The Faunbeux Kingdom.
In a room of the castle at its capital, I gathered the other four, and held a meeting about Lianne.
“… And that’s how it is, so it seems she feels considerably cornered. But at this rate, it will be troublesome if Faunbeux is crushed. Does anyone have any good ideas?”
With a stiff face, Aria looked around at the other members before returning her eyes to me.
“What? The princess is in that horrid a state?”
I nodded. She had taken over Faunbeux from behind, and was blazing with vengeance against Rufus and Celes. On top of that, I also explained how she would practice torture with glee.
Perhaps Aria’s reaction was the natural variety.
“She’s considerably pressed. I do think it’s because her standing was terrible once she got back as well.”
The princess abandoned by her fiancé. It’s true based on how you phrase it, it could buy pity, but the world wasn’t always so warm. ‘Isn’t it that there was a problem with Lianne?’ there were people who thought that, is how it is. Not only her family. The country and its authorities, and flowing down to the tip…
Within all that, Lianne ruled the country with her ability. No, rather than ability… perhaps it was a part of the individual’s nature.
“I thought she was a real princess, but she’s somehow different from my image. Back then, she was rather fleeting, or should I say pitiful…”
Clara lifted her glasses a bit and spoke to me after correcting their positioning.
“Isn’t it alright as long as we get her cooperation? Or could it be you plan on adding Lianne-san to the harem?”
It’s true, if it were only to defeat Celes, then there was no problem with how things were going.
However, that would be leaving a bomb in the country known as Faunbeux. It was scarier to imagine how, after victory, Lianne would go sluggish, and become uninvolved with the nation’s politics.
Would this land fostering so much hatred against the Walt house quietly listen to our side’s say? If it suddenly lost its rule and exploded, I would be troubled.
“The problem comes after the victory. You may laugh at how I’m thinking of the after before we’ve even fought, but that’s the important part. The battle isn’t the end of it.”
Clara nodded as if accepting that. But.
“In that case, Faunbeux needs Lianne-san now. Or perhaps we have to get her to follow us. The Walt House did get her a lot of resentment, so perhaps that one would be difficult on an emotional level.”
On Clara’s statement, the Seventh in the Jewel sounded embarrassed.
『Hmhm, it was quite an overwhelming victory… no, you could even call it our complete victory. We took the crown prince, and a number of important nobles hostage, and made a killing off the ransom. The troublesome ones died in battle, so it took ten years for them to get back on their feet… and the ones taken prisoner surely felt ashamed.』
Meaning the Sixth and Seventh were the cause.
No, I know. Losing is out of the question, and they had to win. But the problem lay in how their victory was so overwhelming that it left a trauma. Because of that, for the past few years, Faunbeux got the reputation of being weak at war tacked onto it.
If I were in their position, I’d definitely bear a grudge.
Aria made a conflicted expression.
“Huh? In that case, it’s best Lianne-sama stays in Faunbeux, right? Irrelevant to the harem, as long as you can get Faunbeux to recognize you, isn’t that the end?”
Monica who’d been listening silently confirmed the contents of the cups placed before us, and prepared a refill.
“Having so many recognize us would also be difficult, and the problem is the fruition of her revenge… after victory, the gallant lass getting Faunbeux together losing her motivation. For the future’s sake, why not just nab her?”
I refuted Monica’s opinion.
“Bahnseim alone has considerable land, right? Managing all that will be hell. If possible, I want to solve all the troublesome problems before it comes to that.”
The Fifth agreed with me from the Jewel.
『Quite right. Taking a country is flashy, but everything afterwards will feel quite plain, I’m sure. Or rather, We’ll have to exhaust the continent well, or it won’t work. War on top of reclaiming their territory… I get the feeling that’s not enough for Faunbeux to stop.』
The Third was the same.
『It’s a deep-rooted issue. Of all things, the ones in power are the traumatized generation, so it’s needlessly tangled. While we’re at it… why not just a quick change of heads?』
Scary. He sure says some scary things. But perhaps a generation shift was the correct method.
Shannon sipped Monica’s tea, looking a little perplexed.
“Hey, from what I can tell, that princess still has feelings for the prince, doesn’t she? Isn’t that why she can’t forgive him?”
I looked at her, and sighed.
“That’s precisely why it’s so troubling. Her love was deep, so it turned to hatred deeper.”
Shannon looked at me, and returned the side.
“And. I’m. Saying! What I want to say is, that princess will definitely detest whoever kills him! At this rate, it isn’t a Faunbeux without her, but one with her that will bare its fangs.”
Aria, Clara and I looked at Shannon. When you think of it, deplorable as she usually was, Shannon had eyes that let her capture the fluctuations of one’s heart by the flow of Mana.
Brimming with confidence, she stuck out her absent chest, and nodded.
“Hmm, this Shannon-sama’s eyes are amazing. She hates him for now, but she’s still deeply in love. That’s why she can’t forgive him, is how it feels.”
“Wait. In that case, our next opponent would be the princess who took over a country by herself? Listen here, I don’t really get the back stage and that area, but I do think Lianne-sama is dangerous.”
Clara grabbed my sleeve with her fingertips, and when I lifted my face.
“Lyle-san… it’s ‘mr. lyle’s’ turn. Make the princess of Faunbeux fall. She’ll definitely be troublesome, that princess.”
Monica touched her hand to her chin, and extended her own point of view.
“Hmm, even if you’re to fight, she isn’t the type to perform on the frontline, but to move around in the back. If what you’re saying is true she holds a troubling and elusive Skill. There’s no doubt she’ll be trouble. And much more ill-natured than a human using Skills to manipulate the psyche. With our current members… she may be more a pain than Ludmilla. On the same level as that vixen Novem. No, if you make a clear enemy of her, her troubesomness may be even greater. No way of telling what means she’d use, after all.”
Shannon looked at me and spoke.
“That princess… is scarier than my sister. No, if they fought, my sister would definitely win, but I don’t mean that sort of scary… true terror.”
So if we beat Celes, in the worst case, a Celes-level monster would be born. No, it was a different sort of threat, so I couldn’t compare them.
“… Then what shall I do.”
Within the Jewel.
I held out my right arm to LYLE. He mended the glowing blue light running across it, and kept my complaints company.
『What? A scary princess this time? Why do you keep rolling such BS? Almost everyone around you really is BS.』
Within the room of memories. The room I was once confined.
Sitting on the bed, I averted my eyes from him.
“… T-they’re all kind to me, so…”
『That’s right. They’re kind ‘to you’, Lyle. Though if you grow lax, it feels a true death match will begin… oh, this one’s also terrible. Just how did she destroy it so thoroughly? What’ more, it’s been abandoned so long, it’s more difficult to repair than I’d ever imagined.』
My Mana flow ripped to shreds by Celes. Trying to repair it, LYLE placed a hand on my back.
That small hand pat me.
『Revenge, huh. She doesn’t understand true revenge. And a way that self-destructs can’t even be called second-rate. True revenge is… whoa, even here’s messed up.』
‘I should’ve treated you sooner’ he said and laughed.
And he addressed me.
『… Lyle, I said it right? I want you to save my family. Now here’s the question. For ‘my and your’ family, what do you think saving is?』
As he pat my back and asked, I looked down and answered.
“To kill them. Painlessly, so they don’t have to suffer anymore.”
I couldn’t see what expression he was making. But I’m sure he didn’t look so gleeful.
『Correct. And for my manipulated parents, that is the greatest level of salvation we can offer. Though there’s the possibility of sheltering them somewhere too. But the parent I know wouldn’t accept that. The father I thought more noble than anyone. The kind and proud mother. If the two of them were freed from Celes’ grasp, I’m sure they’d choose death. That’s who they were.』
Hearing LYLE’s words, I felt saddened.
“But I don’t have those memories. Hey, can’t you return them? I… only have vague memory of them. I want memories of my family. I want to remember them!”
LYLE didn’t answer. And he placed his hand on both my shoulders. It felt my body was getting warmer, and after a while of silence, he opened his mouth.
『… I’m sorry.』
I lifted my face. I tried to turn, but with him pinning my shoulders, I couldn’t look around. Even if I turned just my head, he was looking down, and I couldn’t make out his expression.
『I think returning your memories is the right thing. For that sake alone, I’m the Celes-sealed memories the Jewel set free. I’m the memories themselves. To humans, memories are vital. Vital enough to… influence your life.』
“That’s precisely why…!”
『That’s precisely why!』
Lyle raised his voice.
『That’s precisely why I won’t give the memories to you. I don’t want to. What’s important to the Jewel isn’t the current Lyle. It’s the Lyle who can defeat Celes. For that sake, it’s strongly alligned itself to you. But that’s not how it should be. I…』
LYLE took his hands off my shoulders.
When I turned, the inside of the room turned grey, and began crumbling away like sand. Once the ashen sandstorm died down, what remained was a room recreating the inside of the Jewel.
In the recreation, the First, Second, fourth and Sixth sat in their own chairs. That gray Jewel interior.
Even if I looked around, the four of them didn’t show a reaction to me.
The round table spread out, and once it became like an arena, LYLE gripped his Sabre in his right hand. The Sabre he got on his birthday. The Sabre I carried on.
A ten-year-old form. Such a me took a stance with his Sabre.
“… The usual deal; if I win, you’ll give them back, right?”
Holding my left hand up front, I manifested the Katana I’d been using. Gripping the scabbard, I grasped the hilt in my right hand, and drew the blade.
『Now, your treatment’s over. In your current state, you should be able to output a four or five. Come at me for real. If you want your memories so badly, then beat me and take them!』
Greater power than before entered my body. That power I could barely contain was beginning to adjust to my body. I felt those lines of blue light racing across my body.
LYLE was the same. Approaching me in an instant, he thrust out his Sabre. But I caught its blade under my armpit, and immediately let out a kick.
Swiftly letting go of the Sabre, LYLE leapt to the side, and landed on the floor.
“I can see it!”
Up to that point, it wasn’t easy to follow, but my eyes could keep with LYLE’s speed. And When I slammed the scabbard in my left hand down at him, it hit the floor, and shattered it some.
Leaping up, LYLE gripped his Sabre, and lowered it towards me.
I parried it with my right hand’s Katana, letting sparks fly.
『… Moving on. Lyle, you still don’t understand. The weapons of the ancestors, you can use them like this too!』
What LYLE manifested in his hand was the Sixth’s Halberd. Swiping it horizontally, I received it with the scabbard. Holding it back at its shaft, I tried to kick him away, when LYLE pulled the Halberd back.
The axe portion cut my left hand, and blood flowed.
Throwing down his Sabre, LYLE swung the Halberd he held in both hands. I unhanded the scabbard, and when it hit the ground, it shattered away like glass, and disappeared.
『I said it, right? You’re not the only one who can use them. I’m also “Lyle Walt” you know. Even I can use their weapons.』
The Halberd in LYLE’s hands had a strange appearance. The form of the axe and spear, and the length of the handle… they had changed.
I stuck my Katana into the ground, and tried gripping the Halberd myself. The polearm with the form I was used to manifested for me.
LYLE approached, skillfully swinging about his Halberd. Contrarily, I who’d been approached, was slow to react.
“Its reach is…”
『Different, right? That’s right. The Sixth’s Halberd can change from the length of its shaft to the shape of its blade. Why didn’t you ever notice?』
Hearing that, I tried shortening the shaft to counteract him, but this time he extended it… extending it further than ten meters downwards, and climbing as high as the room’s ceiling, there he changed the Halberd to the Bow.
I instantly prepared the Fourth’s Daggers, and deployed them in front of me. The Daggers spun to draw a circle, but he didn’t aim his arrows at me, LYLE shot at everything else… and on the verge of hitting the floor, they changed direction.
I used the daggers in both my hands to hit some down, but my right arm and left thigh were pierced through.
『You haven’t mastered the Second’s Bow. Based on how you use it, you can even do something like that. And…』
What LYLE gripped was the Fourth’s Daggers. Feeling him activate a Skill, I abruptly used one as well.
『… Too slow.』
By the time I noticed it, the silver daggers had stuck in all over my body. Collapsing to my knees, the blades disappeared, and the wounds recovered.
After somehow managing to raise myself, I saw LYLE standing on top of the floating daggers. Making footholds out of them, and after springing up, he took out the giant sword this time. The sword the First Generation used was a weapon specialized to destruction.
I also prepared it. When that large sword… that lump of metal met another, I was sent flying.
Rolling across the floor, it was all I could manage not to let it go.
LYLE leaned the sword over his shoulder. That child shouldered a sword larger than his own body, and looked at me.
『The Skills and the weapons… you really are awful at using them. They were all so powerful in essence that you hardly thought over how to use them beyond that. Do you really intend to beat Celes like that? Doesn’t look like I can return your memories just yet.』
I grit my teeth and stood. Sticking the First’s sword into the ground, and getting to my feet, the Founder of memories was nearby. I got the feeling his attention was directed at me.
“Saying whatever you want… as if you could understand. My memories were stolen, and I couldn’t even comprehend that fact; I didn’t know anything! Causing nothing but trouble to everyone around, and even that wasn’t enough for me… they’re my memories, aren’t they! Give them back!”
LYLE didn’t say anything. He simply lowered the large sword from his shoulder, and took a stance. Sucking in his Mana, that menacing blade changed its form.
I couldn’t understand. If he was made with an objective of returning my memories, there should be some reason for him to deny it…
But if I had to take a guess.
“You just don’t want to disappear, right? If you return those memories to me, there’s no telling what’ll happen to you, after all!”
LYLE gave a sorrowful laugh.
『Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Even I’m scared of fading away! So if you want them back, then try killing me! Try erasing me!!』
Imitating LYLE, I flowed my Mana into the sword. It let off a blue light, and its form changed. A different change than in LYLE’s. We both used all our Skills to take a step forward.
When the two swords collided, and intense shock assailed the room.