The second day after receiving a mansion from Restoration, Rio went to visit it mansion which was being used by Celia as her living place starting yesterday .
By the way, though Rio was the true owner of the mansion, since a single man shouldn’t stay under the same roof with a single noble woman who wasn’t his fiancee, he was currently staying in the guest house of marquis Rodan .
The reason for him visiting the mansion today was to sign the official rental contract for the mansion with Celia .
「Thus the official rental contract is concluded with this . Make sure you don’t lose this contract, okay? Just kidding . I should be the one who has to be careful . 」
After signing the prepared contract, for some reason, Celia had a melancholic smile .
「Please arrange the storage properly and don’t litter as much as possible . I would be extremely grateful if there’s someone who I can trust to take care of sensei but………… I’m wishing too much aren’t it? 」
Rio unintentionally chuckled as he asked that question .
「U~hm………… . . There are so many candidates out there but, finding the one with whom I can let my guard down is hard . But then, since I won’t be so selfish as I’m kind of a temporary landlord, so don’t worry too much about that matter . I can live by myself since you even erected a barrier around the mansion . 」
Celia shrugged her shoulders with a wry smile as she said so . Thereupon――,
「That is true but, the mansion……… . . Or should I say, it’s more like someone who will also act as a bodyguard for sense . i」
Rio started the topic with a serious look on his face .
「……………… . What do you mean? 」
Celia straightened herself and asked that question .
「The truth is, I’m gonna leave Aisia by sensei’s side during my journey . 」
「EH? Aisia? 」
「Yes . It should be more reassuring for her to stay by your side in her spirit form right? 」
「……… . . I certainly will feel relieved but, Aisia should be receiving her supply of magical power through her contract with you right? Can you guys really be separated and go that far away from each other? And above all, it’ll be bad for the both of you right?」
Thus Celia showed a gloomy expression .
「The consumption of magical power shouldn’t be that much of a problem as long as she doesn’t materializing herself . I have a way to supply her with magical power too . Moreover, Aisia was the one who suggested this plan . 」
「…………………… She did? 」
After Rio told her that with a troubled face, Celia looked at him with disbelief on her face . Thereupon――,
「Because Haruto is worrying about you, so I asked him to leave me by your side . 」
Aisia suddenly materialized and told Celia .
「Ahahaha………… So that’s the reason . The talk has become more complicated though . 」
Rio shrugged his shoulders as he smiled wryly at her .
Celia muttered their names .
「This Rodania is the headquarter of Restoration and yet, there are many people coming and leaving everyday . The possibility of spies mixing in with those people aside, there’s still the possibility of a double agent within the organization itself . Though it’s hard to imagine they’re going to be bold and infiltrate like before, sensei is a prominent person within the organization and thus I’m worried about your safety . Am I wrong? 」
After telling her his own thoughts, Rio asked Celia .
「………… . . That’s right . I think you have said the same things as princess Christina . I would be lying if I were to say that I’m not anxious . 」
「If that is the case, please take Aisia as your bodyguard even if it’s just as a precaution . Naturally you’ll get some bodyguards but, I think no one is more competent than Aisia . 」
Rio said so to Celia who nodded awkwardly .
「It is certainly far more reassuring to have Aisia by my side but……… . . I would be relying on the two of you again . 」
Celia looked at them with an extremely sad face .
「I don’t mind about it . 」
Aisia replied shortly .
「I’m the same as Aisia . ………… Though it’ll be better if I was by your side, I have a little business you see . Sorry . 」
On the contrary, Rio told her so with a sad face .
「You don’t need to apologize you know . You have your own circumstances……… . Though I don’t know what are you going to do, I know that you’ve some sort of goal . 」
Celia said so as she was worried about the currently pale faced Rio .
「Sensei………… . 」
「Rather, I should be the one who should be apologizing to you . I mean I have become a burden for you during these times . 」
「That is not true . 」
Rio denied that in an instant .
「I knew that you were going to say so . But…………… . I think that I have a huge debt toward you . I feel this guilt since you always help me all the time . That’s why, will you tell me if you need my help? Since I will help you as long as it’s within my abilities . 」
After heaving a long sigh, Celia told Rio her thoughts with a smile .
「……Yes . 」
Rio nodded with a wide smile on his face .
「Well then, how long will it take for your journey this time? 」
After looking at each other for a while, Celia asked so with a slightly shy face .
「Two months at most . One month at the fastest . As for the supply of magical power for Aisia, the consumption is miniscule in her spirit form so there’s no problem in that regard . The problem is when she is materialized, here just in case . 」
After saying so, Rio placed a small bag and a metal bracelet on the table . Celia’s eyes were drawn towards the table .
「What are………… Those? 」
「The bracelet is a magic item . The magic item used a spirit gem that is embedded on it as the core but, you Aisia can suck magical power from it if you supply it with your magical power beforehand . It’s also used to to strengthen and…amplify the power of your magic . You can use powerful magic with minimum amount of magical power as long as you have this . 」 [TL : Did Rio just give her some sort of legendary-class accessory?][ED: that is not even close to legendary . Probably higher since he is so casual about it . ]
「Amplifying you say, not a substitute………… . 」
Celia said so with a cramped face after hearing the effect of the bracelet from Rio . [ED: see]
「I’ll leave this with you for now . Sensei’s magical power is extremely vast in human standards, so you might be able to supply magical power to Aisia by opening a temporary path . But, I felt uneasy in the case that Aisia materializes . 」
「Well…………… . That’s right . 」
Celia agreed as she grit her teeth . Though hers paled in comparison to Rio’s bottomless magical power reserves, it was not easy to cause a supernatural-like phenomenon called spirits to materialize themselves So it was easy to imagine the amount of magical power needed to maintain their materialized state . Much less to say, when the spirit used magic in the middle of a battle, the consumption of magical power accelerated even further .
Aisia at least could store an appropriate amount of magical power that she needed but, if she were to maintain her materializes state when separated from her contractor, the amount she stored was far from enough .
「That’s why the demerit is compensated by the spirit stone embedded on this bracelet . Since sensei has several people’s worth of magical power, you should be able to supply it to Aisia even in combat . 」
「E-Even if you say several people’s worth……… . I have no confidence in being able to do so . 」
「I made this for that one particular problem . It is made with a spirit stone of fairly good quality . In fact I want to make another magic tool for sensei but, my stock is limited . 」
Rio said so with a wry smile on his face .
「Ahaha…………… . . It seems I’m in your care again right?」
In response to Celia who said so with a crestfallen expression――,
「Uhm, and then, here I have something for you in this small bag……… . . 」
Rio said so timidly .
「U-Uhn . What is the content? 」
「The leftover of the traveling expenses given to me by earl Claire . 」
Saying so, Rio gave the small bag still filled to the brim with gold coins to Celia .
「EH? F-From dear father………… . Why are you giving this to me? 」
Celia was startled .
「Yes, in total it is 200 gold coins . Please take it . 」
「……………… . . No . This is for you . Didn’t my father say so? 」
Celia firmly rejected the small bag and pushed it back to Rio .
「Well, what should I do with this then? This money should be more useful for sensei’s fund for your activities in Restoration but………… . . I can’t accept this either since I have little use for this money . Won’t you have various kinds of expenses in the near future? So how about using this as this is your father’s money after all? 」
「……………………… . Ha~, I’ll borrow this money from you then . I definitely will pay it back . 」
Celia stared at Rio who was playing dumb for a while and took the money with a slight pout . As it was obvious to her that it would turn into an endless argument with Rio, on the spot, if she didn’t take the money .
「Yes . 」
Rio agreed cheerfully .
◇ ◇ ◇
And the next day . The day of Rio’s departure had come . In the morning, She went to the south harbor which was adjacent to the city to see him off as he rode Liselotte’s magic ship until Almond .
The big shots of Restoration were gathered in that harbor as well along with Christina representing them to greet Rio .
「In the end I couldn’t pay most of my debt to you . You even gave Alfred’s sword back . 」
Christina said so with a gloomy face .
「If it’s just a sharp sword, I already have one, moreover I can’t just easily receive that national treasure sword . So, please give that sword to a qualified wielder . 」
Rio shook his head as he smiled wryly .
Rio was in the charge of looking after that sword after he beat Alfred but, he returned that sword before his departure . Though Christina told him that he could take the sword, Rio respectfully rejected that idea .
Because that sword might come along with the danger of someone coming after that sword, or a great trouble such as being misunderstood in noble societies as him become too close to Restoration .
「……I Understand . Well then, if you’re going to meet Celia-sensei again, please show this brooch to enter the noble district . You can use this as a replacement for a pass . 」
「……………………… Understood . Thank you very much . 」
Rio respectfully took the brooch from Christina . Though the design of the brooch was similar to the crest that was formally used by Christina, Rio was ignorant of such matters .
It took a slight pause before he took the brooch since he considered the possibility as to whether there were more uses for that brooch aside from a simple pass . But then, he couldn’t reject something given by a princess in the middle of public eyes without a justified reason, he had no choice but to obediently accept it .
Prying about that brooch will also bring unwanted trouble since it could be considered impolite, so Rio decided to change the topic immediately . Ignorance is bliss .
「By the way, are you okay, Kouta-kun? At this rate you’re going to be brought along towards Almond . 」
Rio looked at Kouta who was coming along with him . For some reason he said that he want to leave Rodania yesterday .
On the other hand, Rei had decided to stay in Rodania . Though it was not like they were quarreling, Rio felt that the atmosphere between them was awkward .
「I can’t hold him back if that’s his intention . But, I’ll gladly take him back if he wants to go back . The aftermath depends on him . Since he’s going to be active around Almond’s vicinities afterward, please convey to lady Liselotte to watch his safety . 」
For some reason, Christina said so with a slightly grim expression . Despite worrying about his safety, she kept her standing to not force him .
「…… I see . Certainly . 」
Heaving a sigh, Rio then nodded at her . Because Rio felt the same way as Christina . Though there will be some dangers, there was some sort of stubborness in Kouta’s atmosphere so half-baked meddling would onlyl result in the opposite effect .
「……… . If possible, I want to implore lord Amakawa to keep him safe within your reach, or at the very least give him some advice . 」
「Certainly, I wouldn’t mind doing that until we reach Almond . 」
Rio replied so with a wry smile on his face to Christina who was bowing to him .
A while later, Rio-tachi departed from Almond . In the end Rio ended his farewell with Celia with some light words as he had already said his farewell properly to Celia the night before . They boarded the magic ship after he had finished saying his farewell to Vanessa and Rei and arrived in Almond in the afternoon of the same day .
◇ ◇ ◇
And then, evening of the next day . One magic ship landed on the lake of Rodania . Despite the emergency landing, Restoration immediately identified the magic ship from the flag . In the blink of an eye, the noble district of Rodania became restless .
Christina who arrived quickly gave the order to save the people . The pale faced crews in the magic ship were trembling in fear .
The captain of the ship was the highest priority for now, they then heard the the story of the crew . They heard a shocking truth from the captain of the magic ship .
After the rescue team had arrived at the harbour with the crew of the magic ship, Christina and the big shots of Restoration who had been waiting there――,
「Please report what actually happened . 」
Christina gave a clear order . Though the commanding officer of the rescue team showed a bewildered face, maybe because he had already prepared himself――,
「T-The fleet that escorted her highness princess Flora towards Rodania was attacked by a b-black dragon . The other escort ship was……… . . Completely annihilated . Their ship seems to be the only one which managed to escape from total annihilation . 」
He reported so with a shrill voice .
That moment, Christina felt like she had just dropped from a high altitude . The shock she received was so strong it almost overturned heaven and earth upside-down . Her mind stopped working .
「……………… . Annihilated? What about Flora? What happened to her? 」
Christina managed to somehow ask that question . But――,
「T-The ship of the second princess, the ship of Flora-sama seems to be the first ship that got annihilated…… . . 」
The answer to her question was just……… a cruel truth .