The next day, Saryuu and I returned to the Shiiya mansion without any particular incident happening. My parents and the servants already know of the circumstances, so when my mother saw my face, she immediately hugged me tightly. Well, obviously she’d be very worried.
“Ooh, I’m so glad… Really glad…”
I could only mutter that word. I mean, what else can I say. Well?
Then, Leo-san and the others who returned home together with us took over the situation. Frankly speaking, I’m very ignorant of the detailed circumstances, so it’d be faster for the people who came here to conduct the investigation in the first place to be the ones to explain things, right?
Due to that, everyone could only calm down when it was time for dinner. No, really, they’re being overly doting parents again at this point of time.
So, before and after dinner time, Leo-san questioned me about the matter. The faster it gets talked about, the faster it’ll be done, so it’s fine.
“Yes, thank you. Thanks for your hard work, Seiren-chan.”
After dinner, I also answered various questions, and Maito-san wrote down everything. When Leo-san announced that the questioning ended, it was already around one hour after dinner ended.
“Don’t mention it. …Is it enough?”
“Yup. After all, Seiren-chan, you don’t really know the detailed matter, right?”
Leo-san who said it without any hesitation was totally like the usual Leo-san. Though he might be smiling, ever since he returned to the Shiiya mansion by riding Hanako from the Shikino mansion, he has explained many things to my parents, and then did a questioning to me. Leo-san has it hard, right?
“Well, that’s right…”
“That’s why it’s fine. I have asked for the detailed information from the surviving criminals.”
“There are survivors?”
“They’re strangely durable, but sometimes that’s good. Also, the group who attacked Seiren-chan at the carriage were lively.”
Ah, I’ve completely forgotten that there were a group of assailants who were led by that security officer. However, I feel like we won’t hear any crucial information from them for some reason.
Then, Leo-san glanced at the door. Ayato-san was there and bowed his head while saying, “We’re also finished.” He did the questioning of my maids as he stood at the opposite side of the partitioning screen in the same room.
“The maids’ questioning seemed to be finished as well. Please drink some tea and take a rest, okay?”
“I will do so. What about Leo-san?”
It was also difficult on Leo-san, so it’d be great if we could at least drink some tea together. I thought so and invinted him, but Leo-san smiled amusingly and answered.
“Oh my, is that fine? Taiga-chan might misunderstand.”
“Taiga-san isn’t that kind of a person.”
Eh, why did you fall prostrated on the table, Leo-san? Did I just say something weird?
“When you spoke fondly of him like that, I don’t feel like meddling at all between the two of you.”
“Eh? But I’m not speaking fondly of him, you know?”
“You not having any self-awareness is such an atrocious thing-…”
…I-is that so? I don’t quite understand it, but did people think of it as speaking fondly of someone when they heard me say that? Whoa, for some reason, my face feels hot, let’s be more careful.
Still with my hot face, I had Alica-san make some tea. Beyond the partitioning screen, Ayato-san and the others along with our maids were drinking some tea, and it seemed to be a way for them to take a rest.
Well, with the events happening yesterday and today, obviously they’d be tired.
But, aside from me, Leo-san who was drinking the tea while checking the documents in front of me could possibly have always been investigating various things even before he came to this mansion.
“…Leo-san, isn’t conducting a secret investigation difficult?”
“Well, yes. However, I’ve become perfectly used to do this kind of a job.”
“Is this your current job?”
When I think about it, that seems to be the case. As expected, there’s no way one could have a hobby of investigating things like this, even if he was the prince. In the first place, since this kind of an investigation is a job, he’d make a proper document like this.
“Since I am a prince, if I go around idly, my surroundings will get noisy. Since I am originally like this, there are lots of dignitaries who’d think that I’m not worthy to become the heir to the throne.”
Then Leo-san voiced something that could be said as a reason to why he handled this kind of a job.
Ah-, even the heir of a feudal lord like the orphanage director or Touka-san also had to deal with lots of complaints, much less the next king. Since he’s an important person who will govern the country, the surroundings get worried over petty things excessively for sure, right?
“And because of that, I’m investigating things such as the tax yields of the feudal lords here and there, and things like fraud and suspicions. To put it easily, it’s because they’re directly related to our (country’s) income.”
That’s why Leo-san showed that he could do his own job properly, and then showed that he could perform splendidly as the next heir to the throne, huh? So that nobody could make a complaint for when he becomes the king in the future.
It will bring only hardships if he’s viewed as a coquettish effeminate man from the others’ point of views.
“However, it’s also my real intention when I told you that I came here to see Seiren-chan. If you hear that there’s a sheltered girl who finally returns to her family’s mansion, wouldn’t you become curious of her?”
“I have done a debut party at my mansion, and the feudal lords from here and there really came to see me. They were certainly curious about me, weren’t they?”
“That is of course. In any case, the tasks pressed to the feudal lords are quite tedious, so obviously the debut party of a sheltered girl would seem interesting, wouldn’t it?”
Ah-, as expected, I was treated as some kind of a rare animal in the zoo, huh? Damn it. Or rather, Leo-san, did you come here to see me or to conduct an investigation of the Shikino? Which one is it?
Suddenly, Leo-san narrowed his eyes. Ah-, his gaze feels like he’s scheming for something or the likes of it. Since I understand that, I slightly pulled my upper body behind.
“You grew up as a boy, right? Since you’re more female-like than me, I didn’t even notice it.”
“Taiga-chan seemed to try hard to come up with an explanation, so I forcibly got the information out of him. That’s why, I properly understand about the previous head of the Shikino family.”
Whoa, so he knew about me?
Which means, he also knows everything about how the previous head wasn’t Touya-san, but he was actually Touka-san?
But could it be that since he knew everything about it, he understood the inside thing happening in the Shikino family, and so he could properly conduct his investigation?
“It’s fine. Ayato, Maito, and I won’t talk about it. It’s a secret to the other people, right?”
“Eh, ah, yes.”
Whoa, I inadvertently nodded. Aaah, was I found out?
Oh well, as I was greatly perplexed, Leo-san tapped the table using his fingertips. In front of me who raised my face in a fluster, his gaze became serious. Whoa, if he is normally like this, he’d be cool, though. Still, he comes in the second place after Taiga-san.
“I vow in my name and the royal family Sumeragi, and also to the God of Sun that I won’t let out your secret to the others. Will you believe me?”
His own name, his family name, and then the God of Sun who made the world. Vowing in these three’s names means that it’s a promise that he’d definitely can’t break.
It’s not like it will be counted as a crime if it ever gets breached, but in this world, such a thing is an obvious common sense.
If the vow gets breached, for example, Leo-san won’t become the king, or even his position as the prince would be lost. It’s that kind of an important promise.
And Leo-san used such a method in order to protect my secret. If it’s like that, then…
“If you declared it like that, there’s no way I won’t believe it, right? Besides, Leo-san doesn’t seem like you’d make such a lie.”
“Oh my, thank you. I’m so happy that you believe me.”
After hearing my answer, Leo-san smiled—and as expected, he was the usual Leo-san.
Then, the next day.
In front of the mansion’s entrance, a heavily-decoared carriage arrived to pick someone up. Whoa, the royal crown is magnificently attached. The royal family is amazing.
It seems that Ayato-san would ride on Hanako that Leo-san rode on when he came here. She seemed to be quite boisterous, so it seems like she isn’t suited to pull the carriage calmly.
Then, Leo-san who came out of the guest room was totally [a prince].
He hardly has any make up on, and his red hair is simply tied together. Under his deep crimson mantle, he wears a white and black outfit, and when you look at him like this, one could tell with a glance that he’s the heir of the royal family.
“It was only for a short time, but I had fun.”
Even so, since his tone was as usual, I once again felt clearly that as expected, Leo-san was indeed Leo-san.
He turned towards me and winked. This too, is typical of Leo-san, so I feel slightly relieved.
“Get along well with Taiga-chan, okay? If something happens, I will definitely rush off there, so don’t hesitate to tell me.”
“But you should prioritize your job more, all right?”
“I understand that, you see-? Saryuu-chan, protect your adorable big sister, okay?”
“Of course. After all, I have decided that I would protect Nee-sama until she gets married to Nii-sama.”
“What a brave kid, please do your best. However, overdoing it is a taboo, okay?”
The words that he uttered to me and Saryuu—I don’t really understand it, but it feels like it’s heavily packed up with emotion. Leo-san seems to have experienced lots of things since he was born as the prince, huh?
“Mondo-ojisama, Maya-obasama, I’m much obliged to you.”
“No need to mention it. We also apologize that we can’t provide you much hospitality, Your Highness.”
“With the circumstances be as it may, please pardon our various impoliteness.”
“No, it was really fun. Thank you very much, really.”
Tou-san and Kaa-san were being apologetic like that, but wasn’t it Leo-san who told them to treat him in such a way like that from the start? So that his identity won’t be exposed to me and Saryuu. That’s why, it was inevitable.1
After smiling gently at both of my parents, Leo-san quickly stood up. He walked several steps towards the carriage while being accompanied with Ayato-san and Maito-san, then he suddenly turned around. His red hair and mantle wavered together, and it looked beautiful.
“Mission accomplished, I’m returning to the royal capital after this. Take care, everyone of the Shiiya family.”
With his usual voice, he bid a farewell to us.
-The end of Arc 3: Autumn of Newcomer-
- It refers to their impolite treatment of Leo, for he is the prince. ↩