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intermission 4

 Intermission: The Illustrated Diary

"Professor, we've found it!"

"Good work!"

An ancient ruin.

Finding records of a fallen large nation once called the empire, the two men jumped for joy as they rolled the paper out.

"Amazing. Even when thousands of years have gone by, it's still legible."

"Yeah, despite this and that, the advancement of technology in the imperial era was plain abnormal. The other documents make it clear as well. Just look at this, a simple age analysis shows this is from the early imperial era."

As the professor judged its age with a smartphone-like device, his expression turned to joy.

His assistant also seemed emotionally moved.

"They all said everything had been carried off, but there was still some left after all."

In that dusty space, they had been searching wildly for records, and now a heavy coat of dust lingered in the air.

From where the light could flow in, they could see it come in fine threads.

"To think it would be under the collapsed bookshelf... now then, first we have to record it."

Photographing it with his smartphone, they let the device carry out a simple analysis while the two men prepared a light nearby.

Treating it with the utmost care, the two men tried to confirm just what sort of thing they had found.

The assistant's hands shook.

"A-an illustrated diary? Professor, this is an illustrated diary entry! Meaning this must be..."

"D-do-doooon't panic!"

Even if that white-haired professor sporting a splendid beard broke into a panic, it wasn't cute in the slightest.

That on his mind, the assistant verified the documents in his hands.

An ancient diary.

It would definitely hold high historical value, but when it came to illustrated diaries from the imperial area... the author would be the main point of focus. If this really was an item painted by that famous woman, then alongside immense historic value, it would gain an additional artistic value.

"F-first the analysis. It's in quite terrible condition, after all."

Once they took it someplace with better facilities, they would be able to uncover its contents at once.

The two of them carefully preserved that entry of the diary, and with much weighing down on their minds, they left the ancient ruins behind them.

... Ancient times.

Shannon had climbed up to the roof of her mansion in the inner palace.

In that inner palace which had become something of a small city, each and every mistress had been afforded a mansion.

Hers wasn't anything massive, but she wasn't troubled with her living space.

It had been constructed extravagantly, to an extent, but with financial concerns in mind, it wasn't packed with any notable valuables.

Having climbed to the roof with a canvas in front of her, Shannon had an automaton Valkyrie stand to her side.

From the Valkyrie's eyes, she could read in information, and put it to brush.

And what lay at the end of the Valkyrie's eyes were the forms of women.

The Valkyrie provided an enthusiastic commentary.

"On, and here spider woman Miranda uses her Skill to produce strings! Our brave competitor has been all wound up and is treated as a chair!"

Shannon sounded proud.

"Nice work, sis."

Lyle had twenty five mistresses.

As their numbers hadn't grown from the early days, the faces hadn't changed.

But be that as it may, that didn't mean there weren't any fights in the inner palace.

"Oh, they are voicing their surrender. She gets out the documents without a moment's delay. It does seem she intends to bind her tightly by contract as well!"

One of the mistresses had gotten in over her head... only to be restrained by force.

Starting with the legal wife Novem, the women who had accompanied Lyle across the battlefield included many seasoned in real battle. For that sake, brute strength was highly emphasized in the inner palace.

"Hmm, it's because she made light of me that it came to this."

The Valkyrie's body twisted in delight at Shannon's blatant trash-worthy attitude.

"What wonderful pettiness. I wonder why none of the chicks ever inherited that hopelessness of yours..."

Shannon stroked up her violet hair. But at that time, she stuck some paint onto it.

The Valkyrie gleefully wiped that paint away.

She had tattled to her sister to attain victory over another mistress.

Whether they liked it or not, the relations between mistresses tied in directly to political matters. Within all that, Shannon was able to do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted.

Because all those dubious power balances and faction troubles were all just shoved straight onto Miranda.

There, the Valkyrie continued her commentary.

"What is this!? A chick jumps into the fray! He has burst into tears seeing a woman made a chair of and forced to sign a form! This is terrible! We must go to the chick's aid at once."

The Valkyrie requested reinforcements from her other sisters.

When she looked over at Miranda, she found her giving a gentle smile as she smoothed over the situation with the child who had just happened to run into them.

The two women who had been fighting said, 'we were just playing around~' and laughed so as not to give the young child any anxieties.

Whether it be Miranda or anyone else, they wouldn't lay a hand on the children.

That was an unspoken rule in the inner palace.

If you tried to eliminate any of them as a political hindrance, you'd turn every Valkyrie working in the inner palace against you.

The doctrine of those girls were overly simple.

They held no loyalty towards any of the women.

Their only loyalty lay to Lyle... and to his children.

As an exception, Shannon who they hoped would have a hopeless child was treated somewhat specially among them.

They usually looked as if they were just playing around, these automatons with Monica as their leader. But if you made enemies of them, they were truly troublesome existences.

If any mistress was going to harm a child, that mistress really would be gotten rid of. What's more, in a way that Lyle wouldn't notice.

The mistresses understood where their loyalty lay.

... Shannon was an exception.

"That kid... whose kid was he again?"

Twenty five brides pretty much meant there were twenty five families coexisting.

But there was only one head of the household- only one husband.

The Valkyrie replied at once.

"He is a chick from Eva-san's place. Those lovable ears are the giveaway. Like... if you nibble on them, he acts all shy, and a report has been raised that it is simply adorable."

"Seriously, what are you people doing with your time? Are you idiots?"

Called an idiot by an idiot, the Valkyrie did not seem angry.

More than that, she made a gesture as if putting an ear in-between her lips, and let out a sigh as she muttered, 'let me nibble on them too...'

Meanwhile, the picture diary depicted a scene of Miranda having wound up the other mistress, her pen approaching the document.

Shannon was all on board, and she depicted Miranda's troubled face before the child in the written portion of it.

The Valkyrie noticed.

"But if she sees this, would it not be troublesome for you?"

Shannon stopped her hand, and dropped her brush.

The brush fell onto the roof, and rolled all the way down its incline until it dropped and fell onto Lyle's head.

"Shannon! You again!? Get down here!"

Lyle- who'd come to retrieve a forgotten item- gripped the brush as he shouted complaints at Shannon on the roof.

"Shut it! Get back to work! Fool!"

As Shannon got into a verbal brawl with Lyle, she gave an order to the Valkyrie.

"A-anyways, let's store today's entry separately. Just hide it under the shelf or something. If my sister finds it, she'll get angry!"

Even though she'd already grown to a fine age, Miranda was still getting angry at Shannon.

And from time to time, her kids got angry at her as well.

Climbing down from the roof, Shannon went to restart her fight with Lyle, and the Valkyrie saw her off.

Looking at the completed diary entry in her hands, she thought over where to hide it.

"... I guess I shall stash it in the reference room."

"How could this be?"

The professor held his head.

Upon confirming the contents of the document, he could tell it had come from the famous [Genius Painter of Tragedy], Shannon.

His assistant was excited. But upon reading the contents, he was left dumbfounded.

"When you think of Miranda, she's supposed to be the number two among the wives, and a full-fledged VIP, right? Shannon's blood sister... including sisters in his harem, that emperor really did whatever he wanted."

The professor sighed.

"There were some rumors she wasn't the most savory character... but I never thought they would be true."

Miranda's evaluation in the world to come let out a shattering sound as it fell to pieces.

"Professor, the fact that she hid it must mean..."

The professor continued on from his assistant's words.

"I know. I'm sure she wanted to tell the world the truth. The truth of the inner palace just as it was... in place of that poor genius painter of tragedy, we must make this known."

The two of them burned with a sense of duty.

A single diary entry had dealt a large blow to Miranda's evaluation.

Miranda ( ゜゜): "... Shannon?"

Shannon 。・゜・(ノД`)・゜・。: "Sis, just listen to me! It's coming out. Sevens Volume 4 is finally coming out! We can finally make our reservations! It's our turn to come out!"

Miranda (#・∀・): "This month... looks like it'll be released February 27th. Well now, that is some wonderful news."

Shannon (´∀`*): "We're even appearing on the cover. We did it, sis!"

Miranda ( 'д'⊂☆))Д´) FWAP: "But that is that, and this is this."