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Luca’s voice pulled me back to reality.
“Mother, you know that you became a queen because Father fell in love with you, right? And he fell for you because you are you. Even if you got another person’s cell donor, I’m sure he will still choose you.”
Then, Queen Shaula’s chuckle could be heard, followed by her light voice, “Maybe you’re right.”
“It’s not ‘maybe’, Mother. I am one hundred percent certain about it,” Luca said with a determined look.
“Haha, you’re right. Why did I think of such a foolish notion?”
Well, I get where you’re coming, Shaula-san.
The coincidence is just… too eerie, even to me.
It’s as if it’s fate itself.
My thoughts abruptly ended here as my mind raced at an absurd idea that just popped in it.
Could it be that the god who forced me to reincarnate lied to me about how it was an accident… and that it all had been written in my destiny?
If the god were to tell me that it was destiny when I met them for the first time, I would surely be resentful, and hatred would grow inside my heart. Hatred towards the world for treating me so. Hatred that I had to live just for the sake of other people in the end.
Because at that time, I didn’t know that I’d be happy as Lyra. I’d tell them that it was such a bullshit that I would be happy.
But now that I had experienced everything, I didn’t feel hatred nor resentment at all.
Did that god know about it and thus, they acted the way they did back then…?
“…I don’t really know you and I wished we could have known each other better when you were still alive, but I’m thankful for your help. Without your help, I… my family won’t be here. I hope you don’t resent me for taking what should be yours… I have promised I’d live a good life on your behalf as well, so I hope you’ll be happy for me,” Shaula said.
“Thank you for existing. Thank you for saving my mother,” Luca added.
Hearing the sincere words of gratitude that I never expected to hear at all, my heart was flooded with a warmth that I never knew I’d be able to feel.
Shaula wished she had known me while I was alive. That my life helped hers. That she wanted to live to the fullest for my sake.
Luca never knew me, and he might even not like my past self at all because my past self was almost his father’s suitor, right? But instead, he was thankful that I ever existed.
It was true that if I didn’t lead such a life as Reinst and ended up dead, Luca wouldn’t even be here in this world. And this current me as well…
And if that illusionary world of an alternate future with my past self surviving had even the slightest bit of truth in them, then I was really glad that things turned out this way.
This was for the best.
I stood there, silently watching as the pair of mother and son paid their respect to my past self’s grave. A whirlpool of emotions flooded over my heart, but it was thankfully a positive one.
When they were leaving, I continued to wait until they were really gone from the area before I approached my own grave.
It was apparent that my past self’s grave was tended to with care. There were also flowers and offerings given.
Even years after my death, people still cared for me.
I thought I’d be forgotten just like that, but…
“You know, Reinst? You were wrong to think that your existence weighed nothing at all in other people’s hearts. Even after you’re gone, there are still people who care. You just didn’t notice at all and…”
Lived like a doll in the past. Refused to be open and reach out.
…Though with the way you were raised, it couldn’t be helped, huh?
Not long after that, I received an urgent message.
[What’s taking you so long? You should come back very soon, or we might be busted!]
Fenrir’s usually calm voice carried a hint of panic in it that it made me surprised.
But I couldn’t just chuckle in response to this out-of-character Fenrir, for I had to rush home, or I’d be in trouble!!
I immediately went to a secluded place where I repeated the process of summoning a thunderbird to assist me in returning home. Though I was feeling a bit dizzy and nauseous after the flight, I had no time to waste. Again, I returned using the same method I used to get here, and that was through Shadow Teleportation.
“I… I am back…,” I said in a low voice as I tried to take a deep breath to recover.
Fenrir who still had my appearance then emerged from within the blankets. Staring at my own face was a bit weird, I admit.
“You’ve skipped breakfast and it’s even almost lunch. It’s very rare for you to sleep in this late. Hurry,” Fenrir urged.
“Yeah, hang on,” I said as I returned myself to my original appearance as Lyra, then I proceeded to take off the illusion magic I applied at Fenrir.
“What’s the situation?” I asked as I prepared myself to get ready.
“Your father’s off to take care of some business even though it’s a holiday. Your elder brother followed along. As for your younger siblings, they noisily called out to you but of course I said I felt tired and wanted to sleep in. In the end, they were taken by your father to play with Leticia in the royal castle. Your mother is the only one staying behind, and she’s gotten worried you might be sick,” Fenrir explained.
“I see… I’d better show myself to Mom, then. I will tell you everything that’s happened later, Fenrir.”
“Yeah, you better do that.”
As soon as I got ready, I went out of my room and searched for Mom.
I found her sitting on a sofa next to a window, reading a book while sipping tea.
“Mom!” I called out to her as I ran to hug her.
“Good morning, Lyra. Are you feeling alright? Are you feeling sick anywhere?” Mom asked with concern. She patted my head as if it was the most natural thing to do and checked on my temperature.
“I’m alright, I am just feeling lazy today.”
“Aren’t you hungry? There’s still some time before lunch. Want to eat some snacks?”
“Mmm… Yeah, I’m a bit hungry. Sure, Mom!” I happily accepted her offer. After all the adventure that happened this morning, how could I not be hungry?
Mom called a maid and ordered her to bring some light snacks as well as another cup of tea for me.
This means I get to accompany her and eat the snacks here?
It was a simple thing, yet it made me happy because that meant Mom also wanted me to spend some time with her. She didn’t send me to eat alone in the dining room or in another place.
“Mom, what are you reading?”
“Oh, this? This book is…”
Though we only had a small, meaningless conversation like this while waiting for lunch, I was happy.
Lunch time arrived before long, and only then did I realize how starving I was. Even I was surprised at my eating speed this lunch, but it gradually slowed down when I was feeling a bit full.
Mom simply chuckled and said, “This is why you shouldn’t skip your breakfast.”
“I guess, haha. Lessons learned,” I said.
…Though honestly, if I didn’t have that intense adventure this morning, I would be fine even if I had to skip my breakfast.
But people said that one’s breakfast was the most important meal of the day because it kept us energized for the day, huh?
After eating lunch, I felt like I wanted to go outside to think about what I just learned, share it with Fenrir, and process it myself.
“Mom, I’ll be going outside for a bit,” I said to Mom.
“Where will you be going?” Mom asked.
“To the nearby hill,” I said. Whenever I wanted to be alone out of my residence, I’d go to a nearby hill, so it was nothing unusual.
“I see. Be careful.”
“I will. Don’t worry!” I said before I turned around and said, “Fenrir, come on, let’s go!”
“Heh, so full of energy. Oh, youth,” Fenrir said.
“Yes, yes, Grandpa Fenrir! I know you are still in your prime. Come on now, chase after me and see who’s faster,” I said as I ran. I only thought that at least this ‘race’ between me and Fenrir would make the journey to the hill more fun.
Before I went out, I could hear Fenrir’s sigh but I wouldn’t want to slow down and give him an upper hand!
Fenrir shook his head at Lyra’s words, yet he still walked leisurely towards the front door.
But before he could leave the residence, Cassie suddenly called out to him.
Fenrir immediately turned around to look at Cassie.
“Take care of my daughter, okay?” Cassie said as she looked into Fenrir’s eyes.
“…? Of course, I will,” Fenrir wasn’t sure why she would ask for something that he would obviously do anyway.
“Thank you for being there for her. That child surely needs a helping hand. I’m glad she found you to help her. There are some things that a child won’t be able to tell their parents, so having a trusted friend by their side can make the parents rest assured,” Cassie said meaningfully.
Only then did Fenrir understand.
She… knows? Since when? And how much does she know?
“You won’t ask or tell her?” Fenrir asked.
Cassie smiled as she said, “We won’t force her to tell anything she isn’t uncomfortable sharing.”
“I hope one day, she will be able to tell you.”
“Even if she doesn’t, it won’t change the fact that she is my beloved daughter.”
“You’re okay with that?” Fenrir asked, clearly amused with the unexpected answer.
“Why won’t I be? Even I don’t share everything with my parents. Yet, they still shower me with love. And I am planning to do the same.”
“She is lucky to have you,” Fenrir said in admiration.
“I am lucky to have her,” Cassie said.
“She’d be delighted to hear that.”
Cassie smiled in response to Fenrir’s words.
“You should chase after her before she goes too far,” Cassie reminded.
“I will,” Fenrir then left the residence and ran after Lyra with a fast speed.
Cassie looked at the direction Lyra and Fenrir went for a while before she closed her eyes and smiled.
“She has grown up so much,” she muttered with a soft voice.