My objective was to get rid of the Eye of the Heavens within the barrier room, but this isn’t as simple as it sounds.
If it were in the game world, it would be one thing, but if someone were to find a weird gem on the ground in the barrier room now that the world is real, they would definitely find it suspicious.
On top of that, it is not easy to drop the Eye of the Heavens in the room without anyone seeing.
But there’s one method that’s just right for this.
Using the same method as the culprit.
There’s only one place in the barrier room that no one would see, and that’s the inside of the barrier.
If I place the Eye of the Heavens here, no one will find it until the room resets.
If I use the same method of dropping the floor from below like Rirumu, no one would see me.
On top of that, there’s one bonus from taking this method.
The Aken Family Ring had its difficulty increased with the patch but, in the end, due to the discovery of the bug with the forgetful Knight Captain, it ended up being beneficial for the player as you already know.
However, there’s still more to this.
The forgetful knight captain is not the only bug that was created from this.
Right before the crime, to be more specific, at the moment when Rirumu drops the ceiling of her own room, the barrier room will return to its basic state.
That ‘basic state’ is a state where there’s no interference from the player; a room where the barrier and ring are present.
And so, even if the ring were to be gone before Rirumu committed the crime, the ring would still be on top of the pedestal.
In other words, by stealing the ring before Rirumu, lo-and-behold, there’s now two Immortal Oaths.
This is what Nekomimi Neko players called: The twice stolen ring.
It can be used together with the forgetful knight captain, so if you give up on obtaining the shield crest and don’t mind going through an outlaw playthrough, you can obtain 3 Immortal Oaths at most.
However, there’s something you have to be careful about here.
In the case the player steals the ring on top of the pedestal, there will obviously be a stolen item mark on it.
If you use the stolen ring just like that, you go straight to the outlaw route.
If it is the ring that Rirumu stole, it won’t be marked as a stolen item even if the player has it.
Also, even if it does get marked, there’s no issue if you return it to Shizun-san and the others in order to clear the quest.
Basically, you just have to switch the ring that Rirumu stole with the one the player stole.
And so, my plan in detail was like this.
First, I will make a random excuse about wanting to hear about the case at 6:00pm or over, and go to Rirumu’s room.
After that, I would have Rirumu and Maki leave with the reason being that it is close to the shift, and succeed in being alone in Rirumu’s room.
I quickly take out the Eye of the Heavens, detach the ceiling that has simply been glued on, and exchange the Immortal Oath on top of the column with the Eye of the Heavens.
I then returned the ceiling and stuck it back with super glue, but this unexpectedly ate some time.
The glue got on my fingers too which was different from the game, and that cost me some extra minutes. On top of that, my fingertips got all hard because of it, so Mitsuki misunderstood that my fingers were dry from that.
Even with that, I still barely made it, and then I went with Elm-san and Rirumu to check the barrier room.
I checked the floor at the very center of the room to check if there’s anything off with it, but the gaze of Elm-san was rough, so I couldn’t get a look.
Elm-san kept me in check after that, and you could say that was the miscalculation I had in this incident.
And then, at around 8:30pm, Rirumu would go to her room with the excuse of changing, and the crime would take place.
Thanks to the room being recreated, the Eye of the Heavens disappeared from the pedestal and a second Immortal Oath appeared.
Rirumu steals that second Immortal Oath and puts it inside the Magical Pocket.
…Is what I think, but the reality is that the amount of times Rirumu goes to her room and the time she perpetrates the crime are random in the game, so I can’t say for sure.
In order to confirm this, I gave a shining item to Earth which would make children happy (an Explosion Gem) and asked him to confirm if the ‘not yet’ writing had disappeared.
An Explosion Gem is a bit dangerous, but I gave him that and told him ‘you definitely must not say Explosion while holding this inside the house’ so it should be okay.
After that, I was certain that the crime had taken place with the report of Earth, so what was left was to switch the rings.
But Elm-san and Ringo were keeping me in check the whole time, so I needed to get one more trick in here.
Fortunately, I knew that the blackout event was happening, so I used that darkness.
I set Magical Pocket to Time Activate right after the blackout event.
I took out the ring from the bag at the same time as the blackout happened, and switched the ring with the one inside the Magical Pocket.
I put the switched ring without the stolen item mark in my bag, and take out a lantern to show as if I was doing my best to do something about the darkness.
I got extremely flustered at Sazan clinging onto me, but I somehow managed to make it in time and my surroundings didn’t suspect me, so you could say it ended in a good result.
“As for what I have to explain from there…confirming that the Eye of the Heavens successfully was gone after it didn’t return once the night passed, and having Shizun-san use Magical Pocket first to find the ring since it would be bad for me to get a body check.” (Souma)
I wrapped it up with this and looked at the faces of my comrades.
For some reason, everyone had extremely complicated looks as if the emotional moment had gone elsewhere.
Could it be that the explanation was too long?
I held those doubts and Mitsuki finally spoke with a heavy tone.
“…If I remember correctly, you said you wouldn’t steal the ring.” (Mitsuki)
“Eh? But I didn’t steal it from the family though? The Immortal Oath has been returned to that room and everyone is doing their best in protecting it.” (Souma)
I answered with a smile and Mitsuki sighed with a big ‘haah…’ and her cat ears drooped.
I tilted my head in confusion and my eyes made contact with Sazan.
Sazan made a bit of a displeased look as if saying he had no choice but to speak here.
“I apologized for clinging onto you at the blackout before, but…now I am regretting it, wondering why I didn’t get in your way more.” (Sazan)
“You are one horrible guy!” (Souma)
I protested at that way too outrageous statement, but I couldn’t get the agreement of my comrades.
Not only that, I feel as if they are unconsciously taking distance from me.
Within all that, Ina and Ringo took a step forward as if they resolved themselves.
“I-It is okay! Even if Souma-san is the worst piece of human garbage, I will never abandon you! I will follow you to hell and beyond!” (Ina)
Ina tightened both fists and declared this.
“…Souma, let’s improve…bit by bit, okay?” (Ringo)
Ringo held both of my hands and said this in a strangely kind way.
“Y-Yeah, thanks, you two…?” (Souma)
I may have thanked them, but I don’t get what’s happening.
Is it okay for me to take this as them cheering me up?
I thought we synchronized there just a few moments ago, but girls really will always be a mystery to men.
“Souma, can I say one thing?” (Maki)
While I was reaching an internal understanding about this situation, Maki asked me this in her usual slow tone.
I nodded and urged her to go on, and she slowly raised a finger, and then pointed straight at me and said.
“You are the true culprit of this case!!” (Maki)
Author: The ring arc is now over with this.
My initial plan was to end it in 3 chapters…
Gotta reflect on that.