Lyle and Celes
“We’ll break through!”
I heard Clara’s voice.
Porter’s tires spun round, ripping the carpet on the floor to shreds as it proceeded forwards. Getting into the loading tray, I nodded.
Since we were connected through my Skill 【Connection】, we could communicate with nothing more than thoughts. Spinning around its arms as it blew away the monsters and knights around, Porter charged on.
Heading for the stairs, and destroying them as it went up, at the end of its climb a large door came into view.
The audience chamber… where Celes awaited.
“Clara, knock it off its hinges!”
The cannon furnished on Porter blew fire. There were two cannons that could only fire a single shot loaded onto Porter’s shoulders.
As the fired projectile blew away the door…
Porter was enveloped in a shield of light. Porter charge forth wrapped in a magic shield, through the opening to the audience chamber that was once fashioned to show off the dignity of the greatest country on the continent.
In the vast room, I thought there would be enough soldiers for it to feel stuffed, but…
“Hmm, that’s quite an interesting toy.”
“… We’ve finally come all the way here, Celes!”
I glared at Celes as she gave an unmotivated golf clap. Finally… we had made it this far.
“Hmm, so you wanted to see me so badly? I didn’t want to see you in the slightest, but when I think of how I erase you from this world… perhaps it’s best we met after all. Do you want my praise? Want me to say you worked really hard? But you see, I really hate you, so we won’t be having any of that.”
On our reunion, Celes seemed the same as always. She could be being manipulated by Agrissa acting as such to dull my resolve, but that didn’t look to be the case. Looking straight ahead, Celes slanted her body into an extravagant throne, taking on a brazen attitude as she sat.
When we were the ones who barged in, she didn’t seem very surprised. More than that, she seemed amused.
Sending a glance around, I could see the authorities of the Bahnseim Kingdom standing rank and file. Behind them were the forms of monsters I’d never seen before…
Behind the throne, the king, the queen and crown prince Rufus tried to hide as they shook. I’m sure the appearance of Porter had frightened them.
And I could confirm some nostalgic figures. Two existences that didn’t show up on my Skills… stood stock still to Celes’ side.
Glaring at Celes, I gripped the hilt of the invisible sword.
“… I knew you had made a doll of our father. But why is mother’s doll here as well?”
Celes raised her upper half a bit, looking at me in ill humor.
“Barging in here, and you go into ill-bred interrogation? Well, why not. Mother wanted to be with me forever. So I had her die temporarily. By doing so, she will be together with me for all eternity.”
I was shocked by the answer she gave with a smile. My doll of a mother gave a warm smile to her side. But her eyes were dead.
“That’s right, Celes. We’ll be together forever.”
There were no signs of any enemies moving around. I jumped down from Porter’s loading tray, and walked through the chamber to approach Celes.
“You killed our mother.”
A wrinkle graced her brow as she looked at me in irritation.
“Do you know what the word ‘temporarily’ means? More importantly, I really do get irritated when I see your face. Father, mother… I’d like to play a game of kicking that thing’s head around.”
Celes- who seemed to truly be considering it- ordered her parents to reap my life. My manipulated parents leapt at me.
“You do? Then let’s kick his head around together, Celes.”
“We should play as a whole family. It’ll be a treat, dear, Celes.”
To the two who laughed as they came towards me, I swung my invisible blade to the side to cut them through. As it was a weapon whose length couldn’t be read, it severed them only too easily.
But Celes laughed.
“That’s not nearly enough to stop them.”
I was well aware. I knew. Raising my left hand a little, I snapped my fingers.
“And what of it? Gracia.”
The Seventh’s Third Stage Skill 【Shuffle】… it was a Skill that allowed me to swap my position with another’s. Gracia who’d disembarked from the loading tray switched places with me.
“… Even if they’ll be in-laws, they’re parents to me as well. I’ll send them off in an instant.”
Gracia swung her left hand to the side, burning them with flames of pale blue. I couldn’t hear any cried of anguish. A little girl’s dolls were just burned, and that’s all it was. It just happened to be that they had imitated the forms of my parents.
Celes was unmoved.
“How terrible. You killed your own parents. You fiend.”
She laughed and stood from the throne. She raised the rapier disguised as a staff in her right hand. The Yellow Jewel embedded into its hilt portion was definitely there.
“I’ll have to bring them back again later. But for now, you lot are in the way. It’s meal time, my dears.”
The monsters behind the authorities moved. Raising cries of wars, and eating the leaders before their eyes, they grew larger.
“Ahahaha, isn’t it amazing? I made them special. They’re ferocious enough to even eat the others, so be careful.”
Gripping the hild of my invisible blade, I reverted it to the necklace. Hanging it on my neck, I pulled the Katana at my waist.
“Celes, as I thought, I can’t leave you alive. I’ll end it here.”
On my words, Celes’ face warped.
“Don’t call my name so frivolously!!”
Her tone grew rougher, and to match her loud bellows, the surrounding monsters took to the air. Watching Celes’ rage, I resolved myself to fight. Some part of me still felt fear. But now I wasn’t standing against her alone.
“… Everyone’s ready, right?”
I reaffirmed their wills.
Aria took a stance with her spear as well.
“We have to end it here, don’t we? Then let’s get it over with. Settle things and bring this to a close already.”
Miranda pulled a dagger and produced a golem. On the back of its large feline form sat Shannon.
“Ready anytime. That’s what we’ve been preparing for to begin with.”
“… Why am I being forced to take part? I want to return soon, so end it quickly. I’m scared. It’s scary when she glares at me like that!”
As Shannon fidgeted with teary eyes, Elza spoke.
“I-it’ll be alright, Shannon. I’ll protect you. Um, oh right, I’m ready too.”
At the end, she hung her staff against her shoulder with a stiff expression, but it didn’t quite cut it. As Celes looked at Shannon, she seemed considerably irritated.
Clara spoke from within Porter.
“Ready here as well. Porter’s in optimum condition.”
Eva was somewhat excited.
“I’m delighted I can take part at the best stage. We’ll definitely win and make a hero’s song of you.”
May wasn’t here. But I knew she was fighting alongside Marina-san somewhere in Centralle. Vera was outside issuing orders. Monica was holding back the automaton.
Gracia took a stance with her spear that had a buckler attacked at the hilt.
“A single look and I can tell. That one’s trouble. I see, so that’s why you gathered us. I’ll answer your expectations.”
Finally, Ludmilla pulled her longsword, and pointed its red and slender blade at Celes.
“With so many members gathered, we won’t lose. Let’s get this over with and proceed various talks.”
I didn’t want such talks to proceed, but once this was over, I’m sure quite a few things would forcefully go through.
Changing gears, I spoke to everyone.
… Across the city of Centralle.
The ones destroying buildings as they fought were May, Marina… and the black quilin Rummel.
The close of Rummel’s gargantuan mouth was prevented by Marina, who stepped into her jaw, and crossed both her arms above herself.
“This one’s tough as hell!”
Cut up, beaten, minced or burnt black with magic, their foe would instantly regenerate. Perhaps eating whatever dead soldiers around replenished her Mana, but whatever parts she lost were instantly turned back to normal.
May spun circles in the air to build up momentum, launching a sharp kick backed by an absurd amount of force into Rummel’s neck, but…
Feeling a tingling pain in her leg, May parted from the beast. The impact freed Marina from her mouth, and landing while sliding across the ground, she looked at Rummel.
The black quilin’s body pounded into the ground forcefully raised its limbs, some bones broken, and some parts blown away.
Looking around, it called soldiers. And those soldiers quickly crept right up to her to be eaten.
Making a crunching sound as she ate, and regenerating, Rummel raised a roar.
“Che, I thought we’d gotten rid of the soldiers in the area.”
Marina clicked her tongue, but the area was already overflowing with soldiers. Defeat the ones in the immediate vicinity, and they’d gather again in no time.
May waved around the leg she’d used to kick, tapping it against the ground.
“She’s even got rare metal implanted into her. She really is a doll.”
Rummel leapt at May, sweeping her large hands in a downwards motion.
May jumped to dodge, and from her head; the horns growing backwards from just above her ears let off light, hammering magic into Rummel.
An electric discharged assailed her, but it only burned the surface without any evident effects. As a quilin all the same, it seems she did have a resistance to it.
“The place is covered with her feed, what’s more, unlimited stamina… this really is troublesome. Hey, why were you captured by Celes? Cut me some slack here.”
Despite the large mouth Rummel boasted, she would never answer to May’s words…
… The single automaton Burt took on Monica, alongside Valkyrie Units One, Two and Three.
They ran about from the gatling fire he unleashed from both hands. It was a laser optical weapon, and if it hit, it wouldn’t just hurt. It could even melt and pierce through special armor.
As he didn’t want to suffer too much damage, Burt remained mindful of the floor above him, and he would rarely attack the pillars supporting it. So Monica and the others used the pillars to conduct their own offensive.
Monica’s clothing was tattered.
“Even if we successfully damage him, he recovers with the magic ores in his pockets. After taking so many attacks, he just shrugs it off. He’s the worst, he is.”
Looking at a different pillar, Unit Two had lost an arm. On the opposite side, Unit Three had used her binder as a shield, losing it in the process. They were all ragged.
Nearby, Unit One had portion where the surface of her armor had melted. She spoke to Monica.
“… At this rate, that one’s going to get past us to our master.”
Burt circled around to attack Monica behind the pillars. Before his overwhelming firepower, Monica made a calculation, and affirmed it truly was a terrible situation.
“That alone I shan’t accept. If this one gets through to the damn chicken, even if he’s cut through, there will definitely be casualties. I definitely can’t permit that.”
If there were sacrifices, Lyle would be saddened.
Monica immediately predicted it, and came out with the optimum option.
“From the start, we were mere constructs. Then there’s only one option.”
As she moved to run from Burt’s circling, Unit One followed behind.
“If he loses you, master will be saddened too.”
“Hmph, that which is Monica shall live on in his heart for the rest of his life, so that’s alright. And making sacrifices of the others is something my aesthetics won’t permit.”
Unit one gave a light laugh.
“Something the matter?”
“No, those are quite some aesthetics. Even if the others are made sacrifices of them, selfish aesthetics that stand as long as those in your immediate surroundings remain safe.”
Approaching from behind, Burt called out.
“You sure have some leisure to chat away like that. I’ll bring you to an end soon enough!”
Breaking another ore, he raised the output of his attack. A hole opened up in a portion of the floor, and Monica and Unit One leaped over the melted portion.
Monica spoke to the Valkyrie.
“Sorry, but you’ll be accompanying me. I alone am not enough to take him down… my apologies.”
There, Unit One shook her head. With the same face as Monica, the twin tails she shared swayed to and fro.
“I mind it not. Rather than spending it in inactivity, it’s a much better use of life. For the fact that we all have meaning is something you taught us all.”
Monica stopped on the spot and turned towards Burt.
“Then off we go!”
Taking out and drinking down the last test tube she had, Monica took out a weapon in both her hands. Burt watched it and laughed. It was a hammer much too primitive. Something like a child’s toy with a child’s jet engine strapped on.
A glance at it and he was certain of his victory.
“You’ve made light of me to the end, but when you take your creed so far, there’s actually some beauty to it. Now scatter to pieces.”
As he turned the guns in his hands towards Monica and Unit One, the tattered Two and Three leaped before him.
“Self-destruction? As I thought, that land of the perverts is always the same. Then kamikaze it is!”
Pulling the triggers without mercy, piercing Units Two and Three with his beam weapon and melting them. Along with the cores hidden deep in their frames… without their cores they could never be revived as Valkyries.
But Unit Two and Unit Three grabbed onto Burt’s arms.
“I would appreciate if you gave it a rest already. Can you not confirm your own worth without speaking ill of others?”
“Because you want us to care about you, it’s nothing but complaints… well, at this point, all our countries are no more.”
On Unit Two and Three’s words, Burt raised his voice. His expression was tinted with rage.
“You didn’t have to say it!!”
Units Two and Three laughed, as they used the magic ore built into their chests… to explode.
Burt was blown backwards, having lost both his arms. While he had lost his guns, he took a magic ore from his inner pocket, and destroyed it with his mouth to regenerate his hands.
But this time, Monica and Unit One raced at him. Running through the smoke Two and Three had created, they approached.
“If me and Unit One self-destruct, erasing you is easy enough!”
As Monica approached, Burt took out a rifle that exceeded his own height. It seemed to be an optical laser weapon in rifle form.
“Disappear, you shams!”
Burt pulled the trigger, and Monica tried to use that force to raise an explosion. But as she did, Unit one pushed her out of the way with her left hand, and took the laser weapon herself. Even using her binder as a shield, that single shot held more firepower than the gatling, melting her lower body away.
“What did you…”
Disregarding Monica’s surprise, Burt took out his next magic ore to fire his next shot. It seems each round would expend one of them.
Unit One stuck her hand in her chest, took out her magic ore, and tossed it at Monica.
And turning both her arms towards, Burt, she fired them. Cables stretched from her arms, her hands grasping onto Burt’s.
“What are you…”
Monica caught the magic ore… the peridot; Unit One looked at her and smiled.
“You have to remain. That is what will make our master happiest. And I want you to pass a message… ”
As Unit One began to accelerate towards the butler, Monica crushed the stone. It let off a glimmering light, healing her damage.
Burt had shaken off Unit One’s bindings, and grabbed her by the head.
Crushed in his hand core and all, Unit One fell apart. Seeing that, Monica recalled her sister from the Labyrinth… her crumbled sister from the room Octo had summoned Lyle. The sister who had carried Unit One’s core.
At the end, she got the feeling the Valkyrie was smiling.
“… Let the cleaning commence.”
Monica’s clothes gave off light, dyeing in white, and ceased being maid clothes altogether. Taking on what was almost a wedding dress, white wings manifested from her back. The wings were of metal. Each individual feather was a beam weapon in itself.
Burt shot his rifle at Monica, but it was easily dodged. And achieving a moment of flight with her extended wings, Monica spread out her arms.
“Full cloth… the limited edition wedding-dress mode. Well, to your eyes, it may seem no more than the envoy of your own demise.”
As Burt took out a magic ore, the spread wings shot off light. His rifle and arms were shot through and melted.
“I had no intent to ever show it to you. But if I didn’t pull it out, I couldn’t win. And it was supposed to be one of my trump cards…”
The light shot through him as he regenerated. But Burt…
“So you had magic ore of the highest purity… but even if you used something like that, your limit will come in no time!”
It was just as Burt said. The full cloth upgrades soon disappeared, and she had returned to her normal maid garments. Burt stood and tried to take out a weapon.
But with the drill fastened to her hand, Monica sewed the butler into the wall. His abdomen pierced through by the drill’s tip, Burt tried his best to run away.
“True enough, this was a method only possible because my sisters made an opening for it. The time I can keep it up is limited. But it’s enough.”
As the drill began its rotation, Burt’s destruction continued. And his magic ore continued to deplete in order to regenerate himself.
“S-stop! Stop it!!”
If he was in perfect condition, he would have been able to escape, but as he was, there were no means for him to get away. And he was running low on ore. With everything that had happened, he had used them in large quantities.
Monica spoke expressionlessly.
“I forgot to say it. You boasted of the country that produced you. So I’ll just say it. Every single one of of my parts were produced domestically, but you… not even twenty percent of your parts were made in your homeland, right? When you’re eighty percent foreign-made, you sure talk big.”
Burt’s face grimaced. He tried to use his arms to stop the spinning drill, but that only shaved his hands away.
“A majority of your insides are foreign-made. What’s more, the important parts are the same ones we use. Meaning, you’re moving on the same parts as we who you looked down on, but… are you ashamed of it? It couldn’t be you’re a high-class masochist who self-depreciates himself as well?”
As the drill’s force increased, Burt finally ran out of magic ore and cried out.
“Celes-sama! Mana… please let some Mana flow to this butler!!”
He thought he would be able to regenerate with Celes’ Mana, but the drill had completely destroyed his abdomen.
In the sparks that flew, his face grew pale.
“Your wealth of expression, and the parts reproducing them are the same ones we use. To be honest, from my point of view… the sham is you who presents yourself as something greater.”
Burt tried to open his mouth, but the drill had finished its work. His head tumbled to the ground, leaving him to look up at her.
Monica tread over his face.
“The only one allowed to look up my skirt is the damn chicken. Disappear.”
Burt let off a mechanical voice. His mouth no longer moved.
“N-no. I had finally found a master of my own… I don’t want to disappear… here…”
Searching out his core, Monica crushed it without question.
“Don’t cause me so much trouble. Since the chicken dickwad was still sending some Mana over here, he sure is a mindful one. Well, it just goes to show my master was the splendid one.”
During her drill use, Monica had felt some Mana flowing in from Lyle.
The drill let off smoke. Unhanding it, she looked around over the wreckage of her sisters.
Heading for Unit One’s wreckage, Monica squatted over it.
“… I’ll definitely pass it on. ‘I’m thankful we were able to serve humanity. Thank you for giving meaning to our existence’.”
Monica closed her eyes, opening them before long to head over to Lyle…