Day 25 Month 7 Year 976. It’s that time of the year. My sixth birthday celebration!!
Though I am anxious with the noble party held this evening, I’m also excited at the same time.
In the morning, my family would gather to lightly celebrate my birthday on our own. I’m quite sad that this little celebration of ours won’t last that long, as we have to prepare for the party quickly after this.
Altaire gave me a set of weird-looking metallic hair accessories. I could twin-tail my hair using them, but somehow the design strikes me off as weird. Alt-nii gestured to keep it silent, and whispered that he would explain the significance of the detail once I enrolled to school.
Clavis-nii seems to know what it is, as he gasped a bit, and whispered, “Seriously?” to Alt-nii when I opened it. To which Alt-nii only chuckled.
Taking my curiosity aside, the accessories set was sturdy and simple, so I think they would be my default hair accessories later on at school.
“Lyra, I will give my present to you tomorrow, after you’re done with your final magic test,” Mom said. Hmm, I wonder what kind of present that she has in mind?
“So, Lyra,” Dad said, “you will be attending school this year… and I think it might be better to learn melee combats, even if we are magician family. Nah wait, I think this family has gone towards the spy family direction, haha. Anyway, your choice, Lyra. Do you want to have a melee weapon, or do you prefer to just rely on magic?”
Learning and using magic is fun.
But, I feel insecure if all of a sudden, I can’t use the magic, or there is a situation where I have to rely on weapons and physical strength.
Besides, I can’t deny my love towards swordsmanship.
I was forced to learn lots of things in my past life, but swordsmanship is an exception. I usually swung my sword in the practice ground whenever I was stressed or I was thinking about something. I voluntarily practiced and learned more about swordsmanship. Remember that I improvised on my own.
So, of course, I’m going to answer Dad with…
“I want to have a weapon!”
“I see. And that’s why you’re going to need your very own weapon. This weekend, let’s go and buy the weapon you want to learn. That will be my birthday present this year.”
I am so excited. I can finally wield swords once again! What’s more, I can pick up my own weapon, this time! I don’t have to use the prepared family swords—ah, but maybe it’s better to pick a similar design, so I won’t have a lot of difficulties in adjusting.
“Do you have something in mind?”
I answered without any hesitation.
“Ooh, as expected of Lyra! Remember, Mom, Dad, I told you how Lyra was so good at using her ice sword from that incident!! I’m excited to see Lyra’s performance with swords!!” Altaire supported me enthusiastically.
“Haha, we also would love to witness that,” Mom chuckled.
“Just be careful not to hurt yourself, okay, Lyra?” Dad is as protective as ever.
Yes, since my parents weren’t there to witness my swordsmanship skills, they thought that Altaire was only dramatizing things and they focused on training my magic (especially the defensive magic) after that incident.
Also, no more news regarding that incident… I wonder if Miss Trouble is still alive or since she’s injured, could she be…
I lightly shook my head. No use thinking about it now.
Yes, right now, I need to seriously think on how I can explain if there are some similarities of my swordsmanship to Grabberton’s style.
God, please present me the way for my sixth birthday gift!!
Time quickly passes by and all the preparation has been arranged. Once again, I am reminded of how the previous Hartmann family’s house was so, so big. No wonder Dad turned it for public use to gain more funds to compensate the previous Duke’s wrongdoings and to invest in the East Area’s prospect. It’s kinda like a hall we can rent for many uses. Seems like some people have had their weddings here.
But now, this venue is specially decorated for my sixth birthday.
Blue flags with green wings symbols are spread throughout the venue. Other decorations such as flowers and balloons are there, as well.
Mom made me wear an elegant blue dress and put my hair on twin-tails—with green feather decorations.
Having to wear clothes with the blue-green combination is bound to make me bored someday, but thankfully they always picked up a different shade of colors and style of dresses. If there are patterns in different colors, they’re also pardoned.
I went up to the balcony and peeked at the incoming guests downstairs.
While most people are using the typical and cheapest transportation such as normal carriages (the types being drawn by horses or other animals/monsters), there are also some who use mana carriages. As expected, nobody came here using bicycle… They don’t want to ruin their clothes or make-ups before the party begins.
Those who use mana carriages must be from well-off families. Ah, right, see? That lady in such a flamboyant dress… and that man with extravagant clothes…
I bet most of them traveled here using carriages or mana carriages. The underground mana train might be a choice, too, but they had to rent carriages after their train journey, though. The ones in other islands might have to use ships or flying ships… I wonder how many people used the expensive teleportation service?
…Oh right, so far I’ve only seen my family using normal carriages (aside from the kingdom’s provided carriages, but they also take normal carriages often)… Are we living frugally so we can save up more… or our financial condition is that bad? Or is it just that they like riding the normal carriages more?
Oops, someone tried to look up towards the balcony, so I ran back inside.
Next, I kept peering restlessly towards the crowds from back-stage.
Hmm, I wonder if Luca and Kiri will come?
“Lyra, it’s about time.”
Mom kindly told me.
“Are you ready?”
“Uh-uh,” I nodded. This kind of thing—well I’ve been way too used to it.
After I’m finished with the introductory speech (I think I did well in conducting myself in noble lady manners)—it’s time for the nobles to greet me. My face might become stiff again from smiling all the time.
But no matter.
I’m well prepared for it.
But what I’m unprepared for, even if I spent countless nights thinking about it is…
“We meet again, Lyra! Do you still remember me, I wonder? Even if I attended your big brother’s birthday parties, we only spoke during his sixth birthday party, after all…”
Dear anyone who can read my mind right now, shall we play guessing game?
This is an easy question, but anyone can guess who spoke that line from before?
The gentleman in front of me is wearing a gorgeous white suit with Loera family emblem—both his face and his smile is so familiar to me, as it never changed within years. Those amber eyes—that familiar light blonde hair.
My (previous self’s) half-brother is back. Obviously, he would.
“I remember, you’re Clyde-san from Loera family, right?”
I tried to keep my usual smile on—even if I can feel my heart is beating faster compared to when I spoke with the other nobles.
“Correct! Wow, you have a good memory! Congratulations on turning six years old!” He slightly crouched down to pat my head lightly.
…it’s a strange feeling.
Back then, even when we were family, he never did something like this to me. Well, I could understand why. We spent our childhood on rivalry—and we never really got close to each other until the end of my life.
But now, Clyde is way taller and bigger than me, acts more mature than me, and is patting my head like how one would pat a child’s.
I never knew Clyde could be this gentle.
Wait, no… I think I danced with him once, and the way he led me was gentle.
His swordsmanship was fierce and intense, though.
“Ah, so this is the child you told me about!”
That voice broke my nostalgia.
From right behind Clyde, a familiar-yet-unfamiliar woman appeared and presented herself in front of me, with her hand clinging to Clyde’s. Her blonde hair—no, come to think about it, it was blonde but was dyed orange a little bit… I guess I should correct myself and say that it’s marigold-colored? Alright, her marigold hair is the same as ever, she kept it at shoulder length.
What’s more, she used to braid her hair in any style she liked. Now? It didn’t change. She still kept the habit of braiding her hair. I can see that a small portion of her front right hair is braided. It exposed her ear that was wearing a gold-chained earring with cherry decoration.
Cheryll Nicole Loera.
My only friend—if I can really call her one.
Her light blue eyes shone as she examined me.
I can see the little mole just right below her right eye’s corner.
It felt as if she didn’t change—but I can feel how she became more mature than when I last saw her.
“Uh, Clyde-san told you… huh?”
I spontaneously asked something that popped out to my mind as I felt quite awkward with her staring at me.
“Oh, yeah. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Cherryl Nicole Loera. Clyde is my husband—oh, you already know that. Anyway, he told me about how he discovered you in your brother’s sixth birthday and how you were smart even when you were just a small kid. …Also…”
She somehow stopped and her cheerful smile gradually disappeared—as her gaze turned far away, as if she was having a nostalgia. Her arms which were circling Clyde’s also started to loosen as she approached me.
“Also about the rumors on your noble lady conduct—about you potentially becoming the strongest queen candidate of this period… that reminded us of…”
The corner of her mouth was slightly raised.
“…Of someone that we used to care about—but she is now in a place far, far away.”
She has a melancholic expression as she patted my head—that’s not like the usually cheerful and upbeat Nicole I knew.
…Is she talking about me—I mean, Reinst?
“Nicole,” Clyde softly called out to her as he put his hand on Nicole’s waist.
“Ah, sorry for that. I was dozing off a bit. Congratulations on your sixth birthday, cute little Lyra.”
To admit that she was dozing off during when she was supposed to greet me on my birthday…
Heh, she is still the same Nicole I know. The fearless Nicole who’s always straight-forward. If I’m not wrong, she did grumble to me once about how her parents and Loera clan’s elders always lectured her so she would be able to keep her pretense even in front of those she disliked.
I wonder if she has mastered it yet…?
Come to think of it…
“Thank you. By the way… isn’t the heir of Loera clan supposed to be Nicole-san? But I heard before that Clyde-san was the heir?”
“Oh, you still remember that?” Clyde asked as if amused.
“Ehehe, we shared the responsibility of an heir, as Clyde would cover the things I couldn’t do really well!”
…Did she refer to how she was unable to pretend to be friendly in front of those she disliked?!
“Ah, it was quite terrible at that time when we asked for the elders’ approval…,” Clyde’s gaze started to trail off, reminiscing those days.
“And who was it that made everything possible?” Nicole teasingly asked.
“Yes, yes, milady, I owe it all to you.”
Clyde sighed and caressed Nicole’s head.
…Honestly, I would like to ask a lot of questions. Like, how the hell was it possible, what kind of sharing did you do, what kind of agreement did you make… and especially… how did your relationship turn to this… from a mere friendship?!
Is this what they call a generation gap?
“Oh, yeah. Did you get along with your brother?” Clyde suddenly asked, perhaps since he remembered that he had come here to talk to me to establish connection, not to flirt around with Nicole.
“Eh? Huh? Yes, why?” I was dumbfounded at his random questioning.
“That’s good. You two should cherish each other when you can,” he gently smiled.
“…? Is something the matter?” I couldn’t hold off my curiosity. Gah, child hormones, child brain process.
More or less, I know what’s on his mind, but… there’s no way, right?
“Ah well, no, it’s just…”
Now it’s Clyde’s turn to be speechless. Why did you bring up something you couldn’t explain well, then? Or was my question too unexpected?
“Well, he just regretted that he wasn’t able to get along with his late sister, that’s all,” Nicole explained on his behalf.
Get along… with his late sister? Regret not being able to…?
Did Clyde want to get along with me…?
As far as I can remember, we have always ignored each other—I mean, even when Nicole and I talked, he would be silent… hmm…
Did I remember things wrong…?
I can’t really remember it well.
This is getting awkward.
But hearing about how Clyde wanted to get along with me—even if it was just a sweet talk or their lies… I felt a little bit happy.
Let’s see… It’s the thought that counts?
Is it wrong for me if I tried to drop the hint for them, just a little bit?
“As a little sister, I feel like… Given the chance, I think you two would be able to get along eventually.”
I awkwardly phrased that.
Unexpectedly, I heard Nicole’s surprised gasp instead.
So I turned my eyes towards her—and sure enough, her stunned expression greeted me. I think her eyes got a bit teary…?
“Thank you, Lyra. It made me feel better… and Nicole, what’s wrong?” Clyde asked.
“Oh, ah! It’s nothing… It’s just,” Nicole shook her head lightly and her eyes returned to normal, but her smile was somewhat melancholic.
“Someone once said a similar thing to me. That same person I talked about—Clyde’s sister, to be precise.”
No, I can’t remember!!
[Achievement unlocked: Getting yourself in another trouble you wanted to avoid the most!]