Intermission: Erhart 2

Erhart Baumann was a nice guy worthy of his tank top.

He had received a splendid title of ‘Free Knight’ from the empire, and he was an adventurer with trus Skill.

Today once more, he found himself musing over how wonderful his cross-backed tank top felt as it squeezed down over his superbly trained body.

He had dropped by the imperial capital under the call of Lyle- who’d become an emperor not too long ago- and thinking today was the right day to make his way home, he awaited the departure of his coupled carriage.

He had bought a ticket, boarded a carriage set for Beim, and taken his seat.

“When I get back, I really have to do something about my party.”

Female adventurers approaching the latter half of their marriageable years.

But all their sights were set on Erhart, and an intense feud between them was carrying out within the party.

At this rate, the party might break apart.

“No, why not just break it up and be free…”

Would it really matter if he just ran away like that? Rejecting such an appealing proposal within him, the man was undergoing quite a psychological conflict when he heard the voice.

“L-let go of me!”
“You’re coming with us!”

A woman in a hood was surrounded by three men a little ways away from the coupled carriage. As he lent them an eye, they disappeared into the crowds.

Erhart violently scratched his hair.

“Dammit! I shouldn’t have looked over.”

But since he’d seen it, he had no choice but to help, thought he as he stood and hopped down from the carriage. But only after telling the coachman to depart without him if he didn’t make it back in time.

It was a narrow gap between buildings.

Dimly lit, the trash bins left around caused a rotten stench to linger in the air.

“… I’m not going back. If I go back now, I’ll be…!”

The woman showed her rejection before the three men.

“We’ll be troubled if you keep selfish like that.”
“Do you plan to seek salvation from his imperial highness?”
“Even if you make a plea, I doubt the emperor will move.”

The men seemed relatively lax. And they seemed somewhat tired of the woman.

Hanging her head, the woman bit her lower lip…

The one who appeared to her was Erhart, his large sword over one shoulder.

“Oy, wait right there. Don’t you feel embarrassed, three of you ganging up on one woman?”

In regards to Erhart’s provocations, the three men seemed somewhat panicked. But once Erhart had entered that narrow space, one replied.

“This is our problem. We’d appreciate you stayed uninvolved.”

On the presumed leader’s words, Erhart narrowed his eyes.

“Don’t like the look of this at all. That’s enough reason for me to involve myself. Or do you have your reasons?”

The men were lost for words, and it was clear there was something dark lingering behind them.

“In that case…”

Erhart approached, and while the three men had weapons at their hips, they came at him with their bare hands.

Their movements were trained, the movements of those accustomed to battle.

“If it’s three on one…!”

As the three men came at him in that narrow alley, Erhart intercepted with his hands as well.

They were strong, but it’s not as if the Free Knight title was something Lyle had simply handed out on a whim.

Erhart was strong, and had earned it from his growth as an adventurer… and as a person.

While it definitely was interesting, and there was some level of harassment alongside Lyle’s personal feelings involved… anyways, Erhart was strong.

“Glad you could make it simple for me.”

Striking them down, and laying them to rest on the dirty ground, Erhart let out a light breath.

“I’m sure the coupled carriage’s already left.”

There, the woman leapt into Erhart’s chest.

“Eh? U-um… little lady, just because someone saved you, that doesn’t mean you should trust a man so easily…”

He grabbed the shoulders of the woman who had came at him, and as he tried to push her away, her hood slipped off.

Her violet hair swayed, letting off a hint of perfume.

Clouded eyes, and soft looking lips… were there before him.

“For Erhart-sama to be the one to come to my rescue.”

The flushed face of Annerinne.

An inn of the imperial capital.

Erhart was holding his head.

The reason being, on top of the royal princess Annerinne coming to the capital, that very princess was the target of some group or another.

It was nothing but trouble.

“… You want to return to Lorphys at once?”

What’s more, he couldn’t rely on his dastardly acquaintance Lyle.

Since Annerinne was troubled, of course Erhart had proposed he talk to Lyle himself.

However…

“Yes. And if those sorts are moving their hands around the imperial capital, I cannot seek aid from his majesty.”

Before Annerinne’s downcast eyes, Erhart scratched his hair.

(Is it something political? Come to think of it, it’s not like the emperor can do anything, or so Lyle told me. Meaning she has some circumstance where even Lyle can’t help out?)

She had come to the capital in search of help, but she had already met an attack.

“I was careless. If only I’d kept a better watch…”

Seeing her vexed face, Erhart folded his arms, and looked up at the ceiling in thought. But when he recalled the fact that he was an idiot, he could only let out a deep sigh.

“Erhart-sama?”

To Annerinne’s worried glance, Erhart directed a smile.

“Don’t mind it. I was just about to return myself. I’ll safely deliver you to Lorphys.”

Locking her hands in front of her chest, Annerinne looked like she would curst into tears at any moment as she voiced her thanks again and again.

(I hope her pursuers don’t come after us. Though I doubt that’s happening.)

Could he protect her alone?

Erhart hardened his resolve, and decided to make for Lorpys alongside Annerinne.

Right around that time.

In the palace, Lyle held an audience with the three men.

Leader of the guards Baldoir seemed irritated as he looked at the three conspicuously injured men. For normally, they wouldn’t be the sort allowed to hold a meeting with Lyle.

“Y-your imperial highness…”

Before the representative of the three worried men, Lyle stood from his seat.

“I don’t need a preface. I’ll play fool to the fact you raised a ruckus in my city. But is that really the truth?”

The men nodded frantically with their bruised faces.

Lyle put a hand to his chin.

“I knew it would be a pain, but to think Erhart would…”

Baldoir offered advice to Lyle.

“Your majesty, this matter isn’t one we should involve ourselves in. This is Lorphys’ problem, and…”

Lyle held up a hand to stop him, and he sent a glance to the maid keeping herself to the background of the room.

Monica silently gave a curtsey and left the room.

“Baldoir, do you know what I want to say?”

In contrast to Baldoir’s blatant displeasure, Lyle made a thin smile. Baldoir clenched his hand and closed his hand.

“I’d be troubled if I gain any more political fetters. But if it’s someone of Erhart’s caliber…”

Free Knight Erhart… recalling the face of his dear friend, Lyle gave a warm smile.

And once his expression turned serious, Lyle turned to look at the three men attempting to shrink their bodies.

“You raised some noise in the capital. So I’ll be putting you three to work.”

The three men desperately lowered their heads to Lyle.

“Now then, it’s been quite a while since things got fun around here.”

Erhart was moving, and Lyle was moving as well.

Those movements with Lorphys at the center would one day bring an influence to the entire continent.


Monica *pant* (*´Д`) *pant*: “My chicken dickwad is too dreamy! That aside, Sevens Volume 4 will be on sale February 27th! They’re already taking reservations!”

Monica (*ノ∀ノ): “This time holds some heartwarming developments with the harem, and with this and that, there are some depictions that will sweeten the insides of your mouths! I hope you enjoy the differing published version of Sevens as well.”

Monica (´∀`*)ノシ: “And that is all. I shall now put the shameless plug back in.”

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Intermission: The Illustrated Diary

“Professor, we’ve found it!”

“Good work!”

An ancient ruin.

Finding records of a fallen large nation once called the empire, the two men jumped for joy as they rolled the paper out.

“Amazing. Even when thousands of years have gone by, it’s still legible.”

“Yeah, despite this and that, the advancement of technology in the imperial era was plain abnormal. The other documents make it clear as well. Just look at this, a simple age analysis shows this is from the early imperial era.”

As the professor judged its age with a smartphone-like device, his expression turned to joy.

His assistant also seemed emotionally moved.

“They all said everything had been carried off, but there was still some left after all.”

In that dusty space, they had been searching wildly for records, and now a heavy coat of dust lingered in the air.

From where the light could flow in, they could see it come in fine threads.

“To think it would be under the collapsed bookshelf… now then, first we have to record it.”

Photographing it with his smartphone, they let the device carry out a simple analysis while the two men prepared a light nearby.

Treating it with the utmost care, the two men tried to confirm just what sort of thing they had found.

The assistant’s hands shook.

“A-an illustrated diary? Professor, this is an illustrated diary entry! Meaning this must be…”

“D-do-doooon’t panic!”

Even if that white-haired professor sporting a splendid beard broke into a panic, it wasn’t cute in the slightest.

That on his mind, the assistant verified the documents in his hands.

An ancient diary.

It would definitely hold high historical value, but when it came to illustrated diaries from the imperial area… the author would be the main point of focus. If this really was an item painted by that famous woman, then alongside immense historic value, it would gain an additional artistic value.

“F-first the analysis. It’s in quite terrible condition, after all.”

Once they took it someplace with better facilities, they would be able to uncover its contents at once.

The two of them carefully preserved that entry of the diary, and with much weighing down on their minds, they left the ancient ruins behind them.

 

 

 

 

 

… Ancient times.

Shannon had climbed up to the roof of her mansion in the inner palace.

In that inner palace which had become something of a small city, each and every mistress had been afforded a mansion.

Hers wasn’t anything massive, but she wasn’t troubled with her living space.

It had been constructed extravagantly, to an extent, but with financial concerns in mind, it wasn’t packed with any notable valuables.

Having climbed to the roof with a canvas in front of her, Shannon had an automaton Valkyrie stand to her side.
From the Valkyrie’s eyes, she could read in information, and put it to brush.
And what lay at the end of the Valkyrie’s eyes were the forms of women.

The Valkyrie provided an enthusiastic commentary.

“On, and here spider woman Miranda uses her Skill to produce strings! Our brave competitor has been all wound up and is treated as a chair!”

Shannon sounded proud.

“Nice work, sis.”

Lyle had twenty five mistresses.

As their numbers hadn’t grown from the early days, the faces hadn’t changed.

But be that as it may, that didn’t mean there weren’t any fights in the inner palace.

“Oh, they are voicing their surrender. She gets out the documents without a moment’s delay. It does seem she intends to bind her tightly by contract as well!”

One of the mistresses had gotten in over her head… only to be restrained by force.

Starting with the legal wife Novem, the women who had accompanied Lyle across the battlefield included many seasoned in real battle. For that sake, brute strength was highly emphasized in the inner palace.

“Hmm, it’s because she made light of me that it came to this.”

The Valkyrie’s body twisted in delight at Shannon’s blatant trash-worthy attitude.

“What wonderful pettiness. I wonder why none of the chicks ever inherited that hopelessness of yours…”

Shannon stroked up her violet hair. But at that time, she stuck some paint onto it.
The Valkyrie gleefully wiped that paint away.
She had tattled to her sister to attain victory over another mistress.

Whether they liked it or not, the relations between mistresses tied in directly to political matters. Within all that, Shannon was able to do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted.

Because all those dubious power balances and faction troubles were all just shoved straight onto Miranda.

There, the Valkyrie continued her commentary.

“What is this!? A chick jumps into the fray! He has burst into tears seeing a woman made a chair of and forced to sign a form! This is terrible! We must go to the chick’s aid at once.”

The Valkyrie requested reinforcements from her other sisters.

When she looked over at Miranda, she found her giving a gentle smile as she smoothed over the situation with the child who had just happened to run into them.

The two women who had been fighting said, ‘we were just playing around~’ and laughed so as not to give the young child any anxieties.

Whether it be Miranda or anyone else, they wouldn’t lay a hand on the children.

That was an unspoken rule in the inner palace.

If you tried to eliminate any of them as a political hindrance, you’d turn every Valkyrie working in the inner palace against you.

The doctrine of those girls were overly simple.

They held no loyalty towards any of the women.

Their only loyalty lay to Lyle… and to his children.

As an exception, Shannon who they hoped would have a hopeless child was treated somewhat specially among them.

They usually looked as if they were just playing around, these automatons with Monica as their leader. But if you made enemies of them, they were truly troublesome existences.

If any mistress was going to harm a child, that mistress really would be gotten rid of. What’s more, in a way that Lyle wouldn’t notice.

The mistresses understood where their loyalty lay.

… Shannon was an exception.

“That kid… whose kid was he again?”

Twenty five brides pretty much meant there were twenty five families coexisting.

But there was only one head of the household- only one husband.

The Valkyrie replied at once.

“He is a chick from Eva-san’s place. Those lovable ears are the giveaway. Like… if you nibble on them, he acts all shy, and a report has been raised that it is simply adorable.”

“Seriously, what are you people doing with your time? Are you idiots?”

Called an idiot by an idiot, the Valkyrie did not seem angry.

More than that, she made a gesture as if putting an ear in-between her lips, and let out a sigh as she muttered, ‘let me nibble on them too…’

Meanwhile, the picture diary depicted a scene of Miranda having wound up the other mistress, her pen approaching the document.

Shannon was all on board, and she depicted Miranda’s troubled face before the child in the written portion of it.

The Valkyrie noticed.

“But if she sees this, would it not be troublesome for you?”

Shannon stopped her hand, and dropped her brush.

The brush fell onto the roof, and rolled all the way down its incline until it dropped and fell onto Lyle’s head.

“Shannon! You again!? Get down here!”

Lyle- who’d come to retrieve a forgotten item- gripped the brush as he shouted complaints at Shannon on the roof.

“Shut it! Get back to work! Fool!”

As Shannon got into a verbal brawl with Lyle, she gave an order to the Valkyrie.

“A-anyways, let’s store today’s entry separately. Just hide it under the shelf or something. If my sister finds it, she’ll get angry!”

Even though she’d already grown to a fine age, Miranda was still getting angry at Shannon.

And from time to time, her kids got angry at her as well.

Climbing down from the roof, Shannon went to restart her fight with Lyle, and the Valkyrie saw her off.

Looking at the completed diary entry in her hands, she thought over where to hide it.

“… I guess I shall stash it in the reference room.”

 

 

 

“How could this be?”

The professor held his head.

Upon confirming the contents of the document, he could tell it had come from the famous 【Genius Painter of Tragedy】, Shannon.

His assistant was excited. But upon reading the contents, he was left dumbfounded.

“When you think of Miranda, she’s supposed to be the number two among the wives, and a full-fledged VIP, right? Shannon’s blood sister… including sisters in his harem, that emperor really did whatever he wanted.”

The professor sighed.

“There were some rumors she wasn’t the most savory character… but I never thought they would be true.”

Miranda’s evaluation in the world to come let out a shattering sound as it fell to pieces.

“Professor, the fact that she hid it must mean…”

The professor continued on from his assistant’s words.

“I know. I’m sure she wanted to tell the world the truth. The truth of the inner palace just as it was… in place of that poor genius painter of tragedy, we must make this known.”

The two of them burned with a sense of duty.

A single diary entry had dealt a large blow to Miranda’s evaluation.


 

 

Miranda ( ゜言゜): “… Shannon?”

Shannon 。・゜・(ノД`)・゜・。: “Sis, just listen to me! It’s coming out. Sevens Volume 4 is finally coming out! We can finally make our reservations! It’s our turn to come out!”

Miranda (#・∀・): “This month… looks like it’ll be released February 27th. Well now, that is some wonderful news.”

Shannon (´∀`*): “We’re even appearing on the cover. We did it, sis!”

Miranda ( ‘д‘⊂彡☆))Д´) FWAP: “But that is that, and this is this.”

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Intermission: A Day in the Life of Vera

“… Hah.

The one whose sigh intermingled with her stroll through the inner palace was a certain Vera Trēs.

A bright red dress, and her hair done up on both sides. In the town prepared within the castle… she walked through the inner palace, but it truly felt as if she walked through a small town.

There were small children walking along the paths before her eyes.

In their hands they held books and writing implements, and they were likely off to study in a different mansion. Rather, the only kids on the block who did that were Shannon’s children.

Generally, there was a time period where everyone got together and studied. But if that was insufficient, they’d either call a tutor to the mansion, or go to the castle for some extra study time.

That being the case, at Shannon’s place, since she never got a proper education herself, their learning was completely left up to Miranda.

Three young children.

As they walked on, a Valkyrie stood to block their way, a toy in her hands.

“Everyone, you could at least play with us today. We are eternally devoting ourselves to the development and recreation of toys, and we can say you shall enjoy them with certainty…”

The Valkyrie recommended toys to the children who were going off to study, but all three kids shook their heads.

The smallest one, a young girl with golden eyes, spoke to the Valkyrie.

“Unit Ninety Two, we’re going off to study at auntie’s mansion, so we can’t play with you. We’ll play once we get back, so until then, could you look after mom for us?”

With those words coming from such a young child, Unit Ninety Two collapsed at the knees. The toy fell to the ground, but she didn’t even try to retrieve it.

Vera was impressed at how focused, those still-small children had grown to be.

(Are they really Shannon’s kids?)

One of the kids retrieved the toy, and after handing it to Unit Ninety Two, the group took their leave.

Ninety Two burst into tears.

“This cannot beeeee! This has to be a liiiiieeeee! I mean, there is no way the hybrid chicks of our master and that hopeless Shannon could be so upstanding! They should have taken some of the more useless parts, and not want to study, and just want to spend their days in ease… then we come in and say, ‘oh there’s no helping you cute little things,’ and play with them… what happened to my dreeeeaaaammmm!!?”

Before the breaking down Unit Ninety Two, Vera stood fed-up.

Valkyrie Unit Eleven- who stood to her side- scoffed. In her hands, she held the baby that was Vera’s child.

“Hah, how unsightly. When you boasted of having the largest faction of them all, this is where you end up? I’ll show you how useless I can raise the chick at our place.”

When the Valkyrie said that to the child with a smile on her face, Vera felt true fear.

“You’re saying that as a joke, aren’t you?”

Eleven tilted her head.

“Eh? I’m quite serious. We plan to make out of them existences who would not be able to live on without us. Do not worry. With regular maintenance and overhauls, we brag that we can operate for several tens of thousands of years.”

In a sense, the Valkyries were scary existences.

“Should I tell you you’re wasting your abilities? Or should I rejoice you’re pouring your efforts towards us… rather, what were the ancients thinking when they made you, I have to wonder.”

In front of Ninety Two’s eyes, Eleven lulled the baby as if to show off.

Unit Ninety One looked on it with envy.

They were quite a handful when they were babies. And the Valkyries couldn’t get enough of that, apparently.

“Ufufu, your big brother chick grew up to be a splendid human being, but as long as this Unit Eleven is here, I shall show you just how hopelessly we can raise you.”

For any servant who said that, a normal master would drive them out at once. But this was the inner palace, and the Valkyries were overly proficient as maids.

Driving them out was impossible, and there was no intent to do so.

For these Valkyries… as long as they were Lyle’s children, the automatons would protect them unconditionally. They treated them as targets to guard, so no assassinations ever took place within the factional wars.

More than that, if anyone tried, the information would leak, and the mother would be the one cornered.

That they put a fixed brake on the factional disputes was something everyone was well aware of.

They had no choice but to rely on them.

As Vera took her walk, she looked up at the sky.

Unit Eleven looked at her. Gently poking the baby’s face, she seemed to be in bliss.

“Oh? What seems to be the matter?”

Vera spoke.

“Father, you see. He said he wanted my second child to take over the Trēs House. He’s using this hand and that to get me to approve of it, and it’s getting to be a right up nuisance.”

As Fidel frequently commuted to the capital over the cuteness of his grandchildren, he was trying his best to get them out of the inner palace.

Unit Eleven laughed.

“That is not happening. The Trēs House’s heir was already decided to be the child of your sister Gina-san. If you wish, you could leave this matter to us. We cannot bear to have a chick snatched away, so we could find a truth or two he would not want found out and threaten him to obedience…”

When Eleven started into something scary, Vera cried out.

“Of course that’s no good! Ah, goddess! I’m going to bring this matter up with Lyle, so none of you lay a hand on it.”

Unit Eleven seemed quite disappointed.

 

 

 

 

Night.

Having dropped by Vera’s mansion, Lyle looked at the baby in Monica’s embrace.

Monica’s right hand was properly cradling the baby. Her left was grasping Unit Eleven’s head and pushing it down.

“G-give her back! That child is my chick!”

Monica made a triumphant smile.

“How unfortunate. As the Chicken Dickwad’s exclusive maid, I can brag that the care of all his chicks fall under my jurisdiction. You degraded defects and mass produced lot can just stand down.”

Irk! Said Eleven as she played around with Monica. Lyle watched over it absentmindedly. A look at his figure, and it seemed that he was thinking over something.

Vera looked at Lyle.

“Hey, were you listening? My father is genuinely trying to gain custody of his grandchildren, you know?”

Lyle seemed taken aback.

“Eh? Oh, I see. That’s right. Those grandchildren are quite cute, don’t you think?”

Seeing Lyle hang his head, Vera shrugged her shoulders. There, Monica burst into joy.

“Oh my, it seems the chick is asleep. This Monica shall sing a lullaby. To sleep to my beautiful voice, you’re quite the lucky one. The only one beside the Chicken Dickwad allowed to listen to it are his chicks.”

As Monica headed to the depths of the room, Unit Eleven gave chase.

“You get out of here already!”

Once the two automatons were gone, Vera placed a hand on Lyle’s shoulder. Lyle raised his face.

“Hey, this really isn’t a good environment for them, is it?”

Vera laughed a bit.

“The Valkyries? But they’re convenient. Since we have them, we never have to see blood in the faction wars. The children alone will always be safe.”

But Lyle saw that as unnatural.

“You don’t want them around?”

“That’s not it. They seem to be having their fun, and personally, I think they’re a big help. But you see, their time is quite different from ours.”

Vera spoke.

“They said they could remain operational a thousand, even ten thousand years. Isn’t that secure?”

Lyle’s eyes were serious, and Vera could understand that wasn’t what he wanted.

“If they got serious, I’m sure this empire could last thousands of years, maybe more. But you see, do you think that’s the right thing? These days, it’s been on my mind a lot.”

Lyle’s sense of values was something he formed on his travels with advice from his ancestors. To Lyle, an ever eternal empire felt unnatural and unneeded.

Vera agreed.

“You may have a point. But if you take the children from the Valkyries now, won’t they get angry? And the faction wars will intensify.”

They were only remaining peaceful because there was no worry of harm to their children, and if the possibility came out, there were many of the women there who would become demons.

In truth, if Vera saw her own child might be in harm, she’d do all in her power to protect them.

Lyle held his head.

“That’s what I’m talking about. Why do they have to fight so much? I said it to Novem and Miranda as well. When I did, they laugh and say, ‘the other one started it’. Now that’s strange, isn’t it? Ludmilla looks like the sort who’d really do it. Why do they have to be so bloodthirsty? I’d really like some slack here. I want to at least take it easy as I sleep. Learn a bit from Shannon. That one actually worries me because she never comes out of her mansion. Those two should learn to enjoy the great indoors.”

As Lyle spilled his complaints, Vera embraced him and consoled him.


 

 

Fourth Generation Head ( @д@): “Even when Vera-chan’s so kind, her nickname in the comment section was, ‘Wallet-san’, popular as she was.”

Monica ( ゜∀゜)o彡°: “And I was popular too! … And! Sevens Volume 2 is coming out on April 30th! Though I’m not appearing yet!”

Miranda ( ゜д゜): “…”
Miranda (゜д゜): “Who the hell is Sophia?”

(TL: The Fourth is referring to the author’s comment section on Syosetsu. Sophia is a LN only character.)

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Intermission: Lord of the Imperial Library

Clara Bulmer.

While being one of Lyle’s mistresses, she was found in the imperial capital’s library much more often than in the inner palace mansion prepared for her.

The reason being that she was zealously recording all the events that led up to the founding of the empire.

A large portion of her enthusiasm came from Eva, who prioritized the dramatic aspects of stories in her songs. The way things were going, Eva’s fabrications would be recognized as truth, and there was a possibility much of their lives would be written off as lies in the world to come.

So Clara decided to leave records.

Taking a book she couldn’t reach without a ladder in hand, Clara flipped through the pages. In her separate room in the imperial library, the books of Arumsaas once designated as forbidden had been carried.

They were mainly documents of the past the Bahnseim monarchy had sealed off.

There were also things written of the Bahnseim House putting them far from any heroes.

According to the records of the time, they held a territory quite close to Centralle, and were under Agrissa’s rule for a majority of it. When that standing became disadvantageous, they changed sides, and in the end, they killed Lyle’s ancestor to snatch away all the achievements.

Perhaps they had frantically tried to erase the facts, as there were traces that many documents were disposed of. At the time, in order to keep the documents safe, Arumsaas had hidden them in a place inaccessible to the public.

Once the Bahnseim royal line was born, the reason so many countries arose throughout the continent was largely due to their lack of trust towards the House.

“If only there were more records.”

Lifting up her staff imbued with light, she continued climbing the ladder as she read through the books on her way when a voice called down from below.

“Mom, are you still up there? You should return to the inner palace sometime. Dad is worried for you.”

Since the boy who called her mom had arrived, she held her books under an arm and climbed down the ladder. Seeing her unsteady descent as she still held a grip on her staff, the young boy worried whether she would fall to the bottom.

That boy with deep-blue hair was Clara’s son.

While there was a single Valkyrie Unit beside him, the Valkyrie seemed bored.

“Why do you have to carry your staff? It’s dangerous so I told you to stop, didn’t I?”

Once Clara reached the floor, she brought her books to the desk and left them there. She leaned her staff against them as well.

The Valkyrie looked around and arbitrarily began getting things in order.

“Ah, leave those books where they are!”

Clara reached out her hand as she said it, and the young boy grasped her hand. Before she had even realized it, the young boy had grown bigger than her own petite form.

“Get a grip! It’s because you never come home that I had to come and get you. The librarians were so worried they raised a report to the castle.”

Clara- who’d settled into the library- was living a life much more comfortable than she had in Arumsaas. Not only surrounded by books, as long as she stayed here, even food was brought straight to her.

“I’m properly eating.”

“That’s because the librarians are being mindful of you. There’s no way anyone can speak out against one of the emperor’s mistresses.”

To her son’s opinion, Clara tilted her head.

“That’s not true. I get plenty of complaints.”

“Those people are an exception. A special exception. Just give up and return to the inner palace. Did you know… on the street, they’re calling you the Lord of the Library.”

“Thank you?”

As Clara acted bashfully, her son grew irritated, and began adding various gestures to his speech.

“Everyone knows you’re here, mother! That’s why we have to assign valuable Valkyries to this place!”

Over a hundred Valkyries. But to speak to the contrary, with the entire continent in his hands, those were all the Valkyries he had.

The Valkyrie cleaning the area was Clara’s son’s exclusive Valkyrie. There was a single Valkyrie stationed in each of the mansion, meaning the inner palace alone took up twenty five of them.

They were a valuable asset, but saying that wasn’t enough, another twenty five were stationed around the palace.

In that case, the number that could move outside were strictly limited.

Clara looked at her son and let out a sigh.

“This is quite a difficult problem. When I rise in status, I can no longer do what I want. Come to think of it, have you decided what you want to do? If you want to go independent, even if you try to marry in somewhere, I don’t have any connections, so it will be hard.”

Her son was more level-headed than her.

“Please get a grip on yourself, mom! You’re in Ludmilla-sama’s faction. Talks for my marriage are already proceeding on that side. It’s precisely for that talk that I came to drag you back today!”

Clara recalled the inner palace’s factional struggles she had forgotten for quite some time, and hit her hands together.

“That’s right. Come to think of it, Ludmilla-san lost in her war with Miranda-san and has been quiet for a while, has she?”

Seeing his mother so distant from the events of the inner palace, the young boy held his head. But some part of him seemed to have given up and accepted that his mother was best like this.

“Well, Miranda-san really turned the tables there. No one could have thought she would do something so underhanded…”

Clara remembered the feud in the inner palace back then, folding her arms, and giving a few firm nods.

“As expected of the Circry sisters. That was some splendid coordination. I went and evacuated to the library, though. Lyle-s… his majesty seemed quite worn out after that one. But in order to save face for his majesty, didn’t both side call it a draw?”

The boy confirmed that the Valkyrie had finished cleaning up the room before speaking to Clara.

“You should think of how worried dad is. Rather, at the point Novem-sama jumped in along the way, and brought the matter to a forced termination, it was Miranda-sama’s victory. Mom… even if you’re waiting and watching, just go to the inner palace.”

The boy wanted her to remain neutral like Aria and Vera.

Clara thought a bit, and looked to her desk.

“It will be impossible for a while. I still have work I have to do. I have to leave enough data for the world to come.”

The boy wearily looked over Clara’s documents.

“Well, it’s a good thing to have a hobby, and dad said so too, so I won’t say anything against it. But spend at least the minimum amount of time in the palace!”

The Valkyrie picked Clara up under her arm, and everyone together, the boy left the library.

 

 

 

 

Night.

In the inner palace, Lyle had dropped by the mansion of Clara, who had returned for the first in quite some time.

“Eh? What’s this? You came because your son scolded you? You and Shannon never change, do you. Her son over there’s a reliable one too.”

Lyle laughed to himself.

As he didn’t have to spend the night in the carnivores’ nests today, he welcomed the night with quite a refreshing feeling.

Clara felt somewhat offended.

“Comparing me to Shannon-san is a bit…”

The most hopeless mistress of the inner palace… Shannon.

Her kids were all reliable, to such an extent that Miranda took pity on them, and often looked after them.

For some reason, Shannon’s children were exceedingly proficient.

And that only made Shannon’s hopelessness stand out more.

The boy eating alongside them spoke to Lyle.

“Dad, about my engagement…”

Lyle spoke to his son with a serious look on his face.

“Do you think you’ve played around enough? Once you marry, you won’t be able to have much fun anymore. Why not stay here a little longer and have your share of fun? See, if you marry into another house, your shoulders will feel cramped. Even when I’m an emperor, my shoulders feel cramped.”

Lyle’s children didn’t generally leave the inner palace in their younger years. Being taken out to play, and being scolded alone were done on a consistent basis.

But the boy spoke.

“No, I think I’ll obey Ludmilla-sama. Rather, not doing anything for her at all makes me feel bad for her.”

On her son’s reaction, Clara lamented when she chose to join the faction all those years ago. But back then, it was something she did to keep the balance.

She didn’t think that decision was mistaken, and in truth, there was a time when Ludmilla sought after Novem’s position, and caused quite a stir in the inner palace.

Clara pretended to wait and watch as she purposefully leaked information, and like that she had maintained the peace of the palace. Meaning she had singlehandedly maintained Lyle’s peace.

Lyle was surprised.

“… Wow, when you’re my son, you’re way too reliable. I should’ve taken you out more often. The more hopeless a child is, the more you can dote on them, see.”

As he declared he’d take him out and render him hopeless with fun, Monica appeared from under the floorboards and raised her hand.

“Please leave that role to me…”

Hit on the head with a giant hammer from a Valkyrie, Monica was repelled. Lyle restarted his meal.

“… Well, it’s that. I’ll tell Ludmilla to have some consideration in your treatment.”

The boy offered Lyle his thanks.

“I’ll be fine. We get along quite well, and Ludmilla-sama said she wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me.”

Seeing her son even had connections with Ludmilla, Clara mused over how big the boy had grown.

(I’m definitely a failure as a mother.)

And she looked at Lyle.

“R-really? Well, if I don’t have to go over there, then that’s all the easier for me…”

If he went to Ludmilla, Miranda would be angry. If he went to Miranda, Ludmilla would be angry. Lyle didn’t get involved with the feuds of the inner palace.

On the surface and underneath, the intense wars that waged on… any poor involvement and they’s all blow sky high.

Her son spoke to Clara.

“Mom, making documents is important, but you have to make sure you don’t destroy your body.”

Clara cleared her throat.

“I-I’ll be fine!”

Clara was put on the side being worried for. And seeing that, Lyle gave a smile.

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Intermission: Life in Beim

A little while after Lyle’s party had arrived in Beim.

As he returned from finishing a request, Lyle opened up his memo pad. Written on the paper were his comrades’ names and dates. And what he had done with them to that point.

Looking over it all, Lyle gave a satisfied nod.

“That should be enough. I think I can take it easy for the rest of the month.”

Written in were his activities with his party from Novem to May. Whether he gave a present or had a date, or a pleasant conversation… it was all scrawled in great detail and properly managed.

But the Fifth, who spoke less than any of the other ancestors, wrung out his voice.

『You idiot! Shannon’s extremely low, isn’t she!』

Lyle hurriedly checked his memos, and sure enough, his time spend with Shannon was low. But Lyle felt relieved.

“Oh, Shannon, is it? That’s alright. Because I’m quite sure that girl hates me.”

There, the Sixth let out a satisfied voice.

『That’s right. Well, she’s just tagging along with Miranda, so you’re not in that sort of relationship yet. Fifth, let’s just take it easy and…』

But a frantic Fifth superseded that opinion.

『You keep quiet, fool~! Just how many failures has that train of thought led you to… I followed through so many times for you! And if you’ll let me have my say… you’re all naïve! Listen here, none of you feel a sense of crisis!』

Cutting it there, the Fifth gasped for breath before explaining to Lyle.

『Listen well, those arbitrary thoughts like, ‘that should be enough’, and, ’yeah, that looks good’, don’t get through to women! Just how much careful caution did I take around the Sixth’s wives… this man draws nothing but landmine women to him.』

The Third raised a perplexed voice.

『Huh? But you know, all his wives passed the precepts, didn’t they?』

The one to answer that question was the Seventh. A hint of grief lingered in the Seventh’s voice.

『Yes, without a doubt, each one of them was talented on their own. If of the three, only one had married into the Walt House, I’m sure we wouldn’t have any problems at all. It’s because he took all three that we went through hell.』

The Sixth refuted the surrounding opinions.

『… Even I thought two was no good. But you see, if you have two, it becomes a competition and that’s nothing but trouble, so I went and got a third…』

I offered my frank response to his resolution.

“Are you sure you didn’t pour oil on the fire?”

The Fifth seemed irritated.

『And because of that, I went through my troubles. Because I paid too much mind for my son’s wives, I had to follow through for my own wives as well, and… anyways! Listen well, Lyle. Negligence alone should be avoided at all costs. Throw away all your assumptions! The ones surrounding you aren’t some weak damsels in distress. Imagine yourself surrounded by ravenous tigers and bears!』

Isn’t that going a bit too far?

Or so the other members thought, but when you thought over it, every gathered had a peculiarity or two. While they wouldn’t call them wild animals, they were definitely danger.

And Shannon held demon eyes that required special attention.

“Okay, understood. I’ll go out with Shannon. I’m sure she’ll be happy if we go see the food stalls and minstrels.”

As Lyle tried to play it safe, the Fifth yelled at him.

『Where do you think those simplistic thoughts will lead you!? You need some more careful caution or else..』

There, a knock came at the door. Not a worker of the inn, Lyle confirmed with his Skills that it was Monica before calling out a, ‘come in’.

As Monica entered, she saw that Lyle was preparing to leave.

“Oh, are you going out? I thought I’d hear out if you have any requests for lunch, but if that’s the case, are you eating out? Anyways, where will you be going? If you need a baggage carrier, please use this Monica as you will.”

Her appearance was that of a beautiful girl, but inside she was an automaton who could exhibit physical strength exceeding that of adults. She was convenient for carrying things, but as she looked like a woman, if Lyle actually used her to carry things, the surrounding eyes would grow cold.

Lyle continued his preparations.

“Yeah, I’m eating lunch out. I’m going out with Shannon, so could you stay at the inn?”

Monica took his words in terror.

“W-what’s this? You mean to say you won’t be going out with me!?”

Lyle smiled.

“That’s right. Good luck innsitting.”

As he left the room, Monica crouched and cowered and saw Lyle off.

“H-have a good day. Goddammit!! Chicken dickwad, you damn fool!”

 

 

 

 

 

After calling out to Shannon, Lyle went out to the town of Beim.

He headed to where the performers performed, and of them brought his feet to where the singers sang their songs. But Shannon was in a bad move.

While they walked with linked hands, Lyle looked at Shannon and spoke.

“What’s wrong? You like songs, don’t you?

Shannon was walking mindful of her chest, and she offered Lyle a complaint.

“Oh shut it. I’ve already been here recently, so I’ve already heard all the songs and tales they have to tell. Won’t you take me somewhere else!?”

(… T-this girl… ever since I took her out, she’s done nothing but complain.)

Irritated as he was, he understood it would be no fun to hear tales one’d heard before, and made for somewhere else.

“Do you go out often?”

Shannon brushed her hair aside as she answered Lyle’s question.

“I’ve got my sister, right? And Eva goes out a lot, so I sometimes tag along. Though Aria just goes around the food stalls.”

“Oh, so you get along well with Eva?”

Novem and Miranda, the two were at odds, so factions were forming among the harem members. Because of that, hearing of Shannon of Miranda’s faction going out with Eva was joyous news to Lyle.

“Novem told me to go out with someone. But our conversations don’t really mesh, and there’s everything that’s happening with my sister, so it’s like she wants to keep some distance too, perhaps?”

Hearing that, Lyle made a stiff smile.

“I-I see.”

(I wonder why they can’t get along.)

A factional war was being formed around Novem and Miranda. If possible, Lyle wanted to somehow have Shannon help both sides make up.

It seemed that a troupe that had arrived in Beim quite recently had begun singing the songs they gathered on their travels, so Lyle and Shannon headed there to listen in.

It was a troupe of elves, and while they were small in scale, they had an energy to them.

“The next song up is a song of the Hero of the distant land of Cartaffs! If anyone holds interest in such a tale, by all means plant your feet and listen in!”

As the male elf said that, it seems those around held no interest in Cartaffs, as the customers began to disperse. While some remained, the topic was surely not a popular one.

But without changing their expressions, the elves burst into song.

The song of Cartaff’s hero who once performed in an old war with Bahnseim.

The tale of the brave knight who fought to protect a young noble girl.

But at the end, the girl married a blood-relative of the lord she served under, and the knight watched the night sky alone.

It was a song without a happy ending.

(That was a bit questionable. Perhaps the customers left because they knew the ending?)

Lyle thought as he listened to the verses. But Shannon was gripping his hand tight, listening in all earnesty, and he didn’t want to put a damper on her mood, so he kept quiet. Bringing his gripped hand closer to her face, Shannon looked on in pure seriousness.

There, the Fourth seemed fed up as he offered advice to Lyle.

『Lyle, look at Shannon’s chest. Can you see the present you bought for her in Centralle? When this is over, praise her for it.』

The Third spoke to the Fourth.

『What, you said it already? You should’ve just waited until he noticed.』

The Fourth sighed as he spoke back.

『Lyle’s growth aside, I felt bad for Shannon.』

Hearing that, he noticed Shannon had the pendent he’d bought in Bahnseim’s capital of Centralle hung at her chest. It was something cheap, but she was looking after it quite carefully.

Once the song was over, and the applause broke out, Shannon gave a large clap of her hands. The customers tossed their coins forward. Lyle looked at Shannon’s delight, and produced a silver coin from his coin purse.

It seems she was quite pleased with that one.

“It’s a new songs! A nice one, I like it quite a bit.”

For Shannon’s delight, Lyle gave a warm smile as he placed the coin into the container an elf had brought forward. There, the elves frantically gave tidy bows.

Getting a large copper was for the fortunate. Looking at the stopped feet, the song hadn’t been popular.

But Lyle threw a silver coin in.

(Well, looks like Shannon’s happy, so I guess it’s fine.)

“We’ll come again.”

“Bye-bye!”

Leading Shannon by the hand, he left the area.

Once there were fewer people around, Lyle looked at Shannon.

“So you actually wore that necklace.”

There- a little surprised- Shannon spoke bashfully.

“O-of course I did. Aren’t you a little slow to notice?”

The two of them laughed as they walked off to find some place to eat. The Fifth seemed truly relieved.

『Now look at that. Look at that! … She’s already taken to him. That was dangerous. If we left her aside any longer, that would definitely have been dangerous!』

Perhaps the Fifth was drawing closer to the Sixth as the Sixth broke into hurried words.

『Y-you’re right. It was my mistake, so you don’t have to criticize me so.』

It seems the Fifth was harassing the Sixth in unexpected ways.


 

 

Fifth Generation Head (;´Д`): “Following through for my son’s three wives was one of my greatest troubles.”

Sixth Generation’s Wives ( ゜言゜): “You say something, father-in-law? More importantly… where could Fiennes be? And could you hear out our complaints?”

Sixth Generation Head (; ・`ω・´): “I’m sooorrryy!! Ah, by the way, they decided to do a second print run on Sevens Volume 1. Please forgive me by that grace!”

Fifth Generation Head (ヽ´ω`): “Hahaha… I’m definitely never forgiving you. Never. And today once more, my animals are my only solace.”

Fifth Generation Wives ( ゜言゜): “Our husband’s going to be taken by our son’s wives again… we definitely can’t forgive this. This is why we hate wives.”

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Intermission: Erhart 1

Erhart was in Lorphys’ royal palace.

The sun high in shy sky, the one across the small round table in the courtyard was a woman with long, violet hair, a certain Princess Annerinne.

(Don’t screw with me. Don’t screw with me! Why? Why did he push the damn princess onto me!? We aren’t a match at all! It’s true I asked him! I asked him if there was any way to resolve my harem problems! I did, but what’s with this resolution!?)

Free Knight Erhart..

While an adventurer, he held the status of knight. He had been granted a number of privileges, and when on the move, he didn’t have to pay any toll. On top of that, as a knight, he didn’t have to listen to the orders of nobles.

If anyone could order him around, it would only be Lyle, who gave him the status in the first place. And if Erhart spotted injustice in any land, he was granted the authority to report it to the empire, and to deal with it on the spot.

A system quite fitting of Lyle, the adventurer turned emperor… that’s what it meant to be a free knight, anyone would believe.

And in all truth, it was a system that directed some envy and irritation at Erhart. Lyle had wanted a reason to hold audiences with Erhart from time to time, so he had given him considerable authority.

Rather than any nobles of questionable standing, Erhart held many more rights and priveledges.

But even to Erhart, come a few years after the formation of the empire, a certain problem resurfaced. Women problems.

The women in his party had begun to reach the later years of marriageable age, and he had to choose just what he was going to do.

So Erhart had consulted with Lyle on the matter. No, to be more precise, Lyle had heard he was troubled, and called him over to the capital.

And after getting some alcohol into his system, he urged Erhart to speak. Using the reason that his friend had come to visit, Lyle who didn’t have to return to the inner palace that day was terribly lively.

As he observed that, Erhart spoke of his troubles with marriage.

Thinking of his party members was the job of the party’s leader Erhart. It was also his own problem, so he turned to Lyle without expecting anything great.

An influential adventurer from everyone’s eyes.

With outstanding ability, and surrounded by beautiful women. There were many who envied him. From the point of view of the one in question, he wanted to cast away his problem-ridden Free Knight status.

As a Free Knight, all the troublesome requests were pushed onto him. What’s more, in all the villages and towns he stopped by, they would recommend him to take their daughters as wives by all means.

He had to fortify his own standing, he thought…

“You’re a strong one, aren’t you? I heard you took down a Land Dragon with ease.”

… The joyful woman Annerinne was a royal princess. The country called Lorphys still faced a pressing matter that there was no one to represent the state.

One of the larger reasons lay in that Annerinne had refused to take the throne. While she had been enthusiastic about Lyle a little while back, at this point, rather than Lyle who was busy with governmental work, Erhart’s rumors were the ones spreading far and wide and garnering her interests.

Erhart spoke.

“No, that is because of my comrades. As long as everyone fulfills their own role, we’ll be able to win against whatever comes before us. It wasn’t by my power alone.”

Erhart sipped his tea with a cool look on his face, but his insides were filled with impatience.

(No matter how you think of it, our statuses are in different fields! What’s more, that bastard Lyle… he’s pushing his troubles onto me again! I never should have consulted with him! Goddessdammit!)

Erhart lamented his own lack of judgement, but he was before a princess. What’s more, Lorphys was a member of the four-nation alliance that had supported Lyle from its early days. While there was a problem that she continued to stay in her princess status forever, her status was worlds apart from Erhart’s.

“Your modesty is also wonderful. The way you carry yourself… I think it’s simply marvelous.”

The way he carried himself… no matter how friendly he was with Emperor Lyle, he still had to drill etiquette into his body for public places, or so Baldoir had said and taught him.

“You think too highly of me. Even I know how unsightly I…”

There, in the space they enjoyed their tea, a single man barged in.

“Pardon my intrusion! Annerinne-sama, it’s been a while.”

He was the prince of a small nation. A country once about as small as Lorphys, but as he was a second son, the prince had wished to be married off.

“Your highness.”

Annerinne’s expression clouded. As Lyle had avoided a marriage with Annerinne, he was a man with whom diplomatic talks had proceeded. Of course, they were just assertively trying to build a market for themselves, and that didn’t change the fact that Lorphys had its aim set on a big-shot like Lyle.

The prince looked at Erhart and scoffed.

“Hmm, with the status of a mere adventurer, you approach the princess… don’t get stuck up just because you’re the emperor’s friend.”

Don’t lay a hand on Annerinne, or so the prince’s behavior seemed to say. Erhart thought.

(This guy… could it be he like princess Annerinne? Huh? Then isn’t this my big chance!?)

Wanting to hand off this ticking time bomb of a woman at once, Erhart stood from his seat.

“It does seem there has been a blunder on my part. Then I shall take my leave. I beg your pardon.”

As he clenched his fist inside, the prince spoke to him.

“It seems you do know your place. Make sure to keep quiet henceforth.”

His high-and-mighty attitude irritated Erhart.

But when he thought of how he could push Annerinne onto him with this, it even made him want to break into a skip. It’s not as if there was any problem with her appearance.

She simply had a strong tendency to dream. Erhart didn’t quite want that sort. What’s more, their statuses were too far apart, and their sense of values too far off.

(Well, this should be fine.)

He thought as he left the stage. He decided he would go off and complain to Lyle.

 

 

 

 

The imperial capital.

As Erhart was called out, he went to complain to Lyle.

“Bastard! You tried to push a bomb of a woman onto me!”

Lyle was in his office, letting a small girl sit on his lap.

“Dude, why is your timing so off? What’s more, it had to be today, in this timeslot… I guess men who’ve got it really are different.”

The once-pure Lyle was nowhere to be found. What was there was the form of a tired father playing with his two-year-old daughter on the office’s sofa.

Seeing the child, Erhart restrained himself a bit as he spoke.

“Well, I did manage to avoid it. Anyways, you told me there was a marriage interview in Lorphys, so there I went, and the one who came out was the royal princess! Of course I’d be surprised!”

Perhaps tired, Lyle held the hands of his daughter as he tried to keep her entertained.

“That sounds nice. Well, she just told me to let her meet the man she got interested in lately, and she never told me to let her marry him, so it doesn’t really matter to me.”

Irritated at Lyle’s lack of surprise, Erhart turned a glance to the little girl on his lap.

“By the way, why is there a small child here? And wait, who’s child is it?”

Lyle looked at Erhart with a straight face.

“… My child.”

“I know that! I’m asking who the mother is! Rather, I get the feeling I’ve seen her somewhere before…”

There, the small girl spoke to Erhart in fumbly words.

“Mewienn. Mwy mommy’s name is Mewieeeeenn. Hmm?”

Lyle averted his eyes from Erhart, covered up his daughter’s eyes, and held her tight. Erhart collapsed at the knees.

“I-I see… it’s natural for Marianne-san to have a child. Right… natural… I-I’m glad she… looks happy… UWAAAAAAH!!”

Seeing the daughter of his first love, a complicated feeling filled his soul. He stood and ran straight out of the office.

Lyle saw off his back as he let out a sigh.

“Why did he have to come at that pinpoint time? Ah, look, she’s come to get you.”

A Valkyrie had come for the girl.

“Princess! Now, return with this Unit Ninety Nine! When I noticed you had disappeared, I thought my heart would stop. Not that I have a heart.”

From how she joked around, it seems she still had some leisure. As his daughter left him, she took the Valkyrie’s hand and left the office.

She had sneaked out of the inner palace and come to Lyle’s place. To Erhart, it was the worst possible time.

In that office that everyone had left, Lyle looked up at the ceiling.

“Now then, what shall I do… Erhart, this isn’t as simple a problem as you think. Do you think he’s noticed yet?”

As he had arbitrarily barged into the office and left on his own, Lyle had been unable to tell him something important. But Lyle soon stood and stretched out his arms.

“Well, so be it. It’ll work out one way or another.”


 

 

Sixth Generation Head (ヽ´ω`): “Lyle’s drifting further and further away. I guess this is fate. Harems really should be kept to dreams. I can see his heart withering away.”

Fifth Generation Head ( ゜д゜): “I get you’re trying to look cool, but yours was your own fault. Lyle’s, well… I guess we hold responsibility for around half of it? But in your case you were completely to blame. Chosing nothing but landmine women!”

Sixth Generation Head’s Wives:

( ゜言゜): “Father-in-law, did you say something about us?”
( ゜言゜): “I never even dreamed my husband was thinking of making a harem. You should praise the fact that I didn’t erase the other two from existence.”
( ゜言゜): “Keep your convenient dreams for when you’re asleep. Now come and face reality, Fiennes.”

Sixth Generation Head (`;ω;´): “Goddessdammit! Everone else’s evaluations rose at the end, but I’m just left aside… someone save me!!”

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