Chapter 119.2: Discussion in the Basement
… … …
And then, Christina is praising Rio’s manners.
「It’s my honor to hear such undeserved praise」
Rio is bowing as he showed an insincere smile to her.
（He was a commoner. And then, the benefactor of Celia-sensei. …….. But, what was his relationship with sensei who was always locked in her laboratory. Is it when she is coming home？ Or else――）
Christina is still doubting herself somewhere while looking at Rio as if trying to recall something.
「Hey, this is unrelated to the situation but, how long since you became Celia-sensei’s acquaintance？ 」
「It should be close to 10 years by now」
「Almost……. 10 years」
Maybe it was around the time she entered Bertram kingdom royal academy, immature in many aspect, and yet receiving various praise from her surroundings, she became too proud of her own and misunderstood herself―― is what Christina is thinking about.
The shameful past that has no relation to the current situation and yet she is recalling about that past.
And yet, Christina closed the door of the memories that is hidden in the deepest part of her heart despite showing a complicated expression.
「Is there something on my face？ 」
Rio is asking to her as he can sense the slight change on her expression.
「……… No, it’s nothing」
Christina slowly shook her head.
Though it’ll be a lie if she said that she is not anxious about Haruto and Celia’s relationship, now isn’t the time for her to straying from the main topic.
And, she decided to hold back her curiosity as she can’t afford to hurt Haruto’s feelings by prying in his private matter anymore than this.
「Let’s get back to the topic. Since Galwark kingdom didn’t participate in this matter, I can assume that you rescued Celia-sensei as an individual right？ 」
「Yes. It’s as you say」
Rio is agreeing immediately.
「Considering about the security measure within the castle, it might be hard to believe but………. It seems I have no choice but to trust it since you managed to infiltrate into this place. Though I feel uneasy about the method that you’re using for it」
Christina is squinting her eyes as she said so.
「It’ll save a lot of trouble for me if I’m allowed to keep my method a secret. Since it’ll put me in various kinds of dangerous situations」
Rio who nonchalantly rejecting indirect appeal of disclosure of information from Christina is looking straight into her eyes.
「……I Understand. Well, I think it’s okay. I won’t ask any further since thanks to that Celia-sensei is here right now」
Christina is heaving a deep sigh after several seconds of staring contest with Rio.
「I’m truly obliged with your kindness」
Rio bowed to her to show his gratitude.
「But in exchange, may I hear the recent situation of Galwark kingdom？ I don’t mind to hear even if it’s just general situation」
「Certainly. That’s right. Well, have you hear the news about the invitation from Galwark kingdom to participating in the debut party of their hero, Satsuki Sumeragi which just finished few days ago? 」
Rio decided to tell her the information regarding the evening party. Christina is showing her interest in that information.
「No, this is the first time I heard about it. Since there was a regulation of information outside the castle. Did you attend that party？ 」
「Yes. The Bertram kingdom side who opposed duke Albo also attending that party. The current name of their group is 『Restoration』」
Christina’s eyebrows twitched in hearing the name of anti-Albo faction, 『Restoration』.
「Could it be that the true leader of 『Restoration』 is someone called duke Euguno. Then, Flora is………….」
「She is alive and kicking. I was also blessed by a fortune to have a short conversation with Flora-sama. She’s currently with the hero, Hiroaki Sakata-sama」
Rio is replying calmly to the question that is timidly asked by Christina. Thereupon, Christina heaved a relieved sigh.
「I see, she’s safe and well. Glad to hear that」
Though it’s just short words, her lips loosened a little and she sounded really delighted when she said those words.
That just how much she cherishes her little sister.
Christina is the former classmate of Rio but, they never had any chance to have a proper conversation like this in the past.
Though he doesn’t know what kind of reaction she will show if she knows that she’s currently having this kind of conversation with Rio, he’s quite surprised to find this unexpected gentle side of her since the her of that time was sharp and taciturn.
「Nevertheless, Flora-sama also summoned a hero under her right. Rui Shigekura, Hiroaki Sakata, Satsuki Sumeragi. With this, three heroes are confirmed. Saint Stellar kingdom should have a holy stone too but…………..」
「Yes. Saint Stellar kingdom also summoned a hero. His name is Takahisa Sendou-sama」
Rio is telling Christina about the information regarding Takahisa.
「Could it be…………….. Saint Stellar kingdom hero is also attending the evening party？ 」
Christina’s eyes opened wide as she she received a surprise in that news. Maybe she found that it’s unusual for the closed kingdom like Saint Stellar kingdom to appear in the evening party.
「Yes. Galwark kingdom, Bertram kingdom anti-goverment organization『Restoration』, and Saint Stellar kingdom. The three of them who summoned each of their hero decided to strengthen their relationship with that evening party」
「It seems that the world is experiencing a great transformation while I’m confined in the castle. In the current situation…… Especially the matter of the hero summoned under Flora isn’t a good news for duke Albo still…………」
Christina is showing a listless expression while saying those words.
「Both opposing party of『Restoration 』 and the current Bertram kingdom will keep increasing each of their influence from this point onward. Galwark kingdom also moving behind 『Restoration』. Now I can understand why duke Albo is searching for your highness in frenzy」
When Rio is saying so, Celia who silently listened to their conversation suddenly started speaking.
「But then, there’s another thing that I’m worrying about…………」
「What could it be？ 」
Christina is glancing at Celia.
「With this much people looking for you and your highnesses place, you should have arrested by them right？ 」
Christina nodded in hearing Celia’s question.
「Maybe. The one who secretly took us from the castle was the one who is suspected for rebellion, count Claire」
Christina said so with a gloomy expression.
「My dear father was the one who directed your highnesses escape？ 」
「The one who devised the plan was my father. The one we can count amongst the royal faction right now is just count Claire, his job is to send me toward Flora’s place. Though we managed to escape all the way to this place due to count Claire’s cooperation, we were unable to move and locked in this basement in just a few days since our escape」
「………. Now I understand the various situation which led to this situation. In short, this basement is also a completely safe place right」
Celia is saying so with a grim expression.
「Though some of the search party are currently staying in this mansion is vaguely noticing the existence of this chamber of secret. It seems that the count also managed to fool them but, it’s just a matter of time till they lose their patience and do a thorough investigation」
Christina heaved a deep sigh as she said so.
「………..What shall we do, your highness？ Must we hide forever in this place？ 」
「I’m also worried about what shall we do」
Keep hiding in this place while wishing to be never found, or try to escape from this place while knowing about the risk.
Though everything will be alright for the former as long as the situation developed as they wished, it’s only if everything according to what they wish. They don’t know how long the search for them will be, their escape route is sealed if the search party found them, it’s game over for them.
On the other hand, though there’s an extremely high chance that they’ll be found during their initial escape, they’ll have more freedom once they can escape from that. If they can travel incognito until their destination, it might be a wiser move rather than waiting idly in this place.
Either way, the one who should decide whether they will go or not after weighing between pros and cons is Christina.
Celia is nodding while showing a slightly troubled face. Rio is watching silently at her side profile.
「Come to think of it Celia-sensei, what did you do to your hair color？ I remember that your hair color was pure white」
Christina then asking that question as if she suddenly recalled about that.
「Ah, uhhm, this is…………….」
Celia sent a slightly perturbed look at Rio. When Rio is nodding at her, she finally felt relieved.
「I’m changing my hair color with a magic tool」
「May I ask the supply channel for this magic tool？ 」
Though she already has a guess from their conversation, Christina asked that question to make sure.
「It was made by me. Your highness」
Rio is answering instead of Celia.
「Is the magic equation for changing hair color already widespread？ Since I never saw one in Bertram kingdom for as long as I can remember」
Though there’s many magic equations circulating in Strahl region, it doesn’t mean that everything is available for general population.
Parts of them are hidden by certain groups or certain people, some even hidden from public eyes and never see the light of the day.
The magic which used this magic equation is treated as a secret art and never leaked outside so easily.
Therefore, the value is rising to unfathomable levels with time. During the 1000 years history of Strahl region, war between small kingdoms did happen over a secret art.
「Must be so, right. At least it’s not made with magic equation that is circulating in general population. It must be what they call as a secret art」
「……… Though it might sound rude to you, but can you lend 4 similiar magic tools to us？ Naturally it won’t be for free」
Christina stopped beating around the bush and went straight to the main point.
Magic tool to change their hair color―― It might be the most wanted item she wanted to have due to their runaway status.
Since Christina’s light purple colored hair and the two Japanese black colored hair is quite rare even in Bertram kingdom, they’re definitely standing out from the rest as long as they leave this place as it is.
The method to change hair color isn’t limited to magic alone.
But, dyeing their hair with common paint can easily make a tinge on their hair and wig also unsuited for disguise since it stands out in one way or another,
On the other hand, the Celia in front of her looks so natural to the point that she almost mistook that hair color as her natural hair color. Even their pursuer won’t expect them to be able to change their hair color with such precision.
「That’s right. It’s not like I’m a stingy person if it’s only lending the magic tool for limited-time, I’ll lend you the magic tool as long as you agree to several conditions with magic contract」
Rio showed his agreement by presenting indefinite conditions.
He considered the matter of lending his magic tool to Christina as a negotiation card as a preparation for when the worst case happened in the future.
He still have some spare as emergency provisions when he made the one for Miharu-tachi, so it won’t take any time.
Though he still has to explain the type of magic contract, it’ll be omitted for the time being,
「Is that true？ 」
Though she’s worrying about the condition, Christina is smiling in hearing that offer.
「Yeah, let’s leave the condition for later. Please return to the previous conversation since there’s a few things that I want to hear」
The condition for lending the magic tool is for after they’re done with the conversaiton―― So he thinks as he cut the previous conversation.
「In that case, May I start first. Celia-sensei――」
Christina is looking at Celia as she say so. Her next words is――,
「Will you come along with me to『Restoration』？ 」
As expected, it was a direct invitation to Celia.
Maybe because she expected that, Celia doesn’t seem to be perturbed by it. But, she’s showing an extremely anxious face.
「………. May I think about it before giving my answer？ 」
After a brief hestitation, Celia held back from replying immediately. Though not looking at him, it seems she is quite mindful about Rio who sits beside her.
On the other hand, Christina have an extremely refreshed expression.
「Naturally. Shall we stop today’s discussion with this then. Count Claire should be descending to this basement around tomorrow morning. I don’t mind even if you gave your answer after talking to count Claire」
「Thank you very much for the consideration」
Celia bowed to Christina.