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Becoming A Third Wheel
“Lyra, please, can you do me a favor?”
One day, out of nowhere, Alt-nii suddenly came to me, clapped both of his hands, and bowed to ask a favor from me.
I blinked several times.
What kind of request is Alt-nii going to make, that made him act like this?
Is it a hard request?
If it is a hard request, can I even fulfil that?
“Alt-nii, don’t be like that. If it’s something I can do, then of course I’ll do it. We’re siblings, after all. Just tell me first, what is it?”
Though my mind was thinking like that, I still asked in hopes that Alt-nii was only exaggerating.
“This, uhm… Will you come to the newly open science museum?”
What came out of his mouth was something unexpected.
“You mean, Ferhd Science Museum?” I asked.
Ferhd Science Museum was the only new science museum that I could think of. It was located in a developing city in East Riviera. Its location wasn’t too far from our home.
Sure enough, Alt-nii nodded.
“Alt-nii, it’s just something like this. Of course I’ll go, I’m quite interested in it. Why did you even need to ask me like that?” I tilted my head in confusion.
“Uh… The thing is, they are holding a promotion for their grand opening…”
“That’s even better! What promotion are they holding?”
“It’s a buy two get three for the tickets…”
“Oh, and… Who is the third person?”
“That… is you…,” Alt-nii’s voice grew smaller.
“Eh, I’m the third person… So, you mean you already invited someone before and because they happened to give you three tickets as their promotion instead of two—wait, don’t tell me…?” I was thinking as I talked, but then a realization dawned upon me.
I looked at Alt-nii with a look of disbelief.
“I think you’ve already guessed it. Yeah, I’m going on a date with Celeste. And my real request is for you to join…”
“A-Alt-nii! It’s called a date if it’s only the two of you! Why would you bring me along just become a third wheel?!” I questioned my older brother’s common sense right away.
“But the third ticket’s going to be a waste!”
“It doesn’t matter!” I howled.
It wasn’t like we were some poor people! A free ticket going to a waste for the sake of a romantic date, just the two of them, seemed to be worth it anyway…
“We don’t like wasting such a good stuff! And we agreed that we’d rather bring you than bringing Harvey or Clavis…,” Alt-nii quickly said.
“I-it’s good that both you and Celeste aren’t people who’d waste stuff, but uhh…”
I understand why they both are unwilling to bring Harvey or Clavis, so…
“What about Celeste’s relative?” I asked.
“She doesn’t have any sibling or any other close relative our age,” Alt-nii shook his head.
“Doesn’t she want to invite her friend…? Wouldn’t it be awkward to invite me instead?”
Alt-nii hesitantly said, “She… doesn’t really have friends…”
“Oh…,” I was left speechless.
Celeste somehow reminds me of my life as Reinst…
“Why me?” I asked.
“Well, who else can we ask?” Alt-nii asked me back.
“Hmm… Right. Makes sense,” I admitted my defeat readily.
Bringing one of the twins would be out of question as it would cause the other to be envious, and if both were coming, it’d be too crowded, and it would feel like babysitting instead of a date…
Bringing either Harvey or Clavis would make Celeste feel awkward.
Bringing me was the less awkward choice. At least, Celeste and I were acquainted with each other already. In my opinion, I felt like I could get along pretty well with her.
Another bonus was because I was a female as well, so it’d make Celeste more comfortable rather than bringing one of Alt-nii’s boy friends.
“…Fine,” I finally said, after thinking that it’d be a waste for the free ticket, too.
I could just separate with the two of them inside the museum later, to give them some privacy.
Why would the museum do this kind of campaign for their grand opening promotion?!
Buy two, get three…
Does the museum have some kind of grudges against couples? Why are they this intent on inviting a third wheel?!
Though, once I calmed down and tried to think more positively about it, perhaps this campaign was geared towards a young family of three.
“Thank you!” Alt-nii looked relieved upon hearing my words of agreement.
Which brought me to the current situation, where I stood exactly in the middle of Alt-nii and Celeste.
Awkward, I immediately tried to move to Alt-nii’s side, but then I realized it’d make it seem like Alt-nii was a harem protagonist who got two girls tagging along on both of his sides…
Though with our similarities, people would surely think of us as siblings…
But should I just move to Celeste’s side?
Then it’d be her being in the middle of us siblings…
In the end, I sometimes walked by Alt-nii’s side, and sometimes walked by Celeste’s side.
There was actually a time where I intentionally separated from the two of them, but in the end, I got lost and it was so hard for us to actually find each other again among the crowd and the huge place, so the three of us walked together afterwards and I officially became the third wheel.
Thankfully, it wasn’t awkward at all. The conversation just sort of flew by itself as we looked around.
Still, it was inevitable for us to eventually converse about the current hot topic: the growing conflicts between Cielle and Naraka that involved Riviera.
It had become sort of a common topic already.
But the one who opened the topic was none other than Alt-nii.
“It has been decided that I’ll go to Cielle soon as one of our country’s delegation,” Alt-nii said.
This talk was brought up during one of my family dinners a few days ago, so I wasn’t surprised and I knew that Alt-nii said this to Celeste. Moreover, he was looking at Celeste when he said that.
A slight hint of surprise appeared on Celeste’s face before it regained its usual calmness.
“Is that so…? Will it take long?” She asked.
“Nobody knows that yet. Hopefully it won’t take long,” Alt-nii said with a wry smile.
“Mhm, be careful,” Celeste said again.
Then, it was silent.
Plus, the atmosphere was kind of gloomy.
Seeing how the two of them didn’t seem like they would talk another word, I guess it’d be up to me to dispel this gloominess, huh?
“Celeste, how do you view the conflict between the elves and the Oni?” I asked, seeing that Celeste was part of elf descent.
Celeste looked at me with a stunned expression, perhaps not expecting this question.
“Hm… I just hope that they will be able to resolve it quickly. It’d be great if elves and Oni can one day live in harmony with each other,” she said with a slightly dazed look.
“For elves and Oni to live in harmony, huh…? I wonder when that day will come?” I said with the same dazed look.
Putting aside how the Oni and elves that lived in Naraka and Cielle would think about the relations between their races, the Oni and elves that had been living in Riviera didn’t seem to be as extreme as those living in Naraka and Cielle, but they were nevertheless divided into three groups.
The first group, the majority, had maintained a neutral stance, but they were still prejudiced towards the other race. They would try to avoid contact or any relation with members of the other race whenever possible. They still viewed the other race as inferior or despicable being.
The second group was indifferent in a sense that they would befriend members of the other race without any qualms, but there was still a barrier between them due to the prejudice that had been taught by their ancestors, ingrained in their brains ever since they were born.
The third group belonged to those who desired both races to finally be able to live side-by-side, without any prejudice or barrier. They actually wanted to mingle with the members of the other race. But such a group was still considered new and, on the rise, and the member was very little. Most weren’t pure-blooded Oni or elves, though.
From Celeste’s answer, I guess she belonged to the third group. Well, since she was half elf, I guess it was understandable.
Still, it was good to know that she had a good mindset and not a discriminatory heart.
I was satisfied again with this future sister-in-law!
By the time we finished exploring the whole museum, it was already beginning to get dark outside. The place was overall good, though not as amazing as the Central Scientific Museum located in our capital, but it had a different specialty.
“Phew, a day passed so quickly, huh?” Alt-nii opened the conversation.
“Yeah,” Celeste nodded.
“It’s said that you feel like a day passed very quickly because…,” I unconsciously mumbled.
…because you spent it with the person you like, right?
“Because…?” Celeste looked at me with a slightly tilted head, her eyes were full of curiosity.
Eekh, I can’t really tease her and Alt-nii like this…
“…because we were having fun, yeah!” I swallowed the words I initially wanted to say and changed it to another one that fitted the situation.
Celeste and Alt-nii smiled in response, seemingly satisfied and agreeing to my words.
“Well then, it’s time for us to part,” Celeste said.
“Huh? So fast…,” Alt-nii reflexively muttered.
“It’s already this late, I should go home,” Celeste smiled in response.
“I know… Want to have dinner at my place?” Alt-nii asked.
“What? I can’t bother your family time…,” Celeste quickly shook her head.
“Celeste, it’s fine. The other day, my parents said that they’d like to see and talk to you again. Coincidentally, they should be at home tonight,” I quickly interjected, coming to Alt-nii’s rescue.
I could feel Alt-nii’s gaze full of gratitude towards me.
I was merely stating the facts, but if it were Alt-nii, Celeste might not believe it and only thought of it as his bluff.
“Well, then… If you don’t mind…,” Celeste finally relented after she was silent for a while, contemplating whether she should insist on rejecting or accepting.
I cheered for me and Alt-nii’s success in my heart.
It had been some time since we last received a guest in our home. Besides, I’d like to know more about this future sister-in-law of mine, and obviously my parents were thinking of the same thing.
With that, all three of us rode on a carriage back to my family’s residence.
Alt-nii and I sat side by side on one side of the carriage’s chair, while Celeste was sitting right across Alt-nii.
At first, I tried to minimize my presence by busying myself looking at the carriage’s window, but in the end, I was involved in their small talks.
Though I must say that the one speaking most of the time was Alt-nii, just like how it was when we were walking in the museum.
I applauded Alt-nii for being able to come up with many interesting topics and to carry on the conversation so well. In both of my lifetime, I wasn’t so confident with this kind of social skill. Judging by the looks of it, Celeste seemed to be a quiet type, but that complemented Alt-nii instead, as I felt like Alt-nii was more of an extrovert that liked to talk a lot.
When we arrived at our residence back, I immediately noticed my parents’ shoes.
“Alt-nii, Mom and Dad are already back!” I reported to Alt-nii.
“I see. Let’s greet them first, then!” Alt-nii said.
Celeste looked surprised when she heard it, perhaps she wasn’t prepared yet…
But before she could prepare anything, I heard familiar footsteps approaching us.
A moment later, my parents were there, right in front of us.
“Alt, Lyra. You’re back. And Celeste is with you, too,” Dad greeted.
Behind my parents, I saw a maid who noticed my gaze and bowed at us.
Ah. They must have heard about Celeste coming over too from the maid who reported our coming home. That’s why Mom and Dad went to welcome us like this.
I reflexively turned to look at Celeste who was right next to me.
Though she was obviously taken aback, it didn’t take long for her to bow nervously in accordance to the correct etiquette.
“Duke, Duchess. Pardon my intrusion…”