When I woke up on the bed, I remembered a sensation I had felt once before.
As if I was reborn…
As if I could do anything…
Just like that time I had birthed some memories I wanted to forget…
I slowly got off of the bed, and resolved my heart to never make the same mistake again, as I gazed out the window.
“What nice weather it is. As if the gods are blessing my Growth.”
The Third stifled some laughter.
The Jewel was getting noisy, but that was the usual, so I ignored it.
And I have an important appointment today.
I took off my undergarments, and posed in front of the mirror.
It looks like I’ve gained a little more muscle than before.
As I looked over my body, I muttered.
“… I’m not sure that I should be saying this, but aren’t I perfect? I’m definitely the pretty type.”
The Sixth shouted out.
『We’re definitely adding it!!』
The Seventh too.
『M-my stomach is… damn! Sorry, Lyle… it’s interesting, so please go on…』
I flipped my hair and gazed into the mirror as I spoke.
“What are you all on about? I’ll never make the same mistakes again. While I may be feeling fabulous, I’ll show you my perfect self-control. Oh, I have to go to Damien’s place today.”
We have plans to receive the reward.
After we proclaimed our request completion at the guild yesterday, Damien gave us an evaluation of【A】, and we separated.
We exchanged a promise to receive the reward the following day.
… Novem did.
『Pff… s-so are you all going together?』
The Fourth was desperately restraining himself.
While thinking I hadn’t done anything strange, I answered.
Before I went to bed, Novem had explained today’s plans to me.
We’d been away from the mansion for five whole days, so Novem was to do the cleaning and laundry.
Miranda-san was going to reclaim Shannon from the hospital, and Aria was going to go with me to Damien’s laboratory in order to claim the reward.
Novem left the metal worn by the monster with him. There was a need for us to transport that somehow.
While I set my hair, I spoke.
“I’m going to Damien’s place with Aria. Novem’s cleaning the mansion, and Miranda-san’s getting Shannon. She’s probably fine already. Even so… I wonder why Novem didn’t sell that metal?”
At the Guild, I simply lay there without doing anything.
My consciousness was faint, and I don’t really remember who said what and when.
The Fifth explained.
『While it’s like the rare metal that makes up labyrinths’ cores, it’s not like it was imbued with Mana or anything. It’s apparently quite difficult to manufacture. That’s why selling it to the academy for research purposes would be more profitable, is what they said, I think.』
The Seventh took over.
『Right. Lyle had lost conscious, so the decision was put on hold. They’ll also be appraised at the academy. Just hear whatever prices they offer later, and make your choice. By the way, the price the guild offered to buy it off of you is one hundred gold. They’re quite stingy.』
As the sum for defeating the fortieth floor’s boss, while it wasn’t far off, it wasn’t a sum we would be satisfied with. Perhaps the guild also understood that, as they recommended we sell it to the academy. Even when they could have profited more if they acted as an intermediary, just what reason did they have not to?
“What reason does the guild have as to not act as an intermediary?”
The Second explained.
『According to Clara-chan, it’s because the academy has a stronger influence in this town. They’re hesitant to pointlessly decrease the reward of Damien’s acquaintance, Lyle.』
In order to not make an enemy out of the academy, it wasn’t too much for them to suffer a slight loss, it seems.
Clara’s reward was paid off by Novem.
(I’ll have to go thank her to… Should I get a bouquet?)
Having put my hair in order, I left my room, still naked above the waist.
Perhaps she had come to wake me, but I ran into Novem outside of the door.
“Good morning, Lyle-sama. Well… you seem to be in good health today. Your complexion has gotten much better. I’m really glad.”
Looking at her relieved face, I…
“I love you.”
The heads of history started speaking up.
I’d really like it if they could read the mood.
『The bastard pushed through with such momentum!』
『Even when the moon isn’t out, it sure is beautiful!』
『I’m not so sure about that, but is this how it goes? He was conscious of it, but he can’t restrain himself now?』
『To confess with this timing… Lyle, think a bit more before you act… no, I guess that’s impossible for you now.』
『The mood is… how about you take another swing at it, Lyle.』
I ignore the noisy ancestors, and stared at Novem.
Novem burst into laughter.
With the tip of her finger, she wiped her tears.
“… Lyle-sama, I’m happy for your feelings, but I think it’s best if you don’t say that sort of thing at a time like this. More importantly, perhaps it may be best if you don’t go over to Damien-san’s place just yet.”
As she let my confession slide, I spoke.
“Your guard sure is high, my love. But that’s the part I like about you.”
“Glad to hear it. Well then, shall we take breakfast, Lyle-sama? Also, today is…”
“I’ll go see Damien. I want to end these sorts of things quickly.”
She seemed to want to say something, as she looked into my face with a troubled expression.
She usually didn’t make these sorts of expressions, so for some reason, I felt quite happy.
It must be because I’ve seen a new side of her today.
I headed to the academy with Aria, handed over a memo, and had a staff member guide us to Damien’s laboratory.
The room was probably quite a wide one at one point, but the equipment and other miscellaneous pieces made it seem quite narrow.
Books were piled up like mountains. And labcoat-wearing students were sorting through them.
All of them had dark rings under their eyes.
A few of them were unsteady, so it’s likely they pulled an all-nighter.
“Good grief, all-nighters aren’t good for your body, my good people.”
As I said that, Aria, who was standing beside me, drew back a bit.
From the moment we met this morning, she’s been treating me like this.
“What’s up, Aria? It’s a waste if you keep your pretty face stiffened up like that.”
I heard the Fourth’s voice.
『Peeerfect! You’re perfect, Lyle! But why don’t you choose a time and place!?』
I ignored the loud one, and Aria opened her mouth.
“Hey, you… as Novem said, wouldn’t it be better if you stayed home today?”
Even Aria was saying something like that, so I shook my head.
She must be worried, recalling my previous Growth.
I swore in my heart never to make the same mistakes, so your worries are unnecessary.
“So you’ll worry for me, Aria… I’m happy.”
Aria’s embarrassed face turned red, and the labcoated students cleaning up around clicked their tongues at me, men and women regardless.
As we were carrying out that back and forth, Damien made his appearance, carrying a bag with him.
He had bags under his eyes, but his own tension was exceedingly high.
“What a nice morning it is, gentlemen! I’ve not gotten even a wink of sleep!”
I raised my hands into the air, and made off towards Damien. He raised both of his hands in response.
As we exchanged such a greeting, those around us looked upon the scene with shocked expressions.
If you look at me like that, I’ll be overjoyed, so please stop.
My sense of self control is starting to lose its grip.
“Good of you to have come. What’s more, your timing is the best. It just came out of the capsule just now.”
Hearing that, I looked around, and spotted some people floating in a green half-transparent liquid something.
They seemed to be asleep.
“They’re not breathing. I can only see them as dead, though?”
As I turned my eyes to the capsules, Damien explained.
“Did you just notice them now? These children are the automata of old. Could it be you were expecting something made of masses of springs and gears? Well too bad! These girls are the ‘something’ unbelievably close to humanity.”
Unbelievably close means there was clearly something different.
As if she had just noticed them now, Aria looked over at the capsules in shock.
“A-are these dolls!? They look alive.”
Damien continued explaining.
“And isn’t that why they’re my goal? With a method that surpasses these automata, I will create my ideal woman. Definitely!”
Hearing his enthusiasm, I thought, ‘wouldn’t this all end quicker if you just got yourself a girlfriend, ’ but then I felt ashamed of myself.
Damien is a man. A Man amongst men.
“Amazing. I’ll cheer you on, Damien.”
“So you do get it, Lyle. I knew you would understand someday. I mean, you’re one of the few people out there I’ve actually remembered the name of.”
After we laughed and shared in our joys, we went down to the main topic.
“Well then, about the reward.”
“Ah, that, right.”
After suddenly breaking into a smile, he took on a serious expression as he looked at us. Those around us seemed troubled.
Damien removed a white sheet off of a pushcart.
As the dust that had built up on top of the sheet danced around, what emerged was a woman wearing black clothing with a white apron on top. She was sleeping.
No, she looked like she was sleeping.
Aria was surprised as she looked at the automaton from up close.
“T-this can’t be… this is a doll?”
The cart’s height was around up to our hips.
Her eyes remained closed, but it looked as if she could start breathing at any moment.
Her skin was pale white, and her lips a light pink…
Her woman-like build seemed to place heavy emphasis on the chest area.
And I could see a faint pattern engraved on her forehead.
It didn’t look like a tattoo, but what sort of mark could it be?
Anyways, she didn’t look to be to Damien’s tastes.
(So that’s why he’s handing it over.)
But as I looked at the surrounding capsules, their shapes differed from the automaton before me.
The ones inside the capsules, looking closely, were all the same form… meaning they all had the same appearance and hairstyle.
The same seal was engraved into all of their foreheads.
“Well then, from what we’ve deciphered, the means to activate it… use your blood as a catalyst to form a master-servant contract.”
“Blood? What are you talking about, Damien?”
Hearing that, I shook my head.
Aria looked at me, and tilted hers.
“What’s wrong, Lyle? Let’s receive the reward already. After this, we’ll have to conduct some talks about the armor’s pricing. If you don’t want it, we can sell it, so hurry it up.”
Hearing that, I turned to her in a rage.
“Sell her!? Don’t be stupid! Look at it. Look at this lovable sleeping face… right, as if she’s a sleeping princess.”
Aria seemed taken aback. The students around her had similar reactions.
The Fifth spoke.
『What is this guy saying?』
“The method to awake a sleeping girl has been passed down for centuries, has it not!? I’ve read enough picture books to know it!”
Right, there was a scene like this in the picture books I read at the library alongside Clara.
A captured princess fell under a spell, and was freed by the hero’s lips.
I immediately carried my lips over to the automaton’s.
“Now I’ll free you from your curse.”
“Um, it isn’t a curse or anything, you know…”
Damien said something, but I went ahead, and kissed her.
The automaton suddenly started moving.
It slowly opened its eyes, and inside my mouth…
Damien’s eyes were shining with wonder.
And Aria screamed out.
“W… w-w-w-w-what the hell are you doing, Lyyyyyllle!!”
I removed my lips, and spoke to the awoken automaton.
“How does it feel to awaken from your long slumber, my princess.”
The opened eyes were red, and after observing the surroundings, they focused on me.
Those pupils rested on me for a while, and then…
“I never thought I would be awoken like this. Genetic data confirmed. Master registration complete. Let’s see, how I feel… it makes me want to barf just imagining that I have to revere a perverted bastard who tries to wake up a doll by kissing it as my master… and that’s about it? Oh my, what could be the meaning of this… a portion of my data has been corrupted. It seems to be causing problems with my speech.”
Looking at the doll raise the top half of its body off the cart, Damien looked at me with sparkling eyes.
“Isn’t that amazing, Lyle! I never thought that, not through blood, you could wake them with a kiss… okay, I’ll be starting them up with that method as well!”
Seeing Damien’s delighted face, the automaton dismounted from the cart, and gave a bow brimming with perfect etiquette.
“It seems I’ve awoken to a den of vile perverts. While trembling in fear at the impending danger to my chastity, I will proceed to refer to this perverted pig who lust after a metal doll as master from today forth. Say your name.”
Her words and behavior didn’t match in the slightest.
But I wasn’t the sort to be crushed by such a thing.
“You’ve got quite a punch to you, automaton. My name’s Lyle… Lyle Walt. Now just watch, I’ll make you mine.”
As I flipped my hair, the automaton before my eyes covered her mouth with both of her hands.
It was quite a cute gesture, but…
“Even when dolls have no freedom in the matter, to take that attitude right after master registration… there should be a limit to being a useless coward, master. Successfully recorded as 【Useless Chicken Lyle-sama】, but I’ll keep that my secret. Oh my, I accidentally let it slip.”
I directed a smile at the automaton.
“Just you watch, that chicken will one day soar through the open skies… fwa, hahahaha!!”
I couldn’t stop my loud laughter.
Even when I was the one saying it, I felt like I would fall for me.
(Damn, aren’t I the coolest!!)
I heard quite a few loud voices from the Jewel.
They expended my Mana, but it wasn’t anything dangerous for the current me.
Aria spoke with her eyes slightly teary.
Have I moved her to tears?
So I can move a girl’s emotions to tears. How frightening of a man.
“Lyle… chickens can’t fly far at all.”
The automaton was the same.
“With this completely worthless dickhead as a master, there may be some use in serving him. I’ll beat the hell out of him, and retrain him from the ground up. Oh, my true feelings were… my tuning is off. The network connection has also been destroyed, so just when and where is this? It’s quite worrisome that I won’t feel certain even if I hear it from the useless pigs in front of me.”
Hearing the automaton’s words, Damien was delighted.
“She’s full of words I’ve never heard before! Someone take this down! Start off with 『completely worthless dickhead』.”
On this day, I have obtained myself yet another comrade.
My black history increased, and I’ve lost something valuable to me.