Sevens 65: Prologue
Within a coupled carriage on course to Centralle.
With my eyes closed, I slept and sent my consciousness into the blue Jewel hanging at my neck.
The conference room had a round table, with chairs stationed around its circumference.
At one point on it, a large silver sword floated above the table.
“Um… even if you called me here, well…”
There, I, 【Lyle Walt】 was being looked upon by the fed up faces of my ancestors.
Most were sitting in their chairs looking in my direction, but only the second was standing.
The one taking on the appearance of a hunter was a memory stored within this Jerel given form.
Following the father of the provincial Noble Walt House, the one who had become the Second Generation of the family, 【Crassel Walt】 spoke.
“I’ll be having you do it today as well. Come to my room.”
After that short line, perhaps he had been irritated, as the Second headed straight off to the door behind his chair.
The Third Generation looked at me, and motioned for me to follow with all due haste.
“Now off with you. Really…”
Leaving behind the tired heads of history, I started off to the door the Second had entered.
(No, but… there’s no helping it, is there?)
There was but one reason they all seemed so worn out.
It’s because I had failed in learning a Skill.
The Second’s memory.
Unlike the First’s time, it was a memory where the fighting was never to die out.
There was no bloodshed.
It was a war among villagers, and the antipathy of the area’s feudal lord, the Second Generation head.
“The First Generation handled things so much better. He had that strength of his, too!”
“That man’d always take the initiative, and take action himself, you know.”
“I really wonder how his successor turned out to be something like that!”
The Second Generation walked down the farm roads, and I followed behind him.
Around us, were villagers, purposely raising their voices to levels we could hear.
Having just inherited the territory, it wasn’t field work the Second was taking part in. With his subordinates behind, he went around hammering wooden stakes into the ground.
I looked upon the scene, and spoke.
“It was like this last time too, but this scene is…”
While he seemed to be in a bad mood, the Second did answer.
“I had just taken over. I had no idea what the right thing to do was. Therefore, I tried putting in order the fields that had been nothing but a complete mess for a start.”
At the time the founder was the lord.
The fields and houses that made up the village of the Walt House had an overly complex arrangement.
They just expanded because they were able to. That’s the sort of impression they gave off.
Of that, in order to make them easier to manage, the Second attempted to get them in order.
“And he’s supposed to be that man’s son…?”
Beside the young Second, who was carrying out his work, the fief whispered amongst themselves as they passed by.
The young Second was gritting his teeth.
He seemed quite vexed.
The Second began explaining the situation to me.
“What the villagers were expecting when I took over, was someone to mediate the fighting. Who’s field is who’s? Who’s the bastard damming up the water? There were plenty of pointless quarrels. During the First’s time, they had just tolerated it. Because that person… my old man was strong.”
Compared to the First Generation, the Second seemed to be one of whom you could talk to.
First Generation Basil Walt was a barbarian styled man, who used beast skins as his overcoat.
His arms were wide, and his weapon was that hunk of a sword. It seems none of the villagers felt to go against him.
“He was strong, and he took the initiative when it came to work… despite this and that, my reliable old man was the adoration of all the villagers.”
And when that was gone, all the dissatisfaction that had been building up was to burst out all at once.
A need to mediate the quarrels. Who had ownership of what land… he was forced to hand down such judgement, but it seems that the villagers were dissatisfied with that as well.
Unaccepted by the generation that remembered the First, the Second continued to struggle to raise up the succeeding generations.
As we left the outskirts of the village, the Second turned back to me.
(TL: It’s implied here that the first stage was manual, and short ranged, while the others are auto)
“Well then, shall we start… You can accomplish my 【All】 Skill’s second level, right?”
“It covers an even wider range than before, and allows others the use Skills to a large group, right?”
The defining feature of the Second Generation’s Skill was that it truly was specialized to support.
When I took its secondary effects to mind, I found myself favoring those more than its main use.
Its Second Stage made it so if you gathered all your surrounding comrades in a single spot, they could all activate Skills together.
“It does increase your perception even further, but it still isn’t on the level of the Fifth’s. It’s quite suited for close range detection, though.”
As I said that, I turned my eyes to the enemy I had detected with it.
There, the form of a rabbit growing a horn from its head…
… Was visible for a brief moment, but the second had immediately notched and fired an arrow at it.
As could be implied from his hunter-esque garb, the weapon the Second held was a bow.
Monsters… he seemed to hate horned rabbits to a particularly high level, so whenever I found them, he would often end up arguing with the Fifth.
To the First through third who took care of the field work, horned rabbits were hell incarnate.
Them laying waste to the fields meant a decline in crops.
“Looks like it’s become a conditioned response for you. And wait, this is just a memory, right?”
Wasn’t I the one who was supposed to be sensing the monsters?
As I said that, the Second responded in an irritated tone.
“Just looking at them irritates me, but it seems they’ve left a strong impression on my memory… that’s why, like this…”
Right after saying that, another horned rabbit had appeared, so the Second shot it to death.
His skills with the bow were amazing.
I could also use one, but I had nowhere near as much technique as the Second.
He put away his bow, and looked to me.
“Now then, about the Third Stage, 【Select】, that you keep failing in.”
Select… the Second Generation’s Skill’s third stage, it allowed for a wide number of highly separated comrades to all use Skills.
Its amazing point was that it could work over such a range, while automatically distinguishing between friend and foe.
Meaning it made aiming quite easy.
In a muddled battlefield of allies and others, a use of its secondary ability could instantly put one at an advantage.
With magic raining down on a massive scale, you could make it so it only came down on the enemy.
It’s that sort of amazing ability, but…
I did concentrate on using the Skill, but nothing happened.
The Second cried out.
“Why can’t you do it!? That’s totally impossible, I’m telling ya’! If you’ve even been able to master the Third’s Mind Skill, not being able to use my Skill should be impossible!”
If you put it in scale of ease of acquisition, the First’s and Second’s third stages were much less trouble than the other Skills.
Even so, I continued to fail on activating the Skill.
“No, I do feel something starting up. It’s just that right before it comes down to activating it, it fails, or how should I put it…”
“And I’m telling you that’s strange! Dammit, you’ve been able to learn all the other Skills on the first try, so not being able to go on here is…”
Before the Second’s dejection, I realized that a part of me was feeling a bit of relief.
Inside the rattle and shake of the coupled carriage, I opened my eyes, and looked out the window.
Just riding aboard a moving vehicle was somewhat tiring.
Around, there were plenty of customers, who had fallen asleep like me.
Outside the glass pane, there were mounted soldiers and adventurers serving as guards.
As this was a carriage set for the imperial capital Centralle, there was no shortage of passengers.
With not an empty seat to be found, the reason so many paid such a fortune in silver coins to hitch a ride was due to the existence of monsters and bandits.
That’s just how much value a safe travel held.
I’ve just come to learn of it recently.
Looking to my side, a blond haired twin-tailed maid-dressed Poyopoyo… ah, right, Monika, was at work knitting something.
Seeing that, I thought to myself.
(So it’s already that season, is it?)
I did feel a chill on my skin, but day by day, the cold was getting more severe.
Since I left my home territory, the Walt House, more than half a year has passed.
Winter was already right upon us.
At the start, quite a few had sent curious glances at Monica, but after a few days’ travels, perhaps they had grown accustomed to it, as no one paid any mind to her maid attire anymore.
We only occasionally see the surprised faces of those getting on at the towns and villages we stop at along the way.
The girl was not a human.
An automaton built by an ancient race, revived by a pervert referred to as one of the Seven Great of Arumsaas’ Academy.
The fruit of technology long lost, and according to the machine herself, a ‘Special Model.’
And there, Monica noticed my glance.
“What is it, chicken dickhead? Could it be that you have gone into heat upon seeing my lovely figure? Oh good grief… why must it be in a place like this.”
As Monica proceeded to try removing her clothing, I put all my power into hitting the top of her head.
She’s a machine, so she might break? I did think that, but… as I picked up from her tone of voice, I’m sure she’s already broken.
“Why do you always have to be like that? More importantly, what are you making there?”
Looking back at her handiwork, Monica spoke.
“Is it not obvious? I’m putting all sorts of emotion into making this ‘heavy muffler’. When the wielder of this piece of equipment thinks of just what feelings have been put into making this, they won’t be able to help but feel the weight of my love and the encroaching feeling of responsibility. Ah~ what a heavy muffler it shall be.”
“I see. You sure have it rough.”
I try to treat it as someone else’s problem, but Monica began to tremble incessantly.
“No, please don’t make put up an SEP field there. Can you truly not understand who’s giving what to whom unless I put it into words? You really are the worst, damn chicken.”
As I continued to show off my lack of interest, Monica whispered to me.
“… Speak now, or I’ll add on a heavy sweater, and heavy gloves.”
Saying that, she began churning out the rest of the muffler at breakneck pace.
“Quit it, fool.”
I spoke while conscious of the surrounding eyes on Monica, and looked to the ceiling.
The trip was one that took several days, and while it did give off a sense of security, it also felt quite inconvenient.
I turned my gaze to the Jewel hanging at my neck.
The blue crystal resting on the palm of my hand was decorated with glittering silver ornaments, and hung onto a chain.
Skills were something that existed as one Skill per person.
That being the case, there were a few ways to be able to make use of multiple of them. Besides using 【Gems】 like what the Jewel once was, there were also items that could be imbued with Skills called 【Magic Tools】.
There were plenty of varieties, weapons and armor, and rather than Gems, where it was quite easy for one Skill to interfere with another, Magic Tools had become the standard form.
By adding the right Skills together, it was possible to display quite a large effect, and while the price for them was extravagant, there were plenty of nobles and adventurers that sought out for them.
(There wouldn’t be a point in speeding this up with the Fourth’s Skill, would there…)
The Skill raised one’s movement speed, but even if I tried doing that, the carriage has its own schedule to keep.
Even if I expedited it to arrive faster, if it was set to arrive exactly on time, I doubt it would be much appreciated.
(Though it’s surely a good thing to have more Skills to use.)
With that on my mind, I closed my eyes once more.
Having arrived at Imperial Capital Centralle, our party finally got through the intense bustle of people at the gate, and began heading out to find an inn.
It was my third time in the city, and I did not get lost.
Of course, we also had two who were raised here, Miranda and Shannon, with us this time.
A pale emerald green in color, Miranda’s wavy hair extended long enough to touch her back.
She was an individual that gave off an impression like that of a cat, but even so, she was a Noble Lady.
She hailed from an imperial viscount family known as the Circry House.
Her younger sister Shannon was a little girl with dull violet hair, and amber colored pupils
She was the youngest one among all of us, but she was also quite a schemer who played the part of a poor ephemeral lass, robbed of her vision.
“Hey, someone carry this for me. Lyle, why aren’t you taking it? Aren’t you supposed to be a man?”
I turned to her, and spoke.
“I’m surprised you can say such a thing while looking at all the baggage in my hands. In the first place, you’re already having Monica carry your stuff, are you not?”
The ones carrying quite a load in their arms, were me and Monica.
With Monica carrying around Clara’s, Miranda’s and Shannon’s belongings, we attracted quite a few wandering eyes.
By the way, the ones I was carrying were Novem’s, and Aria’s.
“But this is quite heavy.”
What Shannon showed off with a cute voice was not a leather-made travel bag, but a small piece of hand luggage.
“Keep your sleep talk for when you’re asleep. Come back once you’ve become an actual Lady.”
I spat out my words in return, abandoned the girl and her jeers, and headed towards the inn.
The one who hit a noisy Shannon on the back of her head was Miranda-san.
She was the one among us with the most years being her, but that being the case, she was still only seventeen.
“Shannon, you can carry that much yourself. Even just with having Monica carry your luggage, it’s no good if you don’t feel the least bit thankful.”
Hearing that, while still keeping all the bags in hand, Monica puffed out her chest.
Her large bust swayed up and down.
“Please remember that I’m quite displeased with having to carry you lot’s belongings. They’re just add-ons to those of my precious chicken dickwad’s. You should all be more grateful.”
While there was a disparity of her treatment of me and those around, she was the type of person who did her work properly regardless of her toxicity.
Seeing that, a girl with deep blue hair, red eyes, and glasses spoke.
It was Clara.
“I’ve been to Centralle a number of times, but there sure are a lot of people. Unlike Arumsaas, perhaps I should call it more efficient…”
If you forced me to say, Centralle was a place that felt quite narrow.
Compared to the streets of Arumsaas, that were almost like a labyrinth themselves, it was several times more decent.
With her brown hair tied in a side ponytail, Novem looked at me with her violet eyes.
“Will we be staying at the same inn we used before, Lyle-sama?”
Novem Forxuz… my former fiancée, and the charming young lass who accompanied me when I had been driven out of my home.
There was a time when I thought that as long as I had Novem by my side, the rest didn’t really matter, but by the time I came to it, I found myself already surrounded by an army of females.
A mannish woman with red hair, Aria, spoke.
“We do have the money, so why not get a more-spacious one? I don’t want to be squeezing three into a two person room like last time.”
The last time we came here, we had lodged with a man and two women in a two person room.
But it’s best to cut down on hotel expenses.
I mean, Centralle was also a place that cost quite a pretty penny.
“I approve of the proposal for personal rooms, but with these numbers, we can’t go about staying at too extravagant a place.”
“You, after taking in that large a sum, you sure are one to talk.”
I did end up making a bit of a fortune in Arumsaas, so unlike before, I did have a bit of leisure.
If you were to look at me as a single adventurer, I would likely be regarded as a success.
From inside the Jewel, the one well attuned to talks about money let out his voice.
With his glasses being his defining characteristic, the Fourth was quite a harsh person when it came to counting coins
『Hey, it’s not like you’re the one who earned it or anything! That’s something I gave Lyle instructions for… normally, he should have been able to sell the knowhow on Porter for much greater a sum…』
After constructing a golem to carry luggage inside a labyrinth, I had sold that knowledge to the academy of Arumsaas.
If you want to look at the pricing, then it’s something I’m quite satisfied with as an individual.
But the one who couldn’t come to terms with it at all was the Fourth.
(There are plenty more ways for us to make money…)
As I thought that, I felt that the Ancestors were sending some dubious glances at me.
Aria drew closer to me, and there, Miranda-san raised her voice.
“It’s already gotten quite late today, but when tomorrow comes, I’ll introduce you guys to a place we’ll be able to stay a while. I think you already know what I’m talking about though, Lyle.”
Hearing that, I remembered.
“The Circry House’s mansion? No, it would certainly be nice if we could stay, but are you sure you’re alright with that?”
Both Miranda-san and Shannon were in a state where they had been kicked out of the Circry House.
On paper, it was stated they were sent to the City of Scholars to study, but in reality, it was nothing more than an opportunity to have them learn to be independent.
The reason I worried so much as to whether it was alright to return was likely because I had been driven out of my house as well.
Miranda-san spoke with a smile.
“It’s fine. I’ve already gotten father’s permission, and I properly notified them to make the preparations to receive a party of seven.”
That smile of hers did seem to conceal a trace of mischief, but I decided to nod, and leave it at that.
“Understood. Then tomorrow, I guess we’ll be heading off to the Circry House’s mansion.”
And Miranda spoke on.
“Look forward to it.”
Look forward to what? As I stood unable to comprehend, the Sixth called out to me.
『… This kinda seems like that, right? From the parents’ point of view, it’s the ‘Please give me your daughter’s hand!’ type scenario.』
The one who agreed with him was the Seventh Generation.
『Right. If it were me, then the moment my daughter brought an adventurer boy home, I’d promptly shoot him to death…』
The one saying such a scary thing was my grandfather.
It seems this and that happened in the past, and he came to hate the association known as the Adventurers’ Guild, and the Adventurers that came with it.
I get the feeling he isn’t really supportive of my current state as an adventurer either.
I thought to myself.
(Well, we have quite a lot of girls with us, so I don’t think they’ll misunderstand too much.)
With bags in hand, I held such a naïve thought in my mind, as I continued to search out an inn.