Seirei Gensouki - Spirit Chronicles - Chapter 197
Chapter 197 : Transcribed
After their conversation was over, Rio had gone ahead and returned to Ursula’s house to have lunch with everyone. Once they were done with their meal, he called Latifa to his room, telling her he had a story for her.
「What’s the story, onii-chan?」
Latifa asked, tilting her head in curiosity.
「I want to tell you an important story that I haven’t told the elders yet. I want you to tell you first before informing them.」
Rio said with a slightly distant light appearing in his eyes.
「… And that story is?」
Latifa asked hesitantly as anxiety creeped up on her. She wondered whether Rio would tell her that he was going on another journey and that he would leave her again. Before that thought could take root in her mind though, Rio noticed her apprehension.
「Don’t look at me like that. Don’t worry, I won’t leave this village for a while.」
Seeing that, he assured her with a kind smile that he wouldn’t leave the village for a while, easing her anxiety-ridden heart.
As soon as she heard his assurance, a bright smile bloomed on Latifa’s face, enhancing her gradually maturing and pretty face.
「Yes. Anyway, the story I want to tell you is about a particular event that happened during my stay in the Strahl region.」
During yesterday’s gathering, he had only discussed things pertaining to Aisia and his revenge on Lucius. He had yet to mention the information regarding the ‘Hero Summoning Ritual’ that was held. And to be honest, he was slightly confused from where he should start his tale about this matter.
「What happened during your stay in there?」
「Uhm… Where should I start from I wonder? Well, to sum the matter up, the Strahl Region is currently in a state of restlessness. And the cause for this unrest is the arrival of the summoned people who were collectively called the Heroes.」
Rio said as he decided to start explaining this matter from the beginning.
Latifa uttered absent-mindedly with a dumbfounded expression on her face upon hearing Rio’s words. She had never expected she would once again hear such a familiar trope in this world.
「You should’ve already known this. Just like how this village reveres the existence of the spirits, the Strahl Region has their own beliefs and they revere the beings called Six Wise Gods. Do you get it so far?」
「Now, from time to time, these Six Wise Gods will appoint some heroes for the people. And these heroes are said to be their apostle. Well, in short, they’re humans who become God’s proxy. You can say that these heroes are just like this world’s version of Angel.」
Latifa made vague noises, indicating that while she was listening, she was also completely not interested in this matter. There was a big fat zero interest… until Rio continued his tale.
「Now, the main point I wanted to tell you is this fact. Those summoned heroes are earthlings… Japanese people to be exact.」
At that revelation, Latifa’s eyes widened and she straightened up, startled.
「Just like the legend told in Strahl Region, there are six heroes in total. And during my time there, I had either gotten to know or met five of them. Every single one that I met is Japanese. Furthermore, some unrelated people also got involved with the heroes summoning, and all of them are Japanese too. So, I’m pretty sure the last hero is also of Japanese origin.」
Galwark Kingdom’s hero, Sumeragi Satsuki. Restoration’s hero, Sakata Hiroaki. Saint Stella Kingdom’s hero, Sendou Takahisa. Rubia Kingdom’s hero, Kikuchi Renji. And lastly, Bertram Kingdom’s hero, Rui Shigekura. Those were the names of the heroes known to Rio.
For some time, Latifa stayed silent. She couldn’t react to the sudden bombshell her brother gave her.
Rio asked with a troubled smile as he looked at the dumbstruck expression his little sister had on her face.
Latifa nodded her head. She managed to calm her surging emotions with some difficulty. But she was still at a loss of words, so she could only squeeze out a one-word reply.
「But it’s still too early to be surprised.」
「… There’s more?」
「… Some of those who are involved in the hero summoning ritual were my past acquaintances from previous life. And I have even told you some of their names before.」
Latifa asked, discreetly gulping as slight apprehension and curiosity mixed in her heart.
「My childhood friend, who is also the girl I love, Ayase Miharu-san and my former sister, Tendou Aki-chan. They aren’t with me now, but we used to live together for a while after their summoning.」
Rio divulged Aki’s and Miharu’s presence in this world and what had happened.
Latifa stiffened slightly as she muttered, expression greatly surprised.
「I met them by chance when they had just been summoned to this world. So, I decided to protect them and take care of them since they can’t speak the languages of this world. And I continued to do so until they reunite with their friends, who also got summoned as the hero in another place.」
「Then… did those people leave onii-chan after they were reunited with their hero friends?」
Rio nodded gently at Latifa’s indignant question.
「… Did those people just leave like that? Did they know about onii-chan’s past life?」
「… No, before I left, I had told them the matter regarding my previous life.」
What he didn’t divulge to Latifa was the fact that he did so through a letter. He simply had no courage to tell them the truth face-to-face, so… At this point, Rio’s expression got heavier and gloomier by each passing second.
「Why did they leave after they know of your past life?!」
Latifa asked as her expression twisted with confusion and hidden resentment.
「… I don’t know.」
Rio uttered, expression troubled and down.
「Onii-chan… You love your childhood friend, am I right? And onii-chan’s childhood friend should love you too, right? As for that girl called Aki-chan… she was your little sister, am I right? Then, shouldn’t they be more…?」
Latifa threw question after question at Rio to the point it almost overwhelmed him.
「… That’s already a matter of my past life.」
The tone of utter resignation he had when he spoke was as if he had given up. As if he was saying that Miharu didn’t love him anymore.
「… Lies. This is just my feeling, but… onii-chan feels like he’s running away.」
Latifa somehow realized that Rio was dodging this topic, so she pouted as she ruthlessly revealed Rio’s cowardice. Although she herself understood that her big brother, the person she looked up to the most, would never lie to her… she also understood that at times he wouldn’t be able to tell her the truth.
Although, all these while, Rio was trying to gloss over the situation with a smile, Latifa’s words this time pierced him in the heart. And he was at a loss of words.
「Does that childhood friend of yours no longer love you, onii-chan?」
Latifa continued with her piercing questions.
「Maybe. She has a boyfriend after all.」
Rio said as an awkward and pained smile crossed his face.
「… Is her love for her boyfriend deeper than her love for you, onii-chan?」
「Weren’t you in love with your childhood friend, onii-chan? Have you confessed your love to her properly? Are you going to give up just like that? 」
Once again, Latifa continued questioning Rio. Although her questions hurted Rio, it was obvious to him that she was only doing so because she worried about him. Thus, he tried his best to assure her.
「I… Love her. Not just as Amakawa Haruto, but also as Rio. That’s why even if I’m not Amakawa Haruto anymore, I feel that I had to tell her about this feeling.」
Latifa gasped when she heard Rio’s love for Miharu from the person himself. Although she had already had an inkling about his feelings for Miharu, it was still different somehow when she received verbal confirmation about the fact.
「Did you confess to her?」
「I confessed…. Maybe?」
Rio nodded with a wry smile. However, the questioning tone he used at the end of his sentence incensed Latifa. She felt as if Rio was dodging her question and refusing to give a proper reply.
「Are you answering me or questioning me?」
Latifa demanded with a tilted head. She was absolutely not convinced with Rio’s weak reply that was filled with uncertainty.
「Which one do you think…?」
Even though he was in love with Miharu, he had never thought he had the right to love her or anyone else. Especially in this life where he was just an empty shell whose life purpose was revenge.
Latifa pouted, dissatisfied with Rio’s reply. Not only did he not answer her prior question properly, he also replied with an even more puzzling answer when she pressed him. Thus, her current expression.
「The answer doesn’t matter anymore since both Miharu-san and Aki-chan hate me. They had chosen to leave me and go to Saint Stella kingdom after all.」
Once more, Rio smiled as if he was saying it wasn’t a big deal to him. It was as if he had already predicted the answer and had lost hope that it could be different. No, it was more like he had already given up from the very beginning.
「Why did they hate you, onii-chan? Aren’t you their benefactor? Why then are they so cruel to you?!」
Latifa asked as bloodlust practically oozed from her every word.
「That matter has nothing to do with me being their benefactor. I have no right to tie them to me with such reason.」
Rio replied as he closed his eyes. His voice was calm from the beginning until the end as if it was something completely unrelated to him.
Seeing him like that, Latifa ended up raising her voice in protest. She was unable to keep her calm at the perceived injustice to her beloved brother.
「Latifa, that doesn’t matter. I didn’t want to leave this matter hanging forever. And although I have always been dithering about this matter, I was also impatient to know her answer. Though that ended up disastrously since I couldn’t summon my courage in the last minute.」
Rio recalled his past life’s impatience with a wry smile before shaking that thought off.
「In any case, I feel better now since I finally know her answer.」
Yes, that was what he truly felt at this moment. Although people might think he was just being a coward and running away from his problem, that was fine by him. Because he himself also thought he was a coward. The matter of cowardice aside, he truly felt relieved though since he finally managed to break free from the past that had always chained him.
And originally, since he had left all his past behind, he planned to widen his distance with the others. However――
――You are someone who has never truly loved others. The kind of scum who looks down on others’ good will.
Shin’s words rang in his mind again, stabbing deep into his heart and made him reconsider his plan. He realized that although he couldn’t change his way of life that easily, it didn’t mean that he must avoid those who show goodwill to him. In any case, he could start small by staying a little longer by Latifa’s side.
Latifa looked at her brother sadly, unable to find a word to comfort him despite wanting to.
「Besides… it might be the chance for me to start anew. And though it might be too late for me to say this… I’m going to set aside my revenge and its consequences from now on and stay with you for awhile. So, I can spend time getting closer to you, Latifa.」
Despite having no clear understanding of how much other people care for him, Rio nevertheless was trying to reach out now. Thus, he summoned all his courage to say those words. He was done running away from others because of fear.
Latifa became astounded at his brother’s newest resolve. She had never expected this from him at all.
「Up until now, I was just a useless brother who rarely visited his little sister. But can I still stay with you, Latifa? I know that asking this will disqualify me as a good brother. Nevertheless, I still need to know.」
Rio forced himself to continue speaking, after asking such a difficult question, with a timid voice. He was bracing for rejection. However, contrary to his expectation and fear, Latifa’s expression as she stood up from her chair was completely different from what he envisaged.
「W-What are you asking about!? Of course you’re a great big brother! You’re definitely the farthest from what people call as useless brother!」
「… Thanks, Latifa.」
Rio jumped slightly at Latifa’s reaction and her proclamation before he smiled bashfully, glad that Latifa didn’t think lowly of him.
「No, it’s me who should say that. After all, onii-chan is the reason why I can live my current life.」
Latifa claimed, expression vexed since she thought she had failed to properly convey her feelings and her gratitude for Rio’s presence. Seeing her expression, Rio gently patted her head, trying his best to soothe her emotion. At that moment, Latifa suddenly looked at him with upturned moist eyes.
「DO you have something to do tomorrow? … I’ll accompany you wherever you want to go to tomorrow, how’s that?」
Although he might end up exhausted due to his popularity, he still said it ―― while knowing the risk ―― to cheer up his little sister.
Latifa asked with a tilted head, her eyes brightening slightly at Rio’s words.
Rio nodded again, making Latifa perked up in excitement.
「Then, let’s go to that place! The place where onii-chan told me about your previous life. And while we’re at it, let’s treat it like a picnic!」
Latifa requested with an extremely bright smile that could light up the room on her face.
◇ ◇ ◇
Meanwhile, at a certain place in the southeast of Strahl Region, in Saint Stella Kingdom, the 1st princess was facing a dilemma. Inside her private room, Lilyana Saint Stella was looking down at the letter in her hands with a gloomy expression.
Before her, on top of the desk, laid the dictionary she had borrowed from Miharu.
And for quite some time, she was silent, deep in thought. She might not even realize how much time had passed ever since she ordered Frill to stand by in front of her and kept anyone from entering her room.
But she paid no heed to that as her current mood was the worst it had ever been in her life. It was so bad, it couldn’t worsen anymore. And the cause was the letter in her hands and its content. She was tormented by guilt to the point that she couldn’t tell what’s what. When she came back to her senses, she read the letter again and again to make sure that she didn’t make any mistake with her translation.
Unfortunately―― She didn’t make any mistake.
Although deep inside she knew she didn’t make any mistakes, she desperately wished that she had made some mistakes to assuage her guilt. However, reality was cruel.
She had checked the dictionaries countless times. And she had also indirectly consulted with Miharu when there’s something she couldn’t understand. Moreover, she even re-read the letter she had transcribed herself until she lost count, but the end result was the same.
In fact, as her proficiency with the language increased higher and higher to the point of almost reaching perfection, she realized that she hadn’t misread the content. Thus, after being in denial for some time, she finally returned to reality and took a deep breath.
She realized that she had to face this reality. Moreover, she realized she couldn’t keep this matter hidden for a long time since they were basically on their way to ruin as it was. In fact, they had almost ran out of time to fix this.
This hidden secret that might bring ruin to something beautiful. Anyway, this secret was bound to be found sooner or later, and sent them to the worst of the worst end. Thus, rather than doing nothing to prevent that kind of tragic end――、
「… The one in the wrong turned out to be you…」
Lilyana muttered as extremely complicated feelings crossed her face. And she asked herself.
What should I do as a royalty?
Is this the right thing to do as a royalty?
She pondered for quite a long time over the right course of actions over and over again until she hit her limit. And a while later, she stood up from the sofa and opened the door leading towards the corridor. Standing outside were her escort knight, Hilda, and her personal maid, Frill.
Lilyana called out the name of one of the few people she could put her trust on.
Frill responded shortly as she looked at Lilyana, anxiously awaiting her order. Just as she wondered what kind of order her master wanted to give to her, Lilyana’s voice put her wandering mind at rest.
「Please call Miharu-san.」
Lilyana ordered Frill to bring Miharu to her room.
Receiving her order, Frill bowed once before she turned around and left to call Miharu.
「Hilda, please do not let anyone to this room except for Miharu-san.」
After Hilda bowed to Lilyana respectfully and acknowledged her order, Lilyana went back to her room. And this time, she didn’t sit down on her sofa again. Instead, she stood still in the middle of her room with a distant look on her eyes.
「Soon, just one thing left to do….」