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Fourteenth Birthday Celebration
Shortly before my fourteenth birthday, the jewel embedded in the meteorite that fell next to me was already made into a proper necklace. The jewel was a transparent one that sparkled different colors under the light. It was like a rainbow contained in the small piece of the jewel. I liked to lift it up to the lamp and looked up to it. It was so pretty.
Somehow, it made me remember the hair color I had as Lyra. I was kinda missing it. The hair color that was inherited from my paternal grandmother. …Dad. I wonder how he was doing right now? I remember him telling me about his harsh past. I wanted to reach out to him if it was possible.
Even now, I still believed that everything I heard and experienced as Lyra was true. For some reason, my heart decided to do so, despite my logical reasoning screaming, ‘You gotta find out what the hell happened first!’
I plopped myself on my bed, with my hand still holding up the beautiful jewel to the lamp.
Dad…I wonder if he’s going to come at my fourteenth birthday celebration? I heard he never participated in any noble parties…
Mom…and the others…Will I be able to meet them in my upcoming birthday party? There are so many things I want to say, but will I be able to say them now?
I pulled my hand back and covered my eyes with them.
I don’t know…There are still many things I need to figure out.
Thinking about everything at once made my brain freeze, and I ended up falling asleep amidst my thoughts.
In the blink of an eye, my fourteenth birthday finally arrived. I was well recuperated and trained, and there was nothing that could go wrong. Everything was perfect and grand—for this party would celebrate my ‘returning to life’. That kind of phrasing made it seem like I was dead for once, so I didn’t quite like it…
My family started preparing from the morning, with the maids and servants all busy with the party’s preparation. The cooks were busy processing the high-quality ingredients into various cuisines, the maids were decorating the main hall, some workers were transporting the tables and chairs, and so on. The residence was so busy and hustling.
Meanwhile, Mary and Jane were busy helping me prepare. The dress I would be wearing today was a beautiful and elegant metallic grey dress, with jewels of various sizes embedded on the dress. The dress was made from a very fine silk, it felt really good to touch. When I wore it, it was light and didn’t feel hot at all, I could wear this for a prolonged time and still felt comfortable, so it was nice. It was also easy to move in. Overall, this dress was a mood booster for me to deal with the upcoming nobles.
Mother came in after my preparation was done, checking if everything was alright. She smiled proudly when she saw my figure. …Well, at least she smiled at me, even though it wasn’t the kind of smile I wanted.
Meanwhile, Domi’s head popped up from behind Mother. Normally, he would just take a peek and return to being behind Mother, but thanks to my interaction with him these days (probably), he confidently moved from Mother’s shadow to take a curious look at my dressed-up self.
“How do I look?” I said as I smiled at Domi.
“You look great,” Mother answered first.
“Pretty!” Domi said with his honest amazed look on his face, causing me to feel satisfied too. Children were always the most honest, so I was really glad.
“Now, shall we go?” I asked.
“Let’s, the party is starting soon,” Mother said. She held Domi’s small hand on hers, but then Domi reached out to my hand using his free hand.
I was surprised, but this was a pleasant surprise, so I gladly took his hand in mine. The three of us moved together to the main hall.
“You two seem to be much closer,” Mother commented.
“Really?” I only gave a half-smile at Mother. I couldn’t just tell her I was playing around with Domi during what was supposed to be my practices. She would think I didn’t take things seriously, but I did take things seriously.
When I reached the main hall, I could see guests were already coming. Father, Kania-san, and Clyde were already there, waiting for us.
The party shortly began with my father’s speech.
“I would like to thank everyone here for coming. It’s been a blessing for our family granted by the deity of life, Aion-sama, to have my daughter’s life saved. As you can see, here she’s standing safe and sound,” Father said as he gave me a pat to my back, and I moved forward.
“As Father said, it was indeed a blessing granted by Aion-sama to me that I could be standing here right now…,” I began to recite the flowery words, while deep inside I was scoffing.
Was Aion-sama playing a trick on me right now? Or who could be playing a trick on me…
“Thank you for coming to my fourteenth birthday party. Please have fun in this celebration!” I finally said, ending the formality of opening the party. A lot of people clapped and cheered, and I couldn’t help but feel happy with their cheers. Although their cheers might as well be a part of formality.
It was time for the boring thing: greeting the nobles. But this time, it became the thing I was looking forward to. For I was finally able to meet the people I normally wouldn’t be able to meet. Mom…She would come, wouldn’t she?
Contrary to how I normally treated this greeting, this time I paid my full attention to the greetings. As I greeted the nobles, my gaze also wandered around the venue. To scan for the surroundings, to find the people I was looking for.
Before I could find the people I was really looking for, a messy white-haired man in his early twenties appeared before my eyes.
“It’s great to see you healthy, Reinst,” He greeted me as he bent his body and took my hand, lightly touching his lips to it, “Congratulations on your recovery and fourteenth birthday.”
I had chills running down my spine the moment I felt his touch.
I put on my business smile that was slightly colder than how it usually was when my eyes met with his heterochromatic eyes.
This person was none other than my—Lyra’s Dad’s half-brother, Dius. The one who tormented Dad and guilt-tripped him about the death of Dad’s mom, Firis. Beneath that perfect gentleman display, he was a rotten and twisted noble, based on what I heard. It was commendable for him to be able to keep up this pretense.
But I had known what was beneath this perfect display, so I couldn’t feel anything at all towards him other than disgust.
“Thanks,” I said curtly as I withdrew my hand back immediately. Thankfully, he knew common courtesy and didn’t hold my hand back.
I wanted it be done just like that, but I couldn’t hold my urge to ask, “Is your younger brother not coming?”
His face turned ugly in an instant, but he recovered quickly.
“Yes. I humbly apologize on the behalf of my…younger brother. He is just like that, it can’t be helped,” Dius ambiguously answered.
‘Heh’, I scoffed inside my mind but my business smile was still perfectly plastered on my face.
It was too bad Dad didn’t come to my party, but knowing his circumstances, I agreed with ‘that couldn’t be helped’.
Dius seemed like he was about to pull me to another conversation again, but at the same time, a certain person entered the corner of my vision. Following the pretty yellowish silver hair, I turned around and Dius’ mouth which was partly open was immediately closed again.
I tried to hold back my laughter from seeing him like that and pretended not picking up his signals at all as I moved towards the person I was looking for. She didn’t seem to be seeking me, the star of today’s party, as expected.
But when I moved towards her and when our eyes met, she had no other choice but to greet me.
F-forgive me, Mom! But I have no other choice!
The mini Lyra inside me screamed.
“…Happy birthday and congratulations on your recovery,” Mom said as she curtseyed me, to which I curtseyed back.
“Thank you,” I said, but I didn’t let her off after this.
Mom…So this is how you look like when you’re young.
Her golden hair was as beautiful as always, and it was still long as well. It was combed well, but some part of her front hair ran towards her eyes, and when she looked down, her hair covered her eyes. She was like a nerd, completely not trying to look like a fine young noble lady. But this part of her, I liked.
“You are Ca—Ophelia-san, aren’t you? I heard you just graduated, congratulations. You’re so young, yet so talented!” I said in a sincere amazement.
Mom was taken aback as she immediately lifted her face to look at me in her surprise before saying, “You knew?”
“Well, you’re quite famous–,” I said with a low voice as honestly, I didn’t know…I knew about it from my recollection as Lyra…But it seemed to be true!
I took this chance to take a good look at Mom’s young self. She was only three years older than me now, and to think I never got to know her all my life. No, I could have gotten known her, but I closed myself to others for all my life as Reinst. It was my own fault.
Mom, actually, I am your ‘future daughter’.
Heh, like I could say that to her. If I were to say that to her, she would look at me as if I was some crazy person.
But really…Mom, I missed you. You may not know it now, but you’re going to be a great mom.
If it were possible, I’d like to run to your embrace now, but given our positions now…
“I hope we can be friends,” I said as I extended my hand to her and my other hand held on to the ‘meteorite necklace’ that I used as a charm.
A handshake might be all I could get.
“…?!” Mom looked at me, puzzled.
“If only I have any magic talent, I’d like to study or spar with you. Sadly I don’t have any, but still, I’d like to be your friend…can I?” I asked.
“…Sure,” Mom seemed to sense my sincerity and shook her hand with mine.
Her hand felt warm and nice to touch. It was the hand that gently covered my—Lyra’s hand. The hand that I wish I could hold for all eternity. My nice mom’s…
I almost teared up as I was getting emotional over my meeting with who used to be my Mom…Okay, that sounded weird.
But I wanted to return to being Lyra so, so badly it hurt.
After that, I spent my time talking with Mom about magic, to which she responded enthusiastically.
“Wow, you know quite a lot about magic despite not being able to use it, Reinst,” Mom expressed her amazement.
“Well, I like reading a lot,” I said—while in fact I knew them from her tutoring from when I was her child…
“What a coincidence. I like reading a lot too,” Mom cheerfully said. Yes, by this time, her mood improved a lot and she looked at me in the eyes.
“I didn’t know we would click this much. I’m glad you decided to talk to me,” Mom finally said.
“Me too…!” I said in a pure joy.
While it felt weird talking with my own mom as someone of equal standing or equal age, beggars couldn’t be choosers, can they?
I wish we could speak a lot more, but I knew I had to greet the others and Mom knew too.
“It’s really nice getting to know you. I hope we can meet and talk again after this,” Mom said.
“Sure, let’s keep in touch!” I said in happiness.
Really, there were actually so many chances I could forge a meaningful relationship with the people around me as Reinst, but I missed it due to my own fault. My life as Reinst wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. My life didn’t need to change, but I was the one who had to change and open up. Sadly, I only realized it now.
As I was greeting the other nobles, I saw Clyde and Nicole standing together, glancing at me. Nicole even waved at me. I smiled back at her, knowing that she was waiting for me to finish my greetings and go to them.
But I still couldn’t go to them, for I suddenly spotted…the Schafer family, Shaula’s family.