Chapter 105: Audience
Inside of the audience room which boasted of it’s high ceiling, Rio, draped on loaned etiquette uniform of a knight, met Francois Galwark.
Many royalties and nobilities from each and every factions are attending inside, the atmosphere inside of the room is that of a solemn one.
Amongst them wasn’t just Satsuki, Lilyana, Liselotte and her father, Cedric, there’s also Flora and duke Euguno.
Even the other nobles who met with Rio in the evening party can be seen all over the place.
The people who is in this place came after hearing about this audience.
In that audience, Rio’s telling the tale from the time he met Miharu and the others till he met Satsuki.
「――Thus, I’m sheltering the hero’s three friends, and will doing so till this evening party」
Rio then lowered his head toward Francois in a magnificent way.
「Haruto. Your achievement for protecting the friends of the heroes who became separated and your effort to reunite them is truly a great one. It was for a great cause」
Francois who’s sitting on his throne on the stage is praising Rio with a haughty tone.
「Your highness, may I？」
Choosing the right time when the flow of the conversation is interrupted, one plump noble was asking for permission to speak.
He’s a high-ranked noble who’s famous in Galwark kingdom, duke Clement Gregory.
「Fine, you may」
Francois is giving his permission to Clement.
Though he heard that Clement was the exact opposite party of duke Kretia house, Clement sends a sidelong glance to Liselotte and Cedric.
「Haruto-dono achievement in protecting the friend of hero-dono was certainly a wonderful one. But, I’ve just one question. Why, he, who’ve a private information regarding the information of the friend of the hero-dono which unknown to the country, didn’t inform the hero？ 」
Clement asked that question.
「That’s right but, if you don’t mind it, will you tell me your true intention？」
Francois asked Rio.
「Yes, I’m nothing more than a humble commoner. Thus I’m not reckless enough to report about today’s matter to the country and I didn’t think that it’ll be trusted」
「Well, that’s reasonable」
Francois agreed to Rio’s words.
For this world which is closely related to social status, social status is closely related to influence and trust.
If Rio, who doesn’t have both of them is suddenly saying 「I’m protecting the friend of the hero」, royalties who are really clasping their hand in honesty is truly a rare case.
「Above all, they’re truly anxious after being separated from their friends and families. To make the matter worse, they couldn’t even communicate using Strahl region language」
Rio explained in a dull tone and his voice is slightly resounding inside the room.
「Wait, Haruto. If they can’t communicate with words, why you can speak with them？ 」
That was an expected question.
Which means that the people except for the hero can’t communicate with words, even if it’s badly hidden away, he had already given unnatural information.
「Both of my parent who used to live in Yagumo region have a strange magic tool. I used that」
Rio replied with a fluent tone as if he already assumed that question beforehand.
「Hou. What kind of magic tool was it？ 」
「Even I’m unable to understand the theory and the way to manufacture it. But, it’s effect is mutual understanding, it’s the so called communication with the other party」 [TL : Are we suddenly arrived in Gundam 00 universe and the tool’s name is “Gundam”, the best Gundam series for me btw]
「What………………. A convenient item」
Francois unintentionally let out such admired-like voice.
Even the other nobilities and royalties are half-doubting his words but, no one can prove Rio’s words seeing that no one in this place have ever gone to Yagumo region.
「So I used the tool to teach them Strahl region language」
「Fumu, do you have that magic tool with you？」
「Regrettably……………….. Though it’s an item which is the memento of my parents, it seems to have limited life-span, it broke by the time they already can remember words……….」
Rio said that while showing a guilty expression.
「Mu, I see………….. Since it was a memento, it might be a precious item, aren’t it？ 」
「Well, it seems my parents were using it when they migrated to Strahl region. It should’ve satisfied after fulfilling its duty」
「I see…………………….. Well, let’s put this topic to rest. Our stories are strayed from the topic. How far we were before. If I remember it correctly, it was the part where the hero friends are being anxious」
Saying so, Francois was staring at Rio.
「That’s right. They’re obviously put into a temporary unstable mentality. I can’t help but feeling slightly anxious to send them with their current situation to the third party. Yes, I feared to do so」
Rio’s explaining the situation with absolutely no hestitation in his voice.
「Thus, I came with my own humble opinion to telling the hero directly about them. Fortunately I’m blessed by fortunes to getting closer to Liselotte-sama. The detailed order is as I say before. This is all I have to say」
Rio was lowering his head again after his story reaching that point.
「Though I feel that there’s no contradiction point in his story, wasn’t that your view. Clement？ Or did you notice inconsistency in the story？ 」
Francois’s letting out a meaningful smile and then asked to Clement Gregory.
Clement replied with a hard to describe smile.
「In that case, we must express our formal gratitude in his achievement for protecting the friends of the hero. Doing things like protecting strangers, much less to say they can’t speak in our language isn’t something that anyone can just do」
Francois told so as he nodded.
「Haruto. The matter of you protecting the friend of the two heroes was a great cause. Let me praise it」
「I’m truly grateful for such praise which is undeserved for my humble self」
Rio’s expressing his gratitude while kneeling on the floor.
「Liselotte. I have to praise for your action as well. Your great insight in discovering heroic figure like Haruto is as splendid as usual. As expected of Cedric…………. No, as expected of Liselotte Kretia」
Fransois praised Liselotte’s action while smiling as if he’s truly happy about it.
It’s as clear as day that Rio will experience difficulties to make contact with Satsuki without her help.
Though it’s just a coincidence piling up one after another, by discovering Rio’s talent, she eventually bringing a great cause for national interest.
It’s a praise for that.
「My humble self is extremely delighted. Your majesty」
Liselotte’s pinching the cuffs of her dress and told her gratitude with a lady-like gesture.
On the other hand, Satsuki’s looking in admiration from the side at the figure of Liselotte and Rio who’s being praised by Francois.
Now, it’s her turn to confirm whether there was any difference in Rio’s explanation.
（Such great thing huh. Now I’m doing things like conducting myself magnificently with the king as my opponent）
She hears from the person himself that Rio is a former japanese and half-convinced that Liselotte is also a former japanese too. リ
Even if minute attitude is overlooked when facing against the monarch of a country, conversing without being timid while paying respect on top of that isn’t something that can be done by a japanese.
Satsuki couldn’t be helped but to revise her thought, those two already completely became the inhabitants of this world.
（…………. Eh, even if Liselotte-san is alright but, Haruto-kun shouldn’t be that much older than me right？）
So, Satsuki’s imagination is going around and round.
Though she doesn’t know how old they were in their previous life, no matter how you look at it they’re much older than Satsuki when adding up to their current age.
（Because of that, aren’t I acting way too familiar with Haruto-kun？）
She’s recalling her speech and conduct when interacting with Rio up till now.
No matter how she’s looking at it, it’s not the tone that’s used for someone older than herself.
”Yup, I’m acting overly familiar with him.”
Satsuki thought so.
She was careless since his appearance is that of the same generation as her.
He surprised her since the first time they met with telepathic communication, he’s greatly influencing her heart with the matter of Miharu and the others.
（Uh…………. What should I do. Should I’m talking to him with formal language………. The next time I talk to him？）
Satsuki thought while looking at the figure of Rio who’s perfectly responding to the words of Francois.
Interacting by paying respect when the other party is the older one is the basic stance of Satsuki.
In that case, it might be better to build a relationship based on the mental age of the previous life from now on, was what she thought.
（I thought that he wasn’t your ordinary boy as he can release such calm atmosphere but, apparently it was the truth. I see……………）
The more she thinks about it, the more she’s aware that Rio is an adult.
It somehow made Satsuki sad,
（Geez！ Why I’m worrying about such thing！ And yet Haruto-kun is so quiet）
She was unintentionally glaring at Rio during the audience while embracing the feeling close to that of resentment.
Thus, while Satsuki’s thinking about various of such things,
「Well then, even when expecting the matter of you protecting the friend of the hero, our country is greatly in debt to Haruto」
The audience is advancing smoothly.
「Because Haruto contributed greatly in repulsing the bandits last night. It’s our custom since a long time ago to repay with a reward for his contribution」
Somehow the topic’s moving toward the matter of the bandits last night.
「How’s that, Haruto. WIll you work for this country？ I’ve made an arrangement to appoint you as a knight of our country」
Satsuki let out a slightly surprised voice to the unexpected turn of events.
（Haruto-kun, working for this country？）
She’s chewing the meaning behind those words.
If he’s working for this country, she’ll be able to do something like meeting with Rio from now on.
It’s not so difficult either to place him by her side if she’s using her authority as a hero.
Suddenly realized such things, Satsuki was looking at Rio.
「I’m extremely delighted to be bestowed by such special favor. But, a greenhorn like me is greatly lacking in ability. I’m truly grateful to the point of unable to expressing it but, I’m unable to accept it」
Rio stated his rejection in a gentle manner in order to not worsen their relationship.
「Hou？ You’ve no intention to become a knight？ I learn that you’re worthy of being one」
Francois asked as if it’s a surprise to him.
He thought that Rio will try to gain a fulfilled life by selling a favor to the country or Satsuki but, this situation is completely out of his expectation.
「Yes, this humble me is is lacking for such ability」
Rio’s replying with humble tone.
「Fumu, is that so…………….. In that case, do you have something you’re wishing for？ Just say it」
Francois asked while his hand is tracing his jaw.
「I never thought of doing this to receiving a reward. The matter of repulsing the bandits was also due to the effort of the knights who was in that place at that time. It’s my humble opinion to refusing the reward if it’s possible」
The people inside audience was greatly shaken by Rio who’s refusing the reward.
「Hou, so you means that you have no need for a reward？」
A curious light is lit inside Francois eyes.
「Yes, that’s my wish」
Rio’s easily rejected the reward without any short of hestitation or lingering affection in his tone.
Because Rio has nothing he’s wishing for in the form of property or status given from a country.
More than anything else, he hated the fact of him taking care of Miharu and the others for money and status.
Since today’s reward wasn’t given strictly for the matter of repelling the bandits and protection of Miharu and the others.
Francois is staring in amazement to Rio which seemingly lacking in regard to greed.
「…………. Kukukuku, so you say that you’ve no need for money or position. It’s a good thing that you’re behaving completely unlike that of a commoner, truly an interesting man」
Francois’s unable to endure it anymore and thus laughing for the first time as if he’s truly happy about it.
Normally one will desire a reward to become a knight who belong to the chivalric order.
He has never seen anyone in his kingdom refusing a reward flat out without even taking a long time to think about it without any greed in their eyes.
Francois couldn’t read the true nature of the human called Rio.
「Yosh, I’ve decided. I’ll grant a title of honorary knight upon you」
Francois said that a while after regaining his composure.
The inside of the audience chamber is growing noisy.
「EH？ But, I……………………」
Rio’s perplexed to the conversation that flowing toward unexpected direction.
Though he don’t even know what is that honorary knight, it might have nothing to do with nobility since the prefix is “knight”.
「What, it’s not a title which make you have a responsibilities toward our country. At the present era it’s a title given to someone who did a great military exploit to our country and it’s not limited just to the citizen of this country. Different with normal knight, it’s not like you’re going to receive a stipend nor will you become the retainer of the country. In other words, it’s nothing more than a title. But, you’ll receive the same treatment with the nobles of our country inside this country. You can even go to the castle as long as you’re following the necessary procedure」
Francois is carefully continuing with his explanation as if reading Rio’s doubt.
As long as one is hearing that explanation, it seems that peerage can be given to the foreigner.
「I’m an unknown person. For you to bestowing a title which made it possible for me to coming to the castle with just that is………..」
「It’s good enough. I already decided on it. Since it’ll shame our country if I’m not giving a reward to someone who’s showing such great exploit. You saved the life of royalties.
The demand to bestowing a reward upon you isn’t just coming from Michael, Charlotte and house of duke Kretia, it’s also coming from princess Flora, the representative of Restoration, and princess Lilyana, the representative of Saint Stellar kingdom. Just be obedient and receive your reward」
Despite Rio attempt to refusing the reward, Francois blatantly forcing it to Rio.
Francois is taking a firm stance.
Seeing that the king already made his decision, Rio can’t bear the act of disapproving that.
（Though I’m grateful for it if it’s come to ease a way to meet Satsuki-san…………）
Rio’s showing a troubled-like face.
To be honest he didn’t want that reward.
「My greatest gratitude for your blessing………….」
Rio decided to express his gratitude while sighing inside.
By the way, the weight of honorary knight is way greater than what Rio expected.
Though honorary knight is indeed a title which is given to someone who raised military exploit just as Francois said, despite have the same “Knight” title, it’s completely different from an ordinary knight.
More than the fact that it’s not bound by country despite it’s rank, they won’t become a military employ, so their action isn’t bound to the country.
But, in time of emergency they can give a command to the soldiers, similar to the normal knight in that place, they can even lead as much as a platoon of personnel.
In short, it’s a trusted honorary position which is given with a special privilege.
It’s a position in which one is given a special privilege despite having no duty, the hurdle of investiture is higher and couldn’t even be compared to a normal knight.
It’s a title which won’t be given unless the person itself is directly recognized by the king as someone without any problem both in personality or military exploit, the hurdle becoming even higher in case the object in this case is a foreigner.
Therefore it’s just a natural thing that the nobilities in the audience chamber are astonished due to envy and awe toward someone who’s awarded with the title of honorary knight.
Some of them are even dissatisfied with the fact that Rio’s receiving an investiture of honorary knight.
But, it’s also an undeniable truth that Rio’s arrived first to save Flora, repelling close to half the number of the bandits and protecting the friends of the heroes.
It’s already hard for them to voice their dissatisfaction with such a line up of exploits.
More than anything else, it’s because there’s joint signature coming up to rewarding his exploit from the nobilities who was saved by him.
In the end, even the dissatisfied nobilities has no choice but to watch from the side.
「There’s a custom of granting an alias to the one who receiving the title of honorary knight. That’s right………………」
Francois was looking at Rio while humming so.
There’s a pensive look on his face before it’s changed to a grin-like smile as if he’s come to think upon something a while later and then,
「Yosh, I’m bestowing upon you with the alias 《Black Knight》. Black is a color which won’t be stained by any other colors. It’s a suitable title for an unpredictable child such as you right」
He said so with a haughty tone.
It’s another reason for jealousy for a honorary knight to receive his alias from the king but,
Rio face unintentionally showing a beffudled expression to the unexpected turn of event.
Rio’s train of thought completely halted for a few seconds.
When he regained a bit of composure after that, he recited that name again in his head.
”What’s with that name?”
”This title is slightly embarassing.” [TL : “Black Knight” is a chuuni title if you’re asking for the reason]
”Like hell I want to call myself with such embarassing title in front of anyone.”
But, such feeling aren’t coming out of his head.
「Yes, I’ll humbly receive the title」
And thus, Rio’s receiving his title with the highest manner.
（…………….. Maybe I’m just unlucky today）
How things turned out this way.
He might be jinxed somewhere, came into Rio’s mind.
When he’s looking around while in the posture of lowering his head, his line of sight met with Satsuki who’s in the corner of the room.
Satsuki’s raising her hand to her lips as if putting her willpower to not laugh at him.
（I’m being made fun at. I’m not even asking for this reward）
Somehow or another Satsuki’s guessing his own thought as if it’s a pleasant thing, so Rio’s lowering his head even deeper.
「Moreover, from now on I’ll allow you to have a family name. Since I won’t set the time for you to decide on it, you may take your time to carefully think about it」
「…………. As you wish」
「The official ceremony will be done during tonight evening party. That’s our plan. That’s all」
And thus, the audience came to a end.
Rio was completely exhausted due to the unexpected turn of event while pondering that he might become the center of attention again tonight.
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