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From that day onwards, I’ve been friends with the pri—I mean, Luca. Yes, I shouldn’t be addressing to him as the prince anymore. It’s just “Luca”. Forget his title~!
He’s the first friend of the same age that I’ve ever made and stayed in touch with.
The more time I spent with him, the more I know that he’s such a prideful little one, as he has hard times admitting things like defeat—and he even had a hard time when I told him to apologize to all the maids and others that fell into his pranks.
Yes, this is what happened. I could still feel the frustration from remembering this particular event.
“Excuse me, but Luca wants to say something to you,” I half-dragged Luca by his shirt. He seemed quite reluctant to follow through with my suggestion.
But he has to apologize, at all cost!
It’s bad if he is not used to admit his mistakes and apologize!!
In front of me, there was the young maid we teased the other day.
“Y-yes, what is it?” The maid pondered.
“For the other day, I’m really sorry for the prank. Also…,” I shifted my eyes towards Luca who was standing behind me.
“Hey, come on, say it, too!”
“…,” Luca faced away in response.
“Hello, this is not our deal!”
Luca timidly glanced at the young maid, who was attentively looking at the prince, worrying over what might the prince want to tell her.
“…that… the other day… you didn’t get sick, right?”
Luca finally opened his mouth, but boy, that’s not what I expected to hear!
“Oh, the water prank the other day? I’m okay,” the young maid exhaled in relief.
“Then, all is good,” Luca started to walk away.
BUT!! THAT!! IS NO WAY A PROPER APOLOGY!
I quickly grabbed his shirt again.
“All is good, what?! You need to properly apologize!! Say s-o-r-r-y, at least!”
“Uuuugh…,” his ears were getting red again.
“Ahaha, it’s okay, it’s okay, I get it,” the young maid smiled, after seeing Luca’s reaction.
“See? She already got it!” Luca argued.
There is no need to say what she’s already understood, so he thought.
“Arrggghhhhh!!” I was left speechless.
Well, but I think his apology got across, so it’s okay, at the end of the day.
This… can be counted as an improvement… right?
From that day too, he has never skipped any of his private education and training. He stopped his mischief in exchange of my companion.
(Well, I did threat him that I would not see him anymore if he continued all his mischief!)
He also tried to get along with the other kids around—such as the maids’ kids who are now wary of him, and I usually would encourage them to not be that cautious around us.
(The result is not that good, but oh well)
Luca has gotten closer to his sister, and now he’s starting to accept and understand his role as a big brother. Instead of pouting in jealousy when his mother needs to tend to his sister, he’d even assist his mother nowadays, as I suggested to him.
(To my surprise, he listened to others’ advices quite earnestly!!)
He was unwilling to assist his mother in anything involving Leti before this, but thankfully he’s started opening up for Leti.
Even Leti seems to develop an attachment to Luca. Like how she seems to be smiling whenever Luca comes to see her. Perhaps developing their bonds as siblings also helped in mending his loneliness.
Thankfully, he doesn’t become a doting brother that has a sis-con, despite how cute Leti is. Perhaps it has something to do with his own natural predisposition, as he has hard times in being honest.
Besides just playing with Luca, I was also squeezed into his education or training from time to time! Nobody seemed to object my participation, and Luca was glad—I mean motivated, to have a rival!
What about my own “noble” education?? Shouldn’t it also start, just as how Luca’s started on his education?
For your information, Altaire would often have his private noble education with a tutor Dad hired for him, starting when he was four, especially during when my parents were busy enough that at times, they couldn’t spare enough time to privately educate Altaire.
The private sessions are reduced when Alt-nii started to enter school, as he’d have education on morals and etiquette in school, as well. He may need to have some courses on other things such as dancing or leading his partner in a dance—but that will be for when he’s older.
As for me…
Well, needless to say that I’ve long passed that stage (in my past incarnation).
But obviously, the matter regarding my education is finally being talked out.
It’s about time.
I have expected it to come!
“Hey, Lyra, what kind of teacher do you like? What about the ones you’ve met during when you accompanied Luca?”
My mom was considering on the tutor she’d hire for me, and she is aware that I sometimes accompanied Luca on his private education.
“Hmmm, all of them are okay, Mom!” I answered honestly, as I don’t have any favorite among them.
They are all good teachers.
“Is that so? Well… I guess I should go and talk to them, then.”
And that’s how Mom finds out that I showed a remarkable attitude and result during my sessions with Luca and his tutors.
(Luca was really taken aback by this and as competitive as he is, vows that he will defeat me if he tries hard enough).
The tutors talked about this with my mom and they agreed on testing me before my mom decided on educating me.
Truthfully, after years and years of education, especially the queen’s training, the correct etiquette and attitude’s been drilled to my head. Now I’m in dilemma.
If I were to show all that I can do and know, they will surely wonder on how can I grasp all that despite not having been educated all this time?
But, if I were to deliberately make mistakes and limit my abilities to a normal 4 year-old’s, I’d be doomed to repeat all I’ve been through.
Between the two of them… I finally decided.
I’d just go all out and show them what I’m capable of!!
So that I can have more free time!!
No way in hell I’m going to invest my time in something that I’ve been learning all my life (yes, all my life, literally, during my past incarnation).
It is certainly not a safe thing to do, but I don’t want to waste my second life.
I will come up with excuses for how can I do that…
Like, intuition, or from shows I’ve seen, or story books, or learning from other people’s behavior that I observed, things like that. They are now under the impression that I’m a fast learner—an absurdly fast one.
Or I was just born gifted to be a noble.
Oh, whatever, let’s just face it head-on, after the deed’s done.
After showing my remarkable ability that can even pass the queen’s selection test, my parents and the tutors all trembled in horror.
“This child is… extraordinarily gifted!”
“How can it be, a four year old…?!”
“Hey, Lyra-sama, could you tell us how could you do that? Were you especially trained all this time?”
The tutors all questioned me. My parents also stared at me with puzzled expressions.
[Oh yeah, I was trained to be the perfect example of a noble lady for 13 years of my life. Eh? Don’t get me wrong, this is my second life. I was talking about my first life! Hohoho!!]
…wait, ‘hohoho’? Who was it? It is definitely not the present me, and not the past me.
It was so out-of-character!!
But, I can’t answer them like that!! I definitely can’t!! What will they say about it afterwards? How will they judge me?!
More importantly… what will my parents think of a child like me?
They must think that the whole idea of their child… wasn’t really their child—or rather, she was someone else’s reincarnation… would totally be a revolting thought.
They must think that I—the soul of Reinst—took over the body of their child. I won’t completely be their child that way, as I retained who I was, before even being born as their child.
…I don’t want to be shunned, no, no.
I must hide this abnormality of mine, at all cost!!
…like hell I could say this honest answer?
“Uh… I… somehow could grasp it. From what I’ve read. From what I heard. And from seeing the other nobles around me… And no, I didn’t get any kind of special training…”
As I said that, the tutors murmured and my parents were silent, thinking.
“Learning from her environment and the things she read and heard alone…? Seriously?!” A tutor shouted in her disbelief.
They still couldn’t comprehend my results and answers. No indication of cheating, no way that could happen under their strict supervision. And no bribing.
“Lyra… wow… just wow…” (This is Dad, not Mom.)
“As expected of my daughter!” (This is Mom, she sounds just like Dad here, but that means she must be very proud of her daughter. She even claps her hands in happiness—before getting confused about how I could do all that)
Those were the lines that I heard from my parents after they decided to abort their “thinking” mode.
In the end, I was dismissed after the results were out.
At the end of the day, my parents didn’t say anything but… they would surely be curious and even suspicious, right?
I am so prepared to their questioning at home, but what comes out of Mom’s mouth during when we are home, surprises me.
“So, Lyra… you can choose : will you go through all the education of what you’ve shown that you’re capable of, just in case… or not?”
“…I can choose?”
Where is my questioning, Mom, Dad?
But they don’t seem to give me any follow-up questions after what were questioned to me at the castle.
Their gazes are fixed on me, and I don’t sense anything negative from their gazes. They are fully waiting for me to answer.
“…Can I invest my time to learn other things?”
Dad and Mom smiled.
“Of course, dear, tell us what you would like to know.” (Mom)
“Or you are also free to just enjoy your time to relax, you know.” (Dad, with his typical spoiling attitude.)
And that is how I won’t have to relearn everything that I’ve already mastered!
But sometimes, I’d drop by in Luca’s training session just to update my knowledge and to lit the fire of competition in Luca’s eyes.
“Khhhh—how can you know that? …As the prince of this country, I won’t lose! I will show you what I’m capable of when I’m serious! Just you see, this time I lost because I wasn’t being serious at all!”
Or, any similar line.
It’s quite fun teasing him!
Oh, and, due to my remarkable result especially in terms of the noble lady’s education and training, the tutors highly recommended me to be the prince’s suitor.
The king is interested in this possibility, of course!
I knew it!! The king’s ulterior motive!!
That’s why, he invited me and Dad to drink a tea with Luca…
(This is… definitely a set-up!! I can sense a danger flag from his invitation!!)
“Say, Cyan, what about betrothing my son to your daughter?”
“””HUH?!””” (Me, Dad, and Luca, in unison)
As I expected!!
“W-w-wait, Titus. You said the other day that it wasn’t your intention at all…?”
“Yeah, but everyone’s been recommending that idea to me. I’m also interested in becoming in-laws with you!” The king’s eyes were suddenly lit.
“…,” Dad went silent and his gaze went very far away.
“W, w, what?! What are you talking about, Father?” Luca asked.
“Well, it’s a good idea, son. You got to be with Lyra all the time, that way!”
…King-sama, please stop encouraging your son…
He may accept that offer with how our relationship is, right now.
He really did enjoy my company.
I started to sweat bullets and got all fidgety. My face also turned stiff, thinking about the future.
It’s not that I hate Luca, but I can’t say that I love him, as well. For now, he’s just a friend.
If we were getting engaged but then in the future, he finds someone else he truly loves or if I were to be attracted by another man, what will happen?
Needless to say, I was really used to killing my own feelings, but I never really felt love before, so I don’t have the courage to say that it will be fine.
Being betrothed to the crown prince is a heavy burden!! I can’t afford to make any mistake!! Any mistake made could even get me (or even my family) accused of lese majeste.
Still, I tried to keep my composure.
Lyra, recall the high degree of submission that you’ve acquired as Reinst… Yes, just like that, keep calm… don’t think. Your fate is not really in your hands… Let it go to the flow of fate…
Why is it hard to regain my way of thinking and life back then as Reinst, now, after years as Lyra?!
I think I could pretend to be calm, but… it might not be as perfect as it was.
I felt that Luca stared at me for quite some time, before he finally spoke.
“Nah, Lyra is my friend! Don’t say anything weird, Father!”
At his words, I breathed out in relief. And Dad was very astonished with the unexpected answer.
Be as unexpected as it may be, but it works in my favor, so… I’ll gratefully accept it!
“Hmm? And here I’m sure you would agree with this idea, Luca! That’s too bad…”
“I, I’m still four, Father! Should we be talking about my engagement now?”
“Well, I thought you are fond of Lyra to that extent. After all, I also want you to get married because of love, not only for the benefits it might bring to our country. But if you say so, then let’s not talk about this anymore.”
“…Thanks, Father. I will definitely consult the matter to you in the future, when the time comes. But for now, stop your weird suggestions!”
Dad’s stiff expression finally loosened after hearing that.
What an eccentric king.
Since he was engaged to his wife by his own choice, so that might affect his way of thinking regarding his son’s betrothal.
It’s rather unusual for nobles to get married out of love, but that’s a good thing that the king is on the “Marriage of Love” faction!
Yes, promote that romance!! It shouldn’t be restricted to books and shows, it should be spread out to the reality!
…realistically speaking, it should still be hard though if a noble wants to court a commoner.
Also… from Luca’s reaction, he doesn’t seem to view me that way at all. Yes, yes, I am just his friend, after all!
Besides, we’re only kids!! Too early to talk about romance.
My mental age is worrying me, however. There’s no way I’d be attracted to kids, but hey, physically, I am also a kid. If I were to love somebody around my real mental age, we would have a wide age gap, don’t you think?
Like, my mental age is only a few years younger than both of my parents, I believe, if I counted the age gap right.
Though I don’t deny that my mental age seems to have regressed a little bit, due to me getting used to acting in accordance to my physical body’s age.
The body affects the mind, besides the mind affects the body?
I can’t decide if it is a good thing… or a bad thing?
Ah well, let’s just enjoy my second childhood~!
Anyway, how does a normal child spend their childhood…?
Back when I was still Reinst, I spent my childhood with… studying and training?
Since I wanted to gain my mother’s praise and love, at all cost…
Huh? Is that what a normal child does during their childhood?
Could it be that…
I didn’t have a good childhood in my first playthrough?!
So, my mental age regression is because deep down I want to reclaim my lost childhood…?
I can speculate all I want, but I can’t prove if it’s correct or not.
…Living a life where you can do what you want to do seems nice, though.
And I have taken my first big step by refusing to repeat all my studies.
Let’s not have any regret in this second life!
And that’s how I finally get to establish my goal of life at four years old* (*second playthrough).
To finally live my life to the fullest, this time.