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“Rise and shine, today’s princess~!”
I woke up to Niina’s cheerful call.
I usually would be more relaxed and do the legendary 5 more minutes thing… but I couldn’t today, since today would be my eighth birthday!
My seventh birthday ended without anything out of the ordinary except for a little uneasiness and anxiety I felt upon meeting my old acquaintances… That didn’t last long since my conversation with them was so brief anyway. That heavy feeling didn’t last for so long, much to my relief.
However, that didn’t mean I could finally let my guard down. I had no clairvoyant ability, so I wouldn’t know what might happen… I’d better be cautious, still!
So, needless to say… I couldn’t really sleep well last night (it usually happened before any big events anyway), and that was why my legendary 5 more minutes didn’t appear.
As usual, Mom and Dad would take an early leave if their jobs required them to stay for a while—although most of the time, they already finished doing their work prior to my birthday… Because they were originally diligent, it wasn’t that hard for them…
That made me realize… As their child, I’d have to follow such a high example!!
This year, I’m turning eight. Time flew by so fast. Before long, I’d have to say goodbye to my childhood again, and becoming an adult for real.
I’m an adult inside for most of the time, but here, I’m talking about how I’ll officially be acknowledged as an adult, robbing me of any benefits I can reap for being a child.
When I think about it, birthdays are no longer fun, but what else can be done?
I learned that the present was the most important thing, so let’s focus on the present!
As I was preparing for the party, I suddenly recalled one thing.
Right, there’s one more thing I need to pay attention to!
Ein just turned six several months ago—he might actually attend my birthday party this time!!
Why is it that life seems to get more complicated the more you grow up… T__T
“Ooh, the Hartmann family’s youngest daughter!! You’ve grown up!”
“Oh my, you’ve grown cuter!”
“Has there been an engagement decided for you, little lady?”
As soon as I finished my opening speech, I was welcomed with the nobles’ comments. …Somehow, it was different from how I was complimented in the past? In the past, I heard the word “elegant” and “noble” and “calm” the most… They praised me for being so sensible.
Still, being praised for my “cuteness” was something that felt nice!
My face as Reinst was nothing that could really be described with cute… people would describe it as… pretty? Did I remember being called as a cold beauty as well? …Well, different genes, different facial features!
Today, the dress I was wearing also screamed the word “cute”. I was afraid it wouldn’t suit me—but I forgot that I wasn’t Reinst anymore, who wasn’t that suited wearing cute things. The dress suited me perfectly, even I was so surprised upon seeing myself in the mirror.
There were frills here and there, and the accessories picked were also cute!
My hair was twintailed as usual—but this time, it was a low twintail style. My hair was also styled so that it looked a bit wavy, which made me look like… a little bunny(?). I was glad I decided to let my hair grow longer, since I won’t be able to be styled like this if I kept it short. Still, it could only be categorized as medium-length.
…In short, I quite liked being seen as a cute girl.
“Thank you…,” I shyly answered.
“No, she’s still 8, and I don’t plan on engaging her that fast,” Dad quickly dispelled the thought of my engagement.
I’m happy though, since this family of mine never really urged me to be engaged to this one or that one, or be the queen in the future. Took such a heavy load off my shoulders.
“Congratulations on turning eight.”
A familiar voice. A familiar face.
My “younger brother”, Domi.
“Thank you, Domi-san!” I smiled back at him.
I’m 8 years old now, which means he should be 19 years old.
Speaking of which…
I wonder if Domi’s engaged? Will he get married soon?
…but I don’t know how I can ask him that… It’s too weird… or is it not?
“Uhm, Domi-san, Domi-san…”
Seeing how Father and Mother were not around Domi and how Mom and Dad were also not standing close to me, also judging from where they were at, they won’t be able to hear us… I decided to ask.
“Earlier, someone asked me if I’ve already had an engagement settled. Is it normal for someone my age to be engaged? What about Domi-san?”
…Nothing suspicious, right? Hehe, it’s perfect!
……Okay, I admit, I’m still quite nervous asking him this out of the blue.
Look, Domi flashed a hint of surprise for a moment on his face! And yep, I’m quite observant, huh?
“…Well, it’s not weird for nobles like us to begin talking about engagement from your age. It depends on the family. I have been engaged since I was young.”
Still, he gave a precise answer, without any extra words or superfluous ones.
“Eh, really? T-then, will you get married soon?”
“Not that soon.”
Oh, most likely, his fiancee was someone younger, so he had to wait for her… or that there were other matters to think of…?
Regardless, I know I’m in no position to ask about things like that.
“Hee… Will you invite me when you get married?”
…Wait, wait, this seems awkward!
“I-I want to see a wedding ceremony!” I quickly added.
“Your family will definitely get an invitation, alright?” Domi answered as he slightly smiled.
Well, sorry for forgetting that! Yep, my family will definitely get notified anyway! Is this the benefit of being born as a noble as well? Hahaha…
Before I got to ask more questions, Father and Mother had already arrived near us, apparently ready to congratulate me. When I took a quick glance, I saw Kania-san being with… uh, Ein. No wonder, I guess? She was near Father and Mother at the beginning of the party, though.
Anyway, the rest of the questions that I didn’t get to say were questions that I shouldn’t ask… Like…
Have you ever met your fiancee before? Did you like her or is it a pure political engagement? Who is your fiancee? What kind of girl is she?
…Yep, totally out of the line.
Shouldn’t ask those questions. I know.
“Congratulations on turning eight. May you bring honor to your family name,” Father congratulated me with words that… totally sounded like him.
“Thank you, I hope I can uphold to the expectations,” I politely replied.
As I did, I took a glance at Father.
Come to think of it, my relationship with Father wasn’t that close. It was so different than my current relationship with Dad. However, it was true that I respected Father a lot. Even when he was a cold person, he always managed to resolve matters calmly and raise the Grabberton family’s fame, upholding the family’s honor. His swordsmanship was great, too.
…Father, I wonder what he really thought about me? …About Reinst, I mean.
Suddenly, I also began to ponder about it. Most of my interactions with him were done by exchanging swords. He directly mentored me and was so discipline and strict, even when I was his own daughter. Thanks to his training, my swordsmanship could improve as well.
…Though I was mostly learning under the private tutor Father hired for me, but my training with him was so valuable.
Well, speaking of Father’s private tutoring, I’m also experiencing that right now. With Dad, the Hartmann family’s art. Dad’s the only tutor I have for that matter, though, and he isn’t as strict as Father…
Both of them are dukes and are fathers, but they are so different.
Inside my heart, I silently thanked him.
Thanks for training me and teaching me about discipline in the past. Sorry I couldn’t be of any use to you back then, and just died like that…
…Even an iota… Did you love me, simply for the fact that I was your daughter? Did you feel glad simply because I was born as your daughter?
After a very brief conversation with Father, it was Mother’s turn. She occasionally joined in my brief conversation with Father, but this time, she was my main partner of conversation.
“Congratulations on turning eight. It seems that… you’ve grown up quite a lot,” Mother said while slightly moving her fan.
“Thank you, Dahlia-sama.”
“…Please excuse my impoliteness, but there is something that I’d like to tell you. It can even become an advice for you young girl, if you don’t mind.”
Eh? What might it be?
“In the past, when I heard the rumor about how you displayed an excellent etiquette and mannerism at such a young age, and that people started to compare you to my late daughter, I was surprised,” Mother started narrating.
“When I saw you on your sixth birthday, your etiquette and mannerism was indeed extraordinary for a child your age. For a child so young to display such an elegance… you’re already worthy to be the number one queen candidate.”
Before I even managed to finish saying my thanks, Mother quickly added. I looked at her with a face of confusion.
“Such a thing requires continuous practice until it becomes an established habit. Please excuse me for being a little rude, but after seeing you again today, it is quite apparent to me that you have been a bit… neglecting your training? But your movements are less refined than before. This is not good. Perhaps since people praised you since you were young, you let your guards off… I’m telling this for your own good, too, although I shouldn’t be saying this. Perhaps since you were compared to my late daughter, I felt compelled to advise you this.”
“…T-thank you for your advice, Dahlia-sama…”
Aah, it’s been a long time since I last heard Mother’s advice like this. Her wording never really changed, huh?
Back when I was too happy to get praises and wasn’t as diligent as before, Mother also advised me like that.
However, when she advised me like that just now… It hit upon me…
I became less refined than before…? N-not that I did any training, so was it to be expected?
Oh right, I also feel like my feelings are more visible on my face than before… I used to be able to conceal my feelings so well, too.
It seems like I really have let my guards off…
–Wait, do I need to do what I had been doing as Reinst in this life as well?
When I tried to picture my current self acting 100% like my past self… yep, it wouldn’t match. My past behavior totally matched my past self with how I gave off the vibe of someone cold and elegant. But with how my current self looked… it seemed odd, I guess?
Still, I don’t think there’s any need for me… except for how I should try to hide my feelings from being so visible on my face—it can be detrimental in some situations. I need to get my composure back!
“Well, I can tell that it’s justifiable that your training time decreases due to school… Right, which school were you in, again?”
“It’s the Harmonia Academy.”
“Harmonia Academy… Just be careful not to get influenced by the commoners’ crude behavior.”
“T-thanks for your concern…”
“I apologize again that I seem to have meddled so much and gave you this advice. I just couldn’t help it as I was reminded of my late daughter…”
My heart literally skipped a bit when you mentioned about me right in front of me!!
T-that didn’t show on my face, right?
…Yep, because Mother didn’t seem to react.
And that marked the end of our conversation.
I still feel weird how she gave me advice like this. Never have I imagined that I’d hear her advice again.
Although I don’t really have to follow her words, this time. …Yes, she is no longer my “mother”.
…But her words still made me feel a bit dejected, as it used to be in the past, okay?
At the same time, I was also reminded on how different my life as Lyra was.
In this party, I also met with some familiar faces. Fumitsuna Yuzuru, for example—she seemed to have grown up more. The air of arrogance that I felt from her didn’t change, but don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a negative type of arrogance—it felt more like a confident-type of arrogance. In other words, she could be categorized as a prideful type?
“It’s been two years since I showed my swordsmanship to you, hasn’t it? I wonder if you still remember that…”
“Of course I still remember it! Yuzuru-san and Domi-san, you two were so amazing that your swordsmanship etched into my memories! O-oh! I also practiced swordsmanship, you know?”
“Really? I heard the Hartmann family is a family of magicians, though? Would that be fine?”
“Yep, we’re still focusing on magic! B-but… I really love swordsmanship!”
“Right?! Swordsmanship is fun! …Oh, does that mean the style that combines both magic and swordmanship has made its way to the Hartmann family? It’s supposed to be the uniqueness of my family… I hope we can do a spar one day, then.”
“…!! Y-yes, me too! Ah, but I don’t think my style is similar to your style, Yuzuru-san… Fumitsuna’s swordsmanship style is a style that also focuses on speed that it feels like dancing sometimes, right? I-I can’t do that, so… i-it’s different!”
“Haha, yes, my bad. I didn’t mean to make you anxious with my comment. Let’s spar someday, Lyra!”
…Aah, my anxiety was shown so visibly? I was afraid she would think badly of me for trying to compete with what should be her family’s specialty… But really, it’s different!
And now that she mentioned it, I think I have spent more time on my magic training, indeed…? The fact that magic is something new to me also contributes, and the swordsmanship training I have done so far was to establish my “balanced” style, trying to think of ways to implement magic in it.
Even if the Hartmann family is known to specialize in magic, I still love swordsmanship, and nobody really objects me to practice it… so it should be okay, right?
…Fine, I’ll also try to focus more on magic, since I also don’t want to let the saying of [The Hartmann family, a magician family] end with me!
At least, I’ve been so diligent in practicing the Hartmann family’s art of illusion and transformation!! …though I haven’t had much chance to use it.
After greeting most of the nobles, I should go and find my friends!
Yup, that’s right~ I also invited Iris, Carbuncle, and Harvey. Harvey never really participated in noble parties, but since he was introduced to my parents, they insisted Harvey join as well. Clavis had already been participating as Alt-nii’s aide, so they thought it’d be bad for Harvey to be left out all alone just because he was a commoner.
There was no restriction to inviting a commoner, anyway. Not many nobles did that, though, as most of the nobles were friends with fellow nobles.
My friends knew I’d have to greet the nobles as the star of the party, so they must be waiting for me to come looking for them. Luca and Kiri were on different matter, though, as they’d surely be sought by the other noble children as well.
Just as I was thinking about how I should go and look for them soon…
“Big sis! Happy birthday! You still remember me, don’t you?”
…My body instantly stiffened.
A second later, I slowly turned around…
Boss battle BGM resounded.
A new boss has entered the battle field!
Boss title: “Nephew”.
Boss name: Reinell.
Two other bosses that accompanied the main boss identified!—Nicole and Clyde.
…Wait, there seemed to be one more person… ah, Kania-san, Clyde’s mother.
I breathed in deeply.
That’s right. Apart from Father, Mother, and Domi, there are still Kania, Clyde, Nicole, …and now, Ein as well!
Let’s be cautious and win this boss battle!
Victory objective: To not show anything to cause the bosses to be suspicious of my past identity!