Chapter 106: After the Audience
After the audience, Rio invited Liselotte as he decided to talk to her.
Though there was a proposal from Satsuki whether or not to bring her along to Miharu and the others’ room, she’s heading towards the Miharu and the others’ room alone.
He wanted to report about today’s matter to Liselotte.
And then, the place they were going to was the lounge of the royal castle.
Any noble attending the castle could use a private room as long as they apply for it.
But in that place, Rio was facing Liselotte sitting on an antique sofa.
Aria Governess, her maid, was fulfilling her duty preparing the tea by Liselotte’s side in silence.
Aria’s skill in erasing her existence is superb, she doesn’t cause any uncomfortable feelings to her master or the guests inside the room.
She definitely was the finest example of chamberlain.
It was fast but, she politely finished her work and gave out her tea.
After bowing lightly, she retreated to a corner of the room.
And then, when everything was prepared, Liselotte began to talk.
「First let me congratulate you, Haruto-sama, for your inauguration as an honorary knight」
「Thank you very much. To be honest, I’m feeling ashamed since I don’t deserve such an important title though………..」
Rio showed a troublesome expression as he said his gratitude.
「But, I think it’ll be more advantageous if you can use it wisely, isn’t it？」
Liselotte told that while tilting her head.
Despite not belonging to any country, Rio will be treated as an official noble in Galwark kingdom from this moment onward.
The difference of social position is absolute in Strahl region――
Though there are some nobilities who are dealing with commoners without discrimination, like Liselotte is, those groups are the overwhelming minority.
There are nobles who look down only by hearing that the other party is a commoner, the truth is, only nobilities, and not commoners, receive various levels of favourable treatments.
From today onward, Rio was joining those group of nobilities.
Moreover, he’s completely different from those worthless nobilities.
Though his rank and treatments are different from those of ordinary nobility status, when it came to honorary knight and battling, it’s a title which will bring about envy from any nobility who knows about it.
It’s a title with name brand called “Directly recognized by the king because both of their achievements and abilities”, it’s a position which is much more special than a mere honorary title――
Either way, there’s no disadvantage in having such title, it certainly will make it easier for him to move around inside of Galwark kingdom.
Speaking of demerits, even if there are so many practical uses being an honorary knight, they’re still part of their mother country.
（Well, I think that it might be your majesty’s idea to estabilished the fact and make Haruto-sama play an active role as an honorary knight though. It seems he has some others ideas in addition but………….）
Though this was nothing more than a simple analysis from Liselotte, she was vaguely aware that Rio might be suspecting that point too.
Therefore, Liselotte didn’t try to do anything like talking about her idea.
「Yes. On the other hand, I think that I’m not that much of use as a noble」
Rio said those words with calm tone.
「So that’s the reason？ If it’s Haruto-sama who has become a noble, I’m sure that you’ll become one who’s cut above the rest」
Liselotte showed a dumbfounded expression to his words.
「That’s just an overestimation. Associating with the noble people is too much for a person of humble origin like me. It would sank deep into my body in today’s evening party」
「There’s almost no problem in your etiquette though…………..」
「That was nothing more than a papier mache to keep it up on the surface. My defect would come out immediately if they can see even a minute detail of it」
Rio smiles wryly as he shakes his head in denial.
「Fufu, such such humility」
When she said so, there was an impish smile on her face. Liselotte then held her tea cup elegantly to her lips.
（It makes me more worried the more I think about it huh………………..）
Liselotte was strongly attracted to an existence called Rio.
Right now, the youth in front of her has said that he went to an academy of a certain country long time ago.
If it goes by his birthplace, the Bertram kingdom, there were high possibilities that place was that one.
But, the only national educational institute in Bertram kingdom is nothing but the royal academy, when it came to the private institution, the numbers are swelling several times.
If she goes by Rio’s words, who called himself a commoner, the possible institutions decrease even further with the addition that they were teaching etiquette of nobilities there.
Only the wealthy amongst the common people can go to such educational institutions.
（A child of an emigrant going to a school for wealthy people？ It’s not like it’s impossible but…………………..）
Liselotte couldn’t come up with an answer no matter how much she thought about it.
Rio was nonchalantly drinking his tea in front of her.
Though she unintentionally had an impulse to ask thoroughly about it, as expected, she managed to stop herself from doing so, which might come from a common phrase
“That’s unbefitting of a lady”.
Though she could throw a probing-like question, the thing such as Rio being wary towards her isn’t her intention.
In the end, she has no choice but to wait till he speaks about it himself.
「Anyhow, by all means, please come if you have something you want to consult about in the future. Since I will give a hand if you’re fine with it」
Liselotte told him that after politely putting her tea cup on the saucer.
「Thank you very much」
Rio said his gratitude to the girl who was nicely smiling.
「It’s me who should have said that. Since it was thanks to Haruto-sama that there wasn’t any considerable damage during yesterday evening party」
「No, something like that is――」
「It true. That’s the absolute truth. The guard knights who were scattered around the venue were at disadvantage against the bandits who were rushing straight toward their target」
Just when Rio was about to deny his accomplishment, Liselotte words cut through them.
There were nothing more than five guard knights who were protecting the targeted royalties, and the number of bandits was 14 people.
There was almost three times difference in their combat potential.
「No matter how much you’re trying to be humble, it’s a fact that Haruto-sama did the work of several knights alone, by yourself. Thanks to that the reinforcements could have come in time, thus saving the lives of every royalty in that place」
Liselotte told him that in an orderly manner.
「Naturally, me included. Haruto-sama has saved my life for the second time. Thank you very much」
When there was no objection coming from Rio, Liselotte followed her previous words with an expression of gratitude.
「I was indebted to Liselotte-sama long time ago. This matter is just too cheap compared to that. I should be the one who’s apologizing」
Rio said those words with slightly troubled smile.
There was a question mark floating on her face when he told her that he’s the one who’s indebted to her.
「It’s for hiding the information regarding the friend of Satsuki-sama. I’m using Liselotte-sama for this matter and ended up causing the current uproar」
Rio explained his reason for apologizing.
It seems Liselotte knew his circumstances but, she was still shaking her head slowly in denial.
「It’s everyday occurrence for the nobilities to approach someone while hiding their true intention. Though I’m surprised by it, it’s not like it caused some sort of harm to me」
Since nobilities were the creatures that set their relationship in accordance ot mutual gains, it’s very reare of them to built a relationship without any intent of profit behind it.
Anyhow, even their marriages are arranged by political interests.
It’s a completely different case when the end result brought harm to her, then the other party who was being scolded over trivial matter every time wouldn’t survive for long in the world of nobilities.
「Rather, it’s thanks to Haruto-sama’s action that even myself was receiving words of praise from your majesty. Therefore, please don’t mind about it that much」
Liselotte said so while showing a slightly impish smile.
「I’m grateful that this humble self have been of some use but………..」
「Yes. And that’s enough of it」
Liselotte was nodding in satisfaction.
Rio replied with a silent nod.
「Nevertheless, boys and girls who can’t speak with our language. You’ve done very well in protecting them, right」
「I was fortunate enough to have that memento magic tool. And I couldn’t just abandon them who were walking in a deserted place with a puzzled expression」
「It was a splendid action. Though I’ve known that you could understand each other using that magic tool, you were using that tool to teach them right？ 」
「Yeah, it was really hard to explain it in a words but those three improved their language proficiency so much in those 3 month. Currently they have no difficulties using it in their daily conversation」
Rio was nonchalantly coating his lies as if it was not a big deal answering Liselotte questions.
「There are such convenient magic tools in Yagumo region huh. Or, could it be that Haruto-sama can speak in the language of the world of the heroes-sama？ 」
Liselotte was staring at Rio’s face as she asked that question.
Rio answered with vague smile.
「……….. I see」
Liselotte was muttering after hearing those words with profound nuance.
「Are you interested in that matter？」
Rio asked her while sending a gaze as if observing her.
「Yes. There’s a world which is unknown to me. So, when I think about it………」
Liselotte showed a slightly awkward smile.
Rio smiled back at her gently and then,
（It seems that she’s somehow believing the story about that magic tool for now）
He held the tea cup on his lips as he thought so. Though Miharu and the others have finally reached the level in which they can use the Strahl region language in daily conversation just recently, there’s still some defect in their pronunciation.
Therefore, Miharu and the others aren’t be able to speak in Strahl region language as their mother language so they can understand if it’s just simple conversation.
Though the doubtful point is how can Rio understand the words of Miharu and the others.
Despite the most simple answer being because Rio can speak in their language[Japanese], the next question is why Rio can understand Japanese.
In the case the other party is someone who’s a native of this world in truest sense aside, the degree of difficulties will be risen sharply when the other party is someone who was originally from earth.
Since there was a possibilities like “Could it be Rio who is―― The man called Haruto thar used to live in Japan？”.
Though it won’t be strange to think that the people who used to live on earth would be probing around his circumstances.
The people who’re currently aware that Rio was a former Japanese are Aisia, Celia, Miharu, Aki, Masato, Satsuki and then Latifa – it’s those seven.
Though he was taking into account the other reincarnated people by the time he meet Latifa and Liselotte, by this point of time, he must include the transferred factor into his consideration with the appearance of the heroes.
Because from now on, those seven who are aware of the fact that Rio’s a reincarnated person might change his course of action in the future, whether it’ll become and advantage for him or not is something that’s hard to predict.
Therefore, if it’s truly needed aside, he won’t especially made a grand declaration about himself being a reincarnated person.
「By the way, there shouldn’t be any dissatisfaction from the friends of Satsuki-sama when they would live in Almond right？」
Liselotte was nonchalantly changeing the topic.
There was a worry hidden beneath her statement――,
（Well, it’s because Almond is overflowing with originally-from-earth-products）
Rio saw through her worry in an instant.
There are various kinds of originally-from-earth-product in Almond.
Majority of them using the original Japanese name.
Even if the heroes are capable of automatically translating the language of this world into Japanese thanks to their divine raiment, there are possibilities of guessing by the movement of the lips just like what Satsuki did.
Much less to say if it’s from the side of Miharu and the others who are learning the language of this world from the scratch, they’ll naturally notice the abnormalities in the fact that Japanese is being used for the goods made by Rikka firm.
In fact, Miharu and the others already noticed those unusual phenomenons.
If it’s someone as wise as Liselotte, it’s not like persistently hiding her own secret in this situation will do any good to her.
――With that as the base of her anxiety.
“Well then, how should I answer that question”.
Rio considered that right away.
「Yeah, they’re able to spend a wonderful time in there」
Rio was playing dumb as he smiled while replying to her.
Liselotte stared at Rio’s face and,
「……… I see, I’m glad then」
She said so with a meaningful smile.
Their gaze interlocking each other.
（She still has some doubt on me huh）
Rio guessed Liselotte’s thoughts.
That’s only natural.
The matter regarding Rio moving around Almond is known by her.
Even without those factors, the product of Rikka firm was circulating in the Galwark kingdom.
If one come upon that, though Miharu and the others are under the protection of Rio, it’ll be stranger for them to not have a contact with originally-from-earth-product made by Rikka firm.
If that was the case, it’s easy to imagine just how much doubt was held by Miharu and the others during those time when they were in Almond where they asked Rio.
Why there are product with Japanese names in this world? What’s with the Rikka firm who made those product? And who’s this Liselotte Kretia who’s managing this Rikka firm?.
Naturally there are possibilities that Liselotte is only the sponsor, and it’s not like the are no possibilities of someone else, who’s a former Japanese aside from her, being the one who made those products.
Though the first time he met her, he was under deep prejudice that she’s a reincarnated person seeing that there’s plenty of clues, because it’s not removing the possibilities of a transferred person after the heroes appeared.
But, the most doubtful person is still Liselotte, whichever the truth is, it still won’t change the fact that there’s some sort of secret hidden behind Rikka firm.
Therefore, there’s some doubt about Liselotte.
And then, might be some sort of caution.
That’s the current situation waiting in front of Rio.
（The fact will turn into conviction sooner or later. It might be better to wipe some of her suspicion by telling her certain amount of truth）
Though Rio can feign his ignorance right now, he’s predicting that there’ll be seeds of doubt remained inside Liselotte’s mind.
Since there’s no person who’s not vigilance against someone persisting with his lies while being aware of their own secret.
But then, even Rio is measuring just how much is the value and the significance of that secret.
But, she’s a noble, even if there’s that merchant side of her, maybe she’ll hate the fact of leaving even the slightest possibilities of someone else harming her.
What will Liselotte do after this with this kind of worry in her heart, maybe that’s what she thinks in her heart.
Sooner or later, in the case where one wants to keep their secret still a secret, they might need to pay the bribe.
In that case, she might bribe him to keep her secret from Satsuki and Miharu and co, or else, she might try assassinating them in the off chance of them leaking her secret.
Even Rio’s not considering Liselotte to be a perfectly good person without any kind of dirty secrets.
Though she’s a reliable ally, she definitely would be a troublesome existence once she become an enemy.
Carelessly provoking her is too reckless of a move for now, since she keeps amassing favorable relationships, it’s definitely a better choice to keep their relationship as it is, if possible.
Seeing that Liselotte is a noble, and also a merchant, the possibilities of being backstabbed as long as there’s unbroken pros and cons relationship between them is low.
Even Rio believed that based on his relationship with her up till now.
「The friends of Satsuki-sama are three people. Two amongst them are girls but, they’re truly grateful with the products made by Rikka firm you know」
Though Rikka firm is making wide varieties of product, amongst those product, the one gared toward woman are the best ones.
Though their circulation network and the production system aren’t complete yet therefore they can’t supply the provision and demand at every place at the same time, there’s almost no products that you can’t get when you’re in Almond.
Rio knew of such stories since he kept his base around Almond.
「I’m very happy for such praise. Because it’s a blessing for a merchant if their customers are pleased」
Liselotte replied to him with ambigous smile.
「Even they were especially surprised by one part of the product made by Rikka firm」
「……….. I see」
Liselotte was suddenly squinting her eyes as she say so.
「Though I’m curious whether there’s some kind of secret in those products, I told them to not tell anyone in regard to that secret. And they agreed to my wish」
Rio answered while deliberately leaving what the secret is vague.
Thereupon, Liselotte was staring dumbfoundedly as if being attacked by a surprise.
「Why…………… Did you do that？」
「Because, although it would be a demerit if they were thoughtlessly revealing that to others, it won’t bring any merit to them」
「Demerit………… Is it？」
Liselotte was tilting her head as she asked that question.
「I’ve already tied by a contract with Liselotte-sama a while ago right」
Rio was hinting to her.
「……… As expected, so the people you want me to protect in the case of emergency with the conract are the friens of Satsuki-sama, aren’t they？」
「Yeah, three amongst the five. They’re in an extremely dangerous situation as the friends of the hero. Thus it’s better if they have many allies」
Rio told fluently.
Liselotte was listening that story with a serious expression.
「Thus, right now I want to ask Liselotte-sama to protect them to the extent of your power」
「That’s……….. Just natural. We’re under such contract, aren’t we」
Liselotte was nodding while agreeing with him.
「Thank you very much. Though I’m asking for their protection, I wish to do that with a good agreement with the other party, which is Liselotte-sama, from now on. That’s my true wish without any falsehood in it」
「The other party of the contract, is it」
Liselotte said that as if trying to understand the meaning behind those words.
「Though I’m not a merchant, I know of powerful bond which ties one person to another with profit and loss. And then, both of us are currently profiting due to our contract」
While he said so, Rio was smiling lightly looking at Liselotte.
Liselotte also looked back at Rio.
Maybe because she understand what he means soon after that.
「…… I see. It have the most persuasive power as a merchant」
Liselotte lips are forming a smile as if happy with such a reply.
Even her vigilance which she had shown till sometimes ago were extremely weakened.
「In short, I don’t want to break the relationship with the current you. Despite contrary to my wishes, I’m already a noble starting from today. So, you’re definitely a person who makes me want to keep a good relationship with」
Rio shrugged his shoulders as he said so.
「If that’s the case. Since I also strongly wished to be a good contract partner to Haruto-sama from the very beginning……….」
「In that case, that’ll made this quicker. I swear that I won’t reveal the secret regarding the products of Rikka firm. Nor I will looking for another means to reveal it」
「………… That’s truly a wonderful promise for my side. But, are you really not worrying about it？ Even if there’s some truth in the secret that you mentioned sometimes ago」
「Yeah, the secret of famous trading firm even in neighbouring countries are something that’s beyond what I can handle. Even if I knew that secret, it doesn’t mean that I can do something about it」
Rio shaked his head while smiling wryly.
Liselotte showed an impish smile and then,
Said those words to Rio.