Breakfast on my 10th birthday.
“Al, El, today’s party starts in the evening. You are the guest of honor. I want you to be ready a little early.”
“Ashera and Merl, too, please.”
After breakfast, I, El, Ashera, and Marl took a short break to relax and ease the tension.
“Elphus-sama, it’s my first time at a party, and I’m worried I might mess up…”
“It’s my first time too, but I’ll do my best to guide you.”
“You worked so hard; I’m sure it will be fine.”
“I hope so, but…”
“Do you have any other concerns?”
“Well, Elphus-sama and Aldo-sama don’t act arrogantly, but I’m wondering how other nobles will be…”
“I don’t think there will be any issues with the guests, but if you’re worried, it’s a good idea to stay close to me or Nii-sama.”
“I’m sorry for causing you trouble.”
“It’s not a bother at all. Let’s enjoy the party together, Marl.”
“Alright, I’ll stay by Elphus-sama’s side.”
“Yeah, that’s good.”
While watching El and Marl’s conversation, Ashera leaned in to peer at my face.
“Escorting Aldo is a heavy responsibility. I have to be firm.”
“When it’s time to show the dignity of my older age.”
“It oozes from me. Along with a touch of sexiness.”
I responded with a half-smile while looking at Ashera’s flat ch*st.
Suddenly, she used her magic “Light” right in front of my eyes.
“My eyes! My eyes!”
“For eyes that can’t perceive my sexiness, punishment is necessary.”
With these usual, silly actions, the tension that had built up began to dissipate.
It was about two hours before the party.
Earlier, Ashera and Marl had gone to get dressed. Now, it was just me and El, waiting in a room.
“El, are you nervous?”
“I’m fine, more than I thought. What about you, Nii-sama?”
“Oh, me. I’m not good in front of people.
“Is that so? You seem fine.……”
“I’m not used to being the center of attention.”
“I see, that’s surprising.”
“How do you see me?”
“I thought you didn’t care about others’ opinions.”
“Hmm? I’m not interested in what others think.”
“Then why are you not comfortable in public? Even if you make a mistake and your reputation suffers, it shouldn’t matter, right?”
“True… I wonder why I’m not comfortable.”
El chuckled at my response.
As we engaged in this trivial conversation, it was almost time for the ball, and Ashera and Marl returned.
The door opened, and the two of them entered.
Ashera was wearing a light pink dress, which suited her silver hair and looked very cute.
Marl was in a blue dress, which complemented her slightly stern gaze, making her look beautiful.
“Elphus-sama, how do we look?”
Marl asked with a hint of nervousness.
“You look beautiful. The dress really suits you.”
Marle smiles at El’s words and the two of them start talking happily.
“W-what do you think…?”
Ashera blushed and asked, looking up with a sidelong glance.
(That’s not like her character!)
I shouted in my mind, but I couldn’t take my eyes off Ashera’s cuteness.
“Y-you look beautiful…”
The words slipped out unintentionally.
(Why am I nervous around a 12-year-old? She’s just a child!)
My inner voice screamed, but Ashera in her dress and light makeup easily shattered my resolve.
“A-Ashera is the cutest…”
So, we complimented the ladies in their dresses and were now ready to make our debut.
As we headed to the ballroom, we found that the hall at the entrance of the mansion had been transformed into a dance floor. The doors to the dining hall were wide open, and it was set up for a standing meal.
We were supposed to greet the guests at the top of the stairs in the hall, along with my father. The first dance was to be performed by me and Ashera, and El and Marl.
From there, the dance party would kick off. We would dance through one song and then be free.
For now, we were in a small room on the second floor, waiting. Roland had advised us to use the bathroom before the event since we wouldn’t have the opportunity for a while.
So, El and I, as well as Ashera and Marl, made our way to the bathroom. As we took care of business, we started talking without a specific topic in mind.
“Ashera, she looked cute…”
“Marl, she looked beautiful…”
“Even though we’re twins, it’s nice that we have different tastes.”
“I completely agree.”
Despite being brothers, it was a moment where we felt something akin to friendship.
Father and mother returned with Ashera and Marl. It seemed like we were ready to start the greetings.
Father, mother, me and Ashera, El and Marl, we all moved in that order.
Ashera and Marl would be the respective partners for me and El. Nervously, we walked on, and we soon arrived in the hall.
From below in the hall, many people dressed in tuxedos and gowns were looking up at us.
(This is more nerve-wracking than I thought. Is El okay?)
As father greeted the guests, I checked on El. Unlike me, he didn’t seem as nervous and was smiling faintly at the guests.
(This guy is too handsome!)
I thought to myself as I teased El in my mind.
While I was thinking about that, I suddenly found myself appointed to give a speech…
(I didn’t ask for this, Dad!)
“Nice to meet you. I’m Aldo von Blue Ring. This is my younger brother, Elphus von Blue Ring. Thank you very much for coming today despite your busy schedules. We’ll now showcase our first dance, and I’m very nervous. There’s a chance we might fail like this. But even if we fail, we’d be happy if you don’t laugh at us. We’ll do our best, so please enjoy.”
(How was that?)
Laughter and applause erupted from the audience.
(Not bad for an on-the-spot speech, I guess?)
As the applause subsided, slow music began playing. I took Ashera’s hand, and El took Marl’s, escorting them down the stairs.
I led Ashera to the center of the dance floor.
After making sure we were in position, I whispered to Ashera.
“Let’s show them.”
Ashera looked surprised and then smiled.
And the dance began.
It might not have been the most refined dance, but we were all having fun. It wasn’t just Ashera in front of me; El and Marl were also smiling and enjoying themselves.
After dancing for a while, the song ended, and we finished the dance.
We exchanged bows, and the thunderous applause echoed through the hall.
The four of us left the dance floor, our heads held high, but with a hint of embarrassment.
As the dance continued, everyone started to join in, and we finally felt free. We grabbed some drinks and relaxed.
“That was fun.”
“Yes, it was fun, Aldo-sama.”
“Yeah, it was fun.”
The four of us exchanged these thoughts when a woman approached.
“May I have a dance with you?”
In general, it’s considered impolite to refuse a dance invitation, unless there’s a significant height difference or a valid reason. El escorted the woman with a bright smile.
I didn’t miss it – Marl’s hand was clenched tightly, despite her pretending it was nothing.
(Ah, I’m so scared…)
Then, a voice spoke to me.
“Aldo-sama, may I have the pleasure?”
(Oh, me too!)
I escorted a lovely young lady to the dance floor. While dancing, we had various conversations. Her name was Olivia, and we were the same age, ten. It was her first dance, and she had gathered the courage to invite me. She asked me to be her friend when we go to school and shared many other thoughts.
Afterward, there was no shortage of dance requests. I danced with almost everyone, but only danced a little in the corner with Clara.
(Clara is still young and hasn’t learned to dance yet.)
I needed a break as I was getting tired, so I moved away from the crowd.
Looking around, I noticed Ashera and Marl surrounded by a group of boys around their age, four to five of them.
For some reason, I was curious, so I approached.
“I’m Mash, the third son of the Cashew Viscount’s family. May I know your names?”
“I’m Marl of the Tab Trading Company.”
“I’m Ashera, the Ice Witch’s apprentice.”
The boys started whispering to each other.
“Tab Trading Company, is that the one from Reversi? That’s awesome.”
“The Ice Witch, the real Ice Witch, right? An apprentice, that’s incredible.”
“If we get along, our futures will be secure.”
“Plus, she’s pretty…”
“I’m going after the Ice Witch’s apprentice.”
“Mash, that’s going too far!”
“Are you defying me?”
“No, it’s not that…”
The boys started talking to Ashera and Marl.
“Ashera-sama, the Ice Witch’s apprentice, may I have a dance?”
I couldn’t help it, and I quickly intervened before Mash could finish.
Ashera looked surprised for a moment, then gave me a slightly annoyed look…
Is she going to choose Mash…?
I took Ashera’s hand, leading her to the center of the dance floor. Mash was saying something from behind, but I ignored it.
The music started, and we began to dance.
“Is it okay that I intervened?”
“Yeah, it’s fine.”
“Did you have fun dancing with the other girls?”
“Uh, yeah… no… I mean, it’s most fun dancing with you.”
The two of us danced, blushing as we looked down. Watching them, the adults who witnessed their innocence were reminded of their past selves and turned red.
Despite various challenges, the day passed without any major mishaps.
It could be considered a success.
I expressed my gratitude to Ashera, El did the same to Marl, and the party came to an end.
And so, our 10th birthday celebrations came to an end.
As a side note, after watching my speech, it became popular in the noble circles of the kingdom to tell light-hearted jokes to liven up the mood at celebratory gatherings and parties.