Chapter 191 : Reunion
When Rio, Latifa and the others landed on the Spirit Folk’s Village Plaza in front of the government building, unexpectedly, Rio was welcomed by Komomo and Sayo who should have been living in the Yagumo region.
Shocked, Rio stood still for a moment. Unexpectedly, he met the two girl’s again in this village even though they shouldn’t be here. But there could be no doubt about their identity since he had carefully checked it over. Though both of them looked like they had grown a little older after he left, he wouldn’t mistake them for someone else.
However, contrary to Komomo, who only looked at him with sparkling eyes, Sayo looked at him nervously. She seemed to be holding her breath, waiting for his rebuke. Furthermore, as soon as her eyes met Rio’s own, she suddenly averted her gaze.
Did she… come all the way here to chase after me?
Rio pondered as he stared at the two girls before him. He then recalled the matter when Homura, his grandfather, told him that he had given Gouki and the others as Rio’s retainer… which they had readily agreed to without hesitation, giving him a fierce headache.
However, his grandfather’s motive aside, Rio had no idea how in the world Gouki and the others had managed to reach the Spirit Folk Village. Furthermore, he saw that instead of the standard clothes used in Yagumo Region, these two were wearing the Spirit Folk’s Village garments.
By letting them wear these, it was basically a testament of the villagers’ trust and acceptance of their presence. Although he was relieved that the girls managed to get their trust and acceptance…
「…. Where is Gouki-san right now? 」
Rio asked after he expelled a sigh to calm his mind. His first priority right now should be enquiring Gouki’s location before grilling him for answers. Besides, Gouki and the others might have already known that Rio had arrived.
Today’s unexpected reunion after half a year of separation had surprised him. And though he had rejected Gouki’s and Sayo’s request to accompany him when he was about to leave Karasuki Kingdom, it didn’t mean that Rio wasn’t delighted with their meeting now. However, currently, he had some information he had to share.
「I’m right here if you’re looking for me… Originally, I thought you’d be surprised. However, I should have thought that you may have expected this situation. Then again, that suits your style of always being prepared for any kind of situation.」
Gouki’s figure appeared from the crowd of villagers who had gathered in the plaza. Following closely behind him was the figure of his wife, Kayoko.
「Hahaha, Still, I was rather surprised when Komomo and Sayo-san suddenly appeared in this village you know. How did you get here? 」
Rio asked Gouki, his surprise obvious.
「Well, we just accidentally stumbled upon this village when we were in the middle of chasing after you, Rio-sama. After various things happened, we ended up being allowed to stay in this village as it is…」
Gouki replied, slightly awkward as he recalled his experience to reach this village.
「If my memories serve me right, I should have already rejected your request to accompany me last time, right? 」
「That’s why we weren’t accompanying you. We were chasing after you!」
Gouki nodded his head as he confidently replied. He was practically saying he would accompany Rio with word play if he kept rejecting them, his own retainer.
「… Haaah, I understand. Right now, I have something to report to the village elders. So, shall we go together to the government building and meet them first?」
Rio sighed as he capitulated to his retainers’ stubbornness. Meanwhile, the girls giggled, watching the two men’s exchange in interest.
「Well, let’s go to meet the elders. You may come too, Komomo, Sayo.」
Sara, the eldest one among the girls, invited the two Yagumo girls along after receiving Rio’s permission. Rio then smiled at Aisia, who was standing by his side, asking her to come along too.
Aisia nodded, agreeing silently as she followed him.
「… By the way, Rio-sama, may I ask who that beautiful girl is?」
Gouki asked, looking at Aisia curiously. It was not only him, both Komomo and Sayo were also looking at Aisia, looking as though they were charmed by her.
「Her name is Aisia. My contract Spirit.」
At that, Rio suddenly realized they had yet to meet Aisia, so he introduced her to Gouki and the others.
「She is… a spirit. Huh, though I’ve gotten used to seeing them ever since we arrived in this village… I’ve never seen a spirit like her. Don’t tell me she is… the one they said to be legendary human type spirit?」
Gouki asked as he stared at Aisia, dumbfounded. After all, despite the popularity of Spirit Arts in the Yagumo Region, spirits’ existence was still something that wasn’t well known. Despite that, Gouki and the others had some fate to learn about such things now ever since they stumbled into this village. Even then, the existence of human type spirits was something they thought they would never see.
After all, human spirits’ existence was something that was at the very least Quasi-High rank or higher. And to the villagers of the Spirit Folk’s village, its existences could be said to be similar to their… Deity.
「Aisia was in a long slumber after she had formed a contract with me. So, she had just woken up not too long ago. As such, I’ve come to report her presence to the elders. Well, for more details, let’s wait until we have met the elders.」
Rio said, looking at Aisia with a helpless look.
「I’m Aisia, it’s nice to meet you.」
Aisia monotonously introduced herself, polite and distant as always.
「My… apologies for the late introduction. My name is Gouki. Behind me is my wife, Kayoko. Standing beside her is our daughter, Komomo, and her apprentice, Sayo.」
Gouki bowed to Aisia, proceeding to introduce the Yagumo members. And when he mentioned their names, each person that mentioned bowed to Aisia politely.
「I know about you guys. You are among the people Haruto cherishes after all.」
Aisia replied, short and to the point.
「O, Oh! It’s my greatest honor to know that Rio-sama regarded us that highly. Eh… Haruto? 」
Gouki smiled happily when he heard they were regarded highly by their Lord. Knowing that made their efforts and hardships worth it. Though, he became slightly confused when he heard Aisia calling Rio with an unfamiliar name. However, Rio soon cleared their confusion with his following words.
「It was the fake name that I used when I was in the Strahl region. I’ll tell you the rest later once I’m done reporting to the Elders. My situation on the Strahl side is rather complicated to be told with few words.」
Gouki and the others nodded. After that, they hurriedly went towards the meeting place of the Elders.
◇ ◇ ◇
A few minutes later, they arrived at the top floor of the government building. It was a floor that was dedicated solely for a conference. When they entered, the elders were already there, waiting. So, Rio and Aisia sat down while the others were standing or sitting depending on their wish.
「It’s been a while ever since you left on your journey, Rio-sama.」
One of the three elders there, the High Elf, Syldra greeted with his melodious voice, welcoming Rio back.
「Uhm, so Rio-sama’s contract spirit… Aisia-sama has woken up too. It is such a wonderful occasion to see it at the same time, today.」
Another elder, the werefox, Ursula nodded in agreement.
「Nevertheless, she turned out to be such a beautiful lady. The girls got such a powerful rival… heven’t cha?」
The third elder, the elder dwarf, Domonic grinned as he said that, looking at Latifa, Alma, Orphia, and Sara at the same time. However, his own granddaughter, Alma glared at him angrily and he averted his gaze; looking as if nothing had happened.
「Thank you very much. To tell the truth, I, in fact, could have returned to this village at an earlier time. But I still didn’t do so because there was another matter I had to attend to before.」
Rio said, flashing a slightly gloomy smile when he spoke. However, the others tactfully didn’t ask any questions about that as they diverted the conversation to other topics instead.
「Uhm. It’s alright. Though not as busy as Rio-dono, something also happened on our side after you left. Furthermore, there was the matter of Gouki-dono and the others’ arrival too. So, now I’m slightly confused from where I should start to tell you which matter was the most important, and which was the most troublesome one…」
Syldra waved the topic away as he laughed. And he wasn’t lying either. There were so many topics that they had to discuss, such as the matter of Gouki and the others coming to the village unbeknownst to Rio; or the matter of Aisia, a human type spirit, who had just awakened from her long slumber; and other matters Rio had yet to tell. So, being unsure of where to start with was only a matter of course.
「Well since our time is running short to talk about everything, shall I start to talk about Aisia’s awakening? Syldra-sama and the others also want to know about Aisia first and foremost, right? As for Gouki-san and the others… well, we’ll have time to slowly talk about that at a later time.」
Rio proposed to the elders before him, arranging the topics lest they go nowhere.
「Uhm, you’re right. Please, would you tell us what you know about her?」
Slydra asked, curious.
「Regrettably, I do not know much about her either. Her memories were rather vague. Not only that, she seems to be unable to remember the particular details about her contract with me. That’s why I thought that either the elders or Dryad-sama might know one or two things about her, but….」
Rio shook his head as he told them the matter related to Aisia.
「Her memories are… vague? Uhm, well actually we also do not have a clear understanding about Dryad-sama, a human type spirit. So, I guess our best choice is to call Dryad-sama to come to this meeting too.」
At that, Syldra exchanged gazes with both Dominic and Ursula, before they nodded their heads.
「Heyaaa, everyone big sis, Dryad is here~」
At that time, Dryad suddenly materialized from her spirit form, announcing her presence to the people in the conference room. What was unknown to everyone there was the fact that she had been observing and listening into their conversation before she did that.