Although the mini Lyra inside me was screaming and probably rolling over to the left and right, the Reinst me—the outer me was just staring at the floor dumbfoundedly. At a first glance, I might seem calm and only dazed for a bit, but that was enough for Nicole to call out to me again.
“Reinst, what’s the matter? Are you okay?”
When I turned to look at her, I saw Nicole with her concerned face.
Clyde was still standing next to her, wearing the same expression as Nicole. They were really like a pair made in heaven. Even their expressions matched!
Or could it be true that married couple would become alike the more time they spent together?
Anyway, two versus one here. If I were to insist that I was right, I would be the one having problem! Logic spoke that they had the right information, while I had the wrong one…no matter how I still felt like I was the one with the correct information!
But what happened? Just what the hell is happening to me right now??
Where should I start unraveling everything when I couldn’t even comprehend what was real and what was not anymore?
Alright, let’s say that my memories as Reinst were messed up beyond repair due to this amnesia. But my memories as Lyra…They were all here now, and they were real, right?
Rather than trying to solve everything by logic as nothing made sense here, should I try to pursue what I felt to be the truth?
If I were to decipher what happened to me as Lyra before I became Reinst again, would that solve everything and I could return to my normal life as Lyra?
As of now, I think there was nothing else I could do other than that.
“Uhm, I…,” I hesitated as I wasn’t sure how to explain things to Nicole. If you didn’t experience it yourself, it was bizarre. Would she believe me?
At that time, my eyes traveled to Clyde and I became even more hesitant. I get that he’s worried about me, but should I also tell this to Clyde? I intended to just tell Nicole, but…
Perhaps my feelings were quite apparent in my eyes, but Clyde stood up and walked away as he said, “It seems that you want to start discussing things with Nicole. I shall take my leave so you two can talk to your hearts’ content.”
I was surprised by Clyde’s understanding. Was he always someone who’s quick to grasp the situation and be this understanding? He was a well-behaved and a well-liked person, but I never really figured out this side of his. It was my first time experiencing it first-hand, or maybe this was my first time realizing this. I couldn’t discount the possibility that I was the one really dense as I never paid so much attention to others as Reinst.
With that, Clyde left the room and made sure to close the door tightly. That left me and Nicole alone in this room.
“So…What do you want to talk to me about? Is it related to your worries? Are you really okay?” Nicole bombarded me with question.
Nicole was naturally a highly curious person, but I knew that she was genuinely concerned over me when she asked those questions.
Now, Clyde was away and I could just talk to Nicole about this, she might be able to help me. But…what if she were to see me as a weirdo? What would the consequences be for a queen of a country to be a really, really weird person? Would I have to live as the laughingstock of the people?
Ah, but that was only if words got out of this room. Nicole…could be trusted, I think, but still…
Going by the logic of the memories I had as Lyra—the only memories that seemed so real in my mind, this whole situation was only a dream anyway! So why should I bother? As long as I could solve the mystery behind what trapped me in this situation—in this dream, I could go away from this trap of a dream and regain my normal life as Lyra!
Screw the consequences as Reinst of this world, it would all be gone the moment I woke up from this dream. Also, no pain no gain!
Maybe it’s time for me to start leaving my comfort zone and be more reckless.
Yeah, yeah, whatever!
I balled my hands into fists and closed my eyes for a moment. I took a deep breath and…when I opened my eyes, I felt that they were flashing with determination. I should be right as I could see Nicole being momentarily stunned. As Reinst, I was never burning with determination over something. So, she ought to be stunned.
“Listen well, Nicole. Oh, please don’t think I’m mental or what. I’m also not joking. This is serious. But this can be silly and I might be viewed as weird, but that’s the reality for me, so…,” I felt like I was talking in circles.
“W-what is it, you’re making me sit on the edge here!” Nicole protested.
…Here goes…it’s all or nothing!
“You see, I’m actually not Reinst—not the Reinst you know or the Reinst of this world. I think I am Reinst from an alternate universe, or alternate reality. Anyway, the events in my world varied sooo much from the ones happening here. Why do I know that I am Reinst from another reality? It’s because I have the memories of my life there perfectly intact and they feel so real, meanwhile I have no memories of this world and the ones you told me…didn’t feel real at all. And the last of my memories in my original world—at that time, I faced off against some kind of a wolf beast. The moment I woke up after it, I became Reinst of this world. And I want to go back to my original world, so do you have any clue on what’s happening to me?” I said in a quick speed—so that Nicole’s brain would be forced to take everything without having the time to tell me, ‘ARE YOU CRAZY?!’
I still flinched after explaining everything with confidence. I just saw Nicole’s jaw dropping as she stared at me silly, so I quickly hung my head down.
I was prepared to receive her shocked shriek, her frustrated screaming, or even her ridiculing laugh. But I received nothing sort of them. Nicole only went silent and the silence dragged on…When I thought of looking at her face, Nicole suddenly opened her mouth.
“…This is not what I expected at all, and it’s really bizarre but…Thank you, Reinst, for trusting me enough to confide this with me,” Nicole said as she smiled happily.
Her words sent me flying to my thoughts.
That’s right. Me telling her all this means that I trust her to some degree. Although she’s the person that came up in my mind when I thought about solving this mystery, due to her special ability and the history of Loera family…
The Loera family’s other name was ‘The Librarian’ and ‘The Historian’. They had their own confidential library containing the knowledge that shouldn’t be shared, or obsolete ones. The royal family had one too, but if it were me trying to find it alone, it might take so long—it could even be a year or so. Nicole’s photographic memory and her hypermind would enable her to remember every information she had read and she would be able to find it inside her big brain immediately. She was just the perfect helper.
However, it was true that I still wouldn’t try to confide her if I didn’t trust her at all, right? I could have taken the longer route of finding them out by myself.
I guess that, and the fact that I couldn’t wait any longer to go back to being Lyra.
“…I’m surprised that’s what you told me first in response to my bizarre story,” I said.
“Well, it is indeed very bizarre but I believe everything can happen in this world. I’ve read so many things so far—bizarre things and things that are normally unthinkable too,” Nicole seemed like she regained her composure.
“So, you believe that my story is completely plausible?”
“While I want to say that it might be your memory lapse after the incident, I can’t discount the probability that your story might be true. There’s only one way to find out then, that is to try returning you back to your world. If, after trying various ways to do that and nothing comes to fruition, then it’s definitely your memory lapse,” Nicole sipped her tea.
At this time, I was impressed by how logical Nicole was. She also accepted the idea that nothing was impossible in this world, and chose to eliminate the impossibility by doing something instead of straight off saying, “No way!”
“…Thank you,” I said amidst my impression.
“Haha, I’ve been longing to hear that word!” She said.
“Hey, are you telling me I’m that rude enough to never say thanks?”
“No, no, I mean, that’s the sincerest thanks I’ve heard from you,” Nicole smiled. Whoa, she looked beautiful now that I looked at her carefully!
“…Okay…,” I said as I couldn’t be sure that I wasn’t just saying those words out of formalities so far.
“So, tell me more about that wolf beast. About what you know,” Nicole said.
“I don’t remember much. Not even the exact place I met him…But he’s a wolf beast that can trap someone in this dream—in another reality, I suppose? Then, he’s big and seems menacing…Also, something flashed before I lost my consciousness.”
“Hmm, some beasts can indeed manipulate your mind and trap you in a dream, or some of the rarer beasts can even send you to another reality. Not many are seen that easily, though. Do you really not remember the exact place you met him?”
“All I remember is I met him in some kind of a forest…And uhh, perhaps it’s somehow related or close to the Flugel family?” I said with a hint of uncertainty.
“The Flugel family?” Nicole’s eyebrows furrowed, “You have some form of contacts with them in your original reality?”
“Hmmmm…yes, we’re on a friendly term, somehow,” I said, not wanting to reveal that in that reality I was dead and then reborn as Lyra…
“I see,” Nicole closed her eyes and went silent.
I wasn’t sure what was happening, but I believe Nicole was thinking or trying to access the information she’s had?
So I decided not to disturb her and wait.
A moment later—that felt like an eternity to me, Nicole opened her eyes.
“There are a few monsters that fit your criteria that I know of, but if it’s really near the Flugel’s, then I have one strong candidate. There’s a wolf beast known to pick a specific spot in the Silent Forest as its resting place. It’s been known to detach itself from the rest of the world. People who disturbed the beast returned with distracted minds, so I bet its ability had something to do with their minds. Perhaps you can go there and see if it’s the same beast and if it is so, perhaps facing it off can help you break free of whatever it’s doing, if it’s true?” Nicole dropped a bomb on me.
I’m sure there are lots of information she had to process and there should be a few matches, but she narrowed it down to one for me. One with the highest probability.
“Of course if it’s wrong, we can always try out the other beasts I knew of. I can make sure of the information and see if I can find out more. What do you think?” Nicole asked.
“I will try as many as it takes to return! I won’t stop until I’ve tried everything that I can. But I must be a bother to you then…”
“Not at all, I’m so happy that my best friend finally relies on me for something!” Nicole immediately interjected.
“Nicole…,” I was genuinely touched. I was so stupid for not seeing Nicole as my genuine best friend. Instead, the old me had doubts about her.
I came to realize that doubting was tiring. Trusting…albeit risky, but it felt great!
“Hey, Reinst?” Nicole suddenly called out to me with a gentle voice that reminded me of her tone when she spoke to Ein or Lyra.
“You seem so hellbent on going back to your reality that you spoke of. Say…are you happy over there?”
I was stunned hearing Nicole’s question. But without an ounce of hesitation, I nodded and said, “Very.”
Nicole’s smile turned even gentler and she asked, “Say, am I there in that world too? We know each other too, I assume? Say…if it’s possible, can you be a good friend to the Nicole of your world, too? It doesn’t have to be a very tight friendship. Just an amicable relationship is enough. I think…Nicole of that world will like it too.”
I felt my eyes stinging. Nicole wished for us to be friends even in the other reality…although I couldn’t really do it as ‘Reinst’, and it might be hard to grant her wishes as ‘Lyra’, but an amicable relationship…
Of course, even without her asking me that, I also planned on doing that. For I have come to appreciate the people I knew as Reinst more—albeit it was too late for me to reciprocate them as Reinst in my reality…
“I will,” I said with the gentlest smile I could make.
Nicole then stood up, approached the sofa where I was sitting, then she sat beside me. Before I even noticed, she pulled me in a hug.
“Thank you. I’m happy that you’re happy in that reality you talked about. I hope your story is really true for your sake. I hope it’s not just a memory lapse. I’m really happy to be able to see you like this, Reinst.”
Nicole…please, can you not make me feel sadder than this?
I realized too late that you have always been there for me. I’m sorry. I’m sorry…
I circled my hands around Nicole’s back, hugging her back.
Thank you for trusting me despite the bizarre story I told you. Thank you for wanting to help me. Thank you for wishing for my happiness.
Thank you for always being there for me, even when I never reciprocate you at all.
I…will do my best to gain happiness!
Still, I feel so sad for the opportunities I missed as Reinst…Guess there’s nothing I can do about it.