I thought that as time passed by, Ein would chase after me less and less… but boy, how naive I was!
Ein always tried to chase after me and tag along with me and my friends in all the opportunities he’s got!!
“Ein, don’t you need to spend some time with your friends as well?” When I asked him that, I felt like a question mark appeared next to his face as he answered…
“? Friends? Big Sis Lyra and the others are my friends, right?”
“Not that, I mean, your classmates? Kids your age?”
“Oh… Not interested.”
Why am I friends with people who are bad at making friends? It’s definitely not “birds of the same feather flock together”… right? See, I’ve made them all my friends, so that saying is definitely wrong in my case!
The first week passed by with Ein tagging along just like that… My other friends weren’t that troubled by this additional member—sure, because they had nothing to hide from Ein…
I felt like my face turned stiff from having to deal with Ein carefully.
Even during when I separated from my circle of friends for going to the library or things like that—Ein decided to pop out in front of me. Yep, I realize that I’m his main target, okay?
“Is this how you’re studying?” Ein asked in curiosity.
“Eh? This? No, I’m only borrowing some storybooks…”
“Storybooks? Do you learn something from them?”
“…Not really, like I said, I’m not as good as you think I am… I only study when it’s about time for exams… Don’t copy me!” I quickly realized that I was giving such a bad advice.
“But everyone said you didn’t get any kind of strict education and training… doesn’t that mean you’re doing it by yourself in secret?”
“That is just my natural gift, then! I watch and learn!”
“Yep, that’s why, I have nothing I can teach you…”
After I remembered that Ein was curious of me mainly because of my extraordinary talent (not wanting to be conceited, but that was how everyone saw it… when I only saw it as the fruit of my hard labor in my previous life), I thought that he’d follow me less after I answered his curiosity.
“It’s fine! Then, it’s my turn to watch and learn from you!”
Then, the game of tag started between me and Ein.
I felt more relaxed when my friends were there by my side because Ein’s attention wouldn’t be focused on me, but I felt like wanting to take a break from all this pretense…
So I began to walk alone in a different route, hoping Ein wouldn’t find me and stick with my friends instead. But oddly, Ein seemed to be able to find me in every occasion!
“There you are, Big Sis! Where are you going?”
I felt like he was stalking me—but he was still a child who thought of this as a game of hide and seek or game of tag—and that it was fun. His childish innocence baffled me.
Sure, if I was really a child, perhaps I’d entertain this idea, but sorry for having a secret I have to keep from you…
Therefore, I decided to resort to something I couldn’t imagine I’d be using at school for this reason.
I was glad that I was born as a Hartmann. I put on an illusion to make me look older and change my appearance as I walked around at the seniors’ area.
When I saw Ein seemingly looking for me near the area, I only kept my composure as he passed by me just like that.
Yosh, it’s a success!
After this, I might spend some time alone before returning to my friends. Ein could still continue to look for me or return to my friends’ side, but I think that should be enough for me to recharge my “alone time” or “me” energy.
But fate has another plan for me.
“Huh? Are you a new student or a transfer student? Why have I never seen you before?”
Suddenly, someone reached out to me and asked.
Upon identifying the person—geh, El-el!
“El-el, she could be a senior or junior despite her appearance, right?”
The girl next to El-el suggested.
“Oh, you’re right. Please excuse me for making assumptions right away… This is out of my curiosity but… Hey, which class are you in?”
In that instant, my mind went blank and I noticed how bad this idea might be.
“Uh…. I… S-sorry, I gotta go!”
I decided not to answer and just… run for my life!
After entering the toilet, I ditched my illusionary appearance.
I transformed into a cat—the only transformation I could do perfectly and without feeling so tired and run for my life.
If transforming into a person would pose me another risk like that, I’d just transform into an animal!!
Having a cat wander around the school building wouldn’t be good, so I went to the garden and wander around the school yard.
Just when I thought this was a nice idea, I found a secluded alley and slept so soundly there. It felt as if a cat’s instinct got over me in that instant.
…Resulting in me being late for my next class.
So the next time, I braced myself to not lose to the temptation of napping and just explore the area!
–Second time ended up in me being chased by rowdy kids T__T
The third time, I hid myself in an area where people wouldn’t pass through—only to deal with my fellow animal-kingdom friends…
…Being a cat is actually tougher than what I imagined, huh?
Thus, nothing was effective against Ein.
After quite a while, I felt quite tired from watching my words and action and from trying to escape to get “me time”… Day 5, Adventure time was my only relief. We were done with the guardianship period—but sometimes, we would explore the Adventure Field along with Alt-nii, Clavis, and Harvey. Sometimes, the three of them decided to go alone to the higher level.
“Heyaaaa, take this, take that, take this, too!!” I felt that [Adventure] period was more like [Stress Relief] period. I swung my sword to the monsters who appeared as I felt my pent-up stress decreasing.
The [Adventure Field] turned into my hunting grounds where I tried to put my swordsmanship and magic training into action. Since it was already Carbuncle’s hunting grounds, she felt so happy to gain another friend!
“L…Lyra?” Iris’ timid voice trembled.
“Whoa, way to go, Lyr!” Carbuncle cheered.
“…What’s wrong with you?” Luca looked at my action in disbelief.
“Y-yeah, I’ve never seen you like this before…,” Kiri muttered as his voice turned even smaller that I couldn’t hear the words coming from his mouth after that, “even when I thought you were scary sometimes, this one is at a whole different level…”
“N-nothing! I just feel like letting my stress out, hahaha!”
“Stress? What are you stressed about, Lyra?” Alt-nii asked in concern.
“Eh… that is…”
“I feel like you’re acting strangely these days… I also feel like you’re gone from us more frequently,” Iris stated her concern as well.
I’m not sure of how I could describe it… But in the end, I just described how I felt quite overwhelmed because of Ein. I didn’t say I felt overwhelmed because I had to pay my attention to my words and action, I just said that I wasn’t used to his attention that was directed mainly at me. And that I felt like I wanted more time to be alone because of it.
Yep, I still needed my alone time to recharge my social energy. Perhaps it was due to the influence of my past life where I was so used to spend my time alone. I just noticed how I was deprived of this alone time, as Ein would just be with me even when I separated from my friends.
It’s not like we’re always together too—sometimes my circle of friends separated into smaller groups, depending on what we wanted to do.
“Why don’t you just tell him that? He looks like to be quite intelligent, he has surely picked up some hints so far, right?” Luca gave a solution that he felt like natural to do.
“Eh, but that is…,” I hesitated. But wait, I think I masked my real intention so well—did he notice due to my stiff face, anyway?
“Do you want me to help, Lyra?” Clavis-nii offered his help.
“…No, it’s okay. I will talk with him alone after this.”
After thinking for a while, I came to a conclusion that it should be better to convey this directly to Ein, to make him understand, rather than repeating the tiring cycle all over.
So, one day, I deliberately asked my friends to go without me first, and I deliberately came to find Ein.
“Big Sis Lyra! We’re not playing tags anymore? Or could it be that you’re “it” right now?”
…This child, as expected, he considered this as a game of tag! Hahaha… I should have known T__T
“Ein… I have something I’d like to talk with you about…”
Perhaps he noticed the serious expression I had on, Ein also showed a serious expression. Then, I narrated about the problem I found in his action so far. About how he should stop “observing” me as everyone surely has different talent and way of learning. About how he shouldn’t just chase after me. And that he needed to socialize more with his other friends. I was afraid he’d be the outcast in his class, too.
I sighed in relief after telling him everything on my mind. Ein was still silent—I felt like he was still digesting the information I flooded him with.
But much to my surprise… Tears started to flow from his face!
“Huwaaa… I’m sorry, Big Sis! I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable! It’s just… it’s just… *hic*”
“U-uhm, it’s okay, it’s okay, I’m not angry… S-stop crying first and tell me what’s wrong, okay?”
I tried to calm him down as I directed him to a place with less people… Uuuh, I’m not bullying a junior to the extent he cried, okay?!
“So… what is it, Ein?”
After Ein calmed down, I tried asking him again. Did my words hurt him? I tried my best to phrase my words so that it wouldn’t hurt such a little child like him…
“I’m sorry, Big Sis… A-at first, it’s true that I’m just curious of you… I want to know your secret or trick… But as I spend more time with you and your friends, I just feel like it’s comfortable being with you guys… Especially with you, Big Sis Lyra… I feel like you’re my real big sister…”
In other words, he has forgotten his initial purpose of following me, and only tags along with me because he likes it?
“You’re nice and very patient even if I don’t try to act like a good kid… I don’t really behave like this with other people… Just my mother, father, and… you. But I’m sorry if that makes you uncomfortable… I-I will behave myself from now on! S… so… don’t hate me… please?”
His light blue eyes that were filled with tears looked up at me as I could feel his insecurity. I was taken aback for a moment that I didn’t respond.
Perhaps Ein mistook it as a sign of refusal, as he suddenly added.
“I won’t be tagging along with you anymore, I will try to be with my other classmates… so is it okay for me to talk with you at times?”
I felt so guilty for making him feel like this. In the first place, if it’s not for the fact that I’m covering the secret of my past life and my being wary against his parents—it’s not like he’s that bothersome. He’s like a cute little brother who follows me around. If only I don’t need to watch my words and action…
Okay, I feel the need to amend his stalker-like action before he misunderstands that it’s nothing weird.
“No, it’s okay, Ein. I’m happy that you feel this way to me and my friends… But I’m sure your friends would want to spend time with you, too, right?”
“…? Not really… When I tried to talk with them before, I don’t feel like I like them, and I don’t feel like they like me as well…”
“T-that’s why, I feel more comfortable hanging around with you and your friends, Big Sis…”
“…Don’t tell me that you don’t have any friend around your age?!”
My mind suddenly connected him with his mother, Nicole. I felt like it was strange that Nicole only stuck with me and Clyde—and I never saw her with the other people that often… Clyde’s personality took after Nicole more…
I don’t have the heart to tell Ein to not approach me or my friends when I know he feels like we’re his only friends.
But at the same time, I’m tired of putting up a pretense as my defense against Clyde and Nicole.
Do I need to put up my defense at the expense of my suffering like this?
The hell with their suspicion on me!
I’m just a little child! Besides, there are also people with similarities although they’re not related, right?
As long as I innocently pull my way through their suspicion, not admitting at all, so what?
I just realized that people could be suspicious of me all they wanted to, but as long as I didn’t admit anything, they couldn’t confirm it!!
Coincidences can happen, similar people can exist, so well yeah, who cares! Hahahahahaha!!
“It’s okay, Ein. You can be with me and my friends.”
In the end, I decided to just be myself and not be so wary in front of Ein. When I let myself be free in front of him like this, I could really see him as a cute little brother.
“Really? But you just said…”
“It’s okay, I don’t hate you or anything, Ein. I feel like you’re my real little brother, so it’s fine.”
His eyes sparkled in delight.
As I have accepted Ein as an existence that’s like my own little brother… Then as his big sister, there’s one thing I need to do. Teach him to keep his behavior in moderation.
Therefore, I tried my best to make him understand what the society called as “stalking” and the concept of “me time”, and so on. And that it doesn’t mean anything personal if I want to be left alone at times.
After making sure he understood the whole concept and promised to not overdo it, I took his hand as we walked to where my friends were waiting.
As expected, they were all surprised to see me and Ein being together like this… so I explained the whole thing to them.
Iris stared at Ein in pity—eh—I thought she pitied Ein after hearing how Ein might not have friends other than us.
In short, nobody objected to my decision of officially adopting Ein as—I meant, officially including Ein in our group of friends~
Yep, in the first place, I was the only one who put the whole suffering on myself.
Thus, I felt like another burden was lifted from my shoulders.
In the Loera residence…
“Eine, you look so happy today. Did something good happen?” Nicole noticed how her son seemed to be happy and wanted to share the good news.
Ein couldn’t hide his happiness—after all, he felt like his big sis Lyra stopped playing tags with him and that he felt more accepted now.
“Nothing, it’s just that I’m happy I can get along well with Big Sis Lyra and the others!”
“Yeah, they’re the friends I like, Mum!”
Upon learning that, Nicole sighed in relief.
She was worried for her son at first, because her son was so similar to her. The [Oracle1OracleSpecial power bestowed upon an individual. Some Oracles even run in the family! ] he inherited was also quite strong. She understood more than anyone that it would make her different from the others. This became more apparent when they finally enrolled in school. What the others deemed hard was easy to her. When she was a child, she kinda ridiculed the other children her age because of it, and as a result, she didn’t have many friends.
She was able to be friends with Clyde back then because she deemed him worthy enough to be her rival in a certain field… and Reinst because she was calm unlike the other children. This sparked her interest in Reinst, so she kinda followed Reinst. Nicole was glad because Reinst didn’t have that much reaction—no refusal, nor acceptance. So she was quite determined to turn this “no reaction” from Reinst into “acceptance”. Sadly, she failed before that could come to fruition.
This time, Ein seemed to be doing fine with Lyra that sparked his interest—and that he was able to be friends with Lyra’s friends as well.
It seemed like her son did better than her back then. Was this due to the fact that her son also inherited some of Clyde’s personality? At any rate, Clyde’s better than her for socializing.
If only Lyra/Reinst remembered well about Nicole and didn’t just ‘half-ignore’ her back then… She would surely scream at Ein and Nicole, “Really like mother, like son!”