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[Level 1: Michelle, Bryan W, NorAsma H, Riley R]
[Level 2: Danmaka, Sami]
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[Level 5: Skyler S, Ghea]
[Level 6: Sir Hellington, Scott M, Ryuuji, TimelyCrow, Konstantin S]
Still My Eighth Birthday Party
“Big sis Lyra!”
The voice was full of happiness and sounded so clingy.
…Being called like that sounded so nice to my ears, I felt slightly eneamored by the delight for a moment before snapping out of it…
“Oh, isn’t this Ein? Of course I remember you! Thanks for coming!” I quickly went into my [good big sis Lyra] mode.
“Then, you still remember your promise back then, right?” He asked with eyes full of expectations.
“Uh… I… I…,” To be honest, I couldn’t really understand a kid’s thought process, so I wasn’t really sure what I should answer him. If I were to say yes, then what should I tell this kid?
Live your life so well, study hard, then when a comet hits you and a spectre of light offers you to reincarnate, just obey it and… if it offers you any wish, just ask for unlimited knowledge if you want more cheat.
…Haha… hahaha!! Like hell I could say that T__T
“You promised to take me as your apprentice the next time we meet!”
“A… appren… whut?!” For a moment, any kind of etiquette and mannerism I’ve learned went into dust. Yep, I still recalled what Mother said. That I became less refined… Seems like it’s true.
“Big sis Lyra isn’t an ordinary kid, right? What gift do you have? How do you learn your knowledge and mannerism? I’m eager to learn them all!!”
…Thirst of knowledge is always a sign of promising youth—but please, you’re asking the wrong person to guide you.
“Oh my, Ein? What’s the matter with you?” Kania-san was surprised to see Ein’s liveliness and eagerness towards me.
“What’s going on?” Dad and Mom were perhaps notified by Ein’s loud and crisp voice when he called me back then, so they were already standing behind me to see what was going on.
Dad had this kind of expression that seemed to tell me… that he was relieved he decided to come and take a look. After all, he was somehow a bit wary towards Clyde and Nicole—after they suggested my engagement several times.
“Ah, forgive my loud child. This boy seems to be impressed with Lyra-chan after he asked her to solve a difficult riddle and for her sensibility at such a young age,” Nicole answered.
…Wait… Lyra…chan?! Since when did she add “-chan” behind my name?!
I felt like Nicole giggled after I showed a flash of surprise in my face.
…Wait, did she deliberately do it?!
“Ein seems to like Lyra a lot,” Clyde answered shortly…
…C-C-Clyde, that’s definitely not the right answer choice when you’re in front of Dad, you know?!
“Oh? Is it because he wants to have a big sister like our Lyra?” Dad suddenly came up with a suggestion.
“Big sis Lyra is big sis, after all!”
Innocent as a child, Ein enthusiastically answered. He definitely didn’t understand what Dad was hinting at.
“I-I’m glad if Ein thinks like that, I feel like he’s my own ne—new little brother!”
To be honest, I always see him as my own nephew—but since there’s no way I can admit it, I can just substitute it wih a little brother, right?
However, I deliberately said that in order to quell Dad’s suppressed agony (I think he is definitely agonized inside, as I know how overprotective he is towards me).
“Ohoho, they have such a good relationship now that I’m glad,” Nicole tactfully answered.
I grasped some hints behind her words—that right now, my and Ein’s relationship was good, perhaps like siblings… but who knows what will happen in the future?
Eeeh, I definitely won’t be with the kid I viewed as my own nephew, okay?!
“Lyra as a big sister… Hmm, Lyra is certainly suited to be the big sister role,” Mom suddenly muttered.
“Big sis, big sis, you still haven’t answered my question!”
“Eh? B-but apprenticeship… don’t you have tutors to teach you what you need to know?” My mind was quickly pulled back to Ein at his demanding words.
“I do have tutors, but… I feel like big sis has some tricks or secrets that you can teach me to be better, right?!” Ein’s tone wasn’t that of inquiry—it was that of… affirmation.
Uh… Yes, my trick is to live your second playthrough… like—new game plus of a game…
“I don’t… it’s just by luck that I managed to live up to your expectations last time. I’m not so sure of next time…”
“Then, let me observe you!”
Him? Observe me? When will he have the chance to, unless we meet by chance in noble parties? At any rate, I’m not a party person, so sometimes I simply don’t attend some parties especially during the hectic period at school…
Right, easy challenge!
“Sure, then, if you can!” I smiled politely and just like that, this little kid was so happy.
…Felt guilty tricking such an innocent child…
“My, Eine sure looks up to Lyra-chan! Please treat him well, okay?” Nicole happily asked.
“I’m glad it’s Lyra that Ein wants to be close to,” Clyde said, implying that they were happy their son was also interested in me.
Ugu… I’m certainly not happy with this kind of development, okaaaaay?
Oh well, I will only meet him sometimes for a short moment like this, so okay.
I can maintain my perfect acting just for a moment like this.
“…Heh, I wonder whose influence was it that this kid was so interested in Lyra?”
I felt like I heard Dad murmured something with a chilling voice, but perhaps it was only my imagination as no one else seemed to be bothered with it…
Afterwards, Clyde, Nicole, and Kania-san all congratulated me for my eighth birthday. Then, since I felt like the formal greetings from the guests seemed to have ended, I decided to go to where my friends were.
Right. It was supposed to be my relaxing time, my salvation from all the tension…
“…So, why are you tagging along, Ein?”
I smiled a bit awkwardly to Ein who quietly followed me behind, like a baby chicken following their mother.
“Eh? I told you I wanted to observe you, right, big sis? Then, if I can prove that you have any trick to your capabilities, you will take me as your apprentice!”
For the first time in my life, I felt like heaving a deep, deep sigh.
But when I turned at my friends’ location and spotted the figure of the country’s crown prince… An idea popped in my mind.
Between the big sister figure that caught your parents’ interest and the crown prince who would someday rule over the country… well, he would definitely know who was the bigger catch, right?
With such an idea in my mind, I smiled happily at Ein for the first time.
“Okay then, let me introduce you to my friends!”
…And the unthinkable happened.
In front of me, Ein was always acting like a spoiled child that was so innocent.
So I already forgot about how he might be a little devil in disguise.
But upon seeing Ein who was introducing himself to my friends, I was reminded of that.
…Instead of remaining as the little adorable kid, he suddenly showed a degree of prestigious noble that exceeded kids his age. His adorable smiling face that seemed to weaken my defense also changed into that of… a business one?
He politely introduced himself as he kept his eyes at the crown prince and his aide—Luca and Kiri.
…I’m sure that he was told to be polite and show his best attitude in front of the higher-ups of this country, to forge a good relationship to the other nobles.
Most of the noble kids were taught of that when they debuted at the age of 6.
But this kid—Ein—he didn’t seem to be that nervous, and that fact alone put him in a different level than the others.
Well… at least when I’m with my friends, Ein will not bother me that much, haha! I’m sure he has shifted his objective to Luca and Kiri more than me! Hahaha!
…I’m not sacrificing Luca and Kiri, okay?
Look, his attitude to them is so different compared to when he is with me, he definitely won’t bring them troubles like he does to me!
“T-the Loera main family’s… only son?” Iris timidly asked.
“Yes, nice to meet you, big sis Iris!”
“Bi… big sis… Iris? …Nice to meet you, Eine…,” Iris answered with a hint of delight. Perhaps it was because she was the youngest child, so she was taken aback when Ein called her like that. Welp, I can understand that!
…Or not really, because I had the experience of being an older sister back then…
“Hm, what’s with this small one?” Carbuncle reacted as well, before she muttered, “but for some reason, I felt like little sheep seemed smaller than him… perhaps it was due to their different demeanor?”
Meanwhile, Ein stared at Carbuncle.
“…what’s with the stare?”
“…Nothing. I just thought that big sis ‘Buncle feels different than the others!”
“’Buncle? Wait, that’s weird. Call me something else, kid!”
…Speak about weird nickname. You were the starter, you know? With how you called me Lyr and Alt-nii as Tair…
“Hmm… how should I call you?” Ein asked back.
“Call me the Great Carbuncle!”
“Big sis Buncle sounds good… or big sis Uncle?”
“………….Crbnklr Azcc-Tnerre Tkmkzch is my name. Look, this is a test. You have to come up with a good nickname!”
“Crbnklr… I can only hear that it’s similar to how we pronounce Carbuncle… Carb… no… Bncl… Buncle… nope… This is a test… hmm… okay, big sis Kuu, then!”
Kuu? Well, a part of Carbuncle’s name had this “ku” sound when she mentioned it…
“…Well, that’s better. Fine, you pass!”
…Suddenly, it became a nickname bestowing ceremony.
But this incident helped us to come up with a shortened version of Carbuncle’s name as we sometimes felt it was too long to call her name.
“Kuu sounds cute! Why didn’t I think of giving Carbuncle another nickname?!” Iris suddenly clapped her hands as if she just came up with something.
“Then, can we follow him and call you Kuu sometimes?” I asked.
“Eh? Well, I don’t mind…,” Carbuncle gave her consent, perhaps she took a liking at the nickname Ein suddenly invented for her.
“So, why are you following Lyra, Ein?” Alt-nii moved the topic of conversation back to Ein. Speaking of which, Alt-nii didn’t bring along Rurune during events like this, after Mom convinced him not to… worried that Rurune might cause troubles.
Because Rurune seemed to get along well with Phyllo, Phyllo was asked to keep her company.
“That… because I want to be her apprentice!” Ein proudly answered.
In response to Ein’s answer, everyone’s faces seemed to develop an imaginary question mark.
“Yes, I want to know her tricks to be talented!”
“I’m not talented!” I quickly denied.
“…Sure…,” Iris gloomily responded.
“A-at any rate, there’s Luca here as the more talented crown prince, why not ask him to take you as his apprentice?” I quickly shifted the topic of the conversation.
“What, why me?!” Luca asked as if he felt wronged.
“There’s no way I can bother the crown prince with that! Besides, big sis Lyra is also amazing to be able to be the crown prince’s close friend!” Ein agreed with rejecting the notion of having Luca as his “tutor” or whatsoever…
“Well, he makes sense…,” Kiri responded.
“What makes sense?!” I scolded Kiri right away as Kiri leaped back in fright.
“Lyra… you seem to attract people naturally, huh?” Clavis suddenly said.
“Now that you mention it… I think you’re right, Clavis.”
Eeeh?! Big brother—why have you forsaken me too? T__T
“I mean, look, Lyra. With the exception of me, Clavis, and Harvey… everyone else is connected through you, right?” Alt-nii said meaningfully.
I looked around at my friends…
Luca, I befriended him because he looked so pitiful without any friend—oops, I meant, because I could understand how he felt—no, I didn’t imply to myself that I had no friend! I meant, I befriended him by chance through our fathers’ connection!
Kiri… kind of came along with Luca.
Iris… I met her during the entrance exam.
Carbuncle (or Kuu now)… it was actually through Alt-nii, but she decided to befriend me—perhaps because we were fellow girls?
Alt-nii was connected to me because he was my big brother, and thus, connecting Clavis and Harvey…
I widened my eyes instinctively upon realizing that.
“So, I was right, wasn’t I? Big sis Lyra is amazing!” Ein concluded.
His expression seemed to declare proudly that he didn’t pick the wrong person to look up to.
B-but, now I don’t know how else I can deny Ein’s claim!!
When I looked at Ein’s sparkling eyes in front of me, I spontaneously took a step backward and… ehhh sorry! I seemed to bump into someone else!
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see…”
“No, I’m also sorry for not looking at my surrounding,” the person I bumped turned around and apologized back.
And upon seeing her face…
“Big sis El-el?!”
It was someone I couldn’t forget because of how impactful our meeting was. And how her name—last name, especially—burned itself in my mind.
“Oh, the birthday girl! You’re 8 already, right? I still remember when you lost your way two years ago with that friend of yours,” El-el landed a critical hit! It’s super effective!
“Eh, big sis Lyra lost her way?” Ein seemed to be intrigued.
“Yes, and she was holding the school map, too! She and her friend looked so cute back then when they were lost!” El-el mercilessly continued.
“T-that’s!! It’s such a long time ago!! I have memorized the school’s area with my heart now!!” I desperately answered.
“Eeeh, so you’re admitting it…,” Ein looked a bit disappointed for some reason… Oh, this is actually nice!
“Y-yep! T-that’s why, I don’t think I can be a good role model for you…”
“No problem, big sis! I know you’re observing the school while pretending to be lost!” Ein whispered to me. I was taken aback in an instant.
“…Noooo, I simply got lost because I wasn’t good with direction!! I-it’s shameful, and I’m telling you the truth!”
“It’s okay, big sis! I won’t tell anyone else of your incognito observation!”
“…Like I said, that’s not it!!”
In the middle of our bickering, someone suddenly stepped by El-el’s side.
“Elise-sama, Master is looking for you. It seems we’ll be preparing to go home soon.”
Someone with a maid uniform said in a soft voice.
“Eh? Already? I guess it’s time already, huh… That’s too bad as we were just getting into the good part…,” El-el muttered before she realized something.
“Hey, Karina, this is the party girl and her friends! A-and there’s the crown prince and his close aide, too! Let’s salute them before we go back!”
El-el realized she should probably tell her maid to bow to me—when she also realized that Luca, the crown prince was also with us. So, they bowed together and we bowed back in response.
“I’m Elise Elandia and this is my personal maid, Karina. Please excuse our rudeness, and we’ll be excusing ourselves soon…”
“I’m Karina, Elise-sama’s maid. I apologize for my impoliteness… Please treat Elise-sama well…,” Karina bowed deeply. As she bowed too deeply, her brown hair that was put in a high ponytail also fell down as its tip seemed to hit her own nose back.
As a result, Karina quickly raised her head, and her ponytail returned to its rightful place. Her brown eyes showed a slight hint of embarrassment.
“Ahaha, you’re so clumsy, Karina!” El-el giggled after seeing this.
“…Elise-sama is more worrisome than me,” Karina responded.
The two’s master-servant relationship seemed to be close.
I recalled a bit how I wasn’t close to any of the maids when I was still Reinst.
Now, I don’t have any personal maid serving me, and it’s not like I need one, though.
Besides, I have my friends with me already, so it’s enough.
Oh, the other day, my parents discussed about me having Iris as my close aide just like how Clavis became Alt-nii’s personal aide, but I wasn’t sure of it… Iris was still a noble’s child, though she ranked lower than me… but wait, that just made her more eligible as my personal aide?
Still, the idea was unthinkable to me for now. Though having Iris fill that role seemed better than having to pick someone else. I guess I’d have to think about it and ask Iris later on. Obviously, if it were to happen, I’d like to have an equal relationship just like Alt-nii and Clavis. So that nothing would change between Iris and me, too.
After El-el and her maid excused themselves, the party was almost at its end. It was time for the guests to start returning home, especially those who came from a far away place.
Therefore, I was finally saved from the little devil in disguise, Ein!
As a result of many things happening today, I slept like a log the moment I touched the bed again.
“How was it, Eine? Did you tell Lyra-chan already?”
After returning from Lyra’s eighth birthday party, Nicole asked her son.
“Hmm? About what?”
“About how you’ll be enrolling to Harmonia Academy as well!”
“Oh… hmm, nope!” Ein casually answered.
“Eh? Why?” Clyde was surprised, so he quickly asked that.
“…because I want to give big sis Lyra a surprise!” Ein smiled mischievously.
Yes, this would surely be the biggest surprise that Lyra would never have guessed…