Chapter 179.1 : Dissatisfaction Filled Party
「Everyone, thank you for responding to my sudden call.」
Christina said in her crystal clear voice as she overlooked the gathered nobles. The guests immediately fell silent, eagerly waiting to hear what she had to say.
「Though all of you know this by now, allow me to formally announce Flora’s safe return to Rodania.」
Christina declared as she looked at Flora standing next to her. Flora responded with a warm smile directed towards the nobles gathered below the stage and raised the cuff of her dress.
「And this safe return is credited to Lord Amakawa. So I’ll use this opportunity to show my gratitude towards him. Thank you very much, Lord Amakawa.」
Christina thanked Rio with a slight bow of her head followed by Flora who again raised the cuffs of her dress with a bow.. Rio responded by placing his right hand on his left chest and a respectful nod.
「The reason I held this banquet was to show our gratitude to Lord Amakawa and celebrate Flora’s safe return. Although Rodonia was shrouded in a gloomy atmosphere for a while, we can finally rejoice and celebrate tonight. This might be a little bit too soon but, let’s toast!」
After delivering her opening speech in a quick manner, Christina moved right to a toast to start the banquet. The liquor was then promptly delivered by the waitress’ to all nobles in the venue, and finally came to Christina and co who were still standing on the stairs . After confirming everyone had a glass ――、
「Well then, CHEERS! 」
Christina raised her glass high up to lead the toast.
The nobles followed after Christina loudly in unison, and after matching gazes with their neighbours, shared a small toast with each other before taking a sip.. Thus, the atmosphere mellowed immediately and the participants started having friendly chats. Nevertheless, some people were still paying attention to Rio and Christina.
「Thank you very much for your participation. Lord Amakawa, Celia-sensei.」
The person in question, Christina, turned around and bowed to Celia and Rio.
「Likewise, it’s my honor to have received such a request.」
As he could feel the people’s gaze upon him, Rio played along, showing an appropriate reply to Christina by lowering his head respectfully. Celia followed the flow in tandem with him.
「Please raise your head.」
Christina immediately said.
Rio and Celia raised their heads at the same time.
「Let’s not mind the difference between our status tonight since Flora might not wish for that as well. Or even if you act formally, At least please don’t be so formal with us.」
Christina said as she looked at Flora.
Flora immediately agreed.
Rio and Celia looked at each other, before turning back to look at Christina and Flora and giving them a nod with a smile.
After that, the four of them enjoyed a friendly conversation for about ten minutes. When their conversation paused, the people below started to go up towards Rio and the others. It was a group of high ranking nobles led by Marquis Rodan and Duke Euguno, accompanied by their sons and daughters as attendants..
Normally, manners dictated that the ones to give the first greeting to the guests of honour or individuals of high status had to be those with the highest rank after the guests. At today’s party, save for the hero Sakata Hiroaki, Christina and Flora, Duke Euguno and Marquis Rodan who was the lord of Rodania had the next highest position in the social ladder among the nobles present.
As for Hiroaki, as soon as the party started, he ignored Christina, choosing not to greet her and the others, instead he took Roana along with him and chose to greet the daughters of lower ranking nobles attending the party.
When Duke Euguno and marquis Rodan reached halfway up the stairs towards Christina and co, they stopped and kneeled down towards them. The other nobles followed them. The men kneeled while the noble daughters bowed as they raised the cuffs of their dresses.
「Christina-sama, Flora-sama, this one is extremely delighted to see your unmatched figures together. Though I feel extremely uncomfortable to disturb you at this pleasant moment, may I ask permission for an audience? 」
Duke Euguno eloquently spoke first as the representative of the other nobles.
「Yes, I don’t mind. Please raise.」
Christina easily agreed with the request.
Duke Euguno bowed again and stood up.
「It seems everyone is enjoying the party.」
Christina looked around the venue with a smile on her face. The faces of the participants were bright as they enjoyed this party.
「Let’s just say that this result was natural. It began with your arrival in Rodania followed by the safe return of the Flora-sama who had mysteriously disappeared.」
Said duke Euguno in a good mood as he looked at Rio, the leading actor in this party.
「And all of this is thanks to Lord Amakawa. Dear me, I can’t even measure up to you.」
Marquis Rodan said as he smiled at Rio. Rio didn’t say anything untactful, he merely returned a smile to the marquis as if everything was as it should be.
「Yeah, we’ve a debt of gratitude that we could never pay back to Lord Amakawa.」
Heaving a sigh, Christina looked at Rio as if she was of the same opinion.
「Thus, it’s becoming even more important to show our gratitude. Nevertheless, despite the fact that we have gifted a mansion to Lord Amakawa, it doesn’t seem like he wants to settle down in Rodania just yet……」
Marquis Rodan said, still with a pleasant smile on his face even though his words had a hidden meaning behind them.
「Ahaha, you’re a little bit too hasty, Lord Rodan. Her highness Christina might have an idea about this matter.」
Duke Euguno spoke, as if he was rebuking Marquis Rodan, then he turned to look at Christina, waiting for her to respond to the mild probing they were doing.
The topic is going just the way we predicted. Now…what should I give to Lord Amakawa as a gift and as a way to shut these people up?
Christina thought as she mused over the fact that these guys were guiding the conversation intentionally. If she guessed it right, this conversation should be headed to talks of engagement. And when she thought up to that point, she felt rather depressed.
「I have a hard time deciding the reward. Because I can’t give him a reward while disregarding Lord Amakawa’s opinion.」
Christina diverted the topic with an answer that she had already prepared beforehand.
「You are right. Well the content of the reward aside, I wanted to personally relay my gratitude to Lord Amakawa. May I ask for your permission to do that? 」
Duke Euguno easily agreed, and then asked for permission to convey his gratitude to Rio.
「There’s no reason for me to refuse if Lord Amakawa is okay with it.」
Christina looked at Rio when she said that.
「…. Of course I have no reason to refuse it.」
Rio replied, shrugging his shoulders as he did so, but his face looked troubled.
「Well, I shall take this chance then. Lord Amakawa, there’s no amount of gratitude that is enough to express how grateful we are to you for saving her highness, Flora-sama. Thanks to your actions, the morale in Restoration has risen to a never seen before level. For that, I will say. Thank you very much」
Duke Euguno turned to Rio, showing the proper conduct of a noble who was expressing his gratitude as he eloquently delivered his short speech.
「Please don’t mind it, this matter was a complete coincidence and most of all, I’m glad to be able to help you.」
Rio shook his head, giving a polite and socially appropriate reply.
「Ahahaha, as expected, Lord Amakawa really has no wish for a reward. However, you’re still the savior of Christina-sama and Flora-sama, our kingdom’s two princesses. You should boast a little about that accomplishment, don’t you think?」
Duke Euguno said with a smile.
「Yeah. There’s no doubt that your feats are that of a Brave.」
Marquis Rodan nodded in agreement.
「… I’m undeserving of such honor.」
Rio honestly didn’t know how to reply to their words, therefore he could only smooth things out by smiling humbly.
「 Yes, it might be a little bit wrong to call your encounter with her highness Flora-sama a mere coincidence. Your encounter with her is more like a fateful meeting. Almost a miraculous one in fact.」
Duke Euguno said after a 「Humh」.
「I was equally surprised when I saw Flora-sama in the village of a foreign country.」
「I’ve heard the story. Lucius Orgaule…….. I never expected you to have such a connection with the man who used to be a noble of our kingdom. To be honest, he was a former candidate for the King’s Sword, but his house fell a long time ago. And now, he practically has no relationship whatsoever with our kingdom, but nevertheless, allow me to give my apologies as his distant relative.」
Duke Euguno said as he bowed to Rio. He might have heard his story from Christina when they parted ways after Celia’s lecture.
「Please don’t worry about such matters. It’s not your place to apologize for that person’s misdeeds.」
Rio shook his head in rejection.
「Hahaha. It feels like something that has been weighing my heart had lifted when you said those words. Well, this is a rare happy moment after all. Let’s stop the depressing talk at this point. ……. Christina-sama, Flora-sama, may I ask for the people waiting behind to give their greeting? 」
Duke Euguno glanced at the row of nobles waiting in line behind and then asked Christina and Flora’s permission to let them send their greeting.
「Yes, I don’t mind.」
Christina immediately agreed. This was already a tradition for this type of event. The people of lower social status would have to greet everyone who had higher status. And while the endless stream of greetings might grate on the nerve of high status people and make them uncomfortable, they still couldn’t exactly refuse their greeting unless they had special circumstances. [TL : This line is just too hard to translate, this is why I hate nobles]
Duke Euguno then bowed to Christina before moving to introduce every noble attending there at once. The one that came first was the head of the house of a family that had high social status.
「It’s pleasure to meet you, Christina-sama and Flora-sama.」
「Likewise, Lord Amakawa and Celia-kun.」
First, the noble gave a stereotypical greeting towards Christina and Flora, the royalties. It was only after that was done that they came to greet Rio and Celia. After the head of the house was done the noble daughters and sons standing behind them to offer their greetings were next.
「Please come here.」
The noble son and daughter who were called by their parents then went up the stairs, going to greet Christina and Flora first, just like what their father had done before.
「It’s been a while. Christina-sama, Flora-sama. It’s pleasure to meet you.」
「Yes, it’s my pleasure to meet you.」
Christina and Flora replied to the noble sons and daughter with experienced manners. This went on for some time until――、
「It’s been a while, Haruto-sama, Celia-sensei.」
「Your lecture is famous, you see. I wanted to attend your lecture again. It made me remember the times at the royal academy.」
Two particular girls came to greet Rio and Celia at once.
「Oh my, it’s been a while, Elise-san, and Dorothea-san too. Since you were……. at the party to celebrate Christina-sama’s arrival in Rodania, could it be that you have been acquainted with Haruto before? 」
After Celia replied to the two girls with a smile she tilted her head, Realizing that they knew Haruto beforehand. Despite Elise and Dorothea being Celia’s former students, and Rio’s classmates back at the royal academy, they didn’t seem to be aware of Rio’s identity.
「No, we were acquainted back at the evening party of the Galwark kingdom.」
Dorothea said, looking at Rio with a pleasant smile on her face.
「I, see now.」
Convinced, Celia sent a look to Rio.
「It’s nice to meet you again, Haruto-sama.」
Elise said as she stared at Rio’s face.
「Yes, it’s nice to meet you too again.」
Rio flashed an insincere smile towards her as he politely returned their greetings.
「I really really wanted to meet you again. Speaking of which, it’s really hard to find the time to enjoy a pleasant conversation with such a famous figure like you, Haruto-sama. Perhaps, later on, we can have an enjoyable talk together.」
Pursing her lips, Dorothea pushed herself at Rio, to make him more aware of her figure, unwilling to lose to Elise.
「Ahh, Dorothea, that’s cheating. I want to have a pleasant conversation with him too.」
Elise sulked like a child as she tried to appeal to Rio using an upturned gaze.
「Thank you very much for the invitation, Dorothea-sama, Elise-sama, I will send the invitation when I’ll have the time.」
Rio seemed to be having trouble maintaining his smile, but at the very least, he still managed to give them lip-service.
「Oh my, I’m looking forward to it.」
Elise and Dorothea replied at the same time, seemingly delighted with Rio’s ‘promise’.
「Fufufu, quite intimate, no.」
Celia commented idly, while unintentionally letting a wry smile out. During their time in the royal academy, both of them had given Rio a cold shoulder along with the other students purely because of Rio’s origin as an orphan. Yet, now, they were trying to curry his favor. Their actions were a bit ironic to Celia, since she knew Rio’s true identity.
「I would be happy if that were the case.」
Elise and Dorothea nodded with a satisfied face when they heard Celia’s comment.
「Hahaha, things seem to be quite lively here, no.」
Duke Euguno came along with other noble daughters.
「Yes. It’s by your grace.」[ED: I don’t know how many times I’ll say this, but…I LOATHE EXCESSIVE HUMILITY.]
Rio, who noticed them first, smiled at them.
「It seems that both Elise-kun and Dorothea-kun were looking forward to meet you once again, Lord Amakawa. The same goes for these girls. You may entertain them for as long as the time allows it.」
Duke Euguno spoke as he urged the noble girls behind him to join the conversation. Of course, that was only after they were done with their greetings towards Christina and Flora.
「Best regards then.」
The girls bowed respectfully as they practically surrounded Rio from all sides.
Rio could only nod his head while maintaining his genial smile, despite being surrounded. Sure, it was by girls, but still. He was surrounded.
「Well things might get lively when unmarried men and women gather together. So this old man here will leave you undisturbed.」
With that piece of wisdom, Duke Euguno left the place at once. It was clear from his words that he was trying to guide the way of the conversation, especially with his emphasized ‘unmarried’ part. And sure enough, the topic of the conversation didn’t stay that far from love affairs.
After a while, the conversation was starting to reach its peak when ――,