Lyle the Fortunate
In the court of Rhuvenns castle, I spoke with General Blois.
It was a meeting about our challenging of the Labyrinth.
“Beim’s Labyrinth at this point in time? What’s more, platoon heads and higher… well, I do think it’s necessary. Beim’s army is one thing, but your army is severely lacking in mid-class commanders, after all.”
Holding a bundle of papers, General Blois had his adjutant by his side. On the other hand, I had Valkyries standing on both sides.
“Our lack of commanders is something terrible. I need to do whatever it takes to get some together in a short period of time. Knight or soldier regardless. I think I’ll give a reward and promotion to whoever does well.”
On my words, perhaps the general understood, as he scratched his hair with his left hand.
“So you’ll have them compete. I do hope all goes well. There are plenty of people in the world who think of dragging other people down. Some caution is required in healthy competition.”
Hearing General Blois’ words, the Third spoke to me.
『Alright, if he already understands that much then leave this matter to him. He’s a person who stands above others by nature. Leave various tasks to him and you’ll be able to prioritize your own work.』
The Seventh sounded delighted.
『It sure is nice to have someone you can push work onto.』
As I said what I’d wanted to, I pat the good general on the shoulder.
“Then I’ll leave it to you, general .You can work out the specifics.”
There, General Blois turned his eyes from his documents to me.
“… Eh? Um, I have quite a bit of other work I have to do.”
At that moment, Novem appeared in the court.
“Lyle-sama, do you have a moment?”
“What’s wrong? It’s a bit early for your return.”
General Blois looked like he wanted to say something, but I approached Novem. Behind her was a small, short girl… Innis-san. While I thought it was a strange pairing, Novem said she wished to speak in a room with no one else.
As we moved to the palace’s office, I heard from Novem about Innis-san’s skill.
The Third in the Jewel raised a voice of surprise.
『That’s a shocker. Information? For such a convenient Skill to exist.』
The Seventh was also surprised, but he seemed a bit more worked up.
『If we have a Skill like that… Lyle!』
I understood what they wanted to say. Innis-san’s Skill… Information was one that could perform a prediction of the future if you fed it information. If I had that Skill on my side, I had nothing left to fear.
I decided to ask about the urgent and pressing matter at hand.
Novem told me Innis-san’s request.
“In exchange for her cooperation, Innis-san has requested a better treatement of Rauno-san. Lyle-sama, if you appoint Rauno-san as a knight, and promise further…”
“… Before all that, there’s something I have to ask.”
Novem closed her mouth. Innis-san corrected her posture as she sat on the office’s sofa. She looked nervous as she waited for what I was to say.
The Third let out a serious voice.
『That’s right. There’s something we need to ask no matter what at this stage. But we also need to discern the Skill’s accuracy.』
The Seventh was serious as well.
『First let’s give her information, and try a few experiments. By the result, we may have to tune the length of time we spend in the Labyrinth.』
I looked at Innis-san.
“… The truth is, I’m troubled by women problems. I’d like you to look into how I can resolve them.”
Seriously… I posed her the question in extreme seriousness.
After a little space of silence…
I heard blank voices from the Jewel as well. The Third sounded let down
『Eh? That one? That’s what you’re going to ask? Lyle, I think you’re a little mistaken here.』
The one mildly angered was the Seventh.
『Lyle, now’s not the time for jokes. Isn’t there something else you should be asking?』
I made him angry, but if you’ll let me have my say, my women problems were what required the greatest urgency. An environment where problems would come out if I went further with anyone. These grating human relations. I had nothing but anxiety for my future.
Novem sounded a little trouble.
“Lyle-sama, a question like that is a bit…”
No matter how much cooperation she promised, Innis wasn’t a person to whom I should divulge our internal problems so easily. I know that, Novem. But at the moment, I wanted to do something about this field.
“I’m sorry, but this is also a matter that demands the utmost urgency. I’m serious here! I believed in Baldoir, but he plainly knew women. My only comrades are Damien and Maksim-san… and yet I don’t have anyone around me I can consult about my women problems!”
Baldoir was fed up with my female relations, or rather, there were too many he was actually wondering how they managed at all.
Damien sought quality over quantity, and didn’t understand my worries.
Maksim-san… was put on guard whenever I approached Adele-san. He didn’t even trust me.
“Um, were you listening to what Novem-san was saying? If I don’t have a level of information, the accuracy of my predictions is low. Even if you ask me that all of a sudden, I’m unable to answer.”
I made a smile.
“That’s alright. I’ll offer the information. Ask anything you want.”
Innis-san looked between Novem’s face and mine. Novem sighed and moved to leave the room.
“I’m sure it will be difficult to speak while I’m here, so I’ll be outside.”
As Novem left the room, I began filling Innis-san with all the necessary information.
With this… I won’t have to be troubled by women anymore!
“It’s just as I thought.”
As I sat on the sofa, I continued passing questions to Innis-san in her Skill-induced state. But I no longer held my hopes and expectations from before.
Regretful… repentant feelings.
The reason being, the result brought by giving the girl information and activating her Skill… it gave a single answer.
“There is no possible way for me to live in peace,” is how it was. So in the end, I decided to reflect and search for a resolution that led to the least amount of casualties.
“… What will happen if I make Ludmilla-san the legal wife?”
Innis-san let off a faint light in the room, speaking in a bit of a calm tone.
“The moment you announce the legal wife verdict, Faunbeux will likely offer a harsh objection. Lianne Faunbeux will begin moving various things behind the scenes. Cartaffs is the second largest country to Bahnseim, but after Faunbeux recovers its landmass postwar as promised, it will lose its unchallenged national power. With intense resistance, there is a high possibility it will all degenerate to two factions.”
I sat cradling my knees on the sofa. Letting out a sigh, next…
“Then who can I choose for things to go well?”
“To speak from conclusions, there will be problems no matter who you choose. On the contrary, the ones who you should not choose by any means are the demi-humans Eva, May and Monica. There will be problems in succession, and none of the three desire that status.”
Eva and May aside, I made a dubious expression when Monica’s name came out.
“Well, I agree those three are out. Then how about Aria or Clara?”
“… If you lay the groundwork, the others will accept them as legal wife. However, there is a high possibility one of them shall be made into a blatant puppet. Aria Lockwarde, Clara Bulmer, even if the individuals are able to support Lyle Walt, it is foreseeable that problems will come out with them as empress of the empire.”
I held their images in my mind as I went on.
“Well, I guess it would be a bit hard for them to probe each other. But that side without ulterior motives is looking more appealing by the second.”
The Third sounded a little disappointed.
『That’s right. It’s best if Clara-chan supports Lyle from behind. Hah, I had always imagined them together, reading through books in a giant library.』
The Seventh spoke.
『It’s a problem if you can’t choose Ludmilla or Lianne. In that case, as you suppress the factions, won’t a puppet, or rather public empress be necessary? Or perhaps, if a third faction exists…』
Miranda’s face came up.
“Then what about Miranda!?”
“It is thought that she will be able to suppress the two greater factions, and exhibit ample prowess as an empress… However…”
When it sounded nice part-way through, Innis-san dropped the bomb.
“In order to strengthen her own faction, there is a high probability she will increase the number of mistresses. Between Gracia Galleria and Elza Rusworth, she will try to take one of them into her faction, but that won’t be the end of it.”
“Eh? She can’t take them both? They used to get along well.”
Gracia and Elza had been exchanging letters between each other. And yet, at this point, they certainly did have a dubious relation.
“… It will be difficult to put the two of them into the same faction. On the contrary, if you make one of them the empress, there is a high probability the other one will start up their own faction.”
From the Jewel, I could hear the Third’s voice.
『Now this is getting messy.』
“Why did it come to this? Is there no peaceful option?”
Innis-san spoke disinterestedly in regards to me.
“Everyone possesses considerable ability. If any one of them got serious, they have enough talent to set various things in motion. I must ask the contrary. Why did you ever think this would end peacefully?”
I ignored Innis-san’s question, and moved onto my next one.
“Then what about Vera!?”
She was a merchant daughter, but despite this and that, she had quite a kind side to her. Could this be a surprisingly good selection? As I was thinking that…
“Vera Trēs is the daughter of a merchant. Regardless the wishes of the person in question, it can’t be helped that in a continent where noble blood is highly valued, it will be considered a poor move universally. It is foreseen that the individual will try to take those sorts of troubles onto herself, ending up in tatters in the end. When that happens, her father Fidel Trēs shall use all means at his disposal to get revenge on…”
“Really sorry. No good after all. Yep, I don’t want to see her in tatters.”
I didn’t want to have her push herself to not show her troubles on the surface and take it all in. Innis-san continued.
“Good or bad irrelevant, making an empress of a Merchant Daughter will increase the power of Beim you sought to chip away. Merchant power all across the continent will increase… alongside that, the status of knights will fall, and the number of mercenaries is expected to rise. Even if you succeed in conquering the continent, it is expected that the empire’s glory will cease in just a few generations.”
It would increase the power of money, and make paupers of knights, said Innis-san. Because of that, the feudal lords will turn to hired swords… mercenaries, and there will be a worsening of public order, she said.
The Seventh spoke with all his might.
『… Lyle, you have to give up on Vera. It’ll get even worse than it is now. Well, even if the girl is decent, the greedier merchants will use her name to do whatever they please is how it is.』
When she was such a nice girl, what a terrible future. For her sake, I concluded that I would never be able to give her the legal wife status.
The Third spoke.
『In that case, that leaves Shannon-chan. Well I’ll be, there’s no way that one will work out.』
“… What if I just settle for the worst one, Shannon?”
There, Innis spoke.
“Shannon Circry, is it? In the case she becomes empress, you will earn her sister Miranda Circry’s support. If you can hide her handicap of being blind, she has enough ability to make it as an empress. With her Demon Eyes… Ludmilla Cartaffs and Lianne Faunbeux will be wary of her seeing through their plights, and the faction wars will likely quiet down.”
The Seventh spoke.
『What’s this!? That was the most favorable response we’ve heard all day!』
The Third seemed surprised.
『How unexpected, for that uselessly cute girl to actually be so skilled…』
I tried asking the last one.
“Then what about Novem?”
But in regards to that, Innis-san spoke.
“… There is too little information to conduct a predictions. At the current stage, prediction is impossible. However.”
“… At the current stage, there is a high probability that Lyle Walt and Novem Forxus will be unhappy.”
A few days later.
Arriving in Beim, in the middle of reconstruction, I led an army of five thousand. I left Baldoir behind to defend Rhuvenns, and starting with Novem, I left Aria and Miranda as well.
No matter what happened, we wouldn’t lose at once.
The surrounding rubble had been removed, and nothing had yet to be done to the places that weren’t in use. The inner wall made of ages passed was now enough to contain all of North Beim.
The largely shrunken Beim didn’t have its past prosperity. But it was moving towards reconstruction, and with the results in sight, smiles were returning to the peoples’ faces.
There were soup kitchens run out of the intact buildings, supplying food to the refugees and those that had lost their place to live.
Entering such a city, Beim’s residents took some distance from us.
Riding a horse, General Blois awkwardly scratched his hair.
“Good grief, you sure are hated.”
Without changing my expression.
“Well, it’s the first time something like this ever happened to Beim. From an outsider’s point of view, it was inevitable, though.”
The discontentments of the four-nation alliance towards the city were especially large. Zayin and Lorphys had suffered heavy casualties because of Beim.
For those who experienced Beim fan their flames and send in mercenaries to devastate their lands, it was natural retribution.
“This’ll leave some marks. If all goes poorly, once they’re done with their rebuilding, there’s a possibility they might proclaim their independence.”
I answered to General Blois’ anxiety.
“Beim’s a commercial city. I’ll permit it to have an extent of authority. But not more than an extent. I’ll prepare different people to manage the surrounding land.”
On those words, the general rubbed his chin.
“… You split Beim in two, and held down their surroundings. With this, Beim’s only means of obtaining food will be to buy it. When did you think of such a thing? No, since when were you considering it?”
I laughed a bit. From the moment we arrived in Beim, the ancestors in the Jewel were instantly put on guard by its assets and authority. If I had to say, we thought to chip at their assets from the moment we got here.
With my slight laugh, perhaps General Blois sensed something, as he didn’t continue his line of questioning. But he did make a comment.
“What a scary person.”
I offered my take.
“I’ve still got a long way to go.”
… Was all I could say.