“Alright, Lyra, now it’s time for the training!”
Right now, there are Dad, Alt-nii, Mom, and me in the second floor’s training roo—I mean living room. The one who just broke the silence was Dad, with his usual wide smile. Today is Day 7, so both my parents are free, and thus, my training starts after breakfast.
“If you think it’s too hard or that there’s something weird, please don’t hesitate to say so, Lyra,” said Mom.
“Okay~!” …my excitement is so obvious.
“Alright, let me explain the basic theory, for starters. You know about mana and magic affinity, right? Someone’s magic affinity can be identified after they turn 4, while your maximum mana capacity can be identified once you turn 6. So, right now, you’re only 3. Your magic affinity and mana capacity are not yet fixed. Even so, they’re still developing. The Hartmann are always gifted with magical power, so it’s certain that you possess magical power. Do you get it so far?” Mom elaborated.
“Err, Cassie… again, isn’t it too complicated for a 3-year-old to understand?” Dad asked, “I thought you’d devise another way after you tried explaining it to Alt.”
Uh, I can understand it just fine, but that’s probably because I have my past memory intact. But what about Alt-nii back then?
I wondered that as I stole some glances at my brother. Perhaps sensitive towards others’ stares or what, Alt-nii looked back at me and then smiled. …or rather, I can almost always see him with a smile or cheerful look on his face.
“Ah, Lyra, don’t think about it too much. Perhaps right now Mom’s words just fly through your head, but in the course of time, you’d understand, hehe,” he chuckled.
“Oh, so that’s how it was? Altaire, you were smiling and just said ‘O~kay~’ back then so I thought…,” Mom put her hand on her chin, deep in thought. Dad sighed, his expression said, ‘Oh, it can’t be helped, it’s you, after all.’
So… Mom has no common sense?! And, she can’t read Alt-nii’s expression at that time?
But, then again… when I think about it, it’s hard to read Altaire-oniichan! Most of the time, he has this poker face expression with his trademark smile on. And I can portray him when he said he got it to Mom, leaving Dad speechless.
Perhaps Mom thinks we can understand the concept just fine because some of the storybooks they have ever read for us contain the things about magic. Plus, when grandma showed me the photos of Mom when she was small, she had this “gifted child” vibe. Gifted people and geniuses usually have problems to understand that other people may need an easier explanation to understand some concepts.
Dad is so lucky to have Mom. Out of my family, Dad looks the most normal! He’s an oyabaka type (foolish, doting parent). I wonder if everything is alright with his governmental work… Nobody tried to take advantages of him, right? Or many people did, and so our living condition becomes jeopardized?
—wait, why is it very quiet?
“Eh, ah, I got it!” I replied the moment I realized all of them are looking expectantly at me.
“See? She gets it,” Mom said in her defense.
“Uh well…,” Dad is speechless.
“Then… we gotta celebrate that both our children are looking bright, hahaha,” he tried to just brush it off.
“Alright, let me handle it from now on. Lyra, try closing your eyes and empty your mind. Try feeling the blood that is flowing in your body. You should feel some kind of sensation after you’d concentrate like that,” Dad gave me the instruction, so I tried doing that.
I already understand how it works. Back then, I’d feel a slight odd spark inside my body. My mana was weak, though. I wonder what will I feel with this new body…
I opened my eyes in surprise.
“What’s wrong?” Mom asked.
“Uu… somehow there’s warm sparks in my whole body… I can feel it, like, covering my everything.”
It’s a different sensation than back then.
So, does that mean my magical power is way better than back then?
“Whoa, you did well in your first try, as expected of my sister!” Alt-nii then proceeded to mess around with my head and then laughed.
“Alt-niiii, my hairrrrr!!” I shouted my protest.
Right now, my hair is as long as my shoulder. It’s straight with a slight wave on its end. When he stroked my head roughly, my hair became a complete mess.
“Well, Altaire, you’re also good because you managed to feel it during your first try,” Dad added.
“Ah, but that’s, like, natural for Alt,” said Mom.
Hmmm? Any family secret I could learn?
“Alright, then let’s proceed to the next step!” Dad clapped his hands.
“Well, I can’t say anything for the next steps, so I’ll just observe and accompany Lyra, just in case,” Mom said as she stepped back and Alt-nii followed her. Alt-nii then sat on her lap, and Mom would put her hands around Alt-nii’s neck.
There goes any chance to elaborate more about Altaire.
I missed my chance to ask Mom to explain more about, what’s with Alt-nii and that being natural?
“Next, let’s try the easiest thing first! Altering your eye color! Pick one eye that you’d like to change into the other’s color!”
I see. It would be the most essential for a Hartmann to alter one of their eye color if they are in a condition where their true bloodline can’t be found out at all cost. In that case, I’ll pick…
“I’m done picking it, what should I do next?” I asked.
“Hmmm, next… try focusing your sensation on that eye, and then imagine it changes its color in your mind,” Dad said.
“Huee… imagining things…,” I reflexively complained.
I’m more of a realist, and if I were to imagine things, it’d be anime-ish or game-ish.
“Take it easy, Lyra. It’s okay to try a few times,” Dad said.
“Uhm, can I know how was Alt-nii back then and how far he can do it now?”
My question was answered with a period of silent.
I tilted my head in confusion. Did I do something wrong?
Dad’s face suddenly became serious.
W, what? I have never seen Dad so serious, it’s not fitting to your character, Dad! You are supposed to be the oyabaka character!!
“Listen,” he put his hand on my shoulder, “you are you. Altaire is Altaire. No need to compare yourself. Even if you are siblings, you are still different from each other. So, just do things with your own style and pace.”
At his words, I just realized what my question just implied.
I thought that I was only curious about it, but…
Subconsciously, I am worried if I’m unable to do it as well as my brother…
Dad, you’re… the best.
“He… hehe,” Mom chuckles.
“Wha? You agree with me, right, Cass?”
“Ahaha, of course I do, Cyan. It’s just… haha, are you projecting your own experience to your children? You’d hate being compared to your father and older brother, after all,” Mom answers.
“Ah, right. First-hand experience wins the day. I hate it when people compare me to my family. It became an issue back then before I finally became the East Area’s governing Duke,” Dad sighed.
Oh, right. Dad was the one who uncovered his father’s wrongdoings. His older brother who was supposedly the rightful heir also contributed to that. Now, that’s interesting. I’d love to hear more about Dad in his old days. But as a 3 year-old, I probably shouldn’t ask it. I should ask it once I’m older. The situation seems to be complicated.
“Lyra, see what I can do, now!” Alt-nii stood up and then closed his eyes.
After a while, his body gradually turned… ……………….furry?! Then, he turned into a cat with a dark blue fur.
“W… w… WOWWWWW!!!!!” My eyes sparkled.
SO, WE CAN USE IT FOR THAT, TOO?!
“Awesome, awesome, Onii-chan, you’re awesome!” I continuously praised my brother.
He then returned back into my human brother.
“Teehee, I can hold that form for 2 hours continuously now! I still got a long way to go, though!” He scratched his nose as he blushed.
…wait, that means… Dad can do more?!
I quickly turned towards Dad.
“Ah, haha, yeah, if it’s just becoming a cat, I can hold it for 4 days continuously.”
……………HERE GOES MY MOTIVATION TO LEARN THIS!!!
“Awwwkay, I’ll try my best!!”
In that instant, I forget the fact that I am… let’s count… 13 years as Reinst + 3 years as Lyra = 16 years old… mentally.
My family laughed at my childish behavior, befitting of my age.
And then, after failing for the second time…
“Here I go!” I am quite confident this time. That I can change my eye color, and simultaneously hold this transformation for quite a long time. Once I get the hang of it, there’s no way my transformation can be redo-ed quickly. Compared to back then, I can feel magical power surging.
I opened my eyes and then saw myself in the mirror. My red left eye has turned into the same blue color as my right eye.
I’m completely blue right now!!
Confidently, I turned to face my dad.
Oops, he is… frozen in the place?! No comment?! What could be wrong?!
“A…” Sensing my concern, he tried to say something.
“Oh my, oh my,” Mom seems exasperated.
“Eh, did I do it wrong?” I’m now worried for myself.
“N…no. Sorry, Lyra. It’s just… now, you’re… the splitting image of Fi–… of my mom…,” Dad said.
…RIGHT!! Dad’s mom has blue hair and blue eyes, just like… me, right now.
Dad then put his hands on his forehead. His eyes seem to be wandering into his past memories.
After a while, he hugged me tightly.
“Lyra, thank you. Thank you for being born,” Dad said, his voice wavering.
I didn’t expect that coming.
It’s actually pretty embarrassing when someone directly told you that, but…
“Oh my, Lyra!” Mom then approached me, “are you hurting somewhere?”
…Eh? No, but wh—
I didn’t even notice tears falling from my eyes.
The moment I notice it, it’s already too late.
I can’t hold the tears back anymore.
“H, huh?!” Dad stopped hugging me and then looks at me, worriedly, “L, Lyra, did I hug you too tight? S, sorry…”
“No… it’s not… that…”
Uuuu, it’s totally not convincing at all.
No good, no good, I can’t.
I can’t stop them from falling.
“S, seriously… if you cry, then there’s no way I can hold them back, too,” Dad said, as tears fell from his eyes, too.
This situation is awkward, and although full of tears, I feel somehow warm.
“Y, you two!!” Mom then hugged both of us, “Seriously, this house now has two big crybabies?!”
Altaire softly strokes my back and Dad’s back, while repeatedly saying, “There, there.”
I had always yearned to hear those words before.
But I’d given up on it.
I’d given up on the idea of living. I also rejected the idea of being reincarnated.
But, right now…
I’m glad that I’m here, right now.
I’m glad that someone is actually happy for my birth.
…Deep down, I already know that I’m a child born out of love, that everyone’s happy to have me here. Yet, I still doubted it countless times. I don’t want to rely on feelings, since feelings are intangible. I don’t want to be dejected when I realized that it was just my hopeful thoughts.
Dad’s words just now, cleared all of those doubts.
Thank you, thank you…
It’d be weird if I voiced that, so I kept thanking my family inside my heart.
Though my past as Reinst might haunt me, lurking there to cause me fear and doubts, at least I’ve been able to come to terms with my forced reincarnation. If I were to know of all this back then, I’d willingly accept God’s offer for reincarnation.
Heck, if this is just a dream, then I don’t want to wake up from it.
If you’re here, God, I just hope that this is all real. That even in the future, my family won’t change their feelings regarding my birth.
That is all I ask for.