Turn Around, and Press On
Within the Jewel.
Normally, it was the room with the round table, where the heads of history held their meetings.
The table had been removed, and a ring installed in its place.
The First’s and Second’s weapons were floating around the walls.
The heads of history had closed themselves up in their rooms. Before I even told them anything about it.
“Hmm, we should’ve just cleared up that matter while we were at it. But I guess I was a little too forward. Still… what a spectacle!”
I did a spin to take in all my surroundings, as the female army stepped on the stage, starting with Novem.
“L-Lyle-sama? Um, what exactly do you plan to do here… no, I get what you’re trying to accomplish, but first and foremost, where exactly are we?”
I’m sure she had a mountain of things to ask, but I can explain all the trifling details as much as she wanted later.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff. For now, you just have to let your fists do the talking. Simple, isn’t it?”
With a dubious expression on her face, she looked around.
Monica was doing some warmup exercises.
“For what reason have you taken my consciousness to such a place… but if you tell me to do it, than unwilling as I may, I, Monica will join in!”
She seemed to be showing off quite a bit of motivation, reluctant as she sounded. To my cute maid who carried out my orders with all her efforts, I sent a smile.
“Nice, that’s the spirit! You all have your dissatisfactions, and things you’d like to say. But if there are circumstances preventing your mouths from moving… then all you have to do is fight!”
With her face still red, Clara held her usual staff close to her body as she pleaded to me.
“No, um… if I were to seriously fight it out with Novem-san or the others, then it really will get messy.”
I directed her a smile, and after I raised my right hand up to my shoulder, I had my weapon materialize in it.
Novem analyzed it.
“That’s Lyle-sama’s… I heard it had been destroyed.”
“This space is quite a convenient one. Therefore, you’ll be fine even if…”
I cut deeply into my left arm, and blood gushed out. The pain was much less than usual.
Seeing that, Aria.
“What are you doing!? And just now, you…”
She had only put up resistance in appearance alone, but even now, she was protesting how she couldn’t forgive the kiss. She had been in chaos, but it looks like she’d finally recovered.
“Don’t worry. It heals right up. Look.”
The wound disappeared, and the blood as well. May looked at the door leading to the Fifth’s room as she spoke.
“Hmm~, so you can do that sort of thing here. I’m sure it’s quite convenient. It’s just, you brought us all here, and asked us to fight it out. Why?”
She didn’t seem satisfied.
Eva was putting on a face as if to feign ignorance, as she swayed back and forth.
“You all need somewhere to let out all the resentment you’ve been building up. And wait, I myself am unable to give a punishment to either Novem or Miranda after they’ve done so much for me. If the two of you have some dissatisfactions with one another, then settle it here. No rules, just go at one another until you feel satisfied.”
“Then you don’t care if me and her stay the same as we have? I’ll say it clearly, I don’t trust Novem at all. I have more doubts about her than I’ve ever had in my life.”
On her words, I smiled.
“And what of it? There won’t be a problem as long as I trust in both of you. Fret not, I will trust in Miranda, and I will trust in Novem. So it’s alright if you want to believe in me, Miranda. I’ll definitely make you happy.”
When I said I’d make her happy, perhaps it threw off her mood, as Miranda let out a sigh. But I didn’t miss her face turning a little red.
(Amazing… no matter what I say, I can make anyone fall for me. I’m beginning to fear myself.)
Novem asked me a little sorrowfully.
“… There should have been a message from Octō. My name came out, right? Lyle-sama, you’ll believe me despite that? You haven’t even met Octō, yet you’ll trust me with just a word?”
It’s probably true that Novem met with her brother, but to me, it was nothing but a meeting of siblings. In the first place, there’s no way Celes would act in such a roundabout way.
(She’s a capricious one after all. She can’t deal with everything as coolly as me. And even without thinking about it, if Novem wants to hide something, then so be it.)
But there was something I had to tell her myself.
“Octō-san is irrelevant. I’m saying that I trust you. And unfortunately, I don’t have any intentions of meeting Octō-san to begin with.”
“… Eh? W-well…”
When Novem panicked, I flipped my hair, and looked up at the ceiling.
“A hundred floor Labyrinth… something like that could only be one managed by a major city. Meaning if we break through the innermost chambers, we’ll destroy their economy and become wanted men. To add onto that, my objective is to take down the country of Bahnseim that Celes is lifting up. I don’t have the time, so I don’t feel like meeting her. It’s a pity. I did want to see her once.”
Well well well, I shook my head. Novem put her hand to her face, and hung her head a little. It seems she had thought I planned on meeting that Octō-san.
I won’t call it impossible, but it’d take time.
When I looked around, I saw a shaken-up Shannon. At the end of the end, she shouted at me to kiss her already, but now she was in chaos.
A slightly reddened Miranda looked at her.
“What are you so nervous about? If you won’t get injured will you join in as well?”
Staring at Miranda’s face, Shannon spoke.
“… It’s the first I’ve ever seen your face. No, I assumed it looked something like that, though.”
Miranda grabbed both Shannon’s shoulders in shock, and brought her face up close.
“Shannon, can your eyes see!?”
“T-they can, that is to say, visual information different from the usual is entering them… and wait, there are some people on the other side of the doors, you know. Just who could they…”
I approached her, and put my hand on her shoulder.
“Good for you, Shannon. Your eyes can see. And… in this world, don’t you think there are some things you could go about not knowing? Otherwise, next time may be a deep rather than a French.”
When her face turned red, I laughed, and returned to the center of the ring. Miranda called out to my back.
“Looks like you’re hiding your share as well.”
I turned only my face.
“Everyone’s got their share of things to hide. When the time comes, I’ll say what I want on the bed. So resolve yourself, and call out to me.”
Miranda looked at me, took a step back, turned her face away, and shut her mouth.
So I laughed, and stood in the center, spread out my arms, and declared.
“Now then, before we start, we should decide on a time. Let’s make it until noon. So fight to your heart’s content. But I have to watch over your bodies outside the Jewel, so this is where we’ll part. If I’m here, I’m sure it would be hard to do it after all. Well then.”
Aria extended her hand towards me.
I waved my hand back, and sent my consciousness back to my own body.
… In the Jewel. In his room of memories.
The Third, Sleigh, watched Lyle take his leave before anyone could say anything.
『… mr. lyle… fled with a smile.』
His door was locked, and he didn’t try to open it, but he could see the situation of the conference room, even from the confines of his own space.
But rather than a conference room, it was probably an arena at this point.
The Fourth Generation, Max, had also escaped into Sleigh’s room.
『If he did this knowing full well, then I’d like to praise him, but… eh? Could it be that we’ll have to watch Novem-chan and the others’ fight all the way to the end?』
A panicked Fourth Generation looked at the tension-loaded arena that Lyle had left behind.
He felt a grating in his stomach, as the female fighters silently watched one another from across the ring.
The first one to move was Monica, once she finished her warmup.
The Third spoke.
『That automaton, she tried to take Novem by surprise!』
From the images they could see, she had produced a large hammer from the folds of her skirt, raised it high, and gleefully lowered it towards Novem.
“The early bird takes the worm! Having attained the Chicken Dickwad’s permission, I have no restraints left to bind me, damn vixen!!”
Novem turned her body towards Monica, held her right hand up front, and manifested her staff in it. It was the Forxuz heirloom staff.
“Monica-san… I was thinking it best to see your serious strength once up close.”
Saying that, she smiled, she changed her staff into the form of a large scythe, and cast magic.
“Freeze, and protect.”
Bringing that magic forth with words alone, a wall of ice and earth manifested in front of Monica.
“Well done. But naïve! Before Full Option Version Monica, something like this is nothing but a sponge!”
Flames spouted from the back of her giant hammer, increasing its momentum, and letting it smash through the ice and stone. She continued its motion to smash it into the floor, but Novem was no longer standing there.
The hammer did not touch the ground, stopping itself in midair.
“What’s this!? The beast has come to get in my way!”
May had held the blow back with one hand.
“Don’t aim at Novem. Personally, I like your food, but Novem is still my number one.”
Hearing that, Monica.
“Revise that ordering. For I, Monica, to fall short of that vixen… oh my.”
While May was exchanging blows with Monica, Eva shot an arrow at her. The arrow hit the wall of the arena, before turning to light, and fading away.
“I missed. Even when I aimed from a blind spot!”
Seeing Eva’s vexed expression, Monica held up her hammer in both hands, and moved to the edge of the ring.
As her eyes shifted to keep wary of all three enemies, Novem came out up front.
“So damage here will have no effect on our real bodies. Then I should be able to push myself a bit.”
Novem smiled as she swiped with her scythe, only to find a string wrapped around her right arm.
Following the spider thread, Novem’s eyes fell on Miranda.
“Three on one is plain cowardly. And if there’s no need to hold back, then…”
Watching the scene, the Third and Fourth held their mouths open in mute amazement.
The scene in the arena wasn’t something light enough to call a cat fight…
After returning my body to reality, I prepared some tea for myself for the first time in a while, and sipped it.
I lifted the eight of them onto Porter’s loading tray, to let them lay down, and rest.
Because the earnings from last time were so high, even if we did absolutely nothing, it was more than certain we’d be reaping a profit, so we were able to take it easy.
“For the parties that were officially requested by the guild, it’s a pain how you can’t slip away in the middle of it. Well, I’m sure nothing will be happening for a while, so let’s just sit back, and relax.”
I brought a table and chairs up to porter, sipping the tea, as I spent my time in elegance.
But from the Jewel, I could hear the screams of my ancestors.
The Third had dropped his usual aloof air.
『Her aaarrrmm!! Wait a minute, even for me, that much is… GYAAAAAHH!!』
The Fourth quietly.
『The blood is… her arm flew… mounted and beaten left and right… hey, a girl is definitely not supposed to do that… daaaayyyyuuuummm…』
The Fifth was somewhat excited.
『What do you think you’re doing to May, you piece of junk… I’ll go out this instant, and tear you apart!』
The Sixth recalled something.
『Stop it already. These merciless assaults… Dammittt!! Milleia was so kind, so why is Miranda…!』
The Seventh let out a dry laugh.
『Haha, ahahaha… Fifth, don’t get so worked up. What, sometimes, these serious battles are necessary as well. Probably… I’m sure they are…』
The luggage tray’s door was open, and I could hear the girls’ sleep-talk-like voices drifting out.
Aria’s voice was…
“Once is enough, so let me beat that pretty face of yours…”
“… Supports have their own ways of fighting…”
“Even at point blank, I have my dagger…. Got your vitals…”
“… I’ll burn you all… to a crisp…”
“… For even full options to not be able to break through… then it’s time for my trump card…”
“Next off go your legs…”
“… Something of that level… I’ll get a little more serious from here…”
I listened to their sleep talk, as I smiled and sipped my tea. I reached my hand towards one of the snacks I had brought along.
When I looked up at the sky, the weather was fantastic.
“… What nice weather.”
There, from the Jewel, I heard the condemning words of my forefathers. In order Three and up.
『What’s this about the weather!? It’s raining blood down here!』
『Why did you run!? Come back, Lyle! No, please come back, mr. lyle!』
『Stop that piece of junk! The inside of the Jewel’s becoming… AAAAAAAH!!』
『Lyle, did you perhaps know this was coming when you ran?』
『Answer us, Lyle! No, mr. lyle!』
I listened to their loud cries for help, as I drained the cup, and smiled. There was still around ten minutes left, by my estimate.
Having them go at one another’s throats for real put me a little at ease.
“They need to have their intense discontentments clash upfront at least once. No matter what they’d say, they would still feel frustrated towards one another. Well, if I was there, both Novem and Miranda would hold back.”
And who would ever want to see the scene of the women you love washing over one another in blood?
It was simply necessary, so I put it to practice.
“Well, that should clear up their mood a bit. This time, we were even able to discover the side effect on Shannon’s eyes; I’ve really nothing to complain about. And the greatest treasure of all, a kiss from all those angels.”
When I smiled and said that, the Third in the Jewel spoke. It was a tone as if he were looking upon something fearsome.
『So you knew everything… just how fearsome can mr. lyle be… if you had even a fraction of that pluck in Lyle mode… no, that’s no good. It’s that gap that makes it so interesting after all. But this time… AAAAHHHH, her bloody head just! Her heaaaaddd!!』
I spent an elegant forenoon, as I listened in to the voices of the Jewel.
Shannon’s voice drifted down from the luggage cart.
“… Remember this Lyle… dragging me into this, and putting me through hell… I’ll definitely get you…”
She was cursing me.
But I could turn that around. I knew she couldn’t hear me, but I couldn’t help but open my mouth.
“Yes, I’ll remember this forever. On top of how you hid your face and stood on your toes with your eyes closed to kiss me. ”
Why couldn’t I have thought of such a simple solution beforehand? I could only look upon my past self with wonder.
“Good grief, why was I so irresolute over something like a kiss. It’s starting to feel stupid.”
While finding hatred at my prior introverted personality, I resolved myself to have the new me pull everyone through from here on.