The Second Generation Head
Within the Jewel.
When I opened my eyes, I found myself sitting in my chair, with the conference room extending before me.
Where the Second once sat.
The chair had disappeared, and the door behind it was gone as well.
The First had left his sword to me.
And the Second, a silver bow.
In the room, there was only me and the Third. The other ancestors didn’t show their figures.
『… It sure looks like father’s bow. I don’t think it was this big? No, can you change its size? How interesting.』
Like that, he directed a smile at me, but I was unable to respond.
When I hung my head, he laughed.
『What? You’re still beating yourself up over it?』
I put my feelings to words, bit by bit.
“… I never gave a proper farewell. Even when I could use the Skill from the start.”
Could he have been angry?
Could he have felt fed-up?
That’s what I thought, but still with a smile on his face, the Third gave a cheerful tone.
『You’re reading too deep. He must have been happy in the end. I’m also thankful of you from my side. I mean, you let me see a scene of my brother being saved. I was happy.』
Raising his face, the Third stood from the table.
『I was the second son. As long as my diligent brother did his best, I thought it would be alright I did whatever I wanted. But I took it too far. On a rainy day, I went outside… using the bow he learned from father, he came to protect me.』
To a knight, a bow wasn’t a worthy weapon.
In the world of nobles and magic, a long distance attack, and spells, were one and the same.
Relying on any more would make others think one lacked power themselves.
“Third, what did you think of the Second?”
When I said that, he kept up his smile.
『A little nosy, perhaps? For me, he went as far as to prepare both a bride, and a plan to develop the land, and that’s because he thought I was unreliable myself.』
It seems he had some complicated feelings about it, but the Third added on a ‘but’.
『But even when my brother died because of me, he never blamed me for it. Even when it would have been better if my brother succeeded, he said it was all his fault… it’s because that man was a pessimist by nature. Ah, I ended up laughing when I heard he was the most plain. I mean, I saw him working so hard to build the base.』
Unpopular among the people, the weapon in his hand unbefitting a noble. Without even a proper evaluation given to him, he was the man simply stuck between the First and the Third.
“I’ll never forget the Second Generation Head.”
『Hahaha, if he transcended time to receive an assessment from his descendants, then I’m sure he’d be happy.』
My feelings became just a little bit lighter.
(… I’m sorry, Second. Causing you trouble to the end.)
While I apologized in my heart, my field of vision headed for a space slightly above the table.
I looked at the bow.
It glowed a silver color, and let out arrows of light. That bow quietly floated above the Second’s space.
A hunk of a sword for the First, and yet a bow for the Second…
It seems that the two of them weren’t even able to converse for a long while.
The weapons the two of them used existed as if to signify that relation.
“Was the reason the Second chose the bow a rebellion against the First?”
When I said that, the Third tilted his head.
And after understanding what it was I was trying to say, he burst into laughter.
『Nope. And even between father and child, we’re all still human. There’s nothing that perfect out there. They may have their complaints, and I’m sure there are things they didn’t like about one another. And that was particularly strong with the Second and our Founder. But you see…』
What the Third explained was the reason the Second chose the bow.
『Even when I chose the sword, father never said anything. I was sure he’d tell me to continue training with a bow, but he never pushed strongly for it. That’s why I ended up asking.』
“The Second did say you’d never do anything unnecessary.”
The Third nodded.
『I mean, it’d cut into my free time. I really don’t want to put in any unnecessary effort. Oh, right, the reason the Second chose a bow right? Apparently it was to follow behind the First.』
(Then why not a sword?)
Perhaps sensing my thoughts, the Third spoke.
『It sounds strange, right? But you see, he always wanted to stand beside him, and kept on failing… that’s why he wanted to support the First from behind. Perhaps he admired him?』
Swinging about that large blade of his, butchering up monsters, the first surely was cool.
His way of life that cut open the path to the Walt house with nothing but his sword was, while something riddled with problems, something that drew people to him.
The Third spoke.
『The end was a little dubious, but he said what he wanted, and got to see a boy that resembled his son be saved. Don’t you think it all worked out, looking at the result?』
Being asked that, my chest began to hurt.
I did have some apologetic sentiment.
If I had been a little more reliable…
If I had dealt the final blow myself…
Marcus-san and the other’s faces played back in my head.
The Third called out to me.
『Lyle, do you hate Marcus and the other men?』
I checked through my own feelings. Even when I thought hard about it, I could only think up a childish rationale.
“… I hate them. But it was also my responsibility. I have no idea what to do.”
『Then just hating them is fine. Of all else, from our side, the side of those that use others, they’re nothing but trouble. It’s because they can’t even properly do a job that’s been left to them. Trying to get a promotion like that really is laughable.』
The Third’s expression became serious.
『They’re the type the Second hates. I’m sure that if he were here, he’d shout at them even if he knew they couldn’t hear it. When you think of it like that, that female knight Norma sure is excellent. If she found a nice superior to follow, I’m sure she’d have become a fine knight.』
I asked the Third how I should go about dealing with them.
“So what should I do?”
『About their treatment? In that case…』
I decided to adopt up the Third’s proposition.
… Novem confirmed Norma’s report.
By Porter’s side, she had revised it several times. Around them, collecting materials from the monsters, and treating the injured was getting quite hectic.
Repairing the walls was also necessary, and as a punishment for ignoring orders, Marcus, Breid, and the others were assigned to assist with that task.
Novem let out a sigh.
“It’s no good. Why does your name pop up so many times it seems like overkill? When one would think you were at the eastern front, you’re suddenly giving out orders up north. Also, the number of monsters defeated here is wrong.”
Hearing that, Norma objected.
“If I don’t do this much, I won’t stand out!”
Novem gave a clear-cut answer.
“This report has absolutely no credibility. If you don’t write something they’ll be satisfied with, you’ll be labelled a fraud.”
The role of the commander wasn’t to fight at the scene.
Even when she knew that, Norma took to sticking in her own service all over the document.
Resting with a bandage around his head, Clark sighed as he tried persuading her.
“Captain, defeating the Gryphon is undoubtedly an indisputable achievement. Also, the village was protected with minimal casualties… this may not be the best way to put it, but three deaths is ridiculously low. There’s no doubt that you’re going to get promoted.”
According to the man, if she wasn’t promoted for defeating a Gryphon, there would be problems for the imperial side.
Because henceforth, if they would no longer expect a reward for defeating such beasts, the knights and soldiers would experience quite a large drop in motivation.
Having achieved quite a visible result, Norma would surely rise up.
No, if she didn’t the future criterion would become a mess, or so he explained.
And Clark looked at Novem.
“I think it’s fine if you plan to sell the monster corpses to replenish the five hundred gold coins expended, but even if the Gryphon was in a good state, I doubt you’d get such a sum, you know?”
It was about the money scattered around in this time’s monster subjugation, but having knights and soldiers accept it wasn’t that good for reputation.
The fact that commanding authority was transferred was also a problem.
The money itself was spread in the middle of a town, so it wasn’t something that could be concealed, even if they tried.
That’s why, on paper, Norma’s troops borrowed money from Lyle, and paid back their debts with the corpses of the Gryphon and Hippogryphs.
Novem hadn’t asked too much into the circumstances surrounding that field, but it was something Lyle did, so there was no helping it.
“Well, it’s Lyle-sama’s orders. Now, Norma-san, you have to write a report covering everyone’s efforts.”
Of the work of her subordinates that numbered over a hundred, and of how hard those deceased had battled on. Norma had to continue churning out reports.
Clark wasn’t in a position to write them, so Norma had to do it under Novem’s tight surveillance.
She had completed the preliminary stages of healing, so as she was quite familiar with documents, Novem was chosen as inspector.
Norma continued grumbling out complaints.
“All of them… those five are unnecessary, right? They didn’t finish off a wounded Hippogryph, you know. A critical miss. I think it’s something to merit a demotion, honestly.”
Norma’s own promotion was riding on this, so it wasn’t strange for her to try ending up as the sole winner.
For that sake, close to her…
“Look, just write it already. Otherwise, I’ll make sure to properly report it to father. Of just how hard you were working.”
A grinning Shannon was sitting right before her.
While sipping on a drink, she seemed to be having fun staring at Norma’s dejection.
“… I never heard that a daughter of the Circry House would be here!”
“That’s because we never told you. By the way, she also has an elder sister here, so if you don’t uphold your promise, you’re sure to face retribution.”
On Novem’s threat, Norma confronted the paperwork once more.
Her hands were stained in ink, and the miswritten documents were building up quite impressively.
“I just have to do it, right!? Right!”
While letting out an irritated cry, Norma wrote on.
Seeing that, Novem gave out orders.
“Don’t write down your own name! You were commanding from the center station, so why are you suddenly giving oh-so-precise instruction at the north gate!? Get it together!”
Seeing just how often her reports were likely ridden with lies, Clark began to feel a different pain in his head besides the injury he had suffered to it…
I watched Luka aim at the target, and fire his arrow.
He was pulling it back with all his strength, and sweat was pouring down his brow.
That form of his somewhat overlapped with the scene of the Second’s memory.
When the arrow hit the mark, Luka burst into joy.
“I did it! With this, I wonder if I’ll ever be like Lyle-sama!”
Having seen me defeat the Hippogryph with the silver bow, Luka seriously took up learning the bow in order to be like me.
It’s been two days since the Gryphon fell, but I left the work to Novem, and the rest of my party, devoting myself to Luka’s instruction.
“You’ll surpass someone like me in no time at all. This isn’t even my specialty… but that’s a nice arm you’ve got there.”
When I praised him, he was overjoyed.
Nearby, Clara prepared some books with her Skill.
“Lyle-san, I’ve finished making them.”
What Clara was holding were copied books.
She had committed some books aimed at children on the three Rs to memory, so I had her reproduce them.
Since we had been in Luka’s family’s care, the paper and ink were something we prepared ourselves, and handed over.
“T-there are this many?”
Luka looked at Clara with a slightly tedious expression.
I’ll bet he’s poor at studying, but I told him that he had to if he wanted to turn out like me.
Clara smiled as she spoke.
“The letters are large print, and quite easy to read. There are even illustrations, so I think you’ll have no trouble understanding it. Perhaps it’s a good idea to get the assistance of someone who can read.”
He was about to return the bow to me to take up the books, but I spoke.
“You can have that one.”
With a replaced string, I handed over the bow to him with my remaining arrows.
I get the feeling that would have made the Second happier.
“I already have a bow of my own. And that one’s a little small for me, so I’ll let you use it.”
Seeing him hold up the bow in joy, Clara laughed.
And I tried asking something that had been bugging me.
“Clara, how long will it take for those books to disappear?”
There, Clara responded with a full-on smile.
“… Lyle-san, there are some things in this world best left unknown. Now let’s just say that someone knew how to make a copied book last for eternity. Wouldn’t there be quite a few troubled by that?”
Hearing that, I was surprised that a way existed for a Skill-copied book to never vanish.
From the Jewel, the Third let out his voice.
『… Oh my, this girl is just getting cuter and cuter.』
To the book-loving Third, Clara must truly be his ideal woman.
And she laughed, saying it was a lie.
“So it’s not possible?”
“No it’s not, or more so, a copied book will disappear once the one who used the Skill dies. For example… if an important document was placed under the charge of such a Skill holder and they disappeared, wouldn’t that just be terrible? And this Skill is generally one that only emerges in book-lovers. If its use leads to a bad future for the book, I think a majority would never wish for it.”
In this case, it doesn’t seem there were any problems on Clara’s side.
The Skill wasn’t omnipotent or anything.
“… So those that manage to master it are strong…”
When I muttered the words the Second told me once before, Clara tilted her head.
While looking at Luka joyously holding up his bow, I spoke.
“No, it’s nothing.”