Afterwards, I gradually became used to school (once more). The key difference was that, this time, school seemed to be more enjoyable than before. If I constantly had some books to read at school back when I was Reinst, this time—I’m not really carrying any book to read. Even if I were to carry some books around, the time I have to read them is basically… none?
During the break time—no, let alone break time, even during the class, I sometimes talk with Carbuncle, Iris, Luca, or even Kiri. But it’s not that I hate it at all. It was rather fun. After I was reincarnated, I managed to find another kind of “fun”, and it made me feel some kind of warmth I’ve never truly had before.
Obviously, we weren’t only playing around to pass our time. Being in special class, I really felt that our lessons were hastened. The contents of Basic Level 1 and 2 were basically cramped into our first year. So, guess what?
Naturally, we are screwed!—no, that’s not right. We were forced to study, even if we disliked studying. If not, we won’t be able to keep up. Each special class student had the risk of being “kicked” from special class and “reverted” back to regular class. And any regular class student had the chance of enrolling into special class, although I bet their age would be older than those who directly enrolled into special class at the age of 6.
To put it in a positive way, we might get new classmates in the future!
It’s not like I’m in my denial state of the negative possibility of getting kicked from special class. I just think that there will be no problem to keep up with everything during Basic Level. I might need to sneakily “store some knowledge” in preparation for my future… My previous life’s knowledge stopped when I was 13, which covered every Basic Level only.
I don’t feel like I’m a genius who could immediately comprehend everything, so this little “reincarnation cheat” of mine has an expiry date, it seems.
–insert a long pause with a long sigh mixed—
The lessons were really packed with frequent exams being held. Whenever it was near exam period, we’d either go home later than usual or go to the academy’s dorm to study together with Iris. Carbuncle was a good distractor from our studies, though…
“Haaaaah…,” Dad heaved another long sigh. At first, I was surprised, but at this point, I was already used to it.
“Lyra’s time at home is becoming less and less…,” Dad muttered.
“Well, that’s inevitable. Children will grow up, and that’s part of them growing up,” Mom only chuckled.
“But… haaah…,” Dad sighed again.
“Be happy that Lyra’s not home to study with her friends,” Mom reminded.
“I know, but…”
“…Dad, it’s not like you’re always at home, so…,” I couldn’t help but remind him.
“Lyra’s right. It’s not like we’re at home 24/7, too,” Mom agreed to my point. Sometimes, it was Dad who went home later or even stayed outside due to work, and sometimes it was Mom’s turn, rarely it was for the two of them to get busy with their work at the same time.
“But, it just feels different,” Dad continued to grumble.
“You’re just not used to it yet,” Mom said.
“But Daddy only laughed and said it couldn’t be helped, and that I should gain more experience outside when I first started to spend more time outside,” Alt-nii chimed in.
…what’s with this different treatment, Dad?! Though one is a son and the other is a daughter, we’re still your children!
But well, hehe~ How do I put it?
Despite getting different treatments, I feel perfectly fine and happy. At least, Dad and Mom cared for both of us—it’s just that they showed the care differently.
I wonder if my mother back then considered that she cared for me, too, but in another way? But to me, it wasn’t enough…?
Could it be that her preferential treatment to Domi was all due to my perception muddled with my jealousy?
I’m not sure. I don’t know. Since I don’t know and since I have so many doubts of it, it feels excruciating to think about it.
…So, let’s evade this thought for the moment and live in the present. I want to indulge myself with the warmth I’ve found.
But why is it that the more I came to understand of this warmth, the more uncomfortable I was when I began to ponder of my past?
In the end, time passed by so fast and we just passed the final exams of the semester. I’ve thought several times to have Iris and Carbuncle come over to play, but in the end, our plan remained as a plan……. or not.
“Hey, we’ll have semester break and end-of-year break. What are your plans for the holidays, Iris, Carbuncle?”
After taking the last final exam, I asked.
“Hmm? Well, I’ll just continue my Non-Draconis observation as usual, only it would be somewhere else,” Carbuncle began to ponder.
“You’re not going back to your hometown?” I asked.
“…Once I go back, it will be hard to come out again, so nah,” Carbuncle shrugged her shoulders.
“Eh? Why?” Iris asked.
“Obviously, since many opposed my intention to observe the other races. They said that I might catch their bad influence or something… ah, sorry, I didn’t mean to be offensive,” Carbuncle quickly realized that her words might sound offensive, as we’re exactly “the other races” she talked about.
“No, it’s okay, it’s not like you’re the one who said it,” I reassured her.
“What? What negative influence? Really, they are so prejudiced!” Luca—as the future leader of this country—protested.
“L-Luca…,” Kiri was startled at Luca’s sudden anger.
“Well, most of the dragons are prejudiced against the other races. That was why we secluded ourselves to begin with. But the number of dragons who are interested in the other races are growing. Though most of the old bunches are still keen on their former mindset,” Carbuncle explained.
“The old bunches…?” I leaned forward to listen more. How old is categorized as old in dragon race?
“Yup, mainly those whose age has reached 4 digits—or a thousand years.”
“Whoa, a thousand years!!”
All of us exclaimed one by one. I guess dragons have the most gap in terms of power and also age.
What caused us to wake up from our awe was Carbuncle’s next words.
“So, it’s better for me not to go back there if I still want to observe you guys.”
“Eh? But won’t your family be worried?” Kiri asked.
“Hm? Even if I were gone for a decade, it’d feel like a very short moment for us dragons, like how you feel the end-of-year break? Anyway, I think it will still be fine even if I were to return only after a century has passed by!”
…Oh, oh right.
Then, I guess it’s fine. But in other words… she’d have to see the other people around her dying, huh? Especially the humans… How sad would that be, I wonder? Could the dragons perhaps not want to associate with the other races in order to avoid this sad fate, too?
Out of curiosity, I suddenly asked, “Now that you mention it… Carbuncle, how old are you this year?”
“…Ah, little sheep, what about you, what do you plan on doing during the winter holiday?”
She just evaded my question, right? It’s not just my imagination, right?
Could it be that Carbuncle doesn’t really want to talk about her age in front of us? Is she afraid we’re going to call her ‘grandma’? It is imaginable, though!
It can’t be helped. Let’s just give her a break and postpone that question for now…
“Eh? Ah, I… Maybe I will stay here… or do anything else. If I have to return, maybe I will return for a short moment…,” Iris answered.
…What kind of family circumstances does she have, I wonder?
I totally didn’t feel any joy or expectation to return home from her.
But now, it’s time to execute my plan!
“Then, how about staying over at my place?”
And that was how we arranged the plans for Iris and Carbuncle to stay over at my place. For the sake of accompanying Iris, Alt-nii also asked Harvey. They would be staying over for around 7-10 days~!
We planned on playing around my place and paying a visit to Capicastle to fulfill the promise of comparing treasure chests… why do I feel like our purpose to visit Capicastle seems to be so trivial…?
After organizing the rough plan, we asked for our parents’ permissions—it was an easy “OK”.
When it was time for the last day of school, we decided to go back together. In other words, it’d be me, Iris, Carbuncle, Alt-nii, Clavis, and Harvey.
During our way back home, the world became Iris and Harvey’s again.
“Iris, what are you planning to do for the rest of the holidays?” Harvey asked.
“I’m not sure. Either staying at the dormitory, or…”
Iris said the same answer as to when I asked her the same question.
“Then, what about coming with me back home? My pa and ma would be so happy to see you again, too!”
“R-really? C-can I?!” Iris hesitated, but it was apparent that she was very willing.
“Yes! We’ve talked through letters and I’ve told them about you. They were happy to know you’re doing well,” Harvey smiled.
“T-then, if you don’t mind…!”
“I’m sure you miss Milefui’s legendary cake, right?”
“Aah! I want to eat it again!!”
Yes, I totally can’t follow their nostalgia train again after this, so we decided to let them be in their own worlds while we (Alt-nii, Clavis, and me) talked about other things. Meanwhile, the other person… Carbuncle… she actually fell asleep.
After a few while, Harvey and Iris finally returned from the other world.
“Oh, that’s right! Why don’t you all come along with me to my hometown as well?” Harvey invited us back.
“Eeeh, that’s interesting!” Alt-nii stated what was on my mind, too.
“But not this holiday. Maybe later on in the future? I feel like our parents would want to have our family time this holiday,” Alt-nii glanced a bit at my direction.
…Well, I also want my usual family time, and remembering Dad’s condition recently… wait, my wording made it seem like Dad was sick or something that we needed to stay by his side, but it wasn’t like that at all. The point is, I’m sure Dad won’t agree to me and Alt-nii going to Harvey’s place this holiday.
Yes, let’s postpone that plan.
Even so, it’s exciting to know that I will have something to look forward in the future. Being someone who didn’t go out much in my previous life, venturing outside—though it’s just a leisure trip—sounds like an adventure to me already!
After arriving in front of our house, Alt-nii and I happily announced as we pointed at our house.
“Eeeeh, your house is big!” Harvey commented.
…Eeeh, this is considered small for a duke’s house—or for a noble’s house, though!
“U-uhm, I didn’t expect… I meant, I expected your house to be huger than this that I’ve prepared myself to walk a long distance…,” Iris frankly expressed her opinion.
Right, being from a noble house, she’d surely have a better idea and comparison object than Harvey.
“It isn’t so luxurious compared to other nobles, but I hope you’d feel at home!” I grabbed Iris’ hand and guided her inside.
“Aaa? Lyr, little sheep, wait for me—yawn~!” Carbuncle groggily walked after us. She barely woke up, so it was understandable for her to be wobbly, but it was still a funny sight to behold!
Upon arriving, we were greeted by Niina and Chloe.
“Welcome home, Lyra-sama, Altaire-sama! Oh, Clavis, come here~!” Niina called out to Clavis and hugged him.
“Mom! Not here!” Clavis quickly protested.
“Eh? What’s wrong? You usually like this,” Niina paid no heed no Clavis’ words and rubbed her face against Clavis’. …Niina must be either too dense, or she was making fun of Clavis intentionally.
“Mooom!!!” Clavis’ protest echoed within the room.
“Ah, welcome, Lyra-sama’s friends and Altaire-sama’s friend!”
Niina and Chloe greeted our friends—our guests.
I noticed their different glances at Carbuncle—it’s a mix of nervousness and curiosity. They have heard about her being a dragon, but with her disguised form like this, no matter how one would look at her, she looks just like an ordinary girl.
“Let me help you to bring in the luggage!” Niina said as she proceeded to take Harvey’s not-so-big luggage.
“Eh? Ah, t-thank you, Clavis’ mother…,” Harvey was still a bit bewildered, but he let go of his luggage quickly.
“Just call me Niina!”
“Then, Niina-basan (Aunt Niina), thank—”
“Call me Nee-san (Big Sis) instead!”
Clavis, who’s Niina’s son and who’s at the same age as Harvey: “…”
“T-t-then, Niina-san, thank you,” Harvey picked the safest choice in the end.
“Next, Lyra-sama’s friends’… eh?”
After arriving near me and my friends, Niina was surprised. She tilted her head and looked here and there. Chloe, the one who’s actually in charge of the girls’ luggage, also looked here and there.
“You don’t bring any luggage…?” Niina asked, after not seeing any kind of luggage.
“Eh?! Iris, you couldn’t have forgotten to bring it, right?” Harvey asked in a worried tone.
Contrary to others’ expectations, Iris wasn’t the slightest bit panicked.
“Ah, I bring my luggage with me. It’s—”
Just as Iris was going to explain, Carbuncle intercepted.
“Yup, we bring our luggage. It’s safe here in my portable storage ring,” Carbuncle showed the small golden ring on her left ring finger.
“Eeeeh?!” All of us flocked her finger as if we were seeing some rare animals.
“It’s a portable storage ring with a limited capacity, but it’s enough to bring my treasure chest,” Carbuncle explained with a proud expression.
“Amazing~! I know that there are such storage rings or other devices like that, but we don’t use it that often,” Niina exclaimed.
Yup, she’s right. Besides, storage devices with capacities that could contain something like Carbuncle’s treasure chest were considered amazing and even rarer than normal or standard storage devices. I mean, a storage ring containing yet another magical storage item? That’s quite outrageous.
“Us dragons normally use these kinds of things, though,” Carbuncle boasted.
Among everyone who was still in awe of the dragons’ standard technologies, Iris was strangely calm, as if she was seeing something normal, too.
…Iris, please, stay out of Carbuncle’s “dragonly” influence… and remain as my cute and innocent baby!!
“Carbuncle offered me to put my luggage there when I was tidying it up in our room, so it’s not like I forgot to bring it,” Iris calmly explained.
“O-okay, then I will bring Harvey’s luggage first!” Niina snapped out of her awe and started moving.
“Ah, sorry for the trouble… and thank you!” Harvey politely thanked her again. How many times has he said thanks?
“Yes, and oh, follow me to the room you’ll be staying in~,” Niina stopped moving as she remembered that she also had to guide Harvey.
“The girls shall follow me and Lyra-sama,” Chloe added.
Though I must say that we’re headed towards more or less the same direction?
Yes, we directly went up the stairs and headed towards my and Alt-nii’s rooms…
Upon realizing this, Harvey and Iris were quickly flustered.
“Eh? Eh? This isn’t the guest room…?” Harvey asked.
“Isn’t this your room, Lyra?” Iris asked.
“”Shouldn’t we be staying in the guest’s rooms?”” They asked at the same time.
Carbuncle, however, stayed silent. Perhaps it was because she was still unsure of the common norm among the other races—or us, humans’ culture, she only listened to our conversation.
“Well, I want to experience the so-called [friends staying over] and [late-night chat with friends in my room] that the stories often portray!” I quickly explained.
“Clavis often stayed over in my room, and it’s quite spacious for three people anyway, so why not just stay here?” Alt-nii added.
As Iris and Harvey were still trying to digest this sudden turn of events, I explained the norm to Carbuncle.
Normally, guests would stay in the guestrooms, but since Iris and Harvey are considered our close friends and that we don’t mind, we asked them to stay in our rooms instead.
Perhaps, it’s not a very common practice especially among nobles. But whatever, we are not like those mainstream nobles, after all!!
After setting up the room—as in, Iris and Carbuncle taking out their luggage, we laid down on the bed and leisurely chatted. Nothing beats lying down on the bed and spend time leisurely like this.
In the end, we… felt so sleepy… and I guess… at this rate, we will… fall asleep, though…
I tried to resist the drowsiness that I felt out of consideration for my friends—but eh?
Why is everyone closing their eyes?
Why aren’t they opening their eyes?
Why does it seem like they’re already asleep?
…Well, whatever. Let’s take a quick nap!