Chapter 179.2 : Dissatisfaction Filled Party
「Come to think of it, have you ever considered a marriage, Haruto-sama? 」
Dorothea went straight to the point. And when that was mentioned, the attention of every noble girl, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, converged on Rio. Including Celia’s. She was staring at him with an extremely curious face, wondering what Rio would say in the face of that question.
「…… Not for now.」
Rio briefly paused when he heard that question but still easily replied.
「Well, is that really the case? 」
The noble girls, including Elise and Dorothea, stared at him. It was the same for Celia. They were wondering whether he was being truthful or not.
Facing the girl’s wondering question, he just smiled wryly even as he nodded in confirmation that yes, he truly hadn’t thought of marriage just yet.
「May I ask for a bit of your time, Lord Amakawa, Celia-sensei? 」
At that moment, Christina came near Rio’s crowd. Flora by her side. They called Rio and Celia, not minding the line of noble sons who were standing idly behind them, Perhaps it was because the two princesses had already finished up their conversations with the noble sons, so there would be no obligation to further entertain them and that was why they now had the time to come save Rio from the hungry wolves called ‘Noble Girls’.
「If it isn’t Christina-sama and Flora-sama.」
Rio’s reply to the two princesses was not only adhering to the propriety but also tinged with relief. At the same time, the noble girls and Celia nodded to the princesses.
「It’s about time, let’s begin the dance session. Since Lord Amakawa is today’s leading actor, I think it’s better if he opens the dance session with you.」
Christina said as she looked at Rio and Celia.
「Me and……….. Haruto? 」
Surprised, Celia looked at Rio with a dumbfounded face. On the other hand, Flora was also surprised due to Christina’s unexpected idea.
「Yes. Yes, since Lord Amakawa’s partner tonight is Celia-sensei who he reunited with after such a long time.」
Christina said, casting a sidelong glance at Flora.
The meaning of an unmarried nobleman taking along a noble girl to party as his partner was really clear and simple. It was to show that their relationship was intimate. Though the definition of that ‘intimate’ relationship usually needed to be made clear first, and that was the main goal of the noble girls who approached and surrounded Rio……
However, Christina’s sudden approach had changed the flow of the conversation, making it awkward for people to persist in questioning Rio with her there. And, as long as Rio accepted Christina’s offer, then the noble girls would have no choice but to abandon their quest of seeking information on Rio’s love life.
「Well, I shall take this chance then. Will you dance with me, Celia? 」
Reading the mood, Rio offered his hand to Celia.
「……. Yes. With pleasure.」
Rio gently caught the hand that Celia offered to him. As he did so, the noble girls, who didn’t get the chance to have the first dance with him, were staring daggers at the two of them. They didn’t do anything though as they couldn’t disagree with Christina’s words. It would mean that they were disregarding the first princess’s order after all. And not even Flora could do that without some consequences befalling onto her, so she could only look at Rio and Celia with a somewhat envious look on her face.
「Lord Amakawa. If possible, please dance with Flora after this.」
Understanding Flora’s feeling, Christina proceeded to ask Rio to become Flora’s dancing partner after this first dance. The reason for her action was because of the stigma attached to a woman who was of royalty to ask for a man of lower status to become her dancing partner. Unless, of course, another woman of a similar royal status insisted that the man do that. In that case, rather than scorning the woman, it’d be the man who’ll be considered as rude for refusing such a recommendation. [Ed: Get the sticks out of your asses nobles]
「Yes, it would be my honor to become Flora-sama’s dancing partner. 」
When Rio agreed, Flora’s face flushed red. However she was still smiling brilliantly, delighted even with such a crimson face. Thus, with Christina’s decision, the performers, who were standing by at the corner of the venue as they waited for their turn to play the tunes for the dance, started their performance.
「Well then, Flora-sama. I’ll come back to you later. Shall we go first, Celia.」
After he gave a salute to Flora, Rio took Celia to descend to the dancing floor below. They immediately became the center of the attention. Though several pairs were already there at the center of the hall which had been turned into a dancing stage, the eyes of the spectators were nailed to Rio and Celia.
「Come to think of it, this is the first time I’m dancing with you in a formal occasion like this.」
Smiling lightly, Rio commented, trying to lighten the tension as they faced each other in the middle of the dancing stage.
「Come to think of it, you’re right.」
Celia replied with a slightly awkward voice.
「Are you worried about these people? 」
Taking in their surroundings, Rio asked Celia who was being bashful.
「EH? Ah, uhm. Not really I guess.」
For a moment, she looked like she was bewildered. Still, once the question registered properly in her mind, Celia immediately shook her head in denial.
「Is that true? 」
It was now Rio’s turn to be bewildered.
「Yes……….. Will you take the lead? 」
Celia asked Rio, looking at him with an upturned gaze and a bit of a pout on her small lips.
「Best regards then」
Rio’s agreement made Celia smile a brilliant smile that came from the bottom of her heart, delight filling every corner of it. Then, taking each other’s hands, they moved closer to each other. They were so close that their bodies were almost touching each other. Next, Rio’s other hand moved to circle Celia’s waist, surprising her.
Though Celia was surprised by his action, she didn’t let that stop her next action as she circled her other hand gently on Rio’s shoulder. Thereupon, as if waiting for them to finish their preparation, the performers started their music.
Rio led Celia, moving their body around as he swung them alongside the melody. And despite moving continuously, only their dancing partner’s face was in their vision. Everytime they turned around, the cuff of Celia’s dress would hovered in the air for a moment like a beautiful petal.
Before they could notice, the first turn had ended. Even though Celia wanted that moment to continue on forever, it had already passed in an instant, allowing the reverberating sound of the audiences clasping their hands to pierce through the veil of the world the two of them created in the middle of their dance.
「It’s already over? That’s unfortunate. I’ve enjoyed it, Haruto.」
Celia said, a clear disappointment in her tone.
「I wanted to continue dancing with you, but doing so would be a breach of manners. If possible, do you want to dance with me again later on? 」
Rio proposed with a gentle smile on his face.
「Yes, with pleasure! 」
Celia nodded happily.
「Well then, up we go. To where Flora-sama’s waiting for us. 」
She said as she looked upstairs. Standing there was Flora’s figure, restlessly waiting for her turn to dance with Rio.
Rio took Celia’s hand and went towards the stairs. And when they were almost there, he let go of Celia’s hand and went for Flora.
「If I’m not wrong, you shouldn’t have any dancing partner yet, right? 」
Rio kneeled before Flora as he offered his hand in a gentle manner,
「Ye-Yeah. Likewise, please take care of me too. 」
Flora immediately agreed, trying her best to suppress her excited tone. They descended the stairs and proceeded to the dancing floor, arriving just when the second tune began.
Throughout the dance, Flora was secretly peeking at Rio’s face with a bashful expression. And while she felt that she had already mastered dancing due to her education as part of royalty, she ended up making a slip or two due to how tense she was. Nevertheless, Rio managed to cover each and every one of her slips skillfully, letting no one notice the flaws in it. As such, it looked like it was quite a splendid dance when seen from the side.
And there were many people watching this pair. Flora’s return after her disappearance and Haruto Amakawa’s role in bringing her back made them the focus of the nobles in the venue, especially when they were paired like this. It was not only the nobles who were focusing on them though. Sakata Hiroaki, the hero, was also one of those who was watching the pair.
A while later, their dance had finally ended, and a thunderous applause resounded in the venue. The fact that the clasping sound still resounded show just how much the nobles were charmed by Rio and Flora’s dance. In the midst of such atmosphere――,
Hiroaki snorted with a sulking expression on his face as he looked at Flora and Rio’s back, who was already walking on the way upstairs once again. By his side, Roana’s anxious figure was already fretting over the problems that might happen.
◇ ◇ ◇
「Thank you very much, Haruto-sama. I ended up making several missteps. And yet you somehow manage to cover for me! I really enjoyed the dance with you! 」
Flora’s voice was somewhat excited when she spoke as they went upstairs.
「Likewise, it’s thanks to Flora-sama that I got the chance to enjoy such a dream-like experience. 」
Rio said, smiling pleasantly at her. After that short conversation, everything was silent, with Flora stealing glances at Rio’s side profile as they walked side by side. While she would usually feel awkward when she didn’t know what to say, with Rio, she didn’t feel anything of the sort. As such, they were silent when they finally returned upstairs where Christina and Celia were waiting for them.
「Thank you very much, Lord Amakawa. Flora seems to have really enjoyed it.」
Christina was smiling kindly once Rio and Flora reached her position.
「Likewise, it’s been my greatest honor to be allowed to dance with Flora-sama. 」
Said Rio as he smiled at Christina. Thereupon――、
「U-Uhm. If it’s okay with you, will you dance with my sister next, Haruto-sama? 」
Flora said as if the idea just occured to her mind.
「Me and…….. Lord Amakawa? 」
Flora’s sudden suggestion left Christina extremely bewildered. She turned to look at Rio awkwardly once her mind completely registering and accepted her sister’s words. Meanwhile, the other dressed up noble girls were still loitering around them, as if they were waiting for their chances to dance with Rio. And, if Rio did accept Flora’s suggestion, it would make them think that he wouldn’t dance with a girl who was less charming than Christina, Flora, and Celia.
「Yes. My sister has rarely ever dance even during a dance party, thus taking this chance…….」
Flora stated her intention with an awkward voice.
「But ……. 」
Christina glanced at Rio, expression slightly tense.
「I’m more than willing if Christina-sama agrees to dance with me.」
Rio who could read the mood said.
「…… Yes, same with me.」
Christina’s cheeks were flushed red, something that had rarely happened. But then, another person went up the stairs. It was Hiroaki.
He walked briskly until he arrived at Rio and the other’s side, then greeted them with a nonchalant expression.
「If it isn’t hero-sama, are you enjoying the party? 」
Christina greeted Hiroaki who finally made his appearance.
「Uhm, yes, well, that aside. I’m enjoying the party in one of the corners of the venue as the supporting character, you know? I saw the dance with Flora a while ago. Will you dance with him too, Christina? 」
Hiroaki said as he looked at Christina, Flora and Rio in turn. To his credit, he did try to hide his true feelings with a smile, but the tone of his voice and the ire in his eyes couldn’t fool anyone there.
Christina’s reply was nonchalant. No one knew why the reply was so apathetic. Perhaps it was because she could see through Hiroaki’s intention or maybe it was because she was just ignoring the obvious elephant in the room. But, in the end no one knew anything about it because no one could see her expression when she spoke.
「Humph, you seem to be extremely pampered. Oh well, it’s the birth of a new brave after all.」
Hiroaki said as he squinted his eyes, looking at Rio.
「I am not qualified to have such a title. Brave is a title that is just right for hero-sama.」
Rio replied without a shred of hesitation in his voice.
「Don’t be so humble. You’ve got so much attention on you, you see. You’re like everyone’s idol. That’s your true worth. But that also makes me more curious since you got so much attention, you know? I wonder how strong you are.」
Hiroaki snorted, looking at Rio with a daringly. Hiroaki’s empty rambling made Rio wonder what it was that he was trying to tell him.
「… I’m undeserving of such an honor.」
Rio’s reply was safe. Unprovoking and unthreatening. But he still kept up his vigilance. There was no telling what Hiroaki wanted after all. Meanwhile, Christina’s expression showed that she thought that Hiroaki was planning something, so she chose to see how the situation would develop. That was not the case with Celia and Flora. Not suspecting anything, they just looked at Rio worriedly.
「Thus, I thought of a sideshow for this party….」
Hiroaki suddenly made a declaration――、
「How about a duel between you and me? 」
Just when everyone wondered what he was about to say, Hiroaki suddenly proposed a duel against Rio.