Let Me Start Your Story
… The mansion in use by the Faunbeux royal family.
In the room they had borrow, Novem nursed Lyle by his side.
While he slept, his injuries had been wiped away with healing magic.
But perhaps do to his physical fatigue and dearth of Mana, he had still yet to open his eyes.
To his other side, Monica stationed herself in sleep mode to cut his Mana expenditure. Asleep in a standing posture, she had been quite reluctant to allow Novem to look after Lyle.
But it was also fact that they had no one to use healing magic besides Novem, and that Monica operated on Lyle’s Mana.
It was a situation where she couldn’t take care of him herself, so she prioritized his recovery.
Clara entered the room.
“I’ve recovered our belongings from the inn. Just as Miranda-san said, it was under watch.”
Aria and Eva were both injured as well, so they were resting.
Novem directed a smile to Clara.
“Is that so? Thank you. You should rest too, Clara-san.”
Clara looked at Novem.
Rather than doubtful, she was worried.
“You’ve been healing him without rest since yesterday, haven’t you? If you don’t rest, then…”
Novem shook her head, and looked at Lyle.
“I’ve no idea when Lyle-sama will wake, so I must.”
Clara looked back and forth between Novem and Lyle before resting her eyes on Monica.
And she inquired to the battle with Celes, a situation she had yet to fully believe.
“When I saw that Monica-san and Aria-san had lost, I looked at Lyle-san’s sister, and for some reason thought there was no helping it… Novem-san, have you fought with that person and come out victorious?”
Clara surely remembered how it seemed that Novem and Celes were negotiating on equal ground.
Does that mean Novem was strong enough to put Celes on guard?
That’s what she thought.
But the truth was different.
“No, even if I fought, we would have lost.”
Clara kept her eyes on Monica and spoke.
“Even Lyle-san couldn’t do a single thing. And Monica-san was unable to even scratch her. Such a person really exists, right.”
“In the past, Celes-sama was just a normal girl. A little timid, hiding herself behind Lyle-sama’s back…”
It was a description from close to six years passed.
(By the time I noticed, it was already much too late.)
And if she couldn’t stop her, then what? Novem had thought over it time and again.
But her inability to stop it had resulted in her engagement to Lyle.
(How ironic. That it be by Septem’s influence.)
The Forxuz Baron House was one that had supported the Walt House from times long gone.
Even after the Walt House’s Head two generations prior elevated them to a Baron House, that relation didn’t change.
And the second daughter of such a house, Novem, had visited the Walt House’s mansion numerous times.
After her engagement was decided, she had continued stepping into those walls time and again.
(I’m sure my predecessor noticed it. That’s why Lyle-sama was able to inherit the Walt family’s treasure… as I thought, the one to succeed the Walt House should be Lyle-sama.)
No matter how proficient Celes may be, she’d never be able to properly manage anything with that personality of hers.
That was something the House that lived alongside the Walts would not be able to accept.
“… Celes-san, was it? I still can’t believe it. I even felt something sublime from that lass. You’re saying she wasn’t always like that?”
Novem directed a wry smile at Clara.
“I wonder what I should say. But… perhaps the time to speak has come. It was supposed to come much further down the line, though.”
Saying that, Novem let her hand touch Lyle’s face.
… Within the Jewel.
『I’m definitely not at fault! I mean, I only learned about Jewels after Lyle became the wielder and we awakened! Back when it was in my wife’s hands, I could only think of it as nothing but a yellow gem!』
The Seventh frantically gave excuses to the four chastising eyes falling on him.
Novem’s dialogue was one thing, but thinking back to Celes’ case, there was quite a bit of dissatisfaction in store for the Seventh.
Though all of them did understand that the Seventh wasn’t all at fault.
Taking the assets one’s wife brought with them and destroying them wasn’t something normally permissible.
If it hadn’t come down to this, the Seventh would likely have been able to use that point to argue his case.
Even when he knew there was nothing that could be done, the Third pressured the Seventh.
『Agrissa’s descendent, Zenoire… it would be difficult to notice the gem that child carried around was a Jewel like ours. But since you said it was kept under maximum security, I’d like to hear your reasons.』
The Seventh rebutted.
『So you’re saying its even possible to realize that a rock contained not only Skills, but emotions and memory? Even if I’ve a fragment of responsibility in the matter, there’s no way I could have anticipated it. And to Zenoire, it was only something to be looked after by daughters of the clan…』
The Fourth put together the information gathered.
『So the Seventh’s wife was unaware, is that how it is? And Celes awoke it… I’m curious as to how Celes got her hands on the Jewel, but how about we proceed this talk somewhere more productive? We’ve all taken enough swings at the Seventh.』
The Seventh clenched his fist, and hit it against the round table.
『To understand that, yet waste your time in such a manner… you brutes!』
The Sixth spoke out in a troubled expression.
Everyone angled their ears to him.
『If you’re looking at the result alone, Lyle’s decision was correct. If he ran, he was sure to be followed. In the worst case, while running… There’s the possibility Lyle would have escaped to an area devoid of people to prevent Novem and the others from being dragged into the mix.』
The Third nodded.
『And in that case, all that’s left is to die. It isn’t a matter of not having enough competence. That one’s already in another dimension. Even all the men gathered here, in our primes, I wonder how far we’d go against that…』
All the ancestors gathered had taken forms around their thirties.
The forms of their golden days.
And the Seventh put the feelings of such ancestors to words.
『It’s impossible. I’d more or less be able to put up a resistance, but winning would be out of the question.』
The Sixth spoke in succession.
『The actions of Lyle, who challenged such an enemy… I can’t praise them, but…』
The one to speak after the Sixth was the Fourth.
『So result-wise, he was correct. Well, he’s got quite a bit of luck on him. That’s just the sort of fortune Lyle has.』
『but even that is insufficient. Lyle will not be able to triumph over Celes.』
The Third too.
『Yep, I doubt he’ll win… as he is right now, at least.』
All of their opinions aligned.
… In the Faunbeux mansion, Novem was surrounded.
It was the evening of the second day after their fight with Celes.
Perhaps Lyle had recovered sufficiently, as Monica was operational.
An injured Aria had come to the room, and Miranda had brought Shannon along.
Clara was fidgeting in the doubtful air.
“… You wanted to ask something?”
Acting as a representative, Miranda posed the question.
She had always been wary of Novem, and decided to use this matter to press on it.
Prepared for even the dissolution of the party, she took a single glance at Lyle on the bed.
“That’s right. What I want to hear is about your relation to Lyle’s sister. And I’ve always found you an unnatural one. Why did you leave us at Lyle’s side? You’re the one proceeding all of that, right? Wouldn’t it usually be the other way around?”
What Miranda found strange was Novem’s actions.
She could understand that she treasured Lyle, and she didn’t think that was a lie.
But even so, Novem was taking an active role in expanding Lyle’s harem.
Even when she was in a spot where she should be denying such recruitments.
Novem made a troubled expression.
And she leisurely explained.
“… My household is one that has continued to serve Lyle-sama’s household for generations. Such a relation has gone on for over two hundred years, and it’s even been said that rather than the royal line, we’ve only ever pledged our loyalty to the Walt House.”
Miranda was already well aware of that one.
For better or worse the Walts were a House that continued growing larger and larger.
They had a firm connection with retainers, but there was a single baron house that tagged alongside them and aided them from their starts.
Usually, having quarrels all around was the world of nobility.
But without blood relations or mutual interests, the Forxuz House that continued to serve the Walts was a novelty even among the nobles.
If they had the mind, the Forxuz House would have been able to usurp the Walt House time and again.
So it was said that the House to look upon the Walts as their royalty was the Forxuz House.
“I already know from my investigations. And it was also quite famous, so I found out immediately. So why is it that rather than Celes, you chose to follow and abide by Lyle?”
Miranda was quite cautious. She had a dagger hung at her waist.
(Celes, who even Lyle couldn’t win against, was wary of Novem… I knew she was hiding her real strength, but I never thought it so high. What could be the meaning of this?)
If she were to trust her own eyes, Novem had always been hiding her abilities.
But Miranda didn’t think her as a monster on Celes’ level.
“… I suppose you all won’t be satisfied with the answer of, ‘being formerly engaged’.”
As if she had gained the intention to inform then of everything, Novem corrected her posture.
“It’s just as you’ve all seen. The current Celes is abnormal. What’s more, she plays with everything around her to her will. Just as Agrissa once did.”
Clara explained to the ones gathered that didn’t seem to understand.
Her eyes were mostly directed at Aria.
“It’s the name of a queen who lived three hundred years ago. She’s called names such as the beautiful vixen, or charming witch, or the like. Her beauty encharmed her surroundings, and she’s the individual that is said to have led to the collapse of the country occupying this land before Bahnseim.”
Aria’s eyes were swimming.
“R-right, I get the feeling I’ve heard something like that before…”
Miranda touched her hand to her forehead.
(She’s definitely oblivious.)
A little fed-up, she continued listening in on Novem’s explanation.
“… Both Lyle-sama and Celes-sama carry the blood of that person.”
All besides Monica showed surprise.
Tiredly, Monica spoke.
“Well it’s to be expected she still has living relatives. What’s to be so shocked about? I heard that the blood of magic users is valuable, and it’s the nobles that try to preserve it.”
Aria shot back in response.
“The blood of a villain should just be let die out! So the survivors that moved out to a remote region were the Walts, is what you’re saying!?”
Novem shook her head.
“No, the one the preceding head welcomed in as a wife was the one to carry on her bloodline. If I may add on to that, she’s the daughter of the one who headed the rebellion of the time. A marquis.”
Shannon opened and closed her mouth in panic.
After coming this far, Miranda began to ponder whether Celes really was Agrissa reborn.
That’s just how strange Centralle had become.
“So does that make Celes the rebirth of Agrissa? And you’re trying to say her carrying the queen’s blood made it possible?”
Novem denied that.
“No, it’s largely irrelevant. The problem lies in the yellow gem Celes-sama caries.”
All of their eyes fell on the blue gem lying close to Lyle’s body. Aria alone was looking at her own red one instead.
“From the time she started carrying it, Celes-sama changed. I noticed that, and negotiated with her. For her not to lay hands on Lyle-sama.”
Clara spoke to her.
“How did you manage to do that?”
“… At that point, her powers were still weak, I suppose.”
(Yep, she’s definitely hiding something.)
Miranda knew by intuition, but Novem went on.
“After that, I protected Lyle-sama. And after learning he had been driven out of the Walt House, I rushed to his side at once… I am aware that Lyle does not desire a harem. I am also aware of his intentions to flee from Bahnseim.”
In that case, then why…
Miranda was about to say that, before novem offered an apology to everyone.
“I offer my deepest apologies. But if ther’s anyone capable of stopping Celes-sama… then that is Lyle-sama. That is what I believed.”
“That’s why, for the possibility that Lyle-sama might come to stand against her, I prioritized gathering women able to resist Celes-sama. As those of the opposite gender, males are too easily charmed by her.”
… They were all mere pieces harvested up for Lyle to fight against Celes someday.
Hearing that, Aria left the room.
Clara followed her out.
Miranda also took Shannon along to leave.
And Novem merely watched the affair in silence.
“We’re leaving, Shannon.”
Shannon was looking at Lyle, but Miranda forcefully dragged her out.
After leaving the room, she noticed a woman with light pink hair hastily try to conceal herself, but she ignored her…
When I opened my eyes, I was within the Jewel.
“… Is it alright that I assume the fact that I’m here means that I’m alive?”
Around, I saw the forms of my ancestors in their seats, and I was about to ask and confirm the situation I was in, but…
The Third looked at me with a serious expression.
And unlike usual, it was the very epitome of severity.
『I’ll bet you’ve much to ask, and we’d like to answer you as well. But for now, can you let us say our conclusion?』
So did they discuss and resolve this beforehand? I decided to listen to what their opinion on the matter was.
The Third declared.
『We’ll be having you leave Bahnsaim as soon as time permits. You shall not get involved with Celes anymore. The Walt House either.』
Those words made me swallow my breath.
The Fourth, Sixth and Seventh had said they wished of me to succeed the territory.
The Third and Fifth that it was up to me.
And now all five of them were telling me to simply run, and that the land was irrelevant.
The Fourth continued.
『It’s best for it to be as far as possible. Maybe crossing the sea will be nice. Just live in peace with whoever has the will to tag along. It’s fine, if you want to claim some land no one’s set foot in before, and become lord, we have much advice to give. That sort of thing is the Third’s specialty, and I can teach you how to spend money productively.』
『With all the time saved on trial and error, I estimate you’ll have a stable stronghold in ten to twenty years. Well, it does depend on the location, but you can just avoid the disadvantageous points.』
The Sixth also nodded.
『In a distand foreign land, the Walt House shall rise once more. If you’re a man, then this much is nothing.』
『You’ll have to work to the objective and ways of that country as well, but it’s in no ways impossible for you to become a feudal lord once more. To get some strength under your belt, you can organize a reputable mercenary force, and do some service for the government there, can’t you? Use our Skills, and you’ll be famous in no time. Getting to Baron Class in your generation alone is no dream!』
With the Seventh’s encouraging smile as a trigger, the others started getting rowdy over what my future held.
『If you clear five labyrinths, you’re considered first rate as an adventurer, right? If you do ten, then I’m sure some stable and well off country will offer you land somewhere.』
The Fourth was…
『But don’t you think a tense country sound better? They’ll be in need of some military might, so Lyle will definitely be able to become a noble on good terms.』
『But I doubt he’d want to be in war all the time. More so, how about you find a place that needs some reorganization in domestic affairs? If it’s to a certain extent, he can start with giving some advice.』
『But it’s important to be a native in those sorts of areas, so a country with some extent of war is…』
『I wonder if there’s a moderate country out there where our powers can contribute to victory. If there’s a place short on hands, you can get yourself depended on by the top in no time. Give some moderate contributions, and do perform some moderate reforms… don’t worry about it. With all of us gathered here, it’s more than possible.』
But in front of such a merry meeting of my ancestors, I lowered my head and apologized.
“I’m sorry… I cannot do that.”
And it all went quiet. The harmonious atmosphere disappeared without a trace, and they all watched me with serious expressions.
The Third opened his mouth.
『What do you mean by that? I hope you’re not saying you’ll fight against Celes, right?』
“I will fight. I will fight Celes.”
I looked straight at him.
But the ancestors seemed opposed.
『Lyle, you were driven out of the Walt House. At this point, you could even call that your fortune. And from how things are going, it’s not just going to be the Walt House anymore. The country… Bahnseim itself will become your enemy.』
The Fourth corrected the positioning of his glasses with his index finger. They caught the light as he explained the present situation.
『Even if you have more Skills to use than most, you’re short on personnel. And I’m talking on a national level here. Novem, Aria, Miranda, Shannon, Clara, Monica… you think that’s enough to go against this country? Individuals and the few don’t topple nations.』
I shook my head.
“Yes, I cannot win. I’d like to believe I understand that.”
The Fifth spoke.
『Lyle, then you can’t call that fighting. It’s just plain suicide. Because Celes spoke ill of what you hold dear, you have to get revenge? I’ll be blunt here, your choice is mistaken. Anyone would laugh at it. At the choice of an incorrigible fool!』
But even so, I shook my head.
“And even then, I’ll fight Celes. I get it. That if it goes on like this, she’ll never be stopped. That thousands, tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands will die.”
The Sixth corrected my opinion.
『Wrong. You’re looking in the ten millions here. That thing will at least go that far. And Celes has enough time. That much is to be expected.』
Hearing that, I raised my face.
The ceiling of the Jewel was something I had never seen before.
The ceiling was of the same design as the table, and in the center of it, a large and round lapis stone was imbedded. The ceiling was high, and around it, twenty three smaller blue gemstones were arranged.
That was likely the number of Skills.
The pattern with only two was likely mine.
“I do have the mind to get revenge on Celes, and the mind to be recognized by my parents. But more than that… if I’m to leave her like this, then countless lives will be played to her whim…”
The Seventh lay down my opinion with a levelheadedness he didn’t usually direct.
『Don’t misunderstand. She’s merely increasing the scale, and even if Celes didn’t do anything, war will break out. I’m sure there’s already one going on somewhere. Inhuman acts are happening all over foreign lands. Whether Celes is the one to cause them, or not, what changes is only the scale.』
The Fourth was looking at me fed-up.
『Idealism is fine and all. But look here, you’ve got to preach them after you’ve gotten able to protect the precious people around you. Using Skills, you’re only a little more proficient than the masses. Can a man protected by Novem-chan and the rest protect anyone else?』
I took in all their words. But I could only think that I had to do something about Celes myself.
I was more than aware. They were the thoughts of a child unable to understand the cruelty of realty.
And even so…
“If I’m to run here, the Walt House will be spoken of as the greatest of evils for all history to come.”
The Third scoffed.
『So what? Splendid. Do you hear any of us telling you to stop Celes? To be blunt here, as long as you survive, Lyle, the blood will carry on. That’s enough for me.』
“All that you’ve amassed, your legacies… it’ll all be for naught!”
The Fourth disinterestedly…
『You’re too caught up on the past. Isn’t it fine? Just start it up from scratch again. Do you think our Founder ever mulled over those details? Present over past. Even over the future, you only have the present to live in..』
“So just abandon it all? Throw away all the sinless people to be killed by Celes, and find happiness for myself alone? I’m not shameless enough for that!”
『What are you so high and mighty about? Just who out there told you to hold responsibility for it? Responsibility is something the guys with authority have. Meaning… something the current Walt House’s Head and the King of Bahnseim should have, and not something you have the right to bear. Do you know of the word ‘pretentious’?』
“You ancestors are the ones who told me to carry on the territory. Changing course at this point in time?”
The Sixth glared at me.
『That’s right. That thing is too dangerous. It’s the right choice, isn’t it? That you won’t win is something every single person present has determined.』
“Just what do you mean by right? Then are my thoughts in the wrong? Is trying to stop Celes something so wrong to attempt!?”
As I screamed out, the Seventh spoke.
『No, you’re right. You’re right enough to make me sick. Then just do what you want. From this point on, I won’t offer the slightest of advice or assistance. We’re not nice enough folks to pay mind to a child knowingly rushing off to his death.』
The heads of history lived their lives as feudal lords. The various members used various ways to protect and advance the territory.
I should know well enough that the world isn’t one you can live through on ideals.
“… I’m ignorant to the ways of the world.”
The Third nodded.
『That’s right. On top of that, an idiot.』
“I couldn’t win against Celes.”
『I’m really questioning whether there’s anyone out there who can win against here, you know.』
“If Novem wasn’t there, I’d never even have gotten this far.”
『And even that Novem-chan seems to have some ulterior motives, right? Can you continue to believe in her as you have? It’s possible she even has connections with that sister of yours. No, even as we speak, she may be happily reporting to Celes on your present state.』
“… Shut up.”
『What was that? You want to say something to us?』
The low and threatening voice he used was the same enraged one the aloof man let out when he punched the King.
I felt an unpleasant sweat creep along my spine, but…
【Do your best】
… I remembered the First’s and Second’s words.
(So what about Skills? So what if I’m weak? I know all of that! But if I don’t stand up here, am I just to spend the rest of my life cowering in Celes’ shadow? After being recognized by those men, you’re telling me to live such a life… don’t screw with me!)
“… Don’t screw with me.”
The Third and the surrounding Ancestors were sending stares vicious enough to make me tremble.
They’d lived through much more carnage than me, the determination of these men of valor.
Fifteen years… I was going to turn sixteen soon. A kid like me must be nothing but an oblivious brat from their point of view.
I know, but.
“I told you not to screw with me! As if I care! No assistance? No advice? No Skill either? Go do what you want! The First’s and Second’s Skills are already mine! My Second Stage Skill 【Connection】 manifested as well! No help? And so what! I decided it, and I’m going to carry it out! So just watch from the Jewel, I’ll definitely pull it off… whether you all oppose, or reject, I’ve already decided. I will fight Celes!”
Hearing my words, the Third scratched his head.
The Fourth removed his glasses, and started wiping off the lenses.
The Fifth looked at the ceiling with his hand on his brow.
The Sixth let out a deep sigh.
The Seventh had his fingers over the area around his eyes.
As a representative of them all, the Third stood and clapped his hands.
『You pass. Of course, all actions henceforth are your responsibility alone. But fret not; we’re here to help you along. We’ll offer more assistance than before.』
“… What do you mean.”
Putting his glasses back on, the Fourth quietly explained.
『Don’t look so mad. It was just a little bit of a test. And you see, it’s not as if we don’t have our dissatisfactions. I myself have never experienced a war of countries. What’s more, Bahnseim is quite a superpower.』
The Third looked at me and smiled.
『You’re entering a field none of us have any experience in. The enemy is our House that’s kept growing and growing from our times, on top of the entire kingdom of Bahnseim… now look in the other corner. Lyle, a teen with a little bit of money, and some comrades who don’t even make ten. If you want to start here, then your means of success will take decades in the making.』
The Fifth spoke.
『We can’t spend that much time. Really… even after death, these large worries just have to keep popping up one after another. But so be it. You’re a man of the Walt House after all.』
The Sixth laughed.
『That’s right! Lyle, you’ll get to experience a sort of battle none of your forefathers have gone through before. It’ll be fun! The enemy is formidable, Celes is a monster… just standing up to them will be a living hell!』
The Seventh’s eyes were just a little bit teary.
『I’ll lend you my power. If there’s someone out there capable of stopping Celes, then I’m sure it is you. I won’t give that right to anyone else. By the Walt House’s… no, your hand, put a stop to Celes.』
While I sat in a daze, the ancestors stood from their seats.
Looking at me, the Third held out his arms wide.
『Now from here on, our… no, Lyle’s battle begins. Not of the Walt House, or of us, the time has come to start your own story.』