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intermission 2

Intermission: Lord of the Imperial Library

Clara Bulmer.

While being one of Lyle's mistresses, she was found in the imperial capital's library much more often than in the inner palace mansion prepared for her.

The reason being that she was zealously recording all the events that led up to the founding of the empire.

A large portion of her enthusiasm came from Eva, who prioritized the dramatic aspects of stories in her songs. The way things were going, Eva's fabrications would be recognized as truth, and there was a possibility much of their lives would be written off as lies in the world to come.

So Clara decided to leave records.

Taking a book she couldn't reach without a ladder in hand, Clara flipped through the pages. In her separate room in the imperial library, the books of Arumsaas once designated as forbidden had been carried.

They were mainly documents of the past the Bahnseim monarchy had sealed off.

There were also things written of the Bahnseim House putting them far from any heroes.

According to the records of the time, they held a territory quite close to Centralle, and were under Agrissa's rule for a majority of it. When that standing became disadvantageous, they changed sides, and in the end, they killed Lyle's ancestor to snatch away all the achievements.

Perhaps they had frantically tried to erase the facts, as there were traces that many documents were disposed of. At the time, in order to keep the documents safe, Arumsaas had hidden them in a place inaccessible to the public.

Once the Bahnseim royal line was born, the reason so many countries arose throughout the continent was largely due to their lack of trust towards the House.

"If only there were more records."

Lifting up her staff imbued with light, she continued climbing the ladder as she read through the books on her way when a voice called down from below.

"Mom, are you still up there? You should return to the inner palace sometime. Dad is worried for you."

Since the boy who called her mom had arrived, she held her books under an arm and climbed down the ladder. Seeing her unsteady descent as she still held a grip on her staff, the young boy worried whether she would fall to the bottom.

That boy with deep-blue hair was Clara's son.

While there was a single Valkyrie Unit beside him, the Valkyrie seemed bored.

"Why do you have to carry your staff? It's dangerous so I told you to stop, didn't I?"

Once Clara reached the floor, she brought her books to the desk and left them there. She leaned her staff against them as well.

The Valkyrie looked around and arbitrarily began getting things in order.

"Ah, leave those books where they are!"

Clara reached out her hand as she said it, and the young boy grasped her hand. Before she had even realized it, the young boy had grown bigger than her own petite form.

"Get a grip! It's because you never come home that I had to come and get you. The librarians were so worried they raised a report to the castle."

Clara- who'd settled into the library- was living a life much more comfortable than she had in Arumsaas. Not only surrounded by books, as long as she stayed here, even food was brought straight to her.

"I'm properly eating."

"That's because the librarians are being mindful of you. There's no way anyone can speak out against one of the emperor's mistresses."

To her son's opinion, Clara tilted her head.

"That's not true. I get plenty of complaints."

"Those people are an exception. A special exception. Just give up and return to the inner palace. Did you know... on the street, they're calling you the Lord of the Library."

"Thank you?"

As Clara acted bashfully, her son grew irritated, and began adding various gestures to his speech.

"Everyone knows you're here, mother! That's why we have to assign valuable Valkyries to this place!"

Over a hundred Valkyries. But to speak to the contrary, with the entire continent in his hands, those were all the Valkyries he had.

The Valkyrie cleaning the area was Clara's son's exclusive Valkyrie. There was a single Valkyrie stationed in each of the mansion, meaning the inner palace alone took up twenty five of them.

They were a valuable asset, but saying that wasn't enough, another twenty five were stationed around the palace.

In that case, the number that could move outside were strictly limited.

Clara looked at her son and let out a sigh.

"This is quite a difficult problem. When I rise in status, I can no longer do what I want. Come to think of it, have you decided what you want to do? If you want to go independent, even if you try to marry in somewhere, I don't have any connections, so it will be hard."

Her son was more level-headed than her.

"Please get a grip on yourself, mom! You're in Ludmilla-sama's faction. Talks for my marriage are already proceeding on that side. It's precisely for that talk that I came to drag you back today!"

Clara recalled the inner palace's factional struggles she had forgotten for quite some time, and hit her hands together.

"That's right. Come to think of it, Ludmilla-san lost in her war with Miranda-san and has been quiet for a while, has she?"

Seeing his mother so distant from the events of the inner palace, the young boy held his head. But some part of him seemed to have given up and accepted that his mother was best like this.

"Well, Miranda-san really turned the tables there. No one could have thought she would do something so underhanded..."

Clara remembered the feud in the inner palace back then, folding her arms, and giving a few firm nods.

"As expected of the Circry sisters. That was some splendid coordination. I went and evacuated to the library, though. Lyle-s... his majesty seemed quite worn out after that one. But in order to save face for his majesty, didn't both side call it a draw?"

The boy confirmed that the Valkyrie had finished cleaning up the room before speaking to Clara.

"You should think of how worried dad is. Rather, at the point Novem-sama jumped in along the way, and brought the matter to a forced termination, it was Miranda-sama's victory. Mom... even if you're waiting and watching, just go to the inner palace."

The boy wanted her to remain neutral like Aria and Vera.

Clara thought a bit, and looked to her desk.

"It will be impossible for a while. I still have work I have to do. I have to leave enough data for the world to come."

The boy wearily looked over Clara's documents.

"Well, it's a good thing to have a hobby, and dad said so too, so I won't say anything against it. But spend at least the minimum amount of time in the palace!"

The Valkyrie picked Clara up under her arm, and everyone together, the boy left the library.

Night.

In the inner palace, Lyle had dropped by the mansion of Clara, who had returned for the first in quite some time.

"Eh? What's this? You came because your son scolded you? You and Shannon never change, do you. Her son over there's a reliable one too."

Lyle laughed to himself.

As he didn't have to spend the night in the carnivores' nests today, he welcomed the night with quite a refreshing feeling.

Clara felt somewhat offended.

"Comparing me to Shannon-san is a bit..."

The most hopeless mistress of the inner palace... Shannon.

Her kids were all reliable, to such an extent that Miranda took pity on them, and often looked after them.

For some reason, Shannon's children were exceedingly proficient.

And that only made Shannon's hopelessness stand out more.

The boy eating alongside them spoke to Lyle.

"Dad, about my engagement..."

Lyle spoke to his son with a serious look on his face.

"Do you think you've played around enough? Once you marry, you won't be able to have much fun anymore. Why not stay here a little longer and have your share of fun? See, if you marry into another house, your shoulders will feel cramped. Even when I'm an emperor, my shoulders feel cramped."

Lyle's children didn't generally leave the inner palace in their younger years. Being taken out to play, and being scolded alone were done on a consistent basis.

But the boy spoke.

"No, I think I'll obey Ludmilla-sama. Rather, not doing anything for her at all makes me feel bad for her."

On her son's reaction, Clara lamented when she chose to join the faction all those years ago. But back then, it was something she did to keep the balance.

She didn't think that decision was mistaken, and in truth, there was a time when Ludmilla sought after Novem's position, and caused quite a stir in the inner palace.

Clara pretended to wait and watch as she purposefully leaked information, and like that she had maintained the peace of the palace. Meaning she had singlehandedly maintained Lyle's peace.

Lyle was surprised.

"... Wow, when you're my son, you're way too reliable. I should've taken you out more often. The more hopeless a child is, the more you can dote on them, see."

As he declared he'd take him out and render him hopeless with fun, Monica appeared from under the floorboards and raised her hand.

"Please leave that role to me..."

Hit on the head with a giant hammer from a Valkyrie, Monica was repelled. Lyle restarted his meal.

"... Well, it's that. I'll tell Ludmilla to have some consideration in your treatment."

The boy offered Lyle his thanks.

"I'll be fine. We get along quite well, and Ludmilla-sama said she wouldn't let anything bad happen to me."

Seeing her son even had connections with Ludmilla, Clara mused over how big the boy had grown.

(I'm definitely a failure as a mother.)

And she looked at Lyle.

"R-really? Well, if I don't have to go over there, then that's all the easier for me..."

If he went to Ludmilla, Miranda would be angry. If he went to Miranda, Ludmilla would be angry. Lyle didn't get involved with the feuds of the inner palace.

On the surface and underneath, the intense wars that waged on... any poor involvement and they's all blow sky high.

Her son spoke to Clara.

"Mom, making documents is important, but you have to make sure you don't destroy your body."

Clara cleared her throat.

"I-I'll be fine!"

Clara was put on the side being worried for. And seeing that, Lyle gave a smile.