Chapter 53 – Countermeasures against the twelve sages
“Well then, I figured you would want to talk to me alone.”
After the engagement trial, we had a welcome dinner, and I was called to Lord Scarlet’s office.
(…The general of this country’s army, Drago of Scarlet…)
I take a good look at the person sitting in front of me.
He’s not doing anything, but it still feels like there’s a lot of pressure emanating from him.
This is Labrys’ father, Lord Scarlet.
It’s my first time meeting him, because in my previous life, he lost his life ten days ago, as the kingdom was destroyed.
He was said to be a very powerful person, who controlled the army like they were his limbs.
I can’t help but straighten my back when I’m facing him.
“Don’t worry about etiquette here.”
He tells me, probably because he can tell how I’m feeling.
“Etiquette is basically… Weapons nobles use to defend themselves and attack others.
Is there any need for such a boorish thing here”
He thinks less like a noble and more like a soldier.
His influence is probably what makes Labrys not like her status as a noble lady.
“…Firstly, allow me to thank you for saving my daughter, Mister Chrom.”
He says while bowing deeply.
“N-no, please raise your head.”
Naturally, this makes me flustered.
Even if there’s no one else here, a noble doesn’t bow for no reason, especially the head of one of the four major houses.
“I just did what I needed to do.”
“Don’t be modest.
You destroyed a secret base of the Sorcerer Association by yourself, defeated several first-class mages, and put a stop to the twelve sages’ scheme to transform people into demon kings before it could come to fruition.
My daughter also told me you took on a monster that was like a demon king by yourself… Well, I can’t say I fully understand what you did, but if you are modest about this, where does that leave me”
“I would like to scout you as a knight right away, but…”
“No, I understand.
You still have a job to do, correct As someone whose position puts me above others, I have seen many people… And I can see it in your face.”
Lord Scarlet stands down with no issue, and sips his red wine.
This really is someone who stands above nobles and soldiers.
It’s like he can see through me as we talk.
“However, I am not sure what to give you as a reward for this achievement.
If you wish for anything, tell me.
A title, renown, wealth, anything.
I will listen to one request.”
“No, all I want is peace.”
“Kuku, you are quite greedy for your age.
That wish is far beyond the scope of my power.”
“Having that said, I can promise you that we, the Scarlet family, will do everything we can to protect your peace.”
“…! Thank you.”
Having the Scarlet family on my side is very reassuring.
There’s only so much I can protect on my own.
“But I still have to give you some kind of reward.
You cleared the engagement trial, so in chivalric romances, this is where one would say ‘let me marry your daughter’…”
“No, both parties’ feelings are important in those situations.”
It won’t be easy for them.”
Lord Scarlet presses his head with the palm of his hand for some reason.
“Anyway, let’s put your reward on hold for now.
If you think of anything, say it any time.”
“Also, one more thing… This might be bad news, but I believe it is related to you.”
The expression on his face turns serious.
“The mages we captured in Almana’s dungeon last week… All lost their memory.”
That means the mages involved with kidnapping Labrys and the project to create a demon king.
I did hear that they were handed over to the Scarlet family for interrogation.
“Yes, but to be more precise, they only forgot about things related to the incident in Almana.
And people who know about this incident have also been losing their memories one after the other.”
That’s clearly a very unnatural case of collective amnesia.
Something like this wouldn’t happen normally, meaning…
(…It really is…)
I think I know what it is.
In fact, I sowed these seeds.
“Hm Do you know anything about this”
This is an attack by the twelve sages.”
I answer bluntly, and Lord Scarlet drops his wine glass.
Well, I was a part of the Sorcerer Association in my previous life, so I know how they operate.
“The Sorcerer Association has memory mages whose job is to dispose of memories that are inconvenient to the association, but… There is one that stands out among the rest.
It has to be her.”
“…And what is this person’s name”
“The tenth seat of the twelve sages, memory sage Memoria Lostmemory.”
A phantom-like sage, who is shrouded in mystery.
Only a few records of her remain, because she leaves no memories of herself in people’s minds.
But there were some records in the future, that said she was one of the key people in the project to create demon kings, and was active in this country in this era.
I purposefully worked in a way that would force her to dispose of memories.
That was one of the reasons why I wanted to leave as many survivors as possible among the mages in the Almana dungeon.
“…Twelve sages… If that is true, it is very rough.”
“How many people still have their memories”
Deep wrinkles appear in Lord Scarlet’s face.
“If we revealed this to the public, it could cause panic, so few people knew about it… But that is now a problem.
Only the people in this house know about that incident.”
“That means this mansion will be targeted next.”
It’s good that we know what they will target next.
It means we know what to defend.
“But this mansion’s barrier is very strong.
I can’t imagine this memory sage will break through, even if she is one of the twelve sages.”
“Yes, I assume the barrier is the reason why this mansion hasn’t been attacked yet.
But that is no reason to rest easy.”
“Memory manipulation is like a pseudo-spirit manipulation.
Lizbell is already showing signs of memory manipulation.”
“Most likely, a spell was cast on her when she went outside.
I assume the plan was to deplete my magic energy via the trial, and lift the barrier from the inside when the attack came.”
“I-it can’t… That is exactly why I told her to stay here.”
Lord Scarlet is visibly flustered.
His scary appearance might lead people to think otherwise, but he cares a lot about his daughters.
This clumsy but kind attitude reminds me a lot of Labrys.
“A-anyway, first we need to make sure Lizbell is safe…! And then check the barrier…”
“No, please hold on.
We should actually lift the barrier.”
“W-what That will accomplish nothing but invite the enemy in.”
“Yes, we should invite them in.”
This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for the last week.
The memory sage Memoria leaves no memories of herself, so it would be impossible for me to go out and find her, even with my time magic and knowledge of the future.
So I lured her.
I created a situation where I would know exactly where she would go.
“Don’t worry, I have an idea.”
“…Do you intend to fight the twelve sages”
I say while putting the pieces for the upcoming battle in place in my mind.
“I will intercept Memoria Lostmemory.”
It’s after my conversation with Lord Scarlet, and late at night.
El was excited about a ‘sleepover party’ here in Labrys’ room, but she’s sleeping peacefully.
“… Bunny… Where…”
Labrys is also drowsy, but when I hand her a rabbit stuffed animal, she hugs it tightly and falls asleep like it calmed her.
I cover them with a blanket, pat their heads gently, and leave the room.
I check the bell in my pocket as I walk around the mansion at night.
I’ve been told this bell rings when the gate to the mansion is opened.
It hasn’t rung yet, but…
(…It should be coming soon.)
I spoke to Lizbell after I spoke with Lord Scarlet, and confirmed that she really was going to lift the barrier.
It seems she was convinced that lifting the barrier was something she did every night.
(But thanks to that… I learned when Memoria will be attacking.)
The barrier would be restored, so Memoria would need to attack when Lizbell lifted it.
If this is correct, she should be coming any minute now.
And so, I’m heading to the entrance hall of the mansion to meet her.
I see someone down the hallway.
“Ah… Big brother.”
Was she waiting for me
She’s standing, leaning against the wall.
But she doesn’t have the energy she had when we spoke during the day.
Even her side ponytail is drooping.
I guess these sisters show emotion through their hair.
“What’s wrong Do you need anything with me”
“No, hum… Liz is here to warn you that Liz will be lifting the barrier.”
“Ah, I see.
Thanks for coming all the way here.”
Lizbell looks down, and fidgets with her fingers like she still has something to say.
I silently wait for her to continue, and she eventually makes up her mind and speaks.
“Hum, Sorry about earlier.”
She says with an awkward expression while shrugging.
“Liz didn’t get to apologize properly.
Liz really thought it was just a little prank to show big sister how pathetic you are…”
“Your memory was manipulated, so it wasn’t your fault.
But do you still want to punish me”
You really are strong.
And if it wasn’t for you, Liz would be exposing this mansion to danger right now.
But Liz still can’t get these bad memories of you out of here… It’s scary.”
Lizbell’s hands are shaking a little.
She’s probably still being forced to remember her memories of hating me in the past.
Flashing back to that trauma again and again…
I think I kind of get how painful that is.
“You don’t have to worry.”
I try to reassure her as much as I can by smiling and placing my hand on her head.
I’ll bring you back to normal.
So don’t make that face.
For some reason she stays quiet and stares at me.
“…Are you like this with all girls”
“Eh Like what”
“Oh well… It can’t be helped since Liz is cute… But Liz isn’t as simple as Labrys, you know Someone plain like you isn’t Liz’s type at all… And how long are you going to keep patting Liz’s head!”
She starts flailing as her face turns red.
“Liz is going to report you for harassment.”
“Did you hate it that much…”
“Being treated like a kid is irritating.”
“Eh~ That didn’t feel sincere… You need to lower your head and say ‘I apologize’, right big brother”
“Hum… I apologize.”
You’re super sad♪.
Apologizing right away, how weak♪.
Do you want Liz to forgive you that badly~”
“You sure get animated when you’re picking on me…”
Lizbell giggles with her hand covering her mouth.
Even though she’s still a ‘good girl’ in front of the maids…
It’s like when she’s talking to me, she lets it all out in the open and acts the way she really is.
At least it’s good that she’s looking a little more cheerful.
“…Why are you grinning all of a sudden Creepy…”
“I think I really like you better this way than when you put on your ‘good girl’ act.”
For some reason, she’s staring at me again.
“Ahh… Liz is starting to understand you more and more.
You really are the worst.
“Geez, you’re so impertinent for such a small fry… It’s hard to root for big sister like this.”
Lizbell’s face turns a little red as she mumbles.
I can’t really understand what she’s saying, but as I’m about to respond…
The bell in my pocket rings.
The gate to the mansion has been opened.
This isn’t when the guards change shifts, so this can only mean one thing.
It means the target took the bait.
“…Are you going”
Lizbell noticed what’s going on by how I’m acting.
She looks up at me with some concern in her eyes.
“Liz doesn’t really get what’s going on, but… Hurry up and make it so this is something we can laugh about.
Liz hates gloom.”
“…Yes, leave it to me.”
“L-Liz told you not to pat her head like it’s nothing!”
After this back and forth, I leave Lizbell behind and exit the mansion.
The stage is set, so I guess the battle is about to begin.