「Previous………… . . Life, is it . That’s quite a vague question, right . Please correct me if I’m wrong, the previous life in this case is referring to the me before the current me tha was born right? 」
Rio’s eyes opened slightly and he asked her back to confirm her stand . It was a way for him to gain a bit of time to think of countermeasures against that surprise attack .
「Yes, it’s as you say . 」
Liselotte consented to him . Her eyes which were fixed on Rio’s face looked as if she was scared of something .
（This question……… . Could it be that she’s almost convinced that I’m actually a reincarnated person? Or just her way to speaking frankly without any connection to that fact……… . . At any rate, what was her intention?）
Rio instantly came up with those possibilities but, he had no time to think calmly about such matters . Therefore, without giving any reassuring answers to Liselotte’s question――、
「…………… This is a metaphysical-like subject but, it doesn’t mean we can’t deny it either right? Nonetheless, objectively speaking, there’s no proof for that either . 」
He didn’t have any choice but to choose a safe reply . Since it was too dangerous to give a straight answer like 「Yes, I believe it . 」 .
He shouldn’t let his guard down for now as he had no way to know the intention of the other party, so this conversation might take a little longer―― Or so he thought .
「Proof………… Is it . Certainly, there might be no such things as objective proof . 」
「Do you believe in previous life, Liselotte-sama? 」
Rio asked back to Liselotte who had a clouded face .
「……Yes . I believe in it . 」
It’s just a little but, Liselotte nodded firmly when she said that . But――、
「It seems to me you absolutely believe in it . 」
When Rio said so as if getting into the core of the topic, Liselotte showed a troubled smile . Then――、
「……… . . My deepest apologies . It wasn’t the kind of discussion that we should have while standing in the corridor like this . It seems I of all people feel tired . Though you might be surprised by this, how about we continue this topic when we meet again later? 」
Liselotte shut her eyes, shook her head lightly, and then said those words with a slightly troubled tone .
「Yeah, I don’t mind……… . . 」
Rio hesitated in seeing Liselotte withdrawing as if she suddenly had a change of heart .
Maybe because she had managed to calm down a little right now, he couldn’t feel the turbulence or wavering of her emotions like before, her current calmness was definitely not the usual Liselotte’s calm disposition . Those actions of hers were definitely impulsive .
But, judging from her tone, he considered the possibility of another surprise attack from her after she had prepared an appropriate place for just the two of them . Maybe she would tell him everything at that time .
（………… . It seems I need to come well prepared next time in order to not get surprised when I met her again later . ）
Though Rio did not have any intentions to become more intimate up until now, his relationship with Liselotte would get more awkward if it was only Liselotte being assertive in getting closer to him, so Rio decided to treat her appropriately .
In that case, everything will depend on Liselotte’s attitude but, he needed to act after thinking carefully about the merit and the demerit of sharing the same secret―― And so, Rio started to plan as to what to do .
His former identity of a traveler aside, the current Rio had the relationship of mutual trust with Liselotte .
「Well then, please treat me well at that time . Lord Amakawa . We might make your two companions worry too much if we’re too late . If you need one, I can send one of my attendants to accompany you but…… . 」
「No thank you, your feelings alone is enough . Well, I’ll leave for a while then……… . 」
After showing his sociable smile and nodding at her, Rio turned around and left Liselotte behind . The nearby chamberlain came closer to him and guided him outside .
Since he met no problems after that, he guided everyone in the inn to Liselotte’s mansion .
◇ ◇ ◇
The night of that day, after enjoying the dinner from Liselotte, Rio was called to Christina’s room .
In addition, with introduction from Rio, Liselotte was meeting Rei and Kouta in another room but that was another story .
「My deepest gratitude for coming all the way to my room, lord Amakawa . 」
After sitting on the sofa in front of her, Christina bowed to Rio . Vanessa was on standby at her side .
「No . It doesn’t matter . 」
Rio calmly shook his head in response .
「The reason for me to call lord Amakawa at this time was to express my gratitude formally and talk about a few things about what to do after this . First, the reason we managed to head towards marquis Rodan’s territory is thanks to your help . The daughter of duke Kretia will send us there with a magic ship . 」
During today’s dinner, Christina had spent the entire dinner time alone with Liselotte . So they might have talked about various things during that time .
「That’s splendid . If nothing goes wrong, you guys might arrive at marquis Rodan’s territory by tomorrow . 」
「Yes . Though we were planning to depart the day after tomorrow, we can still arrive much faster than our previous arrangement . This is also thanks to lord Amakawa’s mediation . Thank you very much . 」
「The leading actor behind this is actually Liselotte-sama . 」
Rio was being humble .
「It’s not, because it would have been no simple matter to meet her without any mediation . In the first place, I don’t think that I would have chosen the option of meeting her without you . 」
「…… I see . Well then, this humble one feels proud of your praise . 」
「Yes . But, it’s not just words of praise, I want to return my gratitude to you in some kind of form . Though I’ve said this so many times before, without you, I wouldn’t have been able to reach this place . 」
「I’ve also said about this matter before, it’s for Celia . 」
Rio had already prepared a powerful repellent against Christina who wanted to give him some kind of prize, but――,
「It doesn’t have anything to do with that . Not only did you help us, who were in a desperate state, in order to escape from Creia you even defeated Alfred . Though there are various other matters, you saved us from our two greatest predicaments . But then, finishing this matter with just words of praise will taint the honor of a royalty for not repaying my benefactor with an appropriate reward . 」
Even so, Christina refused to give up .
「Naturally, I understand your highness’ concern but………… . Well then, should the reward being given be something with a physical form? 」
When Rio asked so――,
「We can negotiate regarding that . Unfortunately I have nothing in my hand right now, I have nothing to give you but low ranking peerage or medal but then, things will turn around as long as we reach marquis Rodan’s territory . That’s why, I’ll be really happy as long as you tell me what you want . 」
Christina said so while showing a somewhat troubled face .
Though her power was limited to just conferring titles and giving decorative medals as the first princess, she might have guessed it somehow during their journey that Rio did not care for those .
「……… . . Well then, this might be a sudden question but, may I hear where you’ll establish your base later? 」
Rio suddenly asking that question .
「Though I’m going to visit Galwark kingdom’s royal capital on a regular basis, I’ve decided to establish my base in marquis Rodan’s territory . 」
「Well then, will Celia come to that place too? 」
「………… . Yes . And that’s my intention . 」
Maybe because she was quite confused by the flow of the conversation herself, Christina just nodded to gauge his reaction . ――、
「If that was the case, in exchange for the award medal, will you grant a mansion for her to live in your base of operations? 」
Rio told her about his wish .
「……… . . In that case, won’t that become a reward for her . Moreover, I do have the intention to award her for what she did later . I’m going to scout her . 」
Saying so, Christina’s troubled expression became even more anxious .
「I see . In short, can I assume that she has no need to worry about her daily necessities? 」
「Yes . I’ll guarantee her livelihood appropriate to nobilities . 」
Christina declared so to aswer Rio’s question .
「If that was the case, will you agree to a few of my conditions in order to make sure there’s nothing to worry about her livelihood? If you really are pressing the reward on me no matter what, it should be possible by granting my house to her . 」
「………… Yeah, there’s that way too, and theoretically it poses no problem」
Christina seemingly wanted to ask many questions .
「You’re thinking why I’m willing to go that far for her right? 」
And Rio personally asked her the question she wanted to ask the most .
「,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Yes . Are you really okay with that? 」
Christina asked back at him with a nod .
「It doesn’t matter . I wasn’t raised in a blessed environment during my childhood . No, I might feel blessed in proportion to many kinds of worry when I met her . That’s why I felt blessed for that . That’s the reason . I’m much indebted to her . ………… Moreover, whether it’s really okay or not, it won’t be too late to decide even after hearing the condition that I suggested you know? 」
Rio told that fact to Christina with a bold smile on his face .
「…………… . I understand . Well then, may I hear about your condition? 」
Sighing, Christina then nodded at him and asked for his conditions .
「Though the detailed content will be written later, do let me tell you the general content, my terms are for you to allow me to meet her freely without any restrictions, guarantee her daily necessities, not pressuring her to take any actions or limiting her freedom, and then respecting her own will . 」
To be more specific, Rio’s demand was to not used her as a political tool by forcing a political marriage on her without her consent and to prepare someone to help her with her daily life .
Though it was easier to say, his conditions were of an extremely high degree of difficulty for a magician of Celia’s caliber in regards to not being used as a political tool in the noble society where all kinds of evil plans were running rampant like raging waves .
「Very carefu-…………… No, an overly protective one aren’t you . 」
「I won’t deny that . Because I can’t always be by her side . 」
「………… I see, so you’re going to leave Celia-sensei? 」
「Yes . I will come to visit her on a regular basis though」
Rio replied so with a slightly gloomy tone .
For now he had gotten Christina’s promise to protect Celia . Though he won’t hesitate to use other means but, it was meaningless without having anyone to report to him when they separated .
Nonetheless, though extremely worried about her, it was not like he could just hide Celia from the world and he couldn’t stay by Celia’s side 24/7 to guarantee her safety either .
No, as long as there was a slip, it might be not absolute security either .
But realistically speaking, there was no such thing as absolute safety and it was not healthy for her spirit either . In the end he had no choice but to find some kind of solution for this problem .
「I see . Well then, if you feel like it, will you come with us until we reach marquis Rodan’s territory? 」
「Yes . Please treat me well till then . I’ll give all the details of the conditions I summarized by tomorrow morning . 」
Rio bowed lightly .
「Certainly . Since I’ll prepare an official written pledge after we arrive at marquis Rodan’s territory, I’ll be really pleased if you stay with us until then . SInce this is not a sole contract with me, I’ll arrange a similar written pledge with the organization called Restoration . 」
「My deepest gratitude for that . 」
◇ ◇ ◇
After that, Rio leave the room――、
「…………… . May I ask a question? Are you really going to let go of someone of that caliber . Even though we might be able to pull him to join our side by using Celia-kun? 」
Vanessa who refrained herself behind Christina asked such a question .
「He won’t budge even if we do that . Even if his reason for cooperating is due to Celia-sensei, he has no reason lend his power to u-…………… . . No, to Bertram kingdom . 」
Christina replied so while holding back her frustration .
「……… . . I can’t make it . There might be something between those two . 」
Vanessa shook head with a pensive look on her face . Though regarding cooperating with Bertram kingdom, he might do so solely for Celia .
「Our best choice for now is to at least win his trust . For our future actions . 」
Christina’s side profile when saying so seemed gloomy .
◇ ◇ ◇
On the other hand, after Rio had left Christina’s room, while walking in the corridor――,
「Ah, Haruto-kun . 」
He met Rei and Kouta along the way .
「Are you guys just returning too? 」
Rio asked those two .
「…………… Yes . We were talking with Liselotte-san . 」
「Is that so . 」
Rio just nodded lightly, trying not to pry into the content of their conversation with Liselotte . But, Rei and Kouta exchanged looks and ――、
「In fact we were talking about so many things but………… We were wondering if we can consult with you about this matter Haruto-kun . We can’t see what’s ahead of us in the near future or should I say that we don’t even know what we should do from now on . 」
Kouta told him that .
「………… . Me? I don’t mind giving you my opinion but, shall we change our location for now?」
「Well, to our room then . 」
「Yes . 」
Thus, Rio decided to go with Rei and Kouta to their room .
◇ ◇ ◇
On the other hand, Liselotte called Aria to the parlor room for a cup of tea .
「It’s a wonderful choice of tea as I expected . It calms me down . 」
After she rolled the brewed tea in her mouth, Liselotte gave her honest impression .
「Because I considered what you felt today . I chose this tea . 」
「Truly as expected . 」
「Because it’s my job to adjust body and mind of my master to the perfect condition . 」
Aria said so as if it was a matter of fact . ――、
「………………………… . . Was my behaviour seem out of place today? 」
Liselotte asked timidly .
「I felt that your brilliance was lacking a bit than the normal you but, it wasn’t a problem overall . At the very least it was within the scope of where I could see you . Because there were times when I was not by your side……… . 」
The time when Aria wasn’t by her side was when Liselotte had a private conversation with Rio and when she called Rei and Kouta for a private conversation with her .
Aria assumed that something might have happened during those times but, she assumed that the timing of the change in Liselotte’s condition might have been when she had a private conversation with Rio .
Nevertheless, since asking about those matter would mean that she was overstepping her boundaries as a chamberlain, she didn’t mention that matter in particular despite her unwillingness to do so . ――、
「……………… . . Do you think that something happened with those two? Well it’s not like nothing happened you see?? I mean, weren’t they summoned along with the hero from the world that’s unknown to us . That’s why I tried to have a little conversation with them . Well, it seems they’re trying to find out what they have to do in the future but…… . 」
Liselotte turned more talkative which might have been due to her own need to say what she felt inside .
（The matter that I’m worrying about is not my conversation with them . Well, I shouldn’t disturb her I guess . ）
Aria’s lips formed a thin smile .
「Indeed . 」
「……… Muu . Aren’t you laughing at me? How can you smile like that, is it because of the reunion with your old friend? 」
「I enjoyed my private time in a while thanks to your grace’s kindness . My deepest gratitude for your consideration . 」
Thus, a relaxing banter happened between the two of them for a while after that .
◇ ◇ ◇
And then, a while later . Rio was listening to Kouta-tachis consultation . The content was precisely about what they have to do in the future――
Rio prepared a guard against unexpected situations such as speaking frankly about Liselotte’s secret but, he felt relieved as his predictions were wrong .
「I see . In short, the two of you were worrying about what you’re going to do later . I was under the impression that both of you are with her highness princess Christina in this case but……… . 」
After listening to their consultation, Rio said so in order to gauge their reaction .
「No the matter of us coming along with the princess was just for the common goal, or should I say that because we had enough of living in the that cage-like castle……… . 」
「Have enough of it, I see . 」
「U-Uhn . Well, uhm…… . . 」
Kouta awkwardly averted his gaze with when Rio suddenly cut his words .
「Well, many things happened to Kouta . Since he might not wish to recall those matters right now, I will refrain from asking him anymore about this till he calms down . 」
Rei shrugged his shoulders while saying so as if worrying about Kouta . Thereupon, despite Kouta saying 「I’m not worrying over something…… . 」――
「Understood . ………… But then, Kouta-san aside, why are you sneaking out from the castle, Rei-san? 」
Better not ask for who―― Thinking so, Rio nodded obediently . Thus, he quickly changed the subject of the conversation to Rei .
「U~hn . Rather than because worrying about Kouta, it’s more like I was just riding on the momentum . Well living inside of the castle itself was uncomfortable, or should I say………… Boring . 」
Rei said so while scratching his head .
「………… I see, so the two of you currently have NO PLAN for the future at all . Thus you’re extremely reluctant to tell Liselotte-sama that . 」
「Well to put it simply, yes, it’s as you say . Because we snuck out of the castle and travelled all the way to this place, that was the best we could do . 」
When Rio said so with a wry smile on his face, Rei just nodded to him .
（Should I say that Rei-san is actually the “Hapy-Go-Lucky” type person . Or maybe because his personality, maybe one of those . ）
That was Rio’s evaluation of Rei . Maybe it was better to frankly tell them the reality . It seemed completely similar to career consultation of high school . Though he wouldn’t be wrong since the two of them were high school students .
「Even if I do so, there are not many choices for you two are there? ……… Was there any advice from her highness princess Christina? 」
「She said that she’ll give us some work if we following her . Fortunately our magical power is many times greater than normal people and we received proper education back in our original world . Especially in regards to calculation, it seems our abilities in that field were far more excellent than the nobilities of this world, so it most likely will guarantee a better payment for us . 」
When Rio asked so, Kouta replied in a beat .
「I see . Because they should be short of manpower right now, a capable personnel who excels in paperwork must be like a priceless treasure you see . 」
Rio told them about his idea .
「Well, we also know that the princess wasn’t lying to us during the process of our journey . But, I’m wondering is it really a good thing even if it comes with payment by installment-like treatment . 」
Rei said so with pensive look on his face .
「………… . Do you have a job on your mind? Because without any connections, your only viable option is to become an adventurer you know? 」
When Rio said so――,
「Adventurer you say, are you referring to the one who goes on adventures? 」
Kouta asked Rio with a curious look on his face . Rei also did the same .
「I don’t know what kind of image you have in your mind but, it’s not a wonderful job you know? It isn’t a job with a stable income since your body is your biggest capital and your income will come to a stop if your physical condition deteriorates . The content of the job also ranges from manual labour in the downtown, picking herb outside of the town, fighting demons or working as a mercenary . 」
「,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Even so, there are worthwhile jobs right? Some people earn more amongst them . 」
「There are indeed successful people amongst them but, they’re a dime in dozens . It’s the kind of job where your life is constantly at risk you know? 」
「U-Uhn . Naturally we know of such things but………… . . 」
Kouta seems to have a keen interest in becoming an adventurer which might be related to his age . Rio guessed so――,
「,,,,,,,,,,,,, Do you want to become an adventurer? 」
So he asked .
「No, but, well . For alternative choice it’s…………… Regarding working for this organization called Restoration after this point and because I don’t know what will happen to this organization in the future……… . . Even if for example we’re affiliated to them, our actions might be more limited . 」
Kouta timidly nodded at him .
「Well that’s so, however………… . Don’t tell me that you’re in this too, Rei-san? 」
Rio asked so as he looked at Rei .
「Not really, well how should I put it………… . . I am just not too keen for this . Uhm, or rather………… . Becoming an adventurer should be a romance if you’re a man . But then, I also want a stable income . 」
Rei bravely expressed his own thoughts albeit slightly embarrassed by it .
「………… . Though I personally recommend a stable income lifestyle, you should save some of your current income in case you want to become an adventurer . 」
「That is…………… . Yeah . I understand . 」
After Rio stated his opinion, Kouta nodded as if trying to convince himself .
「Therefore, in this case, how about you guys try to accept the offer from her higness princess Christina for now? Naturally you still have to confirm the employment conditions . 」
After all Rio couldn’t bring himself to give an irresponsible advice and so had no choice but to give the safest choice for them .
「……… . I see, you’re right . It’ll became a great reference for us . I’ll try discussing this matter with senpai . Thank you very much, Haruto-kun . 」
Kouta bowed to Rio while as he said his gratitude .
Though this case was settled for now, maybe due to to the kind of choice that they’ll make later, Rio felt a light danger in it .
◇ ◇ ◇
After finishing his discussions with Kouta-tachi, Rio went back to the room that was lent to him . And then, when he arrived in front of his room――,
「Ah, Haruto . Welcome back! 」
Celia was standing in front of his room . Her expression brightened upon discovering Rio’s figure .
「………… . Yes . What are you doing standing like that at this place? Have you have been waiting for me all this time? 」
Rio asked her with a dumbfounded look on his face .
「Uhn . I just arrived . Because Aisia told me that Rio will come back soon . 」
After looking around restlessly to confirm that no one was around, Celia said so with a beaming smile on her face .
「I see . Well rather than conversing while standing like this, let’s enter my room for now . I’ll brew some tea for you . 」
「Yeah . But Haruto………… Aren’t you tired after all of those? 」
Celia looked at Rio’s expression from below . Rio was secretly admiring Celia’s insight in seeing through to the depths of his mind and――,
「It’s alright . Because I’m invigorated after seeing sensei’s face . 」
He said so to show off his liveliness . Though he was in fact weary after all those talks with many people, the matter of him feeling relieved and at ease in seeing Celia’s face is also real .
「W-What are you talking about . This child…………」
Celia looked down to hide her blushing face .
「Let’s go in . Here you go . 」
After opening the door, Rio urged Celia who was standing outside the door to enter .
He entered the room after Celia closed the door . [TL : And lock it: LOL] And when the both of them were inside―― Aisia suddenly materialized .
「Aisia, thank you very much for protecting sensei . Thank you very much . 」
Rio said his gratitude to the materialised Aisia .
「Just as Celia said . Your face is pale, Haruto . 」
Asia said so and brushed Rio’s cheek . She was staring at Rio’s face from point-blank range .
「………… . I’m alright . I am just a bit tired due to the long trip and all of those things that happened today . But all of those were washed away after looking at both of yours faces . 」
Though agreeing to him, Aisia still stared at Rio’s face with a slightly sad face . Just like that, her hand was touching Rio’s face .
「W-WAIT A MINUTE! THE TEA, THAT’S RIGHT, LET’S DRINK THE TEA! I CAN’T FEEL RELAXED UNLESS I DRINK TEA WHEN I FEEL TIRED! 」
Celia said in a hurry and pulled Rio’s arm .
How much time he has left to brew tea for Celia before it will come to an end―― Rio followed her while thinking about such things .
Aisia was stared at such a Rio’s profile .