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Altaire’s Sixth Birthday (2)
“Hmm, what’s wrong?” Clyde asked again, in response to my silence and my weird expression.
…Can I ask for a time out??
“Come on, just tell this uncle~”
I gulped. Whoa, now I’m sweating.
I wish life is similar to visual novel games, where I now should be able to see some options that I can pick as my answer…
Because I’m drawing blank here.
Just as I was about to tell whatever pops to my mind…
“Huh, Lyra, Clyde, what are you two doing over there?”
Ohhh, he’s coming here!!
I decided to run towards my dad and gives him the best jump plus hug combination I can give him.
Obviously, my dad is surprised by my unusual behavior. Yes, I never ran with all I had and leaped to hug him! Usually, Dad would be the one to walk quickly towards me and proceed to hug and carry me around.
“Uwooo, my Lyra is acting so cute!”
I can hear Dad’s whisper close to my ears as he cradled me in his arms. He looks slender but his arms are unexpectedly sturdy, as he didn’t even falter due to my full-speed ambush!
“Ahaha, hi there, Cyan-san! She was wandering off all alone, and she was so easy to spot being the only child below 6 years old here, so I thought I should be greeting her. When she turned around, I realized that she’s indeed the rumored daughter of Hartmann family!”
“Oh, right. Putting aside the fact that Lyra wanders off alone, I think introduction should be in order then. Clyde, this is my daughter, Alrescha Lyra Hartmann. We usually call her Lyra. Lyra, this young man here is Clyde Horace Loera.”
Clyde Horace what?!
Since when…?! How…?!!
I don’t have to use a mirror to see what kind of expression I have right now. My confusion is evident enough. This is a major fact that totally contradicts what I know in my past life!
Is this really a parallel world, then? There have been so many similarities I thought this was the same world!
“Ahaha, as I thought. Cyan-san, your daughter asked me before regarding why was I wearing Loera-themed clothes although I was from Grabberton house.”
“Huh? Is that so?”
Now, Dad is also looking at me in confusion.
“Hmm… have I ever told you about Clyde? Is that why you know that he was from Grabberton family?”
Dad, you sparked a good idea to me!
God, Thou hadn’t forsaken me yet!!
Thank you, little spectre of light!!
“Uhm… yeah, but you didn’t tell Lyra much… so Lyra… ish confused?”
I tried to act as cute as I can and tilted my head. They say that women or children who tilted their heads in particular angle would look cuter than they usually are… so…
“Khhhhh!!” Dad is somehow holding back from his usual spoiling responses. Could it be because we’re in public, and Clyde is watching?
“Ah, so you have ever told her? No wonder she knows! I am so surprised that it was the first thing she asked of me! And she also knew my first and middle given names!”
…Clyde, please, please be merciful to me and stop making my dad more confused!!
He never really told me anything about you, and that is a given why he cannot remember he has ever told me about you!!
“Whoa, you really can remember all that, when I can’t even remember what I have told you! You’re so great, Lyra!” Dad patted my head.
Somehow… I feel guilty?
But I gotta shake it off and smile! Laugh!! Your big brother can laugh almost all the time, so as his sister, you should be able to do it, too, Lyra!
…perhaps my smile came out awkward, but whatever.
…Now that all the tension has left me, I can feel another sensation. Yes, I wanna pee… if I were an ordinary 3 years old, I’d wet myself at this moment.
Then again, a 3 year-old normal girl wouldn’t get caught up in this kind of situation in the first place.
“Pleased to meet you, Clyde-san!” I bowed my head in a hurry, so that he won’t see my awkward smile and doubt me again.
“Ah, nice to meet you, Lyra. As they said, you are really adorable!”
Dad’s hugs got tighter in that instant. I can feel he kinda tensed up but I can’t figure out why, since there doesn’t seem to be something wrong with Clyde’s words, except I must admit that he flattered me.
“Uhm, so, how did you…?” I timidly voiced my question.
After all, I still want to pursue answers!!
“Ah… it’s true that I was from Grabberton family. But, I am not the heir of the family. My younger half-brother, Domi-kun is the heir. Also, as to why I become Loera… It’s because I married the only daughter of the Loera’s main family. As they still had no heir at that time, I was adopted as the heir, so they didn’t need to adopt someone from their main family and the likes. Therefore, I adopted their surname instead, while my wife still has her maiden surname intact.”
In cases of a noble family only having daughter(s) as their only children, to keep the surname going, they need to have one of their son-in-laws to adopt their surnames instead. It’s not that women are never an heir to a family, but since there is a tradition that surnames are passed from males, it would be quite troubling to have a female heir. That is why most females are at disadvantages in cases of competitions to be the heir.
…………………………………….eh, wait, what?
My half-brother is married?!
,,,It’s not weird considering his age… but for me, it’s still weird.
Last time I saw him, he was still 13.
Last time he saw me, I was his same age half-sister.
It doesn’t feel so real to see him all grown-up like this.
And… the only daughter of Loera’s main family? Isn’t she… Cheryll Nicole Loera? Come to think about it, Clyde and Nicole were often seen together. I remember they were so friendly to each other… So, they were also close. Also… Nicole… often invited me out and talked to me, even when nobody else bothered to interact with me at school if it wasn’t for any importance. Nicole often talked about insignificant things with me… She was a friendly girl. Now I get it. She was trying to get close to me because she was interested in Clyde…? She might have thought that she should also be close to me as his sister.
One mystery (regarding why Nicole wanted to befriend me) has been solved, yup!
Domi-kun is the rightful heir of Grabberton, so there shouldn’t be any problem in marrying Clyde off to the Loera family. Instead, the Grabberton family would have a stronger connection to the Loera family. It’s a win-win solution.
“So, did you come here with your wife?” Dad asked.
“Ah, no, Nicole is busy taking care of our son.”
I gasped and looked at Clyde’s face.
What is this? Clyde, he didn’t only get married, but he’s got a son?!
“Oh, that’s right. Your son should be around one year old, right?”
“Haha, yeah. He is adorable. He takes after Nicole so much!” Clyde’s expression turned gentle when he talked about his child.
Uh… compared to his condition… as for me… instead of having a child, I became a child myself!!
If I were still alive as Reinst, would I already have a child myself at his age?
But that is a future that I can no longer imagine.
“Come and see him some time! Oh yeah, what about betrothing my son and your daughter?” Clyde said, almost jokingly. But I sensed a little glimpse of seriousness in his eyes.
Naturally, I was surprised at Clyde’s suggestion. At the same time, Dad hugged me closer and tighter. When I notice it, he is still smiling, but there’s something else in that smile.
“Lyra is still 3. And your son is still 1.” Dad said with a cold voice.
Whoa, hey there, Dad…?
I am positive he is just joking around…?
And that maybe Clyde would discuss the idea further if you were to accept his half-joking suggestion.
“Hahaha, I’m just kidding!!” Clyde laughed it off and approached us. I can feel Dad’s tight hug started to loosen. He also didn’t step back.
“Well, I’ll make sure to come for your debut party as well, Lyra,” he patted my head.
Back then, I never got to be patted by him. But now, I can tell that his adult hand is warm and comforting.
After Clyde has walked quite far from us…
“…….that Clyde! There’s no way I’d give Lyra away!!!!”
…Dad, you’re totally being overprotective here! In the first place, you are supposed to be marrying me off to other nobles eventually…
Just right at that moment, we heard the door opening, followed by a ruckus.
“He decided to attend?!”
“I thought he was going to be absent for this party, as well!!”
The king himself, in flesh?!
Upon glancing at the source of the others’ stares, I found a young man who looks to be at the same age as Dad. His short light brown hair hasn’t changed, and his green eyes are looking more mature. He wears a luxurious golden-white suit, covered in a red robe. The royal family emblem is stitched in the middle of his chest, holding up his robe. There are also a few gallant-looking guards standing beside him.
Dad walked to approach the commotion while carrying me. Mom followed Dad from behind after she held Altaire’s hand and soon, we finally got to face the king.
“Sorry for being late, there were some urgent issues coming up at the castle!” The king said.
“No problem, we are glad about your arrival alone, Your Majesty.” Dad said, as he bowed down, followed by Mom.
“Please enjoy the party, Your Majesty,” Mom said, as she tugged Alt-nii’s hand that she was holding.
“T, thank you for coming Y-Your Majesty,” Alt quickly realized Mom’s signal and bowed down, as well. I slightly bowed my head down, as well.
“No problem, I’ve been planning to come here ever since Cyan there gave me an invitation. Anyway, do you mind if we speak alone?” asked the king, still with his casual tone.
…does this smell like a trouble?
We entered another room near the hall, leaving the other nobles to enjoy the party. I notice myself getting all tensed up especially the moment the door closes. I bet the atmosphere here will soon turn tense, as well… My family must also be nervous with this development. For the king to request a private audience, there must be some issues he’d like to talk with us. Perhaps, it’s regarding the Hartmann’s governance, or other things, as I remember that both my parents are already working at the Royal Castle, in spite of their role in East territory’s management.
I braced myself to look at Dad’s expression. I should be able to notice if he’s tense, despite the fact that he might cover it up with his usual business smile… and yeah, there he is, smiling… but he doesn’t look tense at all…?!
I quickly turned my gaze at Mom. Nope, she isn’t tense as well!
I desperately turned around to see Altaire-nii, he’s all smiling! No sign of nervousness!
W, what’s wrong with my family?! Why am I the only one feeling tense?!
“What’s up with that grand entrance, Your Ma-jes-ty~?” Dad said in a teasing tone. Dad seemed a little… irritated?
GWAAH?! Wait Dad, what are you thinkin—
“How many times do I have to tell you to cut all the formalities off when nobody is around, Cyan?!” The king seems irritated, as he crossed his legs and put one of his hands on his chin.
…This situation… doesn’t seem like an audience between a king and his subject or his subordinate… Rather, it’s like… a casual talk between close friends?!
“Hahaha, it’s my little payback for gathering the audience just now, causing us to be all formal and nervous! Not to mention the fact that we have to think and act fast before others call us as rude towards the king! This whole play of being formal in presence of others and being casual when there are no one is quite tiring, I admit.”
“Well, I told you there were some urgent matters coming up! I didn’t intend to be late and make that kind of entrance to the party!”
“Okay, okay… So, how was it? Do you need my assistance for that ‘urgent matter’?”
“Nah, I don’t think we need that for now. Just continue your usual work. I’ll make sure to summon you if I ever need that.”
“Alright then. You know you can always count on me, Titus.” Dad said as he patted the king’s shoulders. The king laughed it off and the two of them fist-bumped each other.
Mom and Altaire are watching the scene unfold as if it’s natural…
So, am I the only one left in blanks?
I desperately tried to make anyone look my way, so that they can see a desperate confusion on my face.
Luckily, I managed to get their attention, and they tried to explain the whole thing to me…
–Please wait for the long explanation intended to a child to end so that Lyra can conclude everything and retell the whole explanation curtly—
Back then, Mom worked as a Royal Magician in the Magic Court, and soon became the Head of the Royal Magic Court, where she is famously known as “The Sky Magician—Ophelia”. And Dad served under Mom as a Royal Magician… plus handling underground activities like uncovering the frauds and mistreatment especially his family did, directly under the king—who was still the crowned prince back then. Obviously, he made use of his illusion and transformation power as a Hartmann for doing his work as a spy.
Upon gaining the responsibility as one of the Four Dukes, Dad stopped working as a Royal Magician, but he’s continuing his work directly under the king’s order! He is the king’s trusted right hand, working as a spy countless times. He can be given the title of “The Royal Spy”!
As for Dad’s relationship to the king…
Dad has always been good friends with the current king ever since they were still teenagers, since they met at the Harmonia Academy, to be exact. That explains the king’s trust and friendliness to my dad, and vice versa. Meanwhile, Mom, as the Head of the Royal Magic Court and one of the people who needs to work directly with the king, who sometimes aids in underground missions, also become used to talking with him and soon become friendly, as well.
According to what they said, there are also other people who are close to the king. The king wants the people working directly with him to be friendly and close as comrades, instead of being stiff like a robot that has to watch everything they say so they won’t be charged with lèse-majesté or being a hypocrite, trying to fawn over the king.
Apparently, at first, Dad refused to continue the Hartmann family’s reign. However, the king wanted no one but him to be one of the Four Dukes because of reasons (mainly because the Four Dukes are like four pillars of the kingdom so it must be important for the king to have a close relationship with the dukes), and so he skillfully manipulated the conditions and appointed Dad as the Hartmann family’s head, and continued Dad’s engagement to the Sanctuaria’s young lady, who is none other than Mom.
The king gained a lot of profit with this kind of setting, I see!
–And that concludes Lyra’s report!—
“So, are you going to the castle again, Alt?” The king turned over to Altaire.
“Yes, Your Majesty!” Alt-nii answered with a bright smile.
“Yes, as Altaire is already 6 years old, I would like to reconfirm his magic affinity and then proceed to check his mana capacity. Perhaps he would need to come to the castle more often with me from now on,” said Mom.
I stared in another confusion. Noticing this, Mom told me.
“Ah, Lyra, you’ll also come to the castle with me when you’re 4 years old, so you can get your magic tested in the Royal Magic Court. Alt has done that, too, when he was four… his result was amazing, so I want to recheck it together with his mana capacity check…”
“Amazing result?” I pondered. What affinity might be categorized as amazing when Mom can do the rare attributed magics?
“Hehe, guess what?” Alt-nii is grinning wide.
I reflexively hold my breath in anticipation.
“Surprise, the attribute that I have the most affinity with, is… Void!” said Alt-nii.
…ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
I am very surprised that I become speechless. My face right now might be similar to the emoticon [O_O]
[Void] is even considered as a mythical element!
To think that my brother is the one possessing such an amazing element?!
The king and my parents talked a bit more after setting up Alt-nii’s magic test for tomorrow, mostly about their work and about past days, before they finally went out and socialized with the others at the party. The party finally ended at around 9 p.m., and obviously nobody dared do go back before the king stepped out… unless it is an emergency.
After a lot of mind-blowing revelations today, I feel very exhausted. If I were to wake up and realizing this was all a dream, I’d believe that right away. I just want to hop in my bed and sleep…
However, being a good child and remembering the pain from the tooth cavity when I was Reinst, I decided to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth before I sleep, without having the others reminding me.
As a result, I was praised by them. Alt-nii sulked a little because he planned on skipping his tooth-brushing routine today, and now he has to brush his teeth because his little sister did that without being ordered to.
Uuu, sorry, Alt-nii! But it’s for your own good! Honestly, tooth cavity is so bothersome!! Since the external surface of a tooth, the enamel, is not a living tissue, so a healing magic cannot influence the cells to repair itself, therefore we have to go to the dentist to get it fixed with another hard material as its replacement. Healing magic can actually stimulate the second surface of the tooth, the dentin, to heal, but the hard material to replace the enamel functions better to protect the teeth in the long run!
Not many people can use complicated healing magic, so obviously we still have doctors and dentists. I believe Mom can recover the dentin should we get a deep cavity, but eventually we still have to go to get the protective hard material to replace the broken enamel. There are also other procedures that cannot be accomplished with healing magic, such as transplanting cells to heal incurable illnesses, such as genetic illnesses. It would be so ideal to have a magic that can quickly change your genetic formation and replace the cells with healthy ones. I wonder how much mana must someone have in order to do such a feat?
Just a few minutes after getting a touchdown with my beloved bed, I fall asleep immediately. My brain needs a lot of time to process all these absurd information, so when I wake up the next day, everyone says that I’ve been asleep for half a day already, without being bothered by any noise they made.
For the first time in my life, I skipped eating a complete breakfast.