Although I already thought to myself that I’d tell Erneste about his fangirls’ antics, I ended up not saying a word about them for a while. After all, it wasn’t like I was looking forward to meeting with Erneste.
As for now, I was still happier spending my time with my old pals. Erneste and I had different schedule, which meant when I was occupied, he might be free, and vice versa.
In the end, before I got to tell Erneste about the fangirls, the trio troublemakers have already—yep, they lived up to their title—made some troubles for me.
…And my pals, to be more exact.
The trio troublemakers tried to get close to me who was hanging around with my pals sneakily, yet we managed to sense their presences…
It seemed that they had never taken Carbuncle and Clavis to account, huh?
And we managed to lead them around until they lost us…
Or take another instance where they almost approached us, I saw from the corner of my vision field that Luca turned around to them for a moment. But that was enough to make the trio troublemakers jumped in fright and disappeared from our sights.
I can’t help but be curious of what Luca did, or what kind of face Luca showed them!
To be honest, if they had more brains, they’d seek me out when I was alone… Ah but for some reason, my pals didn’t seem to let me be alone these days.
Were they trying to protect me from the trio troublemakers, despite knowing that I could easily fight them off if I needed to defend myself.
But… Fufu, the thoughts of my pals trying to protect me really made me happy, and it made me feel fuzzy and warm inside!
I guess I wouldn’t really be too mad for those trio troublemakers, as they were the ones who caused my pals to act this way, and thus, enabling me to experience this sort of feelings.
The trio troublemakers actually didn’t use any kind of underhanded methods just like those I often saw or heard whenever it came to bullying.
Yep, things such as destroying my belongings, writing on my desks, and so on.
From how I observed their behavior, I came to a conclusion that they would only fight heads-on and wouldn’t use any kind of cowardly tactics. Hmm, I found a good point from these trio troublemakers!
Maybe they weren’t such bad people after all…?
Anyway, since it seemed like Luca and all my other pals were troubled over them—or more precisely, they troubled themselves to take those troublemaker trio for me, I needed to do something as well.
Time to end this.
However, I wouldn’t resort in violence if a peaceful way was still available.
Therefore, time for me to bring up the issue to Erneste.
Maybe those girls would cease their (ineffective) troublemaking attitude towards me after hearing Erneste’s words.
For the first time, I initiated a meeting with Erneste. Normally, he would be the one to initiate a meeting with me.
Obviously, I was greeted by Erneste’s happy expression—it was very apparent.
“…I see, those fangirls of mine did that, huh…?”
Instead of a surprised look, I was met with Erneste’s concerned face.
Well no, no, a concerned face is also good, but…
Ah, perhaps he has experienced the same thing before?
“I apologize on their behalf, Lyra. To think that my fans are disturbing you and your friends…”
“Ah, it’s fine, it’s not your fault at all, Erneste! You don’t need to apologize for it. …But, can you do something about them? Perhaps they will listen to you more, as the focus of their love and all…”
“The focus of their love… huh?”
Uhh sorry, I have no other way to name it, but as long as my point gets crossed…
“Alright then, I will try and think about it,” Erneste said with a bitter smile.
I smiled back in return, as it seemed like my problem with the trio troublemakers would be gone soon!
Wait a minute, why does it feel like they are getting more fired up in trying to fight me heads-on now?!
This is soooo wrong!!
Instead of finding the trio troublemakers less often, I encountered them more often instead.
Feeling like something was off, I decided to go to Erneste once more.
I wonder if he has told them off?
Some time have passed since the last time I went to tell Erneste about his top three fangirls’ antics, so it should be enough for him to meet them or something…
In the first place, I think that as fangirls, they will be somewhere around Erneste.
So, I met Erneste again and asked him about it, and his answer was…
“Really? I have already told them not to bother you so much last time, but it doesn’t seem like my words have some power, huh?”
Erneste said with a helpless smile.
My eyes widened in surprise.
“They don’t listen to even your words?!”
Erneste still kept the same smile on his face as he continued to respond.
“I’m really sorry, but can you please endure them? I’m sure they don’t mean any harm and that they will soon realize that they shouldn’t really bother you, as you are someone who’s special to me… On another side, they are also my fans, and I can’t really be mean towards them… I will try to gently talk it out again with them next time.”
The little me inside my heard tilted her head in confusion, but I tried to keep a meager smile and nodded.
“Well, I guess they will also give up sooner or later. Thanks, Erneste.”
Then, I went on a separate way with Erneste.
As I walked, I crossed my hands in front of my chest and tilted my head a little bit, thinking of what was going on.
No matter what, the little me found something was odd.
However, I felt like it was also a normal or good response…?
Anyway, perhaps I should just turn to my friends about it. They were the ones who were getting irritated by the trio troublemakers’ antics, after all—or to be more exact, Luca, Clavis, Ein, Iris, and Carbuncle.
Harvey and Alt-nii actually found them funny—perhaps since they were reminded of their past self, as young boys who liked to pull some pranks, too.
“Huhhhh? He said whaaaaat?!” Luca was the first one to response with quite a loud and dragged out voice, coupled with his face of disbelief.
He really isn’t trying to maintain any image as the legit crown prince of the country, huh?
…But I guess that’s one of his positive points, in my opinion!
“He is sooo shaddyyyyy!” Ein responded next.
“Hmph,” Carbuncle said in dissatisfaction, “He’s a wimp. Forget him, Lyr!”
“What kind of a man is he?!” Clavis said with a voice containing a little bit of anger.
I was surprised by their strong rejection now. It was way stronger than it was before.
Even more so, Iris who was a little bit of his fan, was now folding her arms and looked to be contemplating.
“B-but, it’s true that his fans’ antics aren’t really his responsibility and it’s not like he can be so mean to the ones who adore him, right?”
I stuttered a bit as my mind was also conflicted about this.
“Wait, Lyra, are you defending him?!” Clavis immediately replied as it was also obvious from his ears and tail that he was surprised.
“Eh? Why, Lyra?” Even Alt-nii couldn’t help but yelp in surprise.
“Big Sis Lyra, you couldn’t have fallen for a person like him, could you?” Ein tugged my sleeves and asked with his wronged puppy eyes.
GAH! I’m weak to cute things and Ein is just too cute! He reminds me of Freyr!
“No, no, no, you are wrong! I’m only asking for your opinion about it!” I immediately denied their thoughts.
“Opinion? What’s there to ask for, Lyr? What is the use of a man if he can’t protect his woman? That kind of male dragon wouldn’t be a hot cake amongst us girls—unless the girl dragon is into that kind of man!”
“Or wait, is he actually a bully deep inside and he likes seeing Big Sis Lyra be troubled like this? Not good!”
“…Bully? More like a sadistic then?” Harvey suddenly chimed in.
“Absolutely not, Lyra. I’ve said it for the umpteenth time already,” Clavis said as he gestured a cross (X) with his arms.
“What’s the use of being good to his fans if that means he’s troubling someone he claims to be his special one? If it were me, I’d rather beat up the nosy fans if they dare to trouble someone I cherish,” Luca suddenly said.
I immediately turned to look at Luca with an astonished face.
“Huh? What’s with you, staring at me like that?” Luca noticed my gaze and asked.
“Nothing, I just think that you really don’t care about your image, which makes your popularity below the school prince,” I shook my head.
“What’s the use of it anyway?”
“You know, as a prince, you will have to maintain a good image, right?” I asked him in return.
“Well, I never really did anything bad. So?” Luca raised one of his eyebrows.
“Don’t worry, Lyra. If anything, Luca’s image in public is good. It’s just that nobody dares to rashly approach him since he can be scary when they offend him,” Kiri immediately explained on Luca’s behalf.
“Is that so?” I tilted my head.
“Yes, I heard from my father that everyone’s saying that Luca takes after his father quite a lot and that he’d make a good king,” Kiri nodded enthusiastically.
While I was pondering over what I should say, Clavis’ voice could be heard immediately.
“Luca made a point. If he’s like that, then that Ernestomato something isn’t that serious about you.”
“Yeah, yeah, Big Sis Lyra, choose me instead!” Ein’s face beamed as he said so.
“I can protect you better than he does,” Clavis suddenly added.
I was still thinking on how I should respond to Ein’s words when Clavis dropped yet another bomb in my face.
As a result, I stayed still on the spot, dumbfounded.
“Hahaha, look at you, Lyra! Your face is so funny right now!” Alt-nii’s laughter brought me back to my senses.
“H-hey, it can’t be helped, right?!” I turned to look at Alt-nii while hiding my embarrassment.
Alt-nii then circled his arm over Clavis’ shoulder before he dragged Clavis somewhere else as the two boys turned their backs against me.
Harvey also followed suit, as they were talking in low voices that I couldn’t really hear what they were talking about.
Hmm, I wonder what they are talking about, so secretive like this? ｢(ﾟﾍﾟ)
Eventually, Iris who had been silent all this time, raised her voice.
“…Prince Erneste’s attitude towards Lyra really disappoints me now. I think Lyra shouldn’t go through with this. I agree with everyone else, he should have prioritized Lyra over the others.”
I was surprised to hear Iris’ change of mind and heart.
“But don’t you think it’s because he’s too gentle that he couldn’t bring himself to scold his fans that severely?” I asked Iris back.
“W-well, it’s true, but… If I were a girlfriend of someone who acts like that, then I would be so disappointed that my boyfriend is kind to everyone else and doesn’t seem to treat me that specially,” Iris added.
“Ah, true enough.”
“What about you, Lyra? How would you feel?” Iris suddenly asked.
“Eh? Me? I never thought of it but sure, that thing would feel bad…,” I tried to imagine the situation briefly.
Urk, what a bad taste in my mind!
Iris quickly pointed something out to me.
“Oh my, Lyra. You didn’t even think about it when Erneste said that to you? If so, then wouldn’t that mean you don’t really see Erneste as a potential boyfriend or someone you’re interested in?”
“Eh?” I tilted my head, still not getting her point.
“Dummy Lyra!” Iris flicked my head gently as she pouted.
“To put it simply, you don’t even feel disappointed or sad to know that he can’t put you higher than his fans or disregard them for you. It’s like either way doesn’t really matter to you. If that’s the case, then you don’t really care about him. In conclusion, I don’t see you have developed even a tiny bit of interest towards him as a potential boyfriend. End of point.”
Iris said with her index finger moving left and right, as if she was lecturing me.
Whoaaa–! Even if I have read many books or watch stuffs about romance and so on, when it comes to the real thing, and especially when it comes to me, I don’t even realize that!
“I see… You’re right, Iris!” I clapped both of my hands together, finally figuring out my current stance and feelings towards Erneste.
As I said that, some people around me seemed to be breathing out of relief… or was it just my imagination?
“Ah but still… Feelings can be nurtured, right? It’s not been so long since I first knew him, so I should probably give him a chance as long as he is willing… right?”
…And the atmosphere around me which briefly improved just now, was immediately turning to the worst again.
“Uh well, now, it’s up to you, Lyra, but are you sure?” Iris asked.
“Well, I don’t want to quickly judge someone. Before I know the real reason he’s acting like that, I wouldn’t be that mean… yet,” I quickly added.
Everyone was surprised to hear my response.
“Well, alright then, as long as it’s your decision. That’s my little sister, by the way! You’re so kind to think about it like that!” Alt-nii, who was done talking with his bros, immediately patted my head.
I couldn’t help but feel slightly shy.
After all, it was the decision I came to conclusion after a personal experience… in my last lifetime.
When I was Reinst, people often misjudged me.
Some were so obvious in how they didn’t seem to like me that much.
Even though I was nothing like they imagined…
Though they didn’t matter, I couldn’t really say that I was immune to all the prejudice about me.
Even Erneste… I believe there is a side of him that we all have yet to see and understand.
And before that, I don’t want to quickly judge him.
That goes for other people as well.
I want to learn about them better as a person, like what shaped them so far, the motives behind their actions, their feelings, and so on.
That includes the trio troublemakers.
I believe that people can’t be categorized into black and white.
We are all in the “gray” zone.
And though personal preferences may cloud our judgement of people, well, I’ll try to see people in a positive light and understand their reasoning first.
…But I am still a human with feelings myself, so don’t expect me to have such a wide heart and forgive everyone after they hurt me or after the same thing that disappoints me happen many times over, okay?
I thought that one couldn’t have too many events happening at the same time in a day.
So, I thought that it was enough of unique or out-of-ordinary event to happen that day.
It wasn’t until I returned from toilet alone that I realized that there was yet another extraordinary thing occurring in my life today at school.
“Hmph, so this is where you have been hiding after all!”
A familiar voice, stance, and face.
Yup, hello, Briar-Rose. Good bye, Briar-Rose.
I was about to slide to Briar-Rose’s empty side when another two familiar figures emerged, blocking all my way of escape.
“You think you can escape?!”
“Our boss only wishes to speak with you, how could you be so impolite as to disregard her?”
Valerie and Dmitria—the miracle twins!
Uh-oh, the three of them were standing while looking menacingly at me.
W-w-w-what are they planning to do to me?
Freyja: Lyra-neechan, you have to find a prince charming that’s so dashing and protective of you!
Lyra: Ehh, is that the kind of prince charming you want to find, Freyja?
Cyan: Wait, Freyja is too young… Lyra is also too young for this!!
Freyr: But Dad, I heard that girls younger than Lyra-nee are getting engaged already…?
Cyan: Don’t mention it!!
Altaire: Also, Lyra, why are you stuttering in your mind and feeling a bit scared when the trio troublemakers are looking at you so menacingly? I believe you are way stronger than the three of them combined!
Lyra: Eh? Aaaah, you’re right, Alt-nii! Perhaps I was just too caught up in the situation? Ehehe…
Luca: …I can’t believe you.
Clavis: You should have called me, Lyra! I’d protect you from the annoying girls!
Iris: S-scary, I’d be really scared if it were me!
Carbuncle: Li’l sheep, I will eat up people who dare gang up against you, hehehe *slurp*
Iris: …Kuu-chan, you’re the scarier one now…
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