Chapter 51: Toward Seirei no Tami Village
Time goes back a little to the 999th year of the sacred calendar, in late autumn.
Rio, who left the village was walking towards a small, desolate village which was far from highway.
Reciting the aria to use the item box, Rio took out a shiny blue gem from the grey colored little whirlpool that appeared in a nearby space.
That was a spirit tool called transfer crystal, which had a counterfeit effect called “transfer” towards the “originally recorded coordinates” for the transfer crystal, from Rio’s current coordinates.
Then, in order to use its function, he recited the keyword[aria] to activate its effect.
Thereupon, a blue vortex in space wrapped up Rio’s body.
The vortex then expanded to a 3 metre radius with Rio in its center.
In the next moment, the vortex vanished along with Rio’s body, and when he noticed, he was standing in the “origin” point, recorded by the transfer crystal.
Because that was the first time he had use it, Rio’s eyes opened slightly wider due to the instantaneous change in the scenery.
Spreading around him was the scenery that he dearly missed.
「It seems that I came back safely ……….. 」
Rio said that while smiling lightly.
In the gentle sunlight that traversed between the leaves of the forest, he inhaled the fresh air and filled his lungs with it.
The transfer crystal, still in his hand, had lost the majority of its Odo charge inside it, the color had darkened from blue to almost black.
With that, it was no longer possible for him to instantly return to the Karasuki kingdom.
Rio felt slightly lonely, as they were being separated by far distant in only a moment.
Rio looked a bit absentmindedly at the surrounding scenery while he felt a slight melancholy.
His location was a fountain near Seirei no Tami.
They called that place a Spirit Vein, he knew about the high density of the mana* in that place.
When he set the origin coordinate of transfer crystal, if he had chosen a place with less constant amount of mana density than that place, the amount of odo needed for the transfer would have increased by large amount.
「Anyway, I should meet them first」
When he arrived in that place, Rio had already confirmed that that place was Seirei no Tami with his highly skilled perception.
By using odo visual perception, the Seirei no Tami, who were also highly skilled in the perception of mana and odo, sensed that disturbance and could guess that, with spirit arts, it was some kind of magic.
On the other hand, not only odo perception, the human race, who couldn’t sense mana or see odo, whether it was magic or spirit arts being used, they were poor at noticing them unless it was used right before them.
And, there was a wide magical barrier that surrounded Seirei no Tami village that would give a reaction once an unidentified intruder with a fixed amount of odo was confirmed.
In addition, there was the existence of the other races, with keen noses, and the people who used spirits, that had exceptional perception ability.
If the intruders were appearing within the proximity, they would instantly be detected, just like in Rio and Latifa’s case.
Ahead of Rio was the town center of Seirei no Tami village.
He would be able to see a huge plantation in the cleared forest if he walked a little more inside the forest.
There was no crops that wouldn’t grow for the Seirei no Tami, who could freely manipulate earth and water spirit arts.
As long as they had the seeds, they can use whatever kind of methods to raise difficult plants, they could also raise it by using Dryad’s knowledge, the spirit of the great tree.
Rio walked forward while enjoying the surrounding scenery.
He could hear a voice that he really missed, from somewhere.
Rio looked at his surroundings.
Thereupon, the owner of the voice appeared ——–.
He could then hear it clearly.
The voice of a girl.
It was a girl who he regarded as his little sister in his heart.
And that person was coming towards Rio without concealing her signs.
He didn’t know anyone but one person who called him that way.
Rio reflexively smiled happily.
「Onii-chan！ Onii-chan! 」
And there, the girl that he guessed ran with considerable velocity towards Rio.
The girl smiled ear to ear as she ran towards him while Rio also smiled back at her.
And then, he looked at her appearance.
The girl, Latifa, had grown considerably during the time she didn’t meet Rio.
She would be turning 13 years old soon.
To latifa, that was running at him, Rio called her name in a gentle voice.
「Eei~t …… 」
Just like that, the rushed Latifa tightly hugged Rio.
She was growing indeed, her height increased, and her body was becoming a more woman-like body.
Though being pushed back a little, he caught her by strengthening his body and physical ability in a moment.
「I’m home, Latifa」
Rio muttered those words in her ears as he feel the warmth that was coming from her body.
Latifa smile blooming in full bloom as she looked up at Rio’s face.
Latifa buried her cute face in Rio’s chest.
「Welcome home, welcome home！」
「Yeah, I’m home」
After gently patting her head and telling her “I’m home” again, he looked toward Latifa’s back.
「Good day Sara-san, it seems you’re also lively today」
Rio greeted the girl that come slightly late, after Latifa.
Her beautiful silver hair was extended down her back and she looked at Rio with her transparent green pupils.
It seemed she had also grown a little and become more woman-like.
「A, Ye, Yes. Welcome back! Rio-san」
She addressed Rio, when her eyes met with Rio’s, the silver wolf beastwoman Sara replied with a flustered face.
「Is there something wrong ？」
Rio looked with puzzled eyes to that girl’s reaction. [ED: we just went through this with Sayo!]
「Ah, no, it’s just that somehow Rio-san’s atmosphere has changed considerably …….. 」
Though she felt the powerful heart from before, somehow Sara couldn’t recognise Rio for a moment.
Now, she couldn’t even feel any weird signs oozing along the lines of his muscles.
He still left no openings as usual, it could be that he had become even more powerful than before.
His figure become a little robust.
When she looked at Rio like that, Sara quickly turned her eyes when their eyes meet for the second time.
「Is that so？ Well maybe because I’ve grown a bit taller. Well we should enter the village first, right」
Just like that, with Latifa sticking like glue to his arm while letting out a loose smile, Rio stepped up to meet Sara.
With Rio’s height, that was a little bit in excess of 180cm (5.9ft), made even Sara, who was standing close to him, look up to see his face.
Sara looked up at Rio’s face right from the front.
「Even if you’ve become taller, but, how should I say, you seems become more adult-like」
Though his atmosphere had calmed down since before, at that time his feature were still that of an innocent one.
In addition, it seemed his mentality also grew during his journey.
Surely, that kind of atmosphere was oozing out of him.
That was what she thought.
「Aren’t you coming along with the others？」
「Ahahahaha, when we were in the middle of a tea party in Asura-sama’s house, though when we noticed the mana and odo fluctuation at the fountain where the transfer magic formation was spread out, Latifa just suddenly dashed with all her power」
At that time, since Oufia and Alma had yet to arive, Sara was the only one who chased after Latifa.
Perhaps, Oufia and Alma also sensed the fluctuation of odo and mana.
The two of them [Sara and Latifa] stood up and put Rio between them and, just like that, they were walking naturally toward the town.
「Is that so. Since I brought some souvenirs with me, please look forward to it」
They passed many of Seirei no Tami’s people along the way when they walked under the dim winter sunlight, chatting with each other.
Many of them greeted him when they saw him walking along with Sara and Latifa.
「Ah, Rio onii-sama！ You’ve returned. Welcome home! 」
「Ooh, Welcome back , Rio-aniki.」
Incidentally, when they passed one of the many plazas in the village, they were greeted by Asran the lion beastman youth and Sara’s little sister, Bell.
「I’m home guys」
Bell let out a friendly smile on her face.
Though Asran showed a little complicated face when he saw Latifa sticking so close to Rio, he still smiled obediently to welcoming Rio’s return.
Rio replied to them with smile on his face.
When Asran and Bell walked along with them, naturally latifa’s other friends came and gethered and, before they noticed it, it already became quite a big group.
「AAah, it’s Rio-nii！」
「Has he returned？」
「Didn’t he go to outside of the village？」
「Will you tell us about the outside world？」
「Prese~nt ple~ase？ 」
「Did you become taller, Rio onii-chan？ 」
Maybe because they were interested in the outside world, the boys and girls were throwing their questions at Rio at the same time.
「You lot, there’s no way Rio-sama can answer your questions if all of you’re asking at the same time. Please think of taking turns to ask」
As the boys and girls become more excited with their questions, Sara reprimanded them with a shocked expression.
Even so, nothing could stop those enthusiastic boys and girls, thus they kept moving with those kinds of lively voices.
Sara peaked at Rio’s visage from his side as he answered their questions with a calm smile.
With that unconscious action, Sara herself didn’t know why she was unconsciously looking at Rio.
At that time, a gentle gust of wind caressed Sara’s face.
「Welcome back, Rio-san！」
When the wind carried that clear and beautiful voice, a girl with lustrous gold colored hair, and wearing a white colored one piece, gently landed.
With an angelic action, and friendly smile floating on her face, the high-elf girl Oufia sent her greetings to Rio.
She also grew a little as she became more and more beautiful.
「Ha~ha~h, welcome back Rio-san. It’s been awhile」
A little delayed, from the opposite direction of Oufia, was a red haired girl with a small build, and with pale brown colored hair was also sending her greeting to Rio.
The elda dwarf girl, Alma, ran towards Rio’s place while gasping slightly.
She was the only one whose outward appearance didn’t change at all because she was a dwarf.
No, he felt that her face had become a little more adult-like.
「Thanks you guys, I’ve returned」
The three of them smiling lightly as they were looking at each others eyes.
Just like that, Oufia and Alma joined the lively group and walked towards the government facility where the elders worked in.
The boys and girls separated themselves after they arrived at the government facility.
When they were walked to just in front of the facility, the elders were already waiting for Rio.
「It’s been a while, Rio-dono. It’s great that you’ve finally returned」
Syldra, the eldest of the elders, sent his greeting towards Rio with the same calm and composed tone as always.
「……Yes. I’ve returned. It’s been a while, everyone」
Though he replied, Rio answered with a puzzled expression to all of them who were coming out to greet him.
「N? What’s matter? 」
Syldra asked as he noticed the change in Rio’s expression.
「It’s nothing, I never thought that everyone would come out together to greet me like this. I feel a little embarrassed」
Rio let out a vague smile as he was somehow a little embarassed.
「Hoho, everything is because of Rio-dono’s natural virtue」
Said by Asura, who was Latifa grandmother, with happy smile on her face.
「Thank you very much」
The shy Rio then bowed his head.
「Haven’t you become rather robust！ Your face also become even more manly! 」
Said Dominique, the great elder of elda dwarves while his clear laugh resounded.
「Fumu, well you must have many stories, right? First let us enter the building so we can settle down」
After getting Syldra proposal, Rio and the others moved to the open terrace, which was estabilished on the top of the goverment facility.
Then a tea party started there.
The members were Latifa, Sara, Oufia, Alma, and the three great elder.
Sweet tea-cake was placed on top of the big round table that was placed on the terrace.
As they sat in their chosen chairs, Oufia came and brought along the tea.
She then took out the tea cup from the tea set and poured the tea from the pot in it.
「Well, please enjoy before it cools」
Oufia smiled cheerfully as she distributed the tea.
Rio was unintentionally letting out a smile as the sweet aroma of the tea, along with the vapor, drifting with the gentle wind that was blowing on the terrace.
「Well then, we’ll gladly accept that offer ………. 」
After saying that, Rio sipped the tea.
Its strong taste enveloped his mouth a moment later.
「Your skill is as splendid as always」
The tea leaves firmly opened, the taste and thickness was also nicely balanced.
「Ehehe, next time I want to drink the tea made by Rio-san」
A shy smile floated on Oufia’s face.
Rio answered her with a smile.
「This bread? Right? It’s really delicious! The stuffing inside is smooth and yet really mellow」
By the way, when the two of them somehow built their own world, Alma interrupted from the side, as if emphasising her presence with a little stuffy expression.
The bread eaten by her was the sweets that Rio brought as a souvenir from the Yagumo region.
「It’s true, and the elegant flavour is different from chocolate」
Sara also gave her consent in a flash, with sparkling eyes, as she bit the sweets and savored the taste.
「This-This is, isn’t this even more to my liking than the chocolates over there」
Even Asura smiled happily as she tasted that sweet.
「Yeah, though I’m not very good with sweets, this taste is just right, even if it’s this sweet」
「Though it doesn’t go well with liquor」
Syldra and Dominique give their impressions when they tasted the steamed buns with amazed expressions.
「This is a high class pastry called a steamed bun in the Yagumo region, the filling was red bean paste, which is made from the nut plant called Azuki beans*. Though I’m the one who made it since I was taught the recipe, I’m glad that it suits your taste」
Rio face showing a delightful expression to their positive reactions.
「It can be used for various dishes, right. Especially the ones with good compatibility with bread. It’s also compatible with tea」
While saying that, Oufia took the steamed buns and stuffed her mouth with it.
Oufia unintentionally let out a smile as the soft and sweetness gently spread in her mouth with each bite.
「Yeah, it’s really delicious, even if it’s just stuffing the azuki beans inside the bread. Please look forward to its cultivation, since I brought along the azuki bean seeds with me. I brought the plants seeds and tea leaves from Yagumo region」
「Yaay, I’ll do my best to raise it up！ Moreover, please teach me the recipe for this azuki beans too! 」
Oufia replied with cheerful smile.
「Yes. Though I’ll go to the Strahl region soon, if it’s okay with you I’ll teach you before I leave」
After saying that, he once again drank the tea that became a little cold.
「EEEH！？ Onii-chan will leave the village again? Moreover, to the Strahl region ……… 」
Latia was shocked on hearing Rio’s words.
She was staring at Rio, full of anxiety, when she heard that his destination was the Strahl region.
「Yeah, it can’t be helped since there’s someone I have to find. And meet my acquaintances from the olden days」
Rio answering with a bitter smile.
「Fumu, if it’s come to that, how long you will be staying in the village？」
As if worrying about Latifa, who’s groaning by her side, Asura asked that question to him.
「Uh~m. I think I’ll stay for about one month」
「Then you’re planning to leave the village before the end of year？」
Since she had no objection to Rio starting a new journey, there was no need to ask for the detailed reason.
She let Rio do as he pleased, knowing that Rio had full knowledge of the village, and showed her trust toward Rio.
「So that’s your intention」
「In that case, Latifa, you don’t have to behave like spoiled child during those time*」
Asura spoke to Latifa with a troubled smile, as she patted her head.
Despite nodding reluctantly, Latifa sent a passionate gaze toward Rio.
That was an expression that she had whenever she was thinking about what kind of way to be spoiled like a child.
After looking at that face for quite some time, Rio opened his mouth.
「Then, I think I should distribute the presents for everyone, soon. First is Syldra-san ――」
As Rio spoke that way, he was trying to make his tone as bright as possible.
Due to that place’s bright atmosphere, he decided to bring out the presents that he bought during his journey.
It turned into a lively conversation while he explained about the kinds of the presents and they spoke about many things.
Though Rio came back to the village, the days he spent with the Seirei no Tami passed by in the blink of an eye.
As he promised, he accompanied Oufia drinking tea while making the sweets along with her.
Participating in the combat training of the village’s warriors, along with Sara and Uzuma.
Playing along with the village’s children, along with Latifa.
Drinking liquor along, with Dominique and Alma.
Re-opening the cooking class for a limited time.
He literally brought back presents for the entire village, he distributed various types of tea trees, fruit, and taught the methods to raising them with the climate and natural features of the village to Dryad.
「Yoosh, then!！ Next up is fixing that boulder! And That open air bath is behind this!」[
And then, during the one month of staying in that village, Rio decided to make his own house and engaged vigorously in its creation.
Though he certainly thought of putting it in use when he resided permanently, some time in the future, it’s main purpose was to become his residence during his journey.
It couldn’t be helped that he thought like that, due to the distance of the journey and the actual conditions of the outside world and his movement speed.
Making his own meals in the camping ground was inconvenient, he couldn’t take a bath, he couldn’t rest at ease during his sleep; in short, he was gathering many kind of stress during his journey.
But, the creature called human would keep thinking about being in more pleasant environments, even in that situation.
In that case, wasn’t it just okay to make a house that could be carried around.
Since it was an item that could be easily carried by stowing it inside the item box.
Rio noticed that during the time he was journeying in the Yagumo region.
And, it wouldn’t be difficult for him to prepare a base when he was moving outside of the city in the Strahl region.
And now, after he returned to the village, he was trying to put his idea in a large object to create his house.
That work was quickly progressing with the help of the dwarves of the village.
The material for the house that was proposed by Rio was a boulder which would naturally blend in with nature in a camping grounds, that concept also included defence against foreign enemies.
When he explained the concept of the house that he wanted to create, it also stimulated the craftsman spirit of the dwarves, which then tackled that project with all their power, while working with a playful spirit.
They then processed the boulder with a terrific speed by using the earth spirit arts.
Though its appearance couldn’t be seen as anything but a crude and ugly boulder, the inside was completely filled with an extremely wonderful living space.
「With a boulder of this size, we can add several additional rooms than the ones in the plans, isn’t it」
「Yeah, just in case, I’ll make a house where you can live with many wifes！
Dominique answered it heartily when Rio came to have a discussion while leading the manufacturing.
「Ahaha …… 」
Dominique always encouraged him to have many wifes at every opportunity.
Though he unable catch what his intention was by saying that, it might have something to do with the four wives and himself.
As for Rio, since he didn’t feel like to doing that, he have no choice but to give a humble answer every time that topic came out.
(That’s not it, well, since I don’t really care about that wife part, I think it’s okay to let him to do as he pleases as long as it becomes a house that’s comfortable to live in)
At that working pace, he had enough time before his departure while waiting the completion of the house.
Rio decided to prepare an outline for Dominique who’s turning defiant.
And then, it was not just Dominique, the other dwarves also become extremely passionate with the work and repeatedly went into a heated discussion whether it was okay to add this or that to the house.
And, working with extreme passion, soon even Rio felt somewhat apologetic when they were etching barrier with concealment magic on the surface of the house, and even creating customised furniture.
The completed house proved a success as it was not only at the level of beyond spacious for one person to live alone.
「Ha-hahaha……….. Thank you very much」
Thus the day Rio stayed in the village come to an end.
Exactly one month had passed .
The night before he left the village, Rio was in the bathroom of Asura’s house.
After washing his face, body, and hair, he entering the bathtub.
That day he went to a picnic with the children of the village.
Though he didn’t hate to accompany the children, the journey, training, and the simple physical labour caused many different kinds of fatigue.
He exhaled a deep breath as if trying to remove that fatigue and then looked at the dim ceiling.
He would leave the village the following day.
It might have been a blessing to stay forever in that village.
But, there was something that he should do.
He couldn’t let himself drown in a moment of happiness.
To that change his heart ——-.
「Can I enter, onii-chan？」
When he thought of something like that, emotion vanished from his face, then he heard that voice from the dressing room.
When Rio unintentionally answered without thinking anything —–.
As he came to his senses, Rio was looking at the entrance of the bathroom.
The door of the bathroom quickly opened.
The one who entered was —–
Was the fox beast woman girl, Latifa who was entering with an embarassed face.
「Wha …… Wha ……. 」
Rio entered panic mode as his mouth flapped like a fish out of water.
Her glossy white nape was connected to pale orange coloured hair; despite it’s modest size, he could see a slight bulge inside the towel, despite her slender frame, she had a balance of waist and hip, adding to that was well toned and healthy white legs.
Latifa, who was in the first half of her teens, started to show woman-like charm.
「L-Latifa！ What are you doing ！ ？ 」
Rio shouted as if he was confused.
Latifa became happy as she could see the figure of a flustered Rio, which couldn’t be seen in everyday life.
Since she was not his little sister[real], she could have actual feelings and see herself as someone from opposite sex.
But, it was no different from being embarrassed.
Right, truly embarassed.
「U~hm, I’m thinking of washing onii-chan’s back ………… can’t I ？」
Latifa asked while tilting her head and slightly flushed face.
Looking at the bashful and fisgetting RIo, she’s drawing closer with both hand as if she take it upon herself.
「No, we can’t you know. If you didn’t leave right now」
Rio answering while averting his gaze from the bashful Latifa body.
Maybe due to the confusion, he’s speaking in rapid succession.
「Yeah, I also embarassed but, since oniichan will leave this village tomorrow ……… 」
Latifa muttered in sulking tone and trembling voice.
A despondent expression floating on her face as she’s peeking at Rio.
「No, I mean …….. 」
「It’s only today！ Please! 」
No matterhow he’s trying to reject her, Latifa covered it with flustered expression.
Even for her, she can’t pull back after coming this far.
「No, but we ……… 」
Rio’s trying to reject her with bewildered face.
「Even if you said that, I refuse」
She’s skillfully cutting off his words without saying anything but that two words.
「Muu, well then, I won’t leave till you let me in！」
Latifa showed her will to resisting till bitter end with slightly puffing cheeks.
After saying that, Latifa bare body that was reflecting in his eyes drawing ——-.
「Okay-Okay, you win！ But rinsing my back only」
The flustering Rio finally gave his consent.
Rio sighed as if giving up on this situation.
「Ehehe, YAAAY！ Then I’ll come over there! 」
Latifa smiling merrily.in high spirit.
Rio was looking at her truly happy smile as pondering why she really happy just by rinsing his back.
「Then, let’s start」
Rio rising from the bathtub while averting his gaze from Latifa.
He wwrapping the towel on his waist and sit on the bathtub stool with his back facing Latifa.
「U~hm, well, let’s go」
After she make foams with a towel, Latifa began to timidly washing Rio back.
Even though she just assetively make an approach some times ago, maybe due to the mental strain, the way she move her hands is awkward.
Though it doesn’t mean that it’s painful, she using a little bit too much power.
As a brief silence descending in the bathroom —.
「……. As I thought, oniichan back became bigger」
Soon, Latifa muttering with deep filled emotional tone.
「Is that so ……… 」
When he answering that way, suddenly, a soft feeling pressed upon his back.
She came and embracing RIo as if enveloping him from behind.
Rio back twitching in surprise.
He can feel Latifa warmth from the other side of her towel.
Since she has yet to immersing herself in the bathtub, parts of her body is cold.
And then, Latifa face was sticking closely to the side of his face.
As his body stiffening, Rio calling Latifa name.
「…….. Ehehe, be careful. Oniichan. You will go back to that kingdom right ……」
Latifa answered after a brief pause.
Her body and voice is trembling a little.
For her, she have absolutely no good memory in Strahl region, especially in Bertram kingdom.
She have nothing but gruesome memory in that place.
She’s wondering why RIo want to goes back to that place.
(Maybe Latifa just worrying about myself.)
Is what he thought.
「…… Don’t worry. I don’t know how long it’ll take for this time but, I’ll make sure to go back here periodically」
He said that to relieving Latifa worry and then stretching his hand and gently patting Latifa face.
RIo smiling gently to the warmth that was tranmitting to this hand.
「 ……….. See you later, Latifa」
As he saying that, Rio bracing himself.
As he might kill someone with his own hands once he goes out to the human race society.
Different with this village, that place is full with malice.
At least, he’ll kill Lucius with his own hand once he find him.
But, in what way he’ll do that.
He already steeled himself long ago.
He’ll thread upon it, even in that kind of world.
At that time, nothing will change even if he lost something within himself.
Even if the warmth that transmitted to this hand will lost ………
As he’s thinking about that ——.
「You know, I love oniichan no matter what. That’s why, take care」
As if reading his thought, Latifa saying that words with smile that resembling the virgin mary —–
「…… Thank you」
Rio tightly grasped that hand.