flowed in during our time. They could be cultivated, even in the wastelands, so I remember we were able to bring in quite a harvest.』
The Sixth was the same.
『Those were nice. Because of them, the percent of the fief not troubled by hunger increased.』
From that conversation, the First gave a subdued whisper.
『I see… then my goal is…』
There, I heard another voice.
It was Novem.
She came leading Aria by the hand, and in her other hand was a bag of paper.
『Okay, Lyle… take their bags. Also, be cautious with your choice of words. You’ve noticed that both of their clothes are different than usual, right?』
The Fourth gave me some advice.
I suddenly noticed, but both of them really had changed clothing.
“Ah, that looks heavy. I’ll carry it.”
As I took their bags, I found they really did have some considerable weight.
“Thank you, Lyle-sama.”
“Eh, well… I’m fine with my own.”
As Aria refused, Novem whispered something into her ear.
And Aria presented her baggage to me. She seemed a little troubled, but it didn’t look like she was threatened, or anything.
(What did she tell her? More importantly…)
Unlike when I saw them in the morning, the two of them were wearing prettier attire than usual.
(H-how am I supposed to praise them!?)
As I stared at them, Aria spoke.
“W-what? I-if it doesn’t suit me, then just say it…”
After she said that much, the First called out.
『Lyle! Compliment! Now! Aria-chan… no, complement both of them to high heavens!』
But the Second gave a cold reaction.
『Did you ever even compliment my mother?』
Before things would become a mess, the Fourth issued some orders.
『For now, tell them that it suits them. The reason you were silent for a while was because you were surprised about their change in atmosphere. Say it.』
On the Fourth’s advice, the Fifth laughed a little.
『As expected of mama’s bootlicker.』
“Fu… those clothes suit you. Well, your atmospheres were slightly different, so I was just a little surprised. Yeah, you’re lovely (On the Fourth’s advice, I left the money to them, but I think Novem can manage that herself.)”
I complimented them while thinking that, and Aria’s face was tinted red.
“U-um… thanks. I didn’t really have any money, and borrowing it felt a little awkward, so…”
As the air turned delicate, Novem added on a follow up.
“Aria-san, from here on, we are comrades in the same party, so if you just return it when the time comes, that’ll be fine. I’ll be waiting.”
While I looked at Aria as she stubbornly restrained herself, I turned to the skirts both of them had put on.
They usually wore pants that were easier to move in, so it felt somewhat fresh.
In times past, Novem was usually wearing a dress when I saw her, so seeing her wear casual clothing was relatively refreshing in itself.
(She seems to be stubborn, but I’m glad she was forcefully pulled into buying it, I guess. It looks like in order to get Aria to buy it, Novem had to buy something for herself, which is nice in itself. I see. So that’s why Novem, who’s even more restrained, bought one as well.)
Before I left the house, I told them to go shopping on the Fourth’s advice, but I somehow felt peace of mind now.
The one who casually occupied himself with matters like these was the Fourth.
Aria had little luggage, and she was also troubled about a change of clothes. Using that, I sent her out to buy herself clothing, and Novem accompanied her.
Due to her restrained personality, I told Novem she could indulge herself and buy whatever she wanted as well.
(I’ll have to thank the Fourth.)
It was just that… the other ones generally had problems with women.
Despite whatever they said about me, it wasn’t like they were anything great. It was generally the earnest Fourth Generation that gave me advice on female relationships.
(And wait, since our house was under the Forxuz clan’s care, it’s not like I’m especially looked after by Novem, right?)
Around the First’s time, they helped him as a House in the neighborhood, and they faithfully served Fifth and onwards.
The Walt House was always left reliant on the Forxuz House.
(Isn’t it strange for them to only be condemning me for that?)
As I thought that, the three of us went to get a slightly late lunch.
I was called, so I headed to the Jewel’s conference room. There, I saw the same faces as always.
“At times like these, what sort of greeting should I give?”
As I gave a slightly off-track question, the Fifth said it didn’t really matter. The Fourth started the meeting.
『Well then, Lyle’s here, so let’s begin on our next objective. Is what I wanted say, but what we’ve decided on is something much too simple to require a meeting.』
As the Fourth nodded, the Second stood and began explaining.
『Lyle, for now, just go outside and fight monsters. It’ll be terrible if you’re left never having experienced a Growth even once. And wait, perhaps there’s a problem with you.』
A problem with me.
A constitution that didn’t experience Growth, or perhaps some fatal flaw.
Thinking that made me anxious.
『Well, there are some who require some extreme experiences for Growth. If we think of you as that type of person, if you experience it from here on, you’ll get some reprieve from your stamina and mana problems.』
Hearing that, I was relieved.
But there was something I was curious about.
“Um, so about how many times do people with slow Growths have them? Definite numbers, please.”
I had looked through the book, but it only went as far as to say there were personal differences.
The examples it presented as well didn’t go into record of people with exceptionally slow Growths.
At best, it said that ones with slow growth would feel it in their mid-teens. The Second put his hand to his chin as if to remember, and he unraveled the worst example he could think of.
『… In my time, there was one who got his first Growth in his twenties.』
The First was surprised, and the others as well.
I was the same.
“… Eh? So that means you guys are going to be harassing me about it for that long?”
On my words, the Second was about to nod, but…
『Wait a second, did you just say something that sounded like we were harassing you? Oh, so you thought of us like that!?』
The Second said that, and it sounded like the Fourth was of the same opinion.
『It’s that. It’s that so-called training sort of problem. See, if you don’t use your muscles or magic, they won’t build, right? That sort of thing.』
To the Fourth’s excuse, I directed a suspicious look.
Then you could have just explained it that way from the start. Since you didn’t, that meant you either thought it up right now, or it was an excuse.
『I’d like it if you didn’t doubt me so. Hey, look at our faces. Do these look like the eyes of liars?』
Hearing the Third, I looked in his eyes. Those were truly clear pupils.
“T-truly, there may be some sort of effect like that, but…”
As I was about to be satisfied with that, the First spoke.
『Huh? Did someone say something like that?』
The First disclosed the truth.
It looked like everyone here wasn’t really caring about it as they spoke. Their spiel on Magic and so forth was something they thought up on the spot.
As my shout resounded through the conference room, everyone made off to their private rooms with a smile.
『Hahaha, sorry, sorry.』
The Second also gave an excuse as he opened his door.
『No, sorry ‘bout that. See, I never thought you hadn’t experienced Growth before. I thought you were just the type whose Mana didn’t grow much.』
The Sixth probably felt a little sorry, as he offered an apology.
『I thought you were a technique type, and that you had put a burden on yourself to you could patiently train your body. That’s what I did.』
『So you all plan on running!? I’m sorry, Lyle!』
A majority of them fled.
At the end, the Fourth brought it to a close.
『Well then, let’s bring it to a close here.』
Saying that, he excused himself and escaped through his door, before vanishing.
“J-just what is this!?”
As I looked around the room, I noticed a grinning First Generation had remained.
“What is it? Is there still something you want to say?”
While I insulted his attitude, the First seemed delighted.
It was an unexpected reaction.
『Well, you’ve got quite a bit of spirit in you there, kid! The first time you came here, your eyes looked like those of a dead fish, and I couldn’t get myself to like you, but you’ve become quite decent.』
Hearing about my dead fish eyes, I scratched my face.
I didn’t think it was that bad, but I’ll bet it was at least to a certain extent. After being driven out and losing everything, I could do nothing but put up some bravado to show to Zell.
Since Novem was here, I was able to come this far in the end.
Otherwise, there was no doubt I would have acted without any decent planning.
“T-that isn’t the case. It’s just that I was a little depressed back then.”
Hearing that, the First nodded.
Perhaps he was just in a good mood today.
『That so? And about that… so what did you think of for what you’re going to do from here?』
When he had brought up Celes earlier, I remember him telling me to think for myself.
At that time, I didn’t really care what happened to me.
It was just that Novem was there, so I thought I would give it a little of an earnest effort.
Even now, it wasn’t like I was actually aiming to become a first-rate adventurer.
“I don’t really know.”
I thought the First would definitely resent me, but his reaction was surprisingly light.
He folded his arms,and prepared his next question.
『… What do you think of Aria-chan?』
“I’m calling her by name on Novem’s recommendation, but essentially, she’s someone who’s living with us.”
To be honest here, I was fine as long as Novem was by my side.
I put out the notion of a harem as mere lip service, and I’d never actually thought about it.
I just wanted someone to look at me. I just wanted someone to stay with me.
“I think you have a bit to ponder over regarding Aria, Founder, but I have Novem. To be honest I think it would have been fine if it were just me and Novem.”
Together with Novem, I would go somewhere nice, quit being an adventurer, and live a modest life.
Perhaps that would be nice.
After I voiced such a weak statement, I was sure the First wouldn’t forgive it. But even here, his reaction differed.
『Well, do whatever you want. It’s your life. What I hated was your dead fish eyes and your feminine personality. Ah, I’ll add on that I hate how conscious Aria-chan is of you.』
I kinda understand what he meant by conscious of me.
But I had no intentions of answering to that.
I had Novem.
“Well thanks for that. My face is surprisingly on the better side, it seems, so perhaps I’m quite popular? Unlike you, First Generation.”
I gave him a sarcastic line.
The First glared at me…
『Y’ bastard! … So you’ve gotten to be able to say it, haven’t you!』
He shouted, before bursting into laughter.
“What’s with you today? Usually, it would end with you shouting.”
(Saying my own face is good is somehow embarrassing, I was never really that conscious of it. And wait, is he really in a good mood, today?)”
As I asked what I was wondering about, the First traced his face with his finger.
With a vague response, he dodged the question.
『Well, I’m just in that sort of mood. Ah, also, I won’t tell you to get around to liking Aria-chan, but please look out for her. The glasses that lives around here should be knowledgeable about something like that, so ask him if you have to.』
Glasses… the Fourth Generation.
Restraining the smile that had started to form, I answered.
“… Well, if that’s all, I can do it.”
『Hey, were you just about to smile?』
I suddenly became panicked upon the First hitting the mark.
(This man’s instincts are sharp, or how should I put it… He really isn’t a bad person. Though his personality’s quite barbaric.)
“… Well, the impression of his glasses truly are a bit strong, that Fourth Generation.”
On that day, I talked and laughed with the First Generation for the first time.