On a wagon that was loaded with little amount of luggage, I took a leaning posture on the barrel beside me.
The comfort of the wagon that had cloth put up as roof was bad, it was shaking really badly so I felt a bid sick. If it was like this walking might be better. Just, my attention was directed at Novem who was sitting snugly in front of me. She placed the square leather bag for travelling beside her and placed her staff on her lap. With her sitting posture and her position, it felt like the inside of her skirt would become visible.
While I thought she was too defenseless, when I turned my gaze to her face, Novem also looked at my face. Our eyes met, and then I who saw her beautiful violet eyes averted my gaze, because I was caught by a pathetic feeling.
The travelling merchant who saw that from the driver stand smiled. He might be misunderstanding.
「Hahaha, how innocent.」
I didn't even have the motivation to correct his misunderstanding. I simply didn't want to be in front of Novem. Usually Novem was gentle and calm, but she had broad-mindedness and firm foundation somewhere inside her. Recently I didn't really have chance to meet her, but she was one of the few existences who would make me smile when we met.
Why was Novem doing something like this……was she coming to chase after me? I glanced at the merchant and confirmed that he wasn't paying attention over here, then I talked to Novem.
「Why are you coming along? If there is a place you want to go to, isn't it better to ride your own coach? Are you intentionally coming to look at me who was driven out?」
I myself understood that my statement was self-depreciating. I knew but, right now Novem's kindness was scary. Inside my heart I wanted her to stay at my side but…….
「Because it's my role to stay at Lyle-sama's side. Am I being a bother, Lyle-sama?」
Holy cow, apparently she was coming along with me. But, Novem was a daughter of a baron house. Although she was a second daughter, normally it wouldn't be allowed for her to come along with a man like me who was banished from his home.
「I was banished from my house. My engagement with you was also officially annulled. That's why, go back home……Novem.」
Even if she came along with me who lost everything, there wouldn't be any benefit for Novem or her Forxus House. Rather, it would only become disadvantage for them.
That's right. I couldn't be a bother for them even more than this.
Normally noble would put importance to their house. I didn't think that Novem would talk about romance or love and made a mistaken decision.
Certainly we were the same age, and we had met many times when we were children. I also had memory of both of us playing together.
However, after my parents started to shun me, I didn't remember of the two of us really talking. Because I who wanted to be praised by my parents desperately threw myself into study and training in sword and magic.
I only talked a bit with Novem when she came sometimes to check on me, Novem would be watching me working hard in training at the garden. Such interaction was continuing for these several years.
「I won't return. Besides, it's my own will that decide to stay at Lyle-sama's side.」
Rather than staying at my side, I believed that Novem would be able to find a partner worthy for her right away. After all she was a wife candidate that passed with flying color even when tested by Walt House's "family precept". Surely there would be no end to man who would receive her.
She might went home if I said something terrible to her. That was why, I tried speaking something that I didn't even believe.
「You are a bother. Even though I thought I'll finally be free after getting banished from home.」
「……Even so, I will come along with Lyle-sama.」
Novem said that and smiled. Seeing that, I thought. Since the past she had an obstinate side her. However, wasn't it fine even if she didn't show that side of her right now?
It felt painful when she treated me kindly. I thought to say even more terrible thing to Novem to make her went home. I persuaded myself that it would be for Novem's sake.
「My bad but, I don't have any interest on someone like you. I'll become adventurer and live as I pleased with women serving my whim. Even getting banished from home like this feels refreshing. That kind of house……even without this banishment I'm going to leave it one day anyway, that's why……」
It made me disgusted myself saying that. It was the worst remark. But, with this even Novem would surely get sick of me. I looked down while thinking that. I didn't want to look at Novem's face despising me, that was my true feeling. But, like this the talk wouldn't progress so I lifted my face. As expected she must hated me now.
What I saw when I lifted my face was Novem's smiling face. Her smile was gentle as though enveloping around me.
「This is something that I arbitrarily decided, myself. Even if not as a wife, please allow me to attend at your side.」
I felt terribly happy. But, at the same time it made me wanted to hold my head. After all, if a girl this good like Novem came along with me, there would be bigger chance of her meeting unhappiness.
「……What about your house? Even your parents must be sad.」
When I mentioned her house, Novem kept smiling and said.
「There is no problem. My elder brother will succeed the house. I am a second daughter, I also have elder sister and little sister. My parents said that if it's just me alone it's fine for me to be free and they sent me off. When I said that I will go together with Lyle-sama, they even handed me over this heirloom staff.」
Just what are you doing Forxus House!? What's more, isn't it no good if you hand over the heirloom staff to her!? I felt headache. Why did the head of Forxus House send Novem to my side? Even understating it Novem was a beautiful girl. In addition she was strictly disciplined and educated. Even without doing anything ton of marriage request would come flooding.
By some chance it might be possible for her to even marry into a house of viscount or count. Even though there would be happiness that was hard to come by for her, it was a waste for her to throw that away for me. Precisely because I knew Novem since childhood, I wanted her to become happy. But, the will of the person herself seemed to be unshakable. It felt like it would be pointless even if I told her. I who gave up in persuading Novem averted my gaze from her and whispered,
「Do as you please.」
Novem put her hand on her mouth and smiled.
「Then allow me to do as I please.」
It felt like I was being made to dance on her palm. Perhaps she also noticed my feeling, because she looked happy despite the terrible things I said to her.
It was at that time──.
『Oi oi, you are really loved there huh, this spoiled brat.』
I heard a voice that made fun of me. I looked around. There was only me and Novem on the wagon. The merchant was holding the rein at the front. Around the wagon there were peddlers and traveling merchants who were similarly heading to the inn town, but they weren't at distance where their voice would reach.
Besides, it felt like I had heard the voice from somewhere. It made felt excessively strange.
「Novem, did you hear a voice? Somehow, there was a teasing voice.」
Novem shook her head sideway at my question. She looked a bit puzzled at my question.
「No. My apologies. I didn't hear anything.」
Novem talked apologetically. I said 「You don't need to worry about it」 while looking around. The voice was male and firm in its own way. But, although there were male at the surrounding, they weren't at distance where their voice could be heard clearly. Was I mishearing? Was I still tired?
……Come to think of it, somehow I felt tired today. Was it because my injuries weren't fully healed yet? I who felt tired looked up to the ceiling. After looking at the cloth ceiling that was laid up on the wagon, I closed my eyes. Perhaps I was cornered mentally more than I thought.
「Are you alright Lyle-sama?」
Novem was worried of me. When I opened my mouth to say 「I'm fine」, another voice came from nearby. I could hear it clearly, but Novem showed no sign of noticing the voice.
『Even though it's already envious to just have a fiancée at this age, in addition to that the girl is also totally in love and devoted, just what is the meaning of this?』
『Tou-san had it hard huh.』
I who was sitting down opened my eyes and stood up, then looked around. Novem was surprised.
「What's wrong Lyle-sama!?」
But, there wasn't any change at the surrounding. The voices consisted of three kind at least──there should be three people. And yet, there wasn't anyone in the range where voice could be heard. The voices were also different from the merchant's voice. I also thought about the possibility of the merchant changing his voice to make fun of me but, if that was the case there was no reason for Novem to stay quiet.
I said that while thinking.
Am I tired as I thought? Let's rest for a bit. Besides, I felt tired for some reason.
We arrived at the inn town within the same day. After discussing with the travelling merchant, tomorrow we would also hitch the ride with him again.
Perhaps because of the time period, the inn town was bustling. After confirming the time of departure with the merchant, I and Novem searched for an inn. As expected from an inn town, the number of inn was a lot. We walked around the town searching for inn that still had empty room, but as expected everywhere was fully occupied. Even when we finally found empty room──.
「There is only one room? Is it impossible to have two rooms?」
When I asked the inn owner, he immediately answered that it was impossible.
「There are a lot of people at this time. There is no way we can rent one room for one person. I'm sorry but, if you two are acquaintances please endure staying in one room. Besides, in this time, even this room might get filled if you don't decide right away.」
I turned toward Novem who was together with me. Novem came along with me but, for me staying in the same room with a girl was something that should be avoided for me. However, Novem faced the owner and said 「We will take the room」 and paid the price. She paid with a large copper coin and received the room's key.
But before I could ask if that was really okay, the inn owner said.
「The room is at the second floor. The room number is written on the tag attached to the key. Oops, breakfast and hot water will be service, but we won't give dinner, so it will be better to take dinner somewhere else before putting your luggage. There is lock just in case, but we won't be responsible even if your luggage get stolen.」
I couldn't understand what did he meant about 'before putting your luggage'. If there was a key, wouldn't it be better to leave behind the luggage? Putting me aside, Novem's luggage was a traveling bag. Novem looked like she was carrying a heavy luggage, but she said thanks to the inn owner.
「Thank you very much. We will do so. What should we do about the key?」
「I won't feign ignorance later on after receiving your money. If you want to entrust it here, take this note. If you show it here, I'll hand the key. By the way, next door is a bar but it also sells food. I'll guarantee the taste, the price is also reasonable.」
After being taught that Novel smiled and,
「Then, we will make use of it.」
「Yeah, it helps if you do so.」
Helps? Eh, what does that mean?
I felt puzzled why they were making this kind of exchange, but Novem said that we would go outside and took me along. I who was taken along while still not understanding anything followed what I was told and took meal at the shop next door that was unclear whether it was a restaurant or a bar. The pedestrian traffic was heavy in this boisterous inn town. I looked around restlessly and could only be flustered at the atmosphere that was different from the mansion.
At that time, I could hear the voices again.
『……Wait a second. Isn't this guy amazingly pampered? He is just too ignorant of the world. He is just too unreliable since some time ago!』
After the wild voice, next I could hear grandfather's voice. It was as though the voice was trying to cover for me.
『That's because he is a count! Lyle will be the next count! Even if he don't know the little things……the, there won't be any problem!』
But, a different voice immediately criticized me.
『No, as expected this is terrible right? Even from my point of view he is too ignorant and unreliable.』
The voices could be heard again easily through the noisiness of the inn city. I was sure that the voices came from nearby, and I also heard my name got mentioned. All of the voices were male. However, even when I looked around, there weren't any males talking to me.
Novem was walking forward while paying attention to me. She turned around and looked worriedly at me.
「Lyle-sama, are you alright? You are looking unwell.」
「I, I'm fine!」
I was flustered and talked loudly. Apparently Novem couldn't hear the men's voice.
『Good grief, this guy is looking so unconcerned while making a girl carrying heavy luggage……even though his own luggage is not a lot, what an insensible guy. If it's me I'll carry her luggage and escort her.』
Along with the voice that was finding my fault, the casual voice also came. Just how many voices I could hear?
『I wonder how many years has passed since my era……a count you said? Well, in a position that high, the surrounding will do everything for you. If we are speaking whether he is like a future count, then he might be like one.』
『It's really unthinkable in my time. Even so, he is really unreliable.』
「……It feels like, the voice is increasing.」
Another different voice came. Furthermore, they came from nearby. Each voice was different. There were multiple. They were conversing. I turned my gaze at the surrounding again. When I also looked behind me, Novem called out to me.
In order to not be a bother to Novem who looked worried, I ignored the voices. But, certainly it was no good that a girl was carrying a heavy luggage while I wasn't carrying anything. Noticing that after the voice pointed it out, I offered my hand timidly.
「A, aa……Novem, that's heavy right? I'll carry it.」
Saying that I carried Novem's luggage. Novem said that she would carry it herself, so I took it from her half forcefully and entered the restaurant. But, the voices were still finding fault on me.
『Hold her hand and escort her. After that, don't make a woman take care of you!』
That voice could be heard when I entered the restaurant. For a moment I thought if I should reach out and held Novem's hand. Or rather, we were inside restaurant already. ……Wasn't it pointless lending her a hand after this late? Perhaps because I was falling into thought whether to hold Novem's hand or not, I was in a state of getting all shaken up in front of Novem.
A voice came looking at my appearance.
『……Pathetic. My great grandson is like this.』
I could hear the words great grandson again. Was it talking about me? The gazes of the surrounding were gathered on me who was panicked and troubled at the entrance. While my mind was needlessly scatterbrained, Novem guessed it and gently grasped my hand.
「Lyle-sama, that seat is empty. Now, let's go together.」
Seeing Novem's kind smile, I calmed down and nodded a beat later.
「Ah, eh……ri, right.」
After getting escorted through a short distance, Novem pulled the chair for me. After I sat down, the voice came again. It was the wild voice.
『……Oi, what the hell with this guy? There is a limit even in being pathetic!』
When I'm getting confused again, Novem also sat down on a chair and called out to the waiter.
「Excuse me, can I place our order?」
The waiter who was still a child came running and took the order.
「Welcome! And your order is?」
Novem who opened the menu on the table said to the waiter,
「Can we still ask for the recommendation today?」
「Yes! Is there anything else? For drinks, other than alcohol we also recommend cold juice made from squeezed fruit.」
Novem turned her gaze to me, so I looked at the menu. But, I didn't know what to order. Novem who made a slightly troubled face turned a smile to the waiter and,
「Two of the recommended dish today. Also, please give us warm tea after the meal.」
After Novem told the waiter our order, I looked down. I talked big to Zel-jiisan, but I couldn't even place an order by myself. That kind of myself made felt dejected.
Novem talked to me.
「Apparently the recommendation is chicken meat. It's something to look forward to isn't it, Lyle-sama?」
「I, I guess. I'm unfamiliar with all the dish names though……」
I averted my gaze and could only agree. Perhaps after looking at me like that, the voices were starting to talk all at once.
『No way. This guy is just too pathetic.』
『Even being ignorant of the world is problematic if it goes this far.』
『This, it's fine because the girl is kind and attentive but, normal girl would already abandon him right about now.』
『The rude attitude toward girl, then the ignorance of the world……this is a heir of a house of count?』
『As expected I cannot cover up for him if it's this bad.』
『Wro, wrong! I'm telling you all Lyle too is a good kid! Or rather, it feels like I've seen this girl from somewhere.』
I got the feeling that my evaluation had fallen rock bottom. The foods were brought to the table, but the voices kept talking even during the meal. Even when I ignored them, and even when I tried blocking my ears the voices were still audible. Novem who was worried even brought the luggage including mine when returning to the inn.
Or rather, just what is it with this situation! While still not understanding anything, I returned to the unfamiliar inn and rested.
I was waiting for Novem who went to ask for hot water from the inn owner.
After a while Novem returned to the room with both her hands carrying a bucket. She said to use this hot water to wipe the body and cleaned off the filth.
「There is no bathroom?」
Novem answered that question of mine.
「Depending on the price there will be inn that have it, but as expected fundamentally using hot water to wipe the body is the typical. Even in the inn that have bathroom, most of them will be a public bath.」
「Is that so? I thought there will be bathroom in each room though……」
I thought that there would be bathroom in inn like it was only normal, but apparently it wasn't the case. Looking carefully, the interior of the room was also terrible. The wall was thin, and things like the wall were only covered with wooden plank. The sound of wind draft was also audible.
Novem made a troubled face and put a towel into the bucket and wrung it. And then, she told me to take off my clothes. She wiped my body for me. She explained to me while wiping my body.
「There is inn with bathroom in each room, but such inn is expensive. There is even place that charge silver coin for a night.」
I recalled the leather bag that I received from Zel-jiisan. There was silver coin inside it.
「If it's silver coin then I have it. It's also hard for Novem too without bathroom right?」
When I said that, Novem warned me. Her voice was serious.
「Lyle-sama, that's no good! Money will be important from now on. If we don't save money when we can, it will be gone in a flash.」
「Is, is that so?」
After wiping places like my back, Novem washed my hair next. After moving my head right above the bucket, Novem carefully washed it with hot water. Novem gently washed my hair. An exasperated voice could be heard again.
『Oi, spoiled brat. Get out of the room after your head finished getting washed.』
I unconsciously almost lifted my head, but I was in the middle of getting washed so I somehow stopped myself.
「What's the matter Lyle-sama?」
He let out a voice, so Novem called to him. As expected it seemed Novem couldn't hear the voice that I was hearing clearly. I said to the worried Novem that it was nothing while wearing my sleepwear after she finished washing my head. When I was going to put the clothes I had worn until now into my bag, Novem stopped me.
「Lyle-sama, I will wash and dry the underwear. And then, let's hang the clothes that we wear outside. Err, and then……」
I tilted my head at Novem who looked like she wanted to say something. Then, I heard the voice.
『……Are you dull? Or perhaps you are calculating? If you are here there is no way this girl can take off her clothes! How long you're going to stay here? Get out quickly! It's still ten years too early for you to know woman!』
I noticed after getting told and got out of the room.
「Ri, right. I'll go outside. I'll be outside the door.」
「My apologies to make Lyle-sama do so while you are tired. I will finish it right away.」
After looking at Novem's apologetic face, I got out to the corridor and found a chair. When I sat on the wobbling chair, I couldn't hear the voice anymore.
「Was I hallucinating? It felt like the voices were giving me advice……no, even so where did the voices come from? Even though just now there was no one else in the room other than me and Novem.」
When I sat down, my eyelids were gradually getting heavy. Even though I didn't even use magic, I was attacked by a feeling as though my stamina and mental strength were sapped. Normally I would recover after a night sleep, but my stamina and magic power still hadn't recovered, was I not in my normal condition? It was also likely that the exhaustion from fighting Celes surpassed my imagination.
「My body is heavy.」
Or perhaps, I was tired from going in a journey that I wasn't used to? With my tired body wiped clean and my head washed I felt refreshed. My feeling also turned good and that might made me wanted to sleep. Let's sleep just for a bit……it was the most effective way to recover magic power. After that, there were various things that I had to think again……well, fine…….
『Get up you bastard!』
I heard an angry voice. I who opened my eyes was in a different place from before. I was sitting on a different chair than before. I looked around thinking that I might be dreaming.
It wasn't the inn's corridor. Thinking that I might be taken here without me noticing, I looked at my own body. I wasn't tied up. It didn't look like a kidnapping.
When I looked around, it was a round room──a room with a round shape. A round table was placed in the center of the room, and a really large blue round stone was embedded at the center. A part of the table looked bulging up, and chairs were placed in proper interval surrounding the table. People, including me were sitting on each chair. Doors could be seen behind the chairs. They were large doors, and each had different shape.
When I looked up, the same like the round table, the ceiling also had a blue round gem embedded at the center. Around it were small round stones were prettily lined up in radiating shape around the center stone. I could see a total of 22 small stones. When I returned my gaze below, there were the people sitting on the chairs. Everyone's outfit was different, I didn't understand what kind of gathering this was.
Right in front of me was a man wearing beast fur on his shoulders. His arms were big like log, his hair was brown and unkempt as though it had never been trimmed. He had healthy looking sun burnt skin, and his muscles were like steel. What came to mind from a glance toward the man was the word 『barbarian』. He had beard grown and glared my way with his violet eyes and spoke.
『Your damn eyes look like dead fish. You've got no spirit there, spirit!』
Dead fish eyes? Was it that terrible? When I looked around feeling troubled, everyone looked like they were aged around their late twenty until early thirty. Everyone was male and then they gave off presence from themselves.
I turned my gaze toward the barbarian in front of me. And then, I recalled his voice.
「Eh? Could it be that voice was──」
『That's right. That was me. Us! It was also us who talked to you until now!』
The owner of the voices came to light, but I couldn't understand the situation. I should be dozing in the inn's corridor. And yet, right now I was in this kind of place. A nostalgic voice called to the bewildered me.
I was surprised when I turned there.
「Eh? Gra, grandfather!」
Over there was the figure of my grandfather in his youth. His back was straight and his build was also firmer than in my memory. His gray hair was styled swept back. And then his sharp gaze and blue eyes. Among these people he was wearing the most expensive looking outfit.
『You have become this big……I'm really happy, Lyle.』
But, it was only grandfather who was in welcoming mood. The people present other than him were either in indignation, disinterested, or exasperated.
Feeling the gazes directed toward me, grandfather yelled angrily at the surrounding.
『Do you guys have any complain for my grandson huh!?』
The one who replied to that was the barbarian styled man. He put his feet on the round table in dissatisfaction and put his hands behind his head while looking my way.
『We called him here because we have complaints! What is this delicate looking bastard! It's just impossible that my descendant is this kind of pathetic guy!』
I was surprised hearing the words of the barbarian styled man.
I couldn't grasp the situation. And then, there was my grandfather here so was this a dream? When I was thinking that another person spoke.
『Haa, there are various things I want to say but, looks like we have to start from self-introduction first. Lyle, I am your great grandfather. We have never met directly but, best regards.』
The large man with light brown skin sweeping back his red hair with his hand introduced himself as my great grandfather. He was muscular, wearing his clothes untidily, and he looked like a middle-aged delinquent no matter how you looked at him. The barbarian man yelled angrily at the bewildered me.
『Really a stupid one aren't you! I'm, tell, ing, you, we are your honorable ancestor!』
The man sitting beside him in an outfit like a hunter looked exasperated not at me, but at the barbarian man. And then, he looked my way with a sharp gaze,
『I don't want to recognize it, but this guy is a provincial noble and the founder of Walt House. You don't need to respect him or anything. He is a barbarian just like how he looked.』
Surely right now I was making a really stupid look. A man wearing glasses shrugged while,
『Self introduction is necessary here. Let's go by turn.』
After saying that, everyone's gaze converged toward the barbarian looking man.
『I am Basil Walt……the first generation head of the provincial noble Walt House! Now you get it!』
The man that looked like hunter looked at such Basil and clicked his tongue.
『What first generation. It's really irritating. Oops, it's my turn. I am Clasel Walt. The second generation head.』
The next man laughed a little and introduced himself with a casual tone.
『This is really an unnatural sight but, it's interesting isn't it. After all the head of the successive generations are lined up like this. My name is Sorey Walt. If we are going by this flow then I'm the third generation, is it okay to say that I wonder?』
The man wearing glasses looked at the laughing man and shook his head.
『Tou-an, are you having fun? Then, it's my turn. I'm the fourth generation Max Walt, Lyle-kun.』
The one who was next in turn to introduce himself was a man who looked unmotivated.
『……Fredericks Walt. Fifth Generation.』
After saying only the gist shortly he passed the turn to the next. The huge man looked at Frederick and smiled awkwardly while,
『You are just like always Tou-san. Lyle, I am the sixth generation Fines Walt.』
The last──grandfather cleared his throat while,
『Fumu, I don't think it's necessary to introduce myself at this point but, let's make it clear. I am the seventh generation Brod Walt.』
Right now I was facing the past heads of Walt House. Even I myself didn't know what was going on.