Avengers of Faunbeux
The Kingdom of Faunbeux.
Its central capital was located close to Bahnseim.
It had originally been at the center of the country, that capital of Faunbeux. But that land west of Bahnseim was largely shaved away by the Walt House. Because of that, it felt like the capital had grown closer.
Faunbeux’s royal palace.
While not to Bahnseim’s level, it was still a country classified as large on the continent. The palace was brilliant, and built practical.
Its military strength wasn’t given too high an evaluation, but that one was also the Walt House’s fault. By our estimates, it was a country capable of moving one hundred thousand. And a country we wanted at all costs in order to fight the Bahnseim Kingdom.
So in that country’s audience chamber, I participated alone as a representative of my comrades, exposing myself to the malice-filled eyes around.
I stood on the red carpet, and before the king and queen, surrounded by the authorities, I felt a cold sweat break out on my back.
And yet in the Jewel, the Seventh reminisced.
『Oh my, I’ve seen quite a few of them before. Of course, when I was chasing them around the battlefield, or holding them as prisoners of war, that is.』
Faunbeux’s problem with the Walt House came about in the Sixth’s and Seventh’s time. If I’m to believe my ancestors’ words, Bahnseim was also to blame. But when Faunbeux came to invade, the Sixth and then the Seventh drove them back, and took their territory along the way.
Milleia-san laughed to herself.
『They’re already old men, but there are some of the previous generation who remember the humiliation of the past. I’m sure their stomachs are doing somersaults right around now.』
The Third seemed to be thinking seriously…
『Shall we assertively rile them up here, or incessantly rub salt into their old wounds… damn, it’s troublesome how both choices sound like they’d be so interesting.』
… It’s no good. He’s the usual Third. Among my ancestors, could it be the Third was actually the most ill natured? I’ve gotten about to thinking of it like that.
The king of Faunbeux opened his mouth at me.
“Now then, for what sort of business have you come by my country of Faunbeux? Let us hear it from your mouth. Whelp of the Walt House.”
He suddenly broke into a rude tone, but the Seventh spoke out as if he remembered something.
『I’ve got it! This guy’s the crown prince I took captive! That prince who lost so miserably to me on his first campaign became king… in that case, he should be in his late forties. The crybaby from that time sure has grown up splendidly.』
The Fifth, uninterestedly.
『What from our point of view, it seems he’s the whelp here. Oy, Lyle… how about you rile him?』
But there, Milleia-san let out some words I never expected from her.
『You can’t just rile him. Then talks won’t get anywhere, and talking with this person holds no real meaning. It seems our real target is watching us from the back.』
The individual Milleia-san called the real target. With the Sixth’s Skill… Spec… the displayed individual was peering at us from the side of the throne. The glance I felt from the backstage wasn’t particularily filled with any malice or resentment. Simply a glance as if to evaluate me.
“… I believe you are aware of the unsettling movements throughout the Kingdom of Bahnseim. The countries that border it are already harboring a sense of crisis. You’ve already confirmed the letter from the four nation alliance near Beim to the east, and of Cartaffs to the north, have you not?”
On my words, his majesty scoffed.
“Why not say it as it is? A lassy of the Walt House is tearing up your country. Truly, what a troubling clan, you Walts. And this time, you’re cheating the surrounding countries to have a war amongst siblings. If you don’t call it troubling, then what else is it?”
He sure is a blunt one. It’s true looked on from the outside it seemed it was a hegemonic sibling feud pulling the entire content into its midst. But the future of the continent depended on it.
“Then will the Kingdom of Faunbeux play the fool? We have already established cooperation with the southern land of Djanpear. All that is left is the west… yet it does not seem Faunbeux will assist us. Then I will have to inquire elsewhere.”
It’s not like I’m forcing you guys into it, is the standing I wanted to have in this conversation. Saying it like that implied we didn’t really need them. Worse come to worse, there wouldn’t be a problem as long as they didn’t intervene.
If they attack when Bahnseim is going through turmoil, then all it meant was that the Margrave had his work cut out for him.
When he heard the name of Djanpear, he looked a little surprised. I’m sure the news of their cooperation had yet to reach.
“So you’ve found allies in the south. The leader of Djanpear was a man… so not only women, you’ve gotten around to seducing men as well? You siblings sure are a troublesome bunch.”
Perhaps he held considerable resentment, as Faunbeux’s King’s attitude towards me remained considerably cold. At that moment, I heard a quiet laugh.
Hearing that voice, I turned to the side of the throne… a place where a curtain had been prepared. The one poking out their face a little was a slender woman with pink hair. She looked even more imposing than before, but it seemed her face had more shadows than then.
The surrounding air suddenly calmed down, and his majesty gave a purposeful clearing of his throat. The queen looked somewhat nervous as well.
“… I have considered the matter of cooperation as well. It is difficult to forgive the disgrace Bahnseim has dealt to us. I’ll let you talk the specifics later.”
His majesty had been insistently offensive towards me the whole time, but come this far, he suddenly turned meek. From the start, I’m sure they’d already discussed within the country how they were unable to let Bahnseim be. But why would his attitude change that suddenly?
From the Jewel, I heard Milleia-san’s voice.
『Lyle, the real target’s out. This air sure brings me back. While it’s only a vague memory, I do recognize it. You could call it controlling things from the shadows. Now then, from here on’s the real deal.』
… I swallowed my breath. But the Seventh opposed as if to spit his own out.
『Pulling strings from the shadows, eh? Takes one to kno…』
Without the end of it coming out, today once more, the Seventh was shot through. Listening to the burst of gunpowder, I thought over the woman who’d shown a sliver of herself… 【Lianne Faunbeux】.
Withdrawing from the audience chamber, the room we were led to wasn’t a room for meeting or discussion.
No, it was a space to discuss, but one quite mismatched for such important matters.
Chairs were placed across a round table. Atop the table, a few varieties of snacks had been prepared, there wasn’t a sign of any humans around.
The man who led me left the room, leaving me there alone.
“I’ve got a bit of a bad feeling about this.”
As I muttered that, I felt someone’s presence in the back of the room. A presence felt from behind a curtain, but up to that point, I couldn’t sense anyone there, even with my Skills.
“That’s in bad taste, Lianne-sama.”
When I said the hidden individual’s name, some pink hair peeked out from behind the curtain, leading to a women with an even greater atmosphere than before. In the past, she had a strong air of sorrow, but now it wasn’t just her aura as royalty. She had an air as if to intimidate her opponents.
“Oh? It’s the first I’ve been noticed so soon. Even so, it has been a while, Lyle Walt.”
Snickering to herself, she approached the table, and took at a seat at it on her own. In that room without attendants or assistants, she poured tea from a pot she’s prepared.
It didn’t look the actions of a princess.
“This is quite, how should I put it…”
Lianne motioned me to sit, leaning back over the backing of her chair, and looking up at the ceiling.
“I know what you’re saying. But for now, I’m doing everything myself. There’s a brother of mine who tried something like assassination out of fear of me, you see. So making the tea and meals is something I can do myself.”
The Fifth sounded surprised.
『As long as the ingredients are poisoned, I fail to see the point.』
Before I could finish, Lianne-san sipped some tea and explained.
“I go out and buy it myself. I’ve a convenient Skill of my own. It’s called 【Trick】, and once grown, it gave me 【Magic】 and 【Magician】… quite convenient. It’s got a lot of restrictions, but slipping out of the castle to do some shopping is simple enough.”
A Skill to easily slip through the defenses of a Castle… I’m pretty sure Albano-san had the same Skill.
It could only work on the level of mischief, he had said. And Lianne-san before me should be the same. When we last met, she had committed the mischief of shattering a glass.
“… Could I ask the reason you’re so feared?”
Lianne-san impolitely rested both elbows on the table, leaving her chin on her hands, and tilting her head a little as she smiled at me.
“That’s an easy one. You see, when I was shipped back, there were some big and little brothers, and sisters, who said I had ruined everything. My parents were also cold, so I did a bit of mischief on them. And when I kept it up day after day after day, they came to me and apologized. But just one of my brothers came with an assassin instead. He was a scary one, so I had that brother sent to live a quiet life far away. He should have settled peacefully into the countryside by now.”
It does seem she drove her brother to the outskirts.
This snickering Lianne-sama didn’t seem to be the lovely princess she once was.
But that wasn’t a problem. I was already surrounded by even scarier members, so this wasn’t enough to fluster me. But the Third groaned.
『This is heavy. This child is real heavy. If we add her, will Lyle be able to endure or not… yeah, it’ll work! It’ll just barely work!』
The Fifth denied his opinion full force.
『Nope. This girl is dangerous. If want to ask how dangerous, dangerous enough to contest with the Sixth’s wife. Some terrible pain is to descend on Lyle’s stomach, so you’d best stop it at that!』
The Seventh gave a bit of a laid-back opinion.
『It’s true, mother sure was scary. But she’s of a lineage you could put against Ludmilla’s. I’ve no objections to blood, and personally, I say there isn’t a problem.』
Milleia-san, enjoying herself.
『Brod-kun’s opinion sure is useless. But my brother’s wife, huh… that’s formidable. Though she wasn’t hostile towards me.』
When it comes to the Sixth’s wife, she was the one he confessed to and married. With lifeless eyes, the scenes where she threw bloodcurdling looks at any woman who so much as got close to the Sixth was terrifying.
If she’s at the same level as my great grandmother, doesn’t that make her considerably dangerous?
Lianne-sama looked at me and smiled.
“I’ve heard your rumors. You did quite a bit in Beim. I heard you were also involved with the rebellion in Cartaffs, and that’s also true, isn’t it? Do you really intend to fight Celes?”
When her expression turned serious, I nodded. I had no intent to give a vague response to that.
“I will fight her. And of course, I’ll win. Right now, I’m doing the preparations for it.”
“And one of those preparations is our country, I see. It’s true you have a need to suppress Bahnseim’s west. Cartaffs in the north, and the countries gathered around Djanpear to the south… what plans have you for the east.”
I corrected my posture.
“I’ll do something myself on the eastern front.”
All she had to say to that was an, ‘is that so’.
“The atmosphere in the audience chamber… it felt as if you were the one ruling, Lianne-sama.”
On my words, she laughed.
“Just Lianne is fine. We’re both avengers all the same. I’m, you see… I’m going to count on you. To one day get revenge on Rufus who abandoned me… and Celes, I’m controlling Faunbeux from behind. If there’s anything you need for that sake, just say it. I’ll prepare it all for you. No matter what cost need be paid.”
Lianne-sama… no, Liane’s eyes were serious. And the first name she gave out for the target of her revenge wasn’t Celes who stole her fiancé, but the fiancé 【Rufus】. Crown prince of Bahnseim.
The woman blazing with revenge somehow overlapped in my eyes with the form of the Fifth. And I’m sure the Fifth had noticed it to.
『Lyle, this woman is serious. She seriously plans to get her revenge on Bahnseim… no, the crown prince and Celes. Whatever the cost… even if that cost is herself. Stop her. There’s still time.』
Hearing the Fifth’s opinion, I gripped the Jewel to show my affirmation.
“No matter the cost, is it?”
Her eyes were serious.
“If there is a need to sacrifice everything, then we need only carry it out. I’ve nothing left in me but vengeance. You can understand this feeling, can’t you? You want to have vengeance on Celes, don’t you? You want to torture her and watch her beg for forgiveness, don’t you? That is all I want to see. I’ll let you have Celes. And you’ll give Rufus to me. I’ll spend months killing him bit by bit. I’ve done quite some study for it. If you’re interested, I can teach you quite a few interesting means of tort…”
“I’m sorry. I’m aiming for a different sort of revenge. And I’m not thinking of torturing Celes.”
There, I got the feeling the Jewel went just a little warmer.
But Lianne’s eyes were filled with rejection… fed up, as if she was watching a spectacle she couldn’t believe… anyways, her eyes were a pair to rebuke me.
“… Do you think those around would accept such a thing? They’ll only think the Walt House dragged the continent into their family feud. And next, those unsatisfied with you will bare their blades in kind.”
Even so, what I was aiming for wasn’t vengeance against Celes.
It was already time for it to end. Not just Celes. And not only Agrissa or Septem either.
“Again, I’m sorry. I am fighting in order to save. I won’t say I’ll protect the lives of my family. They’ve done enough to warrant it all, and I do think clemency will be impossible. But what we all need is the what’s to come… the future. Unlike your sight that ends at revenge.”
I could see her eyes colored in rage. But she wasn’t one to spit reckless remarks.
“I see, it seems I was the only one who thought we were the same. But that is fine. The condition for our cooperation is for you to hand over Rufus. If you’ve no interest in Celes, could I take her as well? That is all that is necessary for Faunbeux to cooperate. We’ll even take up that empire fantasy of yours. To me, I really couldn’t care less.”
But to me, that was troubling.
“That would be troubling. I need Faunbeux to hold enough power to hold down its surroundings. As it is, it is insufficient. I want Faunbeux to have enough power to get together the western front.”
Lianne sounded uninterested.
“But you’re the one taking Bahnseim’s land, aren’t you? Then you should keep it as vast as you can. And you see, I’ve no interest in such a thing. Just how they’re to be crushed… that’s all I live for!”
Seeing Lianne’s madness, I felt anxious over whether I could really get her out of it.