A Blue Gem to my Heart
… South Beim.
A while after noon had passed, Erhart dropped by the Guild. He had finished the request he’d taken on, and came back to report it.
His request was a patrol of the city’s perimeter. A majority of the soldiers were out of town. For that sake, to supplement their lack of personnel, the requests were put out to the city’s adventurers’.
Rühe was the one manning the counter. When she spotted Erhart, she waved her hand.
“Good work out there.”
“Yeah, all wrapped up. Rather, have you got any new info? It’s been quite a while since they set out, but I haven’t even heard any rumors.”
Rumors… naturally about the war in Centralle. While there were unfounded rumors circulating about, nothing certain had reached Erhart’s ears.
It’s not as if he was particularly good at gathering information to begin with. One of his party members was specialized in gathering that sort of information.
But even that member had yet to obtain anything definitive. Was the war still going on? Or was it won? Lost? Erhart couldn’t help but be curious.
“We haven’t gotten any information in. The Valkyries, was it? They were all gathered up, so we have no means of communication, it seems.”
Erhart handed the paperwork over, touching a hand to his chin.
“I see. Well, perhaps it isn’t something that will end so easily, but you can’t help but wonder.”
A battle to decide the fate of the continent… so it was called. But as a practical problem, it was a war in some distant land.
While those around were curious, they got on with their lives.
As Rühe and Erhart spoke, Marianne rushed into the guild. She was short on breath, gathering the eyes of the receptionists and adventurers in the branch.
Marianne collected herself before declaring with a smile.
“They won! It was the alliance’s victory. The Bahnseim Kingdom was taken down! A portion of the army has returned, you see. So the information was finally able to reach us! The main force has already reached Rhuvenns.”
Hearing that, the atmosphere in the guild brightened up all at once. Erhart reached out and embraced Rühe. Surprised as she was, with the surrounding atmosphere, she hugged back and rejoiced along with him.
And Marianne looked upon it with delight…
… In Rhuvenns castle, a single Valkyrie came to Lianne.
It wasn’t unit Thirty Four.
While her black hair and face were the same, her hairstyle, and the subtle difference in her clothing was enough for Lianne to understand the difference.
Unit Thirty Four didn’t come to meet her. And with a Valkyrie holding a crate and letter coming to see her, she had realized.
Lianne stood from her chair, walking her way to the Valkyrie. She took the box and letter.
But the letter was something from her home of Faunbeux. Putting the letter off to later, she opened the box. In it was a single pink, knit string. Lianne’s present.
“… There’s no meaning in returning if that’s all that’s left of you. That child was foolish to the end.”
The Valkyrie’s sister nodded.
“Yes, she was a fool. But she fulfilled her duty. Please praise her. And that is all she held onto so dearly. I am sure she did not want it to burn out alongside her. She left her final words… ‘I have an outfit prepared for your chick. Please check the dresser’ she said.”
Lianne laughed. Laughed, and at the sheer ridiculousness, she held her stomach with both hands. And she approached the dresser Unit Thirty Four presumably stowed it in and opened it.
In it, from baby to child, various outfits were prepared.
“She was truly a fool… thinking nothing but of what was to come…”
Lianne’s tears stained one of the garments. As she wiped them, she opened the letter from Faunbeux. It contained words of worry for their daughter
At the same time it was written that Novem was decided as the legal wife. Lianne smiled.
The Valkyrie seemed worried for her.
“You must not fall to despair. And Unit Thirty Four wouldn’t want…”
“… Despair? I’ve no time for such a thing. And I’ve received that child’s last words. Well, while I’ve had the seat of legal wife snatched up from under me, I’m still one of the mistresses. The probability of overturning things from this point isn’t zero. I think I’ll be making for Centralle with haste.”
The Valkyrie spoke.
“The outfits are prepared, was enough of a message?”
Lianne wiped her tears, speaking as she turned back to the Valkyrie.
“Yes, she wanted to see the face of my child. Soon, a baby… a chick’s face, is her demand. That girl won’t be able to see it. But you lot want to see too, don’t you?”
There, the Vallkyrie before her eyes corrected her posture.
“… I am Unit Seventy One. I belong to the faction that supports you. Please let me share in that duty!”
Click! As her expression changed, Lianne smiled.
“I see. It’s a pleasure to work with you, Unit Seventy One. Now then, first off, we must make arrangements to transport this dresser. Carry it with care. And then the preparations to head for Centralle…”
“About that, Centralle has become a mountain of rubble. The mobile fortress was destroyed as well, so there is a need to construct a new capital. The location has already been decided.”
Lianne let out a sigh. She had no time to feel sad.
How much do they think that fortress of their cost? Well, if they won, then so be it. We can go collect it up whenever we want. Then we’ll head there after some preparations. It’s going to be busy. But… a new capital, is it? That sounds interesting enough.“
As Lianne showed off her will, her fighting spirit against Novem quietly blazed up.
“And perhaps it’s a good thing to seriously vie for his favor. Because I want to have a child soon.”
The Valkyrie gave a firm nod…
… North Beim. Adele’s office.
Receiving the victory report, and the documents explaining the situation, Adele held her head.
“Centralle is a mountain of rubble… The mobile fortress was blown away and suffered severe damage. Why did it come to this… the Capital of Centralle was a historic site! And the cost of that fortress was ridiculously high! That’s why I never wanted that weapon!”
Before Adele’s teary eyes, a Valkyrie stood quite unmotivated. Adele wasn’t Lyle’s wife. Meaning she wouldn’t have Lyle’s children.
As a result, she was low on the Valkyrie’s order or precedence. As the Valkyrie tickled her long black hair with her fingertips, she let out a sigh.
“… More importantly, could you start preparing soon? They are lacking in officers, so they said to call Adele-san over.”
Adele lowered her hands on her own desk a few times, hard enough to make banging sounds.
“What’s with that attitude!? And the train of thought that, ‘everything’s fine as long as you win’ is absurd! He should’ve tried for a victory with fewer casualties, you see, and…”
“Ah, that one was impossible. Well, I have the report here on the matter, so please give it a read.”
What the Valkyrie pulled from her bag was a report of the event. Each sheet of paper packed to the brim with lettering barely a legible size.
And the amount of papers was nothing to laugh out.
“… Can you summarize it?”
The Valkyrie seemed unmotivated.
“We beat Celes. Agrissa popped out and lost to Novem. Novem was confessed to by master, and gave up. Over. Ah, something about a golden dragon being the ringleader or something, it seems we’re supposed to say it was a formidable foe.”
Adele slammed her desk a few more times.
“A bit more detailed if you will! Even if you tell me that, I don’t feel any more enlightened!”
The Valkyrie raised an, ‘Eh~,’ in true reluctance…
“City development? How could one call themselves a maid if they couldn’t do that much? From deciding the location to drafting the blueprints, just leave it to this Monica. I’ll prepare a city worthy of a useless damn chicken…”
“I’m, you see, to be quite honest, I’d be fine with focusing on practicality. But you know, I think shabby is something else, and a majestic feel would be nice. See, I know gold is a bit hard on our budget, but if it looks extravagant, then maybe it’s for the best.”
There were numerous tents put up around. As we went out and surrounded a large table, we discussed the city we would build on the point Monica designated.
While Monica continued joking around, the place she chose was certainly a worthy spot for a city. If I had to say a problem, the preliminary work and foundations would be a pain.
Flood control, and this and that… there was a reason a city had never been placed there before. But in a sense, we had a gathering of specialists here.
Novem looked at me and nodded.
“Not only for your time, let’s make a plan with future development in mind. For that sake, the foundations are important. Leave it to me. While I’ve lost a large majority of my power, this Novem will give you a city as a present…”
“That sort of thing’s no good, right? We’ve got plenty of soldiers, and we just have to give them some work. See, the other armies have already gone home, and carrying a few hundred thousand would be harsh for us.”
As Novem said something similar to Septem who cared too much and ruined people, Miranda looked and laughed. Novem gave a purposeful clearing of her throat.
“You’ve got to properly have the post-war on your mind, right~. While we’ve got food problems, keeping soldiers without work is difficult. But that sparkly dragon–”
As I gave her the precise name, Miranda corrected herself. He was so pitiful, I at least wanted his name properly remembered. For argument’s sake, he had been placed as the final formidable foe to stand against us in this conquest.
“Yeah, the Legend Dragon’s magic stones and materials have some time left to go before the world knows their value, so there’s a money problem too.”
Damien pushed his glasses up with his fingertip.
“I do think they’re amazing as materials. But it’ll be a while until we hit on how to use them.”
Old Letarta looked over a portion of the materials we had collected.
“… Honestly, when only one of them came out, why do you have so many materials? There’s enough for three or four whole dragons, you know? Well, leave them with us a while, and me and Damien will tell you what they’re best suited for.”
I couldn’t feel much motivation from Damien.
“You know, for me, this lost time is a waste. When I’m supposed to be pursuing my ideal woman, why do I have to involve myself with city development in a place like this?”
I, in regards to him.
“Because a portion of the materials we’re disseminating are going to become your research funds. You’d better find a use for them that’ll have people buying them at a high price.”
“Leave it to me. It’s for my funds. That’s an important problem for me!”
As I explained things away, I looked at the sky. Today’s weather was nice.
I absentmindedly reached my right hand to the Jewel, and gripped it, but there was no response. It seems it really had just returned to being a blue gem.
Would it be restored as a Jewel again someday? Or perhaps, would it continue its existence as a gem evermore?
… It’s no good. I still had the feeling I’d hear my ancestors’ voices from somewhere.
There, Shannon looked at me.
“Lyle, you look lonely. Oh, even if you say I’m wrong, the almighty Shannon sees right through you. For these eyes I inherited from my great grandmother Milleia can see through all in existence!”
Seeing her firmly strike a pose, I laughed. I didn’t have the time for sorrow. The time everything was over was the time I died.
Until then, I had to keep walking. I had to keep pressing forwards.
“Well, let’s set a firm foundation for our new capital. It’s for the future. After that… we just have to tack on sufficient functionality. I want to have it in some shape by the end of spring so we can declare the founding of our nation.”
I still couldn’t let my guard down. Perhaps some army would aim for this time and attack. I want to believe there are no idiots, but I can’t laugh if I get struck down by an idiot.
There, Monica looked over at me.
“Oh, Chicken Dickwad. Lianne-san in Rhuvenns says she’ll bring over the necessary tools and materials to set up a new city. That’s good. It seems she’s trying to sell a favor now that the legal wife’s been decided.”
I averted my face. When the topic of legal wife came up… well, it was really empress… everyone’s eyes would gather on Novem.
Touching a hand to her face, tilting her head a bit, Novem sent a provocative glance around. Miranda reacted at once, so I worked with Shannon to break things up.
“Hey! Aren’t you going to do something about this!?”
“Foolish little girl! All I can do is to be watchful and make sure everyone doesn’t explode. It’s not my problem what happens once they’ve already blown up! I’m a man who doesn’t fight without any prospects of victory!”
As Shannon ran away with me, we found Aria and Eva on our path. As I thought it was a strange pairing, the two of them spoke on.
It seemed to be a serious talk, so I peered in on them from the shadows.
“The First’s wife? Well, she was an amazing person.”
“A little more detail on that! Please, I have an obligation to get a song of his clan together. Now that I’ve witnessed it, I’ve realized. The Walt House is a blast! So I need to know more! Good grief, Lyle should have opened up to me on these things sooner.”
It does seem she was seriously looking into my clan. When the elf who was prone to exaggerate and ad lib looked into things so seriously, it was a little scary.
There, Shannon hiding beside me spoke.
“Come to think of it, Clara seemed to be thinking about something real seriously as well.”
Clara was making her move. When I thought of that, it really put a load on my mind. Clara and Eva, I could only hope their strange rivalry didn’t blaze up.
There, Shannon looked at me.
“You sure have it hard. With so many wives. And you’ll get more, won’t you? Well, just do your best. Ah, I’m also your wife, but as long as I can take it easy every day, I don’t have any other complaints.”
I pinched Shannon’s cheek.
“Oy, I don’t mind arranging the latter half for you, but what was that about having more!?”
Shannon wriggled to get her cheek out of my right hand.
“I-I mean! Everyone was talking about how they wouldn’t be able to oppose Novem alone! Ludmilla made contact with the King of Djanpear, and the others are probing for allies, so I thought you would know…”
I released Shannon’s face, unsteadily tottering backwards.
“T-this can’t be. Even now, I have over ten, you know. Are you stupid!? You really are! You guys actually hate me, don’t you.”
There, Shannon gave a grin.
“So you finally noticed? Right… what we’re really aiming for is the weakened form of your psyche chipping away!”
“A-as I thought! Little girl, so you hated me that much!”
As we made a ruckus, Vera came over to us. Even hearing Shannon’s conversation with me, she didn’t seem surprised.
“You two sure get along. And I’ll be returning temporarily, so could you lend me Clara? I have to transport some goods, and I’d like to use Clara’s transport corps.”
I turned to Vera.
“As long as you’ll leave half behind. We have to use them over here as well. But in that case, it really is painful that Porter’s gone.”
Thinking about movement speed alone, Porter was exceptionally fast. With special tires and wheels, Porter with its Magic Ore and motion engine… we had lost a precious comrade.
Shannon was moved to tears too.
“Uuuuurh, Porter… the comfort of your loading tray shall be missed.”
Right now, we were carrying on with a life in the tents. I also yearned for Porter’s loading tray. Vera looked over our sorrow.
“… Well, it was an existence like a partner that accompanied you so long, right? Like my ship to me? I’ll be returning once, so is there anything you want?”
It came to me. I turned a smile to Vera.
“I’d like some kindness!”
I said. I had some terrible wives plotting to increase my number of wives. I think it’s alright if I seek some kindness. There, Vera began thinking with a serious look on her face.
“Kindness… you mean broadmindedness? You mean if it’s that sort of woman, you’ll accept them?”
As I panicked, Vera explained.
“Ah, not me. I’m not for it at all, but if you’re officially putting the Guild under state management, then they said they’d best send someone over to you. See, your impression as a womanizer is really strong there, and…”
It’s a misunderstanding. A complete misunderstanding. I have a lot of woman around me. I definitely do, but I get the feeling the world’s impression of me is growing further and further apart from who I am.
“… Push talks towards rejection.”
“Got it. I’ll tell my father that too. Then I’ll be deciding your souvenir on my own, so have some high hopes.”
As Vera went away, Shannon pinched my trousers and tugged at them.
“What is it?”
“You’re definitely in for something terrible. If you don’t properly tell everyone while you have the chance, it will be too late for you to take back.”
I thought so too. As I gripped the Jewel, it felt almost as if I could hear voices fed-up at, yet enjoying this situation.
“I know. I’ll tell them at once. Let’s go back.”
“Eh? I don’t want to. Go back alone.”
I dragged Shannon with a smile as I headed to the battlefield of Novem and Miranda.