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Chapter 3: Passing it All

 Passing it all

The night of the day we learned Celes' crime.

Dropping by the round table within the Jewel, I spoke with the Third who had taken a seat on top of it.

[Now, let's get our information together. Novem-chan is an evil god, and we who've been looked after by such a god... the Walt House carries the blood of Septem. That one's called a goddess, but in essence, it's the same blood of the monster Agrissa. And Novem-chan supports not Celes, but you. What's more, Novem-chan carries Novem's blood, and even Octō-san's looking out for you. Shucks, you sure have it rough~.]

The Third didn't seem to be attempting to digest the information obtained from the Jewel to a greater degree.

[And this time, we learned there's a facility from the once-destroyed humankind on the moon. Though it's a bit disappointing that there's no rabbit, I guess we'll have to give up on that.]

Do you really have to care about that?

He said he was a romantic, but when it came out of his mouth, it sounded shady.

[Well, it looks like Novem-chan has her own thoughts about peace. The humans of the past? She doesn't want you to make the mistake they once made. So you can't aim for peace... all's well with the world!]

"Oh really!?"

As I stood from my seat in surprise, the Third started laughing frivolously.

[No, I mean, it's not like that's a bad opinion. The ancients of the past failed. So it's important to learn and not make the same mistake. Ah, and I won't particularly say it's bad for you to aim for peace.]

"Then what exactly should I do? If I don't talk with Novem..."

There, the Third gave a gentle smile as he looked at me.

[When the time comes... just throw it to the times! Pose the task to your children and grandchildren. Don't worry! I'm sure someone out there will resolve it. No problem, I tells ya.]

I looked at the Third, silently opening and closing my mouth.

And getting my breathing in order, I cried out.

"You're the worst! Rather, I have to resolve it, don't I!"

There, the Third tilted his head.

[Oh? And why's that?]

Pressed by the Third, I was a little troubled to answer.

"No, I mean... if I don't resolve it, it will bring trouble to the next generation, I thought."

The Third crossed his arms.

[Lyle... you're an idiot.]

Being called an idiot by the Third, I was a little surprised. Isn't throwing it to the times the worst thing you can do?

But the Third answered as follows.

[I simply followed the plan laid out by the Second, and didn't really involve myself in the territory beyond that. But it's not like that's how it all was. The Second's time goes without saying. But the situation took a large turn in my time. With war knocking on the door every day, the price of lumber skyrocketed. There's some difficulty to be had in buying food supplies from outside. Contrarily, there were times we could sell our own supplies for a killing.]

According to the Third, the state of the time's didn't quite match up with the Second's plan. And at the time, he had to change his policies.

[While you're in active duty, there won't be a problem. But the next generation needs the next generation's outlook. Your current thoughts may not fit with th era... no, there'll definitely come a time where they don't fit. At such a time, there's no need for you to mull your head over any and everything. What you need to worry about is preparing a successor you can leave that situation to with some peace of mind.]

The Third's face was serious. And he began talking about the Novem problem.

[To be honest, the peace you're looking for is the same. Perhaps the peace the time calls for will change. It's no good to freeze it solid. And Novem-chan's problem is too much for our hands. To the current you, what's important is getting the continent in your hands. No, defeating Celes. And you'll have to secure your own safety and take some responsibility. You can become emperor if you want. You can aim for whatever sort of rule you desire. But you see, there are things you're capable of, and things you're not.]

Even if I got the continent together, I'd declared I'd become emperor, so I'd move towards actualizing that.

At such a time, my free time would be much too low. It would be impossible to move around as I did in my adventurer days.

The Third seemed to predict that my hands would be full with establishing rule and leaving it to the next generation. And I'm sure he was right.

[I can't even imagine it. When the ancients had a civilization far enough to take them to the moon, they still fell to ruin. I'm sure your hands will be full already. So you should give your undivided attention towards doing what you're capable of. It's perfectly fine to leave things to others.]

Hearing that, I felt my mind become a little lighter.

"So I can pass the buck?"

[That's right. Do what you can, and if that doesn't work, let someone else do it. You can't resolve it. And you can't abandon it. Then you've got to pass it on.]

I looked at the Third and nodded. There, the Third suddenly burst into laughter.

[Well, I threw every little bit of my troubles to Max... the Fourth. Died in battle and all. And thoughts behind the times are just a fuss to the young'uns. I also thought the stubborn Second was too set in his ways.]

"... Why did that have to be the punch line? I thought it was going to become a touching story!"

The Third laughed.

[But it's true. You get stubborn the more you age. No, I get it you know. That's what worked out in the Second's time, and it really was correct. But come to my time, while it wasn't by much, he had some opinions that wouldn't pass. Goddess, I ignored him and went ahead on my own.]

I recalled the Second's troubles. It's true he had a side of him that was too helpful, and perhaps the Third was troubled by that.

[So once you've passed it on, close your mouth. Though there may be times when you have to say something. At that point it's case by case. And look.]

The Third put a hand to his chin as he looked down a bit.

[To be honest, when I heard the ancients had died out, I thought, 'so what'? I mean, we have Professor Damien and Monica-chan who'll be able to catch up to them in the next few decades, right? Those two are honest to their desires, and if you tell Monica-chan to restrain herself, she'll happily do so. For Professor Damien, if he makes his ideal woman, I doubt he'll have any interest in passing on his trade. Good for you, with this, you've solved the problem of technological innovation.]

As I wondered if that was fine, the third sounded amused.

[And for humans, even if you keep quiet, they'll go off and kill one another. They do it even if you tell them that's bad, and there's no way peace will be so easy to achieve. First off, you've got to prioritize defeating Celes. Then rule. It'll be busy. Perhaps things won't end in your era. There's much you'll have to do. So when things get beyond the hand... just pass it to the next generation.]

I wonder what it is... the Third definitely had a point, but some part of my couldn't accept it. When what he said was correct, his phrasing was too clune.

And the Third gave a light smile.

[But you did have some harvest this time around. Novem-chan was so flustered and she gave you her own opinion. Lyle, why don't you talk with Novem-chan some more?]

-

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Novem's room.

I had the Valkyries in front of the door stand down, and knocked.

After a while, I heard Novem's response, so I entered.

Novem had dressed into loungewear, sitting in the room. It didn't look like she had been doing anything before I entered. "Novem, I..."

"Lyle-sama, can I tell you a bit of a story?"

Novem opposed my question, and prepared some tea before sitting on the sofa. A low table between us, I looked at Novem on the other side.

"Long ago... this is about the distant past. My opinion diverged from Septem, and I... Novem and Octō, they..."

"Novem, stop."

"Lyle-sama?"

I decided to tell her what I knew I had to.

"To be honest, with evil gods and goddesses, there are too many stories far beyond my scale that it's needlessly troubleing. I'm going to defeat Celes and unify the continent. I don't even know if I'll live to see it all come together. Perhaps I'll be entrusting it to the times. So I'll put peace aside for the time being."

From the Jewel, I heard the Third's voice.

[Thet's right. But you didn't tell her you're not still aiming for it!]

Novem looked surprised, but she looked down a bit.

"... Lyle-sama, I am..."

"However."

I cut her off, and asked. It was an important thing.

"I want to hear how you really feel. So tell me. No secrets anymore."

Novem looked at my expression, and resolved herself before opening her mouth.

It was a truth far exceeding my expectations.

-

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... Baldoir had ventured from Rhuvenns Castle to South Beim.

He had stopped by for work, but even entering the city, his head hurt upon hearing of Lyle's dispute with Novem.

The one who invited him out for drinking were Maksim and Damien. Not at a bar, Damien had his three automatons bring drink and food to his room.

As Baldoir held his head, Maksim took a sip of ale.

"Lyle-dono and Novem-dono are fighting? That's rough."

He said it as if it were someone else's business, completely uninterested. At his attitude, Baldoir flew into a rage.

"It isn't just rough! Do you understand! Just how important of a time we're in!? Even before the problem of who's going to manage Lyle's harem, I can't even imagine who'll make the first move! And yet the guns and goods I ordered aren't even completed... so I can't go back."

Damien took a bite of the food put out for snacking.

"Old Letarta's a busy one. The other craftsmen can't catch up with their work. Even so, you have it rough, Baldoir. Rather, you sure are courageous, accepting the unsold goods Lyle pushed onto you. If it were me, I'd go insane."

"... For argument's sake, she's my wife, so could you quit treating her like unsold goods? There's a bit of a problem with her personality, but she's a good person."

Both Maksim and Damien felt the same.

"If it were me, I'd go spare the moment a marriage was pushed onto me. You sure did well, Baldoir."

"And as I was saying, don't talk as if I drew the short straw. She's actually relatively cute."

The two of them looked at Baldoir.

"Not happening. The woman I'm building in my head is the only one for me."

"Don't care about anyone besides Adele-sama."

With those words, the drunkards burst into laughter. Baldoir looked over them.

(Why are the pervert and the famed celebrity so kind to me? And wait, no matter how you look at it, these are vital members. I need to get a grip.)

Baldoir couldn't seem to accept these two getting along so well with him as he continued his consultation on Lyle.

"What are you talking about, Maksim-dono, Professor Damien. Get a grip on yourselves. Originally, with your positions, a marriage or two would be..."

"But I refuse! I have devoted this life of mine to Adele-sama. While I'm willing to concede to another, there are some things I'll never forgive!"

With a reddened face, Maksim stood from his seat, and refused with a resolute bearing. Baldoir hovered his face with a hand.

"In that case go marry Adele-dono already. Someone's already made a request with me to bring up talks of engagement with you."

There, Maksim suddenly sat down with his face a bright red.

"That... um, I'm fine with that, but the problem is I'm not sure what Adele-sama thinks of me, or how should I put it... and I'm a former retainer, and Milady is an existence much too far beyond my reach. Though there's a sort of charm to that relationship too, see."

(This guy's a pain. Why are there so many of these sorts around Lyle-sama?)

As Baldoir cursed in his heart, Damien took a sip of the automaton-poured ale.

"Well, does it really matter if Lyle gets into a fight with one of his lovers? With such numbers, I'm sure he has a spare or two."

On his words, the nearby automaton twisted her body.

"Ah, that dry tone. But that's what makes master so charming."

Baldoir looked at the automaton.

(... Monica-dono's the same, but these automatons definitely have a screw loose. Damn, why can no one understand the severity of this crisis?)

As Baldoir down his glass, Maksim suddenly recalled something.

"Muh! Come to think of it, I had bet on who would take his body first. The strongest contenders were Ludmilla-dono and Lianne-dono, so I had placed my bet on Novem!"

Damien in kind.

"That's right! I also bet the loose change I was earning! No... nome? I thought she was a sure things, so I invested all my money on her! It would be troublesome if they got into a fight."

Baldoir slammed both his hands on the table, standing from his chair.

"What are you guys making bets for!? I won't crack down on it, but don't take the initiate to gamble! Right now it's all becoming trouble with who's in whose faction! The slightest strange movement you show will cement who's faction you're a part of!"

Maksim grasped Baldoir's shoulders, and set him back down in his chair. After Baldoir reluctantly sat, Maksim spoke up.

"Rest at ease. I'm on whatever side Adele-sama supports."

"That didn't put me at ease at all!"

As Baldoir cried out, the Automatons brought over refills...