The sun was setting when we returned to the Flugel residence, which meant we were pretty late from our intended schedule.
Our respective guardian should be arriving soon. Which meant, we gotta hurry up.
Dmitria and Valerie went to put the monsters we took care of in their respective place, while the rest of us returned back to the main residence to tidy up our belongings and prepare to go home.
During all this, Fenrir was looking to the left and to the right amusingly. Fenrir’s original size was quite big, but it turns out that he could shrink his body size so he could walk easily in the house. He noted that this was an ability that he learned after he became a Familiar. It was quite difficult to master, so he said. When I asked if he could shrink again into puppy-size, he looked at me with this weird look in his eyes, so I quickly dropped the subject.
“Ruru!” Rurune greeted him.
“Hoo. You little one is Lyra’s elder brother’s Familiar?”
“Ruru!” Rurune smiled as she floated around the sitting Fenrir.
“Then I guess that’d make you my senior,” Fenrir said.
“Ru~!” Ruru seemed so happy as she sat on top of Fenrir and started hugging him.
Fenrir didn’t seem like he minded it, so I left the two Familiars with a giggle.
“What’s this… I know Ruru’s strong and all, but Fenrir looks much stronger, appearance-wise. People might think that Ruru is yours while Fenrir is mine if they know nothing,” Alt-nii mumbled amusingly as he packed up his things.
“Well, now that you mention it…,” I said as I imagined the four of us standing next to one another.
Rurune’s image better suited me, while Fenrir’s better suited Alt-nii’s.
…A mistaken Familiar match?
But I’m pretty sure Alt-nii and I wouldn’t want to change our partners no matter what.
……Well, I couldn’t really sound convincing because I literally just made a contract with Fenrir, but he already knew my deepest secret and that fact alone made me feel like I already had a special bond with him.
In this world, only Fenrir knew.
From now on, I am no longer alone…About this secret, I mean.
I gently smiled as I packed my stuff.
After Alt-nii and I were done, we helped Freyr and Freyja and made sure they didn’t leave anything behind.
When all of us were done, we didn’t hear or see any of the parents, so I thought they were late, but turns out they were already here, just…talking to one another in another room.
Dmitria and Valerie were the ones who told us as Ristea-san asked them to come and lead all of us to the living room.
Sure enough, when we arrived in the living room, the parents were talking to one another while sipping tea.
Mom was the one who came here to fetch all of us plus Clavis. Nicole was there to fetch Ein. Kiri, Luca, and Leticia were fetched by…ah, Kiri’s stepmom. I’ve seen her several times before. As for Briar…Nope, I saw no one.
“Ah, here they are,” Nicole was one of the people who were facing us, and from her angle, it was no wonder she noticed us first. The others quickly turned to look at us, so we moved and separated to our own guardian.
“Mommyyy!” Freyja was the fastest one, she ran and jumped to Mom’s embrace. Freyr followed suit, while Alt-nii and I walked at normal pace to Mom. Rurune and Fenrir were right behind us.
While walking to Mom, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. In that dream world I saw, Mom was not my mother. We were just strangers with official relationship of a ruler and her subordinate. We were distant. But now…
Perhaps I was staring at her for too long as she suddenly turned to look at me, after she was focused on Freyja and Freyr.
She seemed like she was about to ask me something when her gaze shifted to behind me.
Yes, she was looking at none other than Fenrir who was closely following me.
“…Lyra, we don’t keep pets at home, you know that, right?”
With such words, the whole room fell into silent. I was too surprised to even react, so I stood frozen on the spot. I could feel Fenrir stopped behind me as well.
Please don’t be mad at Mom, Fenrir…
Thinking about how a bad blood would arise between Mom and Fenrir, I quickly tried to utter any words of explanation, “Mom no, wait, he is…”
Mom then broke out into a laughter. The others seemed to finally figure out what was happening, as they followed suit in laughing. But I was too tense to react with laughter, so I awkwardly tilted my head. Mom couldn’t be…
“I know, I know, I’m just kidding,” Mom said after laughing.
MOMMM, WHAT’S WITH YOUR POOR JOKING TASTE?!
“I know at a first glance that he is a magical beast—and I presume that he has become your…”
“Familiar. Fenrir’s the name,” Fenrir walked past by me and said with pride as he then stood in front of Mom.
I prayed in my heart to Fenrir, ‘Fenrir, I hope you don’t mind. Mom’s normally a serious person so I’m not sure why she suddenly got the urge to joke like that.’
To my surprise, I heard Fenrir’s voice echoing in my mind after I said that to Fenrir in my heart.
‘Worry not, you may not be able to tell, but I can read people very well, so I know she’s joking from the start. Her gaze was all knowing when she looked at me at first glance. She just wanted to tease you, that’s my best bet.’
I looked at Fenrir in surprise, but he just signaled using his eyes that this was a normal thing. So…Familiars could communicate like this too, huh?
‘T…tease meee? What forrrr?’
‘My hypothesis is that since you’re an ‘old soul’, you’re normally calm, unlike children your age. Hence, I can see why your parents want to tease you like that.’
‘…Uuh…That makes sense…’
Now I know where Alt-nii’s mischievousness came from. Mom!!!!!
“Well, I’m very surprised. You left alone, then returned with a Familiar. But…I’m proud of you,” Mom said as she patted my head.
Mom…Her gentle and warm hand…
‘You missed her a lot especially after my trial, right?’ Fenrir’s voice resounded.
‘Mmhm, a lot,’ I said in my heart as I closed my eyes and enjoyed her headpat.
“That’s awesome, Lyra-chan! Congratulations! Eine, if you want to get a Familiar, I’ll try to find it for you. Or if you want a pet…,” Nicole said.
“Nah, I’m good, Mum!” Ein answered.
Whoa, Nicole. Way to go, you’re a pampering Mum. Pretty sure that Familiar couldn’t be found easily just like that. Plus, one’s magic played an important role to it, I guess.
Nicole also patted me in the head. At this time, I remembered about what happened during the dream trial. About how Nicole was so understanding to my absurdity, about how Nicole wanted to be close to Reinst all this time…
Then, Nicole—or the dream world’s Nicole’s words rang in my mind.
[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.]
My eyes started to sting as I recalled her words. Her gaze at me. And how we—Reinst and Nicole—weren’t able to be good friends in the end.
I was so moved by these thoughts that I—for the first time—initiated a hug with Nicole. A tight one at that. And I buried my face to Nicole’s body so nobody could tell what expression I was making.
Nicole…I’m sorry. I regretted it so much…I’m sorry I can’t grant that wish of yours, even after what you’ve done for me. But…this is the least I can do.
I knew that my feelings won’t get across her like this, I knew that it’d be a bit weird for me to act like this, but just…let me be.
“Oh dear me, Lyra-chan is hugging me! What happened? I’m flattered though! I’ve always wanted a daughter like you!” Nicole happily tapped my back.
I just went silent as I was still emotional. How nice would it be if I could answer to her feelings to me…to Reinst…
I was too stupid for not realizing what a true friend Nicole was.
“…Before we formed a contract, Lyra suffered a fright. In that ‘nightmare’, she lost everyone. That’s why she’s like that. I apologize for scaring her,” Fenrir backed me up quickly.
“Ah, no wonder. Now that I think about it, Big Sis Lyra hugged everyone the moment we reunited,” Ein nodded in understanding.
“Aww, you must’ve suffered quite a fright, huh?” Nicole said as she consoled me.
“…,” I remained silent in this position for a while before I let go of my hug and returned to my mom. After hearing Fenrir’s explanation, Mom couldn’t help but let me sit on her lap and hug me from behind. But thankfully, she seemed to understand a lot about Familiars, contracts, and the trials that she didn’t seem to blame Fenrir a bit.
I felt a little bit embarrassed as I was no longer that young and I was in front of my friends, but for this once…I’ll just let it be. I couldn’t deny the fact that I missed this warmth so, so much.
All of us talked a bit, with the other guardians congratulating me and how they commented that the trip here was really fruitful especially for me. To be frank, I never expected any of this to happen, but I guess fate works in a strange way.
We couldn’t talk for too long as it would be pretty late already, so we finally said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
At that time…
“Won’t you just stay here and go to school together with my girls?” Ristea-san asked Carbuncle, Iris, and Harvey.
“No, thank you. I need to tidy the room and prepare for school,” Iris politely declined.
“Yeah, we can’t let the holiday vibe stays for too long,” Harvey added.
“You heard them,” Carbuncle shrugged.
“Well, alright then. And Briar…,” Ristea-san turned to Briar.
“No, I’ll get in a trouble if I don’t return before school starts. After how I left, too…,” Briar shook her head.
“Alright, then I’ll be accompanying you to return to your house,” Ristea-san said.
“Thank you, Ristea-san,” Briar bowed politely.
“Ah, then I’ll accompany you first,” Carbuncle suddenly suggested.
“Huh, what?” Iris was surprised.
“Yeah, I can scare your family so they won’t have any energy left to scold you, hahaha!” Carbuncle laughed very energetically.
Though her suggestion was quite wild, but for the first time, I agreed on her suggestion.
Thus, it was decided that Briar would be escorted back to her home by Ristea-san, Dmitria, and Valerie…and Carbuncle (plus Iris and Harvey) would be stopping there to give a ‘moral boost’ to Briar.
I was a bit curious of how her family would react, but I know I couldn’t come with them. I bet Carbuncle would be bragging about it soon, so that should do it.
Since it was all settled, we finally separated and went on our journey home. The journey home didn’t take much time thanks to the development of magic and transportation technology, and it wasn’t like we could enjoy the night scenery leisurely anyway. But maybe I’d like to suggest having a night ‘drive’ just to enjoy the nature during the night.
When we returned home, Dad wasn’t there yet. Mom said that Dad had a business to attend to, and he would be returning soon.
“Clavis, you’re back! You didn’t cause any trouble there, right?” Niina greeted Clavis.
“Of course not!” Clavis said in protest.
“Haha, that’s my boy…Eh wait, why are you bringing a friend home?” Niina turned to look at Fenrir.
“I’m not a wolf friend of his. I am Fenrir, Lyra’s Familiar,” Fenrir was quick to correct the misunderstanding.
“Aaaa, the wolf spoke!” Niina probably thought of Fenrir as a wolf monster, so she didn’t expect Fenrir to be able to speak. Thus, she couldn’t hide her surprise.
Sure, when Fenrir was at this size, he didn’t look like a mythical magical beast. Hope Fenrir wasn’t offended by her…
‘Your family and friends sure are amusing.’
I thought that Fenrir would be a prideful and aloof wolf by the way we first met, but turns out that Fenrir liked teasing people and found their reactions amusing. Perhaps he had been away from others for way too long that interactions like this amused him a lot.
‘Sigh, you were so menacing and intimidating when I accidentally trespassed your territory, so I thought you’d be quick to get angry or offended…I’m glad that wasn’t the case,’ I muttered in my head, addressing it to Fenrir.
‘Well, this and that are different matters. Now that I’ve decided I wanted to stay by your side, of course I have to adapt. Once I decide on something, I go all out,’ Fenrir answered.
‘So, you meant to tell me that you decided to be on a full hermit mode before we made a contract, and that’s why you were so menacing at that time?’
‘Clever girl. I wasn’t wrong in my choice.’
I sighed. I wasn’t used to this gap yet, but I was really glad Fenrir could get along well with me, my family, and friends.
When we were done putting our things, the twins quickly wanted to play with Fenrir. Surprisingly, Fenrir let them do that along with Rurune.
‘Children are so pure, I don’t mind,’ he told me via telepathy. This form of telepathy was only possible between us as we formed a contract. Mom said that she and Fenix could do a similar thing, while Dad and Phyllo—since Phyllo couldn’t talk, it was a bit different.
Not long after that, while waiting for dinner, Dad finally returned home.
“I’m home, where are my beloved children? Come here, Daddy misses you all–,” He said as he extended his hands—then he stopped when his gaze met Fenrir’s.
Again, Fenrir was so professional as he quickly stood up—the twins luckily let him go—and walked to Dad before introducing himself as my Familiar.
“Lyra has a Familiar too now? Not to mention that you look strong, Fenrir. Please take good care of my daughter,” Dad said as he shook hands with Fenrir.
“Hmm? I’m amused. No one seems to be afraid that I’m evil or dangerous to your daughter?” Fenrir amusingly asked.
“Heh, if any, I’ve learned that beasts are more trustworthy than humans. Plus, my daughter’s clever, she will definitely know if you’re harmful to her,” Dad said.
“Hoo? Beasts are more trustworthy…Human, you are amusing. I think we can get along well,” Fenrir chuckled.
With that, Fenrir bonded just fine with the rest of the family. No problem arose, and I was glad. Perhaps I should’ve expected this outcome as Mom and Dad both have Familiars, and so does Alt-nii. They know how a bond with Familiars is like, so my initial worry was proven to be a waste of emotional stress.
Dad then proceeded to hug all of us one by one. And when it was my turn, I returned a very tight hug back to him, much to his delight.
The things I saw during my dream trial still affected me, so I couldn’t help but want to hug my dad so tightly. I almost lost him if that dream trial were a reality. That thought was so frightening. Plus, my family’s condition was a lot worse than now, so…
I’m glad it’s all just a dream. I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to have Mom and Dad as my parents. I’m glad I was reborn as Lyra…
Still, we couldn’t escape from my family’s questioning during dinner. I briefly told them about our accidental encounter and how I was able to overcome Fenrir’s trial, prompting him to form a contract with me.
As to what kind of trial it was specifically about…Of course I omitted that detail and kept it vague. Fenrir helped me to tell our story together. I could tell that he was really a pro at it, as expected of a Familiar who’s lived for a long time, and who’s had several partners before![Achievement unlocked: Getting a Familiar~✰]
Plus, from now on I have someone I can safely talk to about my past life as Reinst…I wonder what the future will hold for me after my chance encounter with Fenrir?