Chapter 193 : Report and Persuasion
Once Dryad and Aisia had left the room completely; Syldra, the high elf elder, started to speak and prompted everyone in the conference room to resume the meeting.
「Well, let’s continue our conversation, shall we? Do we listen to Rio-dono’s report first? Or do we tell him the reason Gouki-dono and the others came to this village first?」
「Uh, elders, let me explain our situation to Rio-sama first. Although I doubt Rio-sama will be surprised with our circumstance.」
Gouki volunteered to explain first, looking at Rio with a sheepish expression as he did so.
「I know the reason. Everyone came chasing after me, right? You guys think that just because I refused to be accompanied, it doesn’t mean that I refused to let you follow after me. Am I right?」
Rio said with a deep sigh. However, Gouki only grinned.
「At that time, I did say that I gave up and wouldn’t accompany you. So, Rio-sama departed toward the Strahl Region by himself, isn’t this the truth Rio-sama?」
Gouki said as he recalled that day’s conversation and Rio suppressed his urge to release another sigh as he chose to finish Gouki’s explanation out loud.
「And since I refused to be accompanied along the journey… You chased after me instead. Really, you shouldn’t do something so reckless you know.」
Everyone who heard this knows how creative, bold, and capable they were to be able to pull it off. Therefore, Rio only sighed, shocked by Gouki’s courage.
After all, to chase after him, Gouki and the others would have to brave many dangers. First, they would have had to go through the trackless wilderness where many ferocious beasts dwelled. Then, they would have had to handle the severe climate. Subsequently, they would need to deal with the forest foliages that were thick enough to the point that not even sunlight could shine through, making it easy for them to lose their way. Thus, it was obvious from these factors that they didn’t have an easy time even just to arrive at the Spirit Folks Village.
「Yes, the wilderness is a dangerous place indeed, but it was also a good place for training. Fortunately, we managed to arrive in this village without losing anyone along the way.」
Gouki replied in a nonchalant voice.
「… You’re the same as ever huh. Well, I guess it’s for the best that no one died during the journey.」
Rio ended up smiling when Gouki said he took the dangerous journey as training instead. However, he was still shocked to have the confirmation that they really had come chasing after him. Despite everything though, Rio couldn’t bring himself to scold him since he knew that they did not chase after him with a half-hearted resolution.
「Well, you refused us when we asked to go along with you due to our lack of skill. As such, we treated that journey as training. That being said, it was still a little bit too harsh for Sayo.」
Gouki commented as he looked at Sayo.
「I never expected you to actually bring Sayo-san along with you.」
Thus, when Sayo’s gaze met Rio’s――、
She lowered her gaze immediately.
「I’m the one who invited her because of how much she cares about you, Rio-sama. And despite the harsh journey, she overcame it without complaining.」
When Gouki said that, the atmosphere in the conference room became rather awkward, and everything fell silent. But soon, Rio rallied himself.
「Did you talk to Yuba-san and Ruri about bringing her? 」
Rio asked to make sure that Gouki had told Ruri, Rio’s cousin and Yuba, Rio’s grandmother about this matter.
「Naturally, I’ve gotten their approval.」
Rio sighed in relief when he heard that. Meanwhile, during that conversation, Sayo dipped down her head, embarrassed.
「Let’s talk again later, Sayo-san.」
But she immediately perked up and nodded her head eagerly when Rio spoke to her.
「Well then, may I ask the detailed story about how you ended up in this village? 」
Rio decided to move on with the topic and asked another question he wasn’t clear of.
「Ah, right. To tell the truth, Rio-sama… We arrived at this village by complete coincidence. We originally departed from Karasuki Kingdom a few days after Rio-sama’s departure, yet we only made it here around one month ago… And uh, after various circumstances happened, in the end, both sides became aware that we were acquainted with Rio-sama.」
「After we were aware, we told them that Rio-dono will visit this village again in the near future. When they heard that, and after listening to their arduous tale to chase you, we welcomed them as visitors from a far off place.」
Thus, both Gouki and the werefox elder, Ursula explained the situation to Rio in turn.
Since the situation really was as he had expected, Rio simply nodded in acceptance. But then, he looked at Gouki and the others with a slightly gloomy look in his eyes. He worried what kind of reaction Gouki and the others would show if he told them he had avenged his parents by killing Lucius. Furthermore, his acquaintances in the Spirit Folks village were gathered in the same room to boot, making it harder for himself. He couldn’t bring himself to tell Gouki and the others about his revenge.
But, he also considered the possibility that Gouki and the others may have told the villagers about Rio’s quest for revenge. After all, that matter was the main reason Gouki and the others came chasing after him. When Rio was deep in his own thoughts…
「Is there something that is weighing your mind, Rio-dono?」
Syldra asked as if guessing what transpired in Rio’s mind.
「…. No, it’s nothing. I guess this time… it is my turn to narrate what had happened to me during the time we were separated to Gouki-san and the others.」
Rio replied as he shook his head.
「Is this something secret? If it’s something that needs absolute secrecy, shall we take our leave?」
Ursula asked in a worried tone.
「There’s no problem with the elders staying, Ursula-sama. Besides, part of my story is also about the reason why I came back to the village. Everyone, how much have you heard about me from Gouki-san? 」
Rio asked Ursula and the others. Assuming that they’ve heard about his quest for revenge, he might be able to omit some parts of his stories.
「Well, you’ve guessed it already. We’ve heard various things about you from Gouki-dono and the others. Like the reason why they’re extremely loyal to you; the reason why they wanted to help you; and also the fact that your mother is a royalty from the Yagumo region along with the reason why you were born in the Strahl region. I’ve to say that you’ve such a painful past, Rio-dono.」
Heaving a sigh, Ursula replied to him with a bitter smile on her face.
「Is that including the fact that my mother was murdered by a certain man? 」
「…. Yes, we’ve heard about that too.」
Ursula nodded while the other villagers held their breath.
Rio slowly closed his eyes.
「First of all, my deepest apologies, we didn’t mean to dig up your past or your secrets during your absence. So, please do not blame Gouki-dono and the others for divulging your past. Everything happened by coincidence since we had to inquire their reason for traveling through the forest.」
Ursula followed up with explaining, supporting her previous statement while simultaneously subtly defending Gouki and the others. Then, she also apologized to Rio for breaching his privacy.
「Well, I don’t really mind it. Because in this case where both sides were unknown to the other party and only have one common ground. Naturally, both of you, who had no other common topics, would talk about me.」
Rio shook his head with a gentle smile. He knew that there was no way the village wouldn’t be in an uproar if Gouki and the others, in short, a group of humans were to suddenly enter the village en masse. Fortunately, both sides weren’t enemies as long as there were no hostilities from both parties.
「Fumu, so you predicted that development huh. We were reflecting on what we did to you in the past, so we held a meeting on the spot. And when they said your name, they were guided here for further discussion with us, the elders.」
「I’m glad that my name prevented unfortunate misunderstandings between the two groups.」
After he said so with a smile on his face――,
「Anyhow, assuming that you understand my circumstances, I should tell you the entire story. Gouki-san.」
He straightened his posture and then faced Gouki.
Gouki nodded obediently.
「One of the reasons why I returned to this village is because I’ve completed my business over in Strahl. I’ve avenged my parents.」
Rio frankly told them the fact that he killed Lucius.
Gouki was really surprised when he heard that news.
「Although I feel sorry for everyone since you guys no longer have a reason to chase after me even after coming this far… there’s no need for you guys to come to Strahl Region. As such, will you return to Karasuki kingdom now that you know that I’ve avenged my parents? Naturally, I’ll go with you since I’ve been planning to visit Karasuki kingdom too. And no need to worry about safety since we’re going to travel by flying which will also greatly shortens our travel time.」
Rio urged Gouki and the others to go back to Karasuki kingdom.