There is a Rabbit on the Moon
“Peace? Even if you ask me that all of a sudden, there’s no way I would know. And wait, what about you?”
In Rhuvenns’ Castle courtyard, Aria was carrying out her daily training. Swinging her spear, and shedding her sweat, she used to look nothing but rough.
But now, I could feel a bit of sensuality from it. Close to two years since we met, does this mean Aria had grown as well?
When I asked Aria about peace, she sent the question right back. I folded my arms. Looking down a bit, I drew out an honest answer from my heart.
“If there’s no carnage going on among the girls, I guess it’s peaceful.”
From the Jewel, the Third raised a large laugh.
『Ahahaha, it really is a matter of life and death!』
And whose fault do you think that is? Well, I do hold responsibility myself, so I can’t blame everything on the ancestors.
Aria drew back a bit from me, staring as she wiped her sweat with a towel draping that towel over her shoulders, she stuck her spear into the ground.
“… Shouldn’t you think about that sort of thing once everything’s over with?”
“Even if you say everything’s over… see, even if we do beat Celes, the problems are what comes after. There’s no doubt it will get extremely busy.”
I wanted to think over what I could at the present stage.
Aria looked at me.
“Well, even if you tell me peace, I can’t even imagine it. Back when I was in Bahnseim, there was a skirmish going on somewhere every year. Some war of a few thousand at the border, and the children were always talking about the knights who performed in them.”
From our everyday lives, it was only natural that there was some fighting going on somewhere. Aria’s expression showed that the word peace didn’t really hit it home for her.
“I think I’ll start thinking about it after we beat Celes. If we don’t win, then whatever thought I gave to it would have been pointless, see?”
That’s not mistaken. I thought, as I shrugged my shoulders. And Aria spoke to me.
“And so? Did you make up with Novem? It would be troublesome if you got into a fight.”
“We weren’t particularly fighting or anything.”
She said it would be troublesome if my relation with Novem worsened, tapering her mouth a bit.
“Now look here. The reason Novem was able to keep the balance was because she was the closest one to you. If something happens, Novem’s that thing, you know… I-influence? That sort of thing will grow weaker. Don’t blame me if you get loads of wives pushed onto you now.”
That would be troubling. I thought as I decided to talk with Novem.
The Valkyries stood on guard as Novem was in a temporary state of house arrest. Originally, there was plenty of work I wanted her to do, but I had her take a break and stay in her room.
When I came to the room, she began preparing tea.
“I can’t prepare any snacks here. Should I put in an order?”
The room Novem used was kept clean, but there was barely anything she had brought with her in it.
Thinking back, Novem only ever bought the absolute necessities. I’d given her various accessories as presents, but such things were preciously tucked away.
“No, tea is more than enough. So… about what happened.”
It looked as if her tea-brewing hands had frozen. The Third in the Jewel showed a reaction as well.
『It’s rare to see Novem flustered or rather… she was that mindful of it?』
After she prepared the tea in a space of silence, she sat on the sofa and spoke after taking a sip of the cup she’d prepared for herself.
“… Are the heads of history listening as well?”
The Third did not answer the glance directed at the Jewel.
“Only the Third’s remains. The others… entrusted various things to me and fulfilled their roles.”
There, Novem gave just a hint of a smile.
“So they fulfilled their roles? That’s good. But it’s a bit unfortunate. I wanted to meet them someday.”
Within the Jewel, the Third quietly.
『I’d rather not meet. She’s quite the mystery, this one.』
In regards to Novem, I shifted the conversation from the Jewel and asked what I wanted to.
“That aside, Novem. Is it a bad thing for me to aim for peace?”
Novem’s gaze dropped to the cup in her hands, and quietly, quietly she began to speak.
“Lyle-sama what is peace?”
“It’s a vague thing I don’t really understand. I tried asking myself and the people around me, and the answer I got was that it’s tranquility for one’s self and those around them. Perhaps humans can only direct their focus on their immediate surroundings.”
If one’s self and everyone around were peaceful, I’m sure the rest was someone else’s business. But just how many people weren’t included in that?
“Pease is an illusion. Let’s see. It’s something like a cloud. You look at it as if it were there, and yet you’ll never be able to grasp it. Its shape changes as it flows with the wind. It barely has a set shape to begin with.”
I addressed Novem.
“And that’s why I shouldn’t aim for it?”
Novem raised her face. She made a serious expression.
“… If anyone else said it, perhaps it would be a daydream. But when it comes out of your mouth, Lyle-sama, it will surely have a large influence on the future. Your words may be misconstrued, and the humans to come may use them to cause the fall of your own name.”
I’m not that amazing. Well, I am trying for emperor, and if I did get my hands on that seat, I’m sure my name would be left in the books of history.
But to that extent?
“Even if pointless battles don’t carry on forever, there are plenty of monsters and bandits. At the very least, I think it’s fine if we aim for world that’s a bit more peaceful. And no one can say how things are going to be a century, even a millennium from now.”
When I said that much, Novem looked at me and gave a powerless laugh.
“Let’s say you unify the continent and set up a stable rule. The continent will experience major development, and in a few thousand years… no, given a hundred years, man will even be able to set foot on the moon. If Professor Damien and automaton Monica-san got serious, I’m sure they’d be able to reach the moon in a few decades. In such a world… Lyle-sama, do you think monsters and bandits will really be a threat?”
From the Jewel, in a serious voice.
『The moon, huh… I’d like to call myself a romantic. I do hope we find a rabbit up there. If the Fifth was around, I’m sure he would’ve danced for joy. You think the rabbit on the moon will be able to talk?』
… I’d like him to keep quiet.
“The moon. Well, if Damien got serious, I’m sure he’d be able to do a lot of things. But the man himself is a pervert as you can see, so I don’t think he has interest in that sort of thing.”
Novem looked at me sorrowfully.
“No, I’m sure Professor Damien’s wishes will be granted if he goes to the moon. To be more precise, I think he’ll make massive progress. Because up there… there are still some ancient facilities in good-enough conditions.”
“Facilities? Don’t you mean ruins?”
I opened my mouth in surprise, but that wasn’t what I wanted to ask.
… Why did Novem know of such a thing? …
An evil god’s memory? As I thought that, Novem took another sip of tea, and took her eyes off of me.
“I’m sure you’ve already heard much in the Jewel. How much have you come to know?”
I gave an honest answer.
“That you’re an evil god… that you carry on the memories of the evil god Novem, and that Celes carries the negative memory of the goddess Septem. And the reason that your clan has stayed in my House’s shadows, continuing to support us.”
“If you know that much, that makes matters quick. That’s right. Lyle-sama, you have the right to get this continent in your hands. Everything once robbed by Bahnseim, the time has come for the Walt House to retake its rightful place.”
As I sipped the tea, the Third sounded uninterested.
『… But you know, there’s no helping it if someone got the jump on our ancestor, right? Even if you say we have a right or something like that, I’m sure Bahnseim would be angry. Rather, if their positions were reversed, what tune would you be singing? Is how it would be. Though I’ll lend my knowledge towards Lyle’s victory either way. Prosperity and decay come in a set, after all.』
“I can’t see your point. In the end, is that related to peace?”
Novem turned expressionless.
“It does. Mankind who once leapt from the earth and spread their sphere of existence to the moon… faced a gentle demise within its own peace. They were all wiped out. And by your hands, there is a possibility that destruction will happen again.”
My hand shook in surprise. The tea left in the cup swayed, and I swallowed my breath as I looked at Novem.
“They died out? No, well… it’s true ancient civilization fell to ruin, but saying they were all wiped out is a bit much.”
If they died out, then who are we supposed to be? There, Novem gave a gloomy smile.
“You can ask if you want. Just how did humanity die out? It’s an exceedingly foolish, and uninteresting one, mind you. But that isn’t what I’m trying to say. What peace brought about wasn’t only humanity’s prosperity, it was the seed if destruction, the ending everyone should have tried to avoid.”
As I was about to open my mouth to ask her, the door to the room was knocked upon with extreme force. I turned to the door– startled– but Shannon spoke up before I could react.
“W-what is it!? You surprised me there! Stop it. Don’t give such a violent time at such inopportune timing!”
Novem’s dark smile was scary. She was a beauty, but that just made it unnecessarily scarier. And as I resolved myself to ask further, I felt a silent pressure. To be surprised out of that by a knock, my heart was beating so heard I could almost hear its pulse.
“Novem, you come too! Some new information’s come in to Monica! C-Celes is…”
Hearing Celes’ name, I rose from the sofa.
So she attacked with this timing? I thought.
We gathered not in the meeting room, but the dining hall we used.
In it, Monica and the Valkyries were scribbling pictures over paper. They painted out the details like trained painters, but rather than a piece of art, the eeriness of the work won out.
On my arrival, Monica’s hands stopped. Upon seeing the picture Monica’s unit drew, Shannon hid behind my back.
What was drawn was truly hell.
“What’s this supposed to be?”
As I took one of the pages in hand, the faces of everyone gathered grimaced.
“Information from the dispatched Valkyries. It appears that Maizel Walt’s grave was completed. It was a large scale project, and several tens of thousands were rounded up to work on it. Just the people involved number a few hundred thousand, I’m sure.”
It was surprising for her to gather hands in such a busy time of years; moving so many people would affect the harvest no matter how you looked at it. I doubt she only gathered people from the city. I really couldn’t comprehend what Celes was trying to do.
“Grave? … Oy, wait a tic. Then what’s this picture supposed to be? Why is my father in it?”
Monica’s face was stern. It didn’t look like she was joking. Nor would she ever attempt to console me like this.
“By the information, that is undoubtedly Maizel Walt… the chicken dickwad’s father.”
On it was the scene of my father inspecting his own grave. And on a different picture…
“And this is the state of affairs. So as not to make him lonely, all the people taking part in its production buried themselves alive.”
Anyways, it was plain disgusting. How could she do such a thing?
As I held such a question, Novem looked at the picture in my hands.
“… That’s a Skill Septem made. It seems Celes-sama has gotten to master a number of Skills.”
I looked at Novem.
“What sort of Skill? Could it be she revived our father!?”
There’s a Skill that can do such a thing? As I thought that, Novem turned to me and spoke.
“Lyle-sama, goddess and evil god are just whatever people got around to calling us. We do not have that sort of power. It is thinkable that memory records were extracted from a portion of the corpse and reproduced. You could call him a doll for the user of the Skill.”
So he didn’t come back. While I thought it unfortunate, I also thought it was best that way in my heart.
Miranda took command of the area.
“… We should relay this information to Bahnseim’s surrounding countries. This isn’t sane. It should become a just cause to knock Bahnseim down.”
The Third spoke to me.
『Lyle, Miranda-chan took charge because she thought you would be depressed. Don’t forget that. Also… it looks like things are growing too large. The unexpected annihilation of the ancients. And Novem-chan who seemed to know all about it… have a talk with her.』
I shared his sentiment. I turned my eyes to Miranda.
“Sorry. I should have been the one to say it. Monica, get the documents together. And Eva.”
To Eva’s pale face, I spoke.
“… Spread a song. I’m having you sing of the inhumanity of Bahnseim. I’ll prepare money for it. Sorry, but I’ll make use of whatever I can.”
Before Celes’ actions that existed almost as if to purposely give us a just cause, my anxiety only grew.