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[You] and [Me]
My head was heavy and hazy for quite a long time that everything before me turned blurred—or it all felt unreal. I remembered vaguely that there was a moment of blank.
Then, when the haziness was lifted off my head, all I could see was darkness. It was pitch black in front of me, behind, right, and left…
My voice echoed as I heard the sound of water dropping—or ripples of water.
The moment I did so, I recalled one thing.
My mind had an immediate flashback.
A spectre of light, the moment before I was reborn…
Σ(・口・) Wait, this couldn’t be yet another reincarnation, right?!
If so, I vowed I’d give that spectre of light a round of scolding.
Although my mind almost exploded from the emotion that surged up from my deduction, it also quickly took notes of the differences.
The space that I was in when I had an audience with that mysterious spectre-of-light-god was indeed dark and mysterious, but I could still see everything clearly. The place was also comforting and I felt so peaceful.
But now… I tried to lift my hands—they needed to be very close so that I could see them. As for my feet—no need to mention it, as I couldn’t even see them.
As I was silently assessing things, I heard the sound of water dropping again.
With each passing sound, I grew even more uneasy. It felt as if my time here was being counted by the sound of the dropping water.
“Uhm, actually, spectre-of-light-god, if you are here, please do appear in front of me…,” I timidly raised my voice, only to hear…
‘front of me… me… me…’
My own voice’s echoes.
This wasn’t the same place I was in before, then.
I sighed in relief. Although I would welcome the god’s presence as it felt a bit creepy here, I wouldn’t want this to be yet another chapter before I started a new life.
But before I woke up to this place, what was I doing, where was I, and what actually happened?
I tried to recall my last memories, but it was all hazy.
I could still remember Freyr, Freyja, and Leticia’s absurd play, though.
…When their faces flashed by my mind, the faces of my dear family and friends also flashed together.
The fear that I wouldn’t be able to return to see them anymore made my body froze and I wanted to cry.
But I had to figure things out instead of crying here, so I used my sleeves to stroke my eyes before I put my determined look as I walked forward.
I didn’t know where my feet would bring me to, but for the time being, this is all I could do.
My sense of time was all distorted. I didn’t feel tired at all even if I continued to walk.
Before long, I saw what seemed to be the light so I ran towards it desperately and the moment I got closer to it…
The light shone even brighter, blinding my eyes. I reflexively put my hands over my head.
But nothing happened.
Though my eyes were closed, I could tell that the blinding light was no more, so I opened my eyes slowly and…
I saw something familiar.
“Reinst, you are my only daughter. You will do your mother a favour and listen to me obediently, will you?”
“It’s [Yes], not [Un] or [Uh-huh]. You are four years old now. You will have your debut in 2 years. When that time comes, you have to be an excellent child. Outshine that half-brother of yours. If you do that, your father will be so proud of you and me that he will treat us even better. You do want that, don’t you?”
“If I do that, will you be happy, Mother?”
“Then I will do my best.”
A child was hugging her beloved teddy bear stuffed animal as she listened to her mother’s words. The child’s expression was innocent and it was clear that she didn’t really understand her mother’s words. She only knew that if she became a good child, her mother would be happy. And that was all she wanted.
…I could tell because that child was me, the past me who had passed away.
“The book still fell. Again.”
“…I’m tired, Mother…”
“You can rest once you can walk until the goal without having any book falling.”
“Can I rest now and continue later?”
Mother’s education was strict. She monitored some of my education, especially the early ones.
At that time, I felt that was the kind of love she had towards me. She did it out of love for me, so I had better answer her well.
“I can’t be the heir? Why?”
“If you become very exceptional, you can snatch the heir position from that half-brother of yours. But there is a better glory waiting for you—and that is, to enter the royal family.”
“Entering the royal family?”
“The crown prince is older than you, so it is possible for you to become the best queen candidate and marry him.”
At that time—my talent and Clyde’s talent were more or less equal, but the Grabberton clan obviously favoured a son more than a daughter—unless there was [Oracle] as another factor or if the son was obviously not fit as an heir. Clyde was fit as an heir.
“Your little brother will definitely be the heir of the clan, Reinst. Aren’t you happy? Now, if you become the crown prince consort, then everything is perfect.”
And then, the figures disappeared like a thin smoke.
I was surprised, but then I heard a feeble voice.
Someone’s voice. It was from… this direction!
I walked slowly to approach the source of the voice.
Then, gradually, I saw the figure of a girl with her back on me as she crouched down and… cried?
I gulped. This figure was so familiar. Look at her familiar attire and that short brown hair…
Now, I was so close to her that I could extend my hand and reach her. So, I slowly extended my hand to her back.
But before I could touch her, she suddenly turned her head towards me—revealing her tearful face, yet both of her eyes were stern. As if… she was looking at someone who wronged her, or someone who made her cry.
I was taken aback by this kind of expression I didn’t even remember.
I thought it was the nine or ten years old me who were crying sadly when I realized that my efforts and love towards Mother had been futile. I remembered having cried so badly once since Domi’s birth though I no longer remembered when it exactly happened.
“What are you doing here?!”
Her voice was so stern—it was clear that she was scolding me.
“What do you mean?” I asked back as I didn’t know what was wrong.
“That’s my line! Why are you like this?!”
Flashback of myself averting my eyes from my strong dark magic, averting my eyes from any unpleasant facts before my eyes—flooded my mind.
My insecurities. My denial.
I was afraid of facing everything.
I was afraid my world would forever change.
I was worried that I would be left behind.
I was numbed by my worries as I was too afraid of losing what I’ve gained now. My friends, my family…
That’s right. Though I had opened up to some degree, there was still some lingering fear.
My friends… Right, I had a quarrel with Iris before. It was because I was too busy thinking on how I could be a good friend so everyone would still like me that I ended up not noticing Iris’ insecurities. She had the same fear of me, more or less.
I wasn’t completely honest with them as well—for example the thing about my magic affinities. Why did I not tell them? Of course it was because I didn’t have that much trust and confidence in them. I should be ashamed of myself.
My family… I… was still scared my family—the Hartmann family—would shun me away when they knew I had memories of my past life.
Though I knew they won’t be like that, there was still a part of me that whispered the otherwise.
…I remember now.
Though my memories of that were still vague, I knew now that my dark magic went out of control somehow and caused trouble to everyone… the damage I shouldered was the greatest, naturally.
“You’re so annoying!” Suddenly, I—no, the Reinst in front of me, shouted angrily. The remaining tears fell from her eyes.
“You’ve got everything that I wanted already! Why are you still cowering in fear instead of facing everything together with them?!” She added more words that attacked me.
“Why are you still afraid?! Since when are we a coward?!”
“I’d never understand? Yes, I’d never understand! Because I had none of them! I only yearned for them while I did nothing to get what I wanted!! I defended myself and denied the others out of fear. Aren’t you just going to repeat the same thing after this?”
She—Reinst—interrupted my words and didn’t give me any leeway to explain myself.
Because there was no need to explain myself.
She was me, I was her.
We knew each other so well that she could attack me on point.
I had no words to refute her. Silence was my answer.
“…That’s why. Live your second life to the fullest. For both of us. Won’t you stop running away and face everything? Though there might be pain even in the future… Remember every story you’ve read, seen, or played? Weren’t there conflicts in them?”
“WHY ARE YOU NOT ANSWERING?!” Reinst shouted again.
I never remembered having shouted like that… ah, but it was true that my heart was emotional and lively when I was Reinst, only that I was too good at masking everything. I might shout and make comments in my heart, but I remained silent and I was even capable of maintaining my smile in front of others as Reinst.
I assume this space was somewhere within my soul—hence this Reinst was so true and outspoken.
This… was the real me.
This was the real Reinst.
“Snap out of it! Go back now! Remember I’m going to hate you more if you still remain like this!”
…But where and how should I start?
I was at a loss.
“…Don’t make me despise ourselves even more.”
Reinst then glared at me—a stern glare enough to make chills run down my spine.
Suddenly, I felt a sensation that was pulling me somewhere—before my eyes saw the familiar room’s ceiling.
This was… my room.
A familiar childish voice could be heard. I turned my head slightly sideways to see… Freyr and Freyja, who were by my bedside.
The two of them seemed to be carrying a night-time story’s book as they looked at me in surprise.
“Nee-neeeee!” In a second, Freyja’s eyes turned teary as she pulled the hand that was holding the book away and turned to hug me.
“Freyja…,” I slowly raised the upper half of my body and straightened my pillow to support my head as I used my hand to pat Freyja.
Did I make her that worried?
Freyr was surprised, as he didn’t do anything and the grasp he had on the same book was gone—the thick book fell onto the floor.
I was relieved the book didn’t hit their feet! It must hurt! （￣□￣；）
Still, Freyr proved himself to be the calmest of the two as the first thing he did wasn’t to join his sister in hugging me while in tears.
Instead, Freyr ran out of the room and shouted—okay, he was definitely surprised as he almost never raised his voice like this.
“Lyra-nee is awake!!”
It was suddenly noisy with footsteps.
Before long, my room was filled with the familiar faces I came to memorize and love.
Alt-nii’s eyes were widened—he was still in disbelief over the news he heard.
Mom was rarely agitated, yet her face seemed like she was close to crying at any time soon.
Dad’s expression was more or less the same as Alt-nii.
“Mom. Dad. Alt-nii. Freyr. Freyja… Good morning?”
I wasn’t good at this kind of thing. I didn’t want them to be worried, though. So, I chose my wording and that was the best sentence I could say at this time.
…Unfortunately, hearing my speaking didn’t seem to change the atmosphere as they all had a very concerned look on their faces.
They went closer to me and took turns in patting me or touching me before they pinched their own cheeks or hands—in order to make sure that they weren’t dreaming.
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I received a fan fiction from sch, inspired by this chapter. Click here to read sch’s fan fiction that I reposted in my site with permission ^^ I also welcome your fan fiction in case you have any. You can reach me and other readers easily through my Discord server.