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Prologue

Prologue

"Eh? ... Who might this lovely lady be?"

Inside the Jewel.

Seeing the woman taking a place at the round table, and waving her hand at me, I tilted my head.

When I came because I was called, besides the Fifth- who was seated with a stern expression- the ancestors looked quite confused.

Looking at the woman, I couldn't help but recall Miranda, and there I noticed she was the matured form of Milleia-san, of whom I'd seen in the rooms of memories.

"Could you be Milleia-san?"

When I saw her in memory, she was in her teens. But the one before my eyes looked to be in her mid-twenties.

[Correct, Lyle. But as you've seen me in my youth, your reaction is a little slow. After seeing someone's face for the first time, remember their name alongside it. Weren't you taught that?]

I did learn that skill. But I didn't have the chance to put it to practice in my childhood.

Hearing those words for the first in a while, I looked at the Fifth in confusion.

Rising from his seat, he lowered himself onto the round table, and let out a sigh.

[Why is Milleia here, you ask? Like hell we know. That's why we're so confused. According to the girl himself, there's a need for you to learn everything, she says.]

A need for me to learn everything?

Curious about what that everything would indicate, I sent a look to Milleia-san. Her light violet, wavy hair and golden eyes reminded me of Shannon.

But her facial features and atmosphere were more Miranda. Body structure also Miranda...

(Feels like someone took out the good points of those two?)

If her insides were like Miranda's, it would be troublesome. If they were like Shannon's, I would have nothing but pity. Of course, I haven't the slightest idea what sort of person she is.

[Lyle, you never entered your own room of memories, so it ended up that I came out here to act as a guide.]

I looked at the door behind my seat.

My door was different to those of the ancestors. It didn't just replicate memories. It had become a different sort of something.

It wasn't necessary to our present situation in reality, so I had ignored it.

(The Jewel won't permit me to ignore, I guess?)

But there was another reason I didn't enter as well.

"Um... I'm busy right now, so is it possible to put it off to a later date?"

With a troubled expression Milleia-san looked at the surrounding ancestors.

The Third spoke with his usual manner.

[Yes, you've got a point. We're busy, so is it alright we put it on hold? At this point, even if you tell us it's 'everything,' that's a bit troubling.]

The Fourth corrected the positioning of his glasses.

[I do want to listen to the wishes of my granddaughter, but it's low on the priority list.]

The Seventh, slightly bothered.

[Even if it's auntie's request, that's impossible. Because we're busy.]

I just realized that would make her the Seventh's aunt. Milleia-san looked at the Fifth.

He scratched his head.

[... I don't know what you want to get Lyle to do. If it benefits our side, I will prioritize it.]

There, Milleia-san smiled.

[As I thought, you sure are kind, father. Even so, these memories of the heads of history are truly troubling. It's a little sad how you've twisted the meek Lyle.]

And how exactly should I react to that?

(If you're dealing with these ancestors, you'd get twisted whether you like it or not.)

Milleia-san stood, and walked all the way to my side. She kindly held up both of my hands.

My heart was beating, but it wasn't in regards to the opposite gender. It more like... a motherly impression.

[Lyle, there is a need for you to know everything about Skills. Why the Walt House's blue gem became a Jewel... and what gems were originally supposed to be.]

I recalled back to what Monica's sisters had once put to words in the Labyrinth.

"Memories, was it? I believe I heard something like that."

She nodded.

[That's right. Gems and Jewels are nothing more than memory storage mediums. The records of our lives, and even our personalities were recorded... the recording of Skills was just a byproduct.]

Hearing her words, the Third...

[As I thought. I did think it strange. A situation where we taught Lyle our Skills can't be called efficient. Then should there originally have been another purpose? ... For example, transferring personality to another?]

Not in his aloof bearing, he and the other ancestors sent sharp looks towards Milleia-san.

While I was troubled by them, Milleia-san shook her head with a smile.

[That's also wrong. That is why there is a need for us to have Lyle know everything. At present, many gems have been lost. The appearance of Magic Tools also meant the decline of gems, after all.]

The Seventh took her words with wonder.

[Meaning if things went their natural course, gems wouldn't have been discarded? Could someone be pulling the strings out back?]

Without answering those words, Milleia-san pulled my hand, and started off towards the door.

[Lyle, learn it all. Otherwise, your story will surely be left incomplete.]

Led by the hand, I didn't put up a resistance, as I opened and entered the door with her.

-

-

-

When I entered my own room of memories, the surroundings were too bright.

I couldn't keep my eyes open. Milleia-san called out.

[This is your room of memories... as well as the memories of the Jewel. The Jewel wanted you to know. That's why it has reproduced such an unnatural sight.]

I slowly opened my eyes, and there spread out a town I had absolutely no memory of. No, perhaps a metropolis?

Looking around, the people were downing drinks and making merry regardless of the height of the sun in the sky.

"Where are we?"

[... It started out as kindness. This is the capital of a country of the distant past. A country that fell some thousands of years ago. You know it too, don't you? The magician's village?]

It looked as if they weren't living any differently from how we lived now, but now that you mention it, there was a bit of an olden feel to it.

The clothes the people wore, their shoes...

The ale they drunk was of one single type. The food lined up was all simple stuff. Perhaps I should call it frugal in contrast with its scale?

(But if it were the past, would it be possible? And why does the Jewel have records this old? The First bought his gem two to three hundred years ago, didn't he?)

In the capital that was neither of Bahnseim or Sentras, I followed behind Milleia-san.

The voices I could hear led me to believe everyone was in festive spirits.

"Is it some sort of holiday?"

The merry adults. And the playing children.

But Milleia-san's answer was difference.

[... This a a normal week day for this country. Lyle, can you see that building?]

In the direction her finger pointed was a building still under construction.

There, I could see the figures of mud-made dolls working.

"Is it magic?"

Looking closely, there were many golems working around. But it didn't look as if there was a magician nearby.

I walked on with Milleia. We walked straight ahead, and a building comparatively simple in construction to the rest of the metropolis came into sight.

[Yes it's magic. And the one maintaining this city is but a single magician.]

I noticed.

"So what became the base for the Magician's Village story was..."

[... This country. And this country's magician is [Septem]. The Seventh Goddess.]

Hearing Septem, I remembered Celes' Jewel.

In front of the simple building, the golems acted as gatekeepers. And as we approached, they opened the road, and let us through.

That modest estate, while stationed in the center of the city, was small enough to call out of place.

I couldn't feel the slightest presence of people within. The only ones working were golems.

Led by Milleia-san, I entered a certain room.

There, on a small bed, an old woman lay.

[... Oh my, how rare. For guests to come for me.]

The kind-looking old woman lay down with a weakened figure. Even so, she looked at us with a smile.

"Eh? She can see us..."

Milleia-san nodded, and brought over two chairs from the other side of the room

[Lyle, if you don't sit, Septem-sama won't be able to calm down.]

"Eh, no, um... Septem-sama? H-huh?"

I had thought Septem was the one behind the curtains. Thought I wasn't sure whether she was manipulating her, or an accomplice. But I couldn't imagine this kind-looking person as Celes.

[Could you please sit? You're making me feel sorry.]

A withered slenderness, her hair was white, and there was a glimmer in her violet eyes. But perhaps her body couldn't keep up with that glimmer, as she wasn't moving.

A golem entered the room, and fiddled with the old woman... Septem's bed, raising the upper half of her body so she could talk with us.

[I'm really sorry. I'm sure you don't understand anything yet. I am Septem... no, one who inherited her memories. I carried on the memories of a goddess.]

Hearing that only deepened my confusion. Milleia-san gave an explanation for my sake.

[Lyle, you know the stories of goddesses and evil gods, don't you? Of them, who is it that is the most revered?]

"Number seven... the last goddess."

[Right. Both magic and Skills were something the Seventh Goddess granted to humans. And gems were developed by this Septem-sama over here.]

I looked at Septem with surprise. Her grinning face definitely didn't look like that of a person who would do evil.

Milleia-san continued on.

[The Walt House's gem. It's an original she made. Many others are just imitations made by Agrissa... no, perhaps she copied the original to make something more complete. Such is the Jewel Celes holds. For that sake, she produced countless gems, so they ended up catching on three hundred years ago.]

Septem looked at me apologetically.

[I never thought the gems I made were to be used like that in the future. I'm sorry, Lyle. It seems those girls were right.]

"Those girls?"

Shen I responded, Septem spoke.

[Right. Nihil, Octo, and Novem... one isn't spoke of, and the others were made evil gods of. ]

"... Novem... and even Nihil. So you mean to say..."

Milleia-san spoke to me.

[Novem is the same as Septem-sama. She should have carried on the memories of a goddess. Of course, from the world's point of view, that would be an evil god.]

Hearing that truth, I received a light shock.

(No, if you know this and that, then say it, Novem.)

-

-

-

Inside the Jewel.

When I exited the door with Milleia-san, the Ancestors were waiting for us.

The Fifth looked at my expression.

[So did you learn something?]

I nodded, but it's not like I learned everything. It seems there was more she wanted to tell me, but Milleia called for a pause.

"This and that. Like how Novem carries on a goddess' memories. Of how Novem's clan carries the blood of a goddess, and how the Walt House's Jewel is an original. Stuff like that. And it seems the one who made the gem was Septem."

Hearing that, the Fourth.

[... No, if you don't explain it properly, we won't understand it, you know?]

Milleia-san looked over the ancestors.

[Lyle, return to reality. I'll explain the rest.]

"... I'll leave it to you. And wait, it's a bit too much of a shock."

Milleia-san looked at me.

[I'm sure Novem has her circumstances. So don't blame her for it. I'm sure that girl will serve you, even if you reject her. But that would be much too pitiful to watch.]

I immediately...

"No, I don't hate her, you know? But when I think of who she is, does that mean I'm actually loved by a goddess... that sort of thing?"

Milleia-san's eyes opened wide, and she put both hands to her mouth.

[... Lyle, you're being corrupted too much by your ancestors.]

The seventh, perhaps protesting against that opinion.

[What are you talking about, auntie? This is just how men of the Walt House are.]

The ancestors gave some, 'Right, right' s before laughing amongst themselves.

-

-

-

When I opened my eyes, I was in an inn at the harbor.

Opening my eyes in our rented room, I saw that night had already come to a close. Nearby, by my awakening, Monica activated.

"Oh, you've gotten up faster than usual today. Good grief, please think of the troubles of your maid. What a bothersome chicken dickwad you are. But I love that part of you too."

Seeing her behave as usual, I felt a little relieves.

"Sorry about that. Today's our departure, right?"

Monica moved, took up a bucket, began producing tools from between her apron and skirt, and began filling the bucket with hot water.

"Yes. We've confirmed it with Vera-san, so there is no doubt about it. It seems there is a lot of cargo to carry to Beim on this voyage. They're quite busy. Because of that, they were unable to meet the queen of Cartaffs, or something."

"What do you mean by or something? Well, I can understand them being busy."

"Neither side could make time for the other. This country's queen is quite busy as well... it couldn't be you're thinking of adding her to the harem? I'll follow you no matter how much a scumbag you may be, but going after a queen will make even I question your preferences. Damn masochist!"

I felt I was being made fun of, so I stood, and refuted.

"Wrong! No, I just thought it would be nice if I could meet her."

I had thought to ask for cooperation against Celes. I didn't have any other goals.

Having been dispatched from Beim to Cartaffs on a Guild request, the Land Dragons subjugated, we were going to return right back to Beim.

We had to go a considerable distance, and by the time we returned to the port, the ship we planned to board was to depart in a few days.

We did the job in time, but there were other things that bothered me.

"... Those attackers. [Larc Maillarde], was it? According to the rumors, it seems his actions are so varied it's hard to get a hold on him."

We identified their identity and aim. But without evidence, we couldn't take legal action against them; what's more, we couldn't even find out where they'd disappeared to.

The information we gathered- 'incorrigible,' 'sociable,' 'good tempered,' 'garbage,' 'the adventurer I want to grow up to be'- were just as varied.

From the consistently high evaluations he received from woman, it could be concluded he had a Skill that worked on the opposite gender.

It wasn't something we could deal with in the few days before we left Cartaffs. It left some lingering regret, but if we didn't go to Beim, we wouldn't get a reward for our work.

"We don't have the time to care for Larc, I guess. There are plenty of problems we'll have to resolve once we get back as well."

Monica carried out the morning preparations as she answered to my opinion.

"The money problem is a major one. But I, Monica, am willing to work without wages, I won't abandon you like those other bitches out there. It's fine if you praise me more, you know?"

"You... can't even move if you don't get Mana from me, right..."

Our usual morning conversations ended, and I washed my face, and accepted a towel from her.

Outside the window, the morning sun was quite pretty.

A large number of boats were lined at the harbor, and a magnificent view spread out.

"Now then, once we get back, it will get bust again."

Novem's case, and Septem, and Jewels...

There's quite a bit going on, but can't fixate myself on those for now.

(I'll have to learn a lot of things. And I'll ask Novem once I learn them... there are plenty of things to do until then.)