“Happy thirteenth birthday, Lyra!”
Just right when the clock hit the 00:00 mark on Day 25 Month 7 Year 983, my family entered my room while carrying a cake with several candles lighted on top of it.
I was lying on my bed, trying to drift to sleep yet still failed, so I woke up with relatively no difficulty when they sang me a birthday song.
The first thing that came to my mind upon opening my eyes was… ‘Holy Aion-sama, it’s midnight already? I tried sleeping earlier because I had my big day coming for me, but I hadn’t yet succeeded and now, that big day is already here?!’
And the second thing that I thought of was… ‘How unusual. We usually had our family’s small celebration the morning before the party… Why now?’
I remembered that on Alt-nii’s thirteenth birthday, we didn’t have this kind of surprise midnight party.
More importantly, Freyr and Freyja were still awake?!
“Blow the candles and ask Aion-sama for a wish!” Freyja said with her sparkling eyes.
No matter how dumbfounded I was, I still followed Freyja’s instruction obediently. One, because I didn’t want to delay things further and have the candles melt and destroy the cake… Two, how could I refuse?
As for my wish…
Aion-sama, may I continue to have these kinds of peaceful days in my life. May I be surrounded by the people that I love and the people that love me sincerely. May I be happy in this lifetime. Thank you for everything you’ve given me.
I sincerely prayed from the bottom of my heart as I scanned the faces of my beloved family members who took their time to be here with me, in celebrating my special thirteenth birthday.
“Why did you guys suddenly think of surprising me like this?” I asked after my family finished congratulating me and I finished thanking them.
“It’s Alt-nii’s idea,” Freyr quickly pointed to Alt-nii.
I turned to look at Alt-nii with an inquiring look.
“Ah. I was actually too nervous to sleep the night before my thirteenth birthday, so I went knocking our parents’ door. I thought you’d be the same, so I planned this to help you with the nervousness,” Alt-nii said.
Hee… I didn’t know Alt-nii experienced something like that. How thoughtful of him.
“But…,” Alt-nii suddenly continued, “It seems like you aren’t as nervous as I thought you’d be.”
“Eh, no, that isn’t true. I was nervous!”
“But you were sleeping.”
“I tried, but I couldn’t sleep that well. Or I wouldn’t wake up that easily, would I? Anyway, thank you so much for surprising me!” I said, ending our small argument.
Our parents laughed looking at us bickering like that. Then, they gave me the cake’s knife, so I began cutting it.
Though I had already broken from my previous life as Reinst, it was inevitably part of myself, so I couldn’t help but compare the lives I had experienced from time to time.
When I was Reinst, I didn’t really have much to look forward to, even for my thirteenth birthday. I only thought of how bothersome the coming-of-age ceremony would be, with all the formalities needed and such. How I’d be expected to have an engagement with the prince at that time… Things like that.
Obviously, there was nobody by Reinst’s side that was willing to celebrate her thirteenth birthday like this.
But now, as Lyra, I had the people dear to me, going out of their way to put a small celebration for me.
Though it was late at night, and we shouldn’t be snacking like this, today was special, so we went to eat the birthday cake together while having a chat to lighten my mood.
“Just think of it like your other birthdays, even if it’s going to be grander than them,” Mom said.
“Yeah. You’ve done really well ever since your debut to the society, so you’ll just be fine, I believe,” Dad added.
“Let me tell you a secret, Lyra,” Alt-nii said as he approached my ears and said mysteriously.
“Even if you get acknowledged as an adult when you turn thirteen, it doesn’t really feel like anything changes. I thought that once I had my coming-of-age ceremony, some kind of a magical switch would flip, and I’d be like the adults that I once imagined I’d be. But the truth is, I feel like everything is the same?”
I laughed upon hearing his imagination.
Honestly, I had only tasted becoming thirteen for a very short while as Reinst, so I might haven’t experienced that before. But as my second coming-of-age ceremony approached, I felt what Alt-nii just said.
When we were but small children, we thought of the adults as some kind of a different species, but in truth, when we became adults ourselves, it felt as if nothing significantly changed. Perhaps because adulting was more of a process?
“Alright, don’t forget to brush your teeth, wash your face, and sleep,” Mom clapped her hands and all of us simply went to the bathroom together.
With that, our small midnight party came to an end.
“Good night, Lyra. Rest well,” Dad said as he was about to close the door to my room after escorting me back. Incidentally, I was the last one to be escorted.
Now. I think it has to be now.
“Dad, Mom, wait,” I said as I clenched my fists together.
Both of them halted their movements.
“Can we talk for a bit?” I asked.
Fenrir, who was lying on my bed, looked at me with eyes that seemed to know what I was planning on doing. He decided to close his eyes, perhaps not wanting to be noticed and disrupting our parents-daughter bonding time.
“Sure,” Dad said as he entered the room back, followed by Mom, who closed the door.
The three of us sat on my bed with our sleepwear. I sat between the two of them.
“What is it, Lyra? Are you nervous?” Dad asked as he gently caressed my cheek.
“Mm, it’s not that,” I said.
“Anything bothering you?” Mom asked.
I wasn’t sure how to say it, but I felt like I had to say it now, or I won’t get another chance and the determination to do it.
At the very least, I owed the people who brought me into this world this explanation.
“You see, I… had a secret,” I stood up, turned around to face my parents, and hung my head down as my fingers played with the ribbon on my dress.
All my life, I felt guilty to my current parents as I thought I robbed their ‘normal daughter’ from them. I even thought that my soul accidentally possessed their daughter’s body. In truth, it was such a nonsense. I was reincarnated as their daughter; I didn’t rob them anything.
Without me being reincarnated as Lyra, their daughter might not even exist at all. I had always been their daughter. No one else.
So, I wanted to let them know. For they deserved to know.
“You don’t have to force yourself, Lyra,” Dad caressed my cheek when he saw me hesitating and my hands trembling.
I quickly walked away from his hand and shook my head.
“No, I want to say it. Let me say it,” I insisted.
“Alright, take your time, Lyra,” Mom’s gentle voice calmed me down.
I took a deep breath before I began talking with a slightly trembling voice.
“You see, I… ever since I was born, I had memories… of when I lived as someone else. Memories of my past life…”
I finally said it. There’s no going back now.
“I can’t tell you… who I was before… But that’s why I was calm and more mature than my age as a child… and other odd stuff about me… that’s the explanation…”
Then, I lifted my head as I looked at them.
“And that’s why… I want to thank you… for becoming my parents… and for always showering me with love. I’m really, really grateful I was born as your daughter…”
Then, I hung my head down again, as I was too afraid to look at my parents’ expressions.
I hope they don’t view me as a weirdo… I hope this revelation won’t change the way they look and interact with me…
Deep in my heart, I knew it wouldn’t happen, but I was still afraid…
I closed my eyes when my parents called my name.
But the next thing I felt was the warm embrace of my parents.
“Well done!” They said as they caressed my head.
“Thank you for confiding about it to us,” Mom said.
“It must have been hard,” Dad said.
“Eh…?” I was surprised at their reactions. But in a positive way.
“Truth is, we’ve had a hunch about it… but we didn’t want to force you to say something you didn’t want us to know,” Mom said.
“You… did?” I was surprised. No wonder I didn’t see their surprised expressions. They knew. They already knew. Yet all this time, their treatment to me never changed…
“Remember Lyra, don’t be too hard on yourself,” Dad suddenly said.
“Eh…?” I didn’t understand.
“You see, you’re special in how you could remember your past life. But even so… Even if you’re special, you are still just a girl. Just like how Altaire is special in how he is able to use [Void] magic, he is still just a boy. You two are still our children. We won’t fear or view you any different because of it. And even if you have difficulties in life, even if you were to fail, even if you feel like you’re not extraordinary… It’s alright. We only want you to be happy,” Dad explained.
“That’s right. It’d be our greatest joy to see you happy. Even if you were to become someone worshipped by the whole world, if you are unhappy, we wouldn’t like that,” Mom said.
And in response to their selfless words, the tears that threatened themselves to fall from my eyes finally dripped to my cheeks.
“Thank you…,” I could only utter those words amidst my sobbing.
As they calmed me down, I shamelessly clung to their embrace, feeling their warmth that felt like a miracle to me.
Not everyone was as lucky as me, getting a redo chance in life, and finally being born with one of my greatest wishes being granted.
Therefore, I should embrace this sweet gift from the mischievous god and not overthink about unnecessary things.
Thank you, thank you.