After that, I fell into despair.
I lost both Misty and my brother, and my regrets continued to torture me.
Soon after, my father died and I became the head of the family.
I stopped drinking alcohol and changed the way I acted.
If I wasn't strong, the Eiban family would collapse, so I kept improving with that in mind.
Some time later I got a wife through a marriage arranged by my mother.
Before I knew it, I had a son held in my arms.
I became a father.
I had gradually forgotten about the two of them.
"Rurik is back?"
I couldn't believe my ears when my wife told me.
As dumb as my brother is, I was impressed that he came back after what happened.
I had a bad feeling about this.
I even thought I didn't want to see him.
However, as the head of the family, I can't help but see my brother.
And if... Misty is with him, those buried feelings could come back.
Many years have passed since then. She must also be older.
If I see her again, it will be to say goodbye to these feelings.
Please, I hope you're old and ugly.
I want to give up on you.
Without warning, the two people standing in front of the door grabbed my heart.
"Rurik... And Misty."
I immediately regretted our meeting.
Rurik had aged over time, but Misty looked more beautiful than before.
So much so that I became jealous again.
The feelings I had then came back to me in vivid color.
"I wanted to come visit you, and mother too."
"It's been a long time, Keios-Sama."
"Yes, it's been a long time, for both of us."
I clenched my fists and swallowed my anger.
As I stand in front of them, I notice that the now older Misty was caressing the head of a strange child.
"Keios, this is Toru."
He looked a lot like his parents.
His name is Toru.
He is my nephew with the blood of the Eiben.
Rurik and Misty's son.
Unconsciously, my hands moved towards my sword.
"Stop! What do you think you're doing!?"
Rurik hit me so hard, I fell to the ground.
Misty protectively hid the child behind her.
"Just go away, please, and don't come here again."
"I'm done with you forever. Don't call me brother. And don't come back here."
Rurik and Misty left the mansion.
My mother was furious, but I knew I had made the right decision.
I am sure my spirit would not have lasted.
"I was a fool. I didn't know what was important to me until I got to this age. No, I'm wrong, I always knew. But I didn't want to admit it, and it's all my fault that my wife and son think the way they do."
Keios keeps his eyes down, seeming vulnerable.
A weak and repentant man was what I saw before me.
"What do you think of my father now?"
"If I could, I would apologize for everything. They did nothing wrong, Rurik and Misty... I'm sure they resent me very much."
I say this and stand up.
I walk over to the window and tell him what I was thinking as I look out.
"I don't think my mother and father hated you. If they did, they wouldn't have come to see you."
"How can you know that? I did so many horrible things."
"You thought it was better for both of you. You both knew it. And my parents told me about you once."
"Did they talk about me?"
I remembered the words my father and mother said to me on the way back home that day;
"Toru, don't hate your uncle. There's nothing wrong with him."
"Keios-Sama is a good and loving man. But at the moment his feelings are confused, and it's complicated for him.''
They had both said those words to me.
Keios suddenly stood up, walked out of the room and closed the door.
What I could hear next were sobs.
I felt that my father and mother's feelings had finally gotten through.
We were in a crowded part of the city.
We had stopped at a store.
"Master, what is the name of this creature?"
"A full moon squirrel. They go crazy on full moon nights, but other than that, they are calm and friendly pets."
"Aaawww, they're cute but fierce!"
The squirrel in the basket tilts its head toward Kaede and Frau, who peek at it.
Both seem curious and happy.
On the contrary, Panda was in a bad mood.
He was restlessly flying circles in the air.
"This squirrel is definitely more worth caring for than Panda."
"Panda has already been monopolized by Frau-San, I would like to have a little animal like this to play with."
Panda rubbed desperately against Kaede with tears in his eye.
It was as if he was asking her not to replace him.
"I'm kidding! There's no way we'll replace you."
"Although a squirrel is not a bad idea."
Kaede seemed to be seriously considering keeping the squirrel, and Panda rushed into Kaede's arms.
"I've never met anyone as cute and pleasant to the touch as Panda."
"A squirrel is useless. Panda can carry people, and can even fight."
However, I'm thinking it's time to add a new member.
Of course, the kind of partners I'm talking about are not people.
In this case, it would have to be a creature that can fight and can be used for transportation.
In fact, I have been secretly longing for the black wyvern that Sain rode on.
If you have to use an animal as transportation, Panda fulfills that function, but basically it's Frau who uses him 24/7, and I'm a man, so I need to make an impression when I get somewhere.
Panda is not a suitable creature for a Master Tamer like me.
"There you are. I've been looking all over for you."
He keeps frowning and doesn't seem to like talking to me.
Still, the reason he came looking for me is probably because he had business to attend to.
"There is a man who wishes to see you. He is already waiting for you at the mansion."
"...I don't think I know anyone here."
"Walk. We can't keep him waiting forever. How dare that man come to see you?"
I didn't understand what was going on, so I decided to follow Bill to the mansion.
"Is this Toru? I imagined a bigger, more muscular man, but he looks pretty normal."
The old man who greeted me in the mansion's living room touched my body as soon as he saw me.
It is obvious from his clothing and refined face that he's a nobleman.
Just by looking at him you could tell he was a high-ranking aristocrat, but I still didn't recognize him.
In addition to Kaede, Frau and Bill, there are two knights present in the room.
"I have heard that you have done quite well in your mission to wipe out the bandits. I recognized you immediately by your strength, your looks and your belongings."
"By the way, what name are you going by now? Your party, I mean."
This old man, he knows who we are.
Who the hell is he?
How did he know we were the Manyu Brigade?
"Anyway, have a seat. I have something to tell you."
The old man sits next to Keios, crosses his legs and smiles at him.
"So, tell me, what is the name of your party?"
"Hah, that's a nice name for a party."
"I couldn't think of anything better."
"Oh well, never mind, 'little hound'."
He murmurs, stroking his dark beard.
"...I was hoping to ask you to cross the sea."
I have something important to tell you 👇🏻