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Chapter 16: The Second Wall

The Second Wall

Abandoning the first wall ahead of schedule, I unsteadily hobbled into a room prepared in the second wall, and collapsed.

On top of the bed, I cast off my equipment, lay down, and closed my eyes. Soldiers were running about within the wall, and the preparations to wait for the army of monsters were being carried out. The soldiers that had returned were taking up their new stations.

Those that were forced to fall back were taking a temporary rest.

Having used too much Mana, and strained my mind too much on the front line, I was also at my limits. I was sticky with sweat. The dust clouds stuck fast to my skin, with a rough feel... but without paying mind to something like that, I collapsed on the bed.

The fight with the monster army did weigh on my mind, but if I didn't rest, I would never be able to demonstrate power.

In such a room of mine, I heard a boisterous voice.

The door was slammed open with good momentum, to reveal an energetic smiling Monica, and three armored people... no golems behind her.

"Hey, Chicken Dickhead! I, Monica! Your Monica has come to look after you! Feel free to lash out your carnal desires that have built up on the high strung battlefield at me! The perfect maid Monica shall..."

"Out with thee."

Before she could finish, she was kicked out of the way, and the golem that resembled her... the first Valkyrie unit stood before me.

"It is my pleasure to be of your acquaintance. We are the Valkyrie Series that shall follow you to your death. We are master's servants, who shall surely be much more useful than this piece of junk~."

She swung her arms expressionlessly, and the three units assumed poses. The first unit had the same blond hair, and red eyes as Monica. Their appearances were alike, and I had the feeling I had met her when Octō abducted me in the Labyrinth. She had the traces of Monica's elder sister.

The greatest difference between her and the automaton would have to be the chest.

The three units changed their poses.

"Twin Tailed Unit One!"

"Black Haired Beauty, Unit Two!"

"When I am of the same make as Unit Two, just what do you expect me to do? ... Then ponytails it is. Black Haired Ponytail Unit Three! A beauty with a ponytail to boot!"

Unit Three swiftly assumed a ponytail, but while I raised my eyes to them, my face was still buried in my pillow.

When Monica stood, she had drills equipped to both her hands. A low sound reverberated through the room, and even if I wanted to sleep them away, I couldn't do it.

"You degraded heaps of scrap metal! Don't be flirting with my Chicken Dickwad. I'll dismantle you on the spot!!"

Monica faced the three golems, taking out her weapon and taking a stance. I threw the pillow.

"Shut it, all of you! I'm going to sleep!"

Saying that, I wrapped the blanket around myself sending the three Valkyries into a panic. And recovering the pillow, and collecting up my equipment, Monica spoke.

"You heard him, now you worthless pieces of junk made for nothing but battle can go off and scram. I alone am more than enough for that damn chicken."

The feeling of my consciousness being sucked away, and the vibrations implying the monsters had reached the wall.

A voice came from the Jewel.

It was Milleia-san's gentle voice.

[Good grief... Lyle, send your consciousness over here for a bit.]

-

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-

... While the first wall had been holding out, the surface of the second wall was being smeared with layer after layer of special material.

Alette issued orders atop the wall, as she watched the scene before her eyes.

This point was the same as the fortress in the rear.

The first wall was made with its destruction as the premise. But in order to withstand the monster army, the second wall had been constructed much sturdier.

The wall was high, and close to eight thousand troops were stationed there.

Those numbers included Aria, Alette, and her adjutant. Creit and Albano, all the talents were gathered.

And Damien was at the second wall as well. With his automatons and golems, he was reliable enough as a fighting force.

The monsters had begun their attack on such a wall.

From its top, arrows were fired and magic was fired, as the human side put up an intense resistance. But in a state where Lyle was absent, they couldn't put their resources to the optimum use.

Where to defend, and where to aim.

While protecting a much burlier wall, the opposition was quite mismatched.

At that site, Alette was acting as Aria's support.

"Quite a few troublesome monsters. After defeating so many, for there to be so many more."

In regards to the Troll grappling with the gate, those around blasted magic into it. But the result was clearly overkill.

It wasn't the fault of Aria, who had been left the commanding position, Lyle was simply too far out there.

He had a grasp of the whole, and the speed of his information relay was abnormal. Mastering the command of a number of Support Class Skills, his orders were precise as well.

"It would've been best if he was just commanding from the fortress."

She knew it wasn't possible, but a battlefield without Lyle became divided in an instant.

Zayin's knights and soldiers would surely follow his orders. He was the hero that reclaimed the country with only a hundred men. Their civilians would likely fight for him as well. That was just how high his popularity was in Zayin.

But the knights and soldiers of Lorphys were different.

They felt a debt to an extent. To an extent, that is.

Their people had an opposition to fighting alongside the soldiers of Zayin. Fighting shoulder to shoulder with the folks who were planning to invade none too long ago was something Alette herself had opposition to as well.

If an order hadn't come from the top brass, she would likely have objected.

And in truth, most of the knights did. Why did they have to risk their lives for Beim's sake?

They did truly have a favor to repay, but many couldn't understand why they would have to go so far.

Alette, who'd heard the thoughts of the higher-ups wanted to dissent upon hearing the troop dispatch was because of financial debt. But having Beim wring an immense sum out of them down the line wasn't too fun a tale either.

Moving her reluctant subordinates, and frantically taking on the monster army, Alette took a sidelong glance at Aria.

(Too little experience. As a single soldier leading a small force, she may be proficient, but what about as supreme commander?)

Perhaps Aria was also feeling the brunt of her lack of experience as she gave a vexed expression.

The claws of a Gryphon that landed atop the wall pierced through the chest of one of the soldiers.

"I'll..."

When Aria looked like she was about to rush to his aid, Alette held her back with a hand,.

"A commander doesn't move!"

"But Lyle..."

Lyle could give orders as he performed on the battlefield. But there was no way Aria could do such a thing.

"It's impossible for you. A commander should confidently stand as a commander."

The current Aria could easily win against a Land Dragon, and she had proved her strength to the soldiers. But without the prowess for command, having her moving about would be troublesome. It would be best to keep her still.

"Dispatch a knight. Bind it, and buy time!"

The deceased soldier was one of Lorphys. With loathsome sentiment, Alette continued giving out orders.

Aria hit her fist against a nearby wall...

-

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Within the Jewel.

I tottered in the round table's room as I was beckoned into my room of memories.

The other ancestors weren't there.

I wanted to hear their opinions on the battle, but no one was coming out.

"Um, there's a lot I want to ask."

When I said that, Milleia-san approached me, pushed both her hands against my back, and shoved me into the room.

[Yeah, yeah.]

Without my words going through, I was pushed into my room. And as I rounded the doorway, a warm sunlight and gentle wind brought the smell of vegetation to my nose.

There was a single large tree, and a sheet was spread out under it.

A scene I'd scene somewhere once before.

With my back pushed, I walked up a hill all the way to where the tree cast its shade. Milleia sat on the sheet, and lightly hit her hand against her lap.

[Here.]

"... Yes?"

As I failed to understand, she shrugged her shoulders.

[A lap pillow. Your big sister Milleia is offering you a lap pillow. It's oh so noisy out there, so you'd much like to sleep in a quiet place like this, right?]

Hearing that, I chose to oppose. To be honest, I did feel embarrassed, but more importantly, there was a war going on out there.

Is it really alright that I take it easy down here? That was how I felt.

"Um, I'm..."

As if she read everything off my expression, Milleia-san pulled my hand, and embraced my head. Her chest hit my face, but for some reason it felt gentle. My heart rate didn't increase.

[Just rest for now. Lyle, if you strain yourself too much, you'll be all used up. Just let yourself loose to a moderate level. Why is it that Walt men always try to act so tough?]

As she giggled to herself, I accepted her offer to a lap pillow.

The wind felt comfortable, and I felt I was going to remember something. When I closed my eyes, I let myself be taken by that sense of comfort.

[The First tried too hard, and the Second had his troubles. The Third risked his life to protect the territory. The Fourth frantically rose to manage it. The Fifth endured especially so. My brother... the Sixth had his own share of troubles as well. Brod was relied on and stretched to his breaking point... no, that's wrong. He thought it was necessary, so he let it happen, I'm sure.]

While letting me rest on her lap, she stroked my head. Feeling a somewhat nostalgic sense, I listened to her words.

[... Lyle, you could have tossed it all aside. You didn't have to push yourself here.]

I spoke quietly.

"But I can't return anymore. I have to move forwards."

Maybe Milleia-san noticed my sentiment.

[Is it painful to see the deaths of those fighting for your sake?]

"Many have died because of me. And from here on, well... many more will die."

The moment I swore to fight Celes, I had resolved myself to protect. But in truth, it was my fault that many humans were now dead.

At times, I didn't know anymore. But stopping here in my tracks wasn't something I could forgive.

Milleia-san simply offered some gentle words.

[But you've decided to fight, right?]

"... Yes."

[Then you have to rest when the time comes to rest.]

And as I felt my mind distancing itself, I heard her voice.

[Lyle, I can't wait to hear your answer. Will you lift someone up, or make it a stand of your own? We all can't help but...]

I couldn't catch the end of it. But I recalled the source of this nostalgic sensation.

(Right. This is the sense of a mother's warmth... so I had even forgotten something like that.)

In that space with a warm and gentle wind, I drifted asleep.

-

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When I opened my eyes, the room was already ark.

And raising myself, I heard the breath of someone sleeping.

Making a magic light on my left hand, I found Miranda. Miranda who resembled Milleia-san was giving me a lap pillow.

Impacts reached all the way to the room I was in, so I was curious about the situation outside.

Water was prepared nearby, so I took it in hand, poured a cup, and downed it.

Miranda opened her eyes.

"Oh my, good morning."

She greeted me with a bit of a sleepy expression. Why was she here? Why was she giving me a lap pillow? There was quite a bit I thought to ask, but I instead passed her a cup of water.

As she accepted it and took a sip, a jolt reached the room once more.

"Seems we're being pressed quite hard."

The Skills... Map, Search... using them, I confirmed the surroundings situation. As I thought I had rested a bit too much, Miranda exited the bed, and stretched.

She was wearing little more than a shirt over her undergarments, an inexplicably defenseless appearance.

"Now then, I'm sure it's harsh for Aria alone, so let's do our best as well."

When Miranda said that with a smile, I gave an apology.

"Sorry. Novem's in the rear. Clara's on Porter, focusing on transport. Eva had to step back, and May moved to the next preparations, so..."

Shannon was in the back assisting Novem.

In the back lines, the reorganization of troops that stepped back was being carried out. I'm sure they would be dispatched to this wall in the near future. Of course, those stationed at this wall right now would surely be sent back soon as well.

Miranda gave a mischievous smile.

"Well, just leave it to reliable Miranda-san."

Is what she said.

When I smiled, she smiled as well.

"That's a big help. Once Eva's squad returns, I'll have you step back for a bit. From then on is the real deal."

There, Miranda came up close to me. She wrapped both hands behind my neck, and brought her face up to mine.

"That aside, your Skill's effects were cut, so could I leave it to you?"

I averted my eyes a bit, but when I nodded, Miranda smiled. She brought her face closer, making it end up that I was the one being kissed.

From the Jewel, the ancestors that had been watching silently started booing.

In order.

[You're as passive as ever. Try learning something from mr. lyle.]

[Learn to build the mood up some more, Lyle. How pitiful it is to have to leave it to the other party.]

[... Don't ever do it in front of the soldiers. Show off that flirting on the battlefield, and it won't just end with some blood lust.]

[But for a kiss to be required if it's ever interrupted... There was that talk about how a Skill's manifestation is based on an individual's desires, right? Lyle, could it be you were actually aiming for this?]

Just what sort of timing are these guys speaking up in? Kissed in Miranda's embrace, I suddenly began to feel embarrassed.

As her tongue entered my mouth, Milleia-san chose to call out as well.

[Lyle, wrap your hand around her hip. Hold her tight! Hold her real tight!]

She was all for it.

I was seriously starting to doubt whether she was the same individual I was interacting with before.