Breakfast on a fall morning when I was 8 years old.
“Everyone, I want you to listen. Father will be coming back from tomorrow. It seems he’ll be staying for about 3 days.”
I was eating breakfast when my father said something like that.
Grandpa, whose name is Balza, is the current head of the Blue Ring Baron family, and he should be around 60 years old.
His personality is that of a big man who doesn’t sweat the small stuff.
Just a rough old man, really.
(I see, if Grandpa’s coming back, I should ask him to show me the ring. I’ve always wanted to see it.)
I intend to ask Grandpa to show me the blue ring he received from the King of Spirits, which is also our family name.
“Okay, I understand, dear,”
And so, breakfast time passed.
Clara is being fed by Mom… she’s so cute.
After a nap the next day:
“Lady, Aldo-sama, Elphus-sama, Ashera-sama, the master has returned. Please welcome him.”
At Roland’s words, we immediately headed to the entrance.
When we arrived at the entrance, our father was already standing there, and we lined up behind him.
There were noises outside the entrance, but after a short wait, the door opened, and Grandpa walked in.
“Thank you for the welcome. I’ve returned.”
Even though he must have passed the age of 60, Grandpa said this loudly.
“Welcome back, Father.”
“Welcome back, dear father. You haven’t changed a bit.”
First, my parents stepped forward to greet him.
“Joshua, Rafina, you had a hard time while I was away. I’ll continue to rely on you.”
“We understand, dear father.”
Next, it was our turn. I stepped forward, followed by Elphus.
“Aldo, Elphus. You’ve grown bigger. Keep working hard.”
After we returned, my mother stepped forward, holding Clara.
“Clara has turned 2, hasn’t she?”
“Yes, she turned 2 in the spring.”
“I see. Keep raising her healthy.”
“Understood, dear father.”
With Clara in her arms, my mother returned to her original position.
Clara being held… she’s so cute.
“Once again, I’m happy to see everyone’s healthy faces. I’m home.”
“Welcome back, Father.”
“Welcome back, dear father.”
“Welcome back, grandpa.”
“Welcome back, grandpa.”
Up to this point was the usual greeting. The head of the family, Grandpa, addressed each of us. I find it a bit tedious, but it’s an important aspect of our noble status.
“You must be tired, Father. Would you like to go to your room?”
“No, I want to see my grandchildren in the living room. I want to hear about the past six months too.”
“Understood. Roland, please prepare the living room.”
We all headed to the living room.
“Phew, I’m really tired.”
“Father, well done.”
“Dear father, please take it easy while you’re here in the mansion.”
“I’ll take you up on that and relax.”
Suddenly, Grandpa looked in my direction. I wanted to see the ring; I had to find the right moment.
“Aldo and Elphus seem to be doing well. Children being healthy is the most important.”
He said that with a hearty laugh.
“And Aldo, that game of Reversi you thought up is quite good. I heard you came up with it. Is that true?”
“Yes, I came up with the game.”
(Oh, with this flow, I might be able to get Grandpa to show me the ring…)
“Your Majesty also seemed to enjoy it; he even asked for a favor.”
“Is there anything you want?”
In my heart, I mimicked Orihara Hiroshi and shouted, “It’s here!”
“I want to see the ring!”
“Yes, I want to see the ring that is also our family name.”
“The ring, huh?”
“Is that not okay?”
“There’s no problem showing it, but… hmm, Joshua, what do you think?”
“Well, it might be a bit early, but it shouldn’t cause any harm… I don’t see any issue.”
“Yeah, it should be fine. I’ll show you the ring.”
I did a mental fist pump.
“Grandpa, I want to see the ring too.”
El suddenly joined the conversation.
“Elphus too? No problem. How about Ashera, should she see it too?”
“Can I see it too?”
“There’s no particular problem with showing it. So, those who want to see it, let’s go see it after breakfast tomorrow.”
“Thank you, Grandpa.”
“Thank you, dear Lord.”
And so, it was decided that tomorrow, after breakfast, Grandpa, I, El, and Ashera would go see the ring.
The morning after breakfast:
After finishing breakfast, Grandpa began to speak.
“Well, it’s time to go see the ring!”
The three of us replied enthusiastically and moved with Grandpa.
As expected, the ring seemed to be in the basement. Grandpa received the key from Dad and opened the door to the basement.
“If you’re scared, you can turn back.”
With a faint smile, Grandpa looked at us and teasingly said.
“I’m fine too…”
“I’m fine as well.”
Each of us replied, and we followed Grandpa down into the basement.
The basement was brighter than expected.
Lanterns were hung at regular intervals on the walls, illuminating the staircase and corridor. The light switch seemed to be near the entrance, and as Grandpa entered, it immediately brightened up.
We slowly descended the stairs. The atmosphere felt like a third-rate horror movie.
After a while, the stairs ended, and a corridor stretched out. Despite being underground, the corridor didn’t feel like a storage room or anything of that sort.
Both the stairs and the corridor were well-constructed, and it seemed fitting for a path leading to an underground altar.
At the end of the corridor, there was an ornate door.
It appeared that the underground altar was the correct guess. Grandpa turned to us and asked.
“Are you really okay?”
“Go ahead and open the door, but if you want to leave, feel free to do so… We’ll pick you up around here on our way back.”
“Then, let’s open it…”
Grandpa slowly opened the door. From the other side of the door, we felt a strong presence.
I peered into the room… and there it was, the ring. The blue ring. For some reason, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. It felt nostalgic and warm.
I moved towards the ring, stumbling like a sleepwalker.
Suddenly, I felt my shoulder being grabbed, and I turned around involuntarily.
There was Grandpa, holding onto my shoulder with a stern expression.
(What? When did I end up in front of Grandpa?)
Looking at me, who was bewildered, Grandpa muttered one word.
I turned on my heels with Grandpa and immediately left the room. As we reached the corridor, El and Ashera were crouched there with pale faces.
“Are you both okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine… What about Nii-sama?”
“I’m fine too.”
While having such a conversation, Grandpa finished locking the door.
“Let’s go back; follow me.”
The same way we came, we followed behind Grandpa.
Back in the living room, I asked El and Ashera about the ring.
It seemed that both of them felt a sense of awe the moment they saw the ring. It wasn’t fear; it was more like they sensed something powerful and couldn’t enter the room.
In contrast, I was asked about my experience, and I told the truth. I didn’t hide the fact that when I saw the ring, it felt warm and familiar.
Listening to my story, Grandpa and Dad exchanged uneasy glances.
“I understand. Don’t tell anyone about today’s events. This is a message for everyone here.”
“Wait, I can’t accept this. What’s going on with Aldo? Joshua, do you know something as well?”
“Rafina, we’ll discuss that later. Is that okay, Father?”
“Do as you wish.”
“Rafina, we’ll talk later.”
“Very well, but I’ll be waiting.”
The adults continued their conversation, and it didn’t seem like I could interject. I was the one involved, though.
(Probably not a good idea, but I’ll try asking later…)
And so, the ring viewing session came to an end.
However, suspicions arose about whether there was something related to me and the ring.
The next day, I asked Grandpa, Dad, and Mom, but I didn’t get any answers. Mom hugged me tightly, almost as if she were about to cry, which only increased my anxiety.
As planned, Grandpa returned to the capital after his 3-day stay. When Grandpa was saying his farewell before leaving for the capital, he told me that when I turned 15, I should visit the room with the ring again.
In his eyes at that moment, there was a clear expression of worry, so it didn’t seem like good news.
It appears that something related to the ring will happen when I turn 15.
I’ve gone through the trouble of being reborn; I don’t want to die early. I plan to gather as much information about the ring as possible and continue my training until then.