We were spending the break time as usual. Eating together while talking with one another. Today was the same as well. But now, it was just us, the ones who were in Intermediate Level: me, Iris, Carbuncle, Luca, Kiri, Briar, Dmitria, Valerie, and Ein.
Being the first day of the school, the topic revolved around how our brains still in a holiday mode, and how we wanted to have more holidays…
And another topic was…obviously our memorable trip that happened very recently.
“Briar, how was it with your family?”
Obviously, this was my first question when we were all together. Honestly, I could’ve asked Carbuncle and Iris since they were there, but I just forgot about it earlier…Seeing Briar’s face made me remember about how curious I was.
“Aneki! I’m fine, thank you for worrying about me! Thanks to Ristea-san and the others, they didn’t punish me or anything…Ehehe! I’m happy!” Briar smiled from ear to ear.
I raised my eyebrow in curiosity. I wonder what the full story to it, seeing Briar seemingly in a very good mood over this topic. I turned to look at the one who should know the full story…from Valerie and Dmitria…Carbuncle…to…Iris.
Iris was the only one who flinched when I eyed her like this.
Am I that scary?
“I will be glad to explain it to you, Aneki,” Valerie giggled, “Fufufu.”
Thus, all ears were on Valerie.
“You see…Being on a lower social position than the Remus family, Briar’s parents kind of looked down on Mother…”
“I’m sorry for it…,” Briar muttered lowly.
“Don’t be. We understand. Sadly, we’ve come across other nobles like this too,” Valerie said.
“Heh, they all look down on us, but I know our family’s the best! I mean, who owns a ranch with so many awesome beasts inside it, right?” Dmitria balled her fist.
“That’s right! Your family is awesome!” I nodded wholeheartedly.
“Your family can easily rise up in rank, you know?” Luca chimed in.
“Yeah, right?!” Dmitria was more pumped after hearing my and Luca’s encouragement. Nah, perhaps the credit goes to Luca. His words as the future king hold much power!
“Ahem, thank you for your compliments. Back to the topic at hand. As expected, Briar’s mother didn’t hold back and disagreed with Mother’s words, attempting to vouch for Briar. Briar’s mother seemed like she was ready to scold Briar after that,” Valerie narrated.
“I actually don’t mind that, as long as I won’t cause Ristea-san, Dmitria, and Valerie any trouble,” Briar said bitterly.
“But then, a certain someone popped her head inside…,” Valerie said as her eyes drifted off to Carbuncle, who happened to be yawning at the moment. Our eyes were all focused on such Carbuncle.
“And Briar’s mother seemed to have an eye contact with her! Oh, how funny! It seemed as if blood was drained off her face instantly!!” Valerie chuckled.
“Even her stern father’s expression changed! I sensed fear! Hah!” Dmitria added.
“Uh, no offense to your parents, Briar,” Valerie quickly said.
“No, I don’t care even if you badmouth them,” Briar shook her head.
“Oh?” Carbuncle finally paid an attention to us. She then said, “Ah, about that? Yeah, I just said, ‘O Briar, if you have anything you need my help in, just tell me~’ and they all went pale, hahaha!”
Carbuncle was practically bragging. Her face seemed to say, ‘Ain’t I mighty?’
W-well, Briar’s parents were probably scared witless upon witnessing Carbuncle’s transformation into a dragon. We all knew that a single member of the dragon race could easily trample a mere human family in mere seconds. But I knew Carbuncle was bluffing. The most she’d do was bully them.
After all, despite the dragonkin’s stance of not wanting to get involved with the other races as they found the others troublesome and unworthy, the dragons all agreed they won’t cause any unnecessary trouble with other races unless they were threatened first. Beside, Carbuncle had already signed a peace agreement with King Titus when she was permitted to stay here.
“Briar’s mother quickly changed her opinion and nodded to Mother’s words! Briar’s father was all silent. In the end, they left just like that. And Briar was free to go back to her room as if nothing happened…At least that’s what we think, what happened in reality, Briar?” Valerie asked. But we could already guess what had happened in reality from Briar’s happy expression.
“Mother and Father tried to act as if nothing happened. Sadly, Prim wasn’t there, so she didn’t know what happened. She wanted to make a big deal of me ‘sneaking out to play with my friends’, but my parents just told her to drop it. She was confused!” Briar explained.
“Did your parents treat you better?” I asked.
“…Not really, but they didn’t punish or scold me after that. They also didn’t nag me about this and that, which made me happy enough! I’m finally back to dorm, ah freedom~,” Briar stretched.
“That’s good to know!” I sighed in relief.
I guess some parents were hardy in nature. Briar’s parents were typical of this. They might think that they were right, and if anyone were to tell them otherwise, they would just scold them off. Unless they were of higher social position, they might sweet-talk them…
“Really, I should’ve come and helped too. Mom could have helped a lot…,” I muttered.
“Ehh? No need to trouble yourself or your parents, Aneki! I’d feel bad if you need to use your higher social position just to pressure my parents…,” Briar quickly shook her head.
“Yes, you and your family don’t seem like the typical nobles who’d flaunt your authority and use it for things like this,” Valerie said.
“True…I never thought of doing that, honestly…,” I nodded.
“That’s a good thing! As expected of Big Sis Lyra!” Ein enthusiastically nodded as well.
“Yes, and it won’t look good for nobles to meddle in the others’ home matters. It is a different thing if it is about an official or business matter…,” Luca added.
“Hmmm…I wish I can help more,” I said.
“You’re already helping me enough, Aneki!” Briar said as she grabbed my hands.
“R-really? I’m glad if you think so…,” I said.
After that, we still talked about our experiences in the Flugel’s residence. Thankfully, Dmitria asked, “How do you feel, going to our residence and ranch for the first time?”
Just as I hoped.
“I’ve been to other ranches and farms before when Father brought me along to inspect the areas. But I’ve never really got immersed in the ranches and did things like taking care of the monsters and playing with them,” Luca said.
“I thought that the monsters would be scary, but they’re all quite friendly!” Kiri said.
“Hah, you just didn’t get to meet with the problematic bunches. Ah, Autzag is a mild example,” Dmitria said.
“That, mild?!” I was surprised.
“Yes, at least Autzag is still friendly. We have some that we’re in the middle of taming,” Valerie answered.
Understandable. They wouldn’t want us to be injured by any chance. There were small children, too. It made sense why they didn’t show us everything.
“I’ve been to animal ranches, but it’s my first time in a monster ranch. It’s a bit scary since I was used to the notion of having monsters as enemies and something I should fear,” Iris said before she smiled, “but they’re all cute and it was fun!”
“It’s pretty okay. They’re all afraid of me, as expected,” Carbuncle chuckled.
“It’s really fun! I lived and grew up in the North Riviera that has little to no ranches or farms. It’s pretty much an advanced area, so everything was new to me! I thought it might be a bit of a hassle going to a rural area, but it was fun!” Ein said.
“If you thought it might be a bit of a hassle, then why did you join?” Kiri blinked.
“Because Big Sis Lyra’s there, of course!” Ein proudly said.
“Huh??” I didn’t expect my name to come up there.
“So, city boy, which do you prefer: rural area or urban?” Dmitria asked, but her expression seemed to bet that Ein would choose the rural area.
“Urban, obviously! Nothing beats the advancement of culture and technology!” Ein said.
“No, modernization in everything can be detrimental. You’re so young, but I can tell you’re already addicted to the practicality of the modernization. Nature offers much more fun and internal growth, you know?” Dmitria argued back.
“What? What’s the point of modernization if it doesn’t make our lives more convenient and practical? Why choose something that’s less convenient? You guys are definitely using modern technologies too!” Ein argued again.
“Yes, but we don’t use them as much as you city people! You’re too dependent on modern technologies, you’re all going to be doomed when they suddenly malfunction!”
“Nah, it won’t happen!”
I…was hoping it would turn to Ein telling stories about his hometown, but I certainly didn’t expect things to get this heated!
I need to stop them!
I clapped my hands very loudly.
“Alright, alright! Instead of arguing without any concrete experience, how about visiting Ein’s hometown next?” I asked.
“Huh?” Everyone turned their confused heads at me.
“I mean, I’m pretty curious about how life’s like in Ein’s area. Ein’s house is so big and it’s located in one of the biggest and the most modern cities in Riviera…,” I said.
Before I could add, ‘Instead of arguing to Dmitria, why not prove it to her that life in your hometown is better, Ein?’, Ein already asked, “Wanna sleep over in my home, Big Sis Lyra?”
His eyes turned all sparkly. He was evidently excited by this idea.
“Eh, we can? I mean, some visits might be good enough…,” I asked, pretending to be reserved.
“It’s not enough! Visiting and staying are different! And of course you can! Anything for you, Big Sis Lyra!”
“Whoa whoa, hang in there. The point is to prove to us, country bumkins, that life in a big city is much better, right? Why did you specifically mention Aneki…just Aneki alone?” Valerie’s eagle eyes glared at Ein.
“Yeah, yeah! I won’t let you do anything to Aneki!” Briar protectively hugged me.
Uhm, Briar, Ein is just a young boy…It’s not like he can do anything, right? I’m older and stronger than him, surely!
Ein remained unmoved as he sighed, “Fine. I’m inviting you all! It’s my turn to become the host!”
“Will your parents agree with it? Don’t just decide on your own,” Luca reminded.
“I’m sure they’ll agree! Let’s just plan everything out!” Ein said with confidence.
“Uhm, better ask first…,” Kiri said.
“I know my parents. Well, what about this weekend?” Ein asked.
“Sure, your parents might agree. But we haven’t told our parents too,” Luca reminded.
“Then we all have a homework of asking our parents tonight. Let’s plan everything tomorrow then,” Ein said confidently. He was very confident that we’d get our parents’ permissions.
“We need to inform the dorm manager too,” Briar reminded.
Since it was settled, the argument between Ein and Dmitria also stopped. Or more precisely, postponed until the stayover is done…?
But whatever, mission accomplished anyway!
During my way home from school that day, I told Alt-nii, Freyr, Freyja, and Clavis of what happened and they were all eager to come to Ein’s place.
Thankfully and as I predicted, my parents allowed us to go. Since we were all good after having a staycation in the Flugel’s, a shorter staycation in the Loera’s main residence would be fine as well.
The next day when we all gathered, everyone gave their positive responses, so obviously…it was settled. We’d be going to stay at Ein’s place for this weekend!
‘Fenrir, mission accomplished! We can start our strategy so soon! I’m…nervous, actually.’[It will be your first time doing it. It’s natural.]
‘Do you think it’s safe enough?’[Worry not. I have a confidence that it is.]
‘Uuu…I am nervous, Fenrir!’[It’s still a few days away.]
‘It’s ONLY a few days away! I can’t believe I’m going to do this. I don’t feel like I’m ready.’[Judging from your character, when will you be ready? Do you want to be stuck with this until you’re older?]
And the nights where I talked with Fenrir about the strategy began…Mostly it was me expressing my unreadiness to Fenrir while messing his majestic fur all around. I swear, Fenrir’s really patient! I acted pretty childish, but he didn’t even scold me.
…Ironically, he knew my mental age, but I still acted childish in front of him, aaaah…
When I agonized myself over this, Fenrir just said, “Nah, I just know you’d be like this.”
The more important something is, the more nervous you are. That’s just how the world works.