Special thanks to all patrons~
[Casual Supporter: aureliaxangel, Michelle, Riley R, Christiine G, Diego R, mjkj, SkVt, James Walsh]
[Original Mania Level 1: Sami, Lop, ZeroDeviation, Kiradien, Ravenslock]
[Original Mania Level 2: Asuran, Bradford M, DJay, Goddess_hera, Greame K, N0VERCL0CKER, P4ntagon_, Sean D]
[Original Mania Level 3: William C, blizgerg, John D, Alice A]
[Original Mania Level 5: Andrew M, sch, Katherine, Kaifen, Skyler J, Kyle M, eeleater, ghost750x, david c]
[Double Degree Level 2: Christopher]
[Double Degree Level 3: Browser]
[Library Lover: Erika S]
Brother and Sister
Seeing the painful recollection that Clyde’s dream showed me and feeling his sadness in his heart, I almost couldn’t hold back my tears.
Foolish, foolish me! Reinst, how were you so dense that you didn’t try to appreciate what you actually had more?
Although I knew. It was my experiences as Lyra that made me realize those things. Had I continued to live as Reinst as it was, I might never realize that, too.
Unlike Nicole who was more accepting of the truth, Clyde’s lingering feelings of regrets were stronger. I had to severe that at the same time I give him a closure.
That was why, I orchestrated this illusion.
By the time we had our very last sparring…
“Clyde, you’re not focused,” I said as I noticed his mind traveling. He didn’t even notice me having a fighting style that was now different than how Reinst normally would do… which was actually a good thing, really.
If he were to realize that, he might think I was an impostor or worse, if he remembered how I—as Lyra—fought with my sword and saw the similarities, he might even connect those dots and I’d be darned!
I was so sure I could 100% mimic my old style, only to fail horribly, but thankfully, Clyde didn’t pay any attention, haha…
“Reinst, you know, I had this very long and realistic dream and…”
“Cut to the chase,” I quickly said. Our time is limited.
“…Why did you come looking for me today? It’s never happened before, it’s weird and I…”
“Is that really what you want to tell me?” I asked. What happened in this illusion is not real, after all.
“Reinst… I—I’m sorry,” he said with a weak voice.
“What for?!” I asked.
Stupid Clyde. That should be my line.
“For being a bad brother to you.”
If you are a bad brother, then what would that make me? The worst little sister in the world?
“I… All this time, I never did anything for you.”
Are you kidding me? You cared sincerely for me. You tried your best to watch over me, to protect me. You were the reason why Nicole came to know me and then became my one and only friend.
But again, I only realized all this once it was too late…
Therefore, when we continued our conversation in the garden, I said what I had in my mind, “Clyde, you’re wrong about never doing anything for me……”
“…… I hadn’t paid any attention to the others around me. To Nicole, and to you…,” I said as I turned to look at where Fenrir was.
[You are only going in circles. Our time is going to run out before everything is concluded.]
“I know, I’ll make sure that it won’t happen.”
“Can I… Can we be brother and sister?” Clyde then asked nervously.
I was obviously surprised.
What is he talking about? We’re…
“What are you talking about, Clyde? Aren’t we already brother and sister?” I asked as I blinked several times. But then, I smiled wryly as I looked at him.
Instead of blaming me for never reciprocating him, he blamed himself and even had to ask me if I could consider us as siblings.
“I’m so sorry, Clyde. For not doing this sooner…,” I said as I felt pain in my heart.
“It’s alright, Reinst! It’s never too late! From now on, we can start over…,” His words pained my heart even more.
“—It is too late. Clyde, you know it yourself, right?”
It was time to severe every question of ‘what ifs’ that Clyde had always have in mind.
“I’m never going to return back to life again. We won’t be able to start acting like a brother and sister…,” I tried to convince him of this… saddening truth.
I also wish I could’ve done things differently, really.
But I knew that won’t ever happen.
In this ‘future’ that I came to love, I—Reinst is no longer there. But I got to live as Lyra and learned many things I never paid any attention to before.
And you, Clyde… You already have Nicole and Ein to protect and love, don’t say that you don’t mind getting trapped in this false illusion and leave them behind.
For that is the best future for all of us.
“Clyde. It pains me to see you like this,” I said as I hugged Clyde for the first time ever.
I let him go after a while as I had to see his eyes when I ask him this: “Please let me go, will you?”
Clyde closed his eyes, it was clear that he was really conflicted with what I asked from him.
I could feel the light behind me getting stronger—indicating that my time was almost out.
Finally, Clyde opened his eyes—now determined—as he said, “Alright Reinst, I promise.”
I was so happy when I heard those words.
But then, he added, “But can you tell me truthfully… How do you feel about me as your big brother? Have you seen me as one, or I’m just your rival, enemy, or stranger?”
At first, I only saw you as my rival, as someone who was the reason why Mother was so strict in my upbringing, and as someone who would steal Father… But that was all due to the wrong mindset that was planted in my mind.
Even until the end of my life, I hadn’t really thought about you that much.
But after seeing you again as Lyra, I finally knew how much you cared for me.
Then, in the recollection I saw in your dream…
It took me so long to admit that you were always a good big brother for me.
However, the explanation was too long and I couldn’t tell some part of it truthfully to him.
What can I say to him in what little time I have?
Words alone aren’t enough…
Every single experience that shaped me as Reinst and then as Lyra flashed quickly in my mind as I tried to find something that could sum everything up and that could convey my feelings towards my half-brother.
Eventually, one idea came to my mind.
While thinking of the love and care he felt towards me as Reinst, I tried to plaster a smile on my face as I said, “Silly Brother! I won’t forgive you if you don’t do as I say, okay? I will beat you up in the afterlife if you don’t do so!”
Those words and gesture were my best take in conveying my feelings as Reinst.
As I took a last look at Clyde who was standing still in surprise with a little hint of happiness in it, I quickly turned around and ran to the blinding light—because it was time for me to go.
Thank you, Clyde… I mean, Brother.
Before I left his dream world, a scene of the past flashed before my eyes as I looked at it very fondly.
It was a memory from when Clyde and I were really young, a memory that had been long forgotten by us.
We were very, very young when we sneaked out to play with each other in our residence.
We were reading a story book together in the garden.
“What is this ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ written in this book?” Little Reinst asked.
“I don’t know, but they’re someone who has been together and close to each other since when they are little,” Little Clyde answered.
“It must be nice to have one, huh?”
“Then, I’ll become your big brother,” Little Clyde then smiled.
“Then, I will become your little sister?” Little Reinst tilted her head.
“Yep!” Little Clyde nodded.
I closed my eyes and smiled. Such a warm memory, it was a pity that neither of us remembered it now…
“Eeeh, not fair! I want to become the big sister!”
Little Reinst’s childish protest caused my smile to turn stiff.
Listen here, you little…! That’s not how it works at all!!
Such a dumb me, I’d rather forget…
Nah, just kidding.
Such a warm memory, I will surely treasure it.