The Skill… Speed’s… effect.
It was a Skill to elevate movement speed. It was a simple speed increase, but the proportion it rose by changed largely by my abilities.
Compared to the twenty percent, thirty at most it was at the beginning, now it was possible to achieve a boost close to double that. Though doing so raised a problem of intense Mana consumption. But even so, managing somehow with my increased Mana pool, we reached Galleria’s port.
Younger than me, and once unreliable and untrusted by the knights, right now the boy had piled up his own achievements, and got his surroundings to follow him.
The real rule-ignoring fight between Galleria and Rusworth that suddenly broke out. After earning achievements there, small as they were, he was able to perform on a domestic front.
The responsibility for developing the port had also come under Leold-kun’s name.
“It’s been a while. A few months perhaps? No, around a month, right?”
When I recalled the last time we’d met, Leold-kun gave a wry smile.
“Less than two months, at least. My sister was unable to make time in her schedule, so she can’t come out to greet you this time.”
Gracia-san… Galleria’s Grand Duke Proxy had talks with the envoy from the four country alliance, it seems, and she couldn’t move.
I guessed the country that sent the envoy, and Leold-kun nodded.
The strong salty breeze made the port feel a little cold. We were guided by him to our arranged lodging facility.
There were many buildings under development, and it was an environment where you could hear the working voices of workers around. It felt quite energetic.
Leold-kun spoke to me.
“The new Trēs House head from Beim came by. I sent him back, but I felt a little bit sorry for him.
Seeing Leold-kun a little anxious, the Third in the Jewel spoke with a lower toned voice than usual.
『Yep, he’s a good kid. But making that face is troubling. Fidel-kun worked hard, and he’s going to keep working hard, so this much is a reward, or rather, we have to honor our promises…』
He was used for our sake, but the ancestors left in the Jewel couldn’t help but see Leold-kun as a radiant existence.
If I said something similar, they’d go, ‘naive’, or ‘survival of the fittest, kid’, yet they were soft on Leold-kun. I’m sure it felt as if the innocence they lost was being shown off to them.
And for all practical purposes, Leold-kun had a straightforward personality.
“But I also have circumstance of my own. For now, I’d prefer leaving some distance from the current Beim. It seems Bahnseim has declared war on them, and their move will likely come when autumn turns to winter.”
Even for a country on Bahnseim’s level, a large force would be needed to drop Beim. And a majority of their military force came from their populace.
Autumn was the harvest period, and precisely because the country was so large, there was a delicate deviation in harvest time across it. To move a large force, of course, food supplies, and manpower were necessary.
They couldn’t move in a busy time. Or even if they did they wouldn’t be able to take Beim, so we surmised.
If perhaps… Celes did move, it was most convenient we weren’t in Beim. I told Vera to distance herself if Celes showed signs of movement as well.
Leold-kun crossed his arms, and spoke his thoughts aloud.
“… Will Bahnseim move, I wonder? Speaking only to scale, they should have less numbers than the army of monsters that flowed into Beim at present, so will they be held down at Fortress Redant?”
The Jewel. The Fifth denied Leold-kun’s estimates.
『Monsters and humans are different, after all. It’s true the force to break through a monster army is fearsome, but I think humans are the scarier bunch… They’ll probably get passed the Fortress at an early stage.』
I conveyed that opinion to Leold-kun. It was a fortress we prepared for Beim’s war with Bahnseim, but we didn’t build it thinking it would be able to hold them off.
“No, Fortress Redant will be breached relatively quickly.”
“Eh? But it’s a Fortress that stopped a flock of several hundred thousand monsters. And I heard you held it down with less than twenty thousand men.”
There was a large difference between me and other people.
It was the ancestors’ wisdom… and the Skills they left. The Walt House manifested nothing but Support Class Skills, leading the body they developed over the ages to be a body excelling in Support.
By the Skill succession starting with our Founder, it was surely a blessing there were no duplicate Skills.
I was gripping the Jewel before I knew it.
“… That was because the Skills I inherited were proficient ones.”
Dropping by the Jewel, I saw the Fifth sitting irate atop the round table.
With a refreshing expression, sitting in the Fifth’s chair, Milleia-san was being glared at.
『Oy. Let me pass my Skill onto Lyle already. I said what I wanted to say, and more than anything, the Third Stage of my Skill will be useful hereon.』
Milleia-san looked at that Fifth, and let out a sigh.
『You sure aren’t honest. You haven’t imparted the important things. From the Founder to the Third, if you had to say, the Walt House were feudal nobles of the countryside. Among them were some who stressed their households. Then why did my father, the Fifth make such a sudden upheaval? You didn’t properly tell him.』
The Fifth’s eyebrow twitched, and he looked over Milleia-san.
『Then why don’t you? Does me teaching him such a thing hold any real meaning?』
Within that tense air, the Third and Seventh were shrugging their shoulders. I sighed at their exchange, and stuck a word in to change the topic.
“Could I have a moment? Tomorrow, we’ll depart from Galleria, and head for Rusworth. After that, we’ll set out for Cartaffs, and our sea routes will be over. Since things are going smoothly for now, could I get some sparring in?”
The reason I brought my feet to the Jewel was to spar with the ancestors. I had been too busy, and I didn’t have that leisure for a while.
I thought there was a necessity to train while I had the time. And the Fifth was thinking of ending his role, and disappearing. Milleia-san had denied it, but I couldn’t say when he was going to go.
The Seventh couldn’t stand the air anymore, as he stood from his seat.
『Then I’ll take you on. Lyle, follow me.』
With those words, he tried to head for his room, when one of the doors was violently slammed open.
… It was my room.
With a grinning face identical to mine, stood LYLE.
『Heard you were bored, so here I am. Everyone’s adorable LYLE. Now, Lyle! Have a match with me! If you win, I’ll return your memories!』
Seeing my younger years set himself in a cool pose, my head started to hurt. I would definitely never do such a thing. When I thought that, and tried to say something, Milleia-san opened her mouth.
『Good goddess. You’re way too stubborn, father. There’s no helping it then. Lyle’s room of memories is, in a sense, the Jewel’s room as well. I’m going to go through it to peek into your memories.』
On such words, LYLE made a reluctant face.
『Eh~? What about me? Milleia-san, that’s tyranny. And you know, does he really need any more Skills? With as many as he has, Lyle has plenty, and I think there’s more value in an advisor role.』
On LYLE’s words, Milleia-san shook her head to the side.
『And what does relying on dead men forever accomplish? To defeat Celes, there are plenty of things Lyle will have to know.』
LYLE folded both hands behind his head. And he looked at Milleia-san, and spoke.
『My thoughts differ from yours, Milleia-san, and the will of the Jewel. I plan on saving my family.』
I looked at him, and thought over the meaning of his words. Did he mean just as he said, or was he implying something else.
Thinking a bit, it sounded as if he wanted me to free them from Celes’ curse. But if it meant just as he said it…
The Seventh looked at LYLE, and made a clenched fist.
『LYLE, what do you mean by save? Don’t you know? It’s already impossible to atone for the things Maizel and Claire have done…』
Even if Celes was the source, would the surroundings accept it just like that? Celes was bad. So no one else has any sin. If such a thing worked, then I wouldn’t even have to aim for emperor. Defeat Celes with a few elites, and everything would solve itself.
But reality was different. Abnormal. The worst.
LYLE looked up at the ceiling.
『… Even so, I’ll save them. That’s my wish as well. I know not of the Jewel’s will, or the ancestors’ of Milleia-san’s thoughts on the matter. It’s my personal intention.』
The silent Third kept his head down.
The Fifth didn’t try to open his mouth. The Seventh was the same. But he was looking at LYLE with a conflicted expression. Milleia-san spoke.
『… I get it. Then get your business over with first. Father’s matter can wait ‘til later.』
The Fifth spoke unpleasantly.
『You’re still bringing that up…』
The Jewel’s atmosphere was worse than ever before.
I opened my eyes in the Gallerian lodging house.
The cold of nights and mornings had come out. I felt it was a little brisk, but there was another blanket draped over mine, and that felt pleasantly warm.
It seems Monica had prepared the other one. The individual herself wasn’t in the room, and it seems she was out.
I raised my upper half, and surely enough, felt the cold on my skin.
“… It’s getting troublesome. Even when we’re about to go on a full-blown trip.”
Rusworth, and then Cartaffs.
We would enter Bahnseim from Cartaffs, and head for Faunbeux. It was a considerable distance, and we would be traversing it with this horrid air in the Jewel.
And I was forcibly sent to deal with LYLE… and even roped into his competition.
At present, I had experienced Growth six times. It was definitely on the high side. But if you asked if I could win against him, that wasn’t the case.
The movement technique Celes used. Milleia-san could do it too.
I wouldn’t say that alone was enough for him to match Celes, but the me that existed before Celes stole everything away… he was plenty a threat.
“Was I that amazing before? Could it be I’d just forgotten… no, I did hear this and that was taken from me…”
Could mere stealing really create that much a difference? With that on my mind, I left the bed, and stretched. Monica entered the room with a bucket in hand.
It seems she had prepared hot water.
“Oh, you were awake? When I thought I was finally going to crawl under your blankets, and induce a misunderstanding into the next person that stopped by. You’ve got to read the mood more.”
“When you’re doing morning preparations, even if you say that, you’ve not a fragment of persuasive power. You can quit with the usual jokes, get ready soon. Because we have to reach Rusworth’s port within the day. Where’re Aria, Shannon and Clara?”
When I said that, Monica set down the bucket on the floor, and brought over a chair. She looked ay my face, and tilted her head.
“Why do I have to look after the chicken’s women as well? If you ask me to do it, I will, but putting this Monica… to look after other women…”
As she began to shed crocodile tears, I hit her head, and her golden twin tails softly swayed.
“Ow. ‘Twas a joke, was it not? Aria-san and the others are still asleep. They’re tired out from the boat trip.”
Our sea voyage would continue for a few more days, so I thought over what was to come.
“We have to rest when we can. Clara is one thing, but please look after Shannon. She doesn’t have any stamina.”
I thought Shannon would be the first to suffer seasickness on this trip. Monica seemed to be mindful as well.
“The nutritional balance of our meals is perfect. But if our movement continues, it will expend our health, so I can’t say much to that. But Shannon has shown a relative rise in physical fitness as of late.”
Hearing that, I touched a hand to my chin.
“… She was so bad to start with, that even living normally built up her stamina, huh.”
… Atop a ship.
Moving separate from Lyle’s party, Miranda watched the sailors working on deck.
It wasn’t a Trēs House ship. They had made south, and had chosen a route through a foreign country into Bahnseim.
Perhaps because they had gone south, the wind was warm.
Miranda grasped the hand rail, and looked at the sky. A blue sky spread out, and she could see land in the distance.
“Shannon, are you getting by alright?”
Worrying for her sister Shannon, Miranda stroked her hair shaking in the wind with her fingertips.
Shannon had said herself that she would stick with Lyle. Originally, she would have accompany Miranda, or wait for them back at South Beim. It was certain her physical state was better than before, but compared to the others, there was a horrible gap.
Thinking Shannon was thinking over things her own way, Miranda respected her will.
Miranda was worried for Shannon, but she was also thinking of the southern lands.
“… We have a letter from the alliance and Cartaffs, but how much will they trust us.”
To the south, there was a single country bordering Bahnseim. Its land was too vast to call a small country, but its scale was dubious to call large.
It was one of the countries carrying out dealings with Beim, but starting with Miranda, it was a country not a single one of them had any familiarity with.
They had letters of introduction from the merchant companies the country did business with, so they would probably be able to meet the king.
“Well, let’s just do our best. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll still enter Bahnseim, and search for info there.”
This time, the lord of the southern country was male. Even if they were female, Miranda’s party would’ve been sent regardless.
But even if the number of rivals increased, if they didn’t win, there’d be no future. And it was a fact their power was still insufficient to defeat Celes.
“If he gets Faunbeux’s assistance, the way things are going, we’ll be at fifty percent of Bahnseim, if not a little less. We have to increase the number of cooperating countries a bit more.”
And even if he obtained their cooperation, he eventually planned to rule above them as an empire. Miranda found it awkward.
“… So submission to Celes, or governance by Lyle. When you think of how both sides are Walts, the future of the continent lies in Walt House hands regardless. What a troublesome family.”
Saying that, Miranda laughed a bit…