Chapter 96: The Conversation and Reunion of the People of the Same Home
「Unless you have nothing against chatting while standing, we should enter the house for the time being」
After briefly introducing Celia and Aisia, Rio proposed to change the scenery.
By the way, just in case, since it would be hard to explain Celia’s matter, she introduced herself using her alias, Cecila.
Regarding the rock house, they brought it here before taking Miharu and the others to the inn of the capital.
「House you say？ In the middle of the forest？ 」
Satsuki restlessly looked around in her surroundings unable to find anything resembling a building.
Though Miharu and Aki smiled when looking at Satsuki’s reaction, Masato alone was the one who showed a slightly proud expression.
「Over here. Satsuki-san」
After saying so, Rio took the lead and they all walked towards a rock.
When she discovered the gigantic rock enshrined inside the darkness, Satsuki let out a slightly bewildered voice.
「Yes. The insides of this were turned into a house, here is the entrance」
Rio opened the wooden door and entered the rock.
When the door was opened, a bright light escaped the indoors towards the outside.
「He~, it really was turned into a house. Interesting」
Satsuki entered the house while surveying the surroundings of the entrance while expressing great interest.
But, that was as far as she could keep her composure.
After passing the front door, Satsuki showed a surprised face.
In there was a living room which exceeded her imagination.
The first thing reflected in her vision was a truly spacious living room.
There was even a concrete ground as a place to take their shoes off, there was no partition wall in between the living room and the entrance.
Though it had a construction that was different from the traditional japanese architecture, if she had to express the atmosphere inside, she might feel that it had a modern touch.
Satsuki didn’t like the overflowing image of high class formalities like the castle room which she was residing in.
But, because the dwarves who were acquainted with Rio displayed their skill, the inside turned into a place where a Japanese could live without having any out of place feelings.
In the nice and comfortable interior, high quality furnitures were placed.
「It’s better if you take off your shoes, isn’t it？ We have a shoe rack over there」
Satsuki followed Rio’s instructions and timidly took off her shoes.
And then, after placing her shoes in the shoe rack, she surveyed the interior again.
「It’s better than the room at the castle but. This place, would be suitable for a room in one of the best hotels there are……………..」
Satsuki muttered those words with a cramped face.
Maybe because he heard her muttering.
「I wonder about that. Yet, there’s still room left for a sixth person」
Masato told her that earnestly while nodding with “uhnUhn”.
Miharu and Aki were also nodded along with him.
「Ahaha. After getting used to living in this house, the inn of the capital which we were using starts to feel narrow, doesn’t it」
「Yeah. The meals in this place are also delicious」
They start talking about various things.
「Just in case, we are saying that we were staying in the most prominent hotel in the capital, you see. And yet, comparing comfort, the room of that hotel isn’t that different from the house we’re living in, you know」
So, Celia smiled wryly while giving additional information.
If those words were to be heard by the dwarves who live in seirei no tami village, and who had a big role in the construction of this house, they would be nodding with proud expressions on their faces while saying 「Of course it is」.
「He, Hee…………………… I-Is that so」
Satsuki comprehension was already unable to catch up with the situation, but she couldn’t help but absent-mindedly reply appropriately while looking at the interior of the house.
「Since it’ll be difficult to keep standing like that, please sit for the time being. There’s something that you wish to talk about right, please take your time talking between the four of you. Now, I’ll prepare some delicious tea for you」
Rio said that to Satsuki who was standing dumbfounded.
「Since I want to have another discussion with Cecilia and Aisia, will both of you go wait in my room please？」
「’Ka~y. Let’s go, Aisia」
Celia and Aisia started to head towards Rio’s room together.
But, Celia stopped her steps in front of the door as if recalling something and,
「Ah, Haruto！ I would like some tea, you know, the usual one. Make it piping hot！ 」
Smiling happily as she made that request before entering the door room. [ED: I’m pretty sure you can’t enter doors lol]
Rio nodded happily and then left towards the kitchen.
「Ah, let me help you, Haruto-san」
Thereupon, Miharu offered her help as if she had waited for that.
「Please, enjoy your time together with Satsuki-san, Miharu-san」
Rio refused her offer while shaking his head.
But, Miharu had already made her move.
I can’t just let you to do that alone you know. Moreover, it’s faster when two people are making it. Please let me to help you」
She already arrived at the kitchen while saying that.
Rio and Miharu faced each other in front of the kitchen.
「Uhm, well, would you help me？」
Rio said those words after peering at her expression as if embarrassed for a moment.
Miharu replied with a delighted expression.
Thus, the two of them entered the kitchen and started preparing the tea.
Their cooperation was extremely good.
In the end, it was only the three of Satsuki, Masato and Aki that were left in the living room.
「Take a seat, Satsuki-neechan」
Masato said that as he sat on the corner of the sofa.
Aki sat along with him.
（Everyone is adapting more than I expected huh. And yet, depite appearing like this, I still have my guard up）
She enjoyed the night of flying just now to her heart’s content but, she’s not that satisfied as if it was somehow a fruitless effort.
Though there were many things she wanted to ask them, she knew that it would cause slight annoyance if she asked about them bluntly, so Satsuki simply sat obediently with slumped shoulder.
「Ah, Amazing. The sofa is so fluffy」
Rio and Miharu soon returned from the kitchen.
They prepared several people’s worth of tea on top of the table and used a complete set of white porcelain-made tea set.
「We’ll go back to the castle before midnight, Satsuki-san. Since it’ll get dangerous if the fact that you disappeared is known, but for now please just have a nice talk without minding about the time」
「Ah, yes. Uhm, thank you…………..」
Satsuki said her gratitude with a timid tone, maybe because of the slight tension.
She’ll be fine if she talks with Miharu, Aki and Masato.
Rio came to that conclusion and then replied with a smile on his face.
「It’s nothing, I’ll excuse myself then」
Saying so, Rio went back towards his own room.
Finally, the ones left in the living room were only the four japanese.
「Uhm, though I already said this to Aki-chan and Masato-kun, let me say it to you too, long time no see, Miharu-chan. It’s nice to see you so healthy」
So, Satsuki addressed the three of them.
「Yes. I’m glad that Satsuki-san is healthy too」
Miharu replied while showing a gentle expression on her face.
「Yeah. I’m healthy you know. Well, I have always been staying inside the castle without trying to do anything, you see. Moreover, I can meet you guys this way」
While Satsuki smiled at them, Miharu, Aki and Masato were being bashful as if feeling awkward.
「Well then. There are many things to make our conversation enjoyable, but won’t you tell me about pressing matters before that？Our time is limited」
Satsuki proposed that they should make full use of their time.
「Yes. Uhm, well then, from where should we start at？ 」
Miharu asked while tilting her head.
「U~hm, you’re right. For the time being, what about after you came into this world, won’t you tell me what has happened so far？ 」
Miharu nodded immediately.
「Uhm, we also don’t really understand as it happened so suddenly but――」
Miharu told her that after taking a short breath and recalling the events of that day.
About the matter that they were suddenly somewhere in the middle of the plains, about the fact that they encountered a group of slave trader mercenaries while lost, about the fact that they were taken captive as slaves, about the fact that they were saved by Rio who just happened to be passing by that place, and then about the fact that they have been under Rio’s protection since then, and then they recounted everything that had happened till today――.
Satsuki silently listening to Miharu’s story without interrupting her.
Though there were many questions floating in her head, first she wanted to know directly what has happened.
And then, after hearing the complete story, Satsuki showed a grave expression.
「I’m sorry. Since you guys got dragged into this world during my summoning as a hero……………. Right. And you were about to become slaves………….」
Satsuki lowered her head while saying so.
It seems that somehow she feels that the misfortunate events which fell onto them are her fault.
They showed a bewildered expression and,
「That’s not true you know！」
Everyone denied together.
Satsuki’s body trembled.
Her voice spilled, sounding as if vanishing from Satsuki’s mouth.
「I mean, wasn’t Satsuki-san dragged in too? There’s no reason to apologize you know」
Miharu told her.
「Yup. Satsuki-neechan has no need to feel indebted you kno~w」
「It’s as they say」
Aki and Masato followed after Miharu.
「Even so, maybe you would not have been involved in this incident if you were not by my side you know？ Since we were summoned into this world by the Holy Stone(Brave Stone) as it was summoning heroes……」
「Even if you say that, it also can’t be helped. Since regardless of what happens, you yourself was not aware that you were going to be summoned to this world as a hero」
Miharu replied while gently shaking her head.
Satsuki chewed on her lips with a downhearted expression.
「I mean, it’s as Miharu-neechan said. Moreover, according to Haruto-anchan’s story, we were separated by accident, it seems that it’s to prevent if there’s some kind of accident in one place*」 [TL: Like being trapped inside rocks]
Masato said that to encourage her.
Thereupon, a doubtful expression came upon Satsuki’s face.
「Uhm…………….. What do you mean？」
In order to clear her doubt, Satsuki asked Masato.
「EH? Aa~H, Uhm……………………… What was that. I can’t really remember it since it’s a complicated story. I’ll leave it to you, Aki-neechan！ 」
After laughing awkwardly, Masato asked Aki to do the explanation.
Somehow it seemed that he couldn’t really remember the small details.
「EH, M-ME？ Uh~m………………….」
Even Aki who suddenly received the pass from Masato was confused.
Miharu smiled gently while looking at their reaction from the side.
「I also don’t really understand the fundamental theory behind it but, it seems that somehow the magic that was used when they simultaneously summoned both Takahisa-kun and Satsuki-san to this world was the cause of our separation」
And then, Miharu took over the explanaiton.
「The magic to summon Takahisa-kun and me？」
「It’s similar to a certain magic which moves stuff to a separated place by interfering with space. We were summoned by that kind of magic」
「He~, it’s the first time I heard that, as I thought magic like that does exist」
Satsuki’s nodded as if really interested in that topic.
「Yes. And then, you can say that maybe it’s because we were very close to each other until just before being summoned to this world. Two magic-circles* were invoked and each of them summoned Satsuki-san and Takahisa-kun separately. Though it seems that only the two of you were supposed to be transferred when both of you were summoned, the three of us who were by your side got involved in that summoning. Our transfer coordinates were a bit off, and we were transferred close to the middle of both of your transfer points, or so………….」
Miharu simplified the explanation that she heard from Rio to the best of her abilities.
「In short, aside from me, there’s a possibility that Takahisa-kun was also summoned as a hero……….. Right？」
「Yes. Haruto-san has said that it might be so. But then, since there’s no one but the three of us who witnessed the magic invoked for the two of you, the thing which we saw might be incorrect but…….. What did you feel right before you were being summoned, Satsuki-san？ 」
「I felt that my surroundings were slowly being distorted. It’s as if the space was coiling to form a vortex」
「It could be proof of that magic being invoked. Satsuki-san aside, it seems that a similar phenomena may have occurred with Takahisa-kun as the target」
「I see, so that was the reason」
Satsuki showed an expression as if she began to understand something.
「Thank you. I heard really interesting things」
「Don’t mention it, since it’s nothing more than a retelling of what Haruto-san said」
「Fu~hn, so that was it. ………. I was a bit anxious about what kind of person he is but, it might be nice for the story to derail like this」
Satsuki said so while smiling wryly.
Following that she showed a slightly serious expression and,
「Sorry. Thank you very much. I’m slightly confused which words are better said on this occasion but, I’m glad that I could meet all of you after coming alone to this world. At first I was desperate and even came to think that I might be the only one who was summoned to this world. And yet, another summoned hero said that he’s Japanese, so I came to the conclusion that maybe you guys had also come. I felt relieved. That’s why, he―― I was truly surprised when Haruto-kun said that people sharing your names are under his protection. And then, I felt feeling relieved at the same time. I’m really happy, and grateful that you’re safe and sound」 .
Satsuki told them that, feeling relief from the bottom of her heart.
「Yes. We felt the same way. I was pondering how we would meet you when we heard from Haruto-san that you are in the castle but, he said that he would negotiate about that with Satsuki-san………」
Miharu said that as if slightly embarassed.
「I see, so you have received that much help from him, haven’t you」
「Yes, the truth is we’re doing really well because of Haruto-san. ………It’s as if we have left anything and everything to him」
Miharu said so while showing an apologetic smile.
「You’re unable to properly express your gratitude, right?」
Miharu nodded deeply.
「Nevertheless, it has been painful for you so far, hasn’t it. You’re also properly taking care of Masato-kun and Aki-chan. You did great, Miharu-chan」
Satsuki tightly clasped Miharu’s hands who was sitting by her side.
Miharu shook her head in panic.
「No, I really haven’t done anything……………..」
「I don’t think so. Since I feel relieved just by knowing that there’s someone in this truly unknown world who I know beside myself. Much less to say if that person is older than myself. Right, you two？ 」
Satsuki asked as she looked towards Masato and Aki.
Aki and Masato nodded at the same time.
「I thought that it was already hopeless when Miharu-neechan went another direction in a different coach. Aki-neechan was crying at that time」
Thereupon, Masato started to recite about that story.
「WHA！ T-That’s not true！ 」
Aki who sat by his side replied nervously.
「That’s a lie. Didn’t you make an uproar as if you were gonna lose it and started crying」
「I said that’s not true！ In the first place――」
Aki was desperately trying to stop Masato who was about to tell his story.
And then, it was about to develop into a sibling quarrel like usual but――.
Satsuki started to giggle as if she just saw something funny.
Being taken aback, Aki and Masato ceased their quarrel.
Miharu who sat by her side asked Satsuki.
「Fufu…………… A~~h, that’s strange. I’m sorry for laughing」
After giggling lightly for a while, Satsuki apologized for her sudden laugh.
「Bo, it’s okay but. Was there something strange？ 」
So, Masato asked.
「I mean, to think that I could see the two of you quarreling like this as if we were in Japan. I’m glad that I got to see that after a long time, and somehow I felt it’s funny」
Satsuki explained the reason why she suddenly started laughing.
「A~H, I see」
Masato and Aki smiled wryly feeling awkward.
「That certainly is true. If it’s the usual, Miharu-oneechan or oniichan will stop us before it gets too heated up」
Aki showed a slightly lonely expression.
「Lately, it’s become the duty of Haruto-anchan and Miharu-oneechan」
Masato’s earnestly told her that.
「……I see. So you’ve not heard about Takahisa’s location yet？ 」
Satsuki asked that question as she guesses from the change in Aki’s expression.
「Yes. It seems Haruto-san is still trying to look for him but……………. …………….How about Satsuki-san’s side？ 」
Miharu agreed and then asked that.
「I don’t know」
Satsuki shook her head as if feeling apologetic for that fact.
「Is that so……」
Miharu replied with a slightly dejected expression.
Masato also sighed in disappointment, Aki hanged her head down feeling downhearted.
After confirming their reaction, Satsuki,
「But you see. After hearing the story from before, I thought that there’s only one possibility」
After she said that.
Aki vigorously straightened herself.
「Please calm down. I thought that there’s a possibility for it but, I’ve no proof of that」
「E-Even that is okay！ Please tell me！ Where’s oniichan？ 」
Aki asked with her feelings on the edge.
「Saint Stellar Kingdom. A certain country south from Galwark kingdom. Maybe you guys have already heard about that country？ 」
「Yes. We were taught by Haruto-san」
Aki replied immediately.
「Come to think of it, Haruto-anchan did say that. There’s a possibility that there’s a hero in that country」
Masato said that as if recalling Rio’s words.
「Oh my, so you know about it. He’s a quite well-informed person, isn’t he. You should know that I’m the main guest of the evening party which is held in the Galwark kingdom’s royal castle, right？ As a matter of fact, it seems they also invited the hero of Saint Stellar kingdom to that evening party. Well, they have not arrived yet though」
Satsuki replied while smiling wryly.
Though she hoped that the hero is Takahisa, Aki lowered her head downheartedly when Satsuki said 「Not arrived yet」.
But, Satsuki kept going on with her story as it is.
「It seems that the country of Saint Stellar is extremely closed off country*. We’ve sent a message for the time being but, the reply still hasn’t come. It seems they usually reject right away without waiting too long. Then, there’s the fact that my handwriting is on the letter held by the messenger. If Takahisa-kun is the hero of Saint Stellar kingdom, he should have seen my handwriting. If that’s the case, shouldn’t he come？ 」
Satsuki smiled broadly while asking that.
Aki repeatedly nodded her head.
「Since the evening party will be held over the span of three days, I think that there’s still a possibility for him to come. There seems to be exceptions but, in the case of prolonged evening parties, it happens often that the foreign guests start attending from the second day onward even tho the invitation is for the first day」
That’s right, on the occassions where one holds a prolonged evening party, in the case of the foreign guests, depending on the status of their country or their relationship with the other country, have situations where they shift their schedule quite frequently.
It’s called the method of “country invitation from the second day onward and, country invitation from first day”. [ED: You nobels make no sense…. I’m not even going to edit it, it’s basically the same just said in a more fancy way]
For that sake, Galwark kingdom gave priority to the nobles of their own country to build relationship with Satsuki, the countries which they carefully picked and allowed to attend from the first day were just the Anti-government organization of Bertram kingdom and Saint Stellar kingdom.
That aside, they already made the arrangements for many people from the small neighboring countries to attend from tomorrow onward.
「Yeah. Well, I’m not really sure whether he’ll be attending the party though. But, from what I heard from the royalties, I think he’ll be attending since, while they say that Saint Stellar is indeed a closed country but it still cannot be considered a hostile one」
「If that’s the case, oniichan too………….」
An expression full of hope floated on Aki’s face.
Satsuki looked at her expression for a few seconds and,
「…………….. Well then. There’s something that I want to ask from you guys」
「Yes. What might it be？ 」
Miharu replied after readying herself a bit.
「If Takahisa is found, what are you guys going to do after that？」
So Satsuki bluntly asked about what they’ll do afterward.
「What we want to do, is of course, to be together with oniichan！」
Aki said her wish faster than anyone.
「Well, that’s that, right」
Masato also followed after Aki.
On the contrary, despite the expression floating on Miharu’s face as if she wants to say something, she just shut her lips and looks at Masato and Aki.
Satsuki looked at their situation and then,
「……I see. Does that mean that you’re going separat ways with him―― With Haruto-kun？ 」
When she asked so.
Aki and Masato stiffened when the question was asked by Satsuki.
But, contrary to them, only Miharu showed a gloomy expression.
「W-Why does it come to us separating from Haruto-anchan！ ？ I don’t understand it. Why, why did it come to that？ 」
Masato asked as his tone started to raise in panic.
「Maybe the way I asked that was a bit hard to understand. Maybe you’ll meet Takahisa-kun in the near future. When it comes to that, which one will you choose to take care of you between Haruto-kun and Takahisa-kun？ 」
Satsuki calmly threw that question at the end.
「T-That’s why, how does that relate to separating from Haruto-anchan……..」
Masato’s tone got weaker as he was overpowered by Satsuki’s presence.
「I mean, for example, if Takahisa is a hero, he will belong to a country just like in my case. If that’s true, then Takahisa will have become a central part of a certain country around this time, you know. For now the first candidate for that country is Saint Stellar kingdom」
So Satsuki told them about that fact.
Masato anxiously looked at Satsuki.
Satsuki decided to go on with her explanation without waiting for Masato’s reply.
「In short, if you receive protection from Takahisa then it means that you’re receiving protection from the country that he belongs to. If it comes to that, is there any reason for Haruto-kun to be together with you？ 」
Satsuki calmly threw that question.
「T-There is you know！ Because Haruto-anchan is my swordsmanship master！ 」 [ED: teacher]
Masato replied while raising his voice.
「I see, so you’re getting taught swordsmanship. It’s good that you’re learning a skill to protect yourself. But, the matter of Haruto-kun as your swordsmanship teacher and whether or not he belongs to the country which Takahisa-kun and you guys belong to is a different problem altogether」
Satsuki said that while staring at Masato.
「He’s not educated with Japanese morals. Haruto-kun has his own life. He has a place where he belongs to. Moreover, he might actually have other things that he must do. In short, he won’t always go to the places which are suited for everyone you know. You should understand that, shouldn’t you？ 」
Satsuki gently said that to him as if admonishing the child.
Emotional feelings aside, maybe because he understands that, Masato was at a loss for words.
「U-Uhm. If that’s the case, Takahisa-oniichan will come to us…………」
Aki who sat beside him muttered timidly.
「That’s depending on the agreement with the country but, first, seeing that he belongs to a country as a hero, maybe it’s something like an easy part-time job？」
Maybe because she already understood from the very beginning, Aki nodded her head as if feeling downhearted.
「Sorry for suddenly saying such strange things. But you see. Maybe you’ll meet Takahisa-kun soon just like how you met me」
「Soon, with oniichan………………………」
Aki muttered those words as if chewing the meaning of them.
「The two of you are the little brother and little sister of Takahisa-kun, right? In that case, wanting to be together with him later when you’re reunited is something that’s extremely natural I think. But you see, please think hard about that choice . The reason is because this will involve your own safety too」
「……………………. Our own safety？」
Aki asked while tilting her head.
「Yeah, I said it a while ago, didn’t I. I said that “Receiving Takahisa’s protection means that you would be receiving the country’s protection”. Being a hero is a truly troublesome position. It has no substantial authority but, it can greatly affect the country. That’s why many people are trying to use the hero. When someone dear to the hero gets captured, you will see how bad your situation is, won’t you ？ 」
「………………. How will it turn out？」
「I can’t say anything with certainty regarding this country but…………… As long as nothing happens, you’ll receive kind treatment you know. But, maybe they’ll change as easily as turning the palm of their hand when a critical moment arrives upon them」
Despite making herself remember various hateful predictions, she needs to tell them the concrete details they’re avoiding.
The stimulus is just too strong for the two of them that are still at a young age.
「At any rate, this world is not a gentle place like Japan. Currently you’re receiving protection from Haruto-kun but, maybe you’ll see the dirty side of humanity if you ever go to the castle. Maybe there’s danger awaiting for you in that place. Even so, are you sure that you want to go under the protection of Takahisa-kun？ 」
Aki and Masato couldn’t answer her immediately.
Though she didn’t know what they were thinking, their expression’s told her that they were thinking hard about this decision.
「Though I ask you this question, it’s not something you should answer right away. It’s not a problem which you have to answer right away without thinking about it」
There were huge 「？」 on the faces of Aki and Masato as if it was something they were not expecting.
「That’s true you know. Even if Takahisa-kun does not appear, I think that it won’t be hard to take care of you guys by asking Galwark kingdom. Uuhn, should I say that I want to be together with you guys? But of course, that’s only if you guys wish for it」
「I see, there’s also that kind of choice huh…….」
Masato muttered as if convinced by something.
「Yeah. But, just like I told you awhile ago, danger will also come upon you by coming to my place. I feel that I’m a truly selfish person but, I want to be tied with this country and be the so called hero because then I can look for a method to return to earth. When I say so, the position of hero is more like a part time job, right」
Satsuki said that while showing a slightly self-mocking expression.
「Even so, Galwark kingdom wants me to be a hero. Even if I live in this world, I need to become the hero of Galwark kingdom to return to earth. Thus the current delicate relationship is forming while each side agrees and has their own purpose. Do you understand what this means？ 」
Satsuki asked of them.
「Uhm………… Satsuki-san wants to go back to earth. Galwark kingdom wants Satsuki-san to be a hero. That’s why, in reality Galwark kingdom doesn’t want Satsuki-san to go back to earth」
Miharu answered with a pensive look on her face.
「That’s right. That’s why, if you are ever come to Galwark kingdom, please know that it comes with the risk of being used as a hostage against me」
Satsuki told them so while letting out a troubled smile.
「Haruto-kun, Takahisa-kun, and me, each one of us live with different kinds of positions. Maybe, what you said, being together with everyone is a little difficult. Though it’s a difficult problem to resolve, I want you to keep that in the corner of your mind. You’re already facing that problem, you’ll keep relying on Haruto-kun till you can at least find the answer but, you need a bit more time to think about it, don’t you？ 」
Satsuki kindly asked Masato and Aki.
The two of them nodded deeply.
「There are people who need you. There are people who want to be together with you. Lending your ears to listen to the words of those people is important. They’ll support you when you feel troubled. I think that’s also the case for Haruto-kun and Takahisa-kun. Even so, since this is your life, it’s better to think about it by yourself, I want you to find an answer which you won’t regret……….. Or so it is」
Satsuki said that feeling a bit embarassed.
Her eyes wandered around for a while after that as if feeling embarrassed by her speech and,
「Well, does Miharu-chan understands just how meddlesome what I said is, I wonder？」
Satsuki asked that question as her line of sight stopped on Miharu.
「Ah, No. I………… That was rather vague but despite that, we can still meet Satsuki-san like this, I just have to think of what we will do if we find Takahisa-kun……..」
「Yeah, have you found your answer？」
Miharu showed a troubled smile while she looked at Aki and Masato.
「I’ve more or less found my answer」
Satsuki smiled at her answer.
「Is that so…………………. Then, that’s the end of this topic！ Though it was our long awaited reunion, sorry for doing something that destroyed the mood！ Since I’ll have to meet you like this as long as we live apart. I’ve conveyed what I thought so that you won’t have to regret your choice」
Satsuki suggested to stop their discussion with the movement of her hand while showing a slightly embarassed face.
Maybe she became embarrassed after their discussion ended.
Miharu, Aki and Masato giggled when they saw Satsuki like that.
The atmosphere in that place had softened and they became more at ease.
「Yes, let’s leave the troublesome matters at that, instead let’s do something more enjoyable. I also have things to say but, the majority of my stories involve me living inside the castle. My room is also a splendid one but, it feels somewhat narrow and suffocating, you see. This place is better compared to that. Somehow it’s really helping me relax my tense mind」
So, Satsuki sighed wearily when she remembered her daily life in the castle.
「Certainly, it seems that this place already feels like home. Now that you say it, I noticed it after not living in this house for a while. A~h, since we have finally reunited, maybe we should take a bath together」
Masato said that while stretching his hand.
「That sounds good. A bathtub！ I want to immerse myself in hot water while stretching my arms and legs. I have really missed Japanese style bathtubs」
Satsuki agreed while wearing a lonely expression on her face.
「Ah, this house has a bathtub, you know. There’s a rock bath and there’s a cypress bath. Shall we all go then?」
Aki said that as if it was a great idea.
「A~h, that sound good. Isn’t something like a cypress bath and a rock bath the best combination」
Satsuki replied with a favourable voice.
「Se-Seriously！ With everyone？ 」
Masato asked with an embarassed face.
「It’s better if it’s Haruto-san, you’re out for eye candy, right！」
Aki’s immediately poked at Masato’s head.
「That hurts. I’m just joking you know」
「Liar, look your lips are smiling and your eyes are filthy. Stop looking at us with eyes like that!」
Aki glared at Masato, who was holding his head, with an apathetic line of sight.
「Iyaa, Miharu-neechan and Satsuki-neechan aside, something like Aki-neechan’s naked body is………. Ah, no, I’m just kidding！ Please don’t hit me！ 」
While he was in the middle of his sentence, Masato shook his head vigorously to the left and right with a paled face.
Aki raised her trembling thin arms and then brought it down to Masato.
「Ahaha. Well then, shall I ask Haruto-san whether we can enter it？ 」
Miharu suggested to them.
「Yeah. Yeah if possible…………. WAIT A MINUTE！ 」
Satsuki exclaimed with a surprised expression.
Miharu looked at Satsuki’s face startled.
「………… This house really has it？ A OFURO[i]？ 」
Asking that, Satsuki gulped her saliva.
「Y-Yes. There’s a bit onsen[iii]-like bathtub in this house you know」
Miharu nodded jerkily as she felt such an unusual vigor.
「O-Onsen you say？」
At that time, Satsuki’s eyes glared with a brilliant shine.
Going back to before their conversation about “whether they can enter the bath or not”, Rio listened to the current situation from both Aisia and Celia in his room.
Rio sat on the chair, and faced them who sat on the bed.
There was small desk placed right on their side.
There are three cups releasing vapor on top of the desk.
「Did something in particular happen during the stay in the inn of the capital？」
Rio asked that question after lightly tasting the tea.
「Nothing in particular」
Aisia answered first, giving only a brief conclusion.
Though her expression could be seen as nothing but apathetic, that was her normal expression.
Rio unintentionally chuckled since it was somehow a little funny.
「It seems they were nervous at first but, it seems they already got used to the life in the city. We also escorted them while they strolled in the safe area. Ah, of course we wore our hoods」
In contrast to Aisia, Celia’s answer was more concrete.
He couldn’t see things like stress or anxiety in her actions nor her expression.
「I see. Thank you very much. Both of you」
Rio gave his gratitude to the two of them who were always unwavering.
He noticed that it had been awhile since he could feel relaxed just by a bit of conversation like this.
「Was everything good on your side too, Rio？ Nothing unplesant happened？ 」
Celia asked while peeking at Rio’s face.
「Yes. I got no problem on my side. But, as I thought, it calms me the most when everyone is in the house, doesn’t it」
Rio nodded while laughing.
「Uhm, is that true？ Miharu, Aki and Masato also feel like that you know?」
Celia told him that with a slightly embarrassed face.
「I see. I’m glad then」
Rio was looking down at the tea in the cup as he replied to her.
And then, a light and tranquil smile peeked on his lips.
「Come to think of it, I should apologize for the slow response. Celia-sensei, I want to talk about the matter of you returning to your home, is that okay？ 」
After looking at the cup for a few seconds, Rio raised his face and looked at Celia.
As their vision overlapped as if a surprise attack had happened, Celia replied with a flustered voice.
Her heart throbbed faster, somehow she could feel that her cheeks became slightly hot.
「As expected, please let me to accompany you while you send a greeting home. Though you seem to be in a hurry, would you wait for a bit more？ 」
Celia regained her composure after those words.
Come to think of it, at some point the talk about Celia returning to her own home in Bertram kingdom was put on hold.
Though Celia planned to go back alone so that she wouldn’t trouble Rio, and she already told him about wanting to act separately just before they came to Galwark kingdom.
Rio said that he’ll accompany Celia but, since she can’t estimate just how long it’ll take to return home in Bertram kingdom, the decision was to arrange the schedule so that he’ll be attending the evening party first.
「Uhm, it’s not like I’m saying for you to hurry up but……… Is that okay？」
Celia asked timidly.
「Anytime is okay with me, the one who brought sensei to this house was me, wasn’t it? So it’s normal for me to go along with sensei」
「B-But the one who decided to slip out from that castle is me you know. Moreover, I think that I might cause some trouble for Rio if we were to go together……….. I’m saying this is also for my own selfish wish……….」
Celia’s reply sounded weak in the end.
「Though I’ve said this before, it does not trouble me at all. The idea of taking Celia-sensei out from Bertram kingdom was my idea, and I’m the one who took that action first you know？ If that’s the case, I should be responsible for taking that duty. It’s because I was the one who kidnapped your family’s most important daughter after all」
「I-It’s not kidnapping！ Because I gave consent!」
Celia unintentionally shouted at him as she reacted to the word “kidnaping”.
Rio showed a troubled smile and,
「But, maybe it’s seen like that by people at your home. Even though you sent a letter to explain your situation, you didn’t write any details and you didn’t explain almost anything in fear of inspection, did you？ 」
Was his answer.
The letter sent by Celia was a recording which was written in a way that only her family and Celia could understand.
But, if they do unnecessary inspection on the writing, she was afraid that they’ll find out that the sender was Celia, that’s why she couldn’t write about the important matters.
「In that case, it wouldn’t be strange for them to think that Celia-sensei was kidnapped you know. Even if they don’t, they will definitely worried about how Celia-sensei is doing right now. That’s why Celia-sensei is thinking of going back to your home for once, right？ 」
Celia nodded weakly.
「If that’s the case, please let me come along with you. Since I think that I’m the one responsible for making Celia-sensei’s house worry and must apologize to them」
Rio spoke in a calm tone.
「As I thought, it’s troubling you after all…………..」
Celia smiled wryly while she muttered those words low enough so that it won’t be heard by anyone. [ED: In a room full of spirit art users I think that Celia is the only one who didn’t hear them]
As for her own feelings, despite her being quite unwilling to cause trouble for Rio more than she already has, it was meaningless as the more she rejects the Rio’s helping hand, the more sentimental she became…
The truth is, she feels that it would be very reassuring if Rio came along with her.
There wasn’t any reply from Celia.
Rio tilted his head when she muttered something.
「……Geez. Now I don’t even know which one of us is the sensei here. This kind of talk is」
Celia showed a slightly delighted smile as she said that.
「Because my mental age is much older you know」
After looking at her with a slightly bewildered face, Rio said that in a jesting tone.
Celia nodded to those words, and then after straightening her back,
「Thank you, Rio. I look forward to working with you」
She bowed deeply towards Rio as she said those words.