The guest room I used to sleep.
In it, I lay, dead tired from the break of dawn. I’m sure my face was quite pale. It was painful to move, and I felt terrible.
A bucket was left nearby, and Novem was in the room nursing me.
“Lyle-sama, are you alright? Do you want some water?”
The deterioration of physical state before a Growth.
It was coming out in me quite evidently, and I was also being battered by seasickness. From yesterday evening, I’d already spit up a number of times, and caused trouble for Novem and Monica.
Shannon stopped by the room to observe my state.
“Uwah, how terrible…”
She looked over my weakened form with a delighted face. Behind her, stood Monica with laundry in hand.
“Little girl. The Chicken Dickhead’s Fever Time is coming. Please quiet down.”
She looked down at Shannon with an unpleasant expression, but when she looked at me, she was smiling…
“Chicken Dickhead, I’ve washed your sheets, and your clothes are in perfect condition! Now how about a change? You can’t greet your Fever Time in such wet and sticky clothes.”
She was truly delighted as she recommended for me to change. Novem gave a biter smile, as she stood, and extended a hand to me to help me stand.
But taking her hand was a pain.
“Just leave me alone. And I’m definitely not failing this time. You hear that? Not happening! I’ve already failed four times. The fifth time… the fifth time onwards will be different.”
When I pulled my blanket over my head, Shannon laughed.
“It’s impossible. Definitely impossible. Now embarrass yourself more.”
There, Novem embraced me, and carefully lifted my body. I was probably making a terrible face, but she smiled as she sat me up, and began stripping off my clothes.
“If you wipe down your body, you’ll feel relieved. Okay, Lyle-sama?”
Seeing her nurse me so kindly, I heard a voice from the Jewel. It was the Fourth’s voice.
『He’s not matured at all from the start. You’re bringing back some memories. At the first inn, she washed your hair, while you remained unmindful, and treated it as natural.』
The one who followed through for me was the Seventh.
『Hey, his health will be shot out until he’s done with his Growth. There’s no helping it for now. But thinking back to the beginning, you’ve sure grown quite a bit, Lyle.』
The Fifth’s voice was just a little lower than usual.
『… It’s become lonelier here than it was at the start, thought.』
The Third sounded as aloof as usual.
『But it’s gotten lively around Lyle, so isn’t it all fine? See, we shouldn’t even be here to begin with. Think of it as a spot of fortune we get to witness Lyle’s Growth.』
They were acting as if it were a good thing, but I could feel nothing but malice from the ‘Growth’ part of it.
(Are they talking about that mr. lyle again? Dammit, it’s definitely these guys fault that I was never able to restrain myself before!)
And since I left the House, I get the feeling my personality has taken quite a run for the worse.
… Aria called out to Miranda, who was reading a book in their room.
Clara had gotten quite used to the boat, but her health declined whenever she tried reading, so she was outside taking in the outside air for now.
Aria had finished her daily training on the deck, so she had returned to the room with a towel around her shoulders.
Miranda didn’t take her eyes off the book, sitting atop the bed, flipping through the pages.
“At Lyle’s place. That girl’s too curious to help it.”
Aria’s face turned a little red, and she touched her hand to it to hide her embarrassment.
“Yeah, he’s been in that state for a few days now. He’s sure to be in high tensions once he gets up.”
Miranda continued reading the book as she conversed with Aria.
“In a sense, that’s him at his best. He doesn’t feel the slightest bit of shame or embarrassment, so that’s around the only time that man can show off his abilities to his fullest extent. He’s never gone out to battle like that before, but I really wonder whether he’s stronger than the usual Lyle.”
Aria hung her towel over the railing of the bunk, and took off her clothes. After taking off the garments that had been stuck to her skin from her sweat, she began looking through her bags for a change.
“It’s common to make mistakes in a post-Growth state, so isn’t it a general rule to avoid battle?”
“… That’s right, but I can’t help but wonder. In all actuality, just how strong is a serious Lyle? Aren’t you curious?”
After wiping down her body and changing, Aria sat on her bed.
“Serious? He’s still holding back?”
Perhaps Miranda had finished the book, as she closed it, and set it on the bed.
“He’s not. But just what would happen if he used all his Skills to their fullest. Lyle has eight whole Skills, does he not? Even if they’re Support Class, shouldn’t that number be formidable? That blue gem of his has been handed down for generations, so there are no duplicate Skills in it; it’s needlessly amazing.”
Unable to comprehend the meaning behind her words, Aria tilted her head. So Miranda sighed, and gave an explanations.
“You listening? When you’re in a time of crisis, and you have no choice but to manifest a Skill, then it’s common for body-strengthening, or some other simple Skill to manifest. But if you have those simple Skills from the start, you’re going to get something different, right?”
“I kinda get it. My red gem also has a body-strengthening Skill. And wait, I still don’t really know how it differs from Lyle.”
Similar strengthening Skills.
The red gem contained a strengthening Skill of the Vanguard Class.
The blue gem one, a strengthening Skill of the Support Class.
But even if there were some differences here and there, they demonstrated similar effects. Miranda raised her hands in the air, and assumed a pose of surrender.
“There’s no way a non-specialist like me would be able to explain it. But you can tell there are some subtle differences, right? More importantly, I’ll be rotating out with Novem, and taking care of Lyle tonight. I’ll be getting some sleep now, so please don’t wake me.”
Miranda brought the book to a small desk in the room, lay down, draped the blanket over herself, and closed her eyes.
“Eh? I never heard anything about… and she’s already asleep!”
Seeing Miranda instantly fall asleep, Aria began to think over how she would spend the rest of her day…
… Beim; Lyle’s mansion.
In the large estate, Maksim was swinging about his spear in the yard to polish up his Skills.
Automaton No. 2 was maintaining the yard, and the two of them were the only ones visible in the entirety of the vast mansion.
Maksim endlessly repeated the basic movements, wiped off his sweat, and was about to take a break, when he heard a scream from the mansion.
It was Adele.
“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIIIIIS!!”
Maksim threw his towel aside, took up his spear, and leapt into the mansion, heading straight for Adele’s room.
Automaton No. 2 collected up Maksim’s towel, and offered a line.
“If this was masters, I’d preserve and worship it… hah, let’s get back to work.”
She muttered that.
Bursting into Adele’s room, Maksim saw the girl fall prostrate over her desk, and called out.
“Are you alright, milady!?”
Slowly raising her face, Adele sought salvation from Maksim with teary eyes.
“I’m not alright. Just what is this mountain of paperwork? Why is paperwork from Zayin and Lorphys being delivered straight to Mr. Lyle’s mansion in Beim!?”
Maksim looked at the mountain of forms.
“… He’s a hero who’s done magnificent service for both countries, so I don’t believe it strange for these sorts of documents to come. I-is it strange?”
There, Adele hit her palms against the desk top a number of times.
“Of course it is! Why are the reports coming here!? Why are the proposals seeking his authorization!? Just what did that man do!? What’s more, this letter from the Princess of Lorphys… it’s a freaking love poem! What is this!? What did you do, Mr. Lyle!?”
Maksim hung his head in regret.
“I apologize, milady. There is nothing much I can do to…”
Adele let out a sigh.
“Then can you get me a refill on my drink, Maksim? They’re apparently going to be picked up today evening, so I’ll have to have them done by then.”
He took a cup from a tired Adele. Maksim put his spear under his armpit, and held the cup quite preciously, as he left the room.
“I’ll have it ready at once!”
As Maksim dashed down the hallway, automaton maid No. 1…
“Don’t run in the halls.”
Offered him a warning…
… It was around when the ship voyage was entering its sixth day.
Lyle was still bed-ridden.
At this point, it was agony for him to even let out words, and if someone talked to him, they’d only get a, ‘meh…’ or, ‘yeah…’ in response.
The bridge was about to enter dangerous water, so Vera had checked his room to confirm he was still in a horrible state.
The captain asked Vera about the state of her bodyguards, aka Lyle’s Party.
“Milady, how are the adventurers faring? A few of them are moving around quite calmly, but the man has yet to show himself, so the sailors are getting worried.”
Rather than worry, they were beginning to wonder if he’d really be of any use.
Vera reported what she’d seen without any falsehoods.
“He’s still in a pre-Growth, and absolutely no good. The timing was too bad. They really are out there, those luckless folks. Whatever adventurers, once they got to be first rate, I thought they would have to be the luckier ones, but it looks like that man is different.”
The captain pulled his cap down, and gave a dry smile.
“Well that’s quite a… anyways, we have you with us, milady, so there’s nothing to worry about.”
Vera’s expression hardened a bit, but she immediately smiled.
“Those goddess of fortune rumors again? Don’t go there. They drive all the men away, and I’m quite troubled here.”
The captain raised a loud laugh.
“Then it’s the men who’ve got no eyes for women. You’re a fine woman, milady, so they’ll flock to you whether you like it or not someday.”
Vera offered a light response of, ‘and how nice that would be,’ but inside, she didn’t feel all that well.
(The ones who draw close are all just after the money. And when I’m out here on the ocean, just how do you expect me to meet a people? Good grief…)
Vera recalled her younger sister, and the young servant who’d worked at the mansion. Their ages were around the same, and the boy who assisted in work around the mansion… he had been Vera’s first love.
She wasn’t still dragging it out. But when that boy grew to the age where he could take a ship out to sea, it was her sister he had begun to court. The sisters weren’t at odds, and Vera even said she’d support her.
(… Before I knew it, he had started speaking to her normally, yet I was always a milady, wasn’t I. I’ve always been called heartless, but it’s honestly quite rough.)
She knew the red parasol the boy had given her as a present was something her sister put out money for, and asked him to buy.
Her sister was likely trying to be mindful, But Vera found herself becoming pitiful.
(If father recognizes it, he’s sure to be the successor. And I’ll be stuck on this ship forever, will I…)
She herself had yet to recognize their relations. But Vera was under the impression that one wasn’t a problem of time. The young servant was talented, and blessed with an earnest personality.
And that was the part that had drawn her in as well.
(Hah, I really should have talked with him some more… once I get back, the three of us can sit down for a nice long…)
When she thought to herself, a voice came from one of the numerous metal tubes on the bridge. It was the one connected to the lookout post.
『I-I can see something! And the sky is clouding over…』
The captain shouted at the panicking sailor to get some more definite information.
Vera looked out the window of the bridge, before rushing out of it.
“What’s all this? There wasn’t any wind before… and this is…”
The weather had been splendid right up that point. Sea birds were flying around the vessel, but now they had disappeared entirely. Swirling rain clouds were spiraling their way into the sky, and as rain began to fall, Vera pushed her black hair back, and looked ahead.
When she gripped a nearby railing, the boat began to rock violently.
A sailor followed her, and told her to return.
“Milady, quickly go inside! You’ll get wet!”
Vera was looking straight in the direction of the boat’s trajectory. And after pointing her hand at the sailor, she immediately gave orders.
“Turn this boat around! Port or starboard, I don’t care! Change our course at once!”
But pushing the sailor to the side, the captain popped out his head.
“Milady! The rudder isn’t working! It’s as if we’re being pulled in, reeled in ahead!”
Vera mortifyingly looked straight ahead.
There, showing its face from the water surface, was a large monster… no, one known as a god of the seas, a 【Trident Serpent】 was looking their way.
It had three heads, and the middle one looked just like its namesake… from the sides of its jaw, grew sharp protrusions unidentifiable as horns or fangs; they were made of an unknown metallic substance.
Such protrusion weren’t on the other heads, but she noticed the six eyes of the three heads were looking their way.
She could only despair. It was several times larger than the Vera Trēs, and from the eyes of sailors, a monster that was a difficult one to even try and survive against. Yes, it was a monster, and even if it was called a god of the seas, it was looking on them as prey.
A little below where its heads forked off, she could see a large fin. It was floating on the surface, waiting for them to draw closer.
And on the deck, the sailors, sat, and held their heads.
Seeing the Trident Serpent, the Captain pulled his cap down as far as it went.
“… Get off the ship, milady. With a small boat, there’s still a chance you’ll get out alive.”
Vera slowly turned to look at the captain.
“There’s no way I could run. It’s the currents pulling this ship in.”
Looking at the swirling water surface centered on the Trident Serpent, Vera lowered her fist into the rail.
“… To hell with goddess of fortune. Just look at this.”
She knew she wouldn’t be able to see her family again, but even so, maybe that was a means to escape from her current locked-down situation.
And she shook her head.
(The hell am I thinking about? If we sink here, I’ll really sink to the ocean’s depths… ocean’s depths? You’re telling me that was a prophetic dream?)
Raising a face taken aback, Vera vexingly grit her teeth.
“… Prepare for battle. Take out the cannons. We can’t just leave this god of the seas to do as he pleases forever!”
Bu the sailors were making expressions of despair.
“But milady… it’s a god we’re up against.”
“Nothing good’ll come of it. Pointing a gun at the god of the seas.”
“There’s no way a cannon’ll take down a god…”
The captain seemed to have given up as well. Of all else, that’s just how overwhelming the opponent was. The center head looked as if it were wearing a crown. A golden crown, and those sharp golden blades on the sides of its mouth.
Together with is jaw, it looked like a three-pronged spear.
Lightning fell from the clouds, and lit up the dark shadow of the Trident Serpent in a pale blue light. Its blue scales beautifully reflected the seven colors of the rainbow, as it eagerly awaited the arrival of its prey.
Vera wrung out her voice once more.
“Prepare for battle! We’re not going to let ourselves go down just like that! This is a state-of-the-art ship, is it not!”
But a single sailor…
“… Even so, god of the seas there.”
They were in despair, and none of the seamen even tried to make a move. So Vera hit her fist against the railing again.
As the rain grew stronger, Vera glared at the Trident Serpent before her eyes… and there, she noticed.
Atop the deck, the form of the young man with blue hair.
The boy who should’ve been sick and asleep blatantly ignored the sailors curling up, and headed for the front of the boat.
He was soaked by the rain, yet he continued across the shaking vessel, looked at the enemy, and…
“Peeerfect!! Wonderful! That large frame, that heroic silhouette, that majesty!! You must be a worthy opponent for my magnificence!”
Vera leaned in as she heard that elated voice.
“What does he intend to do over there…”
Lyle spread his arms out with in the rain, and shouted out in a loud voice.
“A splendid opponent to commemorate this Growth! You shall… become the fuel for my money-raising schemes!! Fwahaha, FWAHAHAHA… *cough*! Swallowed a little seawater. The water spray here is awful.”
Before the giant enemy, Lyle raised a loud laugh. And when the waves crashed into the boat, and sent ocean water into the air, he swallowed it, and broke into a coughing fit…