Seirei Gensouki - Spirit Chronicles - Chapter 196
Chapter 196 : Sayo And Shin
The night had passed and it was the day after the banquet was held. After the after party that Sara, Orphia, Alma, Komomo, and Sayo held in Ursula’s house until late at night, Rio woke up a little later than usual. It wasn’t only him, but also everyone else. As such, he was able to eat a late breakfast with everyone without feeling out of place due to his tardiness.
Then, after taking a sip of his tea after his breakfast, he suddenly turned his attention to Sayo.
Rio called to the absent-minded Sayo, who was sitting in front of him.
「Y-Yes, w-what’s the matter?」
Not expecting this, Sayo’s body twitched in surprise and nervousness.
… Really… she doesn’t need to act that surprised, does she?
Despite his thought, Rio couldn’t help his smile when he saw her cute reaction.
「There’s something I want to talk about with you and Shin-san. So, would you mind showing me the way toward your current lodging?」
He asked Sayo mirthfully to guide him.
「… Of course.」
Hearing Rio’s words, Sayo was momentarily taken aback and paused for a while. Since it was Rio, who wanted to discuss something with them, Sayo was sure that it must be an important matter. As such, she didn’t hesitate as she nodded in agreement.
「Since you want to visit daddy’s place, can I tag along?」
Komomo asked, immediately interjecting into the conversation.
Not seeing a problem with it, Rio acquiesced immediately to her request. Thus, it was decided that after they finished their meal, Rio would go with both of them to their abode in Spirit Folk’s Village.
◇ ◇ ◇
As promised, one hour later, Rio went to the place where Gouki and co resided along with Komomo and Sayo. In fact, they didn’t have to walk far as their home turned out to be just two or three minutes walking distance from Ursula’s house.
Incidentally, when Rio invited Aisia and Latifa, both of them refused. They said they preferred to house-sit. They only asked Rio to ‘make sure to return in the afternoon, so we can have lunch together’.
Komomo’s humming filled the air around them along the way toward their place. She appeared exceedingly joyous.
「You seem to be in a good mood, Komomo-chan.」
Unable to hold himself back, Rio remarked out loud to Komomo who was walking on his right.
「Yes, I mean I can walk alongside Rio-sama again after all! So, how can I not be happy?」
Komomo replied, face flushed with happiness as she smiled brightly.
Facing such an honest reply, Rio could only muster that word, looking exceedingly embarrassed. He didn’t know what else to say or do in front of such an upfront delight coming from Komomo.
「Here it is, the residence lent by the village.」
Komomo pointed at a huge tree house and half-jogged towards it.
「Let’s go after her, Sayo-san.」
Rio said to Sayo, walking slightly faster than his previous pace.
Sayo nodded her head as she followed after Rio. However, despite hastening their pace, they were unable to catch up to Komomo. Because by the time they reached the door, Komomo had walked into the house and left them behind.
「Welcome to our residence, Rio-sama.」
Moreover, by the time they arrived, it seemed Komomo had already informed the occupants he was there. As shown by the fact Gouki had come out of the house to the front door to welcome Rio accompanied by his wife and Kayo, who stood right behind him.
「Good day, Gouki-san. I wanted to ask for your permission to borrow Shin-san and Sayo-san for a while.」
Rio said as he glanced at Sayo, who was standing by his side.
「Sure thing. Well, Sayo-chan, please call Shin over. He should be in the middle of his training in the rear garden.」
Gouki said, directing Sayo to where Shin was while inviting Rio and her in at the same time.
After accepting she bowed once to Rio and left to call Shin over.
「Please come in, Rio-sama, I’ll show you to a place you can use to have a private conversation with the both of them.」
「Thank you very much, Gouki-san.」
Rio conveyed his gratitude as he followed Gouki before falling silent.
「How was your stay last night in Ursula-dono’s house, Komomo?」
When they arrived in the parlor room, Gouki started asking Komomo of experience last night after they parted while waiting for Sayo and Shin to arrive here.
「Yes! Yesterday night was really wonderful! I was able to talk about a lot of things with Rio-sama and the others! It was truly a fun night!」
Komomo replied briskly, eyes sparkling with delight.
「I see, it’s good then. And did she act rude toward you Rio-sama?」
After hearing Komomo’s delighted reply, Gouki was relieved. However, he still didn’t forget to ask Rio whether Komomo had acted appropriately with him or not.
「No, not at all. I really enjoyed having a chance to converse with Komomo-chan after our separation. So, there’s no need for you to worry, really.」
Rio assured Gouki, who looked incredibly concerned at the possibility of Komomo having acted inappropriately towards Rio, with a smile.
「In that case, then it’s all good. Thank you very much for accompanying my daughter and indulging her chatter through the whole night, Rio-sama!」
Gouki bowed at Rio respectfully, taking back his seat before starting a light-hearted conversation. Soon enough, a sound of the door being knocked reached their ears along with Sayo’s voice.
「I’ve brought my brother with me. May I have permission to enter?」
It was Sayo and Shin.
「Yes, please enter.」
After permission was granted, the door opened and Sayo entered. She bowed courteously to Gouki and Rio with Shin following behind her. However, unlike his sister, Shin didn’t bow. He just nodded his head in greeting to them. It was not only both of them coming into the parlour, though. Kayoko was also following behind the two of them closely with tea and sweets on both hands, ready to be served to the three people.
「Well, I guess it’s time for us to leave you three alone. Let’s go, Kayoko, Komomo.」
With that said, Gouki stood from his chair and left the parlor room along with his wife and daughter; leaving behind the three of them alone in the parlor room in accordance to Rio’s wish.
「The two of you… won’t you sit down?」
Rio said to the frozen siblings, whose feet were glued to the floor for some reason, inviting them to take a seat.
「… Yes. Thank you very much.」
Fortunately, after a moment, Sayo regained her acuity and thanked Rio before she timidly sat on the chair in front of him. Shin didn’t say anything as he followed suit with her decision, choosing to sit on the chair next to Sayo.
「Due to the situation being as it was, I couldn’t talk for too long with Shin-san yesterday, but… It’s really been a long time since I last met both of you, so I couldn’t help but want to talk.」
After the two sat on their respective seats, Rio spoke and broke the ice.
At that, Shin spoke up with a stammer. Just from listening to his voice, Rio could sense that Shin was feeling extremely awkward. Rio thought this awkwardness might come from two sources. First, it might originate from the fact that it had been a long time since their last meeting. As for the second reason… it might also come from other things as Rio felt that Shin was embarrassed at the moment.
「Oniichan, you’re being rude to Rio-sama you know.」
Sayo immediately rebuked her older brother without a moment of delay. However, at this time, Rio interjected.
「I don’t really mind his speech, you know. You can just call me the way you did back in the village.」
Rio said with a hopeful tone. However…
「There’s no way we can do that. Rio-sama is a royalty after all.」
「My mother WAS a royalty… which only makes me a descendant of a royalty.」
「But… There’s simply no way for us to do that. How can we look at Gouki-sama and everyone else in the eye if my brother is permitted to use informal speech to talk to you? After all, they hold you in high regard and have also offered their help to us too many times. So, we do not wish to slight both sides by using informal speech with you…」
Despite having permission to do so, Sayo was still unwilling to back down from this.
「Uhm, alright, let’s leave that matter be for the time being. I guess it’ll take a while before you are comfortable in using informal speech with me like before… But do note this, I truly don’t mind it if you use the same tone like before. However, if you guys are truly uncomfortable doing that before Gouki-san and the others, you can just use it when we’re alone. Anyway, let’s get to the point as to why I want to talk to the two of you alone now.」
Rio said as he scratched his cheeks, secretly sighing in despondence at her firm refusal.
「… Of course.」
Sayo nodded and glanced at Shin by her side. Her eyes were stern and full of warning, as if telling him 「Do you get it already? You absolutely mustn’t act rude towards Rio.」.
「Y-Yeah. Erm, I wonder from where shall we start from?」
Shin asked after clearing his throat. It seemed he had decided to heed his little sister’s warning and used polite speech when he spoke to Rio.
I… I honestly do not mind even if he speaks like before when we were still at that village in Yagumo, though…
Despite feeling slightly lonely at Shin’s choice, there was nothing he could do about it. So, he decided to move on to another topic.
「… Very well. Please tell me the reason why you two left the village.」
Rio asked as he chased away his sentimental feelings and looked at them seriously.
「The reason is…」
Sayo was at a loss of words when she heard that question from Rio. She didn’t know how to answer . After all, she had already…
「You… You should’ve known the reason, right? Isn’t it obvious it is because my little sister loves you-… I mean, it should be obvious it’s because my little sister loves Rio-sama.」
At that moment, instead of Sayo, Shin reacted and almost slipped to informal speech when he talked to Rio. However, he quickly fixed it to a polite one. But Rio didn’t take note of this fact as the last sentence rang in his mind and his expression changed.
Sayo exclaimed at Shin with a glare, cheeks flushed red and blooming like red roses as she peeked at Rio. Nevertheless, her face fell when she heard Rio’s response.
「I should have already told Sayo-san before that I can’t accept her feelings for me. We can’t be together.」
And yet, Sayo’s reason to leave her village and her motherland… her reason that she trudged through the dangerous region all the way until she reached this Spirit Folk’s Village was just to meet Rio? Because she loves him?
Rio couldn’t believe that her reason to go as far as she did was only because she… loves Rio. Thus, he chose to respond the way he did, looking into Sayo’s eyes at that as he waited for her reaction to that.
「I… won’t give up that easily.」
Sayo’s expression fell and darkened when Rio told her he couldn’t accept her feelings. Despite that, she still spoke those words with a resolute look on her face.
Which meant that Sayo still loves Rio even after his rejection.
Hearing her firm voice and seeing her resolute expression, Rio’s face couldn’t help but darken in guilt. This was just like before. There was no way he could give a half-hearted reply in the face of Sayo’s sincere love. Even now, he still didn’t feel he could accept Sayo’s feelings nor thought that they could be together.
Despite all that though, Sayo’s figure… looked exceptionally dazzling right now for a reason unknown to him.
「Rio-sama… Are Rio-sama’s feelings towards me still unchanged?」
Sayo asked with a timid voice, sorrow threatening to overwhelm her.
「Yes, my answer is still the same as before. I can’t accept your feelings.」
Rio said, apologetic. However, he didn’t mince his words and straight up told her the answer. Though it might not be the answer she wanted, nonetheless, it was still his true feelings.
「… Then, will you allow me to chase after you, so I can stay by your side?」
Gathering her courage, Sayo asked Rio that question before biting her lips in fear of rejection.
「I… simply don’t understand. Just… I think I am a detestable human being. So, what part of me is worthy to make Sayo-san go as far as to chase after me all the way to this place?」
Rio spoke with a troubled expression. He simply didn’t understand her firm insistence in continuing to love a person like him. After all, even with his claim of loving Miharu, he still gave up on his love easily when he got rejected.
What Rio might not realize himself was that his reason behind his inability to answer Sayo’s feelings was because of his low self-esteem that Satsuki had mentioned.
And it was not limited to just Sayo. Even if it wasn’t her, but other girls, Rio would still give the same reply to those who profess their love to him. Latifa, Sara, Orphia, and Alma included. Because he was unable to bear letting those girls become involved with his dark side. The one that insisted on avenging his grudges.
「The reason is…」
Sayo trailed off, at a loss of words because she couldn’t find the appropriate words to express her feelings. At this time――、
「Aren’t you… actually just overthinking this and making it more complicated than needed?」
Shin suddenly interjected as he reverted to his usual personality, words extremely blunt without sparing a thought to others’ feelings.
Rio stayed silent, waiting for Shin to continue.
「The reason why she kept chasing after yo-.. I mean, Rio-sama is simply because she loves you so much. That should be enough of a reason. Well, there are other reasons too, but this girl is stupid. So, she can’t help herself. Anyway, she also can’t bring herself to hate you even after such a harsh rejection.」
Shin glared at Rio fiercely as he rambled on.
Sayo, whose face had reddened to a tomato due to either embarrassment or anger, scolded Shin.
「Someone, who can’t even understand something as simple as that, is just someone who has never truly loved others. The kind of scum who looks down on others’ good will.」
Shin’s words that were as sharp as a sword, deeply gouged into Rio’s heart.
「… Can’t understand, is it.」
After being dumbfounded for a while, Rio nodded his head as those words of self-mockery spilled out of his mouth. However, at this moment, Shin suddenly added.
「But you’re different from that kind. It’s a shame, but I’ve to admit that you understand others’ good will for you. And that’s why I said you’re overthinking and overcomplicating this matter.」
Shin said, directing a wry smile towards Rio. Although he didn’t understand Rio’s reason, it didn’t mean Rio himself didn’t understand.
Simply put, it was the moral value of his past life conflicting with his current life’s common sense. He was an avenger. And by his past life’s value, he shouldn’t go near other people lest he dirtied them. He thought he wasn’t worthy of receiving others’ good will to him.
However, Shin’s words had slapped some sense to him. He realized that he indeed had looked down on other people’s good will for him by insisting on keeping his distance with them.
「Come to think of it, why did you follow Sayo-san too, Shin-san?」
Rio asked, suddenly curious about the reason.
「… She might be stupid, but she’s the only family member I’ve left in this world. Thus, I feel I have to watch over her until she gets married to a guy who will look after this stupid girl in my stead. At the very least. I’m just fulfilling my responsibilities as her older brother here.」
Shin replied bluntly. He was speaking as fast as possible as if he was hiding his embarrassment. Still, despite that, he looked like he was refreshed at the same time when he uttered those words aloud. Those words were one he had wanted to say ever since he left the village to chase after Sayo. And perhaps that was the reason he finally felt satisfied after it was uttered out in the open.
Sayo muttered, head hanging down in embarrassment and happiness.
Hearing Shin’s words, Rio smiled. He understood. Shin was definitely a good brother. He was different from Rio, who was always wandering around to various places and neglected Latifa, leaving her behind in this village. As such, realizing this, Rio felt extremely ashamed of himself.
If I don’t follow his example,
“then I’ve yet to be able to call myself “Latifa’s big brother” was what he felt. But, after reflecting on that point, he realized that following Shin’s example as a good brother would prevent him from leaving this village.
「Though I might have to leave this village often, I think I’ll stay in this village for a while. And while I’m here, I’ve a request for both of you. Will you treat me the way like you used to back in that village in Karasuki kingdom?」
Rio asked the siblings with a slightly embarrassed expression. However, he didn’t retract his request because he simply wanted them to treat him as Rio, not as “Prince Rio”.
「… Of course.」
Sayo’s eyes were wide open in delight and surprise as she replied, expression extremely ecstatic.