Vera’s Ship Log?
… The×th of ○.
Arrived in Cartaffs.
Sent Lyle’s party off, and safely delivered cargo.
Complete repair of the ship will likely be impossible until we return to Beim. But temporary measures should be able to get us there without a problem. Just in case, we’re taking less cargo than usual.
… The △th of ○.
Third day since arrival in Cartaffs.
Cloudy. The sea is somewhat stormy.
It seems Lyle’s party has become famous at Cartaffs’ Guild. On top of that, even after I told him so many times not to settle for Tressy’s materials, he wouldn’t listen, and it seems they didn’t sell at all.
Having accepted a Magic Stone of this size and purity, I feel a little bad.
I really must think of something to give him as a bonus.
… The ○th of ○.
A week since arrival in Cartaffs.
The sea is rough, and some ships aren’t reaching port. Many merchants are looking worried.
While that was happening, the Guild and merchants came forward with proposals for the Magic Stone we had gotten our hands on.
We plan to bring it back to Beim, so I politely declined.
Heard from Guild personnel that Lyle’s party had set out to slay the Land Dragon.
… The ▽th of ○.
The ship’s temporary repairs finished, and it’s taking time to alter our load to take to Beim.
The probability of the merchant ships that haven’t reached port sinking is exceedingly high. Many merchants are holding their heads.
In that dark atmosphere, I handed a letter for my father to a ship set for Beim.
… It’s around the time for Lyle’s party to be fighting the Land Dragon. According to the rumors, it wasn’t as dangerous as Tressy, but it wasn’t a foe to underestimate.
I pray for their safety.
… The ▲th of ○.
The captain told me I’m, ‘sighing a lot lately’.
‘Are you thinking of the boss?’ he said with a grin, and when I denied it in embarrassment, the sailors all laughed.
I can’t accept this.
When he gets back, I’m going to complain to him.
Oh right, today was sunny.
… The □th of ○.
Lyle’s party isn’t coming back.
They were supposed to be here yesterday or today. At soonest. Unable to calm down, I paced through the ship, and the sailors sent glances at me with grins on their faces.
After giving them some strong kicks to the rear, I felt a little relieved, and returned to my room.
I’m making sure not to think about him, but whether I be asleep or awake, Lyle’s face keeps coming up.
… My chest hurts even more than when I’m thinking about Roland.
Today was cloudy.
… The ◇th of ○.
I heard at the Guild that Lyle’s party would be at the port soon.
When lying on my bed, I end up touching my lips a lot.
Touching my collarbone makes me remember that day.
This is bad. Really bad. A Guild receptionist handed over some parcels to deliver to the Guild in Beim, but I forgot to negotiate, and accepted them at the proposed rate.
It’s a disgrace.
… The ◆th of ○.
Lyle’s party completed their request, and returned to the ship.
When I asked, I learned there were actually four Land Dragons… I have henceforth sworn to be harsher on Cartaffs’ Guild.
Even though we met up after so long, I couldn’t see the face of the man in question.
Clara told me what had been going on lately, but it seems with everything going on, Lyle had more things to think about.
More importantly, when she saw my face, Novem gave a meaningful smile. When I asked Clara about it, she said it meant she had given her approval.
Is Novem the one managing the female fighting force?
Is it best I check with her first before trying to kiss him?
The dark ship’s interior.
I glanced through the ship log I had found in Vera-san’s room, and flipped through as I felt I had seen something I shouldn’t have.
The later ones didn’t have the slightest bit of info on the weather, or the ship.
(I read it on the Third’s words, but…)
Turning, I saw Vera-san lying on her bed. Around, Shannon was asleep with a blanket wrapped around her, while Aria and Eva were sleeping, tangled up on the sofa.
Monica had finished cleaning up after the party, and she stood asleep in ‘Sleep Mode.’
Novem and Clara were also snuggled up with a blanket around them.
The waves were calm, and it was a beautiful night by the light of the full moon. The moonlight pouring in through the window let me read the log.
When Miranda changed her posture, I instantly left the book on the desk, and distanced myself.
If she opened her eyes, and woke, what situation would I find myself in? After confirming no one was awake, I pat my chest in relief.
When I heard some sleep talk like that, May fell off of Vera’s bed.
(So she was sleeping in such a place… I never noticed.)
Vera slowly raised her torso. When her sleepy eyes met mine, she looked behind me, and opened her eyes wide.
Her violet eyes, behind me… at the ship log on the desk’s bookstand.
The Third laughed.
『Ah, it’s upside-down.』
He said, as he enjoyed the situation. As I noticed the letters on the log were upside-down, Milleia-san spoke.
『Lyle, looking at other people’s diaries is rude.』
I wanted to tell her it was too late for that, but I felt she said that knowing all too well. Miranda and Shannon’s ancestor. There’s no doubt she had a scheming part to her.
“D-did you see?”
At her strained voice, and her expression on the verge of tears, I didn’t know how to respond.
(W-what do I do!? I’m sure denying it here won’t work. But reading someone’s diary is a horrible thing to do and… right! I can use this to make myself seem like a horrible person!)
I took a deep breath, and put out some theatrical lines.
“I-isn’t it best we don’t hide anything from one another? I wanted to know everything about you.”
(How’s that? What thinks you of this selfish narcissist!? She’s sure to draw back!)
As I thought that the ancestors in the Jewel plus one extra splendidly…
『Were you trying to imitate mr. lyle? I don’t think that’s something that can be imitated, you know.』
『They’re both Lyle, but there’s something different here.』
『You stuttered at the start, Lyle. That’s no good. Maintain a level head at all times.』
『Really? I think he was trying quite hard there. I hope it goes well, Lyle.』
(So Milleia-san noticed. No, the Third did too… dammit, each and every one of them… I can only think they’re having fun watching my plans play out.)
And when I looked to Vera, she was looking down, and stroking her hair. And as she shook her black hair, the room looked brighter than it had been before.
I think my eyes were getting used to it.
Vera stood, and approached me. If she was going to slap me, I would accept it. I prepared myself, as I recalled the Sixth growing ragged from the consecutive slaps of his mother.
(I-it shouldn’t be as bad as that!)
I was ready for it. And Vera came closer…
“I-it was a promise, after all. That if I recognized my defeat, I’d do this.”
Vera embraced me, and pressed her modest chest against my body. When I was about to step back, a loud voice came from the Jewel.
『Don’t retreat! Gently hold her in your arms, Lyle!』
As excited as she was, I was more certain than ever Milleia-san had a terrible personality. Thinking the Sixth was definitely deceived, I followed her words, and held her.
Held her, and…
(Horsefeathers! With this flow, what comes next is…!)
… I was kissed. Just like that. Her tongue entered my mouth, and when she parted, her saliva formed a slight thread. That string instantly disappeared, but Vera…
“Um, if there’s something I can do, just say it. Even if moving the Trēs Trading Company is impossible, if it’s just a little, I can provide some aid.”
The Third spoke.
『A supported man; Lyle sure is amazing. A rich girl of Beim fell so easily… now then, how much should we wring out of her?』
The Fourth’s voice sounded delighted. Likely because money was involved.
『Two or three thousand, perhaps? It may even be possible she has five thousand on her. I can’t wait for what’s to come!』
These guys… I always think it, but they’re the worst.
There, still absentmindedly holding onto Vera, I looked around the room. It was dark. But I could see sixteen eyes looking at me.
It was scary. I felt honest-to-goodness fear at the spectacle.
(… I’m already full of regret for increasing the number of girls. So please don’t look at me with those eyes!)
The next day.
In Vera’s stateroom, I sat across from her on the sofa.
Novem said we should properly explain our own situation. And that if Vera didn’t have the resolve to go on, she should pull back.
(She won’t say something like that sooner?)
I thought, but I gradually explained the circumstances to Vera.
And about my objective…
With these meager numbers we were picking a fight with the superpower that was Bahnseim. Vera listened with a serious expression, as she touched a hand to her lips in thought.
Sipping the tea that had been put out, Vera spoke.
“I never thought it would come to that. Normally, I’d never believe it. Psychological Skills are truly troublesome, but Charm Skills are ones with flaws. There are times where the user, or perhaps the Skill itself is amazing, but in most cases, they don’t have prolonged effects. If they did, there’s no way those around would just leave them be, after all.”
A psychological Skill… that’s how Vera classified Celes’ charm.
To clear up the misunderstanding, I spoke.
“While she may be my younger sister, we can’t say for certain hers is a charm Skill. Because there are other peculiar things she’s been able to do. But because of that, Bahnseim has begun to go mad.”
The tragedies of Bahnseim brought about by that girl were still going on at this very moment.
And I didn’t know if it was really just a powerful charm Skill.
(If there was someone who knew what it was, it would have to be Novem, or Septem-san.)
Vera rested her elbow on the armrest, and tilted her body towards it a bit.
“Very well. If that’s the case, I’ll sponsor you. I’m sure you’ll need money. Of course, once we return, we’ll have to talk to father. When it comes to work, he’s the type that’s severe, even when it comes to his daughter. If he thinks there’s no chance at all, he’s the type that would calmly hand you over to Celes, Lyle.”
Hearing that, Novem smiled.
“Then we’ve got some ideas of our own. It’s impossible for us to be handed over so easily.”
Seeing Novem so brimming with confidence, Vera nodded.
“I’ll bet. We won’t want any war with a party that took down the Trident Serpent. We’ll surely suffer casualty on our side. But negotiation will be impossible unless you can convince father you have a chance at victory. And I’m not sure I should be the one saying it, but the prominent merchants of Beim… won’t move if there’s no profit to be had.”
From the Jewel.
The Fourth opened his mouth to affirm that.
『Naturally. It’s the merchant’s way not to move if there’s no profit in it. At times, there are merchants who will move irrelevant to that, though. For them to bet not on Celes, but Lyle, we’ll need a considerable chance of success.』
Vera finished her cup of tea, and Monica prepared a new one. Accepting it, she put it to her mouth once more.
“I also get your reason for challenging a country as large as Bahnseim. But to be quite blunt, the way things are going, you’ll make an enemy of Beim as well. No matter how dangerous Celes may be, witnessing that danger firsthand, and feeling it on your skin are different things altogether. There are folks out there who can think of any number of means to make up with and join her side.”
Novem seemed to be of the same opinion.
That’s why we had chosen the house to seek aid from. Carefully going through them, the Trēs house was the most influential candidate.
“I think so as well. That’s precisely why I ask. How the Trēs House… no, how Lyle-sama can gain Beim’s support.”
Vera put the teacup down, leaned her back on the sofa, and looked up at the ceiling.
It was either difficult to do, or difficult to say. But when she turned her face to us, she began talking about what we could do to get aid.
“Beim is the city of adventurers and merchants. But in truth, the adventurers’ Guild can’t go against the Merchant Council… well, that’s just the popular name, but they can’t go against the decision of the merchants who go by that name. Just getting the Trēs House alone won’t work. At the very least, you’ll need five or six merchants to recognize you, or…”
I need only get them to recognize me? When I thought it wouldn’t be that hard, I heard the Fifth’s voice from the Jewel.
『Getting so many merchants to support you, is it? That’s a hard one.』
As if to explain it out, Vera spoke.
“It’s no simple matter, you know? If we make a move, there are sure to be those following behind and watching. And there will surely be those who wish to join Celes’ side. To profit from a war, there will even be those who will put up a nice face to both sides.”
Novem asked Vera. She made it sound simple.
In that state of affairs, how could I gather support.
“What does Lyle-sama need to gain aid from a large number of merchants?”
Vera spoke with a smile.
“That would be profit for Beim. In all actuality, when all the rumors of Celes Walt get to Beim, there won’t be a single soul who won’t think of her as dangerous. But it’s a merchant’s job to try and reap profit, even from such a villain. That’s why, Lyle… for a while, it’s best you don’t speak about your objective.”
It wasn’t the time to move yet. Hearing that, I could agree. Gathering supporters in Beim was an important task for someone without money like me.
When I nodded, Vera let out a sigh.
“Now then, with that out of the way, let’s talk about how much money I can put out. As things are at present, I doubt you can do much, but I’ll offer up my own free money. You don’t have to pay it back, but I definitely won’t let your forget this debt.”
When she gave the smile of a mischievous child, I nodded with my own smile.
“I’m very thankful. I’ll never forget it.”
“… That fact you can say something like that so lightly… perhaps there’s some of your high-tension side in the normal you. Well, whatever. The amount I can put out is…”
In the Jewel, the ancestors were cheery.
Especially the Fourth.
『How much is it!? If it’s five thousand, we can solve our present issues!』
The Seventh sounded fed-up.
『No matter how great a merchant’s daughter she may be, she’s still a child. I really wonder about putting such expectations onto her.』
With a certain level of funding, on top of this time’s reward, it would get quite a bit easier.
As I thought that, Vera put some unbelievable words to mouth.
“… About a hundred thousand in gold coins. Does that sound alright? I wasn’t really using it, so it’s been building up. That’s all I can do for you right now, Lyle.”
My smile froze. Novem beside me, hearing that…
“With that much, we can put Professor Damien’s plans into effect. We won’t be troubled with funding for the time being. Isn’t that nice, Lyle-sama?”
I let out a dry laugh.
“R-right. Aha ahahaha. Yep, it’s a huge help!”
I replied with a smile. Vera’s face turned a little red, as she averted her eyes.
“I-I can only do this much, but… perhaps I could introduce some craftsmen? But they’re affiliated with the Trēs Trading Company, and I’ve no idea if they’ll take up my personal requests.”
As it felt like everything had just gone and resolved itself, the Fifth quietly…
『… I do think it’s a bad idea to leave Beim alone.』
The Third as well.
『It looks like there’s an urgent need to decide Lyle’s policy. Based on how things go, it’ll become a big deal if we don’t get Beim under control.』
With all seriousness, he gave me a warning.