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Shaula and Titus
The Schafer family was a viscount patriarchal family that was quite large. Viscount Schafer had three wives who seemingly got along well, and there were four…no, Shaula was rarely seen, so if we were to include her, there were five children in total. And those purple-eyed children were together at this time as they were approaching me. But I didn’t see Shaula.
When I glanced around, I saw their parents were socializing with my parents and the other noble adults. And there was still no Shaula around. I slightly tilted my head in wonder, but I should probably ask her siblings.
The first one to come was a black-haired eighteen-year-old boy who was the oldest.
“And you are…,” I said, hesitating, for I didn’t remember their names.
“I am Gilbert of the Schafer family,” he smiled before adding, “Congratulations on turning fourteen and for your recovery, Reinst-san.”
Gilbert then stepped back and let his younger sibling approach me. It was another boy aged around sixteen whose hair was purple.
“I am Darian, the second child. Happy birthday and congratulations on your recovery!” He said with a hearty voice.
Then, he proceeded to encourage his youngest siblings to come at me.
There were a pair of small boy and girl aged around eight years old, hand-in-hand approaching me. The boy had black hair while the girl had the same crimson hair as Shaula. Her face also looked similar, so I assumed they were sisters of the same mother.
“Happy birthday!” The boy said in a lively manner befitting of his age as he raised both of his small hands up and smiled.
“Reo, introduction,” Gilbert calmly said.
The small boy—Reo—turned to look at Gilbert whose expression remained. Then, Reo faced me back and bowed his head, “My name is Reo. I’m eight years old!”
I slightly bent my body to match his height as I smiled and patted his head. He reminded me of Freyja with his liveliness.
“Thank you, Reo,” I said. Reo seemed surprised at my sudden patting, but his smile grew even wider.
Then, he tugged on his sister’s hand as he said, “Your turn, Sienna!”
The small girl timidly looked at me before she said in a small and cute voice, “My name is Sienna. Happy birthday and congratulations on your recovery.”
Now, Sienna reminded me of the quiet Freyr for some reason. So, Sienna and Reo were the genderbent version of Freyr and Freyja, in my opinion.
I missed them so much…
Still bending my body, I smiled and patted Sienna’s head as I said, “Thank you.”
Then, the five of us continued to talk. Small talks were important for us nobles to maintain relationships with one another. Some were close and would talk a lot and had deeper talk.
Of course, I didn’t ask them about their sister, Shaula right away.
“How are your days? Has there been anything new?” I asked casually.
“Oh oh, there’s new anime that I like, the title is ‘Virtumon’. It’s really interesting, you should watch it!” Little Reo said happily.
“Reo is right!” Sienna nodded happily.
“Really? I should watch it some time,” I said as formalities.
Actually, it would become a successful anime that had many seasons. Alt-nii was watching it when we were small. Even Freyr and Freyja also watched it.
But it was embarrassing for me to admit as I was already an adult now. It was new too, so I couldn’t say I had watched it when I was little…To be honest, most people who were still watching anime especially those targeted at children would be labelled as childish. They didn’t understand that anime had some points that we could learn and apply in real life. I wanted to lecture people about this if I could, but my image would plummed.
“You don’t have to accommodate to them, Reinst-san. It’s an anime for children. You’re too kind,” Gilbert said.
I didn’t know if his ‘too kind’ compliment was sincere or it was just flowery words, but I was happy nevertheless.
“School is so hard for me these days. I prefer becoming an adventurer and fighting, to be honest, but my father insisted I continue my school. I wonder why,” Darian said as he scratched his head.
“Well, you are a noble. Having more knowledge is better in general. Plus, schools should have a more advanced combat training the higher you go, right?” I replied.
“Hmm, that’s true. I like the combat training I get,” Darian nodded.
“Then, just bear with it for the sake of the combat training.”
“I get it. Thank you, Reinst-san!” Darian said.
“And you, Gilbert-san? Studying to become the next head of the family is hard, I heard?” I asked.
“Yes, it is. But that’s my responsibilities anyway,” Gilbert said with a half smile.
“If you don’t like it, you can just pass it to your younger brother,” I said.
“Eh?! No, no! Gil, don’t! I don’t want to!” Darian profusely declined.
“I can’t trust you enough to handle the responsibilities of the head,” Gilbert cast a sidelong glance at Darian.
“Eh, what do you mean by that?” Darian protested.
I tried to hold back my laughter as I saw Darian. One time he declined, but when he was told that he wasn’t suitable to become the head, he protested. So, just what did he want?
“Then, to Reo…?” I asked.
“Eh, me? That’s cool, I don’t mind!” Reo said.
“…No. I’d rather shoulder it than my youngest brother,” Gilbert said as he patted Reo’s head.
“You’re such a good big brother,” I said.
“There’s still a lot that I lack,” Gilbert said.
Hmmm…He really is a good person. He’s modest, too. I’m impressed.
“Gil is really good!” Sienna said happily.
Those siblings really got along so well. Just like me as Lyra with my siblings. I was somewhat envious of them.
I glanced at the faraway Clyde and then Domi. Perhaps it was not too late to strengthen our bonds…? In case this was the ‘reality’ and not merely a ‘dream’. I would be devastated, though.
“You guys sure get along well,” I complimented them.
“I’m happy about it, too,” Gil smiled.
Alright. Perhaps this was the right timing to ask them about their missing sibling, Shaula.
“Speaking of which, I heard there was one more of you. Her name is…Shaula, I believe? Where is she now?” I asked.
But the four of them turned silent instead of answering my question. Their smiled disappeared, and they even looked gloomy. Darian and Reo were hanging their heads downward. I noticed Sienna’s silent cry. I felt uneasy now for making them this gloomy…but what could be the matter, I wonder?
However, I was too uneasy to ask them again, so I let the silence continue until one of them breaks it.
Sure enough, one of them spoke. It was none other than Sienna, with her muffled voice.
“Shaula…My big sister is…! Sobs…,” Sienna sobbed. Gil patted Sienna’s shoulder and opened his mouth.
“Unfortunately, our sister, Shaula, has left this world one year ago,” Gil said with a sad smile on his face.
“What…?!” I was so surprised I let out my voice.
It can’t be, it can’t be!
What does it mean? What does leaving this world mean?
Shaula…Is she dead?!
But Shaula was alive and well, she even became the queen in my life as Lyra…
What could be wrong?
Or could it be…one life for another one?
So, since I am alive now, Shaula is the one who’s dead? But why her? Since I’m going to be the next queen?
I still couldn’t handle this shock and widened my eyes.
I was actually planning on introducing Shaula to Titus, just in case they would fall in love with each other again, then I would be cleared off from the position as the future queen. They were fated for each other, I believed.
But a dead man tells no tale. Shaula and Titus was no more.
I quickly snapped out of my daze and proceeded to speak since there was no way I could leave the gloomy situation as it was.
“…My deep condolences. Sorry I brought up sad memories…”
“It’s fine. You must not have heard the news since you were in a coma,” Gil kindly said.
Since their mood was gloomy now, Gil decided to excuse themselves and left me.
I was not in a mood to greet the others, so I retreated to where Clyde and Nicole were. They were talking when I got there, but they quickly welcomed me and ushered me to eat.
Nicole was chatty as usual, but she suddenly stopped when I was in a daze.
But before she stopped, Clyde tapped on Nicole’s shoulder and shook his head when Nicole turned around to see him. Perhaps it was their code. They really suited each other…
Nicole wasn’t a person who could pick up others’ mood easily and she was a very straightforward person. If she wanted to speak, she would. If she wanted to bash the others, she would.
Meanwhile, Clyde was a reserved person who could easily pick up others’ feelings. He was considerate and careful in his words.
No wonder Nicole made Clyde help her in managing the household and Loera family’s businesses.
While I was eating, Prince Titus, who was talking with the other important nobles while I was swarmed with others, suddenly came to me.
“Good evening, Reinst. Happy birthday and congratulations on your recovery,” He said.
I almost choked on my food because I wanted to quickly eat it to talk with him. It wouldn’t be good to keep him waiting.
“Ah, take your time. I don’t mind,” Titus chuckled.
“Excuse me, I’ll be done after a while,” I said as I moved a little bit from him and ate the food quickly, not learning the lesson from almost choking.
Prince Titus then spoke with Clyde and Nicole while waiting for me. After I was done, we spoke casually before the music played. It was time to dance.
Unexpectedly, Prince Titus extended his hand to me and asked, “May I take the first dance?”
I was stunned because the first dance was quite important, and I usually danced with Nicole first to avoid being matchmade by others. Plus, nobody dared to ask me a dance because I was rumored as the crown prince’s suitor.
Perhaps Titus-sama asked me the first dance because he knew we would soon be engaged, and he wanted to know me more as future fiancée…?
Nevertheless, I took his hand and said, “Sure.”
We then danced as I saw the others’ eyes were on us. The noble girls around my age stared with envy at me. Their stares were like they could burn holes on me…
When I looked at my family, I could see Mother and Father’s satisfied smiles. I quickly turned my face from them and looked at Titus who was leading the dance.
Titus-sama…When did he get acquainted with Shaula in my life as Lyra?
Probably he didn’t know her until now?
And there was no way I could introduce them now.
“Thanks for asking my first dance,” I said when Titus-sama noticed my dazed look on him.
“No problem. We will be engaged soon, after all,” Titus-sama smiled.
Oh, so it’s true that it’s been set in stone?
After that, I danced with other nobles including Clyde and Nicole. Mother wasn’t so strict with me and Clyde anymore, perhaps since it had been decided that Domi would be the next heir and since my position as the future queen was secure…?
It was such a tiring day, so I was happy when it ended and the nobles were coming home. I didn’t know when Titus-sama’s parents and mine would formally talk about our engagement, but I digress.
Upon returning to my room, I plopped to my bed and grabbed the nearby pillow. I sunk deep in my thoughts.
So, the kind queen that I knew was no more…
And if she was no longer here, that meant Luca and Leticia won’t exist?
No…no…I don’t want that!
I would hate it…
But what can I do now?
Aah, I wish with all my heart that this were only a dream…