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The next day, the first thing I did upon seeing Titus was to ask him if I could summon Nicole to meet me, for I had several things I wanted to discuss with her. Titus-sama looked intrigued over the thing I wanted to discuss with Nicole, but he seemed to get that I was reluctant to tell him, so he didn’t press the issue any further. As expected of the king!
Titus-sama agreed to my summoning Nicole, but…
“Why don’t you try doing it yourself?” Titus-sama asked.
“Huh, I can?”
“Of course you can, you are the queen. Why do you think you can’t?” He asked back.
“…Okay, tell me what I should do!” I nodded.
Titus-sama then led me to the communication room, where all sorts of high-tech communication devices existed.
“This is the fastest way we can summon someone,” Titus-sama said as he took me to a small holographic screen with a button and a microphone under it. He flicked the holographic screen, found the ‘Loera family of the North’ and clicked ‘OK’.
“Now, press the button and tell them what you’d like to,” Titus-sama’s hand pointed at the button and microphone.
I stepped forward, clicked the button and put my mouth closer to the mic. As I clicked the button, the holographic screen reflected my image.
Ah, it will transmit my face, too? This is good to prevent fraud from only sending a voice message, I suppose.
“…Nicole, this is me, Reinst. Can you come to the castle some time when you’re not busy? I have something I’d like to discuss with you…That’s all, thanks.”
After I unpressed the button, the screen displayed ‘Sending’ text with a loading bar below it. It didn’t take too long for the loading bar to get filled up completely and the message was sent.
“They should receive it by now and we just need to wait for their response,” Titus-sama explained.
The development of technologies is sure nice. It’s so convenient.
I hope Nicole would come soon, but I understood that she would be busy as the duchess. Perhaps she would come tomorrow at the fastest.
So I thought, but this afternoon, right after lunch…
“Reinst-sama, you have a guest in the audience room,” A maid went to notify me.
“Huh, guest? Who might it be?”
“The Loera family. They said that they have come as per your summon.”
“What?!” I was so surprised I almost choked on my tea.
Yes, very unexpectedly, Nicole arrived right this afternoon, and she even brought Clyde and Ein along…! So fast…!
I hurriedly put down my tea that I was drinking leisurely while reading a book and went to the audience room to greet my guests immediately.
“Nicole, you arrived so fast…?! I think tomorrow is also fine…It’s nothing that urgent. If it’s urgent I would have told you so!” I said, scolding Nicole a little for coming too fast. I felt bad for disturbing her now…
“Reinst…! I’m glad you’re alright!” Nicole stood up and proceeded to hug me. Not the kind of close hugs she did when she was younger, but more like a formal type of a hug-greeting.
“And no problem! I happen to be free today, and it’s the very first time you summoned me! How can I not go right away?!” Nicole asked.
Oh right. Nicole and Clyde didn’t come right after I woke up. They came after I took the initiative to invite them. I wonder why that is…? And this is my first time summoning them…?
I took a glance at Clyde and Ein who were sitting calmly on the sofa. They were the same as how I remembered them in my life as Lyra. Noticing my gaze, Clyde slightly bowed. Meanwhile, Ein also bowed and said, “How are you feeling, Queen Auntie?”
Queen Auntie? That’s cute! But Ein would never speak so formally to me like this! He used to be more affectionate and seemed to be seeking for my attention all the time! …As Lyra, that is.
“I’m feeling good now, thank you. Ein…right?”
“Yeah, I am. I heard that you hit your head and had a memory loss. Will you be alright, Queen Auntie?”
“I will be alright, thank you for your concern. How’s school?”
“Well, we’re having holidays right now but it’s good.”
“I see. Getting along with friends?”
“Well, sort of?” Ein shrugged.
…It looked like he wasn’t that enthusiastic about his days at school and about his friends…? I heard he was now enrolled at a different school, not Harmonia Academy. Obviously he would get different friends and surroundings. But the Ein I knew was a lot more…cheerful than this oddly calm Ein?
I got that Ein would often try to act more mature in front of adults and strangers, but…aah, well, it was exactly like this in this scenario, huh?
“Where is Trevant-sama, by the way?” Nicole asked.
“Oh, he’s with a private tutor in the library,” I answered.
Though we had school to educate us, nobles and royals would still hire tutors since there were some subjects that weren’t covered in the school curriculum.
“Can I go to him?” Ein asked.
I thought he would be more enthusiastic like how he was whenever he wanted to go to me—to Lyra, but ehh, he was pretty calm about it. It was as if he was going on an observational study field.
“Sure, accompany him,” I said, thinking that it was a good idea to let the children be with each other. Although I knew that Trevant and Ein weren’t that close to each other, but I heard they were in an okay-ish relationship…?
They were technically cousins, but I guess they couldn’t be so friendly. I wonder why that was? Because Trevant was an obedient type that was more like Reinst, and hence, he didn’t spark Ein’s interest like Lyra did?
Yeah, compared to Luca, Trevant was like a ‘go-by-the-book’ type of a prince. Totally Reinst’s son, yes.
After Ein went out, I came to realize one thing.
In my lifetime as Lyra, Ein was named as “Reinell”, derived from Reinst’s name because Reinst sort of passed away and the parents, Clyde and Nicole, thought it was good to honor my name by modifying it as their son’s…?
But here, I’m perfectly fine and alive as Reinst…?
So why is he still named Ein, then?
Will it be weird for me to ask now?
Hmmm…they know I have a memory loss, so it should be alright…?
“Nicole, Clyde. Why did you name Ein “Reinell”, again? After my name, right?” I decided not to mind it too much and asked.
“That’s right! Well, we’re kinda together because there’s you, right? And it isn’t odd for a family to name their child after another family member, right? You also didn’t mind it when he was born,” Nicole clapped her hands.
Huh? They’re kinda together because of me? But if I’m not wrong, Nicole was acquainted to Clyde first, then me next…So I’m kinda…useless, you know?
Nevertheless, I’ll accept their reasoning as it would be very weird for me to see the same person that is Ein—only to learn that his name isn’t Ein!
“I see…Anyway, about what you said earlier…It’s my first time taking the initiative to summon you?” I asked.
“Mmhm, which surprised me a lot. I still can’t get over my happiness!”
“Come to think of it, Nicole. Why did you bring your family over, though?” I asked as I tilted my head out of habit—geh, would this act still suit my image as the queen? I meant, as Reinst?
At my curious question, both Nicole and Clyde were frozen. Only silence enveloped us. I started to feel hot due to the awkward atmosphere, even when it was cool in this room.
The first one to break the silence was Clyde.
“I’m sorry, Your Highness. Nicole knew that I…was quite worried about you after hearing what happened, and she thought it would be best if I were to go with her to see you directly. I’m sorry if my presence isn’t welcomed. I’m just glad that you’re okay,” Clyde smiled wryly.
The amount of information I gained from his words overloaded my brain. First, Clyde was so formal to me! We were still related despite me being the queen. Even Nicole who wasn’t even related to me—she didn’t even address me that formally…While Clyde…
“Are you telling me that you won’t think of visiting me unless I call you guys first?” I asked both Clyde and Nicole.
“Uhm…yes?” Nicole was brutally honest.
“…Why?” I crossed my arms.
“Eh, obviously that’s because…Wait, you have a memory loss! No wonder you don’t know. Wait, but are you serious? How can you forget this when you still have memories of your early days? Wait, should I tell you or should I not tell you?” Nicole seemed to be hesitant.
“Don’t beat around the bush and just tell me. It won’t change anything,” I stated. It seemed that she was worried that her telling me would change my attitude to both of them, while in fact it won’t. …Because I am Lyra, not this Reinst.
Nicole turned to look at Clyde. Both of them stared at each other for a moment before they—behold—nodded at the same time! I was baffled at their unspoken communication.
“The thing is…We don’t get along that well. And I feel like you are not happy to see me. Therefore, we didn’t come to visit you out of that consideration. You’ve already gained a misfortune, why would I want to add to your unhappiness by showing my face in front of you, Your Highness?” Clyde explained with a pained expression.
“Hold it,” I raised a hand and said, “Quit the formalities. Just call me Reinst like what Nicole did.”
An obvious surprise appeared at Clyde’s face, but that was to be expected. I didn’t even give him a chance to speak when I asked again, “Wait. We don’t get along well and you feel like I’m unhappy at your presence?”
“That—Even I can sense it too! I guess it’s because your rivalry back in your childhood days? It’s been ingrained to you that it’s hard to change the way things are in adulthood…?” Nicole interrupted.
“That is…,” I let my words trail off as I thought to myself.
True. The ‘Reinst’ without any ‘Lyra’ will just do that. It makes sense. But…when I woke up from my comatose, didn’t I try to mend our relationship? Me, Clyde, and Domi’s…?
But now that I think of it, ‘I’ didn’t have any say in Reinst’s life past that point, so I guess it was the normal Reinst who resumed her life, and then…my efforts to try mending the relationships went to vain?
That makes sense.
“Alright. My bad, that’s my fault. Thank you for worrying about me and for being considerate to me, Clyde, Nicole,” I said as I smiled.
Clyde and Nicole seemed dumbfounded for a few moments before Nicole smiled like a flower that bloomed and said, “My, I kinda like this ‘you’ better!”
“Nicole, that isn’t a nice thing to say. She has a memory loss,” Clyde scolded Nicole.
“But, don’t you think so?” Nicole asked.
“Well, you are right. I guess?” I tilted my head again.
“And Reinst with memory loss seems to be cuter, too!” Nicole suddenly said with a fangirling expression.
“…Okay?” My smile twitched.
“Anyway, I assume the matter you want to talk with Nicole about is going to be a private matter? Shall I take my leave?” Clyde suddenly said.
Eh, there’s no need to hurry, it’s not like I mind being with him…but the Reinst I know couldn’t really stand being with Clyde for too long. First it’s because it’s been ingrained in my mind that he’s my rival and not someone I can get close to. Second it’s because…being with him reminded me that my relationship with my mother can’t be as good as his with his mother…
I shook my head lightly. Clyde was just being considerate to me. I guess he has always been like this. How did I fail to notice it?
Clyde just stood up when he noticed something and then said, “That’s right. You’re still wearing the necklace with the jewel from the meteorite that hit you years ago, huh?”
I looked down and noticed that my necklace went out of its hideout in my clothes. I took the jewel hanging as the necklace’s pendant and lifted it so that it was in line with my eyes. The jewel was as pretty as I could remember it.
“Mm, it’s pretty. It’s been years since I first wore this, huh?” I said.
“Yeah, I was surprised when you had it made as a necklace pendant right after you became the queen,” Clyde said.
“Huh, what?” I was so surprised I let the jewel slip from my fingers. Lucky that it was hanging on my necklace, so it didn’t fall to the floor.
“What’s the matter? You had the jewel embedded in the meteorite that hit you some time after you turned thirteen to be made as a necklace pendant because it was a ‘memento’ and that it was ‘nostalgic’, right?” Clyde asked with a ‘isn’t that what happened?’ expression.
“You were proud that you became the only person to be hit by a stray meteorite in a meteor shower, right? You said about how it was something really unique to you and took a liking on the jewel,” Nicole said.
I said what? Wait, that is so dumb, Reinst! It just shows how you were too careless and didn’t pay any attention to your surroundings, when the others would surely be careful and avoid the meteorites or rocks falling from the sky! Aaaah, why would you—wait, that’s not the focus!
“Eh, wait, didn’t I fall into a long comma after that and then when I was almost fourteen, I woke up and there was a meteor shower again and that’s when I found a jewel in the meteorite that I turned into a necklace…?” I asked, narrating the memories I gained after my consciousness as Lyra disappeared and I turned into Reinst again.
“Huh? You what?” Nicole and Clyde were both dumbfounded.
“You were indeed knocked unconscious for several days by the meteorite, but it was just a minor injury and you woke up not too long after that. You resumed life as it was, and nothing that you said happened before your fourteenth birthday. The meteorites found were taken to museums or research centers, and you only gained access to them after becoming the queen. The jewels were mostly unused, so you thought it would make a good memento for yourself,” Nicole explained.
“…,” I was floored by her explanation. Clyde nodded several times, indicating that it was true.
“Did you knock your head so bad this time that even the memories you remembered became unstable?” Nicole hypothesized.
If that was indeed the case, then I am the only one with wrong memories…?
But what is the meaning of it…? I still remember it as clear as the day, hey!
…Hmmm, Titus-sama indeed narrated the story of my life after my fourteenth birthday, for I said that I only remembered my life up to my fourteenth birthday. I thought…I thought that what I had remembered was true, but it turned out to be different from what I knew?
Could it be that the memories of the Reinst-turning-fourteen that I had were all nothing but fake?
But what the hell is the meaning of this? Why did I remember things the way they were? Can someone explain this to me?
Just what the hell is happening to me? I can’t even comprehend things anymore aaaaaah, I feel like screaming on top of my lungs!!!
I’m going crazy, aaaaaaah!!!
Someone, please help!!!