Mother’s words immediately caused my brain to be blank.
What did she mean by that?
She just talked to Luca and then moved to eye me and that was her first words…? Wouldn’t that mean she was saying…?!
But how could that be??
Nevertheless, my body reflexively formed a greeting to Mother, who also curtseyed me in return.
“Excuse me, Dahlia-san, but what did you mean by those words?” I asked.
“It’s exactly as I said. Aren’t you going to be the crown prince’s fiancée soon?” Mother said as if it was a matter of fact.
“Uhm… I don’t follow… Where did you hear about it?” I tilted my head slightly.
“There were rumors circulating for quite some time.”
“Rumors are just rumors.”
“But there won’t be a smoke without fire. The rumor’s got to have some basis. I was even assuming that the ones who started it were…”
Her words stopped there, but I understood what she was thinking.
She thought that the engagement between me and Luca would be happening, and perhaps it would be announced in the future. It was something set in stone. As for the rumors, if it wasn’t from other people catching wind of the matter, it could be the ones involved who tried to let the rumor out.
After all, there was once a rumor about two noble children’s engagement that was created by one of the parties involved. With the rumors such as “A and B are such perfect couple!” or “They were truly a match in heaven…”, even if it wasn’t true at first, the other party would be intrigued to find out more why the rumors would happen. Then, the probability of the rumors coming true would increase. Besides, such a tactic could discourage other people from trying to get close to the parties involved, for they were rumored to be betrothed.
Of course, there were some rumors created to become a trap, or to scheme others…
Words have such amazing power, so we must be careful for our own words.
“No, Dahlia-san. The rumors might be there because I am the crown prince’s best friend… but in the end, we’re just best friends,” I said.
“Oh? Then, what about the royal family’s opinions? Your parents’?” Dahlia probed.
The topic of the royal family’s matters, especially matters such as engagements and unions between them has always been the hot topic among nobles, especially noble women. Forming a connection with the future members of the royal family would be beneficial, especially if nurtured from an early stage.
I could understand why Mother was especially keen of it, despite not having relatives to be matched with the members of the royal family.
…Or was there none at all?
Or she was simply interested in this topic because of… me? Because of Reinst in the past and how I was sometimes compared to her?
It wasn’t odd for the best queen candidate to be rumored to the previous generation’s best queen candidate.
“We’ve talked about it before. Our parents will leave it up to us. They don’t have any plans on betrothing us without our agreements,” I said.
“Hmm… We’ll see about that in the future. As a parent myself, I understand very well their thoughts,” Mother said.
My current parents are very different from you. They definitely won’t think like you.
I reflexively said in my mind, and it was at that time that I realized.
As the years passed by, I didn’t seem to be very hung up with my past self’s parents as much as I did before. It was easy to not get so hung up to Father, for I was never close to him, and I never really cared about him as much as I did with Mother.
As for Mother… I was obsessed with her and her affection as Reinst. But now, I didn’t seem to care that much…
Sure, I was still curious about her feelings towards me as Reinst, but that was it.
A lot had happened in my life as Lyra and who knows what or when did I start feeling this way…
In this case, should I still…?
In the first place, how should I plant Fenrir’s mark to Mother and Father? Doing the same antics as I did with Domi before would surely be a little bit too much, right?
Should I let it go or…[Don’t be afraid to face her. You can plant my mark by going through her shadows, thankfully, since you are a dark magic user. However, it’s going to be more complicated and tiring.]
Fenrir’s voice resounded in my mind.
Afraid to face Mother? Me…?
…Aah, yes. Perhaps deep down, I knew the answer all along. I just didn’t want to hear it from her directly…
But even so, Fenrir urged me to continue because he knew there was a part of me that was still so hung up on Mother. After all, she was like the center of my world as Reinst for the thirteen years I lived through.
‘I thought I had to physically come in contact with the target or the object closest to them, like their clothes… So there is that way, too?’ I asked in my heart.[Yes, but as I said, it’s harder. I never told you before because of that. But you’ve planted my marks several times and you’ve also improved in terms of dark magic power. Let’s try it out. If it fails, you can just act like you’re dumb or if you’re too clumsy.]
…Dumb or too clumsy?
Two scenarios ran in my head.
The first one was I pretended to be clumsy, tripped on my own dress, fell and my hands touched her skirt in the middle of my fall… But that would embarrass me so much!
The second one… Play dumb…
“Do inform me if you’re really going to be the crown prince’s fiancée. As the mother of the previous best candidate, I might be able to give you or your mother some words of advice,” Mother said.
“Ah, Dahlia-san! The fan you’re using is so pretty! Can I try it?” I said, pretending to not comprehend her words and obviously stirred the topic to… something very ridiculous.
‘Is this girl’s EQ so low or is she dumb?’ …might be what Mother would have in mind in this scenario…
No, no, no! I gotta succeed in the alternative way Fenrir just told me!
Determined, I tried to multitask. One was to keep talking with Dahlia-san. Luckily, my friends joined in the conversation as they supported my words. Another task I was doing was… making sure that my foot touched Mother’s shadow and tried to slowly give Fenrir’s mark to Mother.
I wasn’t sure if I was doing it correctly or not, it was hard to tell.
Thankfully, Fenrir told me that it was successfully planted.
Before I could rest, Father walked over to Mother and their shadows were joined. Fenrir immediately told me to try marking Father using the same way—shadow transfer.
Thus, I successfully planted three marks to my previous self’s family members.
Although I wasn’t sure anymore if I wanted to go as Reinst and ask them… especially the elders—Mother and Father.
But Fenrir kept saying ‘better safe than sorry’ and it wasn’t easy to get this chance, so I planted them just in case.
The party ended without any notable difficulty or event other than my successfully planting Fenrir’s marks on all remaining targets.
When I returned and finished tidying up, I laid on my bed with Fenrir by my side.
I started talking to him with a low voice.
“Fen, I don’t think I really need to see Mother and Father as Reinst… I mean, I already know the answer all along… I was doing better too. I no longer felt heavy due to my dark magic when I met them. So…”
“Despite all that, I know you still feel nervous when you met them earlier. And even if you know the answer, you still want to make sure, right?”
“But… What happens after I hear the answer from them? What for? How should I respond?” I asked.
“I’m sure you will find out the answers by that time. I just feel that it’s necessary for you to talk with them one last time as Reinst,” Fenrir said.
“Uh… I see… I wonder if I will feel much better after that. I’m starting to feel detached to my old self by now already… Yes, I’ve been living for… almost twelve years now, and I will soon catch up with my old self’s age… That might be why.”
“Is that all you want to know?” Fenrir asked.
“Hmmm… There is one more thing, but it’s difficult,” I said as I sighed before I continued, “I want to know why I had to live as Reinst first before becoming Lyra. What’s the meaning of my life as Reinst? It was quite meaningless, don’t you think…?”
“I don’t think so,” Fenrir said.
“How so?” I blinked and argued, “It would be much better if I were to be born as Lyra directly, no?”
That would save me so much heartache and my potential in magic would soar better as I would have no qualms with dark magic that way…
“You seem to forget something,” Fenrir said.
“What is it?” I asked.
“The past forms the present.”
“The past… forms the present…”
“That’s right. If you were never Reinst before you were reborn, I’m sure the you who’s here won’t be ‘you’. I doubt things will unfold the same way as they are now. For example, I’m not sure I will still become your Familiar. Without your past experiences as Reinst, many things will change,” Fenrir reminded me.
That might be true.
No, that’s got to be true.
I was just too absorbed in the ‘what ifs’ and wanted an easier way of living. Without the past life’s chains bothering me, my life would be easier.
But at the same time, without them, I won’t be the way I am right now.
It was so obvious… How foolish of me.
“But that’s not enough. I want something more concrete. Like…,” my eyes widened as I remembered, “Like for example, my cell donation…! I still want to find out if my cells were ever used and who it saved…”
Then I slumped on my bed, “But that’s quite impossible as the matter such as cell donation is confidential. I don’t really want to climb in the hierarchy of the health system just to access the information…”
Another way was to ask those who could access the information. I had no connection to anyone in the health system, but I knew the royal family… Even so, there was no way I could ask this question, right?
Another method was to be part of the royal family, but that would mean…
No, I want to marry for love, not for any gains like that…
“I might never find out the answer of this question in this lifetime… Oh my… That light god told me to find out myself before reincarnating me, but how the heck am I supposed to find it out myself this way?” I shifted the blame to the light god. Yes, things would be much simpler if they were to tell me!
“Going by the assumption that the light god is indeed… a ‘god’, I think there might be a way,” Fenrir said.
“That’s it, my brain will be fried. I find no way at all…”
“Then let’s just put it aside. If such an opportunity really comes, we can grab it. If not, can you just focus on living your life now?” Fenrir asked.
“That’s what I’m thinking about. I just hope my curiosity can fade away…”
But they’re eating me alive, I need answers!!
“Let’s just focus on the matter at hand. My marks won’t last too long. Let’s see someone tonight,” Fenrir said.
“Uh… Then, I’ll go with Domi first… can I?”
It’s easier to speak with the same generation as me, even if I don’t think there are a lot I can talk to Domi about. Heck, will he even recognize me as his sister?
But I am indeed curious about his life now. And if I have any influence at all in his life. And… Adel.
Since I’ve gone through the pains of planting Fenrir’s mark on him, let’s just make good use of it!