Chapter 48: Towards the Journey
Just before the summer, Rio secretly met with the king and the queen.
Currently Rio was telling them how the agricultural reform that he was implementing in the village had begun to show results.
The agricultural land developed by Rio was showing many obvious forms of evidence that it would yield a much better harvest compared to the other land, and was rich with grains.
That difference was completely obvious. The villagers danced wildly while giving their gratitude to Rio. They then unanimously decided that they would start adopting the agriculture following Rio’s methods.
When hearing such a detailed story, Homura showed a deep interest in it.
Since the very beginning, Rio told that kind of story for the sake of baiting Homura’s curiosity, so that was according to his plan.
Rio did that to avoid gathering too much attention to the village by immediately spreading the technology. He considered that way to be the safest way to spread the technology.
By making Homura, the king, participate in it, he estimated that the plan would become a great achievement.
Rio explained everything, starting from the shape of the farming tools to the method of sowing the seeds, soil improvement[soil reform], the water wheel for drawing water, the creation of canal, etc.
Homura listened to his explanation with a serious expression. Even Gouki and Shizuku on the side were showing expressions of interest on their faces regarding that topic.
Homura was particularly interested at the water wheel for drawing water.
「I was able to hear a very interesting topic.」
Homura said that after talking for nearly one hour about it. He was really interested in it.
「Gouki, doesn’t that kind of method need an on-site survey immediately? If it turns out well, I think I’ll implement it within the kingdom starting next year.」
If Rio’s story were true, they had no choice but to implement that reform.
He left the investigation to his trusted subordinates. In addition, Homura planned to implement that method starting next year if there was a possibility for that.
If it was Gouki, it would also be easier to get Rio’s cooperation.
「Uhm, I’ll leave it to you. In case it has too many requirements, there’s no need to pay too much attention to it.」
The talk regarding that method continued for a while after that.
After the story passed the first stage, Homura winked to Gouki and Kayoko.
Afterwards, the Saga couple responded with their line of sight —-.
「Well then, Rio — 」
With a somehow humble expression, as if being affected by it, Homura spoke to Rio.
「We have something important to tell you today.」
Rio asked with a puzzled tone.
An unusual atmosphere exuded from Homura.
Rio straightened his back to accept anything that would come head-on.
「Ah. It’s related to your revenge.」
“Prick,” Rio’s eyebrows twitched.
They had never talked regarding the topic of his revenge so far. It somehow became their mutual silent agreement.
It was a very sensitive topic. Even if it was accidentally unfolded in the conversation, it would only cause more resentment.
「What kind of matter?」
As long as that kind of topic surfaced, was there something else to talk about except for his pent-up resentment?
Rio looked at Homura who straightened his back a little.
Homura peered deep into Rio’s eyes, who asked that question.
The yellowish brown pupils were gazing straight to reality.
They had no hesitation or indecision.
When looking at such good eyes, Homura wondered about the innumerable number of people that come into contact with it.
「……. I also hate that man called Lucius. The truth is, I really want to help you with my own hands. But unfortunately I can’t leave this kingdom」
「That’s only natural …… 」
Though he had yet to understand Homura’s real intentions, Rio said the most appropriate words.
Since Homura was the ruler of this kingdom.
And for such a man, even if his daughter was murdered, it was only a matter of fact that he was unable to avenge her death by going to a faraway land and leaving his kingdom behind.
「That’s why, though it’s just few, I can at least lend my vassals to you. They’ll assist you instead of Shizuku and me[washi]. You can use them as much as you like」
Being bombarded by surprise after surprise, Rio unintentionally stiffened.
It just came out of nowhere.
Homura was a little amused when he looked at Rio’s dumbfounded expression.
「N-No, but, doing something like that is ….. 」
Though his mind finally caught up to the situation, even so, Rio was still perplexed.
The words that were just spoken by Homura reverberated in Rio’s ears.
It seemed he really mean it when he said those words.
Or his ears might just be mistaking something.
「I’ll give 10 of my vassals to you. All of them are the ones you met back in the village when you met Gouki for the first time」
At that time, there were exactly 10 people, including Gouki and Kayoko.
「Don’t tell me …… Gouki-dono and Kayoko-dono too?」
Rio was speechless due to that absurdity.
「That’s right. These two already gave their own volition to come too」
Homura answered with a calm tone.
「…….. If Gouki-dono went missing from the kingdom, wouldn‘t that cause no small trouble?」
Gouki was a senior samurai of the kingdom.
With his “Ikkitousen” prowess, along with his faith and achievements that were piling up in the kingdom, undoubtedly if Gouki abandoned all of that it would cause no small trouble to the kingdom by suddenly going missing.
「I’ve already made arrangements for that situation. I’ll slowly spread rumours regarding Gouki’s retirement to the whole kingdom. It’s nothing strange for someone at his age to retire. As a matter of fact, he was already giving this matter much consideration」
Hearing those words, Rio was dumbfounded.
Despite the informal place, the king himself made a very important statement regarding his vassal Gouki, who was also the chief of his vassals.
It seemed they already made the necessary arrangements.
Though he knew about that, Rio had a hard to describe feeling.
「Gouki’s-dono son and daughter will come too, right? What about them ? 」
The Saga couple had Hayate and Komomo.
Though he heard they had a second and third son close to Hayate’s age, he had never met them.
What would they do about them?
「The ones who’ll go are Gouki and Kayoko ………. maybe Komomo will be following too. In that case your fellow travelers would increase to 11 people」
Saying that, Homura was looking at Gouki and Kayoko.
「Yes. Though we’ll be taking Komomo along, her siblings will be left behind in this region」
Gouki replied with an unwavering tone.
「Strahl region isn’t the kind of place where you can easily come to and leave, you know? It’ll take several months of traveling by foot even for someone on Gouki-dono’s level」
Since there were some steep terrains along the journey, it would make the movement speed fall if they were travelling by foot, unless they took a detour, which was even more time consuming.
Though it was possible to shorten that time if they were flying with spirit arts, like in Rio’s case, it would become a difficult journey if they were only strengthening their physical ability with spirit arts.
Even if they were travelling like that till Strahl region, there was no positive proof that Lucius was still alive.
And yet they said something like following him all the way to that place, which would make it difficult for them to go back to their homes; did they truly understand the meaning of their statements?
Thus Rio was perplexed.
「The position of family head will be handed to Hayate. There’s nothing in this kingdom that will hinder me in following Rio-sama」
「No, that’s the problem ………. Did you already discuss this matter with Hayate-dono and his brother? 」
Even Hayate and his brother would be shaken if their parents vanished for no reason.
What would they think about Gouki leaving the kingdom.
「They’ll become samurai sooner or later. The preparation to be separated with their parents was already done a long time ago. I already explained the truth secretly to Hayate」
「But it’ll cause similar problems by accompanying me travelling to other places, right ……… No matter what kind of order it is, being lost on your way to return to this place, after going to a foreign place is just too much」
「The other people also have no objection to accompany Rio-sama. They have a little special circumstances, each one of them is member of the dark side[anbu]. There’s no need to worry that they’ll become a hindrance, since they’ve no family, highest loyalty, and have mastered of full set of skills」
Rio was unable to close his mouth.
While it might be true that they were sons of samurai, how were they allowed to be separated from their parents.
Even if it was painful when they were together, they would feel unsatisfied.
It seemed the king’s life was the reason that the retainer was unable to refuse that order.
Even so, there must be some orders that they couldn’t follow.
「While that might be true, there’s no need to abide such an order, right? Since I’m fine with going alone」
Rio said that as if indirectly trying to refuse that proposal.
「It’s great since even I can’t forgive that Lucius. Today’s matter is mine and Kayoko’s personal wish for something we were unable to achieve in the past. There’s no doubt that it’s our long cherished ambition to follow Rio-sama」
「………. But it doesn’t mean the others think that way too, right」
「The other people are the people who are serving the Saga family. Their loyalty is extremely high. They’re also more than happy to follow us」
The Saga couple had already resolved their heart.
Rio was speechless as he didn’t know what he should say to them.
「……. As I thought, I can’t receive such help. Though I’m happy with your feelings, this is something that I must accomplish by myself」
After a brief silence, he made his resolution; Rio refused their help with a firm tone.
「Mu~, As I thought, it came to this, huh ….. 」
Homura said those words while smiling wryly, as he somehow anticipated Rio’s refusal for his assistance beforehand.
「But, you see. This is not your problem alone. We’re also sharing similar hatred to that Lucius. This is where we should make a distinction. I don’t wish for you to carry the burden of revenge by yourself」
Even if they wanted to bring judment to Lucius, he didn’t know the reason why they so strongly wishing to accompany him.
It was different if they were travelling as a comrade, for Rio was strongly opposed to them following him as his vassal.
He didn’t understand what he should do when he suddenly received a pledge of allegiance.
The meaning of those words were also that he would be burdened with the lives of his vassals.
It would only cause many problems, even if they were accompanying him that way.
It would bring a problem to his relationship with the Seirei no Tami if he brought to too many humans to their community, and would obstruct his movement speed, compared to when he was travelling alone.
「There’s a very great difference between me and Gouki-dono’s movement speed. I’m even sure that Gouki-dono wouldn’t be able to catch up to my speed」
As he had no choice left, Rio spoke of one of his reasons that he didn’t wish for them to accompany him.
「Though I hear from Gouki that you excel at Spirit arts, even so, the ones who will follow you are only consisting of first-rate spirit arts users, even in this kingdom, you know? I don’t think that they will be unable to follow …… 」
As he didn’t know the means of Rio’s movement, Homura spoke as if bewildered.
「It’s because I’ll be flying in the sky」
‘When saying that, it couldn’t be helped if that person would be deemed as an insane person’ Rio ridiculed himself.
「Fly ……. ing?」
Sure enough, Homura showed a dubious expression, as he was unable to measure the meaning of Rio’s words.
「It’s something like this」
Rio decided to show it to make it easier for them to understand.
The air inside the room rose, and then condensed, as if enclosing Rio’s surroundings. Rio’s body was floating in the air as if it have buoyancy.
Homura and the others looked at that spectacle.
「Though I was just floating right now, with its movement, I can fly quite fast in the sky」
Rio gave his explanation to Homura and the others, who were still dumbfounded.
「Is that spirit arts? ……. Doing something like that is ………. Gouki, do you know someone who can do something like this? 」
Even if he was a spirit user himself, as far as he knew, Homura didn’t know anyone who could do something like Rio, so he asked Gouki with a dumbfounded expression.
「……. No one. Though, I can blow my body with a squall. If it comes to floating with stability in the middle of air …….. 」
Gouki also answered with a dumbfounded expression, as he was still unable to take his eyes off of the figure of Rio, who was floating in the air.
As expected, as it needed continuous minute control of Odo, even just by controlling the stability while floating couldn’t be done with half-hearted power control.
「By the way, I can move as fast as someone running normally by strengthening his physical ability with spirit arts, ignoring any kind of obstacle; be it mountain, valley, or forest」
Rio adding such information at the end of his explanation.
Traveling long distance with them would only reduce his own movement speed, as expected, Rio still wanted to decline Homura’s offer.
In addition, he also wanted to visit the village of the Seirei no Tami.
He, who was for some reason accepted as their sworn friend, there was a very high possibility that it would turn into an awkward situation if he was being accompanied by Gouki and the others.
Though they might get the permission to enter if Rio requested for it, it would be with a not so nice face.
「Mu~, certainly, it would only become a hindrance if they were travelling along with you ………. 」
Homura placed his hand on his chin, as if pondering deeply about it.
「Okay. I’ll stop requesting your permission for that matter more than this for now. But, you must keep this matter in one corner of your head. Since you might change your mind before your departure」
「Understood ………. 」
Rio replied, despite thinking that it might be that he didn’t need that.
One week after that, there was Komomo’s figure walking next to Rio.
Wearing a purple colored kimono, her happy smile gathered attention inside the village with that cuteness of hers. [TL : YES LOLITA, NO TOUCH!]
Furthermore, next to her was the kingdom’s technical officers and Gouki.
Komomo aside, the reason Gouki and the others came to the village was to conduct the site survey of the agricultural reform in the village.
In order to guide Gouki, Rio was explaining the improvement points of the agriculture while they were walking in the village.
「Rio-sama！It’s turning round and round to pick water! This is the water wheel right! 」
When he was guiding Komomo and Gouki to the water wheel, Komomo’s eyes was sparkling when she was looking at the water wheel that was drawing water bit by bit.
「That’s the water wheel for drawing water. To actually see this kind of masterpiece ……. 」
Even Gouki was dumbfounded on seeing the spectacle of the water being drawn by the water wheel.
The technical officers next to him also starred pop-eyed at the structure.
「The structure isn’t particularly that complex. This article is currently running by using the dynamic force of the water flowing in the river to —- 」
Thus Rio explained the structure of the water wheel.
Gouki and the others were listening earnestly as to not miss any information from Rio’s explanation.
Rio politely answered the questions being asked to him by the technical officers after he was done with his explanation.
After that, Rio guided them to various places in the village, while explaining every work involved in the agricultural reform.
「How’s that, can it be implemented?」
「Yes! This is already a technological revolution! Even if it’s just the water wheel for drawing water it is enough merit to be deemed as the service for agricultural reform of our kingdom」
The technical officers answered as if being excited by Gouki’s question.
They decided to stay in this village for a while to wring out the technology.
「Well then, Rio-sama. I can say that this is worthy of travelling all the way here ……」
With the technical officers by their side exchanging their opinion about this and that, Gouki addressed Rio.
「Regarding this matter, I didn’t wish for it to be conveyed [using my name], can I? I myself didn’t really wish to become famous within the kingdom, so I shouldn’t do something that will gather too much attention, right? 」
They decided during their secret meeting, a few days prior, that the name of the initiator of the technology, and that Rio’s wouldn’t be published.
They were firmly reminding the technical officers to guard that secret; he even declined the idea of a fee from Homura.
「Though I agree with you. I also received a strict order to give courteous gratitude from his majesty. I’ll bet my life to stop it if there’s someone who wants to take advantage of that information to gain something. Isn’t it just natural for me to do that ? 」
「Even if you say that ….. 」
「Anything is fine. It’s been decided that we won’t give it unless it’s a treasure」
Gouki’s tone was firm.
Even if he was somehow evading an answer, it was as if that matter was already dealt with and he had already received the compensation.
Even if he made an excuse in that place, he would bring up a similar reason immediately, and eventually give the treasure.
「I …….. See. Well then, is it okay to think about it for a while ? 」
Being unable to give an answer immediately, Rio tried to get some time before answering.