Chapter 88: Dinner With Duke Kretia House
The magic ship which carried them departed from Almond in the morning and advanced northeast, sailing towards the capital of Galwark kingdom in slightly less than half day.
The maximum speed of the magic ship was roughly around 110 knots, but when cruising normally it moved at half the speed to have effective fuel consumption. [Ed: 110 knots is 203 km per hour.]
Though it was not as fast as when Rio flew at full speed, it was still considerably fast.
「I saw it~！ It’s the capital！ We’ll be arriving to the capital soon！ 」
The voice of the crew member that was standing in the ship’s mast look out resounded in the cabin.
「It seems we’ve almost reached the capital. That seems like the capital」
He could already confirm the view of the capital from the deck.
Rio said that to Chloe who was standing in front of him.
「Ah, yes. It’s ………………. Beautiful, isn’t it」
While agreeing with him, Chloe was captivated by the scenery of the capital, especially the gigantic white conspicuous wall structure inside the city, or better known as the royal castle of Galwark Kingdom.
The orchard and grain-producing regions that were spread in the surroundings of the capital, it seemed like what is supporting the livehood of the capital.
Maybe because they heard the report, bit-by-bit, the other people appeared to look at the scenery of the capital, the deck quickly turned into a noisy place.
「Well then, since they’ve already made preparation for landing. I’ll go back to my room for the time being」
「YES！ Thank you very much！ 」
Separating from Chloe, Rio took his leave from the deck and turned on his heel.
After cruising around 10 minutes more since then, the magic ship landed on the gigantic lake located to the east of the capital.
Though the magic ship could park on land too, the pace in which most private harbors were located was in places with a lot of water such as in a lake or at sea.
The magic ship which advanced from south west passed the capital and arrived towards the sky of the east lake.
The voice of the steering crew and the ship Captain in the bridge resounded.
After repeating the order of the ship Captain, the steering crew turned the steering wheel to the right.
「Starboard 15 degree」
So, the steering crew told the captain.
The magic ship turned around its head towards the right, and then started to circle the capital seemingly drawing a big arc.
「Turn back the steering whe~el！」
「Steer to the center！」
When the magic ship started heading towards the harbor, the steering crew who followed the order of the ship captain and returned the steering wheel to 0 degree.
「To the target！」
Now he turned the steering wheel slightly to the left and then, the force of the ship which circled to the right killed its momentum.
「Direction, 270 degrees~」
The ship captain ordered the direction he wanted the ship to go.
「Yo~soro~, course, 270 degrees」
When he took the direction that was ordered, the steering crew reported it.
「Advance at very slow speed, descend at a very slow speed」
「Advancing at very slow speed, descending at a very slow speed, yo~soro~」
When the ship approached the harbor of the capital in the west part of the lake, the magic ship descended slowly as its distance with the lake below narrowed bit-by-bit.
「All members, prepare for impact！」
The captain spoke towards the speaking tube.
When the magic ship landed upon the surface of the water as if getting sucking into it and creating waves.
It arrived to the harbor while moving through the surface of the lake, the people who were watching and the crew skillfully worked to prepare to dock.
When fixing the ship to the harbor with a rope, the ramp was installed which made movement to and from the ship possible.
「Liselotte-sama！ Preparation complete！ 」
The ship captain told Liselotte who was looking at the situation from the deck.
「Thank you very much, everyone. Please have fun after this till the time we return to Almond」
「You chaps！ Did you hear that！ It’s the holiday which we desired, finish your work fast！ 」
The voice of the crew resounded on board and started to act at once.
Liselotte smiled as she saw them.
「Well then, Haruto-sama. Since the preparation has been completed, please go towards this place」
Saying so, Liselotte went ashore accompanied by Rio.
The four of Chloe, Cosette, Natalie and Aria, walked as chamberlain escorts in order to protect those two.
Thereupon, a man who seemed to be at the end of his teens approached the deck.
Though he looking like an extraordinary military man from his muscular body, his outfit was not that of a military man, it was a steward’s or butler’s uniform.
「Please excuse me for my long silence, Liselotte-sama」
After bowing respectfully, the man called out to Liselotte.
「Ara, Richard. You’re as lively as ever, aren’t you? If you’re already in this place, maybe honored father and mother are also here？ 」
Conversing like they known each other, Liselotte asked for his reply in a friendly manner.
It seems the man called Richard was her acquaintance.
Rio guessed that he might be a person who serves Duke Kretia’s house.
「Yes. Certainly, both honored masters have been waiting eagerly to be able to meet Liselotte-sama again」
「Indeed. Could it be that Pascal-niisama and George-niisama have come too？ 」
「George-sama has gone towards his fiancée’s house. He left after saying that he’ll be attending Hero-dono’s debut party」
「Indeed. Understood. Well, it’ll not be immediately but, maybe we’ll go to the mansion」
「Your pleasure. Incidentally, please excuse my rudeness but, could it be that personage over there is Haruto-sama？ 」
Richard asked that question when his line of sight moved towards Rio who stood beside Liselotte.
「Yeah, this person is Haruto-sama who saved me during Almond’s monster raid some time ago 」
So, Liselotte introduced Rio.
「Nice to meet you. My name is Haruto. Hereafter, pleased to make your acquaintance」
Rio introduced his name while bowing politely so as to not show discourtesy to the other party.
「Oh, it’s my first time meeting you. I’ve heard about you from the report. My deepest gratitude for saving Liselotte-sama」
Richard expressed his gratitude with a friendly smile.
Though it might be just natural to know Rio, since his deeds were conveyed along with the matter regarding Almond’s raid some time ago.
「No, since I only slayed the demons who came at myself」
「It doesn’t change the fact that you saved Ojou-sama. My apologies for saying it this late. I’m Richard. I’m working as the butler of Cedric Kretia-sama, Liselotte-sama’s father. A pleasure to make your acquaintance」
Richard bowed politely while greeting him.
「Yes. Me too, please treat me well」
Rio’s also bowing at him.
「Well then, please follow me. This way please」
After that, they followed the guidance of Richard, and headed towards Duke Kretia’s house in the royal capital.
The noble district was close to the harbor.
Or rather, the main street stretched from the royal castle till the harbor located at the southeast of the capital, the noble district was location is between that two.
Moreover, establishments related to war were everywhere, thick lines of defense laid out in the east part of the capital.
Solid buildings made of stone stood in rows everywhere, the surroundings were wrapped in a quiet atmosphere.
「It’s already on sight. That one is the royal capital villa of the Duke Kretia house」
The royal capital villa of Duke Kretia house was located extremely close to the royal castle when compared to the other villas in the noble district.
A wonderful ornament was shown at the solid metal gate which was erected at the center of a splendid brick wall that surrounded the Duke’s land.
A solemn white walled building with relatively brand new artistic style was towering everything else at the far side of the wall and gate.
Even the interior was definitely installed with elaborate ornaments.
The garden had a geometric style and the road that lead towards the building after entering the site could be seen, there was quite a distance to reach the mansion from the gate.
Even when comparing it with the mansions of the other nobles that stood in the surroundings, the royal capital villa of Duke Kretia house is no doubt a very wonderful one.
It only served as evidence that Duke Kretia’s house is prospering.
「”Solemnity” is the right word for expressing the garden of this nice mansion. It’s overwhelming to the point that I was unintentionally captivated by it」
Rio told his impression after seeing the mansion and its garden.
He was telling the truth and, if he was the one who lived in this mansion, a simple design would be more to his liking than an artistic design, he would most likely end up with mental fatigue.
But, if it’s for appreciating the artistic style, the mansion in front of him in fact even made him feel that it’s a wonderful building.
「Fufu, this mansion was constructed under the command of my father but, I feel that it’s a bit too showy for a living place. It’s just necessary to build a suitable mansion in the capital to show the power of the house. Noble society is troublesome right?」
Liselotte said that while showing a playful smile.
「……….. My condolences. Which reminds me, Liselotte-sama’s mansion in Almond has a simple design and yet is beautiful. The truth is I feel that way too, if it’s for a place to live, I prefer a design like your mansion’s」
Rio replied with a wry smile.
「That’s right. I also feel that settling permanently in this kind of mansion will cause mental fatigue」
Liselotte agreed while smiling lightly to Rio’s reply.
When they entered the mansion after that, as expected, gorgeous ornaments which captivated the eyes could be seen, Rio let out a brief sigh in admiration.
The entrance hall was also ornamented with the typical carving, the room itself seemed more like a piece of art.
Just like that, they kept walking through a passage that was surrounded by white plastered stone walls, Rio was guided towards the dining room.
「Please wait while sitting over here. We’re about to have a banquet. I’ll be going to call Liselotte-sama’s parents soon」
After entering the room, Richard urged Rio to sit on a chair.
「Excuse me then」
Rio nodded as he took his seat.
On the other hand, Liselotte didn’t immediately take her seat,
「Haruto-sama, I’ll also excuse myself for a while」
She skillfully told so and left the room at once.
After Rio say so, Liselotte left the room being followed by her four exclusive chamberlains.
Richard also left the room along with them and in exchange, the chamberlain of the mansion came in.
The chamberlain started to make tea with graceful movements.
Rio silently observed the interior of the room with sidelong glances.
It was a truly luxurious dining room.
Antique furniture were placed inside the room, stained glass was set at the big windows to add color to the room.
「Here you go, please enjoy」
The chamberlain suddenly presented the cup with tea to Rio.
「Well then. Please enjoy it slowly」
After saying those words, the chamberlain departed to the corner of the room.
「Thank you very much」
Rio gave his gratitude with a smile.
If it was a normal case, the invited guest had no need to give their gratitude when given tea, if the guest were a noble, they wouldn’t even think about expressing their gratitude.
But, it doesn’t mean that Rio was different from the nobles, he decided to say his gratitude normally since he had no intention in behaving like a noble.
Incidentally, the matter about Rio being the benefactor of Liselotte had been conveyed to the people of this mansion, but they’re not especially told regarding his social position.
Maybe because she wasn’t quite used to receiving words of gratitude, the chamberlain was slightly startled and then bowed with a smile on her face.
He waited for slightly longer than 10 minutes after that.
Rio sensed people coming closer to the dining room.
The door of the dining room opened and then, several people came into the room.
What attracted his attention were the male and female in their prime who walked in the front, and then, Liselotte who was walking behind them.
Richard and Aria restrained their presence and followed further behind.
Maybe because she changed her clothes in such little time, Liselotte wore a simple white dress.
Standing from the sofa immediately, Rio bow down after straightening himself.
「Yoo, so you’re Haruto-kun, Welcome in the royal capital villa of our Duke Kretia house. Welcome. I’m Liselotte’s father, Cedric Kretia」
The male who walked on the front welcomed Rio with a cheerful tone that was pleasant to hear.
He was Liselotte father, Cedric Kretia duke.
Though his age was supposedly in the middle of his forties, he was a handsome man who could be called a young father for Liselotte.
「It’s my first time meeting you. My name is Haruto. Much gratitude for inviting me to this mansion in this occasion」
Rio greeted him with his words and gestures full of courtesy.
Cedric let out a bright smile.
「I have heard the story you know. It seems that you saved Liselotte some time ago. My deepest gratitude for it. I hear that the life of my daughter would have been in great danger were you not in that place」
His words were friendly.
「As for that event, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Since I just beat the demons that came rushing at me」
Rio waved his hand while smiling wryly.
「Hahaha, it was still a fact that you saved my cute Liselotte you know. Listen to what I say. It seems that you’re participating in this kingdom’s Hero-sama’s debut party. Feel free to relax yourself as if it was your home during your stay in the capital」
「Thank you very much」
Feeling such earnest gratitude coming from Cedric, Rio told his gratitude while bowing deeply.
Though it seems he already received an explanation about Rio beforehand, when the daughter of a great noble brings along a wanderer of unknown origin, there might not be many fathers who can show a nice attitude from the bottom of their heart.
It seems that somehow Cedric was a gentle person with a big heart.
Though should he say that as expected of a duke, Rio can feel the dignity hidden behind his friendly smile for his long service.
「Dear, I also want to convey my gratitude to Liselotte’s benefactor. Please introduce me to him」
The woman who stood beside Cedric said that.
She was a beautiful and gentle woman with deep blue eyes and pale blue hair like Liselotte.
「Ah, Julianne. My bad」
Cedric replied with a bright smile and,
「Let me introduce her to you, Haruto-kun. She’s Julianne, Liselotte’s mother and also my wife」
He then turned towards Rio and introduced the woman called Julianne.
「Fufu, good day. I’m Julianne Kretia. Thank you very much for saving my daughter. I feel really grateful to you from the bottom of my heart」
Julianne who followed the introduction, greeted him courteously. It does appear that she’s Liselotte mother.
Certainly, be it her hair color, eye color, or her calm and gentle features due to her well upbringing, everything is in Liselotte the more he look at her.
Though he didn’t know of her age, as soon as he saw them, Julianne seemed so youthful that both mother and daughter would be taken as nothing but a pair of sisters no matter how one looked at them.
「It’s the first time we meet. My name is Haruto. Though I’m ashamed for mistaking Julianne-sama as Liselotte-sama’s older sister」
「Oh my, you’re so skillful I see」
Julianne faced slightly down while blushing due to shyness.
「Hahaha, he’s absolutely right. It’s because Julianne is beautiful」
Cedric agreed with a good mood while wearing a bright smile that would dazzle everyone who saw him.
「Gezz, dear is such a tease…………」
Julianne averted her face while placing her hands on her face.
That action perfectly matched the really sweet her.
Nevertheless, it might be because they were really close, this pair of husband and wife acted like a newlywed couple.
「My deepest apologize Haruto-sama. They’re always acting like this you know. Causing the people who see them to feel embarrassed, they’re beyond intimate to the point that I can’t even enter into their self created world」
Liselotte who was looking from the back of her parents told that to him while smiling wryly.
「I think that a relationship between a marriage couple going smoothly is a wonderful thing」
Rio replied truthfully with a smile.
「Oh, so you also think like that. You really are a youth with a promising future」
Cedric praised Rio with his nice, resounding tenor.
「I’m grateful for your praise」
Rio said so with a short bow.
Cedric looked intently at Rio’s face and then,
「Fumu, well then, should we chat while have our dinner. First is taking our seat right. It’s a family only banquet. So switch from the formal speech」
So he said.
「What do you wish as an aperitif？ I’m preparing from a low alcohol content to a high one」
When everyone sat, the chamberlains came and asked whether they want to drink the aperitif.
They also presented every aperitif.
「Thank you. Well then, may I take a wine based cocktail？ 」
「Certainly. Please wait for a while」
After bowing lightly, the chamberlain left silently.
After that, the aperitif was carried along with the appetizer and then, the banquet to welcome Rio started.
Cedric skillfully guided the conversation, Julianne laughed pleasantly, in addition, a smile also floated on Liselotte and Rio’s faces who were being lured by her.
Gradually, the liquor also lifted the atmosphere.
「Somehow, Liselotte’s growing into a strong-willed child that is different from me or Julianne right?」
And then, Cedric suddenly started to tell him about Liselotte.
Liselotte wore an expression as if something unexpected happened.
Cedric grinned widely and then, opened his mouth while looking at Rio who sat in front of him.
「You can’t disregard something like personal connections to live as a noble. I wonder if you understand that？ 」
「Yeah, I have the knowledge about it」
Rio nodded slightly.
「A link between houses is the prime custom for forming that personal connection. In other words, it’s a marriage. Marriage is for the sake of continuation of the house, forming personal connections, avoiding social events as a noble is a difficult thing. That’s why the nobles do political marriages. They do marriage interviews for the sake of political marriage. Even if the said person isn’t interested in the other party」
Cedric showed a slightly troubled smile as he said that.
「Liselotte also couldn’t be exempted from that. Various formal marriage interviews are coming from some houses, including duke houses. In addition, they have come since her childhood.
Well, it’s similar to meeting face to face. If I wanted to maintain a harmonious relationship with the noble society, doing something like rejecting everything would be a poor move. Since Liselotte is as you see, cute to the point of dazzling. That alone already made the talk about marriage come from lot of house. Of course since receiving every one of them is troublesome, we made it so that the formal marriage interview is to reject the ones with bad rumors amongst them」 [Cedric]
When Rio sent a fleeting glance at Liselotte while listening to her father’s story, her body was trembling while her face flushed red in embarrassment.
「It might be around her eighth year. Liselotte came and said this in my office.
『If I graduate by skipping grades till senior grade in the royal academy when I am still 12 years old, I’ll have you willingly hear my wishes』 right. That wish was that she wanted me to accept her management of the municipal territory and let her establish a firm」
「D-dear father, telling that story now is………..」[Liselotte]
Liselotte tried to change the subject with cramped smile on her face.
Maybe because Rio was in front of her, it seems that she didn’t want to show her improper and stubborn actions.
「Oh my, isn’t that okay. This is a good chance for Haruto-sama who’s your benefactor to know that side of you」 [Julianne]
Julianne restrained Liselotte as if enjoying this situation.
Even Liselotte was unable to maneuver further, so she sighed slightly in lamentation.
Cedric smiled as he confirmed the state of his beloved daughter and,
「At that time, Liselotte was barely 8 years old. It’ll make anyone surprised when she suddenly says something like that right? So I asked for her reason. And then, what do you think she said at that time？ 」
He looked at Rio with a pleasant mood as he asked that question.
「『Dear father, I’m not of mind to partake in a political marriage with someone who I don’t wish for. I want the other party who will marry myself to be chosen by myself. That’s why I want power to at least decide my own marriage. That’s my reason』. She said that with a strangely ghastly expression floating on her face. She was only 8 years old you know？ 」[Cedric]
A moment later, Cedric answered his own question as if unable to endure his own laugh.
「Maybe she’s strong willed despite being our own child, or it’s just her good trait, whichever it is, I’m deeply moved. I readily consented to her wish. And then, this child fulfilled her promise. In just two and a half years you see」[Cedric]
「She’s a wonderful Ojousama isn’t she」
Rio was smiling lightly while saying that.
「So you understand？ She’s an extremely cute and excellent daughter to the point that she’s wasted on us 」 [TL : You might be already noticing this but let me say it : Cedric is a doting father!!!]
A really proud expression floated on Cedric’s face.
But, an expression of grief immediately peeked through that.
「That’s why it’s normal for us to feel anxious for her when asked to live in separated place but, you see. Didn’t a flock of demons march towards Almond just the other day. Though there’s a rumor that the origin of the agitated demons is because of a dragon. Well, the dragon itself is something like a natural calamity. Though it not be be helped for the sake of quickening the growth of my daughter……..」
Cedric talking as if feeling slightly disheartened.
After a short lament as it is, he straightened himself and then faced Rio.
「You’re a man who possesses an uncommon swordsmanship right? I heard that you’re a reliable person from Liselotte you know?」
「Those words are more than what I deserved」
Rio replied while bowing lightly.
「Is that a slight precaution？ I don’t mean to threaten you at all. If it’s precaution, your worry is wasted. But, I have a little wish you see」
He didn’t mean that as precaution at all, Rio decided to hear it even if it’s just talk.
「It could be something related to work or essential for position, though there are many people who think kindly of this child, there are a similar amount of people who hate and envy her. If it’s okay with you, will you become her friend after this？ 」
「……Eh. That’s a certainty but, is this the matter that you wish for？ 」
After a short while, Rio asked for the slightly anti-climactic situation.
For his expectation, the content of his wish which he thought was coming was something slightly deeper*. [TL* : Like marriage]
「Ah, is that so」
Cedric was showing a brilliant smile.
Rio blinked once with―― a “twink”.
「Certainly. Since I also wishing for an everlasting relationship after this, please treat me well then」
Rio declared that while smiling lightly at Cedric.