Sevens Epilogue: Second Half
… The new capital.
Its foundation fully constructed, the representatives of various countries… when the representatives of the countries that took part in the alliance had gathered, winter had already gone by, and the time was bordering on spring.
The development plan of the capital was still half-way there. But as they couldn’t put it off any longer, they gathered the representatives, and Lyle officially proclaimed his enthronement and the formation of his empire.
He had already begun his rule by then. The area once under the Bahnseim House’s direct control. On top of that, the territories of the feudal lords Lyle had crushed on the way. That added to Rhuvenns and Beim. Just because he was busy, it wasn’t as if Lyle could get out of managing them.
From the moment the Bahnseim Monarchy was taken down, Lyle’s standing was already one where he had to bear responsibility. He was only making a formal proclamation of it.
The palace in the center of the new capital was completed, and that fortified city held a non- standard construct new to the world. That castle supported up by pillars of vermillion was high and large. The ingredients used to support such weight were the Legend Dragon’s horns. It used those red horns, with those crimson pillars supporting up a massive structure.
The representatives of the countries gathered in the receptions hall swallowed their breathes; not only at its expanse, but its magnificence as well. It hadn’t been built as a simple fortress for combat, and yet the technological might to prepare this so soon… with all else considered, by their national power alone, they would be a terrible foe to stand up against.
Lyle had succeeded in giving that impression.
Standing in the hall as representative of Beim’s merchants was Fidel Trēs. His daughter was one of Lyle’s mistresses, so he had been invited over.
The ceremony had yet to begin, so for not the representatives spoke amongst themselves. The air wasn’t too strained, but neither was it gentle. In such a place, all waited for the rites to begin.
As those around knew Fidel had supported Lyle since he was a nameless adventurer, merchant as he was, the other delegates permitted him to line himself shoulder to shoulder with them.
(Guild executives. And the representatives of nations… everywhere’s exhausted, so it doesn’t seem they plan to scheme too much against the brat. Well, when the princesses and queens of surrounding countries are his mistresses, I guess it’s idiotic to start any needless conflict. No, wait! We’re talking about that brat here. Perhaps he’s waiting for some imbecile to carelessly pull the trigger! He’s the bastard who got Vera in his hands with dirty means. No doubt there’s something dirty on his mind.)
Alone, without changing his expression, Fidel thought to himself, but as he had continued to support Lyle financially all this time, those around thought he had presented his daughter himself.
That’s just how powerful they thought Lyle was. And that only irritated Fidel more.
(Dammit. They think I offered Vera to him, what’s more, they won’t even say it to my face! I’ll get him back for this. I’ll harass that brat the hell of it!)
While he was proficient as a merchant, he was hopeless when it came to his daughter. All the way he wished that the ceremony would start and get over with already…
… In the room where they prepared for the ceremony, starting with Novem, the female camp got their clothing in order with the assistance of the Valkyries.
Unable to take part in anything too modest, they wore the expensive attire they had ordered for this day. But here was a battlefield.
Novem sat in a chair, getting her hair in order. To her side sat Miranda.
“I’ve made numerous failures in my life, but among them, my greatest blunder was adding you to Lyle’s harem. Even now I regret it dearly.”
As Novem let out a prickly air, Novem sat in front of a mirror, taking care of her nails.
“Right. I also think I should’ve just abandoned you back there. I regret saving the idiot crying bloody murder and making a ruckus by herself.”
Seeing the two laugh amongst themselves, Shannon fidgeted. While she was wearing a dress, she moved around too much, and it had become disheveled. A Valkyrie reset her clothes.
“Uwah, how scary. I never thought the battles between women would be something so unsightly.”
Near Shannon was Elza in her undergarments. Adjustments on her dress were hurriedly being carried out by Monica’s hand.
“That’s right. I won’t let myself be a part of it.”
“No one cares about that, so put this on. I’m busy here. I have to go over to the chicken dickwad’s place and get his appearance in order. I’m sure he’s shaking from the loneliness.”
Shannon looked at Monica and sighed.
“You sure he isn’t going over his address right around now? Lately, whenever you approach him, he’s extremely surprised, you know?”
Elza nodded too. She accepted the dress from Monica, the Valkyries gathering around her to help her put it on.
“It was the same with me. Did he get some new sort of trauma? Ah, it fits perfectly now. You have my thanks.”
There came the sound of something falling. Ludmilla and Gracia. A problem had come out in their dresses. Both of them remained in their undergarments.
“Why do our dresses overlap!? Deep purple is my color. You shall wear something else!”
“I wanted a calm color too! You go change!”
Looking at the feud between the two, a topless Eva seemed fed-up. Her pink-blond hair covered the important parts.
“They never get tired of it, those girls.”
Having finished put on her dress, Clara was done preparing, so she sat and read a book. She spoke up in regards to Eva’s statement.
“Right, right. Rather, why don’t you just put on your dress already? It’s not our part yet, but the country representatives are already in the reception hall, aren’t they?”
Eva stroked up her hair.
“Not my problem. My dress is being modified. And I wanted to wear something flashier…”
In another corner, May and Marina seemed uncomfortable.
“These clothes… are hard to move in. And hot.”
“Why am I here…”
The First’s wife taking a liking to her, Marina’s inclusion as a mistress was done then and there. Nearby Marina, even Marrianne was present.
“That’s my question. Why am I… I was called over by the Trēs House, and then the guild executives congratulated me for some reason.”
There, wearing clothes that clearly showed the lines of her body, Thelma folded her arms in delight.
“You still have it good… marrying before you’ve learned true desperation. If I didn’t slip in here, I’d probably never be able to in my life.”
The latter part was spoken quite seriously. Looking at Thelma was the current Holy Maiden of Zayin, Aura.
“If Thelma-san’s here, I don’t think there’s any need for me to be here, you know?”
But Thelma touched a hand to her face.
“Ah, that’s no good. I mean, to the country of Zayin, you’re the official Holy Maiden. It’s going to become hereditary, so it’s important for you to have children. Gastone was rejoicing over how Zayin’s future’s secure with this.”
There were various problems with the faces gathered, and Vera took a look over them. An overly numerous number of Valkyries surrounded Vera.
“If you don’t want it, then properly refuse. Rather, father… I told him to move talks towards not growing the harem, so what could his intentions be? And wait, why am I surrounded by these girls?”
Even when she had finished putting on her dress, the Valkyries surrounded her. The ones surrounded in a similar fashion were Novem, Miranda and Aria.
Aria was courteously being dressed. She was making a troubled face.
“H-hey! Why do you have to be so thorough? And it’s a bit loose around my stomach. Can’t you tighten it a…”
The Valkyries giving immediate responses, Aria dropped her shoulders. Her hair that always curled upwards had been set straight today. While Aria was unable to keep calm at these foreign garments, the Valkyries stayed by her and voiced their complaints.
“Young lady, don’t walk in long strides.”
“No sudden movements!”
With Valkyrie Unit Seventy One by her side, Lianne looked over the scene. It seemed she had noticed, so she asked Unit Seventy One.
“Hey, an honest question, but could it be those four are…”
“Correct. It would be best you hurried up, Lianne-san.”
Lianne sat in her seat, spreading a folding fan to over her mouth.
“That’s a surprise. With Novem and Miranda, I don’t think it would be strange if they assaulted him, but Aria and Vera? I should be a little more assertive myself.”
… In what? No one around thought to ask.
“Ah, I got some cream on it.”
“Shannon, hurry and change. And Elza, you stop eating too.”
As Shannon spilled her sweats and stained her dress, Miranda scold her. While she was at it, she got angry at Elza eating sweets alongside her.
Novem turned to Aria.
“Aria-san, you can’t settle down and sit still?”
“I mean… I just can’t calm down. I did want to wear a dress, but it’s kinda embarrassing come this far.”
May and Marina.
“Hah, I want to eat some meat.”
“Agreement. Someone bring some meat over.”
Vera looked at the two.
“Of course that’s no good. We won’t be eating much today until the ceremony is over. You got that? The same goes for the evening party.”
As the two of them made faces of true fear and surprise, the other members… the mistresses pushed on by various nations couldn’t let out their voices before these peculiar members…
“Are you screwing around!?”
Out of his usual tank top, Erhart stood in my room in formal attire. He complained to me in tears, but upon hearing the reason, I was the one who was surprised.
“Like I know! This is the first I’m hearing of it! I don’t want my numbers growing any more either! I have it hard as it is! I’m freaking terrified! Everyone… everyone’s so scary. If Aria wasn’t there to comfort me, I don’t know what I’d…”
As I held back my tears, Erhart panicked. I’m sure he had the same experience as me, or he had realized this wasn’t someone else’s problem. As I thought, it was the right choice to expand his circle of friends.
I wanted friends who could understand this feeling, so I pushed various things onto him. Like women, and fame.
But I could understand why he’d be angry. I never thought Marianne-san would be pushed onto me on the appointed day.
That blasted Fidel, so this is the reason he sent that smile at me. I thought I told him to proceed talks towards rejection, but for me to take a mistress from the Guild as well…
“I-I’m sory. But why does it have to be Marianne!?”
Even so, Erhart couldn’t forgive his first love becoming a mistress. But Maksim in the same room tilted his head to the side. Damien was the same.
“Why? Because that Marianne-dono didn’t have anyone special? And it seems you’ve gathered quite a number of females’ affection yourself.”
“What’s more, your confession was rejected, right? Then I don’t think this is a problem that concerns you.”
Being cut down so soon by their words, Erhart collapsed at the knees.
“I… was no good. But even so, I wanted Marianne-san to find happiness… goddessdammit!!”
There, Baldoir looked at us and sighed.
“What are you doing, you four? More importantly, Maksim-dono, has there been any progress between you and Adele? I heard your confession was a success.”
There, Maksim-san bashfully held up his head.
“How foolish. It succeeded. But our relationship is nothing further than a kiss. See, I want to enjoy our newly-married life, ‘Just the two of us’.”
Perhaps that was a low blow at me, or at Erhart. Or maybe even Baldoir. Damien sipped some tea.
“How envious. My research lab’s going to be completed soon, so I’ll be able to devote myself to creating my ideal woman.”
Erhart looked over us.
“… You’re all definitely strange. The screws in your heads have blown the hell away.”
I looked at him, thinking over how rare it was to see him in presentable wear.
“… You’ve shown some splendid pluck. Understood. To the heartbroken Free Knight Erhart, I- the one who appointed you as a Free Knight- shall introduce you some women to make up for it. How does Princess Annerinne sound? She’s a cute person.”
Erhart stood and pointed at me. Baldoir said, “You’re being disrespectful,” but Erhart was a valuable existence who complained at me. Just leave at that. Otherwise, there would be no fun to be found in teasing him.
“Cut the crap! Just how much trouble do you think I went through because of that fluffy Free Knight title!? Just the other day, I was sent a request for Dragon Slaying, and it really was nothing but trouble.”
Apparently, Erhart defeated a Land Dragon. How wonderful. I knew he had talent, but as expected of the man I recognized.
“In response to your good work, I’ll give you public recognition next time. From your fluffy standing, you need only enjoy your harem.”
To my smile, Erhart held his head in both hands. This guy, back when I met him, he wasn’t looking at reality, but by the time he woke up, he had the harem he wanted in his hands.
Some wishes do come true, I wanted to say.
“As if I can support so many with this fluffy standing! At this rate, I really will be assaulted! I’m on the verge of being raped here!”
… I ask you don’t say that to someone who really was raped. While we’re at it, just get assaulted already and come over to this side. I wanted to say. Dammit, for my healing factor to be this damn tank top and the bride’s father of all people.
It irritates me, so I’m going to rile Fidel.
There, Baldoir checked the time on his pocket watch. It seems the time was coming near.
“Lyle-sama… no, your majesty. The time is here.”
I took a light breath, and changed my train of thought.
“Understood. I’ll head for the hall.”
Maksim-san and Damien stood as well, while Erhart complained, “you people change gears too fast.” The five of us circled around to the back of the hall, where Rauno-san stood on lookout.
“The preparations are in order, your majesty.”
Without his usual unshaven stubble, his dress was in order today. Nodding to the words of my retainers, I set out into the hall.
A position to look down over the lines of country delegates, and the representatives of organizations.
In the depths of the hall, a high place was prepared with stairs leading down. On top of it was a throne. It was made amply extravagant to show off a sense of majesty.
As I made my entrance, the orchestra on standby began its performance. Within that stately air, everyone lowered their heads as I climbed the stairs to the throne.
One step. Another… a red carpet was draped down the steps to the throne.
I could see my seat over the corpses that paved my way.
The red carpet looked like blood to me.
As I climbed up to such a height, I was certain I was the grand villain. From the world’s point of view, it wouldn’t be strange if they thought I had used my own sister to drop the Bahnseim Kingdom and take it for myself.
A disaster caused by a person of the Walt House was merely contained by another Walt.
Normally, playing the hero and leaving once everything was over may have been cooler.
But I couldn’t do that.
I had my promises.
And I couldn’t run from the responsibility of all those I had killed.
I had climbed so high by killing so many.
There was something called a minimum level of liability.
Climbing to the top, I saw the seat. The throne. Having walked so far, I turned to take a seat, ending up looking down over all.
I was sure I was going to offer the rest of my life to governing them. Even I had to wonder why I’d made such a choice.
I felt I would be crushed under the weight of this charge, but I got the feeling my ancestors were watching me from somewhere. In that case, I couldn’t do anything to embarrass myself.
Taking a seat, I spoke for everyone to raise their heads, proclaiming I had officially ascended to the throne. At the same time, I proclaimed the unification of the continent. It was already recognized a majority of the countries would come under the empire’s rule. And we had managed to exhaust the continent as a whole.
Especially the Bahnseim Kingdom… the desolation of the continent’s center was great, but even so, the empire had shown its might in battle.
We should be fine for the time being. Henceforth, we can only apply ourselves to domestic affairs and diplomacy. That’s better than war, I’d have to say.
Even now there were times I wondered if some hero of the goddesses was out there somewhere. If they were, I would never have thought to do so much myself. But there was no one. There weren’t any humans to cause a stir.
Even if there were, whether they could beat Celes or not…
So I decided to do it.
As the ceremony carried on, I played the part of the emperor of my ideals. What came to my mind was my ancestors.
If I asked the First about empires, he’d probably take a, ‘pshaw,’ attitude.
Perhaps the Second would make a bit of a troubled face.
The Third would have a laugh at his descendent taking the throne.
The Fourth would be noisy about rule and money.
The Fifth… wouldn’t say much, but he’d at least tell me, ‘don’t push yourself’.
The Sixth, let’s see. I’m sure he’d be worried at my surplus of wives.
The Seventh may have cried from joy.
The Eighth… what words would my father offer to me? I had few memories of my time before ten, and from then on I only had memory of him taking a cold attitude towards me. He apologized to me at the end, but I couldn’t imagine what he would say.
Deep. I think these were a very deep two years. Driven out of the house, I became an adventurer. Became an adventurer without a goal, met Aria and met Miranda, and…
Perhaps my reunion with Celes was the true beginning. Facing defeat in the falling snow of Centralle, from the moment I saw Celes command that city of madness… I held a true goal for the first in my life.
That’s why I’m here.
That’s why I’m looking back on my life here.
It was just as Milleia-san said. Build up a mountain of corpses and sit on the throne.
The ceremony went on. The representatives who voiced their loyalty to me.
“We shall come under the rule of the empire, and pledge our allegiance to the emperor.”
Those words put everyone on their knees.
Within all that, when I think over how many may be after my neck, it sends a shiver down my spine. Even if I knew what I built up would someday fall to decay, I had to go on under the assumption it would continue forever. A continent that fell to ruin in only a few years.
It should be fine for it to have a brief moment of peace.
I’ll devote all that remains of my life. It may not be much as compensation, but for however long it buys us.
“I am delighted at your pledge. I shall devote this body- young as it is- to be a good lord to all. I ask that you help support up this empire with me.”
Though I doubt you will… okay, taking it that far would be a lie, but at the very least, put in some work too, is what I wanted it say.
I mean, when I used to have eyes like a dead fish, I was driven far enough into a corner to resolve to unify the continent. If the surroundings helped just a bit more, I think I could’ve helped out as just a single soldier or adventurer.
Though it’s too late for that.
Someday I’ll hand this position over to the next generation. That would mean pushing various troubles onto them. When I thought of it that was, I felt a bit apologetic. I have to at least settle what I’m capable of.
I’m anxious whether or not I’ll be able to entrust something as the others had.
But even so, I’ll walk ahead a step at a time.
Walk and walk, and at the time I stop, to the next generation… I’ll give someone else’s back a push. That’s the sort of existence I want to become.
Just like those seven.
Just like my ancestors who supported and led me.
… The birth of an empire that had unified the land after its three hundred years of separation.
The golden age of its long rule came around a hundred years after its founding. From there, it experienced many changes in times alongside numerous uprisings, yet maintained its hold on the continent for five hundred years.
But all that rises must someday fall, and with the flow of time, the empire fell apart. After that, a period of warring states descended, and it took quite some time before the lands were united again…
… On the classroom’s blackboard, the history of the continent in its imperial days were lain out.
On the neck of a young boy receiving lessons in that classroom hung a pendant of silver. A blue gem was embedded into it, and it was quite an old piece.
Behind the teacher’s desk, the teacher lightly tapped his fist against the board as he spoke.
“Well, all this history’s something of an opening act for the warring states period that followed. What I’m going to teach you now is the more popular stuff. But when you delve deeper into the empire of that era, you’ll find it’s quite an interesting thing. The heroes that clashed on the battlefield were actually all descended of that first emperor, or so some say. But it’s true in order to stake a legitimate claim, there were plenty of folks who proclaimed themselves descendants of the emperor. That’s why there are so many Walts around these days. Even some in this classroom, right?”
Eyes gathered on the young boy, alongside some laughter. As the boy was faint of heart, he hung his head down.
There, the history teacher began speaking with pride. Perhaps he really loved history, as he had done much research into it himself, and it seems he held his own thoughts on the events.
“But it really is shady how that first emperor called himself a God Emperor. What’s more. The country that became a trigger for the empire’s founding, you see, the truth is, the first emperor’s sister married into it. Your teacher thinks the Walt house just caused some trouble to swoop in and resolve it. Look into it, and it gets exceedingly fishy. Driven out of his house, he went and played the part of what we call a Hunter these days.”
The teacher who spoke on eloquently did have the research to back up his pride. The first emperor was a terrible womanizer, what’s more, he didn’t make it in time to save the commercial city that supported him.
Displaying various other bits of information, he gave his own impression of events. And, to conclude, he gave as a preface.
“The first emperor wasn’t some God Emperor, he was just your everyday neighborhood gigolo. The deeper you dig into it, the shadier it gets. There’s that Shannon who’s popular in movies and dramas, right? The cause of her muddled life in the inner palace was that emperor, and your teacher thinks he must have been the absolute worst to put her through so much. That Free Knight Erhart who operated at approximately the same time is more of a hero than him.”
The teacher spoke with a smile. There, more eyes gathered on the Walt-named boy, and some ill-natured students even pointed their fingers and laughed.
The bell rung to signal the end of the lesson; the teacher looked at the clock and began getting his things in order.
“I’ll erase the blackboard. Now then, who’s on duty today?”
After the student on duty said, “stand, bow,” everyone stood and lowered their heads. Once the professor had left, the boy sat back down in his seat.
That class was the last one of the day, so in the time it took for the homeroom teacher to arrive, the boy stuffed his textbooks and notebooks into his bag.
At that moment, a few off the ill-natured boys came over to him.
“Oy, looks like your house is the worst.”
“The worst! The worst!”
As the boys teased him so, he silently hung his head. Endured until the teacher arrived, and when school was over, he hurriedly ran to leave the premise.
He didn’t want to be in school. The reason being…
Confirming no one was around, the boy spoke.
“Um, please don’t make such a ruckus. My fatigue’s been terrible lately…”
There, Lyle’s voice came from the Jewel… the Jewel that had regained its glow.
『I’m going to smack some sense into that teacher! Who’s the worst!? Who’s a damn gigolo! The reason the inner palace was so muddled wasn’t my fault!』
There, came a rough voice. It was the First.
『Hmm, emperors sure have it rough. But our ninth generation’s the emperor? Doesn’t really feel real to me.』
Their records reset, they were back to when they had no memory of Lyle. But from the young boy’s point of view, it was nothing but a nuisance when those eight acted up and chipped away his Mana.
“Um, quiet please…”
He heard the voice of the Second.
『But even so, I can’t forgive that teacher. Saying such things of our direct descendent… that was plain harassment, wasn’t it?』
The Third laughed as he spoke, but he seemed to be angry. His words were scary.
『Should we do it? Murder’s a sin, and it’s punished quite heavily these days, but crushing him socially should be easy enough. Let’s make it so he’ll never be able to stand again.』
The Fourth sounded reluctant. But it’s not as if he didn’t want to get back.
『Do such a thing, and it’s too high a risk for us. In this case, anonymously… public schooling, was it? Send a report to whoever’s managing this organization… with evidence.』
The Fifth didn’t usually talk much, but.
『… Make it clear to those terrible children where they stand. I hate those sorts of brats the most. First thing you have to do is look into their households.』
The Sixth was laughing. The boy sent a whisper.
『Fwahahaha, strengthen yourself a bit with a Skill, talk with your fists, and they’ll understand in no time. That’s how it is, so let me teach you how to fight. First aim for the eyes!』
The Seventh let out a fed-up voice.
『You can crush them without having to resort to that. Well, it’s fact that I can’t stand that teacher. Let’s make him cry in lament at having made light of our Walt House!』
Lyle agreed to his grandfather- the Seventh’s words.
『Like hell you can let it end with brats of that level saying what they want! I… I’m not at fault at all! Rile them up! I’ll teach you how to rile like you’re riling Fidel! … Well, you’re the one who’ll be getting back at them. Best of luck. Don’t be sparing with our assistance. Though even if we cooperate, it’ll just be advice, or teaching you how to use Skills.』
The ancestors told him to work hard at his revenge. The young boy who inherited the Jewel with those ancestors recorded in it hung his head.
He tottered off as he muttered. The voices he had come to hear from the day he accepted that blasted blue gemstone.
He never would have thought they were the voices of his ancestors.
“I don’t want this anymore, these ancestors. Monica-san, what am I supposed to do?”
As the boy muttered the name of his home’s housekeeper, his eyes were teary.
Hearing amused laughter from within the Jewel, the young boy found himself sympathizing with his teacher and classmates.
『It’s getting fun around here!!』
The voices that only the young boy could hear… were in high spirits today…
Octō （；・∀・）: “…”
Octō （・∀・；）: “… Eh!?”
Octō （ ・∀・;） : “… they actually ignored me!?”