Natural Enemy of Labyrinths
If you said the word Beim some time ago, it would only indicate what was now North Beim. But right now, it was the ruins of where a city stood, of piles of removed rubble, and continued reconstruction.
The one waiting for me in such a city was Adele-san with bags under her eyes. Maksim-san accompanied her, and to welcome me into the city of North Beim…
“… When I thought you’d finally distributed men to help in the reconstruction, you’re going off to the Labyrinth, eh? No, it’s nothing. You’re as free as ever, I see. I do hope it leads to something good in the end! But… please send some hands over here. Like Clara. Or that straight-laced Clara. Or Clara. Or maybe even Monica-san would be fine.”
… I really couldn’t. No, perhaps she was aware of that. But her stress building up by the day was being strongly directed against me.
Maksim-san gave a shrug of his shoulders.
“Sorry. Adele-sama is reaching her limit. If possible, it would be a huge help if you could send some help over here.”
Hearing that, I looked at Adele-san and Maksim-san.
“… No, as long as you rotate and circulate work around the people currently stationed here, shouldn’t it work out? Why can’t you get yourself some moderate rest?”
As I said that, Adele-san…
“I want to rest! But! But… day after day, complaints calling themselves requests come directly addressed to me. What’s more, no matter what I lay hands on they complain! They complain, I tell you1”
Watching her on the verge of tears was General Blois standing beside me. He seemed a little perplexed.
“Well, we have to get in some urgent reorganization and training, and if Rhuvenns is breached, reconstruction would be the least of our problems.”
To be blunt, we didn’t have the leisure to send anyone. Rather, while it’s true Beim had come under my protection… Adele-san’s people were pushing themselves too far.
“No, just complete the work in moderation. The way you’re doing things clearly seems to be impossible. If you don’t want to be negligent, you’ll need some moderate rest.”
The Third in the Jewel spoke in a gentle voice.
『Ah, it’s that. Adele-chan is a kind girl. Or maybe too earnest. Reconstruction is a story of a decade, maybe even two, so she should really learn to take it in stride. If she presses everything too hard like that, she’ll collapse.』
What I learned upon coming to the site was that she was trying too hard. The supplies were prepared, and she was doing what needed to be done. Even I wouldn’t be able to process any additional requests.
In truth, if we allotted everything towards Beim’s revival, we would definitely lose against Bahnseim. More than that, that I even left them Adele-san was an act of kindness.
“Reconstruction won’t end in a few years. We have ten, or twenty years in our field of vision. So exert yourself in moderation. Without any negligence. That’s how it is, so Maksim-san… force Adele-san to get some rest. Ah, you can take a day off with her.”
Learning she should have rested, Adele dropped her shoulders. And from her knees, her entire body dropped as well.
“N-no way… so it would’ve been better off if I rested…”
No, go get some sleep already. It’ll be nothing but trouble if the top collapses. It will be impossible to resolve everything in a short period of time.
Maksim-san put an arm around her shoulders, and led her off. I exchanged a look with General Blois. There, the general…
“Ah, youth. Earnest and full of a sense of responsibility. That child’s the adjutant type. But if you put her at the top, she’s the archetype where the ones below her don’t grow.”
It seems she was the type that wouldn’t delegate enough work to those below her. I had received that sort of warning in the past before. Come to think of it… I was cautioned on that in the Labyrinth. Arumsaas’ Labyrinth, and awkward as we were, I was given the objective of breaching the thirtieth floor…
“She’ll just have to learn from now on. She’s a valuable civil officer. I’ll have to let her get in some experience and learn from it.”
General Blois laughed.
“It’s truly a good thing when you have a lot of people capable of working. Makes our lives a lot easier.”
The Seventh mumbled.
『This guy’s the typical commander type. The troublesome type that grows lax after delegating work to others.』
I removed my gaze from General Blois, and focused on the entrance to Beim’s Labyrinth. It was the entrance of a cave that proceeded downwards. The area around it was in order, and it was regulated by a gate.
In the past, it had many guards and people passing in and out, I’m sure there were plenty of food stalls and bazaars around… I could see the vestiges. At this point, a few stands had restarted their business.
“… Now then, shall we be off?”
Blois nodded. I had passed all the specific jobs onto him, and he had passed it onto his subordinates… and that’s how all the preparations were done. Now all that’s left is to see the results we can drag out.
… Rhuvenns castle.
Novem had stationed guards for Innis. At the same time, she had left a message to the Valkyries in South Beim. With the Network the Valkyries held, it was possible for information exchange without taking any time.
That Innis was in Rhuvenns. And Rauno was done with his work, she told him to come to Rhuvenns as well.
Novem was busy in various ways, and in order to reunite with the engineer squadron she had left at the site, she had to depart from the castle.
As she prepared to set off alongside her guards, a person called over to her.
“If it isn’t Novem-dono. You look busy.”
Turning towards the voice, she looked at the individual walking towards her. Making a smile.
“It is a pleasure, Count Bagdia. What business do you bring?”
Count Bagdia. 【Raebel Bagdia】 was a Bahnseimian feudal noble in his early twenties. He had only just taken over his house, and the invasion of Beim had been his first large-scale war.
Losing to Lyle, he became a prisoner of war, and after promising his cooperation, his standing was one where he’d lead forces under Rauno or Baldoir.
However… the man was still young, scorning Lyle who was even younger than he.
“It only intrigued me a little. Our leader has made for the Labyrinth, leaving such beautiful women to do his work. Would that not be a problem to his standing as leader?”
His tone was gentle. And his words were sound. True enough, thinking of Lyle’s standing, he didn’t have the leisure to head off to the Labyrinth.
While he did it because it was necessary, how his surroundings saw it was a different problem. Novem answered with a smile.
“… It is necessary for the coming battle, so Lyle-sama merely put it to action. If you have any dissatisfactions, why not bring it up with him directly?”
Raebel touched his green bangs with his fingertip as he spoke.
“A newcomer such as I haven’t the right to say so much. I only thought I’d hear out the opinions of his female camp. The nobles of Bahnseim look down on adventurers. Yet now they’ve fallen to mere adventurers and are doing the same… oh, I’m just voicing the majority opinion here, you know? I have no part in it.”
The nobles of Bahnseim wouldn’t help but look down on adventurers. Former-noble adventurers, from their points of view were targets of disdain. That tendency grew stronger the higher you went up.
“Lyle-dono was driven out of his house, fell to adventurerhood and climbed up from there. I’ll evaluate him for that. However… with his current statue, is it really alright for him to continue fighting as an adventurer would?”
He lifted Lyle up as he criticized. Novem spoke.
“So a fair and upfront battle. I see, that’s important and knightly. Next I meet him, I’ll be sure to bring it up. Of course, those important sort of talks should be kept to the important sort of meetings.”
“Yes, I’ll be careful. I haven’t yet grasped my standing, so please forgive me.”
Saying that, leading his following knights along, Raebel walked off. Novem watched his back expressionlessly…
… Lianne’s office.
Outside, the ramparts, and the castle town under repair could be seen.
There were few people who’d made the move over here, but even so, from the lodging houses the soldiers lived, a sort of liveliness was coming out.
Looking on the scene, Lianne took a glimpse at the figure reflected in the window glass. There was one maid-uniformed Valkyrie in the room. And at the door, a green-haired, blue eyed youth… Raebel stood.
He had status as a count, with adequately splendid clothing over his body. Lianne didn’t turn around.
“… I see, so Novem-san has made some suspicious movements. And you came all the way here to tell me that?”
Raebel spoke. His attitude was soft, his tone as if he was worried. But Lianne felt something stuck on the side of his words.
“Yes. I don’t really like doing this sort of thing, but I thought it best to tell you. You have an engagement tied with our leader. Personally, I think you a much more worthy existence for him than that daughter of the Forxuz House.”
Lianne raised the corners of her lips, turning ever-so-slightly.
“Oh my, are you sure you should be saying such a thing?”
“My standing isn’t clear. And I do think you’re worthy the status of empress, Lianne-sama. Coming all the way to Rhuvenns from the soil of Faunbeux, and your form supporting our leader will surely make many lower their heads…”
“… Though in the past, the one who betrayed me was a crown prince of your country. I hate roundabout talks. Say your business.”
Clearing his throat at his words interrupted part-way through, Raebel opened his mouth again.
“I’m sure General Blois would accept it. And retainer Baldoir was formerly a knight of the Walt House. I’m sure he has some to think over, but he’ll approve. But when it comes to the knights like us you pick up on the way, a pure meritocracy will come into question. There will be many to hold dissatisfactions.”
“Is that so,” Lianne muttered, turning her whole body towards Raebel, heading to her desk, and taking a seat.
“We believe our leader may have scorn for us knights. Despite being born to a high house, his failure to understand may be reason enough for his exile… oh, this is only rumor, mind you.”
“Yes, I’m aware… but it would be troublesome if you went and made rumor of such a thing. Count Bagdia, will you continue to report to me?”
Raebel gave a delighted smile, touching his right hand to his chest.
“Yes, with pleasure.”
Lianne looked over Raebel with a smile…
… A corridor in Rhuvenns castle.
One of Raebel’s tag-along knights spoke to him as they walked. In a small voice, they held a conversation that could be taken either way as they moved.
“Raebel-dono, who are you really aiming for?”
On the elder knight’s question, Raebel laughed a bit.
“Really aiming for, eh? To be completely honest, I’m not. Women problems are easy to get muddled. And once they start to crumble, the rest will just work itself out.”
The other knight laughed. His smile was miles away from refreshing.
“We’re counting on you. From our point of view, we’ll need some insurance we’ll be fine no matter which side falls. Even so, heading to the Labyrinth at this point in time is…”
“… Whoops, don’t say any more.”
After silencing the knight, Raebel laughed a bit. And looking around, he found there was no one.
“No, everyone can build up frustration. If you’ve got underemployed placed under you, even more so. Well, it’s just a little easier to move around while he’s away.”
As Raebel said that, he walked to the front, and smiled a bit…
Beim’s underground Labyrinth.
On its fifteenth lower level, we were camped out in a large room. There were guard knights around, as well as Valkyrie Unit One fully equipped on standby.
On the board General Blois watched, Valkyrie Unit Two kept moving pieces about. Seeing them, the general touched a hand to his chin and nodded.
“… No wonder we lost. From the start, the accuracy and sheer amount of information we had was too far apart.”
My trumpcard that struck down the armies invading Beim… seeing it, General Blois offered a line about my Skill.
“In a sense, it’s the strongest there is.”
But there was something I had to add.
“That strongest Skill can’t be used in the next battle. While we can, we need to drill sending messages and relaying precise order into their bodies.”
In that large room, a messenger raced in.
“Message! The second company took an attack from monsters, and cannot advance. They request reinforcements!”
On that messenger, General Blois looked at me, so I nodded.
“We’ll send the reserves of the third company as reinforcements. Until then, focus on defense, and block them. When the reinforcements arrive, step down. Messenger, relay that message to the third company. The passage is…”
The runner heard those orders, and another messenger in the room went to convey the message to the third company.
Unit Two moved the pieces on the map, and indicated the second company gradually being pushed back. I looked at it, mindful that I should only open my mouth when it really got dangerous.
“The second company sure is frail.”
Perhaps General Blois knew they were weaker compared to the others from the start, as he nodded and explained.
“They have a lot of talented personnel, but perhaps I should say their gears don’t mesh. If they learn to work together, I think they will perform spectacularly as a unit.”
If that’s what the general thought as he formed them, I’m sure I shouldn’t open my mouth on it.
“I’ll count on it. But if that doesn’t work out, please think of another means. Splitting them up or losing them is something I’d like to avoid.”
General Blois nodded.
“They’ll put out results. Now then, the situation’s changing again… a portion of third company has gotten lost.”
The pieces Unit Two moved reproduced a unit of the third company getting lost in the Labyrinth.
The Seventh in the Jewel sounded a little fed-up.
『… To not even be able to follow a line. Their drilling is way too low.』
The Third gave out a large laugh.
『A talented group that doesn’t mesh. A group of the lost. You’ve got some problem children here. Yep, yep! It’s because these sorts of things never go as you expect that they’re so interesting.』
General Blois held a hand to his forehead.
“… Call them back.”
Without saying anything particular, I watched the pieces move across the map. Unit Two was only reproducing what I was seeing, as we thought over what to do next.
“If we can’t send orders at once, I guess it’s best we change our approach.”
If I used Skills, I could immediately send the third company, and have them meet up with the second one before they were pressed into a hard battle. But the messenger only brought the information once they had already run into trouble. What’s more, time had already passed since then.
“… Starting tomorrow, I think we’ll be putting away the pieces.”
Our situation where we could constantly obtain the latest information would disappear, so I decided to train for what was to come. Unit Two caught my mutterings, looking a little sad that she was out of a job.