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Chapter II: The Royal Wedding 

“I-I look a little awkward in this, don’t I?” 
“You are the picture of regality, my liege.” 
“Quite. You look rather attractive.” 
“You’re the very image of handsssomeness, sssweetie.” 
I was a little embarrassed by Kohaku, Sango, and Kokuyou’s complimentary words. At the moment, I was standing in front of a mirror, modeling my white tuxedo. 
It felt strange, in all honesty. There was a white rose boutonniere at the top of my jacket collar. I didn’t exactly think the ensemble looked great on me, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime event, so I opted to grin and bear it. 
“Man... I’m really tense about all this...” 
“Heh. So even you get anxious, huh?” 
“O-Of course I do! This is a major life event for me!” 
I pouted slightly at Luli’s casual commentary. 
Ugh... M-Maybe we can just call off the ceremony and send out a postcard that has “We got married! Don’t worry about it!” on it...? That’d solve all of this. 
...Nah, I can’t do that. I’m the monarch of an entire nation, so that’d cause a scandal. Plus, I need to let the girls have their big day, I know how much they’ve been looking forward to this. 
I couldn’t run away, nor could I ask anyone else to run away with me. 
Most weddings in this world were lavish parties involving the families of the wedding party, and they didn’t necessarily make vows in a religious sense or anything. I did hear that some weddings involved making vows before spirits, though. 
Personally, I didn’t mind making vows before a god, but the one I believed in was also the same one that the Ramissh Theocracy worshiped. I couldn’t publicly make any vows that were pointed in that direction, since that would raise political questions about Ramissh’s relationship with Brunhild. 
That was why I’d instead planned to summon the Pillar Spirits and vow before them as a witness instead. Though, considering the fact that I was the Celestial Spirit King, it felt a little weird, since they were my subordinates... 
Well, whatever. It’s probably best not to think about it too deeply. 
Someone knocked on my door, and the individual let themselves in. It was Laim, my butler. 
“Your Highness, Master Shinnosuke is here to see you.” 
“Oh, sure. Let him in.” 
Laim nodded, and God Almighty walked into my room. Behind him were a few other people. Presumably, they were the newer gods who had descended for my wedding. God Almighty was wearing a kimono with a hakama skirt. Given his usual attire, it suited him very well indeed. The Mochizuki family crest adorned his clothing, taking the form of a Navagraha symbol. Given that he was my grandfather in this world, it made sense he’d be wearing the family emblem. 
After Laim bowed and excused himself from the room, God Almighty shot a grin in my direction. 
“Ohoho. You look rather charming. I barely recognize you, my boy.” 
“I can’t say I feel fully comfortable in this...” 
Frankly, I wondered how he usually saw me, but it was nice to receive a little praise. 
“Now, let me introduce the newcomers to you... From right to left... This is the goddess of dance, the god of strength, the god of industry, the god of glasses, the god of theater, the god of puppetry, the god of wandering, the goddess of flowers, and the goddess of gemstones. They will be attending the wedding as family friends.” 
“Nice to meet you all. I’m Mochizuki Touya. I hope you enjoy your stay.” 
I’d received notice about the gods that were coming, but a lot of these guys seemed pretty weird in general. What the hell was the point of having a god of glasses? Sure, he wore eyeglasses, but like... what exactly were the scope of his powers? 
They were all dressed in formal attire, which was a relief. However, it looked like the god of strength’s bulging muscles were about to ripple and burst out of his suit. 
The goddess of dance, goddess of flowers, goddess of gemstones, and Grandma Tokie were all women, but the rest were male... Though, the god of theater seemed kind of androgynous. He almost reminded me of Kokuyou, in fact. 
He was handsome and seemed like the type who’d be popular with women, but he also had a kind of feminine twang to his voice. I decided not to be rude and ask him about that. It wasn’t any of my business, after all. 
“Once the wedding ends, they will tour the world at their own discretion. Fret not, though. I have told them to try not to engage in anything reckless.” 
Personally, I’d have preferred to forbid it instead of asking politely... However, I had heard that gods weren’t allowed to come down to the mortal realm unless they had a good deal of knowledge on how to conduct themselves, so ideally, everything would work out okay. 
“Now then, we do not wish to overstay our welcome. We will be on our way. Best of luck, my lad.” 
“Oh, yeah. Thank you.” 
The other gods bowed their heads and took their leave. None of them really stood out other than the strength god or the theater god, though. 
I was a little anxious about having close to twenty gods in my wedding party, but stranger things had happened. 
I sighed softly as Kougyoku came flying through the nearby window. 
“Welcome back. What’s the situation?” 
“From what I’ve seen, your guests are gathering with little in the way of incident.” 
I had Kougyoku scout out the ceremonial area. We’d chosen to have a garden wedding, and had partially renovated the courtyard to that end. The reason for that was simple enough, really. Our castle’s audience hall didn’t have the space to accommodate the sheer amount of guests. 
Cesca, the terminal gynoid in charge of Babylon’s garden, had been working tirelessly to turn our courtyard into the perfect wedding venue. Our gardener Julio had also been working hard to cultivate the right aesthetic. By the end of it all, our ordinary yard had transformed into a gorgeous paradise with plenty of flowers. 
I was honestly surprised that the perverted maid could do something so amazing. Even if it made sense due to her being in charge of Babylon’s garden, she hadn’t inspired much confidence in me through her conduct. Honestly, the smug grin on her face still pissed me off... but she’d definitely done enough to earn my praise. 
All the Babylon gynoids came down to attend the wedding as well. Naturally, Doctor Babylon, Elluka, and Fenrir were also in attendance. 
Shirogane and the three maid Gollems (Ruby, Saph, and Emerl) had come from Drakliff Island. They were all working under Laim’s instruction. 
We were a little short on general service staff, so we had members of our knight order work as butlers and maids. Naturally, they’d get bonuses for their hard work. The three kunoichi working under Tsubaki were also maids for the day. 
A knock suddenly came at the door. It was Laim again. 
“It’s time, Your Highness.” 
“...Yeah. I guess it is.” 
I started to hype myself up by slapping my cheeks a couple of times for motivation. Then, I started to panic because I didn’t want to go out with red marks on my face, since that would’ve started a bunch of rumors. 
I took a deep breath, in and out. Once I calmed myself down, I followed Laim. 
A-Am I walking right? A-Am I gonna be okay?! 
“My liege... You’re swinging your right leg and your right arm out quite rigidly at the same time.” 
“Ah...” I paused slightly at Kohaku’s words. I hadn’t even noticed my own nervous conduct, which wasn’t a good sign. 
“I’m more worried than I thought...” 
“Fret not, sir. The king of Belfast was so nervous before his wedding that he kept drinking water right before the ceremony began.” 
“Indeed. He was so desperate to use the bathroom throughout the ceremony that he can’t even remember the celebratory speeches that were given.” 
I was more amused that Laim remembered those details, but given he once worked in service of Belfast that seemed reasonable. Plus, it was honestly a little reassuring to know that I wasn’t the only monarch in the world to have pre-wedding jitters. 
“The king of Belfast used to tell this story to others quite openly. He said that too much tension and stress would never bear good results. The way to proceed is with relaxed shoulders and an easy-going gait.” 
Easy-going, huh...? I guess my main fear here is how different I’m acting. Maybe I should just take it easy and be more authentically me. Yeah... That sounds good. 
“Are you alright now?” 
“Yeah. Sorry for making you worry.” 
“There’s no need to apologize. In fact, I should be thanking you for indulging an old man’s chatter,” Laim said that, smiled, and continued onwards. I certainly felt a bit better. Things were probably going to be okay... Probably, at least... 
Eventually, we reached the door to the venue-decked courtyard. Nikola and Norue, sub-commanders of the knight order, stood on either side of the door. They weren’t dressed in their usual armor. Instead, they wore formal attire that was much more suitable for the occasion. 
Beyond the door, I could hear music starting up, playing through Babylon’s speakers. We didn’t have a personal orchestra, so this was our best alternative. 
The music was, of course, Mendelssohn’s classic Wedding March. Some people preferred Wagner’s Bridal Chorus, but I wasn’t among them. The trumpet fanfare really set the mood, and the rhythmic sounds set my heart at ease. 
Plus, Wagner’s composition was originally from a tragic opera named “Lohengrin.” Mendelssohn’s was based on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which was considerably lighter in tone... Not that it was completely free of turmoil, mind you. 
Either way, I wanted my wedding to be a story that ended happily. 
Right when the fanfare peaked, Nikola and Norue opened up the great door before me. The guests were all lined up along the aisle, cheering and clapping. Royal weddings were traditionally quiet and somber affairs in this world, but we decided that we wanted to break that tradition and make it fun for all our attendees. 
I showed the girls a video of a girl walking down the aisle, and they all said they wanted to do that. Apparently, there was also a similar practice in this world. The practice involved the groom walking with his mother, and the bride walking with her father. It was similar to the method I knew, but also a little different. 
As I walked out with Kohaku and the other summons, a sudden rain of dancing cherry blossoms began falling down. It continued as I made my way toward the altar, which was modest, but adorned with many beautiful flowers. Cesca had decked it out with the most beautiful ones she’d ever cultivated. 
I stopped by the side of the small staircase that led up to the altar. That was the spot where I’d await my brides. 
Eventually, the door opened, revealing three individuals. Two women, one man. The man, who stood in the middle, was Joseph. Completely free of his traumatic fear, he beamed broadly as he walked arm-in-arm with his nieces, Elze and Linze. 
“Ooh! Look!” 
“Goodness, they’re beautiful!” 
Our guests murmured in awe as the girls continued their march. 
I’d seen their dresses before, but I hadn’t seen them wearing them. They were in a princess line style, gently blooming outward from the waistline to the hem. 
Despite their contrasting personalities, they both looked equally beautiful. I remembered the day I’d met them in Reflet just like yesterday... At the time, I’d have never expected to marry them. 
Elze had a harsh, go-getter personality... but she was secretly quite gentle and kind. She had a habit of keeping her anxieties bottled up inside, but she was always there for others. That was why I wanted to be there to support her. 
Linze, on the other hand, seemed quite meek at a glance. However, she was actually one of the strongest people I knew. Her heart was a wellspring of kindness, and she was dedicated to a fault. She never ceased to amaze me with the things she did, so I wanted to see how far she could go. 
Joseph walked slowly, taking care not to step on their dresses. He looked a little nervous, but he was leaps and bounds beyond his earlier lack of composure. Elze and Linze looked quite nervous as well, but their veils blocked a clear view of their expressions. 
They gradually made their way toward the altar. And once they reached me, Joseph bowed his head. 
“Please treat them with care.” 
“I’ll make them happy, I promise.” 
I bowed my head back to Joseph, who was probably too nervous to fully look me in the eye, before I took Elze’s hand and led her up to the altar. 
In much the same fashion, I led Linze by the hand before taking my position back at the base of the stairs. 
Joseph moved to his seat, and the doors opened once more. This time it was Yae and her father, Jubei. They proceeded down the aisle as Elze and Linze did. 
Yae was wearing a wedding dress, which almost seemed strange given her Japan-esque heritage. Her father, however, was wearing a hakama. That kind of balanced the image out. 
The order in which the girls appeared matched the order in which I’d met them. After I met Elze and Linze, I’d encountered Yae on one of my outings. Back then, I was amazed by her swordplay, since she dispatched a bunch of bad guys with ease. 
She seemed like a bit of a blockhead at times, but she was truly skilled and earnest. Family was never far from her mind, and her soft heart had helped me through tough times. Yae’s smile could soothe everyone in the vicinity. 
As Yae appeared before me, I took her hand. Her father looked me dead in the eye. 
“My daughter is in your care, now.” 
“Thank you. I promise to look after her.” 
Jubei bowed, and I led Yae up to the altar to stand with the other two girls. 
Next through the door was Sue, along with Duke Ortlinde. 
It wasn’t long after I met Yae that I met Sue. If I hadn’t met her, then I’d have never met Yumina... And I definitely wouldn’t have become a world leader in that case. 
When I met Sue, she was definitely childlike, but she had a more mature charm to her now. She was the youngest of the group, around twelve or so... Though, she was nearly thirteen. I couldn’t help but think that was a little young, but I didn’t want to postpone the wedding or exclude her from the ceremony. That was why I was happy to see her in front of me. 
She was extremely energetic and excitable, always getting into trouble. And she could be a little self-centered sometimes, but that mischievous side of her had a certain charm to it. 
I took Sue’s hand and led her toward the altar steps. 
“That girl worries me plenty, so... please take good care of her.” 
“I will, don’t worry. I know how to keep her from acting out.” 
Duke Ortlinde smiled at me, then bowed his head. Sue pouted as if to chastise her father’s worries, then scampered up the steps on her own. 
The door opened once more, and my fifth bride-to-be appeared. It was Yumina. Her father, King Belfast, stood by her side. 
Yumina was the boldest of all my fiancees, and she ended up placing herself by my side before I even knew it. I was happy to accept her feelings, in the end, because I couldn’t imagine life without her. 
Sometimes, it felt like I was just dancing in the palm of her hand, but I thought that side of her was charming and interesting as well. 
The two of them walked down the aisle before stopping in front of me. 
“Touya, lad... Please look after my daughter.” 
“I will.” 
I nodded at King Belfast as I took Yumina’s hand. She slowly walked up to the altar. 
Leen came next. Her parents had already moved on from this world, so the beastking of Mismede had stepped in to walk with her. Paula was also seated as one of her guests. 
Even in her wedding dress, she looked cheeky as ever. She was a lot older than me, but she had a childish sense of mischief to her that often shone through. Really, her age was just a number. 
Without her urging me, I’d have never tried to pursue Babylon’s legacy. I’d have never gotten my hands on the Frame Gears, and the Phrase invasion might have devastated the world... In a way, my meeting with Leen might have saved the entire planet. 
I took the beautiful savior’s hand, then flashed her a smile. 
“Y’best treat my court mage well, Touya.” 
“You can count on it. I won’t ever stop.” 
The beastking grinned broadly, then turned around to take his seat. 
Leen headed up to the altar, and the door opened once more. Lu walked through this time, with the emperor of Regulus by her side. 
The emperor, who was once on his deathbed, looked like the picture of health. Last I heard, he planned to abdicate and leave the imperial throne to Lu’s brother. 
I remembered meeting Lu during the Regulus coup. I was glad I made it... If I’d been any later, terrible things would’ve happened there. 
Lu managed to develop her cooking skills, and I knew just how hard she’d been working to pursue her dreams. She was the kind of person who focused on a goal and never stopped until she reached it. And honestly, I wanted to follow her example. 
The emperor gently bowed his head to me. 
“Please keep my daughter safe.” 
“I promise I will.” 
I led Lu up to the altar, then waited for the door to open again. When it did, I couldn’t help but chuckle. 
Sakura appeared, her veil concealing the look of disgust she had directed toward her openly weeping father. I knew she’d have preferred her mother, Fiana, but the Overlord had gotten down on his knees and begged to walk her down the aisle, so she reluctantly agreed. 
Sakura walked rather briskly down the aisle as if to get it over with quickly. Those two really had a long way to go with their relationship. 
I remembered my first meeting with Sakura. She was on the verge of death thanks to assassins from Yulong. Terrible things would’ve happened to her if not for the Babylon tech I had at my disposal... 
Sakura was usually quiet and not all that emotional, but her singing voice conveyed all manner of feelings. I wanted to continue to nurture that talent of hers, and thereby help her bring joy to even more people. 
Once Sakura made it to the steps, she took my hand and quickly proceeded to the altar. 
Just as I was letting out a small chuckle, the overlord grabbed me by the shoulders. 
“M-Make my daughter happy or I’ll never forgive you! Ever!” 
“I-I’ll do my best.” 
Auuugh! Get your face away from me! You’re gonna get snot and tears all over my tux! 
The overlord scampered away to his seat, which didn’t exactly inspire confidence. I was somewhat worried about how he’d act as my father-in-law, to be honest. 
I almost got lost in thought when Hilde strode through the doors with her father, the former king of Lestia. 
Hilde was the seventh of the girls who got engaged to me, but she was the last of them in terms of meeting order. 
She usually had a chivalrous, knightly air to her. But today, her dainty and feminine features took center stage. She wielded a bouquet of flowers instead of a sword, and a gorgeous dress adorned her body instead of shining armor. 
I respected how sincere and responsible she was. Though, there was also a side of her that tended to overdo things. Even so, that was something that made her unique, and it made me want to support her. 
“May good fortune bless the union between you and my daughter.” 
“Thank you.” 
I took Hilde’s hand from the former knight king and showed her up to the altar. We’d all gathered at last. 
I bowed to her father, and he found his seat. Then, I headed up the steps to the altar. The Wedding March, which had been playing on a loop, finally came to an end. 
“In the name of the Celestial Spirit King, come forth...” I whispered quietly in order to summon the Pillar Spirits to the altar. I wanted to keep it down, since there were a few people in the audience who understood the language of the spirits. 
A pillar of fire erupted into the air above the altar. Next came a rushing wall of water, and then a whirling gust. A clump of sand and stone rose from the ground, followed by an orb of light, and then a clump of shadowy darkness. 
“Amazing... I-Is this really happening?!” 
The crowd roared in excitement as the elements danced through the air before suddenly vanishing. In their place, six clearly inhuman girls floated above the altar. 
They were the six pillar spirits of fire, water, wind, earth, light, and darkness. 
“S-Spirits! They’re really here!” 
The sight of the spirits whipped the crowd into a frenzy. 
Spirits were considered more tangible objects of worship than gods. And so, they were largely considered more sacred than abstract deities. The people of the Sea of Trees region even worshiped a great tree spirit. 
Some people held fast to the belief that spirits were servants of higher powers that had created the world. I knew that to actually be true, since God Almighty had confirmed it to me. 
“We, the Pillar Spirits, do hereby declare the union between the Grand Duke of Brunhild and his nine brides a blessed one,” the Spirit of Light spoke in a soft, calming voice. 
As if by magic, the uproarious crowd suddenly fell into stunned silence. And I wasn’t surprised. It wasn’t common for spirits to appear for weddings, much less ones of this status. Plus, only a few people in the crowd could understand their language. With the exception of the gods in the audience, I had a feeling everyone had been brought to a state of utter shock and awe. 
Luckily, nobody but me seemed to have noticed how nervous the pillar spirits were. It was only natural, though. The gods themselves were in the audience, and they were blessing the wedding of their king. I felt a little sorry for them, since they were clearly under a lot of pressure. 
Either way, they were doing a great job. 
“W-Well then... May you share in joy and sorrow... and step forward to a life of love,” the Fire Spirit spoke with just a teeny bit of tension in her voice. She was holding it together pretty well. 
“Now, allow us to grant you a marriage gift.” 
Nine rings appeared on the altar once the Earth Spirit said that. Each of them emitted a gentle platinum glow. 
The wedding rings were specially crafted by God Almighty, and they were infused with my divinity. As such, they could be considered sacred treasures of the highest possible tier. 
The rings worked like receivers, allowing the wearers to use my divinity more directly. Basically, they were magical items that elevated a person to the same divine rank as a servile god, which was an utterly absurd boost in power. They did not affect me, though. And they also wouldn’t affect anyone other than the girls. 
One at a time, I took each ring in hand and slid them along the ring fingers of my brides. Once they all had one on, a small glow rose up from each of them and began floating toward my hand. 
When the glow subsided, a ring similar to theirs appeared on my left ring finger. I knew just by glancing that it was a unique ring blessed by the gods, the spirits, and the girls I’d come to love so much. 
The youngest of the Pillar Spirits, the Spirit of Darkness, suddenly began to speak. 
“These rings are a mark of your bond, as well as proof of this ceremonial blessing. In the name of the Celestial Spirit King, your union is formally recognized.” 
I felt a little amused that they’d blessed me in the name of the Celestial Spirit King, given that I was him, but I decided not to sweat the small stuff. 
Smaller spirits began appearing in the air all over the courtyard, mesmerizing the guests with their dances. There were spirits colored red, blue, green, purple, yellow, and all other kinds. They streaked through the air, leaving beautiful trails in their wake. 
The Pillar Spirits transformed into their elemental forms once more, soaring into the air with the others. They then clashed with each other, creating vibrant fireworks that shot high into the air above. 
The guests rose to give them a standing ovation in response to the incredible sight. The spirits had really outdone themselves. I needed to thank them later. 
With the Pillar Spirits as our witness, our wedding had been properly officiated. 
I’d live out the rest of my life with these girls. We were now bound by holy matrimony, and we’d be together forever. 
The clock tower rang, but it wasn’t doing so to tell the time. Its bell tolled to celebrate our love. It heralded good fortune and warded away evil. 
Petals fell from above, seemingly in response to the bell. I wondered if that was the work of the goddess of flowers, but it was more likely the work of the Flower Spirit I’d summoned. As the petals continued dancing in the wind, I moved my hands forward and lifted Elze’s wedding veil. 
“You look beautiful, Elze.” 
“Geez... You look pretty good yourself. You better keep being the same brave man throughout our marriage. Don’t make me kick your ass.” 
Elze sure could be scary when she wanted to. We laughed, then moved to seal the ceremony with a kiss. The two of us were pretty shy, though... so we just kissed each other on the cheek. 
I had a feeling that life would be just a little bit easier with Elze leading the charge. I’d be right by her side, though. I didn’t want to be left behind. 
I knew that with Elze by my side, I never had to fear anything in my path. She was my courage and bravery in human form. 
I turned to Linze and gently raised her wedding veil. 
“You’re beautiful, Linze.” 
“Hehehe... I’ll give you all my power, Touya... I’m here for you.” 
Linze’s expression was a full-blown teary-eyed smile. I kissed her cheek as if to wipe away those tears. She reciprocated in kind, placing her soft lips against my skin. 
Linze was the kind of girl who supported me from the side. And so, I wanted to be a husband capable of supporting her right back. She was sincere, always wanted to help others, and she probably had the strongest motherly instinct out of all of my brides... Maybe it was a little too soon to think about parenthood, though. 
I moved opposite Yae and lifted her veil. She greeted me with a smile and began to speak. 
“I want to be with you for the rest of my life, I do.” 
“Thanks, Yae. I feel the same.” 
I honestly wondered how long we’d actually live. Given that the girls had divinity on par with servile gods, we’d probably be able to spend a rather long time together. 
Her words felt intense, but it was definitely a crystallization of her true feelings. I felt exactly the same way. I wanted to walk through the rest of my life with these girls. 
Yae and I exchanged cheek kisses before I turned toward Sue. 
“You’re always getting into trouble, Touya. I wanna be with you through more and more danger!” 
“Hahaha... I’m sure you will be.” 
Due to the height difference, I bent down to kiss Sue’s cheek. She grabbed me by the collar and pulled me further down. I really couldn’t help but laugh at how boisterous she was. 
Sue’s naive nature acted as a shining beacon in a lot of tough situations. No matter how gloomy things got, she always had an optimistic outlook. Her curiosity sometimes got her into trouble, but I knew she had a pure heart. 
The next bride to have her veil raised was Yumina. I was honestly surprised to see that she had tears in her eyes. She looked right at me with the gentlest of expressions on her face. 
“I’m so happy... It was my dream to get married to you... and now it’s really happening. I love you so much, Touya.” 
“I feel the same, Yumina. I love you.” 

Out of all my brides, she was the one who wanted this marriage the most. As a princess, she could’ve easily been married away for political reasons, so this marriage of love was likely an incredible relief to her. That said, I didn’t think her father would’ve ever used her in that way... Though, he could’ve always had his hand forced by the nobility. 
Either way, Yumina forged her own path forward, which brought her to my side. I’d always respected her strength of will. 
Yumina and I exchanged cheek kisses before I moved to Leen. 
“I must say, I honestly never expected to experience something like this.” 
“Well, you better get used to it. We’ll be living together forever.” 
Leen and I laughed softly as we exchanged our kisses. Leen had many friends over the course of her life, but it’d been a long while since she’d had anyone to call family. Maybe it was those feelings of needing someone that resulted in her creating Paula. 
But now she had me, as well as all the others. I vowed to never let her feel lonely again. 
I moved to Lu, lifted her veil, and kissed her on the cheek. She kissed me right back, trying to make it as tender as she could. 
“I’m in charge of our family meals going forward, okay?” 
“Haha... Just don’t serve me too much. I’ll be keeping an eye on my waistline.” 
Lu’s expression was one of pure joy. She was an incredible cook, but frankly, I worried about eating too much of her food. I wondered if my divine body was even capable of packing on that much weight... but I was pretty sure I’d seen one or two fat gods before, so I didn’t want to take any chances. 
There was that stereotype of people putting on weight once they were happy and married, but that didn’t mean it had to happen! It’d probably be a good idea to include more daily exercise into my routine, at any rate. 
As I internalized those thoughts, I stepped in front of Sakura. 
“Grand Duke... I’m a little hungry...” 
“...Just hold on a little longer, okay?” 
Even on her wedding day, Sakura marched to the beat of her own drum. I liked that about her, though. She wasn’t a person who talked much, but I felt comfortable just being around her. The way she did things her way, much like with her singing, was a very relaxing and calming aspect of life with her. 
Once I lifted her veil, we exchanged kisses on the cheek. As one would expect, she didn’t show much emotion. Though, I did notice her cheeks flushing a pale shade of pink. 
Before I knew it, I’d made it in front of Hilde. She was the last of the lot. Usually, she had a formal, dignified look about her, but the sight of her in a dress brought out a latent cuteness. 
“Touya... I hope we live a long and happy life together.” 
“Same here.” 
Her words were succinct and straight to the point, but that was just how she was. I wanted to make sure that her hopes were fulfilled. 
I lifted Hilde’s veil and kissed her on the cheek. She moved a little stiffly as she kissed me back, but she managed it without a hitch. 
The bell tolled once more. I was officially a married man. Perhaps the luckiest one in the world, even. 

I turned to address the crowd behind me... and activated [Speaker]. 
“Thank you all for being here today. I’m sure many of you had busy schedules. I hope you’ll all watch with anticipation as I build Brunhild into a prosperous nation. And I want you to support me as I build my marriage into a truly happy one. We’ll be taking our first steps into a new life together, and I know for a fact that I’m going to do everything I can to make these women happy. Thank you again.” 
The crowd stood up to applaud, petals still dancing through the air. The girls and I all bowed our bodies forward in appreciation. And at that exact moment, perhaps due to Kougyoku’s intervention, a flock of white doves flew overhead. We watched them flutter into the distance as the bells continued to toll. 
“Okay, everyone! Listen up! Where Touya and I come from, there’s a tradition called the bouquet toss! The brides each throw back a bouquet! If you catch it, you should present it to the person you love. There’s a good chance you’ll find everlasting happiness with that person, you know? Just to be clear, though, this is an event for single men only! Now’s your chance, bachelors! If there’s anyone you wanna woo, get ready to catch a bouquet!” Karen, who had appeared out of nowhere and spoke through the [Speaker] I’d set up, made a stampede of men charge toward the altar. 
I paused for a moment upon hearing her. What she had described definitely wasn’t the bouquet toss I was familiar with. 
All the girls lined up on the stage seemed a bit confused too, but that was probably because they hadn’t been informed in advance. Just as I was about to head back to the stage and ask what was going on, Moroha stopped me. 
“Your world’s bouquet tossing is too intimidating for young women. Karen says it’s better this way.” 
I saw her point. I remembered reading articles that said a lot of women didn’t like participating in the bouquet toss. The reasons varied. Some women didn’t want to be seen as desperate, while others felt obligated or pressured. 
It would generally be less embarrassing for a guy. I’d heard about a tradition with guys, but I thought that one involved broccoli rather than flowers... Either way, there were nine bouquets in all, so there’d be a lot of chances for love to bloom. 
Plus, flower bouquets were better than broccoli ones. That much was obvious. 
Bachelors of all ages gathered in front of the altar. Even Dolan was there! I mean, sure, he was technically a bachelor, since he was a widower, but should he really have been thinking about love when he had Micah and his inn? 
I noticed Lanz standing awkwardly beside him. It didn’t take a genius to tell he was thinking of Micah. 
Wait... should our knights be participating in this? 
“Don’t worry about security. Mr. Mittens and his cat squad secured the area a while ago,” Moroha chuckled softly as she said that. They were rather special cats, but letting them handle the security detail for the entire wedding was a bit much... 
I glanced into the crowd and saw that many of the bachelors were people I recognized. 
One of the boys there was Will, a knight of Brunhild. He’d been in the Rabbi Desert with Logan and Rebecca. I had a feeling he’d probably be giving his bouquet to Wendy. 
I recognized one of Mismede’s military captains, Garm. Rengetsu the Eashenese monk was also in the crowd. There were the rookie adventurers, Lop and Klaus... And even the boy-king of Palouf! I narrowed my eyes and saw the pumpkin-pants prince himself, Robert. And Ende joined in as well. More and more foreign knights and nobles kept pushing their way into the crowd. Sure, we had nine bouquets, but wasn’t the number of people a little high?! 
“Social status means nothing here, you know? If you catch it, you win it! No stealing allowed, got it? If you steal away someone’s happiness, you may find unhappiness following after you!” Karen spoke sternly and clearly, hammering the point home. 
The men spread out in front of the altar, taking care not to get completely lost in the crowd. They glanced up at the girls, but also kept their wits about them, ensuring that their enemies couldn’t get an upper hand. The wedding crowd at large looked upon the men with anticipation and curiosity. I wouldn’t be surprised if this spectacle turned bouquet tossing into a regular tradition. 
“Alright, girls, turn around! On my mark, toss your bouquets backward with all the force you can muster!” 
All nine brides turned around on Karen’s command. And suddenly, a drumroll started playing out of nowhere. I turned around and saw the culprit, the god of music. 
“Okay, girls! One, two... and throw!” 
In the blink of an eye, nine bouquets sailed through the air. Some flew higher, some lower. One shot up almost completely vertically, courtesy of Sue. 
“That’s mine!” Garm, the wolf beastman, roared as he sprang forward at full pelt. He was going for a low-flying bouquet, which was probably the smartest move. He reached out and was seconds away from grasping his target... when Ende appeared and swiped it away. Ouch. 
“Woohoo! I got one!” Ende said as he stuck a perfect landing, merrily holding his prize in the air. I thought it was a bit of a waste, though. He and Melle were already in love with each other! Poor Garm... 
“Damn it!” 
“Aw yeah!” 
A cacophony of depressed voices, mixed with a light swirl of happy voices, rose into the air. 
Some of the people I knew had managed to swipe bouquets, including the young king of Palouf. I was amazed he’d managed it, given how short he was. 
A few men accidentally dropped it, and he managed to catch it before it hit the ground.? Kohaku explained what had happened through a telepathic message. 
Oh, that makes sense.? 
The boy-king’s fiancee, Rachael, was jumping up and down in joy. 
I was pleased to see that Lanz had gotten his hands on one. His line of sight suddenly met with Micah’s... and the two of them went beet red, causing them to start looking at the floor. Neither of them had noticed Dolan standing behind them, giving them a peculiar glare. Incidentally, Dolan had actually obtained a bouquet as well. 
Will had managed to obtain one. Wendy, who’d come alongside him, looked positively delighted. I scanned the crowd for more winners and noticed that the pumpkin-pants prince had gotten his hands on a bouquet somehow. 
I couldn’t help but feel like too many men in situations of mutual love won the bouquets... It made me feel a little bit sorry for the single guys, honestly. 
“C’mon, Touya. Even in committed relationships, acts of romance like this are never a bad idea.” 
“Hehehehe... You’re pretty good at this, Karen, hic! Even if it’s, hic, rigged! Bouquet tosses are nice, riiight?” 
Karina and Suika had apparently been reading my mind. 
Wait... rigged? 
I glanced at Karen, who flashed me a coy wink. 
I knew it! You used some kind of power to influence the results, didn’t you? Well, whatever... I’ll just pretend I have no idea what just happened. That’s generally the best thing to do when it comes to these people. 
After the bouquet toss, my brides and I paraded around the castle town in a large walking Gollem I’d built in the workshop. It was a fairly small town, though... so maybe it was a little too big. 
It was kind of like a multi-legged double-decker bus. The needlessly flashy invention was the result of a collaborative effort between Doctor Babylon and Elluka. Rosetta was driving it. 
The Gollem bus slowly made its way around the town on a circuit loop back toward the castle. 
It was basically a modified Ether Vehicle, like the kinds that littered the hangar. It had an open-air upper deck, so we could sit up top and wave to the people. Honestly, it felt like a victory parade that sports teams had after winning a major tournament. 
We waved out at the crowd of people huddled in the streets, and they waved back. I recognized a lot of the faces out there, but many tourists and travelers had clearly just come for the festivities. And there were a couple of adventurers, too. 
I suddenly spotted something suspicious in the crowd. A man had moved behind a cheering tourist and subtly slipped his hand into his pocket. There was a thief out there! 
Just as I was about to use [Paralyze] on him with my Smartphone, the would-be thief fell to the ground. I was confused, but then I spotted Mr. Mittens with his rapier at the ready. To be clear, the man was unharmed. I’d enchanted the blunt rapier with [Paralyze] a short while ago for easy apprehension. 
Mr. Mittens shot me a thumbs-up and a wink. I was a little bit disturbed by the sight, since I’d never noticed his opposable thumbs before. 
The more people in an area, the higher the chance of crime... Luckily, Mr. Mittens’ Cat Sith squad was adept at weeding out suspicious individuals. In a way, those annoying little cats made for the world’s finest town guards. 
I gave Mr. Mittens a nod of thanks. I planned to send him some catnip-infused wine later on as a show of appreciation. 
The Gollem bus finished its cycle around town and started heading back to the castle. This particular machine had wheels on the side that could swap out with the legs at any time. It was in wheel mode during the parade segment, even. I originally protested the idea of having legs in the first place if wheels were an option, but I was convinced to let the legs stay when I was told that they would help when navigating the out-of-town terrain. 
When we returned to the castle, we immediately headed to the dressing room to change our clothes. We still had the reception to attend. The courtyard, the castle’s great hall, and the game room had all been connected by a [Gate] door. And all our guests were given freedom of movement between the three locations. The wedding reception was more of an after-party, so it was free of the formal obligations that had come with the ceremony itself. 
Once we arrived in the dressing room, Laim appeared with a fresh set of clothes. I took off my white tux and started putting on my next outfit. 
My new outfit was a grey vest over a plain white shirt, with dark grey pants and a suit jacket. I also wore a navy tie just to bring it all together. It was a much less gaudy look than the ceremonial attire. 
Even though it was a wedding reception, there was no candlelight service or cake-cutting or anything like that. It was just a party to entertain guests and unwind for the evening. 
I asked Laim to fix my crooked tie, then left the room. By the time we made it back, all of our wedding guests had begun looking around the game room or enjoying the food. 
There wasn’t any need to hurry, but I didn’t want to leave people waiting. I knew it’d take a while for the girls to finish getting changed, so I decided to go on ahead. 
I got Kohaku and the other heavenly beasts together, then warped to the party hall with [Teleport]. 
The knights standing by at the door were surprised by my sudden appearance, but they let me in right away. I apologized for the shock before proceeding inside. The guests immediately took notice. 
“There’s the man of the hour!” the beastking roared out as an introduction, and the other attendees all started to clap. 
The hall had several tables draped with white cloths, and a wide variety of food rested atop them. The guests were able to pick up a plate and pile up whatever dishes suited their fancy. In other words, it was a buffet. 
Originally, I’d come up with a seating plan, but I realized that there were way too many foreign dignitaries and nobles to match up, so instead of making a huge round table, I figured this was the better approach. 
The buffet format encouraged socializing, which was a good thing given how many countries were in attendance. 
“Congratulations on your wedding, Touya-dono,” Ieyahsu, who was swigging an entire bottle of Refreesian Wine, gave me a red-faced congratulations. 
“Ah, thanks a bunch, Lord Ieyahsu. I hope you’re having fun.” 
We had more people visiting us from Eashen than just Yae’s family. Ieyahsu, some of the Tokugawa retainers, and Shirahime were all here. 
Ieyahsu wandered off, and Lefang Letra, the king of Egret appeared. His feathered headdress looked nice as ever. Upon closer inspection, the feathers were actually a lot more vibrant than they were the last time I’d seen him. I wondered if it was a special headdress for formal events. 
“Hello there, Grand Duke. You’re a married man now! Make sure you treat your wives with care, eh?” 
“I’ll be sure to, King Letra,” I replied as I bowed my head in gratitude. 
He had seven wives, so his advice was especially useful to me. Speaking of Egret, I’d heard that the nation had begun mass fishing for Tentaculars since the last time I visited. Apparently, the food they made out of the creatures had become quite a popular export. 
I had a feeling I’d see Egret’s dried Tentacular bits on the market if I checked. 
“Congratulations on your marriage.” 
“Indeed, congratulations.” 
“Thank you. I hope to attend yours soon enough.” 
The next two to congratulate me were Lupheus, prince of Triharan, and Berlietta, princess of Strain. They had gotten engaged after the big race, and they’d be married soon enough. 
“I hope to see you there! We’ll be parading around in our latest ethermobile!” 
“I’ve been arguing with Berli about optimization, though...” 
“Tsk! I’ve been installing those new parts for a reason!” 
“I get that, I just think we need to consider engine load!” 
“Come now, you two.” 
I didn’t want them to erupt into an argument, so I calmed them down. I was fine with them being the kind of couple who got along through competition with each other, but I wanted them to save their debates for a less crowded venue. 
Just as I wondered what to do next, I suddenly heard exclamations of wonder from across the room. The large doors had opened up, and all nine of my brides appeared in wedding gowns. 
Their outfits were similar to the dresses they’d worn earlier, but they were far more streamlined. They had a shorter skirt that went down to the knees, as well as lacy parts around the chest, shoulder, and arms. 
These dresses emphasized cuteness over pure grace. 
“Hey, go to ’em already!” Baba, former member of the Takeda Elite Four, patted me hard on the back as he said that. He and Kousaka laughed obnoxiously with each other. Apparently, they’d been hitting the sauce pretty hard, but they were doing a good job of chatting up foreign nationals all the same. 
As I walked toward the girls, Sue came barreling forward and jumped up at me. 
“Hey now... You think you should be doing that now that you’re my wife?” 
“Huh? What do you mean? I’m your wife now, so that means I’ve gotta greet you like this! You better get used to it, Touya. It’s gonna be like this every single day!” 
Ugh... I know... I’m just really shy about doing this in public. 
Whether she was inspired by Sue’s actions or not, Yumina came up to greet me with a big hug. I had Yumina hanging on one arm... and Sue hanging on the other. That would’ve been bad enough, but I sensed a subtle pressure emanating from the other seven smiling faces in front of me. 
I looked up and saw the king of Egret, who could only offer me a sympathetic, knowing nod. I tried to mouth for help, but it was too late... 
Once everyone had calmed down, we went around as a group to speak with the guests. We spoke to the royals who were chatting in the courtyard, sampled all kinds of food at the buffet, and poked our heads into the game room where we talked up a few nobles. 
By the time we finished all that, it was quite late in the evening. Guests who were leaving were sent off with a little catalog of goods for them to fill in and request stuff. Guests who were staying were shown to their quarters in the castle. 
I spoke my last few words to the remaining guests before retiring from the party with my wives. The rest was up to Lapis and Kousaka. I wished them luck. 
“Whew... I’m beat...” 
I loosened my tie and slumped down on the couch. Everyone had gone back to their respective rooms. A wave of exhaustion washed over me, probably because the day was finally catching up with my body. 
“Here you are, sir.” 
“Oh, thanks...” 
Laim brought me a glass of cold water, which I gulped down in a single go. I’d barely drank anything all day, since I was deathly scared of being trapped while needing to use the bathroom. In that moment, I was euphoric. The water tasted like the nectar of the gods. 
Laim poured me another glass as soon as I emptied the first. 
“It was a splendid wedding, Your Highness. I’m certain all your guests were pleased.” 
“I hope that’s the case...” 
Laim’s lavish praise made me chuckle a little as I brought the glass of water to my lips once more. 
“Now that the wedding is over, all you need to do to protect your lineage is produce successors.” 
“Pwwbrugh?!” I almost choked on my water when I heard him continue. 
Successors?! It’s a little too soon to be thinking about that! 
Laim saw my concern and simply shook his head. 
“It is the duty of royalty to preserve their noble blood, Your Highness. The king of Belfast had only one wife, so I was quite concerned until Yumina came around. Thankfully, you have nine brides, so the chance of successful conception has increased ninefold. What a relief.” 
“You don’t have to put it like that...” 
I mean, I guess it’s gonna happen at some point... Love, marriage... The next step is pretty obvious. 
I’d waited until I was eighteen before getting married, but the youngest of them was still twelve or so... Even in this world, people weren’t properly recognized as adults until they were around fourteen or fifteen, so I definitely wanted to wait a couple years before engaging in that kind of activity... However, it was customary to consummate the marriage shortly after the ceremony. 
Even back home, the Sengoku Period commander, Maeda Toshiie, married his wife Matsu when he was twenty-one and she was twelve. That was the same age as Sue... and Matsu gave birth only a year after she got married. 
That definitely didn’t mean I had to follow suit, though... 
Still... apparently the order of that particular matter had already been decided amongst my wives. Without my input, of course. 
Simply put, I’d be... ‘seeing’ my wives in the order we got engaged. In other words, it’d be Yumina, then Linze, Elze, Yae, Lu, Sue, Hilde, Leen, and Sakura. 
In other words... I had to visit Yumina’s room tonight, Linze’s on the next night, and so on. 
I felt an extreme sense of apprehension and fear, far different from the nerves I’d had before the wedding. I really should’ve prepared myself for this. 
Even after Laim had left my room, I sat on my own, drinking water for a while. The ticking sound of the clock grew louder and louder as I did. 
...You can’t sit here forever, Touya. You have to do this! 
My heart felt ready to burst out of my chest, but I stood up and made for the door. At that exact moment, I heard a knock. 
“U-Uh?! Hello?!” 
“It is I.” 
The door creaked open, revealing Cesca. She entered the room with a silver platter that had a few glasses and bottles on it. I wondered if she’d come to offer me a drink of wine, or something. 
“Doctor Babylon wishes to offer you this to congratulate you on your wedding.” 
“Uh... what is this, exactly?” 
The three bottles, which looked more like vials, glittered like precious gemstones as I held them up to the light. The liquids kind of resembled the flavoring syrup on shaved ice. Certainly appealing, but probably not healthy. 
“The red drink enhances your stamina. The blue drink replenishes your libido. The green drink is a general pick-me-up that should keep you going.” 
“I don’t want any of those!” 
This is way too blunt a wedding gift! 
“Flora engineered them in the alchemy lab specifically for you. There aren’t any side effects, I assure you.” 
“I don’t need anything like that. I can handle things myself.” 
I have spells like [Refresh] to restore my stamina if it comes down to it... Um... n-not that I’m planning to keep going until I feel ready to faint or anything... 
Cesca suddenly shot her hand forward and placed her thumb against my wrist. 
“Hm. Pulse is ordinary, but your blood pressure and respiration are a little lacking. You’re tense.” 
“Well, duh!” 
Anyone would be tense in a situation like this. I was even more nervous than I was when I faced the wicked god. 
“There are all manner of things that can go wrong during one’s first time. I wouldn’t want you initiating a traumatic incident. I think you should do a test run with me before moving to the real consummation. Now, come. Hurry up now.” 
Cesca let out a rather crude grunt before shoving me down to the couch. She held me down with her brutish strength, then began violently unbuttoning my shirt. 
“It won’t hurt. Just look at the ceiling. It’ll all be over soon.” 
“Augh! [T-Teleport]!” 
I warped myself off the couch before she could go any further. 
Damn it, this isn’t right! I better get to Yumina as quickly as I can... 
I started briskly walking down the hallway, fixing up my shirt all the while. 
“How did it go?” 
“He was dragging his heels, just as you’d predicted. Our master is certainly a hopeless man, Doctor.” 
Cesca let out a small sigh as she leaned back against the couch. Doctor Babylon laughed back through the phone speaker. 
“Well, he’s not all that bad. I’d rather him be like this than be overly confident or the kind of brute who only sees women as sexual objects. Still, he’ll have to get used to it... He has to get used to this eventually, after all.” 
“Are you sure your body could take something like that, Doctor?” 
The Babylon gynoids were artificial constructs, so their bodies wouldn’t grow any further. Babylon’s body would be that of a child’s for eternity. 
“Mmm... I’m sure we can find a way around that. Perhaps the goddess of alcohol could provide him with some liquid incentive.” 
“How very cunning.” 
The goddess of alcohol looked even younger than Babylon, but she was still seen drinking like a sailor all around the town. The only issue of getting Touya drunk was that his divinity-infused body would be highly resistant to it. Unbeknownst to the boy, the two gynoids chuckled merrily, raising a toast to the path he’d embarked upon. 
“Uhm... What is this?” 
I activated [Prison] around Yumina’s room, much to her surprise. With that in place, nobody would be able to peek in on us or enter the room. 
I didn’t exactly feel safe with that alone, though. Doctor Babylon could’ve easily violated our privacy with security cameras or other such measures. And so, I quickly ran a [Search] spell to check, but couldn’t find anything. Perhaps I was just overthinking it... Doctor Babylon may have been a horrible little creature, but she probably wasn’t that bad. I felt a little bad for suspecting her, but she had given me reasons to suspect her in the first place. 
I let out a sigh of relief... and the pajama-clad Yumina suddenly cleared her throat from over on the bed in response. 
“...Touya? Haven’t you been neglecting your new wife?” 
“Oh... Sorry... I just got distracted.” 
Shit... Don’t wanna sour the mood here... 
I quickly composed myself and apologized. It seemed to lighten her mood a little. 
Yumina sat upright on the bed and leaned her body forward. Before I knew it, she was bowing with her hands in front of her body. 
Who’d you learn that from, Yae?! 
“I’m inexperienced... but I hope we’ll grow together for the rest of our lives.” 
“Y-Yeah... I feel the exact same way...” 
I suddenly felt compelled to mirror Yumina’s actions. I crawled up onto the bed and bowed my body toward hers. Then, I looked up and saw that she was gazing right into my eyes. All the pent-up tension in my body flew away upon taking in that sight. 
I knew right then and there, with absolute certainty, that I would spend the rest of my life with these girls. No more hesitation tainted my heart. 
I took Yumina’s hand in mine, and we locked lips. The courage I lacked during the ceremony began surging within me. 
Beneath the pale light of the moon, the shadowy forms of our bodies interlocked and overlapped in the first moment of true connection. 
Suffice to say, I felt extremely sore the next nine days. 

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