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After letting go of my attachment as Reinst, I spent my uneventful life just as how they were. I was pondering over the past events that happened to me as Lyra. That one time when Alt-nii and I were almost kidnapped. That one time when I was ‘attacked’ at the school festival. The real culprits behind them weren’t caught yet.
In other words, there was a possibility that they’d come attacking again in the future.
Thus, even if I lived a peaceful life at the moment, I didn’t stop trying to improve my skills. In my family’s trademark arts, in my magic, and in my swordsmanship.
The more skills I could use to defend myself, the better.
When I played with my younger siblings, the desire to get even stronger only grew.
Since I would hate it if the one who did bad things to me and Alt-nii were to target even the twins, who were still young and more defenseless than me and Alt-nii.
Besides, being able to do the things that I never could have done in the past was quite exciting. It didn’t feel like a burden at all.
And before I even noticed it, it was almost the time for my coming-of-age ceremony.
Obviously, some of my friends came of age before me. Take Luca and his grand coming-of-age ceremony, for example.
However, that wasn’t the important thing I wanted to talk about here.
I used to be considered a tall girl among my friends and others around my age. I thought it would last forever… that I’d only continue to grow tall, even if I couldn’t defeat the Grabberton’s gene and be as tall as I was in my past life. At least, I’d be considered tall again, just like how I was as Reinst.
But that changed after everyone had their growth spur.
In a short moment, I was no longer the ‘tall girl’. I was now just the average-height girl. What made me sad was the fact that I didn’t feel like I grew taller any more after my initial growth spur that I had in my puberty.
If this kept on, I’d be considered short instead!!
From being quite tall all my life to being short… this… I couldn’t take it!! （；へ：）
When my parents caught me jumping with no reason and I spilled the beans, their reactions were…
“Don’t worry, you have plenty of time to grow!” Dad comforted me. I had my hopes up when I saw how Dad was quite tall.
Mom laughed in response and said, “It’s alright even if you aren’t tall. It runs in your genes, after all.”
“Wha?!” I was surprised and then I noticed how petite my mom was…
C-could it be that I took after Mom?!
I pouted in response.
“Besides, being a bit petite is cute, right?” Mom patted my head.
“Nooo, I want to be cool!”
“You can become both at the same time,” Dad said as he looked at Mom.
Mom laughed it off again, “At first I was just like you, Lyra. I resented being considered small and was quite grumpy. They called me ‘small but fierce’ back in the days. But after that, I embraced myself the way I was. I even enjoyed it. Do you know why?”
I shook my head.
“The look on people’s faces when they were defeated by someone they didn’t consider menacing was priceless. It was funny to see those big and bulky people running in fear after seeing me, after they tasted my power.”
Mom’s gentle aura was immediately replaced by a menacing aura.
T-this… The competitive side of my mom, yes.
“C-Cassie…,” Dad pulled me closer to him as he backed away from Mom.
“And that is the example,” Mom suddenly said.
I laughed in response.
Mom was right. There was really nothing I could do except to eat lots of nutritious food and kept exercising. The rest would be decided by my genetics, so instead of resenting it, I should just embrace myself.
There was another change I began making after noticing how others’ perspective of me had changed from a ‘precocious girl who grew up faster than her peers’ or ‘tall for her age’ to ‘someone who looks younger than her age’.
That was to change my usual hairstyle of twin-tails variation into ponytail or side-tail instead. When it was cold, I’d just let my hair down or maybe slightly braid it or… anything but twin-tails, as twin-tails only made me look more childish than my actual age now.
It was cute when I was in twin-tails all the time as a small child. I really enjoyed styling myself in a cute way while it lasted. I had no regrets.
When I looked at the figure of myself in a high ponytail, I was happy. I let some of my side hair loose to make sure I didn’t come off as chubby.
It was amazing how a change of hairstyle could change one’s overall image.
At first, nobody commented about my going ponytail, because sometimes I tried ponytails and other hairstyles, too. But I was mostly using twin-tails.
After they noticed how I rarely used my signature twin-tails hairstyle, that was when they asked me questions and I finally said that I was changing style.
“Does this look weird on me?” I asked, just in case.
“No, you look great, Lyra!” Iris said with a sincere look.
“What, changing the style so people won’t mistake you for a Basic level student again?” Luca said in a bit of an irritating tone.
“Hey, I’m not that small!” I protested.
But honestly, we went from having a similar height to Luca being taller than me… And Kiri, who was shorter than me, now we were at the same height…
W-well, it’d be fine since they are boys!
Regardless of what others said, I felt more comfortable with this hairstyle now. So, I should stick with this.
Other than that, my clothing style was gradually changed from all the cutesy stuff to a more mature design. Clothes make the man, so they say.
Anyway, since it was close to my coming-of-age ceremony, and since the 13th birthday was a special one, the preparation for it started long before the due date. The birthday party this time must be even grander than the usual ones.
Though I felt the tension of the party, I was also anticipating my coming-of-age ceremony with an excitement. This was different from when I was waiting for my 13th birthday as Reinst.
One day, in the middle of the continuing preparations for my coming-of-age ceremony…
Someone knocked on the door to my room after dinner.
“Who is it?” I asked as I rose up from my bed.
“It’s me. Can I talk with you for a bit?” Alt-nii’s voice could be heard.
Hmm? It’s unusual of him. I wonder what it is that he needs to talk with me about?
“Yeah, come in.”
We sat on the sofa that was in my room.
“Do you want to eat or drink something?” I asked.
“We just ate!” Alt-nii said in surprise.
“Ah, my bad, haha…”
I was still caught with the formality of offering someone something to eat or drink for a setting like this… This was a good etiquette, but we didn’t need to adhere to it within this family, right?
“What is it, Alt-nii?” I asked straight to the point.
“You’re going to have your coming-of-age ceremony very soon, right?” He asked.
“It’s about the invitation to your coming-of-age ceremony.”
“Oh,” I quickly answered, “Don’t worry, I’ve covered the invitation for Harvey as usual.”
Since there were some commoners among our group of friends, I extended invitations for them for my parties, and Alt-nii would gladly let me invite my friends as well.
I wouldn’t forget, so there was no need for Alt-nii to remind me, actually.
“Ah… It’s not about that,” Alt-nii said.
“Hmm, then what is it about?” I tilted my head in confusion.
“Can I invite one more person?” He asked.
If Alt-nii asked for an invitation, then this person must not be of a noble blood. Since basically, we would be inviting all the nobles for this grand party, no exceptions. Whether they decide to come or not, it’s fully up to them. And who amongst a family would be attending would be up to them, too.
“May I know who is it?” I asked.
A new friend? Or… a possible future sister-in-law?!
“Of course. You know her,” Alt-nii paused.
Her? Oh-ho… Could it really be…?
“I’m not sure if you still remember… It’s Celeste,” Alt-nii finished his explanation.
“C-Celeste?!” I was so surprised I stood up from my seat.
Of course I remember her.
She was the girl who was in Alt-nii’s team when we faced off in the school festival’s competition. With her black straight long hair in a princess cut and sparkling lemon-yellow eyes. She was said to have an elf bloodline.
She visited me when I was recovering from my dark magic outburst during that school festival. She was beautiful, kind, and strong enough.
I thought she had become a member of Alt-nii’s circle of friends since that time, but I had only seen her several times after that.
Since she was a loner, Alt-nii invited her to hang out together with him and his friends, and sometimes with me as well during lunch break time. She showed up several times but she was mostly not there with us.
And she hadn’t shown up in any of our birthday parties so far, because she wasn’t a noble.
This time… Alt-nii was especially asking for an invite… for her?
“But this is so sudden. Has she really become part of your friend group or… is there another reason, Alt-nii?” I asked Alt-nii after I sat down back.
“Hmm, well,” Alt-nii scratched his head as I could tell that he was… being bashful?
“I’m officially trying to court her,” Alt-nii dropped a bomb to me.
“Eh?! S-since when? What did she say in response?!” I was surprised since this was the first time Alt-nii did this. In the sixteen times four hundred and twenty days of his life in this Sphaela, this would be his very first…
But I was glad it was Celeste! I wholeheartedly support him because I kinda like Celeste.
“Not too long ago. Well… She said that she’d like to take it slowly,” Alt-nii smiled bashfully.
“Wow, congratulations, Alt-nii!” I sincerely congratulated him.
Celeste was such a beauty. To think that my brother would be able to be with someone like her…!
But… I wonder what the future will have for the both of them?
I know that our parents aren’t the type to politically betroth us, they will definitely support Alt-nii’s love, but…
There is still prejudice of a noble courting a commoner.
The commoner will bear all the brunt and any bad mouthing that’s done by the other nobles, especially those who believe in the ‘purity of blood’ or something like that.
Anyway, since Alt-nii wanted to invite her to my coming-of-age ceremony, does that mean he wants to introduce her to the family there?
“Mom and Dad, do they…?” I asked, although I was pretty sure they’d know about this, at least about how Alt-nii wanted to invite a girl he likes to my coming-of-age ceremony.
“Yeah. I asked them first. They don’t mind. They wanted me to ask you, since you’re the main star of the party,” Alt-nii explained.
“I see. Of course I approve it! I’ll prepare an invitation for her. I hope she is willing to come!” I said with pure excitement.
“She will come, don’t worry,” Alt-nii reassured me.
“Really? Then, accompany her so that the other nobles won’t do anything bad to her, okay?” I asked Alt-nii out of concern towards Celeste.
If bad things were to happen to her during my coming-of-age ceremony, she might want to distance herself further from Alt-nii… especially if the nobles made her feel bad about her commoner heritage and made her reconsider wanting to be with Alt-nii.
“I will, don’t worry about that,” Alt-nii said.
“Good, then,” I nodded in approval of my big brother’s consideration!
While I’d like to ask more about their relationship, I felt like it’d be better to witness it myself during my coming-of-age ceremony. Besides, Alt-nii still seemed bashful to talk about it, too.
With that, there is one more thing I can look forward to for my coming-of-age ceremony!
I’m looking forward to it all the more!