“My queen, my prince, the Hartmann family has arrived and they are waiting for you in the audience room,” A maid humbly reported to me and Trevant while we were walking around. I had to say that I was quite impressed by how the maid could locate where we were going and catch up with us. I wonder what kind of mechanism did they use for their communication and work…?
But now wasn’t the time to ponder over it. My family—ahem, this world’s Hartmann family was waiting for me to see them!
I really, really wonder how the family would be without me…without Lyra around.
The image of the gentle yet prankster Alt-nii popped in my mind, along with the energetic Freyja and the calm Freyr. Yes, I missed them so, so much!
“Mother, it’s okay, they will wait. If you walk this fast, you might fall…,” Trevant advised in worry.
I smiled wryly. It seemed my enthusiasm to meet my ‘real’ family was so high that my body reflexively sped up…
What? Me—supposedly his mother—be advised by my own son? Gosh, that would be so embarrassing, but thankfully I wasn’t really his mother, hahahhahaha! I definitely won’t be like this if I were really a full-fledged mother, yup.
“You’re right, Trevant. Thank you,” I said as I poured my concentration to control my walking.
The castle was huge, but there were teleportation spots, so we just had to go to the nearest teleportation spot and select the teleportation spot that was the closest to the audience room. And voila, we arrived at the audience room in the blink of an eye.
When we entered the room, there were already King Titus and five familiar faces sitting. But the moment we entered, the Hartmann family rose from their seats and bowed to us.
W-well, being bowed was still quite normal. It was better than being knelt at…I awkwardly waved my hand to let them know that they could just sit back. Trevant and I went to sit next to Titus—with Trevant in the middle of us.
Now, I could take a better look at this world’s Hartmann family. Starting from…my parents. I took a look at them alternatively. Mm, they were pretty much the same as my real parents…well, appearance-wise that is. I believe the inside is also the same…right?
I really wanted to hug them if I could—but I couldn’t. We were now at the same age and our position would make it impossible to do. My image as Reinst would be tarnished, too.
Next to them was…Alt-nii. I turned to look closely at his face, expecting to see the same carefree and confident brother I knew so well. However, I was utterly shocked when I saw my brother—yes, the very same Alt-nii—yet his aura was completely different. Instead of this confident and bright aura, coupled with his usually shiny eyes, what I saw was an Alt-nii with lifeless eyes. He was looking all serious—no, gloomy might describe it best. But gloomy was—in no way related to Alt-nii at all! Gloomy should never have existed in his dictionary!!
Alas, I couldn’t believe this…What the hell happened that caused him to be like this?!
In my panic, I turned to look at Freyr and Freyja. Freyr was pretty much the same calm Freyr. Meanwhile, Freyja…seemed quiet as well, just like Freyr. Well, Freyja was indeed shy around strangers—hold on, the Hartmann family and the royal family were close, right? Then…shouldn’t she have loosened up already?
I couldn’t comprehend it—perhaps I could ask…but in this world, this state of the Hartmann family was the normal state of things in this world. Wouldn’t asking be weird?
…Oh wait, I have amnesia right now, I can ask!
“Reinst-sama, how are you feeling?” Mom—Cass asked.
“I’m feeling alright. It’s just that I don’t have any recollection of the events past my fourteenth birthday…,” I smiled.
“Yeah, Titus-sama told us about it. It must have been hard for you,” Cass said with sympathy.
“Uhm…Yeah,” I said as I was about to ask about how their family was and why their children, especially Alt-nii, was like that when I remembered that it wouldn’t be appropriate talking about the person himself when he was right there with us. So, I held myself back.
“Trevant, why don’t you go with Altaire, Freyr, and Freyja while we, parents, talk?” Titus-sama suddenly said to Trevant.
“Yes, I will, Father,” Trevant said as he stood up and extended his hand towards the Hartmann children.
“Let’s go, Alt, Freyr, Freyja,” Trevant said.
Alt-nii, Freyr, and Freyja quietly stood up, bowed to me and Titus-sama before they left following Trevant.
It seemed like Titus-sama was so keen. It was as if he knew what I was thinking…? The royal family sure is scary!
Yes, I definitely couldn’t get used to living in this world, no matter what!
“Alright, now that the children are gone, shall we talk?” Titus-sama said as he looked at me.
I caught his meaning as I turned to look at Cyan and Cass. I tried to carefully pick my words.
“Pardon me for asking, but I really don’t remember anything. In my eyes, your eldest son seemed…gloomy. Did something happen?” I asked. Ugh, in the end, I was still too straight-forward!
Sure enough, at the mention of their gloomy eldest son, Cyan and Cass’ expressions turned awry. I just hit the spot.
“I apologize for asking…if you don’t want to tell, then it’s fine. I’m just wondering…,” my words trailed off.
“No, it’s okay. We’ve come here to talk about that too. After all, it’s still related in some ways with what happened to you that caused your amnesia,” Cyan said.
“Huh…?” I blinked. What?
Cyan closed his eyes and took a deep breath before he started to speak.
“Six years ago, when Cass and I had to go out of the house to do our missions around Chinosato town, some people…who we assume as the Gamma cult…they came to attack Altaire. Although Altaire possesses a strong magic and the mythical element [Void], he was still a seven-year-old boy at that time. While they didn’t succeed in…taking his life, they did kidnap Alt. Thankfully, we managed to rescue him back, but he…was traumatized. My boy used to be so bright and cheerful, but from that day onward, he became quieter and gloomier…”
“…Ganging up on a small child? How despicable,” I said.
…Back then, when Alt-nii was seven and I—Lyra—was four, we indeed were attacked by some evil people during our visit to Chinosato town. But somehow, Alt-nii and I managed to pull it through. It seemed that in this version of a world without Lyra, that incident turned into something major for the young Altaire. And it affected his personality a lot.
In a sense, was it because of me that the bleak future for Altaire was avoided? Perhaps it was only me feeling a sense of pride and arrogance, but…in a way, I felt like…my existence meant a lot. And that made me feel happy—though I knew I shouldn’t since I just heard this world’s Altaire’s misfortune…
“They are despicable indeed,” Titus-sama said.
“Yes. We couldn’t find any lead at all and that might be why they were getting cockier and started to up their modus operandi. They continued to expand their power and targeted the others—for example…,” Cyan said.
“Trevant?” I guessed. Cyan nodded.
Were they implying that the incident that caused my ‘amnesia’ wasn’t the first time they were trying to attack him? Trevant…he must have been a strong boy.
“And Altaire is gloomier these days because an incident happened and his best friend…went missing up to this day,” Cass added.
“Eh? Cla—His best friend…?”
I almost blurted out a name.
“Yeah. He has a childhood best friend named Clavis. Not too long ago, his best friend…well, it was found out that he was a werebeast. Alt managed to track Clavis down, but he didn’t manage to bring him home. Clavis was still missing up to this day, and Alt went to blame himself for not being able to bring him home when he found Clavis…,” Cyan smiled wryly.
…! Even Clavis…!
Was my existence as Lyra really that meaningful and life-changing…? Then, was my survival as Reinst wrong…? I felt a tinge of sadness upon thinking about it.
“How’s the search for him going?” I asked.
“No clue yet although we’ve had helps from the authorities…,” Cyan said wryly.
I didn’t dare to imagine how Niina and her husband were doing in this world. They must be so heartbroken and sad over their son. And Clavis—what got over him, what drove him to escape and never return at all? What was he doing?
“What about the places he is familiar with?” I asked.
Cass shook her head and said, “No result. I read somewhere that sometimes when a beastman awakened their werebeast side, their werebeast self could cause huge changes inside themselves especially if not mitigated. This just increased the search’s difficulty as we couldn’t expect him to behave the same way before his transformation.”
I never knew that. The Clavis that I knew—he managed to calm down after his first transformation and upon his return, he was taken to a special training for werebeasts. Perhaps that was why I didn’t feel like he was that different from the usual Clavis…?
“The Gamma worshippers…Are they really on the rise?” I asked.
“We are not sure about it, but we’re certain that their power has been increasing,” Titus-sama answered.
In my world, they didn’t seem to act a lot…Could it be that they were afraid to be identified—because we were close to find them out? And so they were being covert in their operation?
That could be the case…
“I see…Thanks for telling me about it. I’m sorry I brought up bad memories…”
“It’s no problem. As a queen, it’s something you need to know of,” Cyan said.
“What about the twins? How are they doing?” I switched the topic to Freyr and Freyja now that the story about Alt-nii was done.
“The twins, Freyr and Freyja…They’re not our biological children, but they are our orphaned niece and nephew. When we took them in, they were only four. They’ve opened up a lot and progressed quite a lot. They seem to view Altaire as a big brother they admire and seem to be taking after his behavior. They might not be as rambunctious as the other siblings, but I think they’re all getting along well,” Cyan said.
Ah…Environment and people closest to you will shape your personality, huh? With how Alt-nii of this world is like, I think what Cyan said made sense. Meanwhile, in my world…Alt-nii was like a sunshine and me…well, I guess Alt-nii’s attitude may have rubbed on me as I believe I was also cheerful as Lyra. With two of such elder siblings, I guess they would be brighter. Especially Freyja as she would have had an elder sister figure.
Really…this world was just like an alternate universe. In fictional setting, this might as well be a ‘spin-off’ or ‘what-ifs’ stories.
After that, we proceeded to talk about the most recent incident.
“The captured people committed suicide in the prison before they could be investigated. Some seemed related, while some were people with no close relatives. It was hard to track who might be working with them as well,” Cyan reported.
“That is tricky. I wonder when we can find the mastermind…?” Titus-sama looked troubled.
“We’re thinking of requesting Sarri-sama’s assistance in this matter. What do you say?”
…! Sarri-sama! I see, so she was indeed a person deeply involved in the matters of Gamma worshippers and Gehenna. In this world, surely she would be very busy and deeply involved in the incidents that had been happening, huh?
“Sure. How’s the progress of locating and crushing the cults?” Titus-sama asked again.
“We’ve found one and we’re currently making a plan on how we could crush them and rescue some that could be salvaged,” Cyan answered.
“Good. Continue along with the Special Force. I’m counting on you.”
In the end, I could only listen and try to comprehend the situation. From what I heard, the other royal spies, Gale, Rupert, and Cynthia seemed to be faring well. Good. I am glad that not everyone I knew as Lyra ended up miserable…
Speaking of which, I wonder about how the others are doing if the Hartmann family’s condition is quite different from my world’s Hartmann family?
Summoning them one by one to investigate won’t be good. I might be able to summon or meet some people like the Loera family due to their ties with the royal family and the Grabberton due to their ties with…me. But for the other, I guess I should try using up the authority that I currently have as a queen to investigate them!
All I can do now is to pray that everyone is doing good…No matter if this is an alternate universe, they are still the people I care for, and of course I want them to be happy and well.