TL : Cnine
ED/PF : LittleEndu (I’m sick and lazy tho)
Morning of the day when the final evening party will be held .
The weather on the outskirt of royal capital is sunny .
Though Rio was easily permitted to come out in the face of meeting an acquaintance, they assigned one free knight as his convoy .
Rio’s strolling in the downtown of royal capital along with his knight guard under the bright sunlight of spring season raining down incessantly .
The knight guard isn’t really a stranger for Rio, it was the young man who was trying to protect Flora with his own body during the burglar attack of the last night .
His name is Kyle .
（Well the, Aisia . We’ll commencing our plan now）
Rio’s sending a sidelong glance at Kyle who’s walking on his right while communicating with Aisia who’s in separated place using telepathy .
―― Understood . I and Celia will come to your location immediately . Then we chat with each other even while moving around .
Rio’s calling and then Aisia immediately answering his call .
He can perform a telepathic communication with Aisia as he’s getting closer to a feasible distance, it’s also easier to make Aisia explain the situation to Miharu and the others .
Regarding the fact that Takahisa really wants to meet them .
For the sake of meeting Takahisa immediately, Miharu and the others must go to the royal castle .
There’s also the matter that they will draw attention from the nobilities and the royalties if they were to appear in the castle .
The matter that they will try to use the political value of Miharu and the others might be approaching them .
The matter that they don’t know when Takahisa, Satsuki and the three others can meet like this coming for the second time .
The matter of respecting the will of Miharu and the others which ever side they’ll choose whether it’s Satsuki or Takahisa after the reunion .
And then, the matter of, in case they feel anxious and the reunion is just for the sake of meeting with Satsuki and Takahisa, he doesn’t mind letting them stay with him for a bit longer .
He already conveyed all that he should convey to them .
Despite not having that much time, from the fact that they’re given some time to think about it even if just a little is the reason why he let Miharu and the others stay in the inn as now .
But, seeing that he’s using the pretext of meeting his acquaintance for his stroll, it’s not like he can just stroll around without meeting anyone .
So it’s been decided that Rio will do a camouflage meeting with Celia while Miharu and the others are having a discussion .
As long as Aisia, who can grasp Rio position and communicating with him was there, it’s piece of cake for them to set an unexpected encounter in the city .
（Ah, I found you）
Rio told Aisia that he found the two of them from quite a distant .
In contrast to Aisia who hide her face with a cape that was attached to her white colored one piece, Celia’s wearing pink tunic dress with lace on it .
Different from the usual, Celia’s changed her white colored hair to gold with a magic tool .
Coupled with her ever youthful appearance, she gave the feeling of a pretty noble daughter around the half of her teens .
――Well then, I’ll go back to Miharu and the others’ place .
When Rio found Celia, Aisia telepathic communication’s reverbrating in his head .
Aisia who’s in front of his line of sight is turning around and then walking back to the inn .
Rio’s saying his gratitude and then ended their telepathic communication .
It seems that somehow Rio’s figure also entered Celia sight as she’s approaching to his direction with cheerful expression after staring for a while .
「Isn’t it Haruto . It’s been a while, right！ Since when did you came to the royal capital？ 」
Celia’s address Rio just like a friend who hasn’t meet for a while .
「It’s been a while . Cecilia . I came to royal capital just few days ago」
「Is that so？ In that case you should come to visit soon right」
Celia’s puffed her cheeks cutely as if it was natural .
It’s a superb acting skill to the point that one can’t think it’s just improptu action .
Nonetheless, her anger can certainly be felt but, for some reason it doesn’t have that much impact .
For some reason, Kyle who’s on his side is entering a light trance state because of Celia’s lovely gesture .
「I have many errand to do . But, I’m glad that we didn’t miss each other . Since I was just about to go to meet you after this . Are you just about to leave？ 」
「Uhuhn, I’m fine if it’s right now but, can we talk for a while？」
Celia’s making a suggestion following their original plan .
「Yeah, I can . Please wait a minute」
Saying so, Rio was looking at Kyle by his side .
「Kyle-dono, she’s my acquaintance . Can we go to some store to have a chat？ 」
「Y-Yes, acknowledged . I’ll be on stand-by on it’s vicinities！ 」
Kyle’s making a fist with his right hand in panic and then said those words while hitting his fist to his chest .
This is the typical salute for the countries around this area .
「Thank you very much . Well, shall we go then, Cecilia」
「Yeah . But, are you fine with leaving your companion？ 」
「It’s alright . He’s my guard . I’ve said it right . That I was just about to go to meet you」
「Is it？ Well, fine by me if it’s alright but, please let me hear your story」
After that, Rio and Celia’s entered a fairly good coffee shop .
The two of them are sitting in front of each other at the terrace seat with unobstructed view while the tumult outside become the bgm .
Kyle wasn’t coming with them and is just looking at them from outside of the store .
As expected, there is no way he can hear the subject of their conversation .
「Sorry for calling so suddenly . The situation become slightly complicated」
After ordering and it just became the two of them, Rio was apologizing to Celia .
「Uhuhm, it’s okay . But, say, I never expected that you’ll come along with a knight」
「The truth is, it’s because I’m currently lodging in the royal castle as one of their guest, and he’s one of the guards in there」
Rio’s smiling wryly as he briefly explaining the situation to Celia .
「Guest of the castle？ Not guest of duke Kretia house？ 」
「Yes . I’ve been ordered to lodging in the royal castle since last night . Well, I’ll explain the situation later」
He didn’t want to make her feeling worried by saying that there was burglar attack .
As he thought so, Rio decided to change the subject of conversation .
「Is it？ It’s okay if there’s no problem but………… . Is it the matter about Miharu and the others first」
「Yes . As what I told Aisia before, I found the person who Miharu-san and the others were looking for . I’ve asked Satsuki-san’s help to explain the situation to him but, a slightly irregular situation has occurred」
Rio’s saying so while showing a troubled expression .
「So you mean it’s for the sake of meeting with him right away without the country being aware about the existance of Miharu and the others？」
So Celia’s asking him after summarizing the situation .
「Yes . Different from Satsuki-san single room, there’s people and her highness princess attaching right on to Takahisa-san side almost 24/7 . Thought there’s another trouble of my freedom of movement being extremely restricted while staying in the castle」
Rio replied while sighing .
Celia’s nodded as if understanding his situation[i] .
「But, more than anything else and which is the biggest problem, is the fact that the existence of Miharu and the others are known by the first princess of Saint Stellar kingdom . Fortunately they’re not telling a soul about this fact」
Celia’s staring dumbfoundedly when Rio’s telling her that .
「Good grief, it’s known by the royalties？ That’s huge trouble right . Can we trust her？ 」
「………………… . . More or less . But I won’t give complete trust on her though」
Rio’s answering Celia’s question after brief pause .
Both Takahisa and Lilyana vowed to Rio and Satsuki last night .
In case that if after this Takahisa’s the one who’s protecting Miharu and the others, he’ll do his best to not let them become a political tool and respecting their will .
But, to be honest, asides Takahisa being the blood relative of Aki and Masato, Rio couldn’t place his trust to Lilyana .
It’ll be better if it’s the king who’s the top of the country, but she a mere princess, she can’t always go against her political obligation .
Nevertheles, they won’t be treated badly seeing that Lilyana is the royalty of a big country .
Though he needs written vow with similar content from Saint Stellar who’s standing behind her for minimum trust to Lilyana, implementing that is impossible at the present stage .
Though it’s an action that just barely being rude to them, it’s there so that she’ll put a great effort in fulfilling her duty as a common ground .
「Nevertheless, Takahisa-san is the elder brother for Masato and Aki-chan . When they want to meet their family, I don’t think that an outsider can butt in more than necessary」
Just because Rio’s protecting Aki and Masato, it doesn’t mean that they’re his slaves .
Above all, Takahisa is in the position in which he can claim the right for the protection of Aki and Masato as their older brother .
It’s whether or not he should set a reunion between siblings who have became separated .
「Let them know everything, and they still have the responsibility and right to make their own choice」
Rio said that with a firm tone .
Even if it’ll create a danger after the reunion, nevertheless, family does have strong will to meet again―― .
Whether this choice is right or wrong, that’s not a problem that should be given to the person who’s not even their blood relative .
Was what Rio felt .
「I decided to respect and trust them including Miharu-san to decide whether they want to meet Takahisa-san while knowing the risk」
「It’s a fine argument…………… . Was what I thought but, are you really fine with it？」
Celia asked Rio while looking at his eyes as if peering into his heart .
「………… . . That’s not the problem that should be decided by me」
Rio said that while showing slightly lonely smile .
Celia’s sighing lightly after hearing his reply .
「………… . . It has been in my mind since long time ago but, you’re extremely realistic regarding human relationship, how should I say, it’s really dry, right」
Soon after that, Celia began to tell him about that .
Rio’s showed a puzzled expression .
「You………………… Should……………… . . Start depending on your surroundings even more like this . That is, Uhm――」
「Sorry for the waiting！ Here’s your order」
When Celia was about to say something, the female employee was sociably carrying their order .
「Here you go！」
With a splendid business smile, she’s pouring the tea from the teapot to the porcelain-made teacup .
Thanks to that, the flow of the conversation is completely interrupted .
Rio’s telling his gratitude while smiling wryly .
Celia was staring at the female employee who was interrupting their conversation at the most important point .
But, she immediately removed her line of sight from the female employee, maybe she knew right away that it’s just an unjustified resentment .
A subtle silent is flowing by for few second between them .
「……………… Shall we eat？」
「………… . Uhn」
Rio’s suggesting to her and thus they tasted the warm tea .
And then, after appeasing their thirst,
「Anyhow . Miharu and the others also worried when I left the inn you know」
After some time hs passed, Celia said that .
「…………… I see」
Rio cheeks is dropping down wearily .
「If Miharu and the others are decided to go to the royal castle, let me to ask you about what are you going to do in that case？」
「I’ve made a plan to attend the evening party once I go back to the royal castle . Later, I’ll come and greet Miharu-san and the others along with the people of the country」
「Roger . Is there something that I can do？ 」
「No, it’s okay . Since currently there’s many people of Bertram kingdom in Galwark kingdom’s castle, please wait in the inn along with Aisia for the time being」
Rio’s replying while shaking his head in denial .
As expected, he can’t take Celia along with him to the royal castle of Galwark kingdom .
Because many nobles of Bertram kingdom are currently in that castle .
Celia eyes opened wide just for a moment and,
「I see . The people of Bertram kingdom are there huh…………… . 」
She’s muttered those words with slightly gloomy face .
Rio cleverly guessed the change in her expression .
「My former classmates are also amongst them」
When Rio suddenly told her that Celia was startled .
「Are you alright？ There wasn’t anyone who noticed you isn’t it？ 」
「Yes . I never divulge my lineage you know . But, I was scared when princess Flora asked whether we met somewhere before though」
Rio lips when he said so warped in delicate way as if smiling wryly .
「I see, princess Flora huh………… . Though it might be unexpected, your highness is someone who have keen eyes in seeing the true essence of someone . Maybe she doesn’t feel any kind of discomfort in your atmosphere」
「I see, what should I do then？ It’s a bit hard for me to imagine it though………… . 」
Rio impression toward Flora is of a quiet and reserved girl .
She’s low key which made one not think that she’s a royalty .
Always peeking at the expression of someone with cowering face .
Maybe Celia meant the observing eyes she has . [ED: Not sure about this one: So I thought .
「I think I understand her a bit . She also has sharp intuition」
Celia said that with slightly proud expression .
「Isn’t Cecilia also caring about your students」
「EH? U~hn, well I can see it like that since I have long years of experience as a teacher . I’ve been in contact with the students little by little over the long years………… . you see」
Celia’s showing a light smile and a slightly embarassed face .
But, that smile felt slightly distant .
「So you’re worried？ About Bertram kingdom」
Rio asked while peeking into Celia eyes .
Celia showed a slightly bewildered expression but,
「Well………………… . It’s not like that, you know」
Her reply was a cold one .
Rio’s sighing lightly to Celia’s reply .
「The nobilities of Bertram kingdom who were in the royal castle established an anti-government organization called Restoration and are supporting princess Flora . Though it seems that Hiroaki Sakata-sama is also dancing on the palm of duke Gustave Euguno, right」
Rio suddenly started to tell her about the current situation of Bertram kingdom .
「………… . He~, so that’s the case？」
Contrary to her words, Celia was seemingly attracted to that topic .
As expected, the situation of her motherland’s surely weighted in her mind .
「In addition, in the evening party the day before yesterday, Galwark kingdom announced their support to Restoration . Though the two countries of Bertram kingdom and Galwark kingdom still maintain their alliance normally after the coup d’etat, the alliance between the two countries breaking off is just matter of times, right」
Seeing that the Galwark kingdom are supporting the formality of Restoration, the Bertram kingdom anti-goverment organization, the relationship between the two country already impossible thing both in name and reality .
Though Bertram kingdom seems so quite recently, there’s no way of avoiding the fire when they know that their neighbour have been housing the anti-goverment organization .
Celia’s gulping due to the gloomy situation which has enveloped her motherland .
「The Bertram kingdom itself doesn’t show any movement that stands out so far, right . Because the size of their national power is halved due to the civil war, it should be natural that they want to avoid a war, right」
「Well……………… . The Bertram kingdom definitely doesn’t want to stage a war against Galwark kingdom in their current situation . There’s also the Proxia empire in the north . I also don’t know how that country will move in this kind of situation」
Celia’s telling that while creasing her eyebrows .
「That’s right . And as a means to check them, Galwark kingdom made a grand announcement about Satsuki-san as a hero in the evening party…………」
Rio’s words are unnaturally stopping in the middle of his sentence .
The matter of the raid last night suddenly crossed in his head .
When seeing from the current trend of the world, since it’s an action which seems like a provocation toward Galwark kingdom when it’s done with this kind of timing, the mastermind might be anyone of Bertram kingdom or Proxia kingdom .
The spies of both countries might have infiltrated into Galwark kingdom, or it might be someone backed by one of the two countries which being invited in the evening party .
Rio’s stopping his train of thought after thinking that far .
Since whichever it is has nothing to do with him .
「I expect that maybe it’ll turn into a cold war with the three sides restraining each other . Though there’s a rumor saying that the shadow of Proxia empire’s lurking behind that coup d’etat sometimes ago, Bertram kingdom itself also so calm with those rumors so it doesn’t seems that they’ve allegiance with Proxia empire」
「………… . . That’s right . Now that I heard the gist of the situation from Rio, I also think so」
Celia’s consenting with slightly troubled face .
「If I remember it correctly, the territories of earl Claire is at the eastern part of Bertram kingdom right . There’s also the territory of marquiss Rodan, the headquarters of Restoration in its vicinities . So it’s a good thing to prepare for your homecoming based on that」
Rio’s telling her that with troubled smile .
「………… That means………………」
Celia’s bewildered by Rio line of sight .
「I’ve said before that it’s my turn to save you right？ I want Cecilia to become happy . That’s why please feel free to say it if there’s a place that’ll make you happy . I won’t spare any effort to help you」 [TL: Marry her then]
Rio’s telling her that with slightly embarassed face .
That is, in short――
Celia’s staring in amazement as she’s vaguely guessing what Rio wants to say .
「Let’s go to the territory of earl Claire once this matter is finished . Since we’ll depart in few days, please wait with Aisia for the time being」
Rio said that with kind tone .
「…………… Yes . Thank you………………」
Though she want to cry somehow, Celia bit her lips tightly .
She’s not regretting the fact that she’s escaping from her threat-like political marriage .
But, even thought the country is splitting into two due to the civil war, despite the nobilities accomplishing their duties in that country, can she really just spend her time leasury by herself .
Celia always had that kind of doubt this entire time .
Though she has been trying to hide it in herself, everything might be seen through by Rio .
Moreover, she noticed that currently Rio’s there to support her decision .
As if saying, please choose the path that you won’t regret .
She was presented with a choice .
She was in a completely same situation as Miharu and the others .
Celia’s embracing the feeling that is hard to describe .
At that time,
――Haruto, Miharu and the others decided to meet Takahisa .
Aisia’s voice was resounding in Rio’s head .
Rio’s smiling wryly since that sensation is something that he can’t just get used to no matter how many times he experiences it .
（………… . . Understood . I’ll be separating with sensei and go back to the castle . Since I’m currently going back to the inn along with the knight from the castle, please do another things along with sensei during that time）
―― Understood .
After finishing his telepathic communication, a short silence descended between them .
1 second, 2 seconds .
「It seems Miharu-san and the others have decided to meet Takahisa-san」
Rio said that with slightly stiff tone .[i] [TL : she’s used to be held captive inside the royal castle]