“Thanks for the food!”
After Mom bathed the twins, the twins started to grow attached to Mom as well. Perhaps they finally felt Mom’s sincere affection as well. I mean, look at how Mom tried so hard just to pick clothes for the twins!
“…Since you two came here so suddenly, we didn’t get to prepare clothes and the likes for you… Sorry, but can you two bear with wearing Lyra and Alt’s old clothes?”
The twins nodded.
“Would you like to wear this one or this one?” Mom gave them choices.
The twins nodded. Mom was confused.
“…This one?” Mom pointed to a set of clothes. One for boy, one for girl. The twins nodded.
“…Or that one?” Mom pointed to another set of clothes. The twins nodded again.
“………This, then?” Mom became even more unsure. The twins nodded anyway.
“…Let’s go with this then,” Mom eventually settled for a set of similar clothes.
“Yep, the clothes suit you two,” Mom said after putting the clothes on them as she patted their heads at the same time.
The twins narrowed their eyes as if they enjoyed Mom’s gentle pat.
“Suit…,” Freyr started.
“Us?” Freyja ended.
“Yes, that’s right. We’ll have to buy new clothes soon. Make sure to choose the ones you like, don’t nod at just anything, okay?” Mom asked with a serious tone. She was seriously concerned.
The twins nodded but I wasn’t sure if they really meant it or if they understood it…
Back to dinner time and dinner table.
I saw the twins stared at the food Chloe prepared wholeheartedly for them.
They timidly picked up the spoon and spooned a mouthful food into their mouths… Before their eyes literally sparked, and then they ate like they hadn’t been fed for days…
“Oh my, I’m glad they liked it!” Chloe sighed in relief. She looked pretty tense when she observed the twins’ movements back then.
“Chloe’s food is the best!” I added.
“Lyra-sama, you’re exaggerating!”
“No, it’s true!” Alt-nii added.
“Haha, thanks for the delicious food as always, Chloe,” Dad thanked Chloe.
“That’s right. We don’t say this all the time, but thanks for the food,” Mom also added.
The twins stopped eating for a while, perhaps they were almost full by this time.
“Thanks for…,” Freyr started.
“…food, Chloe,” Freyja ended.
“Oh my, dear!” Chloe covered her mouth as happiness radiated from her face.
Currently, Niina was in her holidays—back at her home with her husband and Clavis. Well, the snow storm was coming, so all the more she had to be there at her home. But if she were here, I could imagine her squealing like crazy upon seeing the twins!
That night, after dinner ended, it was decided that we would be sleeping together. For bonding’s sake!
We were lying together on the bed with the twins in the middle of us. I was right next to Freyja, with Mom next to me. Alt-nii was next to Freyr—excited that he finally had a little brother—with Dad next to him. To make sure Alt-nii didn’t tease Freyr right away… Although Alt-nii was already 11 years old, he was still as mischievous as always. For Alt-nii’s good name, I assure you he’s gotten better!
“Would you like to have a bedtime story or a lullaby?” Mom asked the twins before she regretted it.
“Actually, your only choice would be bedtime story,” Mom added quickly before the twins could even open their mouths.
“I will sing the lullaby, then!” Alt-nii volunteered.
“Rururu~,” Rurune chimed in happily.
However, before Rurune could even do anything, the twins pulled her to be in the middle of them as they hugged her soft fur.
“Ruru…,” Rurune showed a trouble face, but she stayed still, as if she was loving the twins’ tiny hands caressing her fur gently!
“Cass will be narrating the story and I can do the water show just like what Firis had done for me,” Dad decided on his part.
“Eh… eh… I, I will…,” I was confused on what I should add.
“Lyra is the audience as well!” Alt-nii one-sidedly decided my role.
“Eeeh? But I want to contribute!” I protested.
“Whoa, you’re already getting into the big sister role, aren’t you?” Dad happily asked me.
Eeh, I was already a big sister in my past life. Add that I had an older mentality, I already saw myself as everyone’s big sister!!
“Lyra can pat the twins gently to let them drift off to sleep, then!” Alt-nii suddenly suggested.
“…Pat them? Sure!” I quickly moved from my position. I moved up to put myself in the position between the twins, just above their heads. I locked eyes with Rurune as I said, “Sorry, Rurune, I only have two hands to pat the twins… You already have their hands to pat you, right?”
“Ruru…,” Rurune seemed sad, but her eyes flashed a hint of understanding.
As Mom and Dad began the bedtime story, I patted the twins’ heads gently. Alt-nii hummed a gentle melody… Huh, he could actually hum well! Quite unexpected, coming from a prankster like him!
…Yep, I was still his prank’s victim, hahaha! I admit I sometimes tried to pay him back. I was getting more and more childish, huh?
Rurune sometimes “sang” along with Alt-nii as she drifted to her comfy sleep by the twins’ patting.
Shortly after that…
Perhaps the twins were indeed exhausted from the long day they experienced, as they quickly drifted off to sleep.
Mom, Dad, Alt-nii and I were still awake, though.
We smiled at one another as we saw the twins’ innocent sleeping faces.
“I’ll need to add them to the family registry and handle the administration,” Dad suddenly said.
“I’ll need to ask Niina and Chloe to prepare for their daily necessities. Niina will be so surprised when she hear this,” Mom added.
“Let’s go shopping together after the snow storm is gone,” Mom then looked at Alt-nii and I.
“Oh, there’s something I want to buy!” Alt-nii excitedly added.
“…We’ll go shopping mainly for the twins, though,” Mom laughed at Alt-nii’s remarks, “but it’s also fine for Alt and Lyra to buy new things.”
“Will it be okay?” I asked.
“Lyra, we’re still a ducal house even if our circumstances might be like this, you know?” Dad dejectedly said.
“Haha… hahaha,” I laughed awkwardly at Dad’s remark.
“I’m also thinking of renovating the house,” Dad suddenly dropped a bomb.
“EH?!” I quickly covered my mouth as my voice unintentionally raised. I saw the twins’ eyes twitched for a bit, but they didn’t seem to be awake… Phew!
Are we becoming richer so suddenly?!
As if sensing what I was thinking of, Dad suddenly said, “The hard work I’ve been doing is finally paying off. We can now secure more of our funds. I can finally give you a better life, Cass, Alt, Lyra.”
“Didn’t I say that didn’t really matter? If I really love a wealthy lifestyle, I’d not offer the fund I received from working as the head of the royal magician to help develop the territory and to help the people.”
“But it’s true that we need to keep up with the other nobles. The kids are growing up and we’ve got two more kids as well,” Mom added after she paused to think.
“Eh? I-I don’t mind…,” I quickly answered as I saw Mom and Dad looking at me and Alt-nii.
“That’s right. I don’t want those noble brats to be bullying my Lyra and Alt just because of our not-so-luxurious lifestyle. We should at least make it better,” Dad added.
“Wow, wow, I can now boast and silence those nosy brats?!” Alt-nii excitedly said.
“…I think so?” I tilted my head, feeling a little bit troubled.
I was used to living a simple yet warm life like this… that I almost forgot the taste of wealth I experienced.
Well, as long as this family stays warm like this, having this kind of upgrade is nice!
I guess… [Achievement unlocked: Lifestyle Upgrade~☆]?
Freyr and Freyja were then adopted as the Hartmann family’s youngest children.
Dad gave the two of them new middle names, as a commemoration of them becoming family.
The older twin sister, Freyja was now [Freyja Artemyscha Hartmann]. Her middle name resembled my first name [Alrescha]. Yes, that was totally intentional!
The younger twin brother, Freyr was now [Freyr Arcturus Hartmann]. Obviously, they were still called Freyr and Freyja.
We got very busy as soon as the snow storm ended. The house renovation began immediately. The house was getting an expansion! At the same time, we began buying things for the twins. Getting new haircut for the twins as their hair was so messy… At this moment, both of Freyr and Freyja’s hair were short—but Freyja still had longer hair compared to her twin brother.
It was so exciting!
Suddenly, our house was much bigger than how it was. Though it wasn’t as grandeur as the Hartmann family’s old house or the crazy rich Loera clan’s main house, our house was now looking more like a high noble’s house.
Each of us gained our own room—including Freyr and Freyja. However, they were still very young and seemed to refuse being separated, so in the meantime, they would be sharing a room with a cute two stair bed! Gah, I totally didn’t envy them for having two stair bed, okay?
Dad and Mom didn’t really like the ideas of them having their separate bedrooms, so they were still only with their shared bedroom. Only… their study rooms got upgraded really well that they could actually sleep there… but nooo, Mom and Dad shouldn’t work like a workaholic!
When I looked at my room which was considerably larger than the previous one… I could only think, ‘Wow, all of my friends can fit here if we’re having another sleepover!’
Ah, but the guestrooms were upgraded as well…
I guess we could play a more challenging hide-and-seek!
My family could have hired more servants, but they seemed to prefer a quiet environment… so apart from adding more tools or devices to make it easier to clean and maintain the house, they only hired people who could help Niina, Chloe, and Vince on shifts if needed.
Chloe and Vince could even bring their family members to live here with them if they wanted. My family welcomed their families to work here with open arms! However, Chloe’s and Vince’s family members were accustomed to their current livelihood, so they only received the offer to stay over more often than before.
The upgrade was more than welcome~! I quickly got accustomed to my newly improved livelihood and loved every bits of it!
The garden and the training grounds were also upgraded, and I loved strolling around our garden as a way to chill and relax—while training my leg muscles at the same time.
Ah, fun fact! As expected, when Niina returned to work with Clavis, they were so surprised to see the two additional members of the family.
Niina’s reaction was too funny not to share…
“Eeeeekh?! When did Cyan-sama and Cass-sama have another children this big?!”
“Oh my gosh, don’t tell me you’re accelerating their growth with magic?!”
“O-o-or, C-c-cyan-sama, you’re not…?!” –Niina’s head was instantly flicked when she got this idea.
After she received the whole story and calmed herself down…
“Phew… I couldn’t believe what was happening! And you poor thing…,” Niina gazed pitifully at the twins upon hearing their full story.
The twins responded by tilting their heads while looking at Niina in confusion. Freyr who was on the left, tilted his head to the right—and Freyja who was on the right, tilted her head to the left. They looked so cute tilting their heads towards each other…
“Aaaaaa, Freyr-sama and Freyja-sama, is it?!! So cuteeee!!”
She instantly became the twins’ ultra fan.
Clavis seemed to be a bit overwhelmed when the twins approached him from both sides and touched his ears and tail in wonder…
The two tilted their heads.
“Is this your first time seeing a wolf beastman?” Clavis asked calmly. His tail wagged a bit, a sign that he was happy.
“No,” the twins said as they shook their heads.
“We’ve seen other beastmen too…,” Freyja said.
“…back in the orphanage,” Freyr added.
“…Oh,” Clavis’ ears went down slightly. Perhaps he thought that the twins rarely saw beastmen and that they saw him as a special being… only to hear that it was already a common occurence for the twins in the orphanage they were raised in.
“But fur…,” Freyr muttered.
“We like!” Freyja completed Freyr’s sentence.
Really, this pair of twins… The way one started a sentence and how the other one ended the sentence… It was so adorable!!!
Do twins really have special bonds that they can complete each other’s sentence?
I wonder how will things change as they grow up and develop more of their respective personality?
Well, I’ll just have to see! We have plenty of time together now!
And first thing first, I can’t let them just increase their bonds with each other! I need them to bond with meeeee!
…Also with the rest of my family.
Dad’s bonding with the twins was going so smoothly as he began to tutor the twins about the Hartmann family’s special arts. The twins seemed to be natural learners as they were quick to follow Dad’s examples.
The twins seemed to be fond of their special arts a lot. I deducted that they used their special arts to amuse each other and as a form of their entertainment back when they only had each other. That was how they could develop their skills so smoothly.
Plus, the twins seemed to respect Dad a lot. They probably saw him as someone who brought them into a more comfortable and warm environment.
Dad also slowly introduced the Hartmann family to them—for example, telling stories and myths about the Hartmann family. Oh yep, although Dad hated being one of the Hartmann back then, it was due to his family circumstances.
…Not like anyone could love and revere a corrupt party like that, though.
Dad actually quite liked the Hartmann family’s old tale of splendor. And he vowed to restore the Hartmann family’s name and splendor after he took the Duke of Hartmann’s role.
The twins were obviously so excited when they first heard of the tale of the Hartmann twins.
“Lanchi…?” Freyr crisply said.
“…and Luchi?” Freyja also crisply said.
“The Hartmann twins…”
“Just like us?”
“Yep, that’s right,” Dad smiled at them.
“Maybe you two are their reincarnations?” I added without thinking—oops, way to go, me! The idea quickly popped in my mind as I was a reincarnator.
“Hmm, maybe that’s a good sign then?” Dad nonchallantly added.
“We want to be like the Hartmann twins!!” Freyr and Freyja declared simultaneously.
“…Aren’t you two the Hartmann twins already?” Dad smiled at the twins’ innocent declaration.
…Dad, I’m pretty sure they were referring to the Hartmann twins who were the founder of the Hartmann clan, okay?
Meanwhile, Mom’s bonding with the twins mostly happened when she took care of the twins. Although Niina and Chloe were mostly present to take care of the twins, Mom also decided to take care of them whenever she wasn’t busy.
The twins lost their mother so early in life… Thus, they seemed to have yearned for a mother figure all this time. As a result…
They quickly adapted to seeing Mom as their mother and called her “Mom” like Alt-nii and I.
Mom was delighted by this sudden turn of events as she pampered the twins more… Well, well, it was understandable! Alt-nii and I were quite “eccentric”, in contrast with the twins who were just like ordinary and adorable children.
Problems arose whenever Mom was trying to teach them something, though…
Mom also postponed the twins’ magic teaching as she wanted the twins to get used to their new lives first. That was a good move, actually.
Perhaps since the twins’ memories of their biological father were stronger than their biological mother who passed away when they were just babies, it was harder for them to accept Dad as their new father.
They bonded more quickly with Mom, following her like baby chickens.
That didn’t discourage Dad from bonding with them, though. He also didn’t mind even if the twins wouldn’t call him “Dad”. He was also used to call his own mom by her name due to their circumstances, anyway. For him, the way he was addressed didn’t matter as much as their bonds.
It wasn’t that their past experiences were rewritten that quickly. Their past surely had impacts to how they viewed things.
For example, when Dad and Mom returned to their jobs and started spending more time outside for work…
The twins were seen anxiously waiting for their return. When Dad or Mom had to go out and stay over the night outside, the twins seemed down. And when Mom or Dad returned, the twins immediately came up to Mom and Dad happily.
I almost teared down when I heard their conversations one day…
“I’m home, did you miss me that much?” Mom asked as she saw the twins running off to hug her so tightly.
“You’re not going anywhere…,” Freyja started.
“…and not coming back to see us anymore, right?” Freyr ended their questions. Both of their faces were so full of worry.
“I won’t, why would you think so?” Mom seemed to be intrigued with their anxious expressions, so she asked.
“Because back then, there were people…,” Freyr said.
“…who came and left just like that,” Freyja added.
“One left, someone new arrived,” Freyr started to narrate.
“Then that new person left, and a newer person came,” Freyja even gestured with her hands now.
The twins seemed to see the orphanage’s staff and volunteers came and go, and the other children also came and go.
“…Back then we didn’t really care,” Freyr said.
“But now we do, because we really like you…”
“You’re Mom… and you will always be our Mom, right?”
“…Of course, Freyr. Freyja. We’re here to stay. This is your home now,” Mom added. I could tell that she was emotionally moved as well.
“Home…?” Freyr tilted his head.
“That’s right. This is your home. Your family. Family doesn’t come and go. Family will always be there for you. Nobody is left behind,” Dad also comforted Freyr and Freyja.
“…But Papa and Mama…,” Freyja suddenly said.
“…They left us too?” Freyr’s eyes were brimming with tears.
“No, that isn’t true…,” Mom wiped the tears that were falling from their eyes.
“They might now be in a far, far away place. But they really want to be together with you two forever, you know? They really, really want to see you, to be there for you two if they can,” Mom patted their pale white hair.
“But even if they’re no longer here with us, they will always be there in your hearts, right?” Dad asked.
“Yes, and they’re always there accompanying you two, even if you can no longer see them,” Dad added. I could tell from his eyes that he was remembering his late mother—Firis.
“…?” Freyr tilted his head, unable to really comprehend it.
“Can’t be seen? A ghost?” Freyja innocently asked.
We couldn’t help but burst out laughing upon hearing Freyja asking that in a serious expression. Children could actually be this amusing…!
…It’s quite frustrating sometimes trying to explain things to them, but well… this kind of response might make it worth it…?
Well, Freyr and Freyja were still so young that they couldn’t really comprehend everything well, but luckily, Mom and Dad’s points eventually got crossed.
That we’re here to stay. That we’re not temporary.
Still, the twins showed their anxiety and insecurities from time to time. To put it in a positive light, that showed how they were already attached to our family. That showed how they were afraid to lose us.
I hope they’ll grow up to understand what we told them before.
It would be nice if their anxieties would disappear one day, after they fully comprehend our words.
Right now, we can only prove it to them, as their understanding grows deeper.
…Just like how Mom, Dad, and Alt-nii proved to me that they would always be there and love me for who I am, no matter what happened.