On the way back from clearing the request.
In Porter’s loading tray, I absentmindedly stared at the ceiling.
What was requested this time was the subjugation of a Hippogryph. And on the road back, or rather the detour back, I took care of some miscellaneous requests as well.
Also in the load tray, by the light of a lantern, Aria was calculating her profits from this time’s rewards on a paper with teary eyes.
Miranda was watching over her, and she was pounding quite a bit of information into Aria, who hadn’t experienced the paperwork hell of Zayin.
That promise she made a while ago of teaching her until she was capable of doing it was faithfully being adhered to.
(But why does she look so happy teaching, I wonder. More than that…)
“That’s no good, Aria. You’ve made a mistake. It’s a simple calculation error.”
She had made a mistake at the beginning, so she would have to redo the whole thing. Hearing that, Aria started up again, and shouted.
“Then couldn’t you have told me when I made it!?”
Miranda looked across the wood crate Aria used in place of a desk, and gave a beaming smile.
“Eh? Why? I did say it. That I’d check it when you’re finished. I taught you the method, and I never said I’d caution you on the way.”
Porter’s loading compartment made some light rattling shakes, but that had been reduced quite a bit from before. And in that space, Miranda was having Aria carry out simple calculations.
They were simple, but long, and if one step was wrong, the whole thing would fall through. And Aria was going through an eternal repetition of such a thing.
The contents… with this reward, our net income, as well as how we would divide it amongst ourselves, I guess?
Those terrible with money in this party, starting with Aria, were May and Shannon. Eva had travelled before, so she was surprisingly reliable when it came to funds.
It looks like she went through quite some troubles as a singer.
But she was incapable of paperwork.
Seeing Aria’s tears as she looked at Miranda’s smile, I thought.
(… Miranda’s personality definitely takes after Milleia-san.)
And as I thought that…
『Lyle, you just thought Miranda takes after me, didn’t you.』
That voice that sounded as if it just found something to tease me on. I heard Milleia-san’s voice from the Jewel.
I was taken aback, but I quietly looked around before rolling the Jewel with my fingertip. I signaled my denial, but Milleia-san sounded convinced.
『Oh, it’s alright. Saying I resemble my great granddaughter is something to be happy about. But realizing just how you see me is quite a shock.』
To jump on that train, the Third spoke.
『Ah~ poor Milleia-chan.』
Perhaps the Fourth was bored.
『Now that’s just terrible, Lyle.』
But the Fifth and Seventh were on my side. No, perhaps it’s best I say they understood Milleia-san’s personality.
『Well thinking of how black-hearted you are, there’s no helping Lyle thinking that way.』
『The form of aunty faking tears isn’t cute in the slightest. Just because you look younger in the Jewel, you think your heart’s gotten younger as well? Please stop, it’s sending shivers down my spine.』
An impact ran across the Jewel.
The Third informed me of the situation. For some reason, his voice was shaking a bit.
『… The Seventh will revive momentarily. Just give him a minute.』
『Now then, Let’s go ask Septem-sama some more questions. Last time you heard that she was the one who made the Jewel, and about Skills, right?』
As she directed a smile no different from the usual, I took a few glances at the Seventh as I stood before my door.
He was in his seat, slumped down, and trying to make it so I couldn’t see him.
A grinning Third was teasing him.
The Jewel had been nothing but men up to now, but Milleia-san’s appearance had changed the atmosphere just a bit.
“What are we going to ask this time?”
She pointed at me.
『About you, Lyle.』
“Me? Isn’t that a bit too far from the timeframe Septem-san lived?”
There, Milleia-san gave a good grief, shrugged her shoulders, and shook her head.
『You don’t get it, do you… from the moment it was born, the Jewel was constantly recording surrounding information to memory. And Septem-sama is the memory of the originator of all of this. I’m sure she’ll be able to teach us a bit. And that talk of your other half caught your interest, didn’t it?』
As she sent me a smile, I nodded.
In the past, Septem-san said my sealed half was trying to awaken. And that the time to face it was coming.
I wanted to know just what sort of meaning that held.
『Then let’s go.』
We rounded the door together. But the scene on the other side was different from usual.
It was a large city, but it was as if it was on the decline.
Most of the shops had someone manning the desk, but they didn’t even try to sell the merchandise on display. As people walked passed, they didn’t even try to call out.
The surrounding buildings were in tatters, and not in the process of repairs.
『Oh my, the scenery’s quite terrible today.』
Milleia-san said that as she walked off, and I walked beside her. It was the third time, and I knew where to go, so I didn’t have to follow behind.
Suddenly, a well-dressed man ignored the surroundings, and walked up to us.
I stood in front to cover Milleia-san.
『Well you’re quite a gentleman. Worlds apart from a year ago.』
“… You know about a year ago?”
『I didn’t know it a year ago. I said it, right? I was chosen by the Jewel as a guide. If I didn’t know this and that, guiding you wouldn’t really work out, now would it.』
Her golden eyes looked as if they were looking somewhere far away. And The dressed up man ran into a passerby.
“… What’s the meaning of this!? I’m a magician! Trash like you is going to block my way!?”
The dressed-up man held his hand up at the man he’s run into, and fired magic from it.
I was about to leap out, but Milleia-san stopped me.
『Lyle, this is a memory. You can touch them, and get a reaction, but there’s nothing that can be changed.』
So the passerby’s body was set ablaze.
All those around watched on the scene with fear, but none of them tried to stop the dressed-up man.
『… Let’s go.』
Pulled by the hand, I left the scene. A detestable burnt scent filled the air, and the feeling of this death was all too real.
The fact such a scene was unravelling meant this was a memory of the Jewel, right?
We went to Septem-san’s room, but it was different from before.
She raised her upper body on the bed, but spider webs were growing in the room, and it wasn’t being looked after.
The mansion held no golems, and no humans either.
『Oh, you’ve come now of all times.』
I didn’t know what to say to Septem-san’s slightly troubled expression. She looked a little embarrassed, and sorrowful.
She took out a dusty chair, brushed it off with a hand, and prepared one for me and Milleia-san.
And after we sat, I spoke to her.
“Today Milleia-san said to ask about myself… um, what did you mean by my other half?”
A half sealed by Celes.
Those words had been weighing down my mind.
Bathed in a light pouring out of the bed, Septem-san opened her mouth. She looked at the ragged curtain, and looked a little sad.
『Half… that would be your memories, Lyle. You can’t remember it, right? Lyle, can you remember what you were like before? And Celes’ face… not now, how she was before.』
Milleia-san looked out the window.
『Oh my. Well they look happy.』
I heard the voices of a family outside the window. I hurriedly stood, and went over to it. There, in the shade of a tree, with a sheet spread out under them, was a happy-looking family.
There were guarding knights around, watching over the parents and children.
And the one in the highest spirits was a young boy.
The parents were looking at the child, and a nearby girl was watching him as well… watching her brother.
When I extended a hand to the window, the girl’s face turned towards us. But the outside of the window quickly changed back to the mansion’s yard.
The memory that had been playing faded out, and even if I opened the window, I couldn’t hear a thing.
“What was that memory?”
As I looked confused, Septem-san spoke.
『Why it’s your memory, of course. I said it, didn’t I… they’re already trying to awaken. The reason her surroundings obey her isn’t because of her Skill. Lyle, try and remember. Celes’ Skill is to take. She took your Mana and experience, and even your parents’ love. The memories she couldn’t take in the end have been sealed up like this.』
But this was the first I ever heard Cele’s Skill was to take something from another. And that what was effecting her surroundings wasn’t her Skill.
『If I had to be more precise, Celes’ Skill is one to imitate an opponent. And that imitation is followed by sealing, leading to plunder. The reason you were allowed to live was surely because she wanted to take your matured and polished Mana. But naturally as it may sound, she has her limits as well.』
Milleia-san stood, and put her hands on my shoulders. Without me realizing it, my breath had become rugged, and my sweat wouldn’t stop coming out.
Milleia-san spoke to me kindly.
『Lyle, you’ve been taken and taken and taken from. But… originally, the one to become a monster would have been you.』
When I tried to turn to her, she hugged me from behind. I didn’t get what she was trying to say.
At the same time, just a little… I had some intuition.
“I’m… the same as Celes, you say?”
Septem-san nodded. But she said this as well.
『The ones to become the next generation Septem were you and Celes. But she was the one who couldn’t permit it. So she took everything she could. As you are now, you are an existence with neither the memories nor powers of Septem. From my point of view, it’s something to be jealous of, but the current you is nothing but an ordinary human. Perhaps that’s precisely why Novem became your ally.』
I had no idea what to say. Learning I was the same monster as her, and hearing of how I’d been taken from all this time…
“H-huh? But the last time we met, I didn’t feel anything was taken from me? Does that mean her Skill no longer has an effect on me?”
… When I said that, Milleia-san separated herself a bit, and burst into laughter.
『She said it, right? Celes has her own limits. And even if she takes more, she has not the leisure to maintain it at this point. Celes is already complete. Even so, Lyle, you’ve been corrupted by your ancestors in a good sense.』
When I tilted my head, Septem-san smiled. It seems she thought I was going to despair here, and had made a delightful miscalculation.
『Lyle, learn yourself. If you do, you’re sure to go much higher than you have.』
I nodded, and confirmed it with Septem-san.
“Um, on another note… I’ve understood Celes’ Skill. But in that case, just what sort of Skills could be in the Jewel she has…”
Septem-san looked at me, and spoke with a serious expression.
『Only one Skill was invoked. But Septem was the goddess that made Skills, you know? She could prepare any Skill she wanted. And it’s not like you couldn’t call that a Skill in itself.』
(Well that’s surprisingly shoddy. Since she was a goddess, I thought she would be more fiendish.)
But even knowing it was shoddy didn’t change the fact my opponent was formidable. And in truth, I couldn’t even raise a hand against Celes.
“Then is the current Skill she’s using from it one to charm her surroundings?”
Both Septem-san and Milleia-san shook their heads.
『Listen closely, Lyle. Septem-sama… the goddess Septem, I mean, is the most revered entity to humanity. Do you remember anything from looking at Novem?』
Having Novem brought up so suddenly, I shook my head. Septem-san just said, ‘When the time comes to speak, get the finer details from Novem’.
And she went on.
『It’s because the one who created humans long ago was the goddess Septem.』
A question rose in my head at that point. It’s true I was raised, hearing that the goddesses created humanity. But the goddess pertaining to that should be 【Sex】.
The Sixth goddess.
“Um, the one who made us was Sex… the Sixth goddess, wasn’t it?”
Milleia-san let out a sigh before speaking.
『That one’s mistaken. But it’s a mistake that can’t be helped. In all actuality, Septem-sama is being treated as a goddess of wisdom these days. By the way, the wisdom part of it was just a freebee. Originally, Sex-sama carried the role of awakening humans.』
I wondered if they made it all so different. But I guess awakening and creating did surely differ.
And this talk was a bit too out there. Really, what do you expect me to do about it?
(Even if you talk about the distant past… um, it’s just troubling.)
『It’s the same as how Novem is liked by demi humans. Because long ago, the one who brought forth demi humans and divine beasts and monsters was Novem. Deeply inheriting those memories, she just has that sort of effect to her.』
Septem-san looked out the window, and murmured.
『The one to make humans was Septem. And the one who was supposed to awaken them, Sex… was killed by Novem. That child… Novem destroyed all the plans.』
(W-well damn. What should I do about that one…)
I couldn’t follow the conversation.
For now, I can see that Novem betrayed Septem-san and the rest of them.
(Ah, come to think of it… Octō-san was supposed to be a traitor too, was she? If I just asked Septem-san here, then I really won’t have to go out and find Octo-san.)
I felt a little sorry for her, but I decided I really wasn’t going to have any relation to Octō-san.