Sevens: The Circry House
We dropped by the Circry house.
Normally, one would be shocked upon seeing such a large mansion, but among us, only Clara and Monica gave such a reaction.
I was the heir to inherit the territory of a Feudal Lord.
Novem was the same.
Since it didn’t have the space restrictions of this narrow capital, then if I had to say, Novem’s mansion on the Forxuz’s territory was the larger of the two.
Aria was a former Baron house… or at least, she hailed from a notable family, so she wasn’t surprised.
Miranda-san and Shannon should be going through some nostalgic sentiment upon returning to their own home of origin.
Thinking that, I looked at the two, but…
“Yeah~ looks like it’s become even more dubious than before.”
Miranda-san gave a bitter smile, and Shannon made a detestable expression.
“Che! So they’re still here. Just get married off somewhere already, dammit.”
We passed through the gate, and arrived at the front door.
Likely because they were relatives, the House’s response was swift, and we were let through the gate without even being asked what our business was.
But from within the mansion…
“Why are those two back!? Father, it’s already been decided that the successor is to be my groom when they marry into the family, right!?”
“Cut the crap! Onee-sama, your man’s just some lowly servant, is he not!? My sweetheart is much better off!”
I heard the contesting voices of two females.
“Well, how should I put this… as expected of the household of these two fine ladies. They have quite an extreme disposition.”
She gave a bright smile as she looked over Shannon and Miranda-san.
Clara was timidly looking over the mansion’s exterior, and she seemed quite restless.
“Coming to an estate as large as this… um, I only know about things like etiquette in theory, you know?”
Seeing her look to Novem for help, the Third let out his voice from the Jewel.
『Well, we’re with family here, so I don’t think she really needs to pay mind to is. I mean, they’re the ones that called us over to begin with. And wait, If anyone even tries to lay hands on Clara, they’ll be beaten black and blue… by Lyle.』
Oh, so you meant me! While I held such an impression, Aria spoke up.
Perhaps because they had been on good terms before, it seems she knew their current family head.
“As long as you’re making an attempt, I’ll bet Ralph-san will allow it to an extent. Just give a normal greeting, and keep quiet after that, and you should be just fine.”
To Aria, who said such a thing, Novem gave a worried tone.
“Aria-san, could it be that in regards to etiquette, you…”
Aria averted her eyes.
“Of course I learned it. But that was years, and years, and years ago! There are plenty of things I’m sure I’ve forgotten.”
While Aria seemed like she was about to burst into tears, Miranda-san made a smile, and spoke.
“I made sure to tell then I was bringing along my adventurer comrades, so you don’t have to worry about courtesy and the like. More importantly, Lyle?”
As Miranda-san looked at me, I nodded, and raised the small leather case in my hands.
The large sum paid for the mansion in Arumsaas, as well as the sum they had received as support up to now had been prepared.
“Are you sure I should be the one to hand it over?”
“Oh it’s fine. I’ll bet that’ll make it more interesting.”
Hearing her speak of something being interesting, I tilted my head, as I held the case in hand, and waited for the doors to open.
The disputing voices coming from within the mansion ceased, the doors opened, and what we found standing before us was a fine gentleman with grey hair.
He did display a bit of his own enervation, but I chose not to touch up on that point.
Putting his suit in order, the one staring at me, 【Ralph Circry】-san was Miranda-san’s, and Shannon’s father.
After losing his wife, it doesn’t seem he took in a second.
For that reason, it was a necessity for the four siblings of the Circry house to welcome in a groom sometime soon.
“My apologies. Well then welcome to… M-Miranda?”
“What is it father?”
Perhaps because the impression she gave off had changed considerably, Ralph-san looked over us with slight panic.
And the sight of Shannon standing normally as well…
“… Oy, why are you so docile all of a sudden?”
Seeing her bashfully fidgeting in a manner that didn’t suit her, I ended up voicing those thoughts.
“I-I mean, I’m seeing father for the first time in… ow!”
As Miranda-san’s clenched fist found its place on her, Ralph-san, and all those behind him went into a daze.
“The hell you doing!?”
“You can’t just keep putting up the frail act forever! You’re already going to be fine on your own, so you have to show off your reliable side.”
The siblings began getting noisy, so I addressed Ralph-san in their place.
“Um, I’m one in the same party as Miranda-san. My name is Lyle. Ah, this is a bit of a souvenir. ”
Sweets sold within the capital, hand-picked by Miranda-san, were handed over.
“Y-yeah, much obliged. The feel they gave off was much too different, that I ended up going into shock. But nothing will begin if we just keep making a racket at the entranceway. It seems the two of them get along as well as ever.”
To offer aid to Ralph-san’s distress, we set foot into the Circry Mansion.
I saw two ladies of marriageable age wearing dresses.
I believe the lass with her braided black hair set behind her head was 【Doris Circry】.
She was wearing a navy dress, and had glasses hanging on her face.
Her drooping eyes were looking over our group with suspicion.
And the other one, wearing a yellow dress, and donning deep green hair was 【Lucy Circry】.
Her long hair extended down her back, and the impression she gave off was reminiscent of Miranda’s.
Their eyes fell on Miranda-san, and Shannon.
“For them to return after all this time…”
It was quite apparent that we weren’t welcome, but anyways, Ralph-san spoke up.
“Doris, Lucy… you two don’t need to tend to our guests. Please step back.”
As he said that, the two of them continued to glare at us, as they receded to the deeper parts of the mansion.
Seeing them, the Fourth spoke.
『The worries of imperial court noble Ladies…』
The Fifth voiced his agreement.
『With their elder sister returning, they’re likely beginning to worry about their own livelyhoods. In a different sense than that of a feudal lord, they’re desperate to earn their keep.』
The Sixth spoke.
『Even with Milleia marrying into their family, do you think I would forgive such a petty squabble?』
『That’s all you can expect from court nobles. Quite a few of them were purged in my time, you know. Even when they are the ones who invited us over, good grief…』
He said some scary things.
(Come to think of it, I believe he said he acted as an advisor. I did hear it was quite a harsh time, though…)
It seems the Second couldn’t keep up.
『Court nobles, is it… I’ve only ever met them when I succeeded my position. I met with the King, and swore loyalty, and… just for that, they had me wait for over ten days.』
The Fourth spoke.
『Yes, if they won’t bring in any profit, it’s best to keep them waiting. Then comes the bribes, right? If it was just ten days, you should have just forked it over.』
The Fifth was of the same opinion.
『Yes, that produces a far higher efficiency. Well, the unforgiving environment is a bit of a problem.』
The Second quietly…
『… Do I look like I had that sort of money?』
While thinking over how much trouble the man went through, I continued through the mansion. For some reason, it ended up we would be discussing matters with Ralph-san with just me and Miranda-san.
I was sitting on the sofa drinking tea, but I couldn’t taste it at all.
“… You mean to say that this isn’t betrothal money? You’re being serious, right?”
We sold the estate in Arumsaas, and returned all the fees it took for its uptake.
As I began to produce the money from the case, Miranda-san…
“So you’re telling me that wasn’t betrothal money?”
From then on, barraged me with questions in an indifferent tone, and finally, it seemed the misunderstanding was about to be resolved.
The Second spoke.
『This girl is scary.』
The Sixth was…
『Oh come now, she was just desiring a little good clean fun!』
You can’t discredit that as just a little! As I thought that, Miranda-san proposed a question to Ralph-san.
Unlike before, she was making a serious expression.
“And so, why have you finally decided to call us back?”
Before the daughter, who had changed considerably, Ralph-san kept sending fleeting glances in my direction, making the situation exceedingly awkward.
The Third spoke.
『Don’t you think he’s under the impression you ate up her daughter? See, there are plenty of girls who change when they get a man.』
The Fifth seemed fed up.
『And he pays such mind to an abandoned girl? Really, I wonder.』
Ralph-san let out a sigh, as he spoke.
“… Yes, it’s true that we drove the two of you out of the house. I’ve of no mind to deny that. But at the same time, there was a reason.”
Saying that, Ralph-san called my name.
“【Lyle Walt】… you’re the former heir of the Walt House, correct? I ended up looking into the rumors surrounding you from Dalien and Arumsaas.”
The voice I heard from within the Jewel was mingled with a little tension.
It was the Sixth.
『Hm… Imperial Noble, was it? I guess it isn’t uncommon for a viscount to be well informed.』
So how does this man want to move in regards to me?
As I thought that, Miranda-san spoke to him.
“… Even if you’re my father, if you lay hands on my comrades… especially Lyle, then I will get serious.”
Even receiving his daughter’s challenging glare, Ralph-san’s expression didn’t change.
No, more than that, he smiled a little.
“I never thought you would be one to say that. Be at ease. Our Circry house is one with ties to the Walt House. You and I both have their blood flowing through our veins. That was quite a while ago, though.”
Miranda-san showed surprise upon hearing that, but I already knew, so I kept a poker face, and continued drinking my tea.
“What I’m mindful of is the fact that someone of the Walt House came to approach you and Shannon.”
As I gave a reaction, Ralph-san’s gaze came to be fixed on me.
“Lyle-kun, is it alright if I asked you something?”
“Please, go ahead.”
“For what intent did your House make a move to have you approach Miranda and Shannon?”
In regards to the question posed to me, the Seventh offered some advice.
『Just give an honest answer, Lyle. He already has the information he needs. The fact that you were driven out of your home, and most of what’s transpired around you, he should have a general grasp of it.』
I tightened my grip on the Jewel once, and answered.
“My House is of no relation. Because I was kicked out.”
“Father, asking something like that when you already know is…”
Ralph-san let out a sigh.
“I know. But if I don’t go about it like this, I won’t be able to calm down. You met her a few years ago, right? That Celes Walt.”
The name I heard the moment I put my cup down made me raise my face in surprise.
The Sixth spoke.
『Calm yourself, Lyle. 』
I tried to feign composure, but it seems he understood what I felt.
And he started going on about the reason Miranda-san and Shannon were thrown out.
“It started from that point. There was a proposal from the Walt House to take charge of your education. No, to be more precise, they developed quite an interest in you. They tacked on a reason, and tried to call you over.”
In this sense, education was where nobles would send sons and daughters between each other to raise.
It’s not that rare among relatives. In some cases, children were sent out to learn discipline.
The Fifth spoke.
『… Now isn’t that strange? Why would the excuse of ‘we’ll train her up, so hand her over’ ever pass?』
The Seventh spoke.
『In my time, there were plenty of Houses that requested training from the Walt House, but we didn’t ever go as far as to try taking someone in ourselves.』
I asked about that.
“Did my family really say they would educate her?”
After taking a sip of tea, Ralph-san gave an answer.
“At present, the Imperial Capital’s the same, but the Walt House’s movements have been quite strange in particular. Since the time they drove out their own successor, you, there have been a lot of Houses cutting relations with them. Of course, that was also based on their actions from before that…”
It seems that from the time I began being confined to my room, the Walt House had become quite strange.
And Ralph-san went on.
“As a provincial Noble House, the Walts are known to be quite prodigious in the pen and the sword. Even I considered sending my daughter to such a place at some point… but then a letter came stating they would do it for us at once.”
That unthinkable action made him give up on the act, or so he said.
But having heard Ralph-san’s explanations, the Ancestors…
Second and up:
『Prodigious… so were my troubles finally rewarded?』
『I think the ‘sword’ part of it was definitely me! Me, who cleaned up after that big-headed bastard!』
『Then does that make me the ‘pen’? That really was a lot of trouble.』
『Prodigious, huh. Well, those that survive are to be named as superior. That’s just how the world turns. It’s different now, though.』
『Yeah, that’s right… it sure is different with the current gen.』
『I-it’s not my fault! It’s that stupid son of mine!』
After clearing my throat once, I asked.
“So because you didn’t want to send Miranda-san there for her education, you dispatched her to Arumsaas?”
Miranda-san sent a distrustful glance in her father’s direction.
“This is the first I’m hearing of it.”
With a serious expression, Ralph-san talked.
“… A few years ago, the young lass called Celes came to the Capital, and then it all started to feel strange. Requests that anyone would think of as unreasonable suddenly began to pass. While normally, one would try making some distance, there were even some Houses that purposefully started inching closer to the Walt House because of that too.”
If you can get away from a troublesome connection, it’s best you do. That’s a principle of nobility.
There are instances where escape is impossible, but generally, the reaction is to make some distance.
“I’ve been working in the palace for quite some years, but even so, this is the first. Also, the moment Miranda and Shannon did leave the house, they seemed to lose all interest. After that, they stopped calling out to us altogether.”
“… Well there does seem to be a little sense to it. And? What’s the reason you’ve called me over today? Isn’t it bad if me and Shannon are to stay here?”
From the current flow of the conversation, it’s bad for us to be here.
From the Imperial Capital… no, it would be best if we left the country with all due haste.
(When she… Celes comes into play, there’s nothing I’ll be able to accomplish.)
I’ve experienced growth two times, but still, I can’t even imagine winning over Celes.
I remembered that overwhelming difference in power.
Ralph-san’s face turned tired.
Unlike the serious discussion that had transpired up to now, he started giving a simple explanation of the situation.
“…. Have you heard of Doris and Lucy’s fight?”
“Marriage to someone too separated in status? Idiotic. One of them’ll just have to give up.”
Having already been separated from all of this, Ralph-san likely wouldn’t accept having her marry in a successor at this point in time.
Having been cut off due to the Walt House’s invitations, it doesn’t look like she has any intentions of returning.
“You won’t ask me or Shannon to come back, right?”
“Do you think doing that would suddenly get me a groom of equal status? I understand that isn’t going to happen, and your lives are already your own… just do whatever you want with them. It’s just that, if you’re willing to hear out my honest opinion, Lyle-kun over there is a little…”
I heard the Third’s voice.
『Lyle-kun’s a little what!? Have at it, Lyle.』
He was laughing quite happily.
The Seventh shouted out.
『What problem do you have with our Lyle, you rat of the court!!』
(Grandfather, please calm down.)
While I thought something like that, Ralph-san spoke.
“Well he does look like an earnest lad, but, well… won’t it be hard to support that many women as an adventurer? It may be the dream of all men, but for me to have my daughter taken by a man who’s seriously trying to build himself a harem in this day and age is…”
Yep, I agree wholeheartedly.
The Seventh spoke.
『… Right. That’s definitely how the current Lyle looks』
The Second spoke.
『I’ll bet he can at least support them. For better or worse, he has some talent.』
The ‘for better or worse’ part seemed to stab into me.
“It’s up to me who I’m to choose, right? Won’t you get to the main point already? Are you trying to tell me to stop those two idiot sisters of mine?”
Ralph-san muttered something mournful along the lines of, ‘she was so much cuter before…’ as he looked at Miranda-san.
I get the feeling the gaze he directed at me grew sharper.
“No, I do have the sentiment to get them to give up, but something else has come up.”
“There was a knight who forcefully intruded on our house for work-related matters. It seems those two ended up hearing his words. A brigade of knights is to be dispatched to Johnny Village, a village under direct imperial control. Their numbers were insufficient, so it’s been decided they’ll take volunteers for the expedition. This all happened before the official announcement.”
Apparently, it seems a 【Hippogryph】 had taken up residence near Johnny Village.
A monster with the head and front claws of an eagle, with the body and back hooves of a horse stuck on the back.
The fact it could fly through the air made it quite a troublesome monster.
Additionally, it seems that even the surrounding monsters had begun to gather around it.
A question surfaced in my mind, so I decided to ask.
“Wasn’t the imperial capital stuck with more than enough knights and soldiers?”
It’s the capital, that’s hell for adventurers to live in.
In this place, most matters are reliably handled by such official forces.
“The Hippogryph is one thing, but recently, we’ve been sending out one knight troop after another. They’re short on numbers. The one leading this time’s dispatch is just going to be a decurio.”
Decurio. In military terms, their role would be to get a party of ten or so knights together. Based on the scope of the battle, their force could be used for simple aid.
But thinking about the opponent this time, I do get the feeling it’s a little insufficient.
The Sixth spoke.
『… It may be that.』
The Fifth appeared to agree.
『Cutting down on numbers? In the current capital? I did hear they were short on hands, but… no, it’s knights they’re short on.』
While the Fifth continued to prattle on, the Second suddenly spat out some angry words.
『Hah! In the end, to those imperials up there, that’s all a small village is worth to them.』
While I wondered what exactly he was trying to say, Ralph-san spoke.
“The ones those two desire to marry volunteered at once upon hearing the story. No, perhaps I should say they were made to volunteer? Regardless, it isn’t something that can be taken back so easily. If possible, I’d like you to protect the two men helplessly dragged into this.”
That was the request Ralph-san asked of us.
“Protect them? They’re going out to defeat monsters, right?”
I also thought it strange.
While they may be in a situation they can no longer escape from, is there a really a need to provide help? From Ralph-san’s position, it should be better if they didn’t exist.
(Ah, when I think of it like that, I get the feeling my mind’s become a little darker.)
“… The servant 【Breid】 really does good work. 【Marcus】 is a young man who cares deeply for his family. They’re both youths I would find a pity to die by the selfish whims of those two girls.”
“You’re speaking as if it’s certain they’ll fail!”
“Yeah, that’s why all you have to do is make them scamper back home. Would you, by chance, take up my request… Lyle-kun? If it’s up to one hundred gold coins, I’m willing to prepare it. If possible, I’d like to leave my daughters out of it.”
Ralph-san wasn’t looking at Miranda-san, but at me.
“A request to Lyle… What’s more, you want me and Shannon to stay behind?”
The Fourth spoke.
『Leave my daughter behind. That sort of thing? This is quite a dangerous request, isn’t it?』
… Seeing his testing gaze, I began to wonder whether he was concealing something. I couldn’t just go along with it so easily.
The Second spoke.
『I don’t like this man at all. It’s as if he’s saying he doesn’t care if some small village out there gets crushed. I can’t put up with it anymore. It’s all just really irritating.』
Having been the lord of such a small village, it appears the Second had much to think.
And the Third spoke.
『And so you’re going to abandon them as well? If you’re fine with that, we’ll try telling Lyle to refuse as well, though…』
『Dammit! Lyle, you decide by yourself!』
He seemed quite pained, and it seems he did want me to take it up.
A single small village was going to be destroyed.
Hearing such a story. Ralph-san’s testing eyes…
“… I’ll accept it. But Miranda-san and Shannon are both my comrades, and members of my party, so I’m going to be taking them along.”
I decided to take up the request.