Chapter 65: Information Gathering
The next day after Celia came to live in Rio’s house, Rio’s going to the trading city Almond which is located at the southwest end of Galwark kingdom along with Celia.
「Though this is the first time I came, the city is extremely beautiful and lively right」
Celia’s walking beside Rio while looking at her surrounding being charmed and curious about the city.
Incidentally, the current Celia changed her hair color from white to blonde using the magic tool made by Rio.
Celia’s atmosphere was unusual which can be mistaken even by Rio.
「Yeah, it seems that the person who was pressing the reform of the city is called Liselotte, the daughter of duke Kretia 」
Rio telling the reason why Almond is prospering.
「He~, the truth is I have a friend who’s serving that duke’s daughter」
Celia nonchalantly bringing in such subject.
「Is that true？」
「Yeah, the truth is she was a daughter of a famous knight of Bertram kingdom but, her household has fallen. She even dropped out of the royal institute, she then somehow working as an apprentice court lady within the royal castle but, she resigned due to harsh treatment」
It’s not only in Bertram kingdom, basically for the country of human tribe in this world, social position is absolute.
Though it doesn’t mean that it’s true for all nobles, many people are domineering the people without social position by wearing the mantle of authority called social position.
There’s a remarkable trend for that especially in a place where there are many of those kind of people and nobles, the place such as royal castle or royal institute with Rio as the prime example.
「Certainly, the pressure is strong for a fallen household」
「Yeah. But, she really was an excellent kid. I mean during my royal institute era, I was the first rank in magic and theory but, that child only in martial arts she was undisputable first rank in martial arts even till she left the institute」
Rio saying that while feeling admiration.
Though the female pupil are also receiving martial arts lesson for self-defense during emergency situation in the royal institute, the daughters who are training earnestly is few in number.
At most it’s nothing but light exercise to keep their health, even in the surrounding atmosphere, there’s no one who wants to focus on the martial arts amongst the female pupils to make their name enter the top position.
No need to say that by becoming the best is considerably rare.
「Yeah, though she eventually have enough of Bertram kingdom and then became an adventurer. It seems she instantly made her name since her ability is real. Though when she was in the Galwark kingdom, she got an official job after being scouted by the daughter of this place」
「Did you have any exchange with her recently？」
「Yeah. Actually she’s the one who delivered Rio’s letter. We were exchanging letters at regular intervals till I was put under house arrest」
「I see. ……」
Despite nodding his head a little, he feels something amiss in Celia words.
Then, he tilted his head a little.
「It’s true that I’m delivering letters by using Rikka firm but ……..」
He’s saying that while displaying a pose of thinking something.
「What’s the matter？」
Feeling curious about Rio’s state, Celia’s asking when she saw Rio’s face from his side showing.
「It’s nothing, Cecilia’s friend is being employed by the duke’s daughter of this place who’s valuing a skill even from adventurers right？」
Rio’s talking while calling Celia’s alias.
They decided an alias for Celia for the time when they’re visiting Almond.
Though it doesn’t mean that he’s not noticing that calling her Cecilia is a bit too simple, this name is used since the person herself asked since she won’t be able to be aware of it if her alias is too much different from her real name.
back to the main point.
「That’s right. What’s with that? 」
「It’s nothing, certainly Rikka firm is a firm under the management of the daughter of duke Kretia but, I wonder whether they’re usually doing their delivery business by using such capable personnel 」
Then, Rio voiced the reason for his out of place feeling.
「Aah, come to think of it, she was saying that she came for a short visit in the royal capital during her job. It’s look like she was entrusted with the delivery of the letter from her superior since she’s my acquaintance」
「So that was the reason」
Though he’s agreeing on the surface, Rio was somehow not really convinced with that explanation.
When he make an assumption by Celia story, it seems that the person who dispatched her for delivery of his letter was aware of Aria’s friendship with Celia.
Though he understands that she chose a suitable person to deliver the letter if it’s to delivering the letter to the noble, though he’s a little puzzled for why that person deliberately choosing someone from muscle faction to deliver the letter.
Celia’s acquaintance was being personally scouted by Kretia duke’s daughter.
Maybe the person who dispatched Celia’s acquaintance to deliver the letter was Kretia duke’s daughter herself.
When he’s pondering about that, one girl suddenly come into his mind.
（No way, beyond this is just a mere speculation）
He couldn’t see the pattern of the puzzle since due to the uncertainty of the pieces.
When he thinks of that possibility, Rio ceased that thought for now.
「Aria was also lamenting due to never ending trouble caused by her free and uncontrolled superior」
Celia told him about it in amusing tone.
It seems the name of Celia’s friend is Aria.
Though he felt that name sounds familiar, Rio couldn’t recall it.
Rio shaking his head a little and immediately thinking that it might be just his imagination.
「Even if Rikka firm is currently on it’s peak, the personnel handling seems rough right. or maybe, the one who is roughly handling the personnels is the daughter of duke Kretia」
Rio’s saying that while smiling as a joke to pull himself together.
「Hey hey, I can’t let you off after saying such thoughtless words. Because the nobles are creatures who have sharp ears」
Even while saying those words, Celia’s also showing an impish smile similiar to Rio.
Nobles are creatures who values their pride.
The commoners have no right to say anything even if they’re being killed by a noble if they’re slandering the noble in front of the public.
Though such jokes were whispered very well in a place where there’s no noble.
「It’s become important if Cecilia is the one who said it」
Rio’s saying that with a bitter smile.
「Wait a minute, what’s that mean？ 」
Celia asking while showing a beautiful smile.
Rio’s just smiling wryly as it is.
「Ahaha. There’s no deep meaning in it. By the way, by some chance, does Cecilia want to meet that person？ 」
He was looking at Celia while saying that to avoid the topic.
「U~hn, I want to meet her indeed but, maybe I should wait and see for the time being. Just in case since Aria’s working for the noble of Galwark kingdom. I’ll wait till the decision of Galwark kingdom’s attitude toward Bertram kingdom」
After Celia saying that, Rio’s letting out a satisfied smile.
「Understood. Please just say anytime if you want to meet her. Since I’ll try to manage it as much as possible. If Cecilia is anxious, I’ll leave that decision to you」
He answered that way.
Though the political situation became unstable due to coup d’etat, then to make the ally nation owe them a favor there’s high probability that Aria, who works for Galwark’s noble, will receive an order from her lord to protect her friend, Celia.
Though they can’t take careless action, for Celia to act freely is Rio’s real intention and he wants to ensure that possibility as much as possible.
Since it’s impossible for Celia to act carelessly, he can have faith in her.
「Ara, so you’ve some confidence in me」
Celia’s smiling delightfully.
「If you completely sever the contact with your friend, it won’t be any different from house arrest. If the risk caused by you is within safety range, there’s no reason for me to limit Cecilia to move as she pleases」
Rio answering while shrugging his shoulder.
「Thank you very much. Maybe in the worst case, we can rely on that duke’s daughter for her protection via that child」
「Well, it’s certainly easier for us to move with a reliable backer. Such one-sided reliance is a problem though」
「In that case you can use me as negotiation card. Because many magic scholars of each country want to meet me」
Celia’s talking a little proudly.
「Anyway, if Cecilia’s also okay with that condition, I already prepared negotiation material. Please be at ease」
After Saying that, Rio was smiling gently at Celia.
Celia saying her gratitude with a slightly blushing face under a bit of strong morning sunlight.
Thereupon, they see the store that become their goal.
「Well then, now we’re arriving at the store. All daily necessities is sold in there」
Rio bluntly said that.
「As expected, it’s a big store. Speaking of Rikka firm, there’s popular brand store even to female nobles of Bertram kingdom. Though the price is reasonable, the quality is good, is it really good in that store？ 」
Maybe because she’s excited to the trip after a long time, Celia’s showing a delightful smile.
「Yeah, since there’s still considerable amount of money left in me. You might be as well as pick high quality item. Please don’t worry about it since everything is in the Rikka firm, even the clothing of Miharu-san-tachi」
「Which remind me, Rio’s getting splendid amount of allowance from the country right？ Do you still have that money？ 」
「Yeah, since I almost never used it except for buying the necessary material for my escape, I still have several mystic coin in cash. Since I’ve large quantity of magic stone from the monster that was killed by me in the middle of journey, selling that will be enough for the rest of my life. Or rather, it won’t even be used-up」
「……. By chance, aren’t you more prosperous than nobles around that area？」
Celia turned her line of sight toward Rio with a shocked expression.
「I don’t know since I never have clear grasp about the noble income」
「The annual income of a lower grade noble is 40 gold coin you know. There you have annual income more than 2 mystic coin. There’s resourcefulness, rich eating habit, and that house that is even better than a high grade noble」
「You should say that when I take you out. There’s also some unconventional point」
Rio’s slightly shrugging his shoulder .
「Yeah, it was unconventional in good meaning. Thanks to you now I’m fully enjoying the best out of human life, thank you very much Rio」
Just like that, they’re arriving in front of the store during their conversation.
They halted their step and somehow their line of sight is matching.
Thereupon, they’re smiling as they’re laughing at the same time.
「Well then, let’s meet later. Since it seems that you need various things, is two hours enough for you to finish your shopping？ 」
「Yeah, I think it’s okay with only that much」
Since Celia understands the local language, she could ask the clerk if there’s something that she doesn’t understand.
Though there’s some place that’s a bit lacking, as a noble, it seems she has more experience in shopping than a commoner, there’s also no problem with money since he gave her plenty enough.
「No, since I’ve some business myself. Since we can call someone if we need to in the first floor」
「I understand. Well, take care」
「Yes. Cecilia too」
After bidding their farewell, he’s watching Celia entering the store.
After she entered the store, Rio was starting his move to finish his own business.
First is going toward back-alley without anyone.
After confirming that there is no one in his surrounding, he’s taking a short breath.
When he shut his eyes for a while, Rio’s face is being covered by light, his face and stature then transformed in the blink of an eye.
In the next instant, stood in his place was an adult male with different appearance from Rio.
Rio’s disguising himself by using spirit arts.
Though it’s similiar to changing his hair color, the degree of difficulties in changing one appearance was far higher in comparison.
Transfiguration art is complex hard to handle since it’s manipulating mana and odo, since it’s needed to always interfere with mana while continuously manipulate the odo, the art will instantly be dispelled once the user lost his focus.
But, though it’s more efficient if he makes spirit tool or magic tool if he wants a permanent change, performing a temporary part transfiguration is enough with spirit arts.
In the midst of battle aside, since there’s no need to fear that the art will be solved if he’s moving within the city, Rio decided to perform the transfiguration with spirit arts.
After taking a short breath, Rio’s switching his consciousness and then leaving the back alley.
He then arrived at the bar that’s located a short distance of the end of the food and drink district amongst the commercial area of Almond.
Even though it’s still daytime, the men who look like adventurers are already making a ruckus inside.
Rio’s going toward the counter without even hestitating.
「Please give your recommendation for distilled liquor」
「How do you want to drink？」
「I’ll leave it to you. But, make it a bit strong」
「Okay. Leave it to me」
After finishing the conversation in few words, the shopkeeper started to work on the ordered liquor.
His age is around the middle-age, without any futile movement in the way he’s skillfully moving his hand due to his long years experience.
「By the way, I never seen your face before. Are you an adventurer who came from another city？」
The shopkeeper was bringing the society subject to Rio who’s sitting while showing a bored face.
「Yeah, I’m travelling to various place while somehow trying to searching for someone. Ah right. Are you happens to have knowledge on it, master？ He’s an adventurer called Lucius」
Rio asked while changing himself to that of look like a ruffian adventurer and changing his tone from the usual one.
For the sake of information gathering, Rio’s choosing a bar in which many adventurers gathered.
He judged that the one who have the duty similar to that of an information store is the master who’s managing this bar like this one.
「Fumu. How much information did you want？ 」
As expected Bingo .
Though he planned to go looking around the store to those adventurer till he hit the jackpot, he stumble upon a good sign after arriving at the store that become his goal from the very beginning.
Rio chuckled a little.
「Give me his where about and simple portrait if possible」
「……. That’s one silver coin」
「Ah, here you go」
Though this is the first time he did this, Rio’s instantly presented one silver coin while maintaining his poker face.
When he put the silver coin in his hand, the shopkeeper’s starting his explanation with a indifferent voice.
「Lucius. The first class adventurer. His expertise is mercenary work. Commanded the mercenary group『Heavenly Lion, The・Griffon』 is famous as enumerate in the cut above the rest of strongest mercenary group as undefeated. His ability as a soldier is the best. And well, until this point is decided as the information that known to public」
The shopkeeper paused in that point.
The adventurer is divided into six class, one’s becoming top class adventurer by decreasing the number with fifth class adventurer as the lowest.
Though there’s high grade adventurer beyond the first class, it’s strongly implicating a honor-like class, their number is exceedingly few.
Therefore, essentially, becoming top rank is the first class.
That aside, Rio was listening to the shopkeepers explanation in silence while enjoying the aroma of the presented liquor.
He raised his eyes toward the shopkeeper as if to say to continue with his story.
The shopkeeper continues his story after nodding slightly.
「Though I don’t know how accurate this information is since it’s natural to bluff in this kind of industry, I heard that he’s originally being employed as the candidate of 『King of Sword』 by Bertram kingdom」
Rio’s eyes opened slightly in hearing that story.
『King of Sword』 is a title bestowed to the best swordsman that is being recognized by the king of Bertram kingdom. 『
As far as he knows, the former 『King of Sword』 was the leader of royal knight, Alfred Emal. [TL : Rio vs King of sword is quite hectic battle]
And he couldn’t remember who was the holder of 『King of Sword』 before that.
The shopkeeper laughing a little after cleverly guessing Rio’s reaction.
「Well, I mean he’s strong enough to back that title」
And he added one thing.
「Though his range of activity moving around repeatedly, there was the time when he’s moving within Galwark kingdom. Though recently I never even heard about his movement in this country, since he’s frequently appearing in a place with large or small scale war, you might be able to meet him in a country that’s currently in war」
It seems there’s no significant information regarding his where about.
Though he’s worrying in these days that he won’t get any rumor about his movement, the hint is war.
From the story that he heard, he’s quite addicted of war.
No, maybe that is just how a mercenary is.
Rio clicking his lips in his heart without letting it out on the surface.
「I see. Well then, did you happen to know which country that will be engulfed by war soon？ 」
Rio’s stared intently at the shopkeeper.
The shopkeeper lightly shrugged his shoulder.
「Everywhere is just too suspicious recently. It’s not strange if Bertram kingdom or Proxia empire to also start a war with a major power. Though I don’t know which country that will become their opponent, there’s also the possibility that it’ll be this country. In case of small country, there’s everyday skirmish between Galwark kingdom and Proxia empire behind the scene if you’re moving toward northern of Galwark」
「I see. I’m saved」
Rio told his gratitude.
「It’s nothing, I only work for money」
The shopkeeper’s answering with hint of pride in his tone.
Rio drank the beverage with slight alcohol in it.
「Can I ask for another of this recommendation」
「Okay, wait a minute」
Rio was ordering again while continuing his conversation with the shopkeeper.
Though at first he want to ask the information about Lucius, now he wants to know another information.
Especially the information regarding the heroes.
But, the shopkeeper have yet to get detailed information regarding the heroes.
He could tell the direction from which the pillar of light is rising.
It might be natural since it’s nothing but few days have been passed since the hero summoning.
「Thanks for the treat. Your liquor is nicely doing it’s job. I’ll come again」
「Ow, the guy who’s paying nicely is welcomed anytime. Since recently many fools trying to haggling the price of the information store about their opponent」
「Those guys won’t live for long」
After exchanging glance and grinning widely, Rio left the bar after leaving the payment on the table.
After that, he’s strolling the city walking doing shopping of few things since there’s still some time left before the meeting with Celia.
When the time come, he joined with Celia and then they’re returning to home.