Prospects of Victory
… The remains of Centralle’s palace.
There, before the undead that kept welling up, and the ape Agrissa had prepared, the First and Second fought. The soldiers they brought against fought on as well.
“Drop… dead already!!”
Giving his giant sword a grand arc, the First blew the monkey away, and cut it down. But no matter how many arms or legs it lost, it was a monster that would regrow it in an instant. From the mouth of its red face, flames spewed as it rose up again and again.
The skeletal soldiers that kept sprouting from the floor were taken out one after the next by the Second’s bow. Around the Second, his soldiers with bows in their hands fired arrow after arrow as well.
Meanwhile, the First’s soldiers without any set formation or any proper orders, attacked and fought the skeletal men.
“This is just busy work. I can’t see an end to it. And wait, dad… organize them a little why don’t you? Don’t have them fight divided like that.”
As he leaned his sword against his shoulder, the First…
“Like I care! Charging and beating them down is the Walt House’s… eek! It’s the wifey!”
To the First’s surprise, the Second turned to see the form of a heroic woman with a glaive against her shoulder. She looked at the two in irritation.
“… Line up, the lot of you!”
As the strong-built lass…. The First’s wife said that, the barbarian-ridden hoards of the First gathered together. More power came into the Second’s troops shooting through the skeletons as well.
Starting forward, the woman took a single sweep with her glaive… mowing down all the sleletal soldiers before her.
“Bring an end to that damn ape already. Isn’t that your only redeeming feature?”
The First watched her back as her gallant form brushed the bones away with splendor, silently giving a number of nods.
As the Second gazed nostalgically at his mother’s back, from behind, a number of metallic rings… with diameters around that of a human’s skull… spun as they flew.
“Hey, you too!?”
As the Second turned and called out, a single woman appeared from a flash of blue light. A number of metal rings floated over the palm of her right hand, slowly spinning as they increased their speed, letting a low buzz reverberate through the surroundings.
“It looked interesting so here I am.”
Seeing the form of his wife trying to make herself look cute, the Second averted his eyes. She was young… her form in her early twenties, but they had a long past of husband and wife. He could only see it as her trying to make herself look younger.
“It’s a bit painful on the eyes.”
“What was that, honey?”
“… You look wonderful, dear.”
The woman led a small child behind her. The Second opened his eyes wide.
The child waving his hand was Dewey. The Second’s eldest son who was supposed to succeed the Walt House, and to the First, his first grandchild.
“Dewey! Just you watch, your grandpa’s going to show you something real cool!”
Rather than the First generation’s delight, the Second with his reunion crushed was filled with anger he had nowhere to direct. There, his wife tapped him on the back.
“You should just show him something cool too. See, just go and take care of that there monkey and those skeletons… and my mother-in-law already.”
The Second’s wife’s face was relatively serious. On the words of the bride aiming for her neck, the First’s wife blew away all the skeletons around her and turned.
“So the woman who can only pass water for soup thinks to stand against me!”
The Second’s wife moved herself behind Dewey.
“Kyah, your grandma’s bullying mama, Dewey.”
Her grandson used as a shield, a blue vein popped up on the First’s wife’s forehead. Everyone showed leisure. Because of the Jewel, they had all been granted the grace… the effect of its Skills.
“Mommy, grandma… let’s all get along.”
“Yeah, your mama and grandma really should get along, shouldn’t they?”
“… We’re in front of my grandson. I’ll let you off here, wench.”
As Dewey directed straightforward eyes without any of the Third’s scheming at the two, they both started fawning over him.
The Second thought.
(Why did the Third turn out so dark anyways?)
… He thought.
And the First took a stance with his sword.
“My grandson’s watching. I’ve got to crush this ape and scatter all the small fries. I’m sure it’ll be fine if we leave up-top to Lyle.”
The Second muttered.
“This again? Well, we’re the ones who trained him. Let’s believe in him for now, and take care of our own jobs.”
The Second readied his silver bow as well. An extra-large arrow manifested across it. Multiple ones began to form. And around the Second as well, hundreds of arrows began to take shape.
The large sword the First held let off a blue light as it took on a shape like that of a dragon’s head. While it maintained the shape of a sword, it looked exceedingly monstrous.
“… I’ll take it out in one blow.”
Hearing the First’s words, the Second released his bow. All the arrows scattered around, sticking into the monkey-like monster and raising explosions. As the monster faltered, and the surrounding skeletons were blown away, the First raced forwards.
“Here I go, dammit!!”
Down the path the Second had made, towards the faltering monster. Twas the back of the First the Second had aspired after so. The Second who took up the bow to protect the First smiled a little.
“Go get him dad.”
Swinging around his large blade to build up its force, he continued slicing into the monster’s flesh. And at the end, he unleashed a single, powerful blow into its head.
The slanted floor gave way, the monster sinking down within. That powerful blow cut into the monster, blowing it apart… and returning it no more than chunks of flesh. Within the falling meat and blood, the First shouldered his sword.
“Alright, who’s next!”
As he said that and laughed, the surrounding barbarian soldiers raised their arms and raised cries of victory…
“Just in case something like this happened… I furnished Porter to fly through the sky!”
The loading tray portion detached, leaving only its upper body. Detaching from what served as its spine, the Valkyries lifted it from its back to allow it to soar.
It clearly wasn’t a construction meant to fly, but it was in the air regardless, so I’d keep quiet on that one.
Porter’s head was moved to the side of its torso portion. For that sake, I could stand in its very center, Katana in hand as I looked at Agrissa.
At the enlarged Agrissa’s chest… there, Novem limply hung her head. As she was absorbed, it seems she was gradually sinking in.
But I could still make it in time, so there was no need to panic. I was going to save Novem, so that left the biggest problem.
“How should I conduct a rescue that’ll remain in her heart. That’s the problem. Save her, hold her tight and kiss her is the golden combo, so how does that sound, Eva?”
Similarly riding Porter, Eva looked down as her body trembled. No good on water, and no good in the sky either. A hopeless elf… that was Eva.
“I-I don’t really care, just hurry up with it! We’re high! We’re higher up than I ever thought I would be, and it’s freaking me out!”
As she gripped onto a knob on Porter’s exterior, Eva was exceptionally cute. Clara spoke from within.
“It doesn’t matter. More importantly… i-it’s cold. Really cold! Lyle-san, let’s just end this quickly.”
As she clattered and shook, Clara pleaded that I brought a swift end to it. The way she shook reminded me of a small animal, and that was cute too.
Nearby Porter, wearing a white dress, and spreading out her wings, Monica soared through the sky alongside us. To Porter’s side, she dealt with attacks from Agrissa.
There were Valkyries around, and Aria stood over Porter’s left hand.
“Lyle, just get it over with already! Rather, you’re sure you can win, right?”
Aria asked such a thing. I flipped my hair.
“Of course! I, Lyle Walt… am a man who won’t fight without any prospects of victory. Prospects are important. By the way, I love to be praised too. So laud me whenever you want! My heart is always ready to accept it!”
Eva looked at me.
What’s this!? So it’s cooler to challenge an enemy with no chance of victory? No, wait a second… I’m cool. And strong. Isn’t that precisely why there are fewer battles where I won’t come out on top?
… So the strong truly are lonely. I experienced that with my body and gave a bit of a sorrowful laugh.
“You sure are silly, Eva. To me, everything is a battle I can win. If I can’t, I’ll just make it so I can. That’s the Walt house! That’s why we’re the strongest! And I believe I’m the greatest hero of that magnificent Walt House.”
Aria covered her face.
“And you’re the one who believes that. Yeah, yeah, just tell us about those prospects already.”
As Agrissa directed her right hand at us, the Valkyries went up front and deployed their shields. While a large light approached, they were able to thrust it aside.
Agrissa chased after us, plunging into a cloud of gray. There was lightning racing around, raising a crackle, and at times after light raced across the earth and skies, the sound of thunder would ring out.
“Well, this looks far enough.”
Having pulled Agrissa away from Centralle, I signaled Clara to turn Porter towards her.
There, Agrissa stopped her game of chase, and floated up before us.
“So you stopped running away, Lyle? What do you think will happen by pulling me away from Centralle?”
She showed a smile of leisure. Her pride pierced through to the end.
“Ah, as I thought, a kiss is best for a sleeping princess. Its effect’s been worn down by the mainstream, but even so, I love those sorts of situations!”
“Y-your conversation isn’t meshing, Lyle.”
“Sorry. I can’t help but wonder how I should save Novem so that she’ll fall for me from the depths of her heart. This is no good. When she was always the one closest to me, for me to be unable to hold onto her heart… well at times, it’s good to have a woman who isn’t too easy.”
Everyone else was relatively easy, so I thought it was alright for there to be one with a higher difficulty level.
Aria threw the tool in her hand at me.
“Don’t call me easy!”
As her face turned red, I consoled her.
“Don’t be so angry. Strong and cool, rich… what’s more, I hold the greatest authority on the continent, you know? Before my majesty, everyone’s easy.”
When I made a pose and declared it, Agrissa suddenly approached. Monica went up front and spread her wings, several hundred slender lights firing off from them to attack Agrissa.
“A defensive weapon… you even brought out something like that. You must be a protector of the grave on the moon.”
As Agrissa said such a thing, the beams only mildly singed her surface. She instantly healed up, while Monica let her blond twin tails sway in the wind.
“How terrible to treat me as second-hand goods. Even like this, I’m fresh off the line. I got these tools from my sisters.”
The automatons who constituted the Valkyries’ cores once protected a gravesite on the moon. Whose grave was it?
“Hmm, having destroyed everything, Novem and Octo sure know how to act high and mighty. But you don’t think that’s enough to claim victory, do you?”
Agrissa spread out her arms, producing a number of lights. The orbs fired off from them were all masses of high-density magic.
I put my left hand in front of my face and snapped my fingers.
“It’s true I might die out if it hit. So I just need to make it so it doesn’t.”
The lights fired off from Agrissa, unlike Monica’s, were thick clumps that came at us rapidly… but.
Before they could make contact, they were all sucked into space, and Agrissa hardened her guard.
“Are you mocking me…!”
From the airspace around Agrissa, the high-density magic she fired off came at her. As expected, they inflicted more damage than what Monica had shot.
I looked at Agrissa as I narrowed my eyes.
“… As I thought, pulling off all Skills at once is impossible, even for you. Since you said you could make Skills, you put me on guard, but at best, you’re the same as Celes, and the most you can do is change out the Skill you’re using. While your output’s in another dimension, there are plenty of ways to go about it.”
Showing my leisure, I laughed as if to belittle her.
Perhaps I had hit the mark. Agrissa spoke up.
“And what of it? Don’t think any of your attacks can defeat me. Even if I fall short of my days of prosperity…”
I held up the Katana. There, the surrounding lightning gathered around it.
“Are you forgetting something? I carry the blood of Septem as well. A feat like this is simple with the support of the Jewel. Clara, throw me.”
As I hopped onto Porter’s right hand, I was tossed straight at Agrissa. Controlling the surrounding lightning with my magic, I hammered that energy into her.
That was my plan!
She dodged quite easily. I was sent sprawling through the sky, and having lost my destination, all that was left was for me to go into freefall… or not! The reason being… I’m damn strong!
“That’s why I said you were naïve… Shuffle.”
Switching places with the Valkyrie Agrissa drew near, I cut straight at her.
As expected, the energy of nature was vast. I severed the right arm she had put up to guard.
As she collected up her severed arm, she immediately stuck it back on, clenching and flexing out her hand.
I switched places with another Valkyrie letting Porter’s right arm collect me.
“So did you feel that one?”
As I said that with one eye closed, a wrinkle graced Agrissa’s brow as she laughed.
“Yeah, looks like you’re not bad from time to time. So I’ll get you back a few dozen, hundred times fold. And let me say this. Don’t think that’s nearly enough to…”
“Oh I don’t. But don’t think that’s all you can expect from me. I mean, I’m a man who won’t fight without a prospect of victory.”
Porter continued on to toss Aria. And it threw me as well.
Exchanging places with Valkyries, Aria and I got our attacks in.
“Che! Little girl…”
Honestly, baiting her into attacking from the ground, and slamming whatever large-scale magic she fired back at her would be interesting, but she was on guard, so I doubt that was happening.
We could only plainly chip her away.
Me and Aria were reclaimed by Porter once more. Perhaps gradually getting used to it, Eva readied her bow and fired a shot.
The arrow she fired gained momentum in the air, circling around to Agrissa’s blind spot to attack her back.
“You flies sure know how to annoy with incessancy.”
As I looked at a relatively irritated Agrissa.
“… Should I let myself get beat up, and give her that, ‘I bore so much injury to see you safe again’ sort of feeling? I think I could pull off that wound-covered look quite well, you know?”
As I thought over how I would save Novem, I sought Aria’s thoughts on the matter. She looked at me.
“Why are you taking this so easy?”
Before Agrissa, to whom we’d yet to inflict any damage you could call Damage, it seems she couldn’t believe the leisure I exuded.
“I said it, didn’t I? I’m a man who won’t fight unless I’m certain of my victory. It’s because I can win, of course.”
I gathered lightning around my Katana, taking a stance to cut at Agrissa again. Agrissa glared at me.
“A mere human honestly believes…”
I stuck up the thumb of my left hand and pointed it at myself.
“Oh yes I do. I mean… I’m a man loved by the goddesses! The goddess of victory smiles down upon me!”
What should I do, I’m way too cool. I was scared at how amazing I was. I felt like I would fall for myself.
“You jest! You can’t stay on that high horse forever!!”
Agrissa approached at a high velocity to crush us, and she swung her right arm. Her momentum, with the wind force alone, I could feel it was something incredible. I snapped my fingers.
“Sorry, but I don’t intent to take any attacks. I’ll be devoting myself to thoroughly avoiding… Warp.”
Porter and Monica, the Valkyries and all, I moved them from the spot, transporting them behind Agrissa as we continued to sprinkle her with petty attacks.
… All while I searched for her weakness.
… As lightning rang out above.
At Lyle’s main camp, Gracia and Elza of whom the Fifth had dragged back, had returned to their own camps and calmed down their troops.
As the army’s main body recovered, morale was rapidly improving, so in response to that, their formations were recovering well.
Gracia and Elza rejoined the main force.
Receiving that report, General Blois plotted out his plan for recovery.
“If it’s now, we can still spring back. As long as we can surround wherever the dead are spawning…”
To his side was a single woman. Wearing a red dress around her body, she tapped the folded fan in her left hand as she sat in the seat prepared for her.
A pretty woman. But as she gave the gentlest of smiles, she looked upon the destruction of Centralle.
“It’s sorrowful to see the capital of old fall, but this is the land ruled by the accursed Bahnseim. And my grandson took Bahnseim down, raising up an empire for himself… there’s not a greater joy in the world. Don’t you think so, my kindred souls.”
Kindred souls… the knights and soldiers who once raised rebellion against Bahnseim. With the passage of the Sentras Kingdom that once existed before Bahnseim came to be, 【Zenoire】 was a descendent of Agrissa as well.
Such a woman sat in the main camp, watching the battle alongside her comrades of old.
At the time, they had risen up to overthrow the terrible state of the kingdom. While their numbers were never too great, their wills alone would shine through.
“Your grandson has grown up magnificently. It is my belief we should join his campaign.”
“The surrounding forces are already pushing the dead back. I’m sure they’re the heads of the Walt House.”
“The preparations are in order.”
Zenoire stood, spreading out her fan.
“So Celes resurrected that Yellow Jewel we’ve passed down for generations. But if Lyle is to use it to reign supreme over the continent, we’ve no choice but to aid his plight. The time has come for us to end the calamity Sentras left behind, and pass on the continent to its legitimate successors!”
The ones who watched the lines of armed men were Gracia and Elza. When they had returned to camp, they opened their eyes wide at the commotion.
General Blois looked at the two.
“Madam, those two are Lyle-dono’s bridal candidates as well.”
She was making quite a ruckus, so General Blois had passed the problem onto Gracia and Elza. There, Zenoire turned, looking over the two as she narrowed her eyes.
“… Lyle’s wives? There are quite a few of you. Well, if he’s ascending to the crown, there won’t be a problem no matter how many there be. We’re launching attack, so accompany our charge.”
As Zenoire said such a thing, the two were quite perplexed. They had returned to seek orders from the General. But General Blois kept his eyes averted.
“H-he sold us out!”
As Gracia said that, Zenoire folded up her fan, grasping the two girls’ heads and pulling them closer.
“Hurry it up! I don’t want to get in my son’s way! And we’ll be meeting up with Brod. For that man doesn’t know how to be tactful.”
Gracia and Elza squirmed as they were pulled off.
“Wait, she’s even stronger than me!”
“L-let me go!”
To the two wriggling ladies.
“If you come along, I’ll tell you all about Lyle. And I’ll check to see if you’re worthy of the Walt House.”
Zenoire said something quite like the Fourth’s wife. Perhaps it was something like a custom passed down through the women of the Walt House.
… And quite a terrible custom it was…