I’m sorry for not updating faster! I spent most of my time recovering from my illness (it’s nothing serious, but it really hindered me!). I’m feeling better now and I hope you guys are still here with me–I mean with Lyra XD
As usual, please don’t hesitate to leave any comment to mark your territory! …I mean presence, yes, that’s the right word! Is this on purpose or is it the side effect of my illness/medication(?) :p
Chapter 77 – The Treasury: Revisited
From that day onward, Ein really did reflect on his behavior! He really listened to my words—I felt like a proud big sister!
He stopped behaving in a stalker-ish way and got along well with my other friends, although I could feel that he was slightly more attached to me since he saw me as a sister figure.
After I stopped myself from trying to keep up a pretense in front of him, interacting with Ein didn’t feel stressful at all. On the contrary, it was fun. Having a younger figure looking up to you feels nice, actually.
I didn’t get to taste it with my past self’s younger brother… Well, that was partly my fault for harboring a dislike to Domi back then, right after he was born.
Either way, things didn’t seem to be as bad as I thought it would be if I were to stop putting up my defense in front of Ein.
Obviously, I tried my best to be a good big sister and corrected his wrong ways like how a real elder sister would. For example, this child’s innocence clinginess that resembled a stalker’s way… It got better day by day. Apparently, due to my acceptance of him, he managed to calm down as well.
Well… This incidence… I predict that it will most likely haunt Ein in the future as one of his ‘dark’ childhood secrets, mwahaha!
–No, I’m a good and kind elder sister, okay?
That was just a joke, teehee~.
It’s not like I will definitely make fun of him in the future with this incidence… maybe.
It all depends on how he will grow up in the future~!
…Right. Because my mental is already developed, it doesn’t seem like I will have a very drastic change in personality… maybe? But I wonder how about my other friends?
They will surely grow up and develop their personalities further.
It would be nice if we could stay good friends even when they have all grown up.
Yes, I will make sure that happens.
Today, Ein learned that dragons normally use treasure chests as wardrobe replacement.
“Eh?! REALLY?! I’d like to see, I’d like to see! Please, big sis Kuuuuuu?!”
Ein’s eyes sparkled as he leaned forward to request Carbuncle to show him her treasure chest. I felt like Ein was so similar to a dog wagging his tail in his excitement—KUUUH, CUTE!!
“Sure, I can show you the dragons’ proud treasure chests!!” Carbuncle said with her chest puffed.
“Ah… How nostalgic…,” Iris clapped her hands in front of her chest.
Really, these days, I felt like I became more and more tomboy, with Iris doing feminine things… It must be due to my environment, yes!
“Nostalgic?” Ein who just went ‘yay, yay~!’ suddenly asked in curiosity.
“Well, we went as far as visiting the Capicastle’s Treasury Room to observe treasure chests…,” I recounted our experience back then.
“…Treasury… Room? Capicastle?”
I realized Ein had this ‘calculating’ look, and that was when I had a premonition…
“I want to go there, too! I want to visit the Treasury Room and do [Treasure Chest Observation] as well!!”
“Well, that is–,” I looked at Luca. Help!
“…Hey, what’s with that look? Even if I live there, I still have to ask for Father and Mother’s permission. We can’t just go there without any notice.”
“Really, big brother Luca? Can you ask the king and the queen on our behalf?”
After spending time together with us, Ein became less reserved in front of the crown prince.
“Can Harvey and I come as well…?” Iris timidly asked.
“Yeah, sure. When should we do that?” Luca suddenly asked.
“Uhm, what about during the day our parents come to Capicastle to make it easier…?” Kiri asked back.
“…Kiri, your father usually comes to Capicastle on almost a daily basis.”
I wanted to laugh at Kiri’s silly remarks when I figured what was wrong.
Then, I remembered that there was still an ongoing conflict between Naraka and Cielle—one that inevitably involved our country, Riviera.
As the Head of the Royal Knights, Kiri’s stepfather got busier and had to be absent from his home or from Capicastle for quite a while.
Therefore, for a moment there (no, I’m not trying to do a tongue twister or something like that!!), Kiri forgot that his father would usually come to Capicastle on a daily basis.
I was more used to Mom and Dad’s absence which increased in both frequency and length.
“Actually, Kiri’s idea sounds nice. My parents often come to Capicastle—especially Mom, so it’s not really a problem for me, but for Ein…,” I glanced at Ein.
“Me? Oh! I remember that Mum said something about going to Capicastle… So I will ask her if I can tag along during that time!”
“Eh, really?” I was surprised to hear that Nicole would be going to Capicastle. But then again, she is now a duchess… and Four Ducal Houses of Riviera are the pillar of the country in one way or another, so I see the connection.
It’s just that Dad’s frequency of going to Capicastle definitely exceeds the other ducal houses—some visits are incognito if he’s doing spy work. Other than that, his frequent visit is also justified because the East Riviera needs lots of work after two generation (or more?) of corrupt governance.
It’s also the king’s strategy to “check” on the Hartmann lineage that some people might still distrust.
“Okay then, it’s a deal!”
That was how I got myself in yet another dejavu, but this dejavu definitely came from my past experience as Lyra, not Reinst.
Yes, I tagged along Dad and Mom as they were going to a very important meeting—I guess it would be about the current conflict again.
To my surprise, I encountered two familiar figures on my way!!
“Herbert-san, you’re very early today,” Dad greeted the familiar figure in front of me.
“Valkyane-san, how do you do?”
I reflexively stiffened upon meeting my past self’s biological father.
What is this situation?
The one holding my hand right now is my current self’s biological father, and the one in front of me right now is my past self’s biological father. In a sense, my fathers are both here.
Glancing to Father’s side—there’s Domi.
Mom and Alt-nii were walking next to Dad and me.
“It’s rare of you to bring your son along?” Dad asked in curiosity.
Thanks Dad for asking the question I’ve been wanting to ask!
“Yeah. I think it’s important for him to be directly involved and observe the situation, since he will be the one who succeed me in the future,” Father answered.
I looked at the expressionless—or the straight-faced Domi. I couldn’t really tell what he was thinking about, but that straight face of his reminded me of my past self, and it made me feel a little bit uneasy at the same time.
“It should be my question instead. You seem to be bringing your children along as well? They’re still so young, you couldn’t be thinking of letting them observe the meeting, too, right?”
“No, of course not. You see, Crown Prince Lucius is fond of my children’s company, so I brought them here to accompany him.”
“Oh? That’s nice for you to be forging such a close relationship so early.”
“…Thank you for your compliment. However, this is nothing but a coincidence for Crown Prince Lucius to take a liking on my children.”
I could sense Dad’s voice went colder when he said, “take a liking”. But that should be undetectable for anyone other than Dad’s closest people.
I saw Mom stealthily reprimanded Dad via her glare. …From this angle, it seemed like Domi would be able to see Mom’s reprimanding glare, but he just remained as expresionless as usual. This made me feel a little bit worried.
Only Dad and Father were speaking. Mom wasn’t someone who’d like to initiate conversation—and based from the look of it, Domi neither.
“Well, like father, like children, I guess?” Father chuckled.
Oh… I guess it’s no longer a secret that Dad is King Titus’ close aide. I looked at Dad with concern in my eyes.
I wonder if he has faced difficulties due to his close bond to King Titus?
I guess this kind of thing is a double-edged sword.
“Haha, they are my children after all.”
Such was Dad’s only response.
The meeting was so brief, yet it made me clear that Father hadn’t really changed, even when his hair grew even grayer. And that Domi was really my (Reinst’s) biological younger brother. Even his upbringing should be exactly like me (Reinst).
Unlike the other day, we were escorted to the Treasury Room.
To be more exact, Dad went first to speak with the other Royal Spies before having to attend the meeting with the king and the others as a duke.
So, Mom was the one to escort me, Alt-nii, and Clavis to the Treasury Room.
Coincidentally, the Treasury Room was close to Mom’s territory—err, I mean, the Royal Magicians’ work space, and Mom’s Familiar—Fenix the Phoenix was guarding it.
And in front of the Treasury Room… there was yet another one of my past self’s acquaintance.
“Eh? Did you just arrive as well? What a coincidence!”
Nicole, who was still talking with Ein in front of the Treasury Room, noticed our presences and greeted us.
“Nicole-san, hello,” Mom curtly greeted her.
“Ophelia-san, it’s good to see that you’re doing well.”
Then, Nicole’s gaze made its way to… who else could it be? Me.
“Lyra-chan, long time no see!”
“Aunt—Nicole-san, it’s good to see you again!” I posed as an ordinary girl and tried to put my sincerity.
Well, it can’t be helped, I’m still a bit not sure how I should face her…
“It’s just the two of you?” Mom suddenly asked.
“Me? Yeah, it’s just Eine and me now.”
“Why, isn’t it rare? I heard that your husband attended meetings and other social pleasantries more often than you. And it’s even more usual to see you two together than just you alone.”
…Mom oddly spoke a lot!!
I mean, Mom isn’t the type of someone to talk a lot to someone she’s not so familiar with… Now I’m curious if Mom and Nicole have some kind of relationships—I mean, in terms of their occupations or positions…
“Haha, that’s true. Clyde’s out for another business meeting, so I’m the only one coming now,” Nicole laughed.
“…No, even if he can attend, I will also be here. It’s a crucial matter after all. And if push comes to shove, we’ll have to join hands again and…,” Nicole continued, but she then left her words hanging.
“…You’re right. As the Head of the Royal Magician, I will do my best to assist.”
I can’t stand it anymore.
“Uhm… Mom, do you often do collaboration with Nicole-san? What’s that about?”
“Hm? Yes, Lyra. She is the head of the Loera family, after all.”
…Mom, thank you, but that didn’t answer my question at all.
Nicole chuckled as she seemed to see the big question mark on my head.
“Because I am the head of the Loera family that is also a direct bloodline of the Loera family… Well, you already know that my husband is married into my family. As I’m in that position, I also act as some kind of an advisor when needed. That is the special duty of the head of the Loera clan. As your mother is the Head of the Royal Magicians, if the next course of action taken requires her cooperation, we will have to work together.”
I was almost distracted by Nicole’s fluid explanation!!
Wow, she has really grown up! Back then, she couldn’t really explain things this well to others! She just thought that the others would understand what she understood…
When she talked about things I (Reinst) didn’t really understand, I didn’t bother to respond and nod them away… She would then sulk and tried to explain in a horrible way!
That sure brings back memories…
“I see… thanks for explaining, Nicole-san!”
“Haha, anything for you, Lyra-chan. Aah, I’d like to have a daughter as well…,” Nicole suddenly lamented.
Do your best, Nicole, Clyde! You two are still young, so I’m sure you can do it if you try!
…Or is it not only a matter of trying hard or not?
“Big sis Lyra, big bro Alt and Clavis! Let’s go, let’s go, I wanna see the Treasury Room!!” Ein then came to me as if he was a dog wagging its tail.
“Ein, don’t rush! What about Luca and the others?”
“They’re all already inside! We’re the last batch!!”
“What? Already?!” Alt-nii was surprised. He then looked at Mom and said, “Mom, can we go inside now?”
“Yeah, sure, I’ll open up the room for you.”
Mom seemed to be emitting a special magic essence that triggered the door to Treasury Room to open.
“Thanks, Ophelia-san. You saved me the trouble of using my special access.”
If I remembered it correctly, Father didn’t have access to Treasury Room even if he was the Duke of Grabberton.
Is this also one of the Loera family’s privileges? Well, they’re highly intelligent and good at managing wealth, so I guess I see yet another connection…
On the other hand, I know that the Grabberton family holds access to military power, Hartmann family holds access related to the magician army (and now, it’s probably to the spies as well).
As for the Fumitsuna family… They’re living near most conflict areas and have to manage skirmishes often, so they’re granted special access to weaponries or the likes of it… and that they are permitted to request for both militant and magician armies’ power if needed.
With geographical and special abilities considerations, I think their privileges are well thought. It’s also a way for the royal family to do check-and-balance.
The only ducal house with no access to combatant power is the Loera family, then? But it seems they have other important special privileges as well…
After the door opened, the first thing that entered our vision fields was… Fenix, obviously.
“Wowww!! A phoenix!!”
Since this was his first time seeing a phoenix, Ein couldn’t hide his excitement.
“Fenix. I’m entrusting them to you again,” Mom instructed Fenix to take a good care of us, again.[Leave it to me].
“!! Is this how phoenixes communicate?” Ein was so impressed.
Mom and Nicole couldn’t stay for too long as they should be preparing for their meeting soon, so they bid us farewell and walked together to the meeting hall…
While it surprised me and made me a little bit uneasy how Mom and Nicole seemed to be on a good term, it made me happy to know that Mom also has friends other than her fellow magicians!
…Yes, with how they interact, they can already be considered as friends… right?
Well… that means, by this standard, I also have to admit that Nicole was indeed Reinst’s friend.
“Lyra, you’re finally here!” (Iris)
“Well, well, the one who especially requested for this Treasury Room to be revisited is finally here.” (Carbuncle)
“Altaire, Clavis!” (Guess who? It’s no one other than Harvey).
As I glanced at my friends one by one, I suddenly noticed one thing…
The red-haired cute little girl flew into my arms.
I welcomed her enthusiastic hug and rubbed my cheek to hers.
Time flew so fast, and Leticia is now four years old.
Contrary to how Luca was at 4 years of age, Leticia is 100% an angel.
It amazed me that they were even 100% blood-related siblings!
“Princess Leticia is also here?” Clavis asked. He didn’t get to meet and interact with Leticia that often.
“Yes, she insists on tagging along no matter what,” Luca bitterly smiled like it couldn’t be helped.
“Wolfie~♪!” Thankfully, Leticia seemed to remember Clavis.
Meanwhile, Ein was totally engrossed with Fenix that I needed to drag him to where we were gathered.
Then, Luca introduced Leticia to all of us, and Luca introduced our friends (who’re meeting her for the first time) to Leticia.
When Ein took notice of how I pampered Leticia and how Leticia was so attached to me, I felt like it sparked a hint of rivalry in him… like… because he also saw me as a big sister figure…?
And just as it felt like they were about to compete on who’s more attached to me…[Ahem, kids. Before you start, there are rules here that you must abide. Even if you’ve come here before, let me remind you again.]
Fenix suddenly announced as she menacingly flapped her wings.[If you don’t follow the rules…]
Fenix seemed to be more intimidating—HEY, WE’RE JUST CHILDREN!!
Due to the intimidating aura, all of us spontaneously quieted down and took a step back as our attention was focused on Fenix.
The ones with less courage took several steps back.
Oh, Carbuncle was an exception as she only leisurely looked at Fenix, without moving an inch. Iris was hiding behind such a creature—I mean such a dragon.
Luca and I still took a step back reflexively. But well, no matter how extraordinary we were, we couldn’t compete against a dragon.
Alt-nii also took a step forward with Clavis—Clavis’ ears and tail were standing stiff in alert. Harvey was between the two of them as he took a step slightly behind.
Ein spontaneously let go of my hand and stepped back as well.
The most unexpected one would be Kiri’s reaction. Could it be that he finally became braver? Or could it be because of the fact that Leticia was, hiding behind him, that he tried to act brave?
Being Luca’s close aide, it was no wonder for Kiri to be a very familiar person to Leticia. I remember one of Leticia’s childish pranks is to tease or surprise Kiri—as Kiri’s reaction when something surprises him can be so amusing at times.
Well, that’s good if it can push Kiri to grow more to be someone who can follow in his stepfather’s footprints.
I feel like a mother watching her son grow up… Sniff…[…Focus your attention to me and listen to my every word.]
As if she noticed that I started to daydream, Fenix said once again.
Okay, sorry, sorry! My mind is back to the present, now!
Come at me, rules!!
Go on, Fenix!!!