Chapter 93: Presenting This Hand
When they’re returning toward the floor of the hall at the bottom of the stairs after giving their greeting to Satsuki, Rio and Liselotte is being greeted again by the nobles.
The number of people who come is so much, each one of them is finishing their greeting after just a short while.
And then, the swarms of the nobles who is coming is also decreasing little by little.
「Well then, Liselotte-sama. I’ll take my leave then. Please send my regards to your highness duke Cedric-sama」
「Yes, I’ll do so. See you again」
After bidding their farewell, the two of them is leaving the last noble who’s coming at them.
When one part of the wave of nobles ceased, Liselotte sent a fleeting gaze to Rio who’s standing by her side.
「Haruto-sama, have you already finished your business that you have to do toward Satsuki-sama*？ Though you said that you wanted to say something……..」
She meant that he wanted to talk with Satsuki to the point that he expressed his wish to attend the evening party.
Though in normal situations, someone will think about something important, the Rio of sometime ago is ending his greeting with just a simple exchange.
Despite they was doing a handshake for quite a while, it didn’t look like an action in which he’s unnaturally trying to stretch the conversation, it doesn’t seem that he’s trying to convey something to Satsuki.
When it comes to that, she thinks that Rio has yet to convey something to Satsuki.
Was what Liselotte feels.
Moreover, the resounding of the way Rio called Satsuki’s name which she heard a while ago, just how he――
「To tell the truth, I still have something I’m wishing to tell her. But, just to be able to meet her like this also has it’s own meaning. Thus, maybe I already finished telling her the important matter」
Rio’s replying in a way of speaking as if to confuse the other party.
Liselotte was unable to seize the true meaning behind those words in that moment.
No, maybe she won’t even be able to seen through the true meaning behind those words even if she’s spending her time pondering about it.
Since she is currently overwhelmingly lacking the information to be able to do that.
But, despite unable to put it nicely in the words, she caught something.
Liselotte felt so.
But, now isn’t the right time to be deriving an answer from that.
Eventually, Liselotte couldn’t even ask more than the first question in this situation.
「If we’re waiting for a while longer, it’s time for a dance. If it’s okay with you, will you dance in the same tune with me at that time？ 」
Liselotte asked with a slightly troubled smile as if to deny that hazy idea.
Normally, the manners for applying for a dance is coming from the male side but, seeing the relationship between the two sides, it doesn’t mean that she’s breaching the manners when the invitation is coming from her.
「Yeah, with pleasure」
Rio’s nodding and replied immediately.
And then, at that time,
「May I have a dance too？」
From behind Rio and facing Liselotte, there was the sound of a greeting by two people.
The daughter of duke Fontaine of Bertram kingdom, Roana.
「This is, Roana-san. Nice to meet you」
Liselotte who noticed her earlier is giving a light bow.
「Good evening, Roana-sama」
Rio also turned back and gave his greeting followed by a light bow.
「Yeah, nice to meet you too. Both of you――」
Just when Roana’s about to say something, a loud voice was resounding as if covering her voice.
The people in the vicinity’s turning their line of sight to the owner of that voice while wondering “what’s happened”.
Rio and that person―― Stead Euguno, who was looking like he was slightly taken aback.
「W-Why are you in this place？」
Stead was asking Rio with tone full of hostility.
「Even if you ask why, as you can see that I’m participating in this evening party」
Rio’s answering while smiling wryly without even being disturbed by him.
Maybe because it’s affecting his temper, Stead’s expression becomes steep.
「I invited him to this party. Is the answer to your question. Stead Euguno-san」[TL : this is the first time Liselotte’s using -san as suffix for someone on the same rank as her, in short she’s looking down on him]
Liselotte’s explaining the situation to Stead without putting on any air.
Stead’s expression was slightly astonished, and then,
「……… You are？」
He’s asking for Liselotte’s name.
「My apologies for my late introduction. My name is Liselotte Kretia. It’s a pleasure to meet you」
「!!!………………… You’re Liselotte. I was always hearing the rumors about you」
Maybe because he remembered Liselotte’s features following her introduction, Stead has a slightly cramped face.
She’s the only daughter of duke Kretia, the prominent big-shot noble even in Galwark kingdom, the talented woman whose name is resounding in the neighbouring country, the key figure of Galwark kingdom who’s working as the young CEO of Rikka firm――
And then, there’s also the prefectural governor of Almond in which Stead caused a problem sometime ago, she’s also the person in the position to guarantee the effect of the contract which binded with Rio during that trouble.
If someone of her position is inviting Rio in this evening party, at least the two of them have some kind of solid relationship.
Even for Stead, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t understand it’s meaning.
「Though it seems that you two have never met, is Haruto-san an acquaintance of Stead-kun？」
So, Roana who is left on the side asked to them as she grasped onto something.
「Ah, No, That’s……………… Uhm…………….. That’s……………….」
Stead was unintentionally stuttered as he can’t explain the truth of the situation.
「Maybe you can say that they’re an acquaintance. Though I can’t say it loudly, there was a little trouble between them sometime ago in Almond. Haruto-sama’s the victim. At that time, Rikka firm was acting as the mediator for the reconciliation contract between the two party. Due to that chance, I had a chance to become closer to Haruto-sama」
Liselotte was giving a simple explanation to Roana regarding the event of that time as she feels that it’ll cause trouble if the explanation is coming from Rio.
「What are you doing during such an important time…………… Because of that, do you have something for your excuse？ 」
Roana was asking to Stead while pouring at him her undisguised line of sight which was filled with astonishment and disdain.
Stead is hanging down his head as if embarassed while clenching his fist.
With that reaction, Roana made a conclusion that Stead was at fault in those events.
「My deepest apologies. My acquaintance has brought trouble upon you」
Thereupon, after sighing shortly as if troubled with it, Roana decided to apologize to Rio after ascertaining the truth.
Seeing that Rikka firm becoming the witness of the reconciliation, she doesn’t want to put a doubt in all case, it’s not a good plan to give a bad impression of Rio who’s the benefactor of Liselotte and it’s to protect Stead who’s coming along with her.
「It’s nothing, that matter already settled. It’s not a problem since I received the protection from the contract」
Rio replied while gently shaking his head.
When he tells a digest of the content of the contract, it then becomes―― The prohibition of any kind of interference thereafter from Stead’s side in regards to not ask indirectly or directly about the people who’s related to Rio, the victim’s side.
When it comes to explaining it arbitarily, you can say that it’ll be a breach of the contract just by approaching Rio, though unexpectedly, one could say that an accidental meeting like this is barely stepping into the grey zone.
Though if given a choice, Rio didn’t want to have another meeting with Stead, this kind of meeting just like this case is an act of god, in case Stead is being obedient, Rio didn’t even feel like blaming or threatening him with that event sometime ago.
That’s already a trivial matter to him―― or so, As long as the other party over there didn’t try to harm Miharu and co.
「I’m really sorry for that. Please let me offer my sincere apology. Stead, you must also apologize once again to this person by yourself」
Roana said that while still bowing herself.
Stead is wearing an absolutely discontent expression on his face.
「Na! Why must I to this guy！ The contract is already made, that matter is finished you know!」
Stead is objecting as if screaming.
「It’s not that kind of problem. If there’s a fault in you, your attitude just now is not something praiseworthy at all. On top of that, please apologize right now if you don’t want to pile another shame to the previous one」
Roana’s saying that after letting out a big sigh.
Stead’s body is trembling at those words as he creased his eyebrows in discomfort.
He appears to not be complying to Roana’s words by becoming emotional.
Just like that, Stead is recalled of those times further powering his wrath.
「I already don’t care about those matters. Please just pardon him for that much, Roana-sama」
Being unable to watch those two, Rio’s admonished Roana.
Stead was glaring with a piercing gaze at Rio. ス
Maybe he never felt a disgrace of being protected by the opponent to whom he didn’t want to apologize to.
Even for Rio, though it doesn’t mean that he can’t guess his opponent’s line of thought, before they noticed, Rio and co have gathered the attention of the people in their surrounding.
Their in full sight to the people who’s looking at their direction with a truly interested expression.
Maybe making a big commotion more than this will put them in a slightly hard situation.
「That’s so right. My apologies for waiting. My gratitude」
Maybe because she perceived the atmosphere of their surrounding, even Roana decided to stop any further action of her urging Stead to apologize.
Just like that, she’s bowing deeply toward Rio again.
「I wonder what just happened？ 」
There was people who’s coming out of the crowd in their surrounding toward their place.
Gustave Euguno is giving his greeting to Rio and co as their leader.
The moment he discovered his own father, Stead expression is getting even worse.
「Would you tell me what just happened in this place, Roana-kun？」
After giving a cold piercing glance to Stead whose expression became paler, duke Euguno was asking that question to Roana.
「Though I don’t know the full detail of the situation, it seems that somehow Stead-kun caused trouble for him the last time they met. Despite my urging to apologizing to him, Stead-kun kept refusing…………..」
Roana’s replying as if troubled by Stead’s action.
「It’s the matter in Almond restaurant. Your highness duke Euguno」
So, Liselotte told duke Euguno.
With that, maybe because he instantly understood the situation.
「I see. So it was about that. This is the fault of my stupid son. My apologies for what he said to Haruto-kun」
Duke Euguno was immediately apologizing to Rio.
「It’s nothing, since I don’t care about that anymore」
Though he replied with smile on his face, Rio’s winced back deep in his mind to the unexpected development.
Though he honestly doesn’t want to have anything to do with the people of Bertram kingdom ever again, he’s experienced a series of meeting with the people of Bertram kingdom since a while ago.
Moreover, all of them is the big-shot people.
「Stead. Don’t make me embarrassed. It was something that you must do. Apologize right now」
Without even looking at his own child, duke Euguno said that with a cold tone.
Stead body is trembling.
「I-I’ve troubled you sometime ago………………..」
A while later, Stead was muttering those words with a shrill voice.
「…………….. My deepest apology」
And then, after speaking words of apology with great difficulties, Stead is bowing deeply to him.
It’s by no means in front of a few people in their surrounding.
Though Rio doesn’t know and don’t even care about Stead’s personality, maybe it’s a disgrace for him.
「Ye, yes. It’s okay as long as you don’t do such kind of action again with accordance to the contract」
Rio’s gentle shaking his head while having a slightly cramped smile.
As expected, he came to feel pity to Stead whose figure is truly miserable right now.
「I felt that I want him to properly apologize to you. If it’s good with you, I’ll prepare a good place for him to apologize again」
On the side of his own son who’s bowing at Rio, duke Euguno said those words while letting out an unfathomable smile which makes one wonder what he’s thinking about.
「No, you don’t need to do that. Since your highness is also busy himself」
Rio didn’t accept that suggestion even if it’s just a lip service.
Since he doesn’t even know what will happen if he’s entering an area which is prepared by his opponent.
Though Rio can’t imagine that there might be a plan to get rid of Rio and the annoying contract which binds his son, or he might be trying to soliciting or using the basis in his connection to Liselotte, at any rate, his purpose might be not really to apologize.
If it’s necessary aside, Rio didn’t have that kind of adventurous spirit to the point of having a connection to them because the thrill of horror the more he was looking at it.
「Fumu. Well, it’s because we’re in the position to make an apology right. So I won’t force you. I’m just coming out with that idea. By the way, it’ll be the time of dance soon right. If it’s okay with you, please come to dance with the daughter of our country later. Even those girl will be delighted if they can dance with a man of your caliber」
Without even tenaciously opposing his rejection, duke Euguno easily changed the topic.
Though Rio felt slightly anticlimactic, still there’s no need to say troublesome words of rejection.
「Yeah, unfortunately, since I already gave my promise to dance with Liselotte-sama, I’ll be delighted if I have the chance for that later」
Rio’s replying that way since he don’t mind it to that extent.
In regard to the dance setting of the evening party, the unmarried young man is not really admirable if they’re participating in the dance event without inviting the girls.
Though it doesn’t mean that it was absolute, at least they won’t need to save their face to the surrounding if they’re not dancing by themself.
It’s better if they can dance with two or three people.
But, despite not very interested himself, Rio’s accepting duke Euguno invitation by treating it as a lip service.
「Ooh, I see. If that was the case, then it’s a special chance. I shall introduce the daughter of our country」
Saying so, duke Euguno’s throwing his line of sight to the back.
On that place is the daughters of the noble and the male noble who’s following duke Euguno like remora.
With just how many nobles and acquaintances that he met today, with the self-introduction of the nobles is still going on forever.
Rio’s sighing deep in his mind and then showing a smile which is not showing his inner feelings.
Liselotte who’s beside him is also showing the same smile.
「Nice to meet you. My name is Elise from the house of earl Brandt」
「I’m Dorothea from the house of earl Albert」
Saying so, the noble daughters is introducing themself one by one.
Their age is maybe around the same age as Rio and Liselotte.
Or not even “maybe”, some of them is basically an old acquaintance of Rio when he was still in royal academy.
There’s no doubt, Elise and Dorothea and the others, according to Rio memory, they belong to the Roana faction.
With everyone of them dressed beautifully, despite they’re showing modest elegance whether in their actions or words, their eyes are filled with curiosity.
「My deepest gratitude for the polite words. I definitely will commit everyone’s name and appearance into my memories」
Rio’s nodding lightly while showing a sociable smile.
He has become quite used to making himself look pleasant to others.
「Hahaha. I’m glad then. Haruto-kun is someone who you should paid close attention even in this evening party. Nothing is lost from remembering his face」
Despite saying that with joke-like tone, duke Euguno’s eyes isn’t laughing at all.
That was the eyes of someone who’s gauging of how much utility value Rio has.
The noble daughters are laughing delightfully as they’re nodding in agreement to duke Euguno’s words.
「My face？ It must be a joke」
Rio asked duke Euguno as if surprised by it.
「What are you talking about. Even if it’s just by calling you a partner of miss Liselotte you are already attracting much attention you know. Moreover, didn’t you just say that you’re a completely nameless person. The person who’re not interested by that is an interesting person himself」
「…… I see. You might be able to say it that way, I see」
Rio agreed while showing a wry smile.
Jealousy, promotion, self-protection―― The nobles and the likes who are participating in this evening party is always keeping their eyes on the people of their surrounding who have more power than themself.
Though the excessively selfconcious thing was something that he’ll undertand, maybe Rio’s noticing that more than what he thought.
But then, since there’s no meaning in currying a favor to him no matter how much he’s paying attention, it’s nothing but only a disadvantage.
「Oops, it seems that it’s about the time for dance」
Duke Euguno said that as he already estimated the time the performers is finishing their preparation in the venue.
「Liselotte-sama. It’s a bit faster but, how about dancing with me for a song？ 」
Rio’s smiling while presenting his hand to Liselotte who’s standing by his side.
「Yeah, of course you can」
Liselotte’s nodding happily while answering his offering hand by seizing it.
「Well then, we’ll excuse ourself, your highness duke Euguno」
Liselotte turned toward duke Euguno and said those words.
「Yeah, let me see your dance from this place」
After finishing with their separation greeting with a light nod, the two of them then move toward the dance space in the middle of the venue while holding each others hand.
How many set of pair who’ll come with the same timing is currently making a preparation to dance.
「Hou, miss Liselotte is dancing too huh」
「The other party is that youth partner huh」
「This seems interesting. Let’s see them for a while」
When they’re looking at the dancing figure of Liselotte and Rio, the crowds of people was starting to leave to the vicinity of the dancing space.
Everyone is looking at them with a really interested face.
After they’ve arrived at the center space, the two of them are glued closely as if embracing at each other in order to dancing the dance.
「We’re becoming the center of attention aren’t we」
Rio’s saying that while smiling wryly as he feels the line of sight which is pouring on them without reservation.
「Fufu, that must be it. Is it unpleasant being looked that way？ 」
Liselotte’s saying so while looking at Rio’s face from the range in which she can feel his breath.
「Though I won’t call it unpleasant, it feels itchy since I’m not used to it」
「You’re feeling nervous then？」
「It’s because Liselotte-sama is my partner right. It’s natural that I feel nervous you know」
「How unexpected. How should I say it, it’s because I never think that Haruto-sama will feel nervous at all」
「If that was the case, maybe I’ll be more skilled in expressing myself without using words in this evening party right」
They have that kind of conversation while the musical performance is starting.
Moreover, the two who’s matching together is starting to dance.
「You’re a good dancer aren’t you」
Liselotte’s praising Rio dance.
「It’s definitely my partner is a good dancer too right」
「……………. Truly skillful.」
Liselotte’s showing a bashful face.
「Uhm, as I thought pairs of handsome-beauty truly make a picturesque scene only when they’re dancing together」
「Nonono, it’s become picturesque only because that youth is skillfully leading the dance right」
「Fumu, miss Liselotte’s also perfectly matching the breathing of her partner you know」
Though it’ll cause scorn-like evaluation if they’re presenting a shameful dance in this place, the evaluation of their dance is the best.
「Aah, we’re too late to start because of the prolonged greeting. And I’ve been painstakingly practicing my dance with Roana you know」
Hiroaki’s also looking at them dancing along with the other audience.
He didn’t even have the time for a short break since he must keep accompanying the nobles who keeps coming to give their greeting till just a moment ago.
When left in the environment in which he’s not used to, a bit of stress and fatigue is starting to accumulate.
「There’s still much more of them you know. Uhm, please dance with me when the music changes」
Cleverly guessing that Hiroaki’s mood had become slightly dampened, Flora who moved along with him said that by his side.
「Ou, that is so. And with Roana too. Uhm…………..」
Hiroaki’s running his line of sight in the venue while nodding to her.
「Oh, there she is. Let’s go over there, Flora」
A while after he found the one he’s looking for, Hiroaki started to move his feet in a casual manner.
Somehow, Roana’s looking at the dance along with the noble daughters of the same generation as her.
The noble daughters in that place is making a merry conversation which is filled with wicked conversation.
「Haruto-sama over there must be an excellent person right」
「Yeah, if we’re going to be used as a political tool, it’ll be better to approach that kind of generous young noble like him after all」
「His composed atmosphere is making you feel safe right. Having a composure is a good thing right」
It’s as if they’re commenting on the knight in the shining armor who’s currently dancing a dance.
「You two, you’re saying improper words you know」
Roana who’s astonished by their conversation is not scolding them who’s doing that kind of conversation on her side immediately and only ended up with cautioning them while sighing shortly.
「E~h, So Roana-sama also don’t think nicely of Haruto-sama？」
So, A certain noble daughter was asking with slightly sharp tone.
She’s the noble daughter who came to give a greeting to Rio a while ago―― Elise.
「………………… I’m not judging a gentlemen just by their appearance」
Roana’s giving a firm answer.
「He~, things like assets and status is certainly important but, there’s nothing better than a nice appearance you know. You might even say that it won’t be good unless the other party have both of them right？ 」
「Though I won’t deny it, please stop with chasing after your ideal. Since eventually, you can’t attract the gentlemen who excel in their wealth or appearance」
「Didn’t you unexpectedly keep staring at Haruto-sama since some time ago？」
Elise’s teasing her while letting out a wide grin.
「WHA, I’m not looking at him with that kind of intention！」
Roana’s panicking as her face flushed red.
「I know that. Your favourite is hero-sama, Haruto-sama is eye candy right. Your future is secured if you can marry hero-sama you know」
Dorothea supported Elise without holding back.
「Geez, I don’t know anymore」
Roana was turning her face away while puffing her cheeks.
Despite saying that, her line of sight is unconciously following after Rio.
「Yo, Roana. A~h, what’s the matter, so you’re looking at the dance of Liselotte and Haruto huh」
Hiroaki was coming to their location.
Roana’s noticing the fact that she’s glancing at Rio who’s dancing in the center of the venue, her lips are unconciously slightly pouting.
「Yeah, I think that their dancing is extremely skillful and elegance. They’re a nice example even for Hiroaki-sama」
「A~h, that’s so」
「The current musical performance is going to end soon. Please dance with me after you’ve danced with your highness princess Flora」
「Ou, Okay. But, what are you going to do while I’m dancing with Flora？ 」
「I can’t dance with the other gentlemen in the first turn except with Hiroaki-sama. I’ll be waiting in this place」
Hiroaki’s smiling in satisfaction with that words.
「Yeah, I see so that is. Fine then. Well then, I’ll try to invite Liselotte afterward」
「In that case, please call her after my turn. Since the musical performance just ended, I’ll see you later then」
「Yeah, best regards. Let’s go, Flora」
Hiroaki was leaving for the sake of dancing bringing along Flora with him after leaving those words.
After seeing them off, Roana is letting out a sigh of relief while walking toward the location of Liselotte and Rio who’s just coming back from the center of the dance space.
「Haruto-san, Liselotte-san. Thank you very much for today. Your dance is wonderful you know」
「Ara, Thank you very much, Roana-san.」
Liselotte told her gratitude with a smile on her face.
Rio’s also saying his gratitude with a light nod.
When Roana’s smiling as if slightly troubled about something,
「The truth is, Hiroaki-sama saying that he definitely want to dance for one tune with Liselotte-sama, though I think that a woman of your caliber should be busy with accompanying the other gentlemen, would you be willing to become his dancing partner later？ 」
She’s asking while facing at Liselotte.
「Yeah, of course I will. It’s my honour to be granted with a honor to dance with hero-sama」
Liselotte is laughing while nodding at her.
「Thank you very much. Please let me say my gratitude in place of Hiroaki-sama」
Roana was bowing back at her.
「Well then, it’s impossible for me to always monopolize Liselotte-sama right. In that case, I’ll be moving alone for a while」
Rio who was watching their conversation said that.
When it comes to this time slot where the dance also started, the number of the people starting to move separately with the partner they’re coming together with is also increasing.
Soon will be the suitable time for Rio to move separately from Liselotte.
「That’s not true. Since I can spend enjoyable time in evening party that I never felt before is thanks to Haruto-sama」
「I’ve used up my fortune to be born as a man by receiving that words」
Rio’s stated his gratitude while smiling lightly.
「Well then, let’s meet again later. Since I’ve prepared the coach to go back」
「Yes, my gratitude. See you again」
After leaving that words, Rio left Liselotte.
「Who you might be greeting after this？」
He keeps hearing this kind of whispering of the noble daughters, When he’s walking through the hustle bustle of the venue.
It seems Rio face was extremely recognized in this evening party.
Now is the time slot to relax by dancing, since no one is applying for a dance in his current situation, walking alone aimlessly like this is also not uncomfortable at all.
But then, he couldn’t get used to a request for dancing which is coming from an unknown woman.
Since the second tune of the dance have begun, maybe it’s better to gain some time by pretending to look at the dancing.
When he thinks so,
Someone was calling to Rio.
It was the noble daughter who was moving along with duke Euguno a while ago.
「Yes, what do you wish to ask？ 」
Rio responded with an insincere smile.
「Uhm, since we were only doing a self-introduction a while ago, I want to chat with Haruto-sama for a while longer」
「You’re Elise Brandt right. It’s my honor to have someone like you talking to someone like me」
「Well, it’s because you remember my name right. Thank you very much」
Elise’s happily saying her gratitude.
「Yeah, it’s because you introduced yourself just a while ago right」
「Ara, it’s just Elise, so sly」
The one who said those words while pouting her lips is the noble daughter who stood beside Elise.
「Of course I remember your name too you know. Princess Dorothea Albert」
Rio said Dorothea’s name while smiling as if being troubled with her.
「Well, don’t tell that you remember the name of all people you meet」
「No, well though it’s impossible to remember the name of the people you meet today, I’m doing my best to remember the name of everyone who gave a strong impression」
「Ara, I’m anxious in what “kind of impression is left” by us」
「It’s because everyone is so beautiful」
Rio answered while smiling wryly.
「Well, it’s a flattery right. Could it be that you’re accustomed with woman？ 」
The noble daughters are getting lively with Dorothea and Elise at the top list.
Maybe they’re not dissatisfied at all with being praised as beautiful.
But, Rio couldn’t said it.
The fact that Elise and Dorothea is the former classmate who went to the royal academy along with Rio long time ago, thus he recalled about them when he heard their name and saw their face.
Even more so, it’s because Elise was secretly courting him when he’s in royal academy.
Though it then comes to her having a hand in spreading a bad rumor when he indirectly gives a cold face to her.
「There’s no such thing you know. Though I’m ashamed for saying this, being surrounded by many girls like this is the first time for me. So I’m a bit nervous right now」
That’s true, he’s too nervous to not let them to find his origin by chance.
Rio was showing a slightly cramped smile while sweating a cold sweat inside.
He wants to take some distance with these noble girls in this place in one way or another.
Just when he thinks so,
「I’ve finally found you. Haruto-san…………….. Wasn’t it」
Suddenly, someone is calling Rio from behind.
When he’s turning around, a girl is standing at that place.
Pure white dress which wrapping on her body body is fastened with pin on her back, she was looking at Rio with a slightly belligerent look.
Rio’s also bravely staring back at her.
「You definitely will not unsatisfied to dance for a tune with me aren’t you？」
Her bell-like voice is resounding.
Looking at her with slightly widened eyes in surprise, Rio was nodding at her while smiling broadly.
「………………. Yeah, with pleasure. Satsuki-sama」
Answering that way, Rio was respectfully offering his hand toward Sumeragi Satsuki―― The person who’s his reason for coming to this evening party.