After that, time seemed to move by so slowly, yet so quickly. So hectic, yet so peaceful.
Nothing out of the ordinary happened, but each and every day felt so precious and colorful, unlike the grey and suffocating world that I also saw with my very own two eyes. However, the pair of eyes I used to view these two worlds were also different. Perhaps, all I needed to do back then was to exchange the eyes I used to view the world (literally). (*°∀°)
Or perhaps I still felt that my days were colorful despite the hectic days of being a special class student due to my past life’s knowledge…
Speaking of which, I spent my time peacefully during Luca’s seventh birthday, perhaps thanks to the event that happened on his sixth birthday or due to the fact that I was together with Iris and Carbuncle too.
Still not accustomed to noble parties, Iris was a bit nervous, but she was fine. On the contrary, since we had to hide the fact that Carbuncle was actually a dragon from all the nobles present, Carbuncle was portrayed as “the curious commoner friend” that we all befriended at school.
I felt my heart skipping a beat when I heard those insensitive nobles who didn’t even have the ability to control their voices’ volume…
‘What do we do if Carbuncle was enraged due to their comments?! It would surely be disastrous!’ so I thought as I recalled Carbuncle being a prideful one.
Surprisingly, Carbuncle passed by those insensitive nobles without even changing her expression. But after she walked away from them…
When Carbuncle arrived near me, I heard her chuckling and muttering, “Serves you right!”
“…What did you do?”
“Hmm? Nothing, just giving them some electric shocks!”
Meanwhile, those nobles…
“What was that?!”
“Was it static electricity?”
“But that hurt!”
The nobles then were fussing about the electric shocks they received, but none of them suspected Carbuncle. After all, Carbuncle didn’t even show any suspicious movement when she passed by them, and she did that after she walked quite a distance from the nobles.
Lesson learned: Never mess with Carbuncle!
Other than that incident, Luca’s seventh birthday passed by without a hitch. Iris’ birthday was on Day 1 Month 5, but perhaps since she was an illegitimate child, her birthday wasn’t celebrated in a noble party… Only her sixth birthday was celebrated.
Their reasoning? Well, since Iris was living in Harmonia Academy’s boarding house, it would be hard for her to make a trip home.
But… they didn’t even hold any kind of celebration for her. I meant, some of the noble children who were living in the boarding houses also preferred their birthday to be held in the school area, with most of the guests were their friends and relatives who visited. Only a few of them preferred their birthdays to not be celebrated at all.
No problem, though! In exchange, we held our own birthday celebration with Iris, though!
I would never forget Iris’ happy face as she said, “I never expected that I could celebrate my birthday so warmly like this again!”
“Even if your birthday isn’t celebrated by Sorreil family, we will always celebrate it like this, Iris!” I answered.
“Eh? N-next year and the year after that, too?”
“Next year, next next year, next next next year, and until when I have to return, I will also celebrate it with you!” Carbuncle added.
“…,” Iris cast her eyes downward. After a short moment, she raised her face and smiled, “Un!”
…Let’s pretend we didn’t see your slightly red eyes… yes, let’s not ruin a happy occasion with tears…
Thank goodness we heard of Iris’ birthday from Harvey and planned her celebration like this. Else, I wouldn’t find out and still thought that I’d get an invitation from Sorreil family for Iris’ birthday later on…
And finally, it was my turn to have a birthday celebration!
Seven was always my favorite number, so I was happy I could taste my seventh birthday again… despite there was nothing special going on during one’s seventh birthday.
As always, I couldn’t sleep well the night before my birthday. I kept imagining how I should act upon meeting my past acquaintances again! Especially my past family!!
I couldn’t guess if they’d come in full set again like my sixth birthday, or if it would just be Father and Domi or Father alone… Yup, though it was kinda “mandatory” for nobles to attend other nobles’ parties, if they had certain conditions that obstructed them or if they came from a faraway place, they could decide to not attend or to just send representatives. Especially if it wasn’t someone’s sixth birthday, coming-of-age ceremony, wedding ceremony, and other special occasions.
Judging from my past family members’ personalities… Mother who cared a lot for her image would most likely come. Domi as the future heir should be urged to come with Father. Clyde’s mother… I didn’t really know her… can’t guess. Clyde… and Nicole… ugh, they were the heads of Loera clan now, so obviously they’d come… One of them, at least.
…Judging from Clyde and Nicole’s reactions last time… They’d definitely come together again.
And my conjecture was correct.
Day 25 Month 7 Year 977, I was reunited with my past family members again.
“Happy seventh birthday, Lyra.”
Domi accompanied Mother, coming right behind Father. Father had always been a man of a few words, so after giving me a greeting, he stepped behind to let Domi and Mother give their greetings.
“Ah… uhm, Domi…-san, thank you for last time on my sixth birthday…”
“No problem, but I can’t do it every year for you, okay?”
“…Okay, thank you!”
…Did Domi see me as a naive child that was expecting to see another duel again?!
Even I could understand that the duel between him and Yuzuru last time was a very rare scene!! Hmph!!!
Perhaps Domi inherited Father’s personality, as he didn’t bother continuing our conversation and Mother took over the conversation. Mother congratulated me for turning seven and tried to flatter and flaunt me to gain my and my family’s favor. I was her daughter, so I knew more than anyone else that this was just her “front”.
Seeing Mother’s figure once more, the same questions started to pop out in my curious mind again. I felt a little bit suffocated due to my mixed feelings, but I felt like this time was better than last year, when I saw her again for the first time ever since I was reincarnated.
Occasionally, Mother would try to involve Domi to the conversation, in order to have Domi curry our favor as well. Domi was… uhm, how should I put it… Domi reminded me of my past self. As Reinst. These reactions… this… “expresionless” face.
Yeah, I saw how Domi and the past me were really blood-related siblings, raised under the same circumstances.
As I looked at their backs after our conversation ended, I couldn’t help but be worried of Domi’s future.
Does he also think that his life is boring?
Is he burdened by others’ expectations, especially Mother?
Can he truly feel “alive”?
Does he know that there’s a lot more in life that he can enjoy?
I thought that since Domi was Mother’s pride and joy, he would gain Mother’s love and turned into a bright child that would radiate his happiness. …and a bit spoiled.
However, it seemed that I was quite wrong. Despite him showing more consideration to others compared to me as Reinst (as viewed in my birthday last year), he made quite the same face as I did.
I was too engrossed with living up to Mother’s expectations and carrying my family’s pride and honor that I forgot to build meaningful relationships with others. That I forgot to really enjoy life. I realized now that I was too burnt out with all the training and fulfilling others’ expectations that I forgot about “myself”.
Though Domi and I never really bonded, he was still my younger brother. Despite me envying him ever since he was born, I didn’t want him to feel how it felt like when you lost yourself.
But circumstances didn’t allow me to indulge myself in this thought. People still came to talk to me, the star of today’s party.
Here comes, Clyde and Nicole!!
Elegant white dress with jewels adorned, the same gold-colored earrings with cherry decoration, and braided front hair… Oh, her hair seemed to have grown longer that she tied it behind her. She looked fresh and gentle… at least gentler than the image I had of her when she was younger.
What made my eyes sour was how her arm encircled Clyde’s arm, just like a lovey dovey couple—ah, they were married couple, indeed. As for Clyde… I just noticed it, but compared to when he was young, he seemed to be more… relaxed? Happy? I didn’t really spend much time with him so I didn’t know, but the atmosphere around him seemed different.
“We meet again, little girl! How’s school?!”
Nicole’s gentle image was quickly broken by her words and how she patted my head quite hard—be gentler, Nicole! You’re ruining my hair!!!!
“S-school is fun, and how do you do, Aunti—“
Before I could finish my words, Nicole quickly corrected me. Uuh, to think that I just realized yesterday that I could probably address Nicole with Auntie and Clyde with Uncle as they were already parents… Okay, no need to change how I address them, then!
“Nicole-san… Thanks for coming to seventh birthday party!”
“It’s a matter of course! There’s no way I’m not coming after I met you last year! I still remember…”
…Nicole’s ‘I still remember’ is terrifying………
Nicole moved closer as she seemed to be probing on my… face?!
Eeh—she’s trying to read my expression?!
“Haha, Nicole, you’re going to scare her,” Clyde said as he tugged Nicole closer.
“We meet again, Lyra! You’re still as cute as ever. I’m not sure how to describe it… though there are some parts of you that I think are similar to my late sister, your overall characteristic is different from her…,” Clyde said.
…Hii!! C-Clyde, there’s no need for you to say it out loud, just keep it in your mind… Please?
“Well, she sure looks so different from Reinst, but I also feel that she resembles her in some ways. Yup, hard to describe,” Nicole added.
…S-stop comparing me with …myself in the past, pleasssseee? I’m sweating bullets here… Must try to not look nervous!!
Right, I have to change the topic!!
“U-uhm, Nicole-san, Clyde-san, how is your son?”
“Ah, Eine has grown up to be a bright child. He’s my pride and joy,” Nicole smiled proudly.
Eine…? Their son’s name, I guess?
“He is five years old now. Next year, he will turn six… Will you come to his sixth birthday party, Lyra? I’m sure he’s going to like you,” Clyde said.
Uhm, yes, I know you and Nicole like me because I was Reinst who reincarnated, but don’t assume your son is going to like me right away…?
“Of course I will come!”
Despite my thought, I still managed to smile it off.
“Promise it, Lyra?” Nicole unexpectedly asked me to make a promise to this thing that didn’t even need promise…?
She even gave me her pinky.
Uhhh, does she still have her childish habit or is it because of her son that she still has this habit?
As Reinst, I didn’t take her pinky.
She was the one who forcefully hooked my pinky to hers.
I didn’t take the pinky promise nicely.
“Promise!” I gently hooked my pinky to Nicole’s pinky.
Back then, my pinky was bigger than Nicole’s. But right now, my pinky was evidently way smaller than hers.
Though our forms were different, at least I could make it off for Nicole and made a nice pinky promise with her.
As I looked at Nicole’s current smiling face, the image overlapped with Nicole’s younger self that I still remembered. Her smile remained the same.
…Sorry, Nicole. For not being a good friend. And thank you. Thanks for always keeping me alive in your mind. Thanks for remembering me.
“Speaking of which… Clyde-san… I don’t see your mother…?”
After hooking my pinky with Nicole’s, I asked Clyde the question that had been on my mind since earlier.
“Oh… Mother’s at home, taking care of Ein,” Clyde answered, “I apologize that she can’t attend…”
“Eeh, no problem! It’s good that your son is not lonely with his grandmother there!” I quickly interrupted Clyde’s words, not wanting him to feel guilty.
“Heee… Lyra is so considerate, how nice!” Nicole praised me.
…The feeling of being praised like a child by your former best friend is not good…
“I hope Eine and you can get along! Who knows that in the future, you can be my daughter, ehehe!” Nicole stuck her tongue a bit as she winked.
“That will be nice,” Clyde added.
Suddenly, Dad coughed out loud, interrupting our conversation…
Well, Dad and Mom weren’t standing far away from me, so it was natural they could still see what was going on here…
Aaah, Dad’s overprotectiveness never changed.
“Hahaha, guess we can only see what’s stored in the future for us,” Clyde concluded, as if catching what Dad’s cough implied.
“Hahaha… y-yeah…,” I awkwardly smiled.
Thankfully, our “reunion” was concluded there~! I didn’t blurt out anything that could raise their suspicion, hoorraaaay~!!
And during my seventh birthday, I met with Yuzuru once again!
“Yuzuru-neesan, thank you for last year! T-that was really amazing!! And your swords were extraordinary, too!”
“Hmhm~, but of course!”
After a year, Yuzuru had grown up to be more beautiful… Eh, right!
“You’re having your coming-of-age ceremony this year?” I asked after I recalled that Yuzuru should be 13 this year.
“Yeah, make sure to come and visit the South area, you’re going to like it!” Yuzuru smiled, “Just wait for the invitation.”
“Un, I will!”
And again, I made another (unspoken) promise. Yuzuru was kind enough to show me her swordsmanship last year, so obviously I would come to her coming-of-age ceremony, at the very least, if I can’t come every year~!
After there were no more incoming nobles who arrived to give their greetings to me, I moved to find where my friends were flocking to eat and chat together with them.
When I saw Iris, I was reminded of the Sorreil family.
“Come to think of it, Iris, why am I not seeing your family? They aren’t coming?”
“Eh… ah… I guess so? I also don’t see them here… Sorry Lyra, I don’t talk too much with them, so I don’t know whether they’re coming or not…”
…Right, sorry, Iris!
Well then, it seemed like they didn’t come, indeed.
Though it was a pity that I couldn’t see how Iris’ family looked like, as long as Iris was here, I couldn’t care less.
At the end of the day, I managed to go through my seventh birthday without raising any flag! Horray~! Finally~!
Furthermore, the surge of (negative) emotions I felt this time was less intense than before… so… Things are starting to look good, and I think I will be more used to it soon!
Thus, the road to the peaceful life I wished seemed to be opening up.
Peaceful and calm days continued from thereafter, in comparison to the chaotic days full of flags I experienced in the past.
…Yes, things seemed to go on without anything out of ordinary, until one day…
It happened one day at the latter half of the same year I turned 7.
It seemed that Alt-nii had just got some lessons on [Familiars] and [Summoned Beasts]. Normally, he would just neglect or let Eggie—the mysterious egg-like object that he obtained—be on its own. He still slept with Eggie, but to me, it felt like he was sleeping with his favorite toy or doll.
But today, Alt-nii’s treatment on Eggie was different. He suddenly brought Eggie out from his room to the table, as he sat on the chair to examine Eggie closer.
And he pouted.
“Aaaah really! Just when are you going to hatch, you stupid Eggie?!”
Alt-nii lightly clapped on the egg’s surface.
“W-what’s the matter, Alt-nii?” I asked, as this sudden change of behavior confused me.
“My friends are getting their [Familiars] one by one, or some of the eggs they got had finally hatched. And I received Eggie even earlier than them, this is so unfair!!”
…Oh, no wonder he became this impatient.
“Could it be that Eggie isn’t actually a beast egg as we thought it was?! That explains why nothing happened at all for all these years!” Alt-nii spun Eggie around.
“W-well…,” I didn’t continue my words.
There is that possibility, too… but if I were to say it out loud, that’d upset Alt-nii more.
“Stupid Eggie, give me any sign that you’re alive!” Alt-nii lightly hit the surface of the object as it stopped spinning.
…Alt-nii’s tap then triggered the egg to spin again as it… slipped… to the… GROUND?!
“Eeeeeekh!!!” I ran forward in order to catch the egg before it fell on the ground. After all, it would be such a waste if this turned out to be a real beast’s egg and if it was wasted like this… At the same time, Alt-nii also ran forward to catch the egg.
As we fell to the floor and extended our arms to catch the egg at the same time, I tried to stop my body’s movement as if this continued with the current speed… my head would hit Alt-nii’s head first before the egg landed on our arms!!
Thankfully, we managed to stop before bumping into each other. As for the egg…
It successfully landed on our arms!
We sighed out of relief, but then—
The horrible sound resounded within the room as we saw… cracks were forming on the egg!!
“…Ah?” Both of us were dumbfounded by the sudden turn of events and could only stare at the cracks that formed on the egg.