The morning of the day before Flora was teleported to the Paladia kingdom, after boarding the magic ship, Liselotte and Rio headed towards Almond . On the way back he was invited by Liselotte to a tea party along with Kouta .
「Do you have any arrangements after this, lord Amakawa? 」
When Liselotte asked such a sudden question in the middle of their conversation――、
「Yes . I have a slightly pressing matter and will leave Almond today or tomorrow . 」
Rio told her that he had an urgent issue to resolve with an apologetic expression .
「So that’s the case……… . . My apologies for asking such an unexpected question . 」
Liselotte apologized to him with a slightly gloomy face .
「It doesn’t matter . If there’s something that we have to talk about, it’ll be best to do that when we meet again later after everything has settled down . Naturally I’m more than willing to accompany you for a light conversation whether it’s today or tomorrow . 」
The matter of the conversation here was obviously referring to the event a few days ago when Liselotte suddenly tried to frankly tell Rio about her previous life .
「………… . No, it’s okay . Well, when we meet again then . 」
Liselotte said so with a worried look on her face and then bowed respectfully to Rio . Thus, Kouta who sensed the delicate air drifting between them tried to look at Rio’s expression .
When Rio noticed Kouta’s line of sight, he smiled wryly ――、
「What are you going to do after this, Kouta-san? Are you going to make Almond your base? 」
After drinking the tea in his cup in a polite manner, he changed the topic of conversation to Kouta .
「Ah……………… Uhm . Even though Haruto-kun recommended against this , I think I’m going to become an adventurer………… Sorry for my selfishness . Even though you went out of your way to give us all that advice . 」
Kouta replied carefully .
「It’s your own life after all, Kouta-san, you should walk the path that you choose on your own . Even so, are you prepared to become an adventurer even after hearing the demerits of that job from me? The most I can do is just give you some advice . 」
Maybe due to his respect of Kouta’s choice, or simply because he didn’t want to get himself tangled with the livelihood of others, Rio simply shook his head .
「……Uhn . 」
Kouta obediently nodded .
「………… In that case, you can surely start by registering at the guild . There are also many tools and a minimum amount of equipment that you’ll need . This is just a little advice from an experienced traveler . Do you want to hear more after we arrive in Almond? 」
Rio asked him . Even if he only knew Kouta for a short while, they had travelled together . There was also the request from Christina asking him to give Kouta some advice, so he felt that he should at least provide a minimum amount of support to Kouta who had a rough journey ahead . Hearing that――,
「Yeah, thank you . It’s reassuring to have your advice! 」
Kouta told his gratitude with a bright red face .
◇ ◇ ◇
Later, less than one hour after their arrival in Almond, Rio-tachi stopped on their tracks as they were about to cross the south pier .
「Well then, I guess this is where we should part ways then? 」
Liselotte asked Rio and Kouta . Following her were a few of the chamberlains with Aria in the lead .
「Yes . We were basically about to go around and visite a few shops after this . Thank you very much for seeing us off . 」
「Thank you very much！ 」
When Rio said his gratitude, Kouta also followed along .
「Kouta-san . If you meet some sort of trouble, please feel free to come to my mansion . I’ll be more than happy to lend a helping hand as long as it’s within my power . 」
Liselotte told Kouta .
「Ye-Yeah . Thank you very much, Liselotte-san . 」
Kouta bowed to Liselotte awkwardly .
「Well, we’ll be going then . I hope we have a chance to meet again later, Haruto-sama . 」
「Yes, I’ll come visit again later on . 」
To make sure that they did not part with any negative feelings―― Liselotte raised the cuffs of her dress and bowed elegantly . She then turned around and left with an elegant gait .
「Natalie, Chloe . 」
A while after leaving Rio-tachi, she called her two chamberlains .
Natalie and Chloe replied at the same time .
「For the time being, will you help me watch over his activities in this city until he settles down? He should be fine as long as Haruto-sama is by his side but, the problem is after Haruto-sama’s departure . You may indirectly tell only Haruto-sama about the situation . Regarding his activities after Haruto-sama’s departure, you may only help him in the most casual way if he seems to be in trouble . 」
Liselotte gave such an order to those two .
「Acknowledged . 」
Natalie bowed respectfully .
「Best regards then . 」
「Yes . Well then, let’s go, Chloe . 」
「Yes, senpai! 」
After seeing Liselotte off, Natalie left along with her junior, Chloe . Rio-tachi had already begun going around town during that time .
◇ ◇ ◇
Ten minutes later . Rio led Kouta to visit the adventurers guild of Almond . First they promptly finished the registration process . Maybe because he was too anxious to go there alone, Kouta asked Rio to accompany him to the adventurer guild .
「Well then, please finish your registration first, I’ll be waiting over there . 」
Rio urged Kouta to finish the registration procedure after they entered the guild’s building . He had just come along and had no intention to register himself as an adventurer, but his experienced knight-like appearance, that betrayed his young age, and his good quality equipment made other people think of him as a veteran adventurer .
「U-Uhn . Here I go . 」
Carrying a sword on his waist, Kouta walked timidly towards the receptionist . It might have been due to his timid personality or simply because he wanted Rio to come along, but because he had said that he wanted to register alone, it would be uncool of him to back down now . Moments like these were when he had to show his guts as a man .
「U-Uhm . I want to become an adventurer……………」
After Kouta arrived at a slightly less crowded counter, he braced himself and talked to the receptionist . The receptionist girl was around the same age as Kouta . Despite the slightly stern look on her face, she was quite a beauty herself .
「………………… . . Understood . I’ll record your personal information first . Can you write? 」
The guild receptionist looked at Kouta’s face and hair for a while before starting her business-like explanation .
「Ah, Yeah . I can more or less write . 」
「Well then, please write the necessary information on this blank sheet . 」
「Understood . 」
Kouta started filling in the necessary information on the blank sheet . For some reason the guild receptionist kept looking at Kouta with a curious expression . At that moment――,
「Ah, you’re! ? 」
A loud voice resounded inside the guild . Kouta was shocked to hear such a loud voice . And when he was about to start writing again――,
「Eh……………… Ah, Haruto-kun? 」
There, he saw an adventurer pointing his finger at Rio . Kouta unintentionally stopped writing and turned around to the source of the voice . There――,
「Oi, you . Aren’t you the one who ran away during the demon raid a while ago? 」
The man pointed at Rio with a suspicious expression .
「…… . . before asking me that question, who are you? 」
Rio asked back as if he found it troublesome .
「I’m an adventurer of this city . And you, when the demon raid happened a while ago, you ran using “I’m not an adventurer” as an excuse right? I was there as a witness! 」
When the man said so with a vexed expression, the adventurers who had come with him frowned while muttering「The chap at that time huh?」
Rio consented . Something like that happened back then indeed .
「You, aren’t you also an adventurer! ? 」
Due to his adventurer-like appearance and him being inside the adventurer guild itself―― The tone of that man was becoming even rougher .
「You’re wrong . Look, I don’t have a tag on me right? 」
Rio replied with a listless tone .
「U-Uhm, may I ask a question? 」
Kouta asked the receptionist lady with a timid voice while looking at the whole event that was unfolding before him .
「What could it be? 」
The receptionist girl asked back with a plain uninterested voice .
「Well, shouldn’t we stop them . It’ll turn……… . . Into a quarrel right? 」
「Well these kind of rude fellows are everywhere . This level of quarrel happens almost everyday . Or rather, it has grown to the point that we simply can’t spare any time to mediate between them and so we just leave them to their own as long as they don’t go as far as killing people . 」
The guild receptionist replied with a nonchalant voice .
Kouta shouted with a bewildered voice . But when he looked around, he saw that the people inside only heaved a sigh and went back to their own business without caring about the commotion .
「I don’t mind if you want to go to stop them . Is he your acquaintance? 」
The guild receptionist said so to Kouta .
「Eh………… . . Ah, no,…………… . Uhm I mean…」
Kouta showed a stiff expression as he was at a loss as to what to do in this situation .
「Well the people who cross the last line rarely appear due to the penalty that follows such actions . There’s also a duel system but, it’s severely restricted in Almond . 」
The guild receptionist heaved a sigh while explaining with a slightly tired voice . And while they were conversing like that, the tip of the spear of the angry adventurer was already pointed towards Rio .
「So many people were injured at at that time！But they did not run from the front line because they knew that they were going to be scorned by their fellow adventurers if they were to run away by themselves while leaving the other adventurers behind . 」
The man who accused Rio said so in a loud voice . He might have thought that Rio was unfair as it was a fact that his fellow adventurers were injured . But the man had greatly misunderstood the current matter .
「I will say again, I am not an adventurer . 」
Because he really wasn’t an adventurer . On the contrary, he was in fact a noble . But fixing a deep rooted misunderstanding of someone wasn’t easy .
「Ceh, you removed your tag didn’t you?I mean you won’t be exposed as long as you don’t meet any of your acquaintance in the city that has become your base of operation . If you really are innocent, let us check your belongings . If you really aren’t lying, you should at least allow us to do that right? 」
The man ignored Rio’s claim and one-sidedly pressed forward with his own as it was only natural for him to accept the examination request if he was not guilty and refuse if he was . Because he was in the position of the one being blamed, maybe there was a need to be a bit more understanding .
By the way, the adventurer who registers in the adventurers guild must present his written personal information and the name of the city that would become his base of operations, in addition to that he must wear the tag carved with his personal information .
There were indeed penalties for doing something like pretending not to be an adventurer during moments of crisis, wearing another person’s tag, or removing one’s own tag, but the number of people who remove their tags or wear another person’s tag was still big .
「There is no need to take action against one’s own responsibility, especially when it’s requested by a complete stranger . I don’t care even if you don’t believe me . So please step back . 」
Rio nonchalantly refused the man’s request and heaved a sigh as his line of sight moved away from that man .
「…………… What did you say? 」
The man who blamed Rio was already on the verge of exploding seeing Rio completely ignoring him . Moreover――、
「Who is this fellow? 」
「He’s so rude……… . 」
「Shitty brat . Do you even realize your current situation?」
The surrounding adventurers also started to frown . At that moment――,
「P-PLEASE WAIT A MINUTE! 」
A slightly panicked voice resounded in the room . Rio looked at the owner of that voice . There he saw Chloe who had come along with Natalie .
「………… . . May I ask what you are doing in this place?」
Rio smiled wryly, maybe because he had already guessed the reason why Natalie and Chloe were there .
「M-My apologize . Uhm, our master ordered us to secretly watch over Kouta-sama’s activities………… . . At first we were waiting outside the building, but then I heard from Chloe that the adventurers had started to quarrel with Haruto-sama . 」
Natalie explained the situation with a slightly awkward voice . The reason for their delayed appearance was because they hated standing out due to their uniforms, which was bound to happen the moment they entered the guild building .
「No, there’s no reason for you to apologize to me . I will be glad if you keep watch over him in that way……」
「W-We did not come in for that matter . 」
Natalie shook her head flustered when Rio said so with a troubled face . And when the two of them were talking in such an intimate way――、
「Oi . It’s Chloe-chan . The daughter of Rebecca-san . 」
「The one on her side is Natalie-san right? You should have been on the site at that time so why are you talking so intimately with him?」
「Eh？They…… Wear maid clothes? Who are they? 」
「You fool . Those two are the people who work in Liselotte-sama’s mansion . 」
The surrounding adventurers started whispering to each other while looking at Rio-tachi . Natalie then fixed her gaze on the adventurers who were picking a fight with Rio and――、
「This personage is someone who was directly appointed as a noble by the king of our kingdom, moreover he’s also an extremely important guest to our master . Therefor, anyone who speaks unjustly of him to tarnish his honor will be heavily punished . That’s why I sincerely request of you to be careful with your statements about him . 」
And so she told them .
Right after that, the face of the men who had picked the fight with Rio turned pale . Amongst them, the man who first accused Rio was clearly the most panicked one .
「Uh…………… . No . 」
「So, what were you quarreling about? 」
The man became even more flustered when Natalie asked him with a cold tone .
「Well, it’s nothing important . It’s just about him criticizing me for not enlisting myself during the demon raid using the pretext of me not being an adventurer . It seems he’s doubtful of whether I really am an adventurer or not . 」
Rio shrugged his shoulders and replied instead of that man . He was trying to smooth over the matter with an unconcerned smile .
「…… I see . Is that what happened? 」
Natalie noticed the attempt at settling this delicate situation and asked the man to confirm . She had instantly understood the situation as she had also been under the wrong impression about Rio’s action during that time .
The man silently averted his eyes .
「This person did not run away and he’s also not an adventurer . The actions he took at that time were justified . Moreover, later on after he left, he saved the citizens of this city and single handedly slaughtered many of those unidentified demons . Our master, Liselotte-sama’s life was also saved by him . If we’re talking about the one with the most military exploits during that time, he would definitely be placed amongst the top 3 . 」
Natalie explained in order the events that followed Rio’s desertion to the surrounding people who were listening to her explanation .
The expressions of the men who had blamed Rio turned sour .
「What shall we do with these people, Haruto-sama? I’ll call the one responsible for this branch if you want to punish them . 」
Natalie asked Rio .
「W-WAIT! There were a lot of people who abused him at that time! 」
The man who had blamed Rio shouted with a flustered voice .
「………… . . So? 」
Natalie asked as she heaved a sigh .
「Why is it only us! ? Moreover, in the first place…… . . ! 」
The man who was blaming Rio suddenly felt that he was being wronged . Though he looked like he was about to say something he stopped in the middle . He felt that continuing would be asking for more trouble and so he swallowed back the words that were about to leave his mouth . He might have wanted to say that there was a problem with Rio’s personality .
「It seems that you were jumping to conclusions without considering the consequences, but then, I have no intention of keeping you guys company since I simply have more important things to do . That’s why if you don’t further involve yourself with me, I’ll overlook today’s case . 」
Rio said so while looking at the man and he said the last part to Natalie .
「……………………… Understood . We’ll do as you say but, what will all of you do now? 」
After bowing respectfully towards Rio, Natalie asked the men .
「M-My…………… Apologies . I lost my cool because many of my comrades were injured in that incident . 」
The man who accused Rio obediently apologized . Following him, the others who had accused Rio also apologized to him .
「I accept your apology . Well then, you may leav… . —- No, wait a minute . I should be the one leaving I guess . Please leave after you finish your business, I’ll be waiting outside . 」
Rio sent a sidelong glance towards Kouta while saying so with a slightly loud voice and then left the guild building . Natalie and Chloe chased after him in panic . When they were outside――,
「If I’m not wrong, Chloe-san’s house is an inn right? 」
Rio suddenly asked such a question of Chloe .
「Ah, yes . 」
Chloe nodded timidly .
「If it’s okay with you, will you let Kouta-san to stay at your inn? Wouldn’t that make your duty far easier by having him stay where you can easily observe him? 」
「I see, there’s that way too……… . 」
Natalie had also just realized it after Rio pointed it out .
「Uhm, I don’t, or rather I should say that it’ll save us from a lot of hassle . 」
Chloe also nodded in approval .
「Well, let’s do that then . I’ll be the side that makes the recommendation . 」
Thus, without the person himself realizing it, they had decided on which inn Kouta would be staying at .
◇ ◇ ◇
Kouta left the guild building a few minutes later and rushed over as soon as he found Rio .
「Uhm, Haruto-kun! 」
「How was your registration? 」
Rio asked so to the overly enthusiastic Kouta .
「Yeah . I did it, but…………」
Kouta suddenly became less spirited .
「I’m glad then . 」
「Yeah . I felt the same way………… . . But that’s not what I mean . Sorry for what happened a while ago! Because you came with me……… . . 」
Kouta apologized to Rio with an ashamed face .
「……… Don’t worry, things might have become even more troublesome if Kouta-san suddenly intervened there, moreover it is not a matter which Kouta-san should feel responsible for . 」
Rio snapped from his bewilderment and said so with an apologetic smile .
「But……… . . 」
Kouta’s mixed emotions showed up on his face .
「………… Kouta-san . Being an adventurer means that you shouldn’t act recklessly like meddling into another person’s problem which you can’t solve . This might sound heartless but, you might call it one of the secrets of success in life or the secret to living a long life . Because if you live as an adventurer, there’ll come a time when you’ll do a commission which you can’t do alone you know? 」
After heaving a sigh, Rio gave words of wisdom to Kouta with a troubled face .
「……Uhn . 」
「Because as long as you’re working as an adventurer, there’ll come a time when you will incur enmity like that from someone, which leads me to worry that you might become such a cheeky adventurer . Well, to be honest I’m happy that you wanted to help me but…………… My apologies . It sounded like I was preaching to you right?」
Rio apologized to Kouta with a smile on his face after seeing Kouta’s depressed face .
「………… No, you’re right . I learnt a new lesson . I have a lot of things to learn……… . . Or rather, It seems I need to etch this point of reflection into my heart . 」
Kouta smiled wryly as he heaved a sigh with a mixed expression .
「I’m glad then . By the way, the two over here are the chamberlains working for Liselotte-sama . 」
In order to change the depressing atmosphere, Rio introduced Natalie and Chloe who had stayed by his side .
「Yeah . I saw the two of you a while ago . 」
「My name is Natalie . It’s pleasure to meet you . 」
「My name is Chloe . It’s pleasure to meet you . 」
After Kouta nodded at them, Natalie and Chloe introduced themselves .
「I-It’s my pleasure to meet you too . 」
「The truth is, Chloe-san’s family manages an inn, thus I thought suggesting her family’s inn as your staying place, what do you think about it, Kouta-san? 」
Rio suddenly asked such a question of Kouta who had greeted those two beauties with an anxious voice .
「Yeah . Since you said what I was think about……… . . It would be my pleasure I guess . 」
Kouta nodded timidly .
「It’s decided then . Let’s go there immediately and make arrangements before all the rooms are filled . We’ll leave the shopping for later . Will you become our guide then, Chloe-san? 」
「Y-Yes, this way please! 」
After Rio turned the conversation to her, Chloe replied with a lively voice . Thus, they headed towards the inn run by Chloe’s family .
Later, after finishing the shopping, Rio also stayed for one night to finish another matter with Chloe’s mother . And by the next morning, Rio left Almond with Kouta seeing him off and departed towards the Proxia kingdom to the north .