… Beim, a room in the Guild’s east branch.
In that large, orderly room, Adele Belgi looked at the lines of desks.
There were five lightly-equipped Valkyries stationed. Also present were the guild personnel, and the merchants who didn’t run away alongside their men.
In order to fight Bahnseim’s remnants, Maksim had marched off, so Adele currently had no allies.
The one to mercilessly thrust that reality at her was Monica.
“The leader of the alliance is about to enter Bahnseim’s east, the land that once belonged to a nation neighboring this one. So the management of Beim shall be left to all of you.”
Adele looked out the window. Beim in ruins. And the city’s residents taking refuge. On top of that, the smaller problems… all of them were being shoved onto them.
Adele raised her hand.
“What is it, Adele-sama?”
Monica’s forced addition of the –sama irritated Adele.
“I have a question. With Beim facing such ruin, it’s management shall be left to we alone?”
Monica nodded expressionlessly.
“Yes. Affirmative. You’ve exactly right. For the main force is entering the land east of Bahnseim that… it’s a pain, so let’s just saying they’re entering the country formerly known as 【Rhuvenns】. There, they’ll likely start into full-blown preparations. Ah, worry not. Maksim-dono will remain behind in Beim.”
Lyle’s force was to enter Rhuvenns under General Blois’ rule, and prepare to counteract Bahnseim from there. That she understood.
But Adele spoke.
“… I-I get the feeling we’re short-staffed over here?”
“We’re short-staffed everywhere. Well, we’ve gotten together whoever seems cooperative, so do your best. I’ve high expectations of your municipal abilities, Adele-sama.”
As Monica stuck up her thumb and smiled, Adele ruffled up her hair.
“A-at the very least, leave Lianne-san or Novem-san! There’s no way I can manage the city of Beim alone!”
Monica shook her head with a smile. There, she became expressionless again.
“Maintain the status quo. Make revival and Labyrinth management the bare minimum goal. Henceforth, Beim shall be split into South Beim and North Beim… its interests shared. A large portion of the Guild’s rights will be confiscated, so please work hard as proxy leader.”
Taking the Guild’s rights. That was an important thing for Lyle. On top of that, by splitting Beim between north and south, his goal was to chip away at the power merchant’s held as he fostered a greater sense of competition.
The ruined North Beim. The developing- yet still small in scale- South Beim.
It was the birth of twin Beims.
But from Adele’s point of view, hectic work had simply been shoved onto her.
“… Can I refuse?”
Monica remained expressionless.
“Do you think you can? Rest assured. It’s not like everyone’s going to Ruvenns at once. There are various jobs that remain such as adding the prisoners of wars to our forces. But Lianne-sama made her way to Ruvenns first.”
While she wasn’t the same type as Adele, if she had to say, Lianne was the type more suited to desk work. While Lyle was away, her ability was abundant enough to act as agent leader of South Beim.
But if that Lianne had already made her way out, Adele was the only one left.
They couldn’t borrow anyone from the alliance. Zayin and Lorphys were busy with their expanded territory, while Galleria and Rusworth had been lacking in domestic affairs staff from the start. Cartaffs and Djanpear would be difficult, and having come to this point, the lack of people capable of working the back lines was become more severe.
Adele hung her head, and offered a word…
“Curse you… Lyle-san.”
… Where the Trēs House manor once stood, now in tatters.
Perhaps some noble had made use of it, as its furniture had been taken, and there were traces of battle left behind. Entering such a manor, Vera and Fidel were surrounded by their subordinates who’d followed them all the way to South Beim.
“… Fidel-sama, there are also areas devastated by fire. This manor is no longer…”
When one of his men muttered disheartened, Fidel gave an, ‘I see,’ as he looked at the manor in nostalgia. Vera could only watch her father.
There, a knock came to the mansion’s broken door, causing everyone to turn. There, with black hair and red eyes… stood a Valkyrie in maid’s clothing. Behind her, a slightly-worn Gina and Roland… alongside Fidel’s former subordinates who’d driven them him stood looking at the ground.
When Vera caller her name, Gina raised her face.
“Everything was taken. Some ships were caught in the chaos and capsized… the employees betrayed, and took the others. If you want to laugh, then go right ahead! Isn’t that why you searched us out!?”
As Roland held her back, Fidel looked over the two. The subordinates behind them couldn’t look Fidel in the eye. Perhaps they were embarrassed.
Vera addressed Gina.
“… I just wanted to see you if you were alive. I’m glad you’re safe.”
Lyle’s goal… the situation encircling Beim, and Bahnseim’s declaration of war. In the worst case, Vera thought Gina may have died. But she was relieved to see her alive.
And Fidel was the same. But he spoke.
“How unsightly. When I think of how I was driven away by you all, I can only feel more shameful of myself.”
Gina and Roland’s bodies twitched. Time continued going by like that, until Gina hung her head.
“… We’ll accept any form of punishment. But accept the people who worked for us in South Beim. I beg of you, father.”
In regards to her daughter’s lowered head, Fidel took a cold attitude.
“Accept them after they drove me out? Your credibility rests at zero. After one betrayal, saying you want to serve under me again is…”
Looking at Fidel’s attitude, Vera covered her face. He really did want to help them. But having only just started up a new business in South Beim, employing any more hands would be difficult.
Simultaneously, South Beim currently held a deep-rooted animosity centered around the belief Beim had thrown them away.
As South Beim was, it was impossible for the driven-out-side accepting merchants of Beim.
“A number of large mercantile ships that had abandoned Beim made their way to South Beim, but we turned them all away. That was South Beim’s answer. Do you understand? South Beim will not accept any of you. That is fact.”
Fidel walked off, everyone following behind him. Vera stopped beside Gina and Roland. Fidel followed suit.
But their subordinates continued walking on.
“… That whelp has a few debts to settle with me. I negotiated to have him let you set up a business in north Beim. I’ll prepare an extent of money. The stolen ships have been secured in South Beim. We’re using them to transport cargo, so come to receive them at the port in three days’ time. That’s all I will do for you. Roland, I leave Gina to you.”
… He said, and walked off. Normally, he’d have wanted to help them, but the surrounding environment, and the feelings of his subordinates. On top of that, the opposing representative merchants of Beim were to be crushed for the sake of Lyle’s plan.
Gina raised her face.
Vera walked off as well.
“He pushed himself quite a bit. Now do something about it for yourselves.”
Using all Lyle’s debt to him, he had forced him to recognize Gina’s business in north Beim. That was the most he could do…
The top floor of an inn of Beim.
In that room with a high-class feel, I wrapped a blanket around myself. It was getting dark outside the window, and one day was on the verge of ending. It was a darkness unthinkable of Beim, the city whose streets were once lit at night. The stars looked pretty, but I felt terrible.
“… It’s not my fault.”
From the Jewel, I could hear the Third’s laugh.
『Golly, this time was a huge harvest. To think right after collapsing, you’d take the former Holy Maiden to go, I never even imagined it.』
The Seventh was the same. He gave a similar laugh.
『For me, hearing Lyle’s grand goal of doing good for the world was quite satisfying. No, was that mr. lyle’s goal?』
These guys… they’re having fun teasing me.
I heard a knock. As my body reeled back in shock, I let out a voice.
“Pardon my intrusion. Lyle-sama, I’ve come with today’s reports. It’s seems you’ve received various reports form Monica-san, but there are some other specifics as well.”
The one who entered the room was Novem. There was no worry of her teasing me, so I was relieved, but when I recalled how she had seen my post-Growth state as well, it was awkward. I’d shown it to her time and time again, but every time only increased the past I wanted to burry.
“S-sorry. I wanted to be alone for a while… I-I’ll come out tomorrow.”
“It would be a big help if you did. Lyle-sama, you’re the leader of the alliance. It’s a huge difference just if you make an appearance or not. And Lianne-san headed for Ruvenns. She did have guards. But even if they train up their troops there, it will only be to the a bare minimum level. It’s already winter, after all. They shouldn’t be able to move for a while.”
I looked out the window.
“That’s right. It isn’t snowing, but the cold is becoming harsher. We’ll have to reconstruct the surrounding villages, and distribute people a bit.”
There were too many people gathered, that goods expenditure was becoming something extraordinary. Even if we stole back what we could from Bahnseim, the problem was that there was less than expected.
Novem took a seat on the bed.
“According to Lianne-san, she’s going to gather people who endorse you in Ruvenns. For that occasion, she’ll try to shake off as many spies as possible, but perfection will be difficult.”
I’ll do something about that when I make my way there. I have the appropriate Skill for it.”
Novem sounded delighted.
“That would be Fiennes-sama’s Skill, right?”
She said. I was surprised she knew it, but it was Novem after all. It wouldn’t be strange for her to know, and it was natural for the Forxuz House to have documents on the Walt House. There was no use in minding it.
There, Novem’s face turned serious.
“Also, I heard from Baldoir-dono, but I cannot recognize his marriage to the princess of Lorphys. Baldoir-dono is an important retainer who will support you henceforth.”
“… Novem, you’re quite terrible yourself. Aren’t you just saying Lorphys’ princess is plain terrible? Well, they’re too far in status, so I do think it’s impossible.”
As I said that, Novem gave a giggle. I was led along by her into a laugh, and the two of us exchanged some more friendly banter.
… Within the Jewel.
Looking at Novem happily conversing with Lyle, the Third looked a little relieved. There were five silver weapons floating around the round table room, and now it was as quiet as if its once-boisterous atmosphere was a lie.
『I was a bit worried for Lyle, but it looks like it will work out. Perhaps it’s best his mind is focused on mr. lyle right now.』
The Seventh nodded.
『No matter what reasons he has, his feelings of guilt will come out soon. When so many people have been killed, I’m sure he’ll have to take quite a bit upon himself. Well, he’s got Novem and the others with him, so perhaps he’ll be fine? Though that Novem is a bit suspicious.』
The Third touched a hand to his mouth as he smiled.
『Isn’t it fine? It’s a bit heavy, but that’s still love. Now the problem is how Lyle plans on having Novem-chan turn his way in the truest sense.』
The Seventh sounded worried.
『If he could do that, most problems would be settled. Well, the major problem would still remain, thought.』
The major one… it was Celes.
In order to fight Celes, the ancestors were entrusting their knowledge… and their Skills to Lyle. They were preparing for a determined, and certain victory.
If there was to be a problem, it would have to be what came after winning the war. If Celes was able to escape, it would be a problem.
There was no point in surrounding him with people who would end up charmed. In the end, Lyle would have to fight Celes. He was gathering members for that sake, but the ancestors hadn’t the slightest clue what his chances of winning were.
And there was a problem they knew.
『The eastern front is wide open. Other countries are marching their lines towards the superpower… you think they’ll show up?』
On the Third’s question, the Seventh nodded with a serious expression.
『They’re coming. The Walt army we trained up will definitely move. At soonest, right when winter breaks. But it all depends on the situation.』
The Third touched a hand to his chin, and looked up at the ceiling.
『Even if a rebellion breaks out within the country, as long as it’s small in scale, they’ll prioritize Lyle. There are feudal lords in Bahnseim who’ll side with him, but… those hostages in Centralle are troublesome.』
And there was something that intrigued the Third even more. He looked at the Seventh.
『Now then, it’s about right time I asked. Seventh… no, Brod, do you think you can watch over Lyle’s fight with Maizel?』
That the Walt House would move meant Maizel… The Eighth Generation Head of the Walt House would make his move. There was a possibility he would send a representative, but that didn’t change the fact they would be fighting the Walt House’s army.
『From my point of view, my era’s too far removed. To be honest, after we got Baldoir-kun’s cooperation, I’ve barely any lingering attachments. But what about you? There’s no guarantee it’ll only be traitors like the Virden House.』
The Seventh looked down.
『… Sure enough, it may be something painful to watch. But if the Walt House is going to fall at this rate, it may be best for Lyle to be the one to deliver the finishing blow.』
The Third looked down as well.
『That may be ideal, but I’m emotionally…』
The Seventh looked up at the ceiling.
『… We’ve finally come all the way here.』
The preparations to fight Celes were reaching their final stage…