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Chapter 2: Lyle’s Room of Memories

Lyle's Room of Memories

Inside the Jewel.

On a break from work, I tried sending my consciousness into the Jewel, only to find a door had appeared behind my usual seat.

The doors behind the other ancestors led to spaces they called their rooms of memories. They were the rooms where those memories were preserved, but...

"Um, why are all of you making such tired faces?"

When I asked with a tilted head, the Third sat down on the round table to explain.

[The truth is, this door came out not too long ago. I tried taking a peek when it did, but...]

You went ahead and tried to peek into someone else's memories? Is what I wanted to say, but as his expression was a serious on, I decided to wait a bit longer.

There, the Third stroked his hair.

[... Even with the four of us looking in, we each saw a different scene. What's more, we saw things we couldn't think could be contained in your memories. I tried entering a number of times, but those memories were just plain bizzare. In my case, my brother... I saw a scene of Dewey alive. No, perhaps it's more accurate to say Dewey himself was there.]

He was making a tired expression, and it was quite a rare gap from his usual attitude. When we sent a glance at the Fourth, he removed his glasses, and wiped off their lenses with a cloth.

[In my case, my wife was lying in wait with quite a daunting pose. It was scary, so I didn't even try to enter.]

Hearing that, the Fifth shook his head.

[What's to be scared about? You're the only one who didn't venture in, you know? By the way, when I opened it, it was a child's room. Each time, it was a different kid's room, but every time, I would find my son or daughter there glaring at me.]

I heard of what the Fifth had seen, but I didn't have such memories.

In the first place, the time periods we lived were far removed.

The Seventh spoke.

[... Mine was worse. A memory even I didn't know of... no, a scene. But Lyle wasn't in it.]

Even when I wasn't present in it, he had seen a recorded scene. Everyone's expression held a number of questions, and I looked at the door to my room.

I stood before it, and slowly reached to open it.

From behind, came the Fourth's voice.

[It's best you resolve yourself. It doesn't show the nicest of things.]

As he said, I kept myself on guard and slowly opened it, to find the figure of Celes' back. And as I stood surprised, Celes turned, and directed a radiant smile at me.

[Die, damn trash.]

... She said that.

The next instant, I slammed it shut with all my might, and collapsed backwards onto my backside. The sudden happenings had thrown my breathing out of orders, and a strange sweat started coming out.

The Fifth approached me on the floor, and called out.

[What did you see?]

I forcefully got my breath together.

[C-Celes was there. She looked at me, smiled, and told me to die... but I don't have a memory like that. No, perhaps I've only just forgotten it.]

I grasped the Seventh's extended hand, and stood. Standing in front of my door of memories, I was curious as to why I had seen Celes.

The Third spoke.

[... The other rooms only reproduce memories. We can change it up a bit, but as long as we aren't directly controlling it, it doesn't happen. I entered your room, and investigated this and that.]

The Third sat back on the table, and looked at the ceiling.

[It's as if they're alive, you know. If you say something, they'll respond. It was just as if I were talking to the real Dewey.]

Why did it come to this?

I couldn't understand it. The blue gem had become a Jewel, and the memories of the ancestors had revived.

But even those ancestors didn't have a full understanding when it came to Jewels.

The Fourth put his glasses back on.

[I've been wondering it for a while. Whether Jewels are really just there to turn Skills to memory, and let everything be passed down... there's that case with Celes as well. And Celes treated the blue Jewel as if it were a failure.]

The Seventh put his hand to his chin, and looked down.

[It's not only memories, but personalities that are transcribed... maybe the Skills aren't the main purpose, but the personalities themselves. I've tried thinking along those lines a few times to no avail.]

The Fifth sat in his own chair, and linked his hands behind his head.

[Why would you need something like that? Someone planning to try getting eternal life for themselves? Copying memories and personality forever, and taking over whoever gets their hands on it... in a sense, that would be eternity, but I can't really think there's a point to it.]

It was scary to think of how such a dangerous tool was being sold on the streets a few hundred years ago. The First bough an unpopular gem, and it was inherited generation to generation. The Walt House's blue gem.

Unlike the Yellow Jewel in Celes' hands, it was a failure. Apparently.

I...

"So could the current Celes have been taken over by the vixen of three hundred years passed? Novem did say she was different, though."

Not taken over yet, is how it felt. Right, yet.

The Third got off the table, and stood to face me.

[Whatever the case, with so many personalities gathered, there hasn't been a trace of possession or anything. I can't think doing anything like that would be interesting at all. In all actuality, we're all aware we're recorded existences, and not the individuals themselves... eternal life is a fantasy.]

When I nodded, he gave a large clap of his hands.

[Now then, it seems the mysteries of the Jewel have increased, but who really cares. The problem is how you're going to defeat Celes. Let's go at this problem piece by piece, and concentrate on invading Selva for now.]

I folded my arms, and made a dubious expression. We were already prepared to attack at any moment. And now Lorphys was the same.

"It's about that, but we'll be off at once. It's just..."

The Fourth responded.

[Just?]

"Is it really alright that I don't do anything?"

-

-

-

The next day.

The Holy Knights were lined up from the morning, and as the soldiers lined themselves up as well, Aura-san came out into the plaza before the temple.

To give a proper dispatch to the troops before the mission.

She was wearing that white dress that showed off her body's lines, and could it be she actually likes it? I thought, as I looked at Aura-san.

Both Thelma-san and Gastone were standing a little further behind.

"Brave soldiers of Zayin! In regards to the unjust acts of Selva, the time has come for us to lower the hammer!"

The civilians who's come to see the dispatch ceremony responded to her voice, and raised a cheer.

From the Jewel, came the Third's voice.

[A just cause is important, but if you know what's going on in the back, you can't really get heated at these things. Well, if they can't win, we can't move forward.]

We were going to crush Selva for our own objectives. Abruptly, I remembered the Divine Knight Captain... Armand's words.

(Go to hell, huh? I really am destined for hell, no doubt.)

But that wasn't enough to halt me in my tracks.

After gathering the eyes of all in the plaza, Aura spread out her arms wide.

"I appoint Holy Knight Captain Lyle Walt as the general of this army. The grace of the goddess shall surely bring victory onto you and your men."

In a place I would stand out, I got down on a knee, and accepted the task of becoming general. Rather, there wasn't a suited person for the role at present.

"Yes! I will definitely answer to your expectations."

The applause of the people, and the yells of the soldiers shook the capital.

Aura-san smiled, and brought her right hand to the area around her chest.

"I expect great things from you, Holy Knight Lyle."

She really said it. As those around raised their cheers, I understood.

(This girl is cementing my moniker as Holy Knight. How cruel!)

To those who truly didn't know her personality, it surely looked as if she were placing her expectations with me, and gracing me with the name of Holy Knight.

But I understood. When I had a resistance to being called Holy Knight, I had once complained of it to her.

I stood, and directed my right hand towards her.

"The True Holy Maiden of the Reborn Zayin... Aura-sama, I will definitely answer to those expectations."

I said that. Her face twitched a bit, and I grinned. The words that did it for her were True Holy Maiden, it seems.

-

-

-

The army of Zayin leaving the capital headed towards Selva's border.

Lorphys had stationed their men near their border in their own country.

The reason we carried out a plan to operate on two fronts was because it would cut the travel time from gathering at one point. At first, I thought to get all the troops together before acting, but Lorphys' lack of movement had cost too much time.

Beside me, in her hastily-constructed red armor and with spear in her hand, Aria rode her horse infile. Novem, Miranda, Clara and Monica were resting in Porter.

Porter followed right behind me, and beside it, Eva rode a horse.

But her movements were stiff.

Aria called over to her.

"Hey, you look like you're going to fall at any moment. Get a grip on yourself."

Eva shook as she scowled at Aria.

"I've never ridden a horse in my life! There's no helping it."

Aria sighted.

"You knew it was coming. Instead of singing your songs on every break you got, you should've practiced riding."

Eva spoke.

"Even you, Aria. You were doing nothing but going around the food stalls! You think I didn't know how you played around with Shannon!?"

Looking at the feuding two, I spoke in a low voice.

"The two of you. Definitely don't let Novem, Miranda or Clara hear any of that. Definitely, I tell you! It really was hell on our side!"

There, the hatch of Porter's roof opened up, and Miranda suddenly popped her head out. She smiled, and followed it up with the top half of her body, before looked at us, and waving her hand.

Aria and Eva's faces twitched. Even as Miranda smiled, her eyes were ridiculously scary.

"You sure are kind, Lyle. If it were me, I'd be assigning them heavy labor for a while. Shannon how about I make your only means of transportation by foot for around half a year? You're carrying your own luggage, of course. Aria and Eva... yeah, let's study some together next time. With Novem and Clara... I'm sure they'd be willing to help... You're not sleeping a wink until you're capable of doing it all."

Her face had turned expressionless by the sime she reached the end of it, and after that, Miranda disappeared into the insides of Porter.

I heard the sounds of Shannon thrashing about. The door at the rear opened up, and she was tossed out.

Her belongings on her back, she ran over to me.

"Just what did you guys tell her!? Lyle, let me on your horse!"

I remembered Miranda's anger, and shook my head.

"I'll take the luggage for you. Walk on your own. And you need to build up a bit more stamina."

Shannon complained to me.

"Even May was playing around! This is unfair!"

I pointed at the sky.

"Are you kidding? May is working on recon at the moment. Just give it up."

Aria directed her voice at me.

"H-hey, Miranda isn't serious, is she?"

Eva as well.

"T-to thinks besides song and dance, I'm a bit... if it were music, I'd do my best..."

Both of them gave strained smiles, so I gave an earnest one.

"Don't worry. I'll put in some break time."

Both Aria and Eva hung their heads on their horses.

-

-

-

... Lorphys' army arrived at Selva's border.

Having received a formal declaration of war from Zayin and Lorphys, the country of Selva had recalled their second prince Dario, and it looked like they were going to put up a resistance to the bitter end.

Lorphys' army surrounded a border fort, and with the two war fronts Selva had been forced into, they fought on quite favorable ground.

They had some mercenary brigades gathered from the start, but two countries had declared war. They could only divide their fighting force, and there was little manpower in the fort.

Leading a unit, Alette brandished her sword atop her horse.

"Defensive formation!"

Shen she said that, the magicians deployed a Magic Shield spell to cover the unit. The large shield blocked the magic that had rained down from the fort.

Once the Magic Shield went out, it was time for their allies to fire their magic, and the fortress to block. But with their lesser numbers, they couldn't put up enough shielding.

Magic hit the fortress wall, and it crumbled a bit.

Alette spoke.

"Their defenses are tighter than I had anticipated."

To her side, her adjutant rode a horse.

"This is the foremost line at the moment. I believe it normal they prepare a fortress with magic countermeasures. But they haven't put much gold into it. The fortress will collapse in the first few days."

A back and forth of magic, and within that, siege weapons had been prepared to press down on the fort. The reason their opponent could only work to endure it was the difference in number.

Alette looked around.

"With the mercenary brigades on our side, the numerical advantage is close to four to one. It's about time Zayin started their advance as well. I'd really like to break through this line before that."

The reason Lorphys decided on invading Selva was due to the influence of Lyle's actions in the audience chamber. His attitude as if he wasn't even taking them into consideration. And the fact even a quilin would obey him.

They didn't want make an enemy of the man who possessed the very symbol of good fortune. Or at least, the opinion of a minister who believed in that superstition had been taken into consideration.

But Alette was different.

It was something simpler than that. She didn't want to fight Lyle.

Rather than fighting Lyle's party, to which she couldn't come close to seeing its depths, taking Selva on would be much more decent.

(I don't think we'd lose if we fought, but what's this sense of unease...)

A quilin abided him, and even in such an urgent situation, he had burst into laughter. What's more, it was a truly pleasant laugh. Not one he had forced himself to make.

He was truly enjoying himself.

(That kind can be scary. They truly enjoy war.)

Lonbolt had also noticed that madness in the boy, as he frantically persuaded the royal princess Annerinne into her decision to invade Selva.

(Well, I don't want to think she was swung around by a love that cooled down with something of that extent, but...)

Annerinne had permitted the invasion quickly enough that everyone present was forced to wonder just what had been causing all their troubles before. On top of that, she had given the order to apprehend the royal family before Zayin got the chance.

(She really can do it when she's motivated...)

The force surrounding the fortress shot magic at it one at the next, cracking it more and more.

To Alette, it looked as if they were taking all their frustration out on the poor building...