The Second’s Memory
Inside the Jewel.
There, a meeting was being conducted by the ancestors.
The Fourth took lead.
『Well then, it’s been decided Johnny Village will be a defensive battle.』
The Sixth seemed irritated.
『If only we had more usable troops, we could send them into the forest!』
The Seventh also seemed just as irritated.
『Kuh, I guess the Second and Third have more experience commanding these small numbers. We should listen to them here.』
The Fifth spoke.
『So next is how we plan on intercepting them. If we had a few more crossbows, we could deploy the villagers in wait. Even if they don’t have the skill, have one load the crossbow, and hand it over to the next. Fire, and rotate…』
The Third sounded quite happy.
『We did have Lyle circle around the village, so if we just tinker a little with it, and harden our defenses, it should be plenty. If a Hippogryph or Gryphon enters the village, then just bind it, and gang up!』
With humans as their livestock, the Hippogryphs would likely attack.
Won’t they run? I thought that, but according the ancestors, ‘Gryphons and their kin have an excessive amount of pride.’
I won’t say they aren’t clever, but even if they knew they would lose, they wouldn’t stop launching attacks.
The really were an ill-natured opponent.
The Fourth looked at the image floating over the round table.
It came from within my head, a three dimensional map of the village.
『I guess the weak points are here, and here? Station some knights, and have the crossbows handled in two-man teams. I’d appreciate a shield position too.』
The numbers we could move were close to one hundred and seventy.
It didn’t reach two hundred, but it was better than the one hundred and ten we had at the start.
The Second spoke.
『Lyle will take command. His group will take care of the monsters penetrating into the village. Station Aria and Miranda at places lacking in combat potential. Novem will be charged with healing, so have her stationed in the center of the village. Porter and Clara are probably fine there as well.』
I asked the Second.
“What should we do about Monica and Shannon?”
He took up a difficult face.
The reason was Monica’s appearance.
It was a maid garment, or perhaps a dress that resembled one.
Even if we knew she was strong, causing confusion from our own troops on the battlefield wasn’t a good thing.
『… Women and children… yeah, have her guard them, and the elderly. Shannon’ll be assisting Novem by her side. If we had more of those arrows on hand, it’d be easier though.』
The arrows we purchased in Arumsaas were ones with exploding weights fastened to their ends. If the enemy was too far, it was difficult to set aim.
But if it hit, something on the level of a goblin was taken care of in a single shot.
If hit in the right place, Orcs were also killed off in one blow.
The Third looked at me.
『Looks like we’ll have to have Lyle use them. They’re just leftovers of what he used before, but they’ll be quite useful against a Hippogryph. A Gryphon’d be hard, mind you.』
The Third explained that a Gryphon wouldn’t even falter from such an explosion.
The Seventh spoke.
『If it’s a Gryphon, it’ll be easier if you can get on its back.』
The Sixth was of the same opinion.
『When you’re fighting ones stronger than yourself, there are methods like that to use. While there isn’t an overwhelming gap in strength between one and the current Lyle, it’ll be hell to hit it with magic… Okay, if it seems impossible, we’re going with that.』
“That? What’s wrong with binding its movement, and having everyone beat it black and blue? There are some magics I know like that.”
The Sixth stared at me reproachfully.
『You’re no fun at all.』
No, I’m not in it for fun.
And as the conference proceeded like that, the Third and others quarreled with zeal.
Even when I tried calling out to them.
『That’s why I’m saying it’s no good unless you station that Norma as well! If you don’t use all the pieces you can, there’s no point!』
『That incompetent? We’ll likely have some after money, so if possible, let’s leave it in the center. Have Monica guard it with the rest.』
『No, she’s somewhat competent, I tells ya’. While she has her deficiencies, she did hand over command to Lyle immediately. Because on top of surviving, it gave her the best possible circumstance. Also, if you look at her as a knight, she can likely take care of any goblin or orc.』
『Purposely let them through, set a trap, and let them burn… I’d like a few more set-ups scattered around.』
『… If we had the Walt House’s elite here, they’d march out and end it within the day. Ah, yep, let’s set some traps where we’re short on hands. If you’re reinforcing the structures, keep them easy to fight on…』
Grinning, and sometimes raging up as they drew up a plan. My ancestors.
We already proceeded talks on reinforcing the village, and it felt as if we were building up a fortress for battle.
And all I could do was watch.
To me, the Second called out.
『They sure are having fun over there. Are you bored, Lyle?』
Hearing that, I shook my head.
“No, I have to properly listen to it all. It may be for my sake in times to come.”
The Second grabbed me by the collar, and dragged me over to his room.
『Oy, I’m borrowing Lyle for a bit.』
The Second addressed that to the remaining five, and the one to respond was the Fourth.
He stared intently at the table, and waved his hand to dismiss us.
『Yeah, go do what you will. We’ll be continuing over here.』
Even with my resistance, the Second continued to pull at me, and dragged me through the door.
The ancestors’ rooms within the Jewel were all stuffed full of those ancestors’ memories.
To the First, it was a small village.
To the Second, the scenery of a village beginning to develop spread out.
There were villagers doing work on it, but their forms were nothing more than projections. It wasn’t possible to touch them.
The memories of the owner of the room.
“What is it? Are you thinking of throwing me into real battle here like the First? Well, if you have a Gryphon for me to fight, I’ll gratefully accept it.”
As I said that, the Second shook his head horizontally.
『That sounds nice as well, but you already won against a dragon subspecies. Fighting a Gryphon at this point won’t get you anywhere. The only thing annoying about them is their flight.』
Situated in quite a remote region, the Walt House had a long history of fighting against Monsters.
The First carried around that huge lunk of a sword to fight, and the Second was properly trained as the successor to combat Monsters. They were all experienced.
It was unthinkable for any of them to never have gone out like the knights back at Centralle.
“Then what is it? … It’s raining?”
As we walked forward, the sky began to cloud over.
When the rain began to touch the soil, the villagers who had been working up to then disappeared.
Even if I stepped in the puddles, water didn’t splash up.
It was a little wondrous.
And within the heavy rain, I definitely witnessed that scenery.
“Eh, um… blood is…”
What spread on the ground alongside the rain, was crimson blood.
What was before the Second’s eyes, was one with his same form on his knees, with a child clutched in his arms.
Next to them, a smaller child was crying his heart out…
“Is that the Third? Then the one you’re holding is…”
『My oldest son.』
Just as the second’s tears fell, the young boy next to him wept.
The blood flowing from the boy in his arms didn’t stop.
Nearby, was the form of a monster pierced by arrows.
A horned rabbit.
The scene changed.
Perhaps it was summer this time.
The sunlight was strong, and yet, I didn’t feel the heat.
The Second was teaching a child how to use a bow.
『Hey, do your best.』
The child pulled the miniature bow with all his might, and let loose practice arrows. It was the one the Second had been embracing before, the eldest son.
Nearby, the small Third was staring absentmindedly at his brother.
Even from a young age, he held that sort of whimsical air.
The boy released an arrow, and burst into joy when he hit the target.
『I did it! I did it, father!』
『Nice job! As expected of a Walt man. Become strong, and get to be a lord who can protect his people.』
The image of the Second’s eldest son turned gray, and time stopped there.
I looked at the Second.
『… He was a good kid. Unlike me, he was bright, and honest. The fief liked him quite a lot. They hated me, but I was sure that that child would grow to be loved by the people. Since I was blessed with a second son, I planned on giving Sleigh some land, and having him start a branch family. He was quite laid back, but he liked books and knowledge… that’s why I thought I would have him… support 【Dewey】 alongside me.』
Seeing the boy, I noticed.
Brown and unkempt hair.
It was the boy that wanted Novem to allow him to fight at Johnny Village. I think his name was 【Luka】, but they were definitely reminiscent.
『Within the heavy rain. A monster appeared in the fields. He grabbed his bow, and ran out. I wouldn’t have cared that much if the fields were ruined a little. He could have called me over… In order to protect Sleigh, who followed along, he went up front.』
I didn’t know what I should say.
The Second continued.
『I couldn’t protect him. I’m just the same as the First. Selfish. But please do a little for that child… I don’t want to see that boy die again. It can only be for a little, but please watch over him.』
“… If it’s in a scope I’m capable of.”
When I said that, the Second let out a powerless laugh.
『Sorry, Lyle. I guess I can’t talk bad about my old man anymore.』
And the images cut off.
We were in a mansion.
The one sleeping atop the bed was a weathered and weakened First Generation.
Beside 【Basil Walt】, sat an aging woman. Her appearance was well kept, and I could understand it in an instant.
(So that person’s the First’s wife.)
The Second stood close to the bed. But he seemed extremely worn out.
The First forced out his own voice.
『… I’m sorry for everything, Crassel.』
After saying that, he closed his eyes.
The Second clenched his fist, and began to weep where he stood.
The aged woman spoke to him.
『You don’t have to blame yourself anymore. There may be those that criticize you, but you’re doing a splendid job. This man was just as awkward as you, and that’s why…』
The aged woman let out her tears.
The Second opened his mouth.
『… I… wanted to grow up to be like him. Strong, and loved… but I could never catch up in the slightest. I could never protect anything…』
The Second’s crumpling figure.
There, the surrounding scenery changed to him practicing his Skill.
The Second scratched his face with a finger.
『… I didn’t really want to show it. It’s embarrassing, you know.』
“I don’t really find it embarrassing. Also, if you weren’t there, the Third would…”
For better or worse, the Third was a shoddy individual.
He advanced the territory by the Second’s plan, and never did anything unnecessary.
Even so, his name was carved into the history of the Bahnseim Kingdom. What’s to become of the world.
『… It’s because he never does anything pointless. He never practiced with the bow, and only swung around a sword. Thinking back now, perhaps that was for the best, but looking at him, I couldn’t help but be worried.』
The Second laughed.
Then he looked at me with a serious expression.
『Also, I wanted to show it to you. That’s all I am… Hey, Lyle…』
『… Don’t you think it’s alright to use my Skill already?』
It felt like my heart was grasped for a moment. And I forcefully expelled my consciousness from within the Jewel to my body.
When I opened my eyes, it seemed that night was coming to its end.
In the house we were staying at, its female owner was away.
“Ah, it looks like I’ve woken you up.”
The woman was preparing a meal, and an energetic young boy ran into the house.
“Ah, Lyle-sama woke up! I’ll have to let Novem-neechan know.”
The boy that resembled the Second’s eldest had come with firewood in hand.
When I looked around, I saw that Shannon and Aria were asleep.
Clara and Novem were on watch, and it seems that Miranda-san was already awake.
Behind the boy stood Monica.
“Mum, it’s amazing. This maid cut the wood, bang bang bang, and piled up a mountain. Looks like we’ll be fine for a while.”
The woman… Luka’s mother spoke in a tired tone.
“We’ll have to let them dry, so we won’t be able to use them for a while. Also, did you say your thanks? Ah, thank you for that.”
“I did say it!”
“Yes. I did receive his thanks.”
And she took some fleeting glances at me.
(I can understand what she wants me to say, but I’m definitely not saying it.)
To Luka’s mother, lowering her head to Monica, I scratched my head, and spoke.
“Ah, you don’t have to offer gratitude to that one. She’s an automaton.”
Both Luka and his mother stared blankly.
It seems that they didn’t understand anything from the word automaton. Looks like I failed.
There, Monica made a sad expression.
“It’s fine, the two of you. A person like that is my master, but I’m doing my best to serve him.”
I received the two of their chastising glances, and glared at Monica.
“Hey, that one was unfair!”
Outside the perception of mother and child, Monica was sticking out her tongue.
“I haven’t said a single lie.”
When she made a regretful face, Luka closed in on me.
“Lyle-sama, you have to properly give your thanks. It’s definitely no good to say something like that.”
By the admonishing of a young boy, I was led to show gratitude to Monica.
Monica was giving a radiant smile, but whenever they weren’t watching her, her smile would warp into one much more indecent.
While stomaching it, I figured that I couldn’t speak as per usual before the two taking care of us at the moment.
“Thanks for everything, Monica… is that alright?”
When I glared at her, Monica spoke with a triumphant face.
“You really aren’t an honest master. Oh, I have to finish the preparations for breakfast. It looks like today will be a busy one.”
Saying that, Monica began to assist Luka’s mother in high spirits.
Luka himself began to pull on my arm.
“Lyle-sama, what should I help with today!?”
“Today, huh? Today is… please lead me around the village. There were some places I wasn’t able to see yesterday.”
“Again? When is it that you’ll let me fight?”
He kept insisting he had to participate no matter what, but we had him contribute by assisting my work. On top of showing me around the village, I needed a local to ask various things about the place.
He acted like this, but Luka’s father was killed by a Hippogryph.
In Johnny Village, where people who hadn’t had any family members killed off were the minority, it wasn’t a rare story at all.
“When we get some free time, I’ll teach you some things. Before that, we’ll have to prepare. After eating, we’ll have another meeting at once.”
“Meeting? You’re going to be talking again?”
I patted his head.
“It’s an important step. Now then, I guess I’ll wake Shannon. I want to let Aria sleep a little longer.”
Luka looked at Shannon.
She had a blanket draped over her, but from the shape of it, one could tell she was asleep with her legs spread wide apart. Aria was similarly sleeping quite stretched out.
“… Lyle-sama, that Shannon girl’s no good. She immediately runs away from work.”
”Yeah, I know. But it’s alright. As long as Novem’s nearby, she won’t even think of running.”
“As I thought, that neechan’s amazing. The old blacksmith instantly took to her. Even when he’s a stubborn dwarf, he said he’d cooperate with her! The village adults were all surprised.”
“As expected of Novem. Now then, let’s finish the preparations quickly.”
Watching her cheerful son, Luka’s mother seemed a little relieved.
The voice I heard from the Jewel was the Third’s.
『… Yep, as I thought, he really resembles brother.』
His voice seemed a little happy, yet somewhat mournful.
Having seen the memory, I could slightly understand his sentiment.
(… I’ll have to change gears.)
With that in mind, I enlisted Luka’s assistance in waking Shannon.