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「I-I wasn’t told about this! 」
Celia was terribly confused as she shouted at Rio .
「Because I deliberately hid it」
Rio smiled wryly as he replied to Celia’s hidden query, especially since they were the only ones who were aware of Aisia’s existence . Thus, despite the fact that they kept their ability to communicate with one another once they were in certain range a secret for themselves, Rio understood what Celia truly asked .
「U~h…t-true, but still! Oops, my apologies for the late greeting, Flora-sama . I am just completely surprised to find out that he had brought you along when he returned . 」
Although she was vexed, she still immediately turned to face Flora and bowed to her, panicked .
「I-I don’t mind, my apologies for surprising you sensei…」
Even though Flora was confused, nevertheless she still tried to stop Celia from bowing too much .
「Uhm, can I know what actually happened? This situation is a bit……… . . 」
Celia looked at Rio, gaze silently pressuring for an explanation .
「Didn’t I tell you before? I am escorting Flora-sama who was stranded in Paladia . I had passed by there by chance in the middle of my journey . 」
Rio explained the gist of the situation .
「P-Paladia! ? Isn’t that kingdom far to the northeast? How did she get to that place? 」
When she heard his explanation, Celia was simply dumbfounded .
「Well, that has something to do with the people who attacked her magic vessel . Anyway, will you help me by being my intermediary and report this situation to princess Christina for now? If possible, keep this a secret for the time being since I don’t wish to cause an uproar . I think the situation will be resolved much more smoothly if the report comes from the renowned Celia-sama rather than from an outsider like me . 」
He looked at Flora for a bit before he turned to face Celia, formally asking for her assistance . While normally he wouldn’t use such a formal tone when speaking with Celia, this time he had to, due to Flora’s presence .
「………… . I, understand . I’ll apply for an emergency audience . 」
Celia nodded in agreement after she heard Rio’s explanation and understood the gist of what he wanted .
「Thank you very much . By the way, can I borrow a room to change my clothes before I go to meet her highness? 」
「Naturally . Or rather, THIS is YOUR house, feel free to enter as you pleases . 」
「Thank you very much . I want to prepare clothing for Flora-sama too if possible, but………… . 」
When Celia readily agreed to Rio’s request, he smiled at her gratefully before he looked at Flora, especially her attire . Obviously, even though he wanted to be low-key, he still couldn’t let others see her, a royalty, wearing commoner clothes . Thus, while admittedly of excellent quality, she would need to take off the overcoat she wore during their travel and changed the commoner clothes she wore underneath that overcoat .
「Ah, right…while I want to lend her my clothes, our size…」
Flora and Celia’s size were very different, in various parts . As for what ‘various parts’…well, it was better if he didn’t point them out . He really couldn’t afford to be careless in this matter . Besides, as wise people often say, your mouth is the source of all your calamities .
The three of them were silent for a while, which to Rio felt like an eternity, before Flora decided to speak .
「Uhm, I don’t mind going to meet my sister as it is though . I’m sure my sister had long had servants to prepare my change of clothes for my inevitable return in the governor’s mansion . . 」
Flora smiled at the two who were troubled over her clothes . She was sure there was a change of clothes already prepared for her in the governor’s mansion and she only needed to go there . There was really no need to fuss about her clothes just for walking a short distance, in her opinion .
「 … . I just realized that . My deepest apology . Please bear with the inconvenience for now . 」
Celia bowed to Flora, apologizing for her helplessness in this matter .
「Don’t mind it . Right now, only Haruto-sama needs to change . 」
Flora said, as she looked at Rio .
「My deepest apologies . Please wait for a moment, I’ll be back in a while . 」
Rio bowed respectfully to Flora .
「Well then, let me guide you to an empty room . Since I didn’t think Haruto will bring Flora-sama along, I was disconcerted and accidentally let you talk while standing like that . Forgive me for the unintentional slip Flora-sama, please allow me to rectify it by leading you to the parlor room to rest whilst we wait for Haruto to be done . 」
Having said so, Celia silently led both of them into the mansion .
「Feel free to use that room over there, Haruto . 」
Celia stopped halfway and pointed at a room for Rio to change his clothes in .
「Yes . Thank you very much . 」
After he gave his thanks to Flora, Rio entered the room by himself, leaving Celia and Flora to proceed to the parlor in silence .
「Over here, Flora-sama . Please make yourself comfortable until Haruto finished changing his clothes . 」
「Is she your guest, Celia-sama? 」
Before they could enter the parlor though, a woman in her thirties wearing waitress clothes suddenly appeared . By her side was a little girl around 12~13 years old, wearing the same clothes as her .
「Ara, Angela-san . Yes, even though she will leave immediately after this, may I trouble you to prepare tea for three people? And then, about Haru-…… . . I mean, may I ask your help again to lead the man changing his clothes, in that room over there, to the parlor room too once he’s done? 」
Celia instructed the woman, Angela, with a gentle voice .
「Haruto-sama…is the owner of this mansion I presume . Understood . Well then, Sofie, please wait for Haruto-sama and lead the way for him . 」
Angela nodded respectfully and then ordered the little girl beside her .
Sofie cheerfully nodded and went to stay at the ready in front of the room where Rio changed his clothes . While Angela passed by to brew tea for them .
「Well then, this way please . 」
Celia then led Flora inside the parlor room .
◇ ◇ ◇
Meanwhile, Rio, who was left alone in the room lent by Celia, proceeded to change his clothes .
The outfit he chose was his Black Wyvern Leather Armor Set . [TL : Namely, Chuunibyou set] At present, that set was the most expensive, and the best amongst all the equipment in his possession . Furthermore, despite the fact that it wasn’t a normal noble attire, its superb quality gave it a passing mark as a substitute .
「Welcome back, Haruto . 」
Aisia’s voice resounded in his head when Rio was in the middle of changing his clothes . Almost at the same time, light particles converged right beside Rio, and then it turned into Aisia’s figure .
「…I’m back, Aisia . 」
Rio was smiling ear to ear as he greeted Aisia .
「Please lower your voice since there’s another person right outside the room . 」
Placing her index finger on her lips, Aisia told Rio to lower his voice .
「…Thank you for staying by Sensei’s side during my absence . Thanks to you I felt at ease and was able to travel free of worries . 」
Rio nodded with a smile on his face at Aisia’s warning . Then, he expressed his gratitude, not just for her warning, but also for staying by Celia’s side and protecting her .
「Nothing important happened on this side . We were always together . There’s nothing that worth of your worry over here . 」
「I see . Then, I guess we can leave together next time . 」
Aisia nodded at him . During their short conversation, Rio finished changing his clothes and putting on his coat .
「Let’s talk about the details later . I mean, we have no choice but to wait for the time being . 」[ED:wait, can’t you guys use telepathy?]
「Then, let’s talk again later . 」
With that said, Aisia’s figure vanished from his side . After that, Rio checked over his attire before he deemed it acceptable . Then he went and opened the door with refinement unlike his usual movements .
「………… . . I, uh, have been waiting, Haruto-sama . 」
Sofie, who had been waiting for him in front of the room, was dazed for a while when she saw Rio’s refined movements when he opened the door . Once she snapped out of her daze, she immediately bowed politely .
「Uhm…………… You are? 」
Rio tilted his head in puzzlement as he asked for Sofie’s name and identity .
「I-I work in this mansion . My name is Sofie . Please follow me since I’ve been tasked to guide you to the parlor room . 」
After she gave a strained greeting and introduction about herself, Sofie proceeded to immediately guide Rio to the parlor, where the ladies were waiting whilst resting .
「Well, please guide me then . 」
Rio said, leaving Sofie to her assigned duty .
「Here is the room . 」
Sofie stopped in her tracks in front of a room, and then knocked on the door of the room softly . She only dared to open the door once she heard Celia saying 「Come in」 .
「Excuse me . I brought Haruto-sama . 」
After she said that, Rio entered the room, and his eyes immediately went to Flora and Celia .
「Ah, as I thought, you really choose those clothes… 」
Celia said as a smile formed on her face when she saw Rio’s figure in his outfit .
「Yeah, I don’t have noble’s clothes after all . This is my combat gear, but this is the best amongst what I have . Is it okay to go with this clothes? 」
「Yes . It’s well made, and I think it’ll be fine to wear these as long as it isn’t worn during a formal event . Then again Haruto, you’re more or less part of nobility now, don’t you think that it’s about time for you to invest in one or two outfits suitable for nobles? 」
「Yes . I know that but, I simply don’t have enough time to visit the shops that sel such clothes . 」
Rio replied with a wry smile .
「Then, we should use this occasion to buy you some suitable clothes . Don’t worry I’ll go along with you . 」
「Well, since you offered it, I’ll gracefully accept, please take care of me . 」
「Yup, leave it to me . 」
Celia nodded, smiling happily as she said those words . Flora was looking at their exchange with a somewhat envious look on her face .
「Excuse me . The tea is ready . 」
At that moment, Angela appeared, bringing with her the prepared tea .
「If it’s okay with you, please have a meal before we depart to the governor’s mansion . 」
After saying that, Celia offered the tea to Flora, expecting their throat to be dry after such a long journey .
「Yes . Well, I shall partake then . 」
Flora nodded, accepting Celia’s offer . And then, after rehydrating themselves with tea, the three of them went toward the governor’s mansion .
◇ ◇ ◇
The governor’s mansion of Rodania, or rather, not exactly a mansion . A “Castle” was more appropriate with it having a fortress-like structure, and several knights and soldiers who were stationed at its gate in order to prevent intruders from entering the place .
In fact, it wasn’t a place where you could just enter and leave as you pleased, even for the member of Restoration, but――,
「If it isn’t Celia-sama . I do recall that you’ve a plan to give a lecture in a while, but……… . . 」
The gatekeeper, who seemed to be her acquaintance, greeted Celia with a familiar tone as soon as he saw her .
「The truth is, I wanted to have an emergency meeting with her highness Christina-sama . Haruto-……… . I mean Amakawa-dono has just returned from his journey . 」
After she said that, Celia gestured at Rio’s figure .
「Nice to meet you . I’m Haruto Amakawa . 」
Rio bowed as he gave his self-introduction .
「I see . I’ve more or less confirmed your identity, but, that girl over there is………」
The gatekeeper glanced at Flora who was standing still beside them . Since Flora had yet to turn her hair color to the original color, combined with the fact that she also hadn’t changed her attire just yet, no one would recognize her as princess Flora .
「She is a lady with high social standing . However, the situation is a little complex, thus we are about to report the details to Christina-sama . 」
「…Understood . Well, please proceed to the gate . 」
Perhaps having judged that someone of his status wouldn’t be able to decide over this matter, the gatekeeper easily let them pass through the gate . Naturally, the most important reason was because he had received a strict warning to treat Celia, and Rio as Restoration’s VIP .
Celia bowed to the gatekeeper and then went through the gate of the capital mansion . Rio and Flora followed after her . After that, thanks to Celia, they didn’t have to go through cliches like being lost along the way or passing someone who then called out to them . Thus, in just a short while they managed to arrive right in front of Christina’s office .
Vanessa and several female knights were standing guard in front of Christina’s office .
「If it isn’t Celia-kun . Moreover, there’s Amakawa-dono too……… . . 」
Vanessa’s eyes widened in surprise when she saw Rio .
「It’s been a while . I’ve just returned from my journey, so I thought of greeting Christina-sama along with bringing some news . 」
Rio said to Vanessa with smile .
「I see . Well I guess her highness will be delighted since there’s nothing unusual . And that girl is……… . . 」
After she nodded with a satisfied face, she looked at Flora .
「U~hm…………… . 」
Perhaps troubled by the situation, Flora instinctively looked at Rio for help . [E/D: …yeps, I truly don’t like Flora . ]
「I guess it’s okay to tell her the truth . But, I’ll leave the decision of this matter to you . 」[E/D: Right…after telling her it’s okay, then you say you leave the decision to her? It’s obvious she’s gonna follow your word silly!]
After making their way all the way to Christina’s office, he respectfully placed his hand on his chest as he bowed to Flora .
「……Yes . It’s been a while, Vanessa . 」
Flora took a deep breath, putting away the magic tool that changed her appearance, allowing her hair color to return to its original orchid color .
Vanessa and her colleagues, all of them, were speechless . Seeing their reaction, Celia’s lips loosened, glad that she wasn’t the only one reacting like that when she unexpectedly saw Flora in the mansion .
「F-Flo-…………… . . FLORA-SAMA! ? 」
Vanessa gasped as she said Flora’s name . She never expected her presence here .
「Yes . I’ve returned safely thanks to Haruto-sama’s assistance . Is my dear sister inside? 」
Glancing at the door, Flora asked Vanessa . She seemed restless as she gazed at it . The whole journey flashed before her eyes and she realized she had never felt her sister was so close yet so far . Just one last step separated her from her dearest sister, Christina yet it felt like forever to Flora .
「P-Please wait a minute! Christina-sama! F-Flora-sama is! 」
Flustered, Vanessa turned around in a hurry and opened the door without even knocking .
「W-Wait a minute, Vanessa, what are you do-……………… . -Ing…… . 」
Christina was really surprised when the door was suddenly flung open like that . But, beyond that, she was at a loss for words when she saw Flora’s figure standing right in front of the door that was left open .
Meanwhile, as soon as Flora looked at Christina’s figure, doing her official duty――,
「Onee-sama……… . 」
Her tears, that had been held at bay all these time, fell down as if bursting from its dam . She slowly moved her feet one after another to enter the room . Step-by-step, she approached Christina .
「Flora, Flora……………… FLORAAA! 」
Christina called Flora’s name again and again with a dumbfounded face . Upon realizing that she’s truly there, Christina abruptly stood up from her chair, and rushed towards Flora . The two crashed into each other as they desperately held the other tightly within their arms .
「Onee-sama, I really wanted to meet you! Really-really wanted to meet you! When I thought that I won’t be able to see you anymore, I… . 」
Flora’s tears endlessly flowed as she fell into Christina’s embrace .
「I-It’s okay Flora . I’m right here . 」
Christina was slightly flustered as she cuddled the crying Flora . While the pair was reuniting with each other, Rio decided to close the door to give them some private time . Thus, the door was shut close――,
Christina was startled when she caught a glimpse of Rio giving her a meaningful smile as he closed the door . And, although she couldn’t understand what had happened in the first place, she was able to nod her head at him as a minimal gesture of gratitude before the door closed . She then turned her attention to the distressed Flora who was in her embrace .
「Let them be for a bit more . It’s their long awaited reunion afterall . 」
Rio said to Vanessa after he shut the door .
「Yeah, you’re right . 」
Smiling happily, Vanessa agreed to his request .