Chapter 136 : Toward Tomorrow Than Today
… … …
Currently, Rio was taking Celia and Christina along to Liselotte’s mansion in Almond. The rest of the party was on stand by in a certain inn.
Contrary to Rio who was wearing his black dragon sub-species equipment set made by the Seirei no tami, Christina and Celia were wearing their noble attires.
「You’re………….. Haruto-sama, aren’t you. Welcome to this mansion.」
The gatekeeper who was slightly familiar with him welcomed him with a smile on his face.
「My gratitude. My deepest apologies for this sudden visit but――」
When Rio was apologizing and was about to clarify the reason for his sudden visit without prior appoinment, a woman’s voice called his name from the back.
The owner of this voice who had rushed towards him-without being unsightly- was a beautiful girl in her teens wearing a nice and tidy chamberlain clothes.
Rio who noticed that the one who had come to him was one of Liselotte chamberlain, Cosette ――、
「Good day, Cosette-san.」
Greeted her with a brilliant smile on his face.
「It’s been a while. And welcome to this mansion.」
Cosette pinched her long skirt with both of her hands and replied in a ladylike manner. But, when she saw the face of Celia and Christina behind Rio――,
（WHOA………….. They’re on the same level as Liselotte-sama. From their dress, are they nobles?）
She was dumbfounded in seeing those two beauties. Cosette herself was confident with her appearance and yet, she knew that she couldn’t beat both Christina and Celia in terms of appearance.
Though she was truly curious about Rio’s relationship with those two, she couldn’t just bluntly ask him that. Instead――,
「My apologize for imposing on you but, may I ask about your business for coming here, Haruto-sama? 」
She asked Rio’s business for coming today.
「Though I’m truly sorry for coming so suddenly without prior announcement, I want to meet Liselotte-sama. It is rude of me to ask for your time but, may I know the time and date when she can meet me? 」
「I see……………… You might be able to meet her right now. Since I need her confirmation, please enter for the time being. And follow me from behind.」
「Thank you very much. By the way, the reason for my sudden visit to met Liselotte-sama today is only ot introduce………….. The two behind me. Though I’ll be bothering you, please give my best regard」
Rio glanced at Christina and Celia as he frankly told her about his aim for the visit with a subtle hint in his words.
「……………………… Understood. In that case, I’ll report this to my master. Well then, this way please.」
Cosete nodded respectfully and guided Rio and co into the mansion. Along the way, she’s turned her head to look behind and then――、
「By the way Haruto-sama. I heard about this news. That you became a honorary knight. Congratulations.」
She respectfully conratulated him .
「Thank you very much.」
Rio said his gratitude with a slightly bashful expression. After that, Rio and co who were led into the mansion met Liselotte in less than 10 minutes.
◇ ◇ ◇
Rio and co were led from the waiting room to a parlor in which Liselotte was waiting for them. Her grand chamberlain, Aria Governess was also right by her side.
「Welcome to my mansion Haru-……………. No, lord Amakawa.」
Liselotte bowed to Rio in a ladylike manner.
Followed by Aria.
「It’s my deepest gratitude for granting my wish to meet you without prior arrangement today. Liselotte-sama.」
Rio also bowed respectfully to her. Followed by Christina and Celia.
「As long as it’s you Haru-………….. No, lord Amakawa, I’ll meet you at any time. Please, sit down first」
Being urged by Liselotte, Rio and co sat on the sofa in the reception. Then, Aria quickly moved to prepare the tea for them. ――,
「It’s the first time we are meeting like this ever since the evening party isn’t it, lord Amakawa?」
Liselotte asked so with a gentle smile on her face.
「Not even one month has passed and yet…………」
Not even one month had elapsed since the evening party. But, Rio smiled as he thought of the extremely rich events in his life that had happened within that one month.
「Looking from your reaction, it seems a lot of things happened to you within this month, right?」
Liselotte asked so as she glanced at Rio’s face.
「Yeah, you can put it that way. In fact, though I’m sure that you’ve heard about this matter from Cosette-san………… As she said, the reason for my visit right now is to introduce them to Liselotte-sama.」
Rio replied while looking at Celia and Christina who were sitting on both of his sides.
「……………….. By appearance, they look like noble born women. If their back story is rather troublesome, may I ask Aria to leave this room? 」
Liselotte guessed Christina and Celia’s background from their appearance and the way they moved and so, she made that suggestion.
「No, I don’t mind if she stays. Because one of them is Aria-san’s friend.」
Saying so, Rio glanced at Celia.
「Friend…………. Of Aria? 」
Liselotte was slightly surprised in hearing that and looked at Aria.
Though Aria was moving on the side to make tea for them, her eyes had locked on to Celia’s face before leaving. She squinted her eyes due to the sense of deja vu she felt towards Celia.
「I’m Celia. Celia Claire.」
Celia was smiling wryly and after saying her name unequipped her necklace which had changed her hair color. At that moment, the hair color which was changed due to the magic tool went back to the silver color. While at the same time she let down her hair used as a disguise.
「Celia……………… Is it. I’m surprised.」
Normally Aria was taciturn but now, she muttered Celia’s name with a shocked face.
「Yes. It’s been a while, hasn’t it. ……………. And it’s nice to meet you, Liselotte-sama. I’m Celia Claire, the eldest daughter of earl Claire house of Bertram kingdom. Due to various circumstances please allow me to offer my deepest apologies for suddenly visiting while in disguise.」
After smiling to Aria, Celia bowed politely to Liselotte.
「………….. I’m Liselotte Kretia, the eldest daughter of duke Kretia house of Galwark kingdom. It’s my honor to meet Celia-sama the famous genius mage of Bertram kingdom. ………….. I heard that you had suddenly disappeared from Bertram kingdom’s royal palace quite a while ago but in that case there was a need for you to put manifolds of disguise. Please don’t mind about that.」
Though surprised by such a sudden development, should one say as expected of someone of Liselotte’s upbringing, she returned Celia’s greeting naturally.
Even if for example she was disturbed, it was only in regards to Celia’s sudden disappearance. Seeing that her information network couldn’t locate Celia , Liselotte had already considered that Celia may have heavily disguised herself .
Though she was curious regarding the magic tool that could change hair color, since it unbefitting of a noble lady to cut in the middle of a conversation, she kept her questions in one corner of her mind for now.
「Though I’m sure that you’re surprised by this, I’ll explain the situation later on. Now allow me to introduce the other person.」
While noticing the sentiment in Liselotte’s heart, Rio tried to move the flow of conversation towards the introduction of Christina.
「Certainly. Thank you very much for your consideration.」
Liselotte expressed her gratitude while smiling at Rio. Then――,
「Thank you very much for your intermediation, lord Amakawa. Will you allow me to introduce myself?」
Christina said so with a stiff expression.
「As you wish.」
Rio nodded respectfully at her.
「My name is Christina Bertram. The first princess of Bertram kingdom. We’ve met so many times before haven’t we. Lady Liselotte.」
Christina also removed her necklace just like Celia and untied her hair. Her gently waving hair returned to it’s light purple color.
「I…………….. It’s my honor to meet you. Your highness princess Christina.」
Though Liselotte was bewildered for a moment, she recovered immediately and returning the greeting to Christina with a slightly stiff face.
「Please be at ease, no need to get stiff like that. I’m the one who made a sudden request to meet you today after all.. For this reason, I also received tremendous support from lord Amakawa.」
Christina shook her head as she smiled at Liselotte.
「A request…………… For me? 」
「Certainly. First is the reason for why I’m here right now, do allow me to start from that. Though It’ll take quite a whi-………….」
「Of course I don’t mind about such things.」
Liselotte agreed without even waiting for Christina to finish her words. Though she naturally considered so many things on the inside, currently, she thought that the best way to know the situation was by hearing Christina’s story.
After that, Christina roughly spoke about her current situation to Liselotte. About her goal, the reason why she left Bertram kingdom’s royal castle, her arriving near Claire territory and how she had come all the way to Almond with Rio’s help.
By the way, since explaining about their traveling companions would make things more complicated, she decided to hide their existence for the time being.
「…… I see. I understand your situation. Well then, may I ask regarding your wish from me? 」
After hearing the entire story, Liselotte heaved a sigh as if exhausted and her Christina regarding what she wanted from her.
「May I ask you to become an intermediary between Restoration and myself? I’m thinking of sending my greetings to his majesty Francois but, may I ask you to make the proper arrangements for that. Naturally I’ll send an official messenger as soon as everything is prepared but, the current me is just a powerless girl. Therefore, I considered asking for your assistance, the famous talented woman of Galwark kingdom in the current age. Could you please heed my request? 」
Christina who was left with nothing but herself at this point spoke frankly about her request to Liselotte.
「It’s my honor. Since it was also for his majesty’s sake, it’s my pleasure to give you my assistance.」
Liselotte readily accepted Christina’s request.
「Thank you very much. Lady Liselotte.」
「No, since I will also receive many benefits with your connection to his majesty, please do not worry about that. ……… By the way, this is news from Restoration’s side but, her highness princess Flora might be moving alongside the hero, Hiroaki Sakata-sama in the royal capital right now. Lately hero-sama have various marriage interviews with many other parties.」
After saying her gratitude to Christina, Liselotte changed the subject of the conversation.
「………. By the way, is Flora included in those candidates? No, they might might be engaged by this point right?」
Christina instantly arrived at the answer to her own question regarding whether or not Flora was included in the fiancee list of this hero 『Sakata Hiroaki』.
Or rather, it’ll be strange if they were not engaged already. Though the shadow of duke Euguno behind those plans was quite a worry on her side, that kind of movement was a safe bet for his side.
「Though it has yet to be announced to the public, everything is as you say.」
「……….I see. From your point of view, what do you think about that hero, the one called Hiroaki Sakata? I want to know about him from you, if possible. Naturally I won’t tell your opinion about him to others.」
Christina asked Liselotte about the person called Hiroaki. She might be worried about Flora as her elder sister.
「…………… Let’s see, he’s not a timid person and is full of confidence or should I say, a lively person. Knowledgeable in various areas, with a tendency to think through things in a logical way, and holds fast onto his views.」
Liselotte explained about the man called Sakata Hiroaki while carefully choosing her words.
（That’s the perfect way to explain his character.）
Rio secretly admired Liselotte’s clever way of words while remembering the impression he had of Hiroaki from their previous encounter.
「…………. Thank you very much for your precious opinion. I was able to get a rough grasp on his personality. The only things left is my final evaluation after meeting him in person.」
Maybe because Christina didn’t have any unnecessary prejudice, she simply left things as it was after hearing the brief explanation about Hiroaki.
「I truly do not deserve such praise. Incidentally, may I ask about your future plans after this? I think by now duke Euguno is already in marquiss Rodan’s territory.」
Currently Flora was the figurehead of Restoration but, she nothing but a decoration. Since duke Euguno is acting as de-facto leader, if it’s according to her stories, it was more natural for Christina to meet duke Euguno before Flora.
「I’m going to marquis Rodan’s territory. But then again, may I ask for your help to send a messenger so that even if alone, Flora can come to meet me from Galwark kingdom royal capital? 」
「Certainly. Well then, I guess I’m going to send a messenger to the capital. Do you want to write a letter for Flora-sama? If that’s the case I can lend a kit and a private place for you.」
So Liselotte told Christina.
「Certainly. Well, may I trouble you to prepare it? 」
「Please leave it to me. Now then, please stay in my house for today. Since you might be tired due to the long journey, do let me to show the best of my hospitality.」
「……….. I’m really grateful for your offer but, unfortunately there’s another 5 people who are with me and currently waiting in an inn in the city」
「In that case, please feel free to call them here. Since it really isn’t a problem if it’s only 8 people.」
「They might bring even more trouble for you since their identity is a little special.」
Christina said so with a reserved tone and a pensive look on her face.
「If that’s the case, that’s all the more reason to invite them. Since there might be a lot of things I want to ask.」
「…………… My gratitude, Lady Liselotte.」
Christina expressed her gratitude to Liselotte’s generosity. ――,
「Let me to go to the inn to get everyone. It’s better to let your highness to write your letter during that time right? There might be a lot of things that Celia-sensei and Aria-san want to talk about. That way I can easily explain the situation here to our fellow travelers.」
Thus, Rio presented a solution while going along with the situation.
「……You’re right. May I ask you to help me with that？ 」
Christina seemingly hestitated for a while but, she eventually agreed to it.
「Please leave it to me.」
Rio nodded respectfully.
「Well then Aria, please guide her highness to my study so that she can write her letter without any disturbance. Please prepare the tools as well. You may entertain Celia-sama after that.」
Liselotte looked at a certain door in the parlor. That door was connected towards the door to a guest room that couldn’t be entered from the corridor, that room made it so that no one could enter the room unless via the parlor. It might be the most suitable environment to write a letter.
「Certainly. Please follow me, your highness Christina.」
Aria moved immediately and opened the door towards the study.
「Though I don’t mind even if I have to write the letter in this place………… That place certainly seems more suitable to write the letter isn’t it. I’ll gladly accept that offer then.」
Christina looked at the study from the opened door and stood as she smiled at Liselotte. Entering the study room, she then sat on the chair in the study which she could see from the parlor. On the other hand――,
「May I excuse myself for a while then, Liselotte-sama? 」
Rio said so to Liselotte and stood from the sofa.
「Yeah, I don’t mind………..」
Liselotte nodded at him and also stood up. Then――,
「Celia-sama. Since I’m going to have a private conversation with Liselotte-sama, I’ll head towards the inn after giving a brief explanation regarding our fellow travelers. Please take your time during that time.」
Rio stood up and addressed Celia with a respectful tone. Since they were in front of Liselotte, Rio took care about the way he spoke.
Though she felt a little anxious about that private conversation, Celia reluctantly agreed to him.
◇ ◇ ◇
「………. Lord Amakawa. What is it that you want to talk about? 」
Liselotte asked Rio when it was just the two of them outside the room.
「It’s about what to do from now on with the fellow travelers with her highness Christina. The first point is the fact that three amongst those five are nobles of Bertram kingdom.」
So Rio told her about their fellow travelers.
「I see. By the way, the reason you are telling me this might be because I might know them right?」
「Yes. Since they’re like a gathering of VIP’s. The first one is Charles Arbeau, a person from duke Arbeau house. The other one is Alfred Aimar, the famous 『Sword of The King』 of Bertram kingdom. And the third one is Vanessa Aimar, lord Alfred’s little sister」
「……………… They really are nothing but VIP’s aren’t they.」
Liselotte smoothed over her confusion with a smile. She had no idea regarding the reason why they were traveling along with Christina all the way to this place. Especially someone of Charles’ position which was basically Christina’s enemy.
「The more troublesome situation is just about to get started. Lord Vanessa is traveling as the bodyguard of her highness but, the other two are actually our prisoners.」
「Pri-…………. Soners? 」
「Yes. Since they were trying to arrest her highness in the middle of our journey, we defeated them.」
「………….. I see.」
Liselotte managed to somehow just swallow the story in hearing Rio telling her about that fact as if it was just a simple matter for him.
（When they defeated them………….. was lord Amakawa included in their war potential? That sword of the king.）
Naturally she knew very well about the person called Alfred Aimar, the sword king. His name would almost certainly be listed amongst the top if someone decided to make a list of the strongest people in the surrounding countries, including Bertram kingdom.
But, despite such a shocking news, it didn’t mean she couldn’t trust it. Because Liselotte had herself witnessed Rio’s prowess when he fought right in front of her.
Rather, Liselotte wasn’t interested in Rio’s hidden abilities that were capable of defeating someone of Alfred’s calibre, instead she was more interested in him as a person as she barely knew anything about him.
No, she was certain of one thing, or rather, it was something that had made her anxious all this time.
（Lord Amakawa. Haruto. Haruto Amakawa. Amakawa Haruto. ……………. The same name as that person. I thought it was just a coincidence at that time but, is it really just a coincidence?)
Liselotte stared at Rio’s face. But――,
「Though lord Alfred is behaving himself, lord Charles is obviously dissatisfied with the situation situation. Since we chose to wait-and-see as to what happens, may I ask you to treat them like they’re under house arrest? Is that okay? 」
Rio elequently continued his explanation.
「…………… Yes, please leave it to me. I have a perfect room for those sorts of situations in this mansion」
Liselotte switched her mood and then nodded slowly. ――,
「I’ll leave that matter in your hands then. Now, in regards to the rest of the group, while it may be presumptuous of me, I think it’s better to let you know about this information beforehand.」
Rio changed the topic.
「So, what could it be that you want to tell me? 」
「The remaining two are youths in the latter half of their teens. They were summoned along with the hero from their world. Though it was by indirectly asking them, I’m sure that they came from the same country as the one who was under my protection from before.」
Rio told Liselotte about Kouta and Rei.
「…… I see. Thank you very much for the prior notice.」
Though that news was a bit above her expectations, at the same time she followed Rio out of the room. It might be his way of showing a consideration to her. It’s definitely not something he wanted to tell her when they in front of Celia.
「It’s nothing, I’m equally perplexed since I wondered if you would consider them as troublesome.」
As for the reason why and what made him use “Perplexed”, Rio deliberately mentioning Kouta and co’s origin as Japanese since it would have a direct connection to the secrets of the products manufactured by the Rikka firm.
「My deepest gratitude for your consideration.」
Liselotte expressed her gratitude again while showing a slight hesitation. But still, that moment of hesitation did not escape from Rio’s eyes.
And yet, despite noticing the slight change in Liselotte’s eyes, he decided to play the fool――、
「Please do tell me if you want to meet them. Since I’ll act as the agent while her highness and the others are laying low.」
He said so with a nonchalant tone.
「Well………. I might accept such an offer after this.」
「Certainly Well then, I’ll excus–…………..」
Rio was about to excuse himself from Liselotte who was showing pensive look on her face and was about to leave that place. But――,
「…………… Uhm, please wait a minute.」
Liselotte promptly called to Rio with a hoarse voice.
「Something the matter？ 」
Rio halted his legs and turned around towards her.
Though Liselotte showed a face as if she was hesitating to say something, she finally made up her mind――、
「Though this is a sudden question, do you believe in a previous life, lord Amakawa? 」
Thus, she asked that question towards Rio.