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Chapter 8: Illustrated Diary

 Illustrated Diary

... Shannon kept a picture diary in her room.

While she couldn't see, Shannon was able to see the flow of Mana. To her, letters and pictures fundamentally held no meaning.

However, recently, she using ink and coloring tools prepared by Monica, she became able to keep a diary. Miranda said since she wasn't doing anything, her reading, writing and arithmetic skills would fall behind, so she was half-forced into writing it.

So, while she required support from the Valkyries, Shannon kept the diary.

The ×th of ○.

Today, Lyle was chased around by Fidel-san.

He said something about forgetting Vera-san or something as he gave chase, and Lyle continued to apologize.

Once he was released, Lyle swore vengeance on Erhart for giving away his location.

In truth, the one who gave out his location was me. That was Lyle's misunderstanding.

But because of that, Fidel-san gave me lots of candy.

I felt bad for him, so I gave some candy to Erhart. He tilted his head at me, but I'd like him to forgive me with that.

On top of the entry, she had drawn a picture of the candy, and one of Lyle being chased around. And one of Erhart as well.

But even if you said Shannon was receiving Valkyrie Support, perhaps she had a sense for art, as her pictures had a certain sense of form. By reading the flow of Mana, she could have a grasp of the shape of things, if nothing else.

But when it came to color, that was a little dubious, so when it came to the details, she had the Valkyries help her. To digress, the helping Valkyries were of the Circry Sister faction.

"Hah, I'm done~."

As Shannon stretched, a Valkyrie spoke.

"Your hands are dirty, so wipe them off first. Even so, you have made quite a bit of improvement from the start. With this, perhaps we can make the diary itself something better."

Shannon put her face on the desk.

"Don't want to. They used to say three lines was enough, but now they keep increasing the amoung, and they're telling me to draw the pictures properly."

The Valkyrie dried off the diary page.

"Do you not think it will make Miranda-san happy? Even so, your sense for art was a surprise."

Shannon flipped her hair. The Valkyrie said, "Ah, you've gotten ink on your bangs..." but the individual herself didn't care.

"As I thought, I've got talent. See, I'm a genius. QED."

Looking at Shannon putting on airs, the Valkyrie was filled with charming sentiment.

"That confidence and useless parts really are the best. I pray that Shannon-san's chick will be a hybrid with master, and carry on her uselessness."

Shannon did think she was being made fun of, but paid more mind to the last part.

Tilting her head.

"Normally, wouldn't you want the bad parts to be the parts not passed down?"

The Valkyrie gave a grandiose gesture. Her expression couldn't change, so it gave off quite a dubious feeling.

"Of course not! The more useless one is, the more worth there is in serving, is there not!? By the way, Shannon-san, you are the most popular among the Valkyries."

Shannon thought.

(I wonder what it is. That evaluation doesn't make me happy at all.)

As she was thinking it, Miranda returned to the room. The reason she looked so tired owed to consecutive days of meetings in South Beim.

Without any major results, they were a stream of meetings going nowhere. There was no helping she be tired.

"Oh, did you finish your diary? Let me have a look."

Miranda took Shannon's picture diary in hand, and as she read it.

"... Lyle was crying out about appointing Erhart as something he called a Free Knight, but could this be the cause?"

Shannon continued holding out the diary for her sister.

"Free Knight?"

Free Knight... knight she could understand, but she didn't get the free part. There, Miranda began taking off her overwear. The Valkyrie collected the discarded clothing as Miranda changed into the loungewear she had prepared.

"They'll hold the class of knight, but they're knights without a lord, perhaps? See, the Guild is completely under Lyle's control, right? So he brought up talks of giving the trustworthy adventurer parties and mercenaries a title like that."

Shannon found it perplexing.

"When he's trying to get revenge, I can't understand why he'd give a reward. Or could it actually be a terrible position?"

Miranda grinned.

"That isn't the case. From an adventurer's point of view, there's no higher proof of trust. You're a knight recognized by the country. It gives you an advantage in taking up government service, and the credibility you have when doing a job is on another level. What's more, to Beim without nobility, it's technically the highest position. Well, from Lyle's point of view, he's appointed a knight, so he'll work them hard for the sake of the world and its people, apparently. It's not yet determined what sort of reward he'll prepare, but it might actually be quite a pain. If it were me, I'd refuse."

Shannon thought.

(It's Lyle we're talking about here, there's no way it's all good things. Hah, I guess I should properly apologize to Erhart.)

"But I'm the one who gave out Lyle's location, you know?"

As Shannon awkwardly said that, Miranda waved her hand.

"Ah, don't worry about that. It seems Erhart actually helped Fidel-san out as well. Remember, how he got those female adventurers pushed onto him last time? He helped Fidel-san to get back at Lyle. And Lyle couldn't forgive it. As I recall... 'Since I'm working so hard, you'll be working hard as well,' I get the feeling he said something like that. Well, it's just a little teasing among comrades."

Shannon thought. Erhart was being Erhart, and it wasn't that Lyle's anger was misdirected.

(I didn't have to give him candy. I think I'll rewrite this diary entry.)

Vexed as she was, Shannon decided to revise her diary...




"I'm working hard over here, so you should work hard too. And let me give you my congratulations, Erhart."

"Bastard, cut the crap already!"

South Beim's adventurers' Guild.

Within that narrow Guild, I took up the small medal I had a craftsman prepare and walked over to Erhart. I had intentionally called him out to the Guild.

But when I talked to him, Erhart burst into a rage.

"I can't comprehend why you'd be angry. I evaluated you highly, and I'm only promising you a considerably favorable reception. The details have yet to be determined, but I prepared for you the status of a knight without a lord. I even prepared a reward."

The reward in the leather bag was... gold coins. I won't say it was a lot, but from the other adventurers' eyes, it was quite a fortune.

"Don't do anything unnecessary! You're doing this knowing full well, right!?"

"About what? But with this, you'll become Mr. Popular again. Looks like you've fulfilled the objective you declared when we first met. Good grief, how jealous am I."

I wasn't actually jealous in the slightest. I was just happy I got to harass him. Erhart with his head troubled by women problem... of course I did it knowing full well.

The Third in the Jewel sounded like he was enjoying himself.

[When getting revenge, you've got to do what the other party hates; it's how the world works. Lyle, as long as you don't tailor the harassment specifically to the person, it isn't revenge. This is just a wonderful reward!]

I shared the Third's opinion.

I was chased around by Fidel-san, and Erhart who assisted him... this bastard, when he said he wanted a harem, he actually snapped when I went and prepared one for him.

What's more, he tried to get back at me. He repaid his debt with hostility.

"Well, with this, your future is secure. As expected of South Beim's number one adventurer. I've got high hopes of you. Ah, right, right... you can't refuse to accept it, mind you. This is the sort of system that gives props to the guild that puts out a Free Knight. The Guild will rejoice over it."

I fastened the medal to Erhart.

I had a few prototypes prepared, and I selected the most suitable-looking one to bring along. From here on, it would become the proof of a Free Knight.

While they wouldn't have a lord, they could freely cross national borders and protect the powerless. I'd like him to become everyone's aspiration by all means.

The Third spoke with an earnest air.

[Well, it's no good to just put pressure on the adventurers. Like this, it's important to show them that there's hope.]

Erhart looked at the depths of the Guild counter. Back there, his aspiration, Marianne-san was looking at us.

She happily gave a slight wave of her hand, likely because she recognized Erhart's acceptance of the medal. On top of that, with my debts to the guild, she should feel happy from the point of view of the guild's proprietress.

The Third had proposed making an atmosphere where he couldn't refuse, and looking at Erhart's mortified face, I was happy to see it had succeeded.

... Well, it's a knightly position everyone should admire. What's more, it ensured him a stable future, so the surrounding adventurers should eat into it.

But perhaps Erhart didn't want himself to stand out any more.

Making sure those around couldn't see my face, I grasped Erhart's shoulders.

It was getting warm outside, and with his tank top, both shoulders were lain bare.

"I have high hopes of you, Free Knight Erhart Baumann-kun."

I smiled... even I knew I was making quite the detestable grin, but I couldn't contain my laughter.

In a small voice.

"How do you like my retaliation?"

Erhart answered with a cramped smile.

"Yeah, I love it. I'll never forget this. Never, you hear."

Around were the happily crying voices of women. With his achievements in South Beim, he was popular after all.

From here, he should get even more popular.

The Third laugh.

[It sure feels good to do a good thing.]

I thought so as well.




A few days later.

From the airspace of South Beim, I watched the ships coming into port.

From quilin-form May's back, I looked over South Beim.

"Lyle, I heard you fought with Novem, did you make up yet?"

May sent over a worried voice, but taking the cold wind to my face, I nodded.

"It's gone over a fight. I don't know what to do anymore."

After thinking a bit, May gave her head a small shake.

"Humans sure are a pain. For us, we get seed from the strongest male, and that's the end of it."

"... Don't expect that sort of candid, or rather dry relation from humans. If that's how it all worked, I wouldn't have to be troubled about a harem."

That's right. If everyone was so candid, I wouldn't have to care about the human relations within the harem.

In the stories, when it came to harems, they were something kinder, or sweet. Yet instead of just bitter, it seemed clear that one wrong step with the harem would mean blood. No, in the Jewel, they seriously did go at each other's throat.

One wrong step and it was a sea of blood.

"It would be resolved if you just pushed her down."

"... Is it really so bad to want to understand one another?"

After talking to may, I spent a little more time spinning my thoughts in the sky.




... Shannon's picture diary.

In it, a picture of Lyle with a completely reddened face from his drink with Jules was drawn.

Saying he was going out drinking, Lyle ignored everyone's attempts to stop him, and drank.

As usual, he was down before he finished his first glass.

Jules burst into laughter.

He said he'd bring something weaker next time.

Ludmilla was there too, she gave the collapsed Lyle a lap pillow.

My friend Elza gave a strange face. But my sister held her back.

It was scary when Ludmilla and Gracia exchanged glares.

Waiting for the diary before her to dry, Shannon read over it.

"Oh right, that happened too."

She had learned to write more precisely, and her art skills were increasing. While she felt a little embarrassed, even so, it was becoming her precious treasure she added to every day.

Looking out the window... no, turning her face in that direction, she felt the sunlight against her face.

Not warm, the light of the hot sun made her weary.

The season had turned and changed to summer.

The grand Bahnseim countermeasure meeting had been held.

And once two months had passed, it was already summer. With Lyle's party mainly prioritizing securing food supplies, Rhuvenns and Beim were both hard at work.

Shannon was working in Rhuvenns' castle, spending her days mainly on odd jobs.

"Once summer ends, fall comes with the harvest. And then..."

And then it would be time for the battle.

Beim's strongest Walt House had fallen. Many of the countries taking part were looking optimistic. But even so, that didn't change the fact Bahnseim held several hundred thousand troops.

Even after erecting Maizel's grave, Celes continued her atrocities throughout Bahnseim.

Spectacles enough to make one want to close their eyes had become Bahnseim's everyday.

From their allies, there were voices rising for them to take action at once.

But it was true they didn't have enough food to mobilize. On top of that, reviving the ruins of Beim was becoming urgent.

Shannon confirmed the diary was dry before closing it. She poked her head out the open window, and looked outside.

By the flow of Mana, she was able to tell the surrounding situation.

She looked at Lyle's camp more prepared than before. He had disassembled the Walt Army, and by reassembling them, while there were plenty of problems at the start, they had now gotten together under the banner of taking Bahnseim down.

The preparations were underway...