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Epilogue

Epilogue

[Talking to you in your current state won't get us anywhere. Sorry, but I'll be quarantining you a while.]

As LYLE said that, I suddenly found myself in the Seventh's room of memories. It seems I had been transported in an instant, but could that just be how strong an authority LYLE held over the Jewel, I wonder?

[Lyle!]

The Seventh had been sitting in a chair of the room. He stood and stared in surprise at my abrupt appearance.

"... Come to think of it, I haven't stopped by the Seventh's room too often. Only ever when we fought, perhaps?"

Saying that, I looked over the Seventh's... my grandfather's room with nostalgic sentiment. Is this how it used to look?

Whenever we fought, it would usually be in the yard's drilling grounds, so I tilted my head. I had the feeling he had let me play in this room long ago.

[You, even at a time like this... no, you're in a mr. lyle state right now, are you? Still, thinking back, you do have a point. I don't have as thick a past among the other ancestors, after all.]

As the Seventh sat in his seat, he told me to sit as well. We sat with a small, round table in between us, and on it, a cup manifested out of nothingness.

The Seventh spoke.

[It won't fill your stomach, but this is a matter of feelings. Have a drink.]

"Then drink I shall. It even has a scent."

I reminisced over the nostalgic flavor. Even within my vague and hazy memory, I could remember that I'd drunken this tea before.

[... I haven't had the chance for a leisurely talk with you. Perhaps we'll get more chances hereon, but that's yet another sad tale. It's because our ancestors have faded away.]

First, Second, Sixth... and the Fourth had left the Skills to me, and vanished from the Jewel. Their roles had ended.

The role of the ancestors in the Jewel was to entrust their Skills to the Jewel's owner. In this case, me. To teach the Skills' uses as well, they were existences awoken from the records of the time...

"It's not as if I've been making light of your or anything, grandfather. It's true that I respect you. And some vague memories of you doting on me still remain."

The Seventh gave a lonesome laugh.

[I see. Right... but you see, Lyle. Was I really ever that great?]

"What's wrong? Growing weak at the knees?"

The Seventh folded his hands, and gazed out the window. Out the pane was the scene of the two birds flying away.

[... I've tried quite hard. I worked hard not to fall short of our ancestors. But what I succeeded in was only because of the groundwork they laid. Lyle, have you figured out why I'm so particular about guns?]

"Because they're the future? I also think that as long as the money problem is dealt with, mass production will become the key to victory. Though it's also true they're short of a decisive blow."

The Seventh nodded.

[... Being so close to the ancestors, I felt, and I thought. The real reason I chose the gun... Is it not because I didn't want to be compared to them?]

I sipped the tea, and smiled.

"What foolish words are those? You manifested Box, and Warp, such incredible Skills, didn't you? You should have more confidence. I was even wrung dry of this and that by Celes, but I still think I'm definitely going to win."

The Seventh turned a different kind smile than usual at me. It didn't feel like he was mocking.

[If you'll say that much, it gives me some confidence. Now then, your memory that calls himself Lyle came out, so what are you going to do? Even if you want to leave this room, it seems it's been locked.]

It seems the door of memories was tightly sealed shut. Then there's no helping he be panicked.

"Then I'll just take it easy. It seems he wanted to talk to Novem about something. I'll have to ask about it later."

To me, the Seventh spoke. He wasn't particularly supportive of her. Of all else, the Forxuz House was something of a vassal house. She was only their daughter... what's more, nothing but the second daughter.

[Lyle... are you sure you don't trust Novem a little too much?]

-

-

-

... It was LYLE's room.

As Novem was led in, she looked around, and realized at once that it was different from Lyle's room of old. It had been reproduced by the Jewel, but it was subtly different.

Those differences stemmed from the existence called LYLE, she concluded.

"The bookshelf on the right. The order of the books on the third shelf from the top is different. Lyle-sama barely read those ones. The placement of other books is also slightly off. On top of that, the room was much dustier than this. Because the servants shirked off on cleaning it."

Without preparing a chair for his guest, LYLE sat himself on the bed.

[... It's because you say things like that, that normal people take distance from you. But no matter what little 'Broken Novem' says this late in the game, I doubt it will make a difference.]

LYLE understood Novem's personality. And he didn't particularly hate her or anything. He only had discontentments at her treatment of Lyle.

The Forxuz House... among the clan that carried down memories of the goddess turned evil god Novem, the one whose memories were most vivid, and who inherited an outrageous amount of information was Novem.

At first, LYLE hadn't been knowledgeable about that field, but it was something he came to figure out after opening his eyes in the Jewel.

LYLE began talking.

[Memories are a large factor that influence one's character. With happy memories, based on the person, the individual may wish to feel more happiness, crushing others underfoot in the conquest for more. It all varies by person, but it's a fact that it has influence. So here's the question... Novem, do you think of yourself as the goddess, or as Novem the evil god? Or are you Novem, second daughter of the Forxuz House? Which is it?]

Inheriting memories. Simple in words, but if one were to think of it as akin to their own experiences, then who exactly would they be? Would it influence their establishment of self?

[Because of the self-loathing she inherited from Septem, Septem-san sealed her ability to be loved by humans, and served herself out for their sake. She served too much and failed them, but even now, her lesson lives on. So how about you, Novem?]

Novem couldn't answer. She was smiling, but she didn't make an attempt to answer. With something important out of place, and something unnecessary shoved in its space. That was the girl called Novem.

LYLE knew that. And he even thought she had purposely overlooked Celes' actions.

[No answer, huh? I'm fine with that too.]

To a fed-up LYLE, it was Novem's turn to question.

"I heard you were Lyle-sama's memories, LYLE-sama. Could it be you plan on reviving Lyle-sama's memories? In that case, the current Lyle-sama will be..."

LYLE noticed it was an important matter to Novem. And if he properly returned the memories, Novem might shatter the Jewel out of anger.

What was important to Novem was the current Lyle.

The LYLE of the past was of low priority.

[... It's a sad thing, but I share your opinion. I won't give the memories to Lyle. But I'll at least rile him up and pick some fights. There are a number of things I've no choice but to teach him. Also, I have to transmit the important stuff. Irrelevant to the will of the Jewel.]

There, Novem looked extremely delighted. Her expression was no lie.

LYLE could only look upon that expression of Novem with disappointment.

"A splendid decision. Not the memory, grant him your wisdom and technique, and dissapear. Fitting of LYLE-sama, a wonderful conclusion. This Novem is proud of you."

And she spoke with a horridly dark smile.

"When I think of what would be if humanity were able to make such judgement all those myriads ago, or perhaps even longer, it saddens me."

LYLE spoke.

[It ain't for your sake. It's for Lyle's. His memories stolen, Lyle was nothing but an infant in a body too large. All I could do was leave him the memories of being loved... so even if everything was lost, and he was isolated away, I could leave the possibility he would stand up and look straight. He the little brother I've left to clean up my mess.]

Novem raised the hem of her skirt with a smile, giving a light bow.

"And this Novem shall be there to help him. LYLE-sama, please hold no need for concern."

And LYLE spoke. The largest reason he held dissatisfaction towards the girl.

[... Novem, that love of yours isn't something for a lover. That is what a mother directs her child. It isn't what Lyle is looking for.]

As a mother, she gave Lyle unconditional love. As a mother, she could put up, even with other women. As a mother, she wouldn't abandon Lyle to the end.

[I understand your personality. Though the others haven't noticed it in the slightest... a ten-year-old robbed of his memories, nothing more than a toddler... with a mental age of three, five tops, Lyle was a child even younger than he looked. I don't think you aimed for that. But as he was, you...]

Novem corrected her posture.

"Love is love, LYLE-sama."

She said...

-

-

-

... Miranda stuck her knees, and her hand into the ground.

She held her right shoulder with her left hand, the end of her upturned eyes, a woman like the average of she and Shannon holding up the grip of her gun, loading a bullet.

She used a number of one-shot flintlocks, handling them quite skillfully. When told to come at her, Miranda thought she would be able to take her down easily, but she couldn't match up at all.

The Jewel's round table room.

The round table extended out, making a space like an arena. Glaring at Milleia, Miranda vexingly stood to her feet.

The moment she took her left hand from her shoulder, she used her Skill to produce a number of nets... a large spider web... before her. The stitching was tight, and the gaps were narrow. They were sticky and made to disperse force, so if a round hit them, it was sure to stop.

But the bullet Milleia fired accurately travelled down the gaps in the numerous nets, hitting Miranda's left thigh on the mark.

"Kuh!

As Miranda fell to her knees once more, Shannon looked on quivering. To her, Milleia spoke.

[Hey, don't shake so much. In this space you get out with only the pain. Or have you come to understand it yet, Shannon? Your eyes are capable of more than this. If you were up to it.]

Walking forward, Milleia used the bayonet on her gun to easily cut apart the sticky mesh of threads.

Miranda looked on with surprise. In real combat it had been able to tangle up and render a Land Dragon immobile, threads made of her prided Skill.

And they were easily cut down.

[... Did you plan to win against Novem-chan at that level? You're too sweet, Miranda.]

As Milleia said that with a shrug of her shoulders, Miranda pulled three daggers from behind her hip. She threw the first one, and following behind it, she sliced with a dagger in each hand.

"If it's close combat!"

Milleia grinned, shooting the dagger down. The dagger in Miranda's hand that is. And with her stance destroyed, Miranda hit a foot into the ground, grabbed the thrown dagger, and tried for close quarters again.

Physical strength, and damage output, Miranda excelled in every field. She had rapidly stacked up Growths, and she cut forward. Knees and hands, flank and shoulders, she carved her daggers into numerous places.

And yet none of Miranda's attacks grazed anything solid.

[If it's close combat, you can win? That's no good, Miranda... personally, I'm rooting for you, but you should at least be able to measure an opponent's strength properly.]

Kicked away by Milleia, Miranda rolled across the floor.

Since Shannon's sister was one-sidedly taken one, she turned to Milleia, and tried to use her demon eyes to touch her psyche...

"Kyah!"

... And failed.

[Touching an opponent's heart, huh. Shannon, you used that to commit mischief, did you? Wouldn't you say that naughty children need some punishment?]

Milleia took a step towards Shannon, and instantly leapt from the spot.

With her wounds healed up., Miranda threw a few knives.

She thought over a way to defeat such an unfair opponent. Her Skill was easily nullified. But she hadn't yet the mind to admit loss.

Seeing Miranda's eyes, Milleia smiled.

[Come with me. You've got to get used to fighting someone stronger than yourself.]

Miranda took a large stepped forward, threw in a feint, and closed in on Milleia. She was precisely shot through with a gun...

-

-

-

"Done talking?"

As I was sipping tea, this time I was suddenly summoned to LYLE's room.

I was exchanging some idle banter with the Sevenths, and as I thought, there were plenty of interesting stories of failure when it came to grandmother Zenoire. I ended up laughing grandly as well.

Especially when towards his majesty, she... as I was thinking that, LYLE looked away from me on the bed.

"What's up?"

[Hmph, Novem said the current you was best, and that I was no good. It irritated me, so that's all for today. And you're definitely never getting your memories back.]

Seeing him sulk like a child, I spoke triumphantly.

"Very well! Now then, if I'm going to return now... could you have my memories ready by my next visit? No take-overs included?"

LYLE looked at me, and scoffed.

[The world isn't so convenient. I'm definitely never handing them over. If you want them so bad, why not take them by force? The current you... maybe you'll even be able to trouble me.]

I laughed.

"Then I shall assemble the conditions for my victory. I'll mobilize my future wives to surround you and beat you to the ground! As a show of mercy, I don't mind having them wear short skirts for the occasion."

There, LYLE started thinking with a blank expression. And hanging his head, and crossing his arms...

[... H-how about garters?]

"You're quite the greedy one. But garters, huh... why not."

[For real! Hoorayyy!! I can't wait for such a joyous occasion.]

"Yeah, you better wait! Then I have to go persuade them, so I'll be taking my leave."

[... I doubt it'll work out though.]

LYLE gave a delightful laugh as he saw me off.