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intermission 3

 Intermission: A Day in the Life of Vera

"... Hah.

The one whose sigh intermingled with her stroll through the inner palace was a certain Vera Trēs.

A bright red dress, and her hair done up on both sides. In the town prepared within the castle... she walked through the inner palace, but it truly felt as if she walked through a small town.

There were small children walking along the paths before her eyes.

In their hands they held books and writing implements, and they were likely off to study in a different mansion. Rather, the only kids on the block who did that were Shannon's children.

Generally, there was a time period where everyone got together and studied. But if that was insufficient, they'd either call a tutor to the mansion, or go to the castle for some extra study time.

That being the case, at Shannon's place, since she never got a proper education herself, their learning was completely left up to Miranda.

Three young children.

As they walked on, a Valkyrie stood to block their way, a toy in her hands.

"Everyone, you could at least play with us today. We are eternally devoting ourselves to the development and recreation of toys, and we can say you shall enjoy them with certainty..."

The Valkyrie recommended toys to the children who were going off to study, but all three kids shook their heads.

The smallest one, a young girl with golden eyes, spoke to the Valkyrie.

"Unit Ninety Two, we're going off to study at auntie's mansion, so we can't play with you. We'll play once we get back, so until then, could you look after mom for us?"

With those words coming from such a young child, Unit Ninety Two collapsed at the knees. The toy fell to the ground, but she didn't even try to retrieve it.

Vera was impressed at how focused, those still-small children had grown to be.

(Are they really Shannon's kids?)

One of the kids retrieved the toy, and after handing it to Unit Ninety Two, the group took their leave.

Ninety Two burst into tears.

"This cannot beeeee! This has to be a liiiiieeeee! I mean, there is no way the hybrid chicks of our master and that hopeless Shannon could be so upstanding! They should have taken some of the more useless parts, and not want to study, and just want to spend their days in ease... then we come in and say, 'oh there's no helping you cute little things,' and play with them... what happened to my dreeeeaaaammmm!!?"

Before the breaking down Unit Ninety Two, Vera stood fed-up.

Valkyrie Unit Eleven- who stood to her side- scoffed. In her hands, she held the baby that was Vera's child.

"Hah, how unsightly. When you boasted of having the largest faction of them all, this is where you end up? I'll show you how useless I can raise the chick at our place."

When the Valkyrie said that to the child with a smile on her face, Vera felt true fear.

"You're saying that as a joke, aren't you?"

Eleven tilted her head.

"Eh? I'm quite serious. We plan to make out of them existences who would not be able to live on without us. Do not worry. With regular maintenance and overhauls, we brag that we can operate for several tens of thousands of years."

In a sense, the Valkyries were scary existences.

"Should I tell you you're wasting your abilities? Or should I rejoice you're pouring your efforts towards us... rather, what were the ancients thinking when they made you, I have to wonder."

In front of Ninety Two's eyes, Eleven lulled the baby as if to show off.

Unit Ninety One looked on it with envy.

They were quite a handful when they were babies. And the Valkyries couldn't get enough of that, apparently.

"Ufufu, your big brother chick grew up to be a splendid human being, but as long as this Unit Eleven is here, I shall show you just how hopelessly we can raise you."

For any servant who said that, a normal master would drive them out at once. But this was the inner palace, and the Valkyries were overly proficient as maids.

Driving them out was impossible, and there was no intent to do so.

For these Valkyries... as long as they were Lyle's children, the automatons would protect them unconditionally. They treated them as targets to guard, so no assassinations ever took place within the factional wars.

More than that, if anyone tried, the information would leak, and the mother would be the one cornered.

That they put a fixed brake on the factional disputes was something everyone was well aware of.

They had no choice but to rely on them.

As Vera took her walk, she looked up at the sky.

Unit Eleven looked at her. Gently poking the baby's face, she seemed to be in bliss.

"Oh? What seems to be the matter?"

Vera spoke.

"Father, you see. He said he wanted my second child to take over the Trēs House. He's using this hand and that to get me to approve of it, and it's getting to be a right up nuisance."

As Fidel frequently commuted to the capital over the cuteness of his grandchildren, he was trying his best to get them out of the inner palace.

Unit Eleven laughed.

"That is not happening. The Trēs House's heir was already decided to be the child of your sister Gina-san. If you wish, you could leave this matter to us. We cannot bear to have a chick snatched away, so we could find a truth or two he would not want found out and threaten him to obedience..."

When Eleven started into something scary, Vera cried out.

"Of course that's no good! Ah, goddess! I'm going to bring this matter up with Lyle, so none of you lay a hand on it."

Unit Eleven seemed quite disappointed.

Night.

Having dropped by Vera's mansion, Lyle looked at the baby in Monica's embrace.

Monica's right hand was properly cradling the baby. Her left was grasping Unit Eleven's head and pushing it down.

"G-give her back! That child is my chick!"

Monica made a triumphant smile.

"How unfortunate. As the Chicken Dickwad's exclusive maid, I can brag that the care of all his chicks fall under my jurisdiction. You degraded defects and mass produced lot can just stand down."

Irk! Said Eleven as she played around with Monica. Lyle watched over it absentmindedly. A look at his figure, and it seemed that he was thinking over something.

Vera looked at Lyle.

"Hey, were you listening? My father is genuinely trying to gain custody of his grandchildren, you know?"

Lyle seemed taken aback.

"Eh? Oh, I see. That's right. Those grandchildren are quite cute, don't you think?"

Seeing Lyle hang his head, Vera shrugged her shoulders. There, Monica burst into joy.

"Oh my, it seems the chick is asleep. This Monica shall sing a lullaby. To sleep to my beautiful voice, you're quite the lucky one. The only one beside the Chicken Dickwad allowed to listen to it are his chicks."

As Monica headed to the depths of the room, Unit Eleven gave chase.

"You get out of here already!"

Once the two automatons were gone, Vera placed a hand on Lyle's shoulder. Lyle raised his face.

"Hey, this really isn't a good environment for them, is it?"

Vera laughed a bit.

"The Valkyries? But they're convenient. Since we have them, we never have to see blood in the faction wars. The children alone will always be safe."

But Lyle saw that as unnatural.

"You don't want them around?"

"That's not it. They seem to be having their fun, and personally, I think they're a big help. But you see, their time is quite different from ours."

Vera spoke.

"They said they could remain operational a thousand, even ten thousand years. Isn't that secure?"

Lyle's eyes were serious, and Vera could understand that wasn't what he wanted.

"If they got serious, I'm sure this empire could last thousands of years, maybe more. But you see, do you think that's the right thing? These days, it's been on my mind a lot."

Lyle's sense of values was something he formed on his travels with advice from his ancestors. To Lyle, an ever eternal empire felt unnatural and unneeded.

Vera agreed.

"You may have a point. But if you take the children from the Valkyries now, won't they get angry? And the faction wars will intensify."

They were only remaining peaceful because there was no worry of harm to their children, and if the possibility came out, there were many of the women there who would become demons.

In truth, if Vera saw her own child might be in harm, she'd do all in her power to protect them.

Lyle held his head.

"That's what I'm talking about. Why do they have to fight so much? I said it to Novem and Miranda as well. When I did, they laugh and say, 'the other one started it'. Now that's strange, isn't it? Ludmilla looks like the sort who'd really do it. Why do they have to be so bloodthirsty? I'd really like some slack here. I want to at least take it easy as I sleep. Learn a bit from Shannon. That one actually worries me because she never comes out of her mansion. Those two should learn to enjoy the great indoors."

As Lyle spilled his complaints, Vera embraced him and consoled him.

Fourth Generation Head ( @д@): "Even when Vera-chan's so kind, her nickname in the comment section was, 'Wallet-san', popular as she was."

Monica ( ゜∀゜)o°: "And I was popular too! ... And! Sevens Volume 2 is coming out on April 30th! Though I'm not appearing yet!"

Miranda ( ゜д゜): "..."

Miranda (゜д゜): "Who the hell is Sophia?"

(TL: The Fourth is referring to the author's comment section on Syosetsu. Sophia is a LN only character.)