“Ly-…ma… ke… up…”
“Lyra-sama, wake up!”
Who? It’s so noisy…
“Mmn… Five… more… minutes…,” I rolled over on my comfortable bed. Yep, this is heaven.
“L-Lyra, uhm, sorry, we also fell asleep…”
“Lyr, are you going back to your slumber?”
After hearing Niina’s voice to wake me up as usual, I thought it’d be fine for me to sleep a little longer… only to realize that Iris and Carbuncle were here as well!
What’s more, they seemed to be fully awake even before me, the supposed party master—I mean, the original house owner and the one who invited them here…
…Did I just say the legendary 5 more minutes? Aaah, nooo, I’m so embarrassed!!! ԅ[ •́ ﹏ •̀ ]و
Let me cover my face with this pillow—no, wait, that’d make me fall asleep again!!
–Loading screen: Please wait for Lyra to calm down—
W-what? Did something happen before? 「(°ヘ°)
Anyway, we only woke up when Niina came to wake us up. If Niina came to wake us up, that means…
“Is it dinner time soon? Has Mom or Dad returned?” I asked while rubbing my still-sleepy eyes.
“That’s right, Lyra-sama~ Cyan-sama has returned!” Niina confirmed my guess.
Mom’s not home yet, but I think she will be back just right at the time for dinner.
So, all of us quickly washed our faces and went down the stairs. For the time being, since there was still time before dinner, Alt-nii and I led the others to the living room, and Dad was already sitting there, waiting for us.
“Dad, you’re home!” Alt-nii quickly approached Dad.
“Welcome home, Dad!” I followed after Alt-nii and welcomed Dad.
Perhaps he was trying to maintain his image in front of our friends, Dad didn’t activate his “silly doting parent” mode. He only patted our heads and smiled, “Yes, I’m home.”
Then, he shifted his gazes towards our friends, who were still standing behind us.
“Well, I know Clavis, obviously. The other boy over there should be Harvey, and you must be… Iris, and this one is Carbuncle?” Dad guessed the identity of our friends, and yup, he guessed it right. After all, we had often talked about our friends, so naturally, Dad would figure their identities quickly.
“T-thank you for having us here! We’ll be intruding for a while…,” Harvey quickly bowed his head in a fluster, it was apparent from his behavior that he wasn’t really used to this sort of thing.
“T-thank you for letting us stay over here, Lyra’s dad… I’m Iris Sorreil, how do you do?” Iris’ reaction and curtsey were more natural than Harvey, but her nervousness was apparent.
“Hoo? Lyr and Tair’s father? Hmmm—”
In contrast to Harvey and Iris duo’s reactions, Carbuncle was so carefree, and she even didn’t hide her attempt in trying to “sniff” out and sense her surroundings even more.
“Yes, and there’s no need to be that nervous. Thank you for being friends with my children!” Dad said.
At this time, Carbuncle was already near Dad.
“Oh? As expected of these two’s real father! So, you’re also one of us…,” Carbuncle said.
“”Eh??”” Alt-nii and I reflexively blurted it out in response to Carbuncle’s words.
“Yup, though it’s faint, but you also have the dragon blood running in your veins. So, it comes from you? Or Lyr and Tair’s mother is also…?” Carbuncle tilted her head.
A surprised expression floated on Dad’s face for a moment, before he quickly regained his senses back.
“Is that so? Tell me, what kind of dragon blood is running in our veins?” Dad unexpectedly asked this, instead of quickly denying Carbuncle’s assumption.
“Hmmm… If I’m not wrong, it’s that of the frail water dragon’s. I’m not sure since I haven’t really met them. They live even more secluded than the rest of the dragons, as they have to live in a very clean environment.”
“Water dragon’s…,” Dad muttered.
“But I think it was your distant ancestor that mingled with them? As I said, the dragon blood I sensed in you was already faint, let alone Tair and Lyr,” Carbuncle added again.
“I wonder about that… But you said [frail]… aren’t dragons supposed to possess strong body and longevity?”
“Most of us, yes. There are differences among different types. That frail water dragon’s type—just like their name implies, are frail. That’s why they have to live in a very clean or pure environment. If they live in any slightly polluted area and don’t take good care of their bodies especially in the early years of their lives, I’m afraid they’d fall sick and die quickly. Their lifespan is shorter than the average dragons’ lifespan, in the first place,” Carbuncle explained.
“Is that so…? Hmmm…?”
“So, it’s true right, that you are of a dragon descent?” Carbuncle excitedly asked.
“Well, I’m not sure. I have no ways of confirming that,” Dad smiled slightly.
I looked at him in confusion. Could it be that our family’s ancestry record was lost? Logically speaking, tracing one’s ancestry is quite easy. There’s no record of a known noble with dragon blood, so we just have to look for the ancestor who married someone who was adopted to nobility, or someone outside the nobles. Unless a dragon assumed the position of an impostor in a noble’s family and married into the Hartmann…?
Or has Dad tried to look at the record and found nothing, hence he said he didn’t have ways of confirming that? In that case, could some ancestor be replacing their child with a dragon, or had a child with the dragon out of the recorded wedding, or adopted one…? Wait, in the first place, I can’t make any sense of those possibilities.
I wanted to ask more about it, but I missed my chance as Dad then said, “Well, it might be true. But nevertheless, please don’t spread this out to anyone else, okay?”
Everyone who was present at the room earnestly nodded.
…It’s not like one would believe it easily even if we were to tell them, though?
“And you must be Iris Sorreil, right? I’ve heard some about the Sorreil family… and about yourself, from Lyra’s story,” Dad shifted his gaze towards Iris and asked her.
Then, we proceeded to talk about various things. Shortly after, Mom also came back and we… kinda repeated some of our previous conversation with Dad, but nobody seemed to mind it at all! We proceeded to play with the toys present in my home before sleeping—pillow fight came first, though!
I was so happy to experience this “sleepover with friends” event~! Dad and Mom even gave me and Alt-nii several days break from training so that we could enjoy our time. It also served as our “end-of-year” holiday, though.
On the second day, Dad seemed to be not so preoccupied with his work, so as promised, he took us along with his patrol (or I called it as sightseeing~!) the territory. Since everyone else besides me and Alt-nii didn’t live and grow up in Riviera’s East territory, they were so excited to sightsee the territory. Dad also introduced some of our specialties (especially food!) to them.
Too bad Luca and Kiri weren’t able to join us today. However, we would be going to Capicastle tomorrow, no worries~
After returning home from our sightseeing trip, Dad continued to engage in conversations with us. I was really impressed that he was actually willing to listen to a bunch of kids’ talk. I even suspected that the reason he often went home late and fatigued before was because he rushed his work so that he could accompany us.
Doesn’t this mean Dad’s indulging on his children way too much…?
But, it’s still a good thing! As we conversed, I noticed that my friends also seemed happy with Dad joining the conversation. Perhaps noticing Dad’s kindness and sincere care towards them, all of our friends relaxed in front of Dad and I thought that Dad had managed to let them spill out anything from their minds!
Is it because Dad is a good dad, or could this be a spy’s specialty?
“So, you want to be an alchemist in the future?” Taking the opportunity to bring this topic up as we just talked about the alchemist’s workshop that we visited before, Dad asked Iris.
“Y-yes! I-if that’s possible, of course… But being able to study alchemy is already enough for me,” Iris timidly answered.
“Well, that’s definitely possible as long as you work hard for it. I’m sure you will be able to become a splendid alchemist,” Dad reassured her.
“T-thank you! But I’m not sure about it… I’m afraid that I won’t be able to reach my dreams at all…”
I was surprised upon hearing Iris’ dejected voice as she said those words. At this age, children should have high hopes and be enthusiastic about their dreams. So why would she…?
“And why is that?” Dad calmly asked.
“Uhm… my family—they might have already decided on my future,” Iris stated. Perhaps since she had already warmed up to us and due to sensing Dad’s sincerity, Iris didn’t really dodge the question.
“Then, why don’t you talk to them about it, Iris? No matter what, I believe a parent should at least listen to their child’s words?” Carbuncle asked, her tone indicated that she was amused at Iris’ remarks, “Even if they oppose, eventually, they would give in to their child.”
Perhaps Carbuncle was speaking from her own experience when she asked for her parents’ permissions to go out of the Dragon’s Heritage?
Unexpectedly, Iris showed a bitter smile.
“I’m not sure if I have any say in my future… They all won’t listen to me, I believe… and I can’t do anything about it.”
Hearing those words, I felt that her position in the family and her circumstances were really complicated. In other words, she had no choice but to obey…? How harsh could her parents be?
I tried to imagine my past self. Since I had nothing to look forward to in the future aside from making my parents satisfied with myself, I hadn’t thought of having another dream and tried to voice it out. But if I were to voice it out, would my parents force me at all cost, or would they only be disappointed but finally agreed?
“Tell me, why is that? Are you unfavored?” Dad asked with concern.
“It’s… more than that. I’m… After all, I’m only…,” Iris hesitated.
She looked as if she was thinking that the more she dodged this topic, it would only delay her explaining it, but she had to eventually tell this to us. Perhaps she noticed, as I tend to try to switch the topic over whenever she looked like she was reluctant to say it.
“I’m not worthy… That’s right, I’m probably not that worthy to be here and to be Lyra’s friend…,” Iris timidly said.
“Iris, even if you’re born from a commoner, I don’t discriminate against you, though?” I quickly voiced my thought, in order to appease her.
“That’s not it… I’m… an illegitimate child,” Iris bitterly said.
An illegitimate child…? And she thought that she wasn’t worthy because of it? But hey… it wasn’t Iris’ fault at all. There’s no way I’d discriminate against her just because of it. To me, no one is more worthy than her.
But that explains her not daring to disobey her parents’ words. Being an illegitimate child, I believe, is a fate worse than being born as a commoner especially if there’s no one left in the family who accepts and welcomes you.
In that kind of situation, the unpleasant matters would be handled to an illegitimate child. Like a political marriage with an unfavorable person—no way one would handle their treasured legitimate child if it’s possible to push the unfavored illegitimate child.
But I wonder how was she treated when she lived with the noble family of hers? She turned out to be this timid and… having a very low self-confidence, saying that she wasn’t worthy.
…Was she bullied?
I held back my urge to hug Iris and resolutely declared, “Iris, nothing can change the fact that you’re my best friend! So, don’t say that you aren’t worthy! Or, you don’t want to be my friend…?”
“Eh? No, of course I really want to be your friend, Lyra!”
“Then, don’t mind that anymore. I don’t really care about your status and ancestry!”
At my words, everyone also nodded and voiced their agreements.
Eeh, I totally love my current environment. Nobody is so biased against lower nobles or commoners.
“That’s right. Don’t let anyone snatch away your happiness for something you can’t control. So what if you’re an illegitimate child? Your life is yours,” Dad supported.
Ah, Dad. Perhaps he had long known of Iris’ circumstances. After all, Dad had a network of nobles. Perhaps that’s why he also wanted to change Iris’ low view of herself like this.
“Can I…?” Iris hesitatingly asked.
“Yes, of course,” Dad answered with certainty.
“Yes, you will be able to gain your own happiness in the future. I can guarantee more than anyone else that you will be able to do so, regardless of your status. After all…,” Dad stopped at the crucial moment and looked at us alternatively.
D-dad, what’s the use of this intentional silent?!
A-are you going to make me die from the thrill, or is this really a big revelation…?
After a short moment of silence that felt like an eternity, Dad nodded, his face seemed he was finally determined to inform something, before finally continuing.
“I’m also an illegitimate child.”
It was indeed a big revelation.
Until I passed away as Reinst, I hadn’t heard of anything like this…
Nn? Now that he mentioned it, was the previous duchess of Hartmann the same woman as the one portrayed in the pictures Dad had?
…C**p, my mind blanked. This is totally the downside of not really paying attention to your surroundings and to the others back when I was Reinst.
After observing our surprised faces one by one, Dad sighed and sipped his tea.
“It’s a long story, but I’ll tell you and shorten it, if that can make you erase your negative outlook on the future,” Dad looked especially at Iris.
So, it’s going to be Dad’s flashback and story time?
Eekh, then Dad, don’t hold back on it, tell us everything!!