Shortly after the major debut of the twins, it was the only princess of this kingdom’s turn for debut! Some people had seen Leticia in a few occasions such as during the other royal family’s birthday parties and other kingdom’s special occasions. However, some missed their chances and were really curious about this little princess.
Nevertheless, roughly everyone was curious about how Leticia was when she turned six.
And today, their questions would be answered!
“Now, we will begin celebrating the princess’ sixth birthday party and debut to society,” King Titus said after giving a short opening speech.
“Please take care of our daughter,” Queen Shaula who was standing beside the king also said.
Then, the two figures moved aside to make way for the princess to come out at the stage.
I could sense everyone holding their breath in anticipation to the princess’ adorable figure.
Well, who am I to say?
I was also holding my breath in anticipation to what was going to unfold!
I believed that they purposely delayed the princess’ appearance to build up the anticipation first.
Just as our anticipation was built-up… Here it is, the princess’ debut!!
But the people gasped upon seeing what was happening.
Perhaps it was because the scene they saw betrayed their expectations.
Yes, in the stage, there was not only one figure, but there were three small figures!
The three figures were holding hands, or more precisely, it was as if the center figure was being guided or escorted by the figures next to her.
The center figure managed to steal the others’ attention due to her most prominent dress. She was wearing a cute fairy-like dress with a small princess’ crown decoration on top of her head. Her shoulder-length hair looked fluffy and soft. Her cheeks were rosy and her viridian-green eyes looked so round and bright.
…is she a rabbit?
Anyway, after feasting my eyes upon Leticia, I shifted my focus to observe the two figures on her right and left.
Wait a minute! Clarification!
It’s not like I care less about them that I only observed them after Leticia. It’s because I’ve already seen them before this party even began and they’re two familiar figures to me.
Yup, the two figures acting as Leticia’s small guards–or should I say, escorts–they are none other than Freyr and Freyja!
The two of them were wearing matching clothes that screamed their identity of the Hartmann family. On top of their clothes, Freyr and Freyja wore cloaks with the royal family’s insignia–making them look like the princess’ escort!
This small set-up livened up the whole venue’s atmosphere as most of the noble women were squealing with how cute the children were.
“Look, children guiding a child!”
“What a cute concept they’re doing now!”
Various praises could be heard.
Even if I wasn’t the one they praised, I still felt my pride welling up inside.
Is this how parents feel when someone praises their kids? Like, no wonder many parents want their kids to make them proud, then…
That thought unexpectedly crossed my mind.
Ah, must be due to my older mentality. I should be around my parents’ age by this time if I didn’t reincarnate, after all.
Shortly after, I was able to roam around the party venue. Therefore, I quickly headed to where my little siblings (plus one cute self-proclaimed sister) were! I saw there was still a flock (or some?) of nobles around them, but okay, I’d just walk my way there anyway!
However, fate was indeed strange.
I overheard something intriguing on my way to my little siblings and halted my steps.
Not wanting to seem weird and blocking the way, I moved slightly to the side and continued to listen.
As I continued to listen to that intriguing talk, I felt the atmosphere around me getting heavier, it was quite suffocating.
Perhaps it was because the content of the talk caused my heart to feel uneasy.
“Hey, aren’t those twins the Hartmann family’s adopted children?”
“Yes, they must be! Look at those eyes!”
“Eeeh, the Hartmann family’s oddly close to the royal family, huh?”
“Now that you mention it… They’re very close, indeed.”
“Wait, aren’t their children engaged or planned to be betrothed?”
“There’s no confirmation yet. But even so, aren’t the royal family favouring one ducal family too much?”
“Well, I’m wondering the same thing, too.”
…I took everything I had for granted. I never considered stuff like that.
Sure, the royal family’s tendency to a ducal family will destroy the balance that the four pillars—the four ducal families of Riviera have maintained.
Things usually don’t turn well when you don’t maintain a balance.
And more importantly… the way the others view this condition… Yes, it’s not good. Definitely not.
Even if the other ducal families don’t think of it as such, the other noble families might think otherwise and it’s very inviting envy.
As my mind was filled up with thoughts like that, suddenly I felt someone clapping my shoulders.
“So, tell me, why do I find my little sister dozing off alone in the middle of this place?”
I turned around to see the owner of that voice—it was none other than Alt-nii with his rare smile. It wasn’t his usual mischievous smile, it was a “brotherly” smile. I couldn’t describe how this rare smile of his looked like, but it made me feel safe somehow.
“Eh? N-nothing! I was just thinking about something—”
“Did you overhear something?”
“Well, of course I know. But let’s think about it rationally. Our parents are both working in the royal court. They hold important positions—well, Mom’s more known as Dad’s work in the royal court is either the secretive spy work or the usual duke’s duty. Other families aren’t as involved with the royal family as us.”
“Also. Your age matches Luca’s. Freyr and Freyja coincidentally are at the same age as Leticia. It’s only natural.”
“So, don’t worry about it. As long as problems don’t occur, why bother?”
“But what if it will cause a problem in the future…”
Alt-nii suddenly put his index finger in front of my mouth.
“Sssh… Don’t think about things that aren’t even certain to happen. When it comes, we’ll think about it at that time.”
I couldn’t really agree nor disagree. After all, it’s always better to prevent than to fix something after it’s late… right?
“Anyway, the others are waiting for us. Let’s go?”
Alt-nii didn’t even give me any leeway to think.
Okay, then. Let’s go to where everyone’s waiting.
Unexpectedly, Alt-nii held my hand and guided me all the way to where everyone was waiting.
Could it be that he was too concerned about my bad sense of direction that he did so?
He’s acting more like a dependable big brother.
That’s right, he’s maturing.
Later this year, he will have his coming of age ceremony.
I reminisced as I looked at his back.
Starting with the twins’ appearances, Alt-nii started to outgrow his mischievousness and childlike habits.
Perhaps his sense of responsibility as the first son just grew with the appearances of more little siblings.
Or it might be that he was also affected by my decreasing maturity—or sensibility. I started to loosen up more and act more like my age—I mean, closer to my physical age rather than restraining myself.
Time sure flies so fast and changes everything.
I still remembered when he was used to be so naughty and childish that I acted more like an older sister.
…I guess it’s nice having someone I can depend on.
This bigger hand tightly grasping my hand sure felt warm and comforting.
Having someone acting protective towards you and guiding you like this… yes, it doesn’t feel so bad. I don’t feel that I’m weak despite being treated like this.
Before, I felt like I had to be able to do everything alone.
After thinking about it, I felt much relieved.
Okay then, let’s not overthink about the “balance” matter now. Let’s loosen up and don’t miss out on the present time.
“What took you so long?”
Upon arriving to where my friends were, I was greeted by Luca’s raised eyebrows and question.
“Nothing. It’s not like Leticia’s finished greeting the others, right?” I answered back.
“Did you get lost again?” Luca’s tone of voice was affirmative.
“Of course not!” I protested—don’t label me like that!
“Yes, yes, can you two stop your usual bickering, please?”
Carbuncle clapped her hands a few times to shift my and Luca’s focus with a bored expression on her face.
Back then, she was in high spirits when she saw us starting to bicker, supporting us to “fight” (that was effective in making us stop bickering, too…). But in time, she grew tired of it that she’d just tell us to stop. Or maybe we were getting too noisy…
“Right, Kuu-chan is right! Stop bickering and let’s all enjoy the party!” Iris said with her small hands tightly grasped in front of her shoulders.
“Iris, my cute girl~,” I quickly hugged her small body in my arms. She’s just too adorable!
“Lyra, I’m older than you, so don’t treat me like that…,” Iris protested.
“My Iris has started to grow up that she’s started to protest…,” I purposely made my tone of voice sound sad.
“It can’t be helped with how things are, Iris. That’s why, you should eat a lot and grow up more,” Harvey said as he casually patted Iris’ head.
“Even Harvey, too…”
“Yes, Little Sheep, eat a lot! I’ll go hunt for ya~,” Carbuncle smirked.
“…No, thank you,” Iris rejected Carbuncle’s offer right away.
It was suddenly getting merrier around here. Perhaps due to that, Leticia decided to stop seeing the other nobles and went to approach us.
“Lyra-nee!” She lightly ran towards my direction.
The twins who were behind her tried to follow as well.
“Careful, don’t fall down!” I warned them in my worry.
“Hya!” Leticia jumped to hug me.
The twins stared at us.
…I felt as if the twins were asking for their portion as well.
“Hmph, you shouldn’t be too careless and do that in public, Princess,” Ein commented from the side as he observed us.
“What’s wrong with it?” Leticia replied with a sulky voice.
“Well, you’re the focus of everyone’s eyes. You should restrain yourself and maintain a good image,” Ein replied as if it was natural.
“It’s okay, Ein, Leti’s still small,” I tried to back Leticia up.
“Don’t pamper her too much, Big Sis Lyra. Things like this require us to get used to it from when we’re small…”
“You might be right, but still…”
I can relate much to Ein’s comment and understand where he’s coming from, but I… maybe since I have experienced that in my past lifetime, I don’t want Leticia to experience it as well.
“I’m saying this out of my kind consideration, Big Sis. Isn’t that right, Big Bro Luca?” Ein quickly shifted the topic of the conversation to Luca.
“…She’ll be fine,” Luca refused to comment too much for this and only replied as much.
“Thanks for your consideration then, Ein. I thought you were rivals with Leticia but it turns out you care about her,” I smiled.
“I just realized that she’s still a child and I no longer view her as quite a rival, but…,” Ein shifted his gaze to Freyr. Freyr noticed this and only stared back at Ein with his straight face.
“I have to seize the best little brother award!” Ein said with determination…
I scratched my head in confusion.
“Well, Ein, just don’t try too hard and overdo yourself, okay? It’s already amazing how you managed to reach your current achievements anyway…,” I lightly reminded Ein not too lose out on his life.
Yes, Ein actually managed to get an amazing achievement so far.
He actually skipped a year and he’s now a year my junior in Special Class.
His target is… to be in the same class as me and the others.
When I saw Nicole the other day, it seemed as if she didn’t view Ein’s condition as something strange. I learned that it was not the first time that the Loera clan had some of the members that skipped grades and such.
That’s definitely a cheat! Their clan’s [Oracle1OracleSpecial power bestowed upon an individual. Some Oracles even run in the family! ] is really a cheat in life!!
“So, it will be fine, right? Luca-niisama and Kiri are there to protect me!” Leticia then insisted.
“Eh?” Kiri was surprised to hear his name being called so suddenly.
“Yes, that’s right, Leti,” Luca ignored Kiri’s surprised voice and affirmed Leticia’s words.
“And you have me and the others here as well! Even Ein will be there for you, right?” I tried to stare as menacingly as I could to Ein.
“What?” Ein was surprised but after seeing my expression, he sighed and reluctantly nodded, “I guess.”
Leticia brightly smiled.
But a certain insensitive brat decided to break this happy scene.
“O-of course I’ll be there for you, Leticia. But you’re thinking of me way too highly… To protect you, I…,” Kiri showed a determined expression at first, but his confidence faded midway.
“What are you talking about? Still feeling timid? You’re almost 10 too, you know. You’ll be fine, we’ve been training together, so I know,” Luca hit Kiri’s back.
“Luca, that’s too much power!” Kiri protested.
“Yes, yes, I’ll definitely make it hurt every time you’re being timid.”
Well, for one… Kiri being so straightforward and telling that Luca’s cruel… that’s already an improvement, alright.
“Of course, Kiri is the knight, Luca-niisama is the prince, and I’m the princess! So, Kiri definitely will protect us, right?”
“Nah, I don’t need anyone’s protection,” Luca rejected the notion.
“So, he’s all yours,” Luca casually pointed Kiri to Leticia.
“Eh?!” Kiri yelped in surprise.
“But then again, if you’re incompetent, I’ll just protect Leticia myself. No problem,” Luca shrugged his shoulders.
“Kiri is going to become a knight in the future, right? Right?” Leticia asked with her bright eyes.
“Y-yes!” Kiri finally decided to let it go at this point.
“The young ones are so lively, aren’t they?” Clavis finally decided to speak up.
“Haha, let them be. It’s nice seeing them like this,” Alt-nii answered.
“Ah~ We’re getting old, aren’t we?” Harvey casually put his arm on Alt-nii’s shoulder.
Geez, these three older boys! Acting like we’re way younger than them, huh?
And here I still remember them being more childish than me… oh well.
It couldn’t be helped, they’re thirteen years old this year.
Exactly as old as me… as Reinst when I died.
My mentality doesn’t seem to grow older that much past that point—in a good way, I think—so, it seems like they’re going to outgrow me soon. Or maybe we’ll be walking together from now on.
I’m looking forward for the future.
“Hmm? There’s a gossip that I favour one house way too much?” King Titus asked with a bored look on his face.
“Well, that’s what I heard,” Queen Shaula answered.
“It can’t be helped that we’re so involved with them… with Cyan and Ophelia’s positions, right? As for the children, it’s simply due to their close ages. Besides… there’s that Loera main family’s heir apparent in our son’s friend circle.”
“As for the Grabberton family and Fumitsuna family…,” Queen Shaula paused a bit before continuing, “It’s simply due to their age gap and distance, I guess. But the Grabberton family’s heir has started to get more involved with the royal court in preparation for his inheritance, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. That Herbert is teaching his son first-hand.”
“As for the Fumitsuna family…”
“We’re maintaining an especially close relation with them, as their territory is so close to war zone—the unclaimed land, the border. Their main family’s heir is also going to get involved with the royal court soon enough,” King Titus stated it as a matter of fact.
“Maybe it’s because the Hartmann family’s involvement with us is the most apparent, then,” Queen Shaula deduced.
“…Though I must admit that I’m indeed very close to Cyan than the others, haha,” Titus shrugged his shoulders.
“…There you have the answer,” Shaula was speechless.
Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to drop some comments! I may be unable to respond to them one by one now (planning to, later on), but I read every one of them and I’m happy to read them ^^
Join this novel and my other project’s Discord server to discuss it with other readers~
See you in the next chapter!