… Around the time Lyle’s party was achieving victory in Zayin.
Back at Arumsaas, the two knights who had been dispatched from Lorphys stopped by Dalien’s laboratory.
The one who accepted Lyle’s letter of introductions, 【Damien Valle】 was a genius known as one of the Academy’s Seven Great. A few screws in his head were just a tad bit loose, but that’s what made him a Great, after all.
The other members of the Seven Great, dispersed through history, were all geniuses, but individuals with problems here and there. Damien wanted to create his perfect ideal woman, or so the pervert said, as he pressed on in his research.
In the research laboratory, maids with the same faces and clothing were carrying out cleaning, and they prepared tea for the two knights.
Damien sat on his sofa, took the letter, and extracted a small black board from it.
“He said that one was for the others.”
A maid… an automaton accepted it, and put the board in her pocket. Suddenly, her red eyes began to flicker…
“… It contains data left behind by our sisters captive in the Labyrinths. The corruption is severe, and it is impossible to analyze all of it. Master, it seems that useless Monica managed to lay hands on one of the world’s secrets in a Labyrinth of Beim.”
Hearing that, the knights made surprised expressions. But Damien calmly sipped his tea.
“I see. I’m not really interested in that anymore. I mean, it’s irrelevant to my research. But this truly is troubling.”
With surprise and amazement, the knights confirmed with Damien.
“Um, troubled? You mean to say you cannot pass on Porter’s craft to us?”
Damien removed his glasses, and rubbed the inner corners of his eyes.
“Oh, I’ll teach you. It’s a bygone art already. If you drop some money by the academy, I think they’ll kind and gently teach you too. Of course, the one who formed the base for it was Lyle. It would’ve just been faster to get it from Lyle.”
The two knights exchanged glances. They seemed quite troubled. It was never even considered that Lyle was the developer.
“So then what is it that’s troubling you?”
Damien put the glasses back on, and smile.
“Lyle’s little sister Celes, you see. She’s coming to Arumsaas in the near future. No, it truly is troubling. Troublingly enough… it seems that her target is me.”
In Lyle’s letter, he had detailed the threat of Celes. He wrote it as a warning, but there really wasn’t anything that Damien could do.
So Damien stood up.
“Well, I’m sure it’ll be easier to procure the necessary materials in Beim than here, right? And the academy hasn’t been feeling too great as of late. Come to think of it, maybe it’s because all the important members left for Centralle? Ahahaha, it’s just as Lyle said.”
After bursting into laughter, Damien addressed the two knights once more.
“Okay, we’re running. No. 1, No. 2, No. 3… pack up my things, we’re going to Beim. Those two are our guards.”
The maids grabbed the hems of their skirts, and lightly lifted them to curtsy.
“Very well, Master. With that, we’ll be able to fulfill Monica’s request.”
Damien tilted his head.
“Request? What did she ask for?”
The maid named No. 1 spoke.
“A design for a humanoid golem for combat, as well as the development of a golem that makes use of automaton cores. The reward is ancient technology… option slots for us. That incompetent. She said she’d toss over whatever she had duplicates of, so we had to assist her. We shall pummel her into the ground with our newly polished teamwork.”
Damien touched his hand to his chin.
“As expected of Lyle. He’s doing interesting things, I see. Right. Let’s have him take care of us. Okay, prepare to leave at once.”
When Damien said that, the maids quickly began to rush about the research lab.
“This one’ll go on the large-scale transport Porter…”
“It’s time for us to show our power.”
“Hm, leave the golem’s preliminary design to us. Master can develop the device to incorporate the cores…”
The two knights who had come all the way to Arumsaas were dumbfounded by Damien’s prompt decision to leave, and all they could do was watch…
… Beim’s Eastern Guild Branch.
In it stood a robed group of two.
One of them let her light-blue hair show from under her hood.
The small and slender girl’s name was 【Adele Belgi】. The girl of seventeen had drifted from Dalien in Bahnseim to Arumsaas, to Centralle, and all the way to Beim.
The one standing to protect her from the waves of people was a tall young man. He carried his spear wrapped in a cloth, and he had a sword at his waist as well.
His weapons and build made him out as a warrior at a glance, and those around tried to avoid brushing up against hum.
His name was 【Maksim Danhel】… twenty seven years old, and a former vassal knight, he had followed his feudal lord’s daughter Adele for protections sake, and come with her to Beim.
The two of them took in the scenery around the East Branch.
Adele’s green eyes watched the passing adventurers. When she couldn’t find the one she was looking for among them, she sighed.
“As I thought, it’s impossible. There are too many people in Beim.”
As Adele gave up, Maksim spoke with a smile.
“We’ve only just arrived. Giving up won’t get us anywhere, Adele-sama.”
There, Adele nodded to him, and smiled. Maksim’s face reddened a bit, and he scratched it with his fingertip.
“That’s right. There’s no doubt he is somewhere here. We have to locate him at all costs… Mr. Lyle Walt, former Wonder Child of the Walt House.”
Adele’s eyes narrowed.
Maksim’s brow also moved a bit. His long brown hair was pushed all back at the forehead, and his red eyes took in the surroundings.
“Dalien, Arumsaas, Centralle… there’s no lack of stories about him. Perhaps he’s become famous here as well.”
Maksim spoke as he looked around, and Adele touched her thumb to her mouth, and looked down.
“That’s what I’m hoping. Eradicating a bandit brigade in Dalien, and breaching the fortieth floor of Arumsaas’ Labyrinth with the lowest recorded numbers. The battle of brother and sister in Centralle… I really do pray he’s a good person.”
“There are plenty of strange rumors around him. But it’s thinkable that he came to Beim in order to flee. What could you be expecting of such a man, milady?”
Adele looked up at the sky. She took off her hood, and let her light-blue hair out.
“I don’t know.”
“Don’t know, is it… no, well, I’ll follow you to the end.”
Maksim sounded tired, but Adele spoke.
“My family turned strange after meeting Celes. They should have been protesting in Centralle, but when I returned home, they suddenly wished to take part in its civil war. It’s clearly strange. I thought it would be dangerous to meet her directly. That’s why I grasped for the clues, and came all the way here…”
Adele turned her face to Maksim.
“The knights you’ve called your best of friends have been struck dead as well. Those that were once the prominent knights of Bahnseim are of no match at all. It’s as if we’re in the fairy tales of three hundred years passed.”
Adele who spoke of fairy tales let out a sigh towards the East Branch, and began walking off. Matching her small stride, Maksim followed.
“I do feel sorry, Maksim, but let’s become adventurers of Beim. Here, we can probe for information on Lyle Walt.”
To knights, at least in Bahnseim, becoming an adventurer pretty much indicated you failed in life. But Maksim smiled.
“If that is your wish, milady.”
He said that with a smile…
“What the hell is this… what the hell is 【Holy Knight of Judgement】 supposed to mean!?”
Inside the temple of Zayin’s capital, in the room I had been afforded, I slammed both my hands on the table a number of times.
I took down the knight captain, and was waiting for the war to come to an end. That’s how it should have been, when Eva suddenly came up to me with a smile.
Eva the singer informed me of the stories she’d been telling around the capital.
“There’s also the 【Blue Holy Knight】, the 【Holy Knight of Love】, and the 【Guardian of Miracles】. By the way, the story has two different routes for Thelma-san and Aura-san as heroines. An immoral love that crosses the boundary of age! A huge hit among middle aged woman! In Aura-san’s case, it’s just mainstream, so it’s plainly popular. I mean, the war started with only a hundred managed to take down twenty thousand.”
I watched her make a peace hand sign in delight as I pressed both my hands against my head. And the one to enter next was Clara.
“Lyle-san, the truth is there was something I wanted to ask you about.”
“What is it?”
When I turned to her with an enervated expression, she took a memo pad in hand.
“Your sentiment when you decided to recapture Zayin, and the story of where you snapped your fingers in your negotiations with Lorphys, because you knew the messenger was coming… It can’t help but feel fictional to me no matter how I write it, so I’d like some more details on the matter. Also, I’d also like the reason you cast aside the fortress you nabbed, and decided to assault the capital.”
Her eyes were sparkling, and she asked those questions with a serious expression.
“Hey wait! What do you mean they sound fictional! There’s a splendid reason! In order to save a troubled Holy Maiden, and the people of Lorphys, he stood to his feet! Just because it sounds shady, that doesn’t mean you have to twist the truth!”
Eva drew closer, and Clara raised her glasses so they caught the light. It was a little scary.
“It’s all to leave records for the world to come! If you don’t make proper records, then people like you will pick, choose, and modify, and come out with a completely different story in the end!”
“But it’s true, isn’t it!? It’s fine for a Hero to move without it being for his own self-interest! It’s fine if they’re a fool who can’t calculate loss and gain! That’s a true hero!”
“That’s wrong. That’s definitely wrong!”
I extended my right hand, and mulled over whether to intervene in their argument, when I heard a burst of laughter from my ancestors.
The Third sounded quite pleased with my new moniker.
『Holy Knight of Judgggeeement!! How cooooool!!』
The Fourth even…
『The Blue Holy Knight, and the Holy Knight of Love… so you can’t help but be bound to Holy Knight. Isn’t that nice, Lyle… with this, you’re officially a famous adventurer with a splendid moniker. The work will be rolling in in no time!』
… He was delighted over the money we could earn.
The Fifth spoke.
『It’s better than the Idiot Son and Lyle the Burden names you got before, isn’t it? But Judgement, huh… why is it that monikers that sound too proper end up ringing out as no-good instead.』
The Seventh held in his laughter.
『I-it’s fine, isn’t it… pff! But Guardian of Miracles, you say? Even when it wasn’t a miracle, but something closer to the preparations you built up. Well, it’s interesting, so approved.』
(They’re enjoying this. The usual pattern, is it!?)
With those irritated feelings, I breathed out a sigh, and sat in my chair. There, both Eva and Clara turned to me.
Eva spoke in a serious expression.
“So Lyle… which moniker do you want? I want to tell my tribe to spread it with that as the center. If there are a number of them, it’ll get confusing.”
Clara was much the same.
“Uniformity is important. Lyle-san, there’s 【Blue Holy Knight】, 【Holy Knight of Judgement】, 【Holy Knight of Love】, 【Guardian of Miracles】… I think I’ve heard 【The Holy Maiden’s Holy Knight】 as well. The last one comes out more in tales with romance themes. You’re paired up with either Thelma-san or Aura-san.”
I looked at their faces, and yelled.
“All rejected! None are to my liking! If you can come up with one I’m satisfied with, then use that!”
There, the Third let his voice from the Jewel.
『You sure are stupid, Lyle… these sorts of things are decided by what other people want to call you. You should pick a safe one while you still can.』
(… Even when there’s not a single safe one among them?)
I watched Eva and Clara argue over which moniker was best, as I held my head.
… Inside Zayin’s temple.
In it stood the final goddess… a statue of the seventh goddess. Looking up at the goddess’ image her followers had arbitrarily shaped was Novem.
Shannon was assisting beside her, while Miranda, Aria, and Monica were working on different jobs.
May had gone to deliver a letter to Lorphys, so Shannon was the only one who could help her.
They were in an important spot, and consecrated virgins were dispatched as well to clean the place.
“… Why am I cleaning? Just when I thought I was being used as bait, I was shoved into Porter, and the moment they let me out, they tell me to clean the sacred temple… no matter how hard I protest this harsh treatment I get, don’t think I’ll forgive you.”
As she voiced her complaints, Shannon used a dust cloth to wipe down a bench. Novem wanted to caution her that her hands had stopped, but as Novem had already finished all of her own work, she couldn’t really say anything about it.
When Shannon turned to Novem as she looked up at the statue of the Goddess, she was a little surprised. It wasn’t even comparable to when she was with Lyle, but there was a slight fluctuation in her Mana.
Her Mana that was ever stagnant.
Shannon’s eyes couldn’t see, but they were fashioned with a special Skill that let her see Mana. By that, Shannon could act as if she saw just fine
(Is she angry about something? No, that’s sorrow…)
And as she watched her, Novem’s lips moved.
“Things like us as… gods… why did humans…”
Shannon found herself afraid of that broken voice, and she restarted her work. That moment, Novem called over to her.
What’s more, before she knew it, Novem was right beside her, leaning down to match her eye level.
Shannon let out a panicked voice, gathering the stares of the virgins around. But thinking she was just being scolded again, the women quickly resumed their work.
Novem was smiling. As always, her Mana was unmoving. Too little of anything.
“Once this is over, we’ll have lunch, so please do your best until then.”
Shannon could only nod.
(She didn’t notice? Thank the Goddess.)
When she thought that, Novem offered a line.
“And please forget the words you’ve just heard from me. They didn’t particularly hold any meaning.”
The last nail of the coffin was hammered in, and Shannon nodded again, and again, and again…
… Lorphys’ royal castle.
May met with Alette and Lonbolt in one of its rooms.
When she handed over the letter in her possession, Lonbolt put his hand to his mouth in surprise. Perhaps Alette was curious, as she sought an explanation.
“Prime minister, how fares Zayin?”
Lonbolt wiped off his sweat, and handed off the letter to Alette. When she took it, she looked over its contents, and opened her eyes wide.
“With only… with only a hundred men, he reclaimed Zayin, you say? He really did it?”
She looked between May and the letter a few times, so May spoke.
“That’s why I said it. That Lyle brought Zayin down. So he told me to come here and see if you were moving as you’d promised.”
May didn’t sound too interested, as she munched on the snacks on top of the table.
“… Attack and overthrow Selva? If it’s now, then even if forcefully, we can form the international alliance we promised. It’s not as if we have to go as far as to bring ruin to them.”
On that statement, May stuffed the final snack into her mouth, and swallowed.
“That was the plan from the start, wasn’t it? And the one that started this was Selva. While I’m at it, the ones who attacked Lyle were people of Selva, weren’t they? Honor your promise.”
May spoke in a childish voice, but Alette.
“Do you know what that means? To overthrow is…”
May tilted her head.
“Swapping out the boss, right?”
May was a quilin, and you couldn’t say her thoughts were too close to humans. She only thought of wars as something of turf dispute level.
And Lyle’s opinion was the Fifth, Fredricks’ opinion. May owed Fredricks the debt of having saved her life.
“If you cannot move, then perhaps Lyle will move on his own. But in that case, I don’t know what’s to come.”
Even alone, he would be able to conquer Selva. That’s how she made it sound to the two of them. And in truth, with minimal manpower, Lyle had won over Zayin.
Lonbolt found that ability of his to be dreadful.
“We’ll hold a meeting. We can’t give a response immediately.”
May stood, and headed for the window. They were on quite a high point of the castle, but regardless of that, she climbed onto it with a calm expression, before turning around.
“Then I’ll go tell Lyle you’ll have a meeting.”
Saying that, she leapt out.
The two watching her back thought about how they never knew how she did it, no matter how many times they watched…
… As Monica cleaned, she looked at the space around her.
Destruction via magic, and a stained floor.
As she cleaned it all, a few days had already passed.
“When I’m not even taking care of that Chicken Dickwad, why is it that I have to put so much of my effort in? Recently, I haven’t been able to look after him at all. I’m losing my motivation”
As unmotivated as her cleaning was, she was still a high-spec automaton maid.
Her surroundings rapidly grew cleaner and cleaner.
“I worked hard. I worked really hard this time, and yet…”
A displeased Monica was quite disappointed that she couldn’t stay at Lyle’s side. There, she saw Aura walking down the hallway.
She was surrounded by temple virgins, and taking the Holy Knight Vice-Captain Creit along.
“Good day, Monica. The weather sure is nice today.”
Creit’s sweltering smile showed that this very moment was the epitome of happiness, as he gave his greeting. There, a virgin cautioned him.
“Vice-captain, you cannot greet people as we move. Because others are meant to open a path for the Holy Maiden.”
“Is that how it is? Now that’s a pain.”
And letting out a sigh, Aura waved her hand dismissively.
“Yeah, we’re not having any of that from here on. If we’re going to break it all down, and make it up anew, we’ll need some new rules. I’ll start writing up the necessary ones later.”
As she ordered the consecrated virgins, tone aside, she was the Holy Maiden. As for clothing she was still wearing the outfit Monica made, that showed off the lines of her body.
Behind her walked Remis in handcuffs.
“Oh, are you already leaving?”
“That’s right. She’s already dead in Zayin, so it’s deportation for her. She’ll be allowed to carry an extent of her assets.”
Aura hadn’t killed Remis, but Thelma was the same. The Holy Maiden was a decoration and a puppet. And knowing that, neither of them could take drastic measures.
But they couldn’t leave her in Zayin.
The opposing faction had already been crushed, but there was no saying Remis wouldn’t try a rebellion of her own. So deportation.
“You sure are kind. Though I doubt the Chicken Dickwad would kill her either. He’s kind on women… if only he would be kind to me as well.”
Aura looked fed-up as Monica unraveled her true feelings. And a single virgin…
“I will not allow you to speak such rude words of Knight Captain Lyle-sama… of the Holy Knight of Love!”
Monica looked delighted.
“Oh? I’d like to hear more of that in detail. The Chicken Dickhead is a Holy Knight of Love? Should I call it fitting of him, or a bit more than that… won’t you tell me?”
Ignoring Monica as she drew closer, Aura walked off.
“Hey, let’s go.”
There, Remis spoke.
“I’ll definitely make you regret this. I hated the country of Lorphys for killing my father, but now is different. Now, you’re the one I hate most.”
Aura answered her words with an unconcerned attitude.
And cut it short at two words…
… Inside the Jewel.
The Third looked at the Three weapons floating above the round table.
The first was a giant sword.
Then a bow.
And finally a halberd.
He extended his hand towards those silver weapons, but the Third wasn’t able to touch them. It was as if they knew who their master was.
The Fourth looked at the empty chairs around the table.
『Our numbers have gone down.』
The Fifth hung his head.
The Seventh looked at the doors on the walls of the room. The entrance to the rooms of memories. There were now five of them.
『We only have five doors now. They’ve gone down yet ag… wait, what?』
The Third stood from his seat, and looked at the new door that had manifested. The chair in front of it was Lyle’s.
『After this long… no, it’s already been a year. It’s not strange if it came out, I guess.』
The formation of Lyle’s room of memories caused an outbreak of silence within the Jewel.
And the Third…
『… Want to take a peek?』
There, the Fourth, stood, and pushed up his glasses with a finger.
『You’re that curious? Then there’s no helping it.』
The Fifth stood as well.
『No, you look like you’re all for it.』
The Seventh’s seat was closest to the door, so he took the head of the charge.
There, the Third.
『Ah, a cheap shot!』
As he scrambled forward to overtake him, the Seventh opened the door, and closed it at once. When the Third approached it in wonder, the Seventh shook his head.
『There’s no such thing as fatigue here, but…』
The Fourth approached the door.
『What are you doing? Good grief… see, there’s nothing… hmm? What the hell!!?』
When the Fourth opened the door with a smile, his breathing grew rough as he slammed it shut. And quietly…
『That isn’t possible. Why? And this is supposed to be Lyle’s room of memories. There’s no way he ever met her.』
Curious, the Fifth opened the door. And he slowly closed it, and tilted his head.
『How strange. I’m sure this isn’t my room, but…』
The Third couldn’t understand. So he opened it himself.
There, he found a scene of the mansion he had lived in his time expanding out.
And noticing him at the doorway, a single young boy waved his hand.
『Sleigh, today we’re having grandma’s stew. It’s a bit over seasoned, but make sure you drink it all down without complaint. Say it’s bad, and you’ll make your grandma cry.』
Seeing the small boy’s smile, the Third slammed the door shut.
His breathing was a mess.
『… Why is Dewey… here… this isn’t my room. And I don’t have a memory like that… I shouldn’t have one.』
The one that appeared was the Third’s deceased elder brother, a young 【Dewey】.
And he had moved before him as if he were truly alive. It wasn’t the set movement pattern of a simple memory.
The Third retreated back a few steps, and looked at the door.
Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh… the four men stood dumbfounded before Lyle’s room of memories…