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Here Comes… Ein!
I feel kinda ironic having to name this title as such… It seems somehow connected to the sentence I used to end the last chapter and since I wrote it in the same file, it’s so easy to notice. Welp, forgive this useless rambling and enjoy the chapter~!
As usual, don’t hesitate to comment as I will eventually respond to the comments! ^^
“You mean… your party wasn’t hosted in your own house?”
One day, Ein made a huge discovery.
…Not really, it was just a conclusion he gathered after hanging out and becoming a part of my group.
I really thought it was natural for everyone—especially those I considered [friends] to have a knowledge on the Hartmann family’s situation. But apparently, I was just assuming things… I think I have started to develop Mom’s habit…? Like assuming the other party already understood or could understand things naturally.
…I didn’t know that it was contagious!
“Uhm… Yeah. You haven’t heard about… my family—the Hartmann family’s story?” I asked him back.
“I have heard some of it from Mummy and Daddy, that the Hartmann family might be one of the ducal houses here, but there were certain things happening… but I didn’t know about your house!”
…I wonder how far Ein knew?
Well, since he was still a child, I was sure that he knew the gist of it, but not the complicated details… Not that I knew about it in details, but hey, I’ve got thirteen years of my past life’s knowledge, so I definitely understood it better than the other kids! Even Alt-nii!! …I think.
“So, so, so, how is your house??” Ein asked with his trademark sparkling eyes.
This kid is really adorable! …Though his curiosity can be annoying at times—but who am I to judge? I’m one curious cat as well!
………Don’t tell me I annoyed someone with my curiosity as well? T__T Then I apologize for everything!!!
“My house is… well, it is nothing compared to your house, Ein, but to me, it’s—“
“Lyr’s house is small just like her, haha!”
Before I could finish my words, Carbuncle laughed as she cut me off.
“That’s mean! I’m not the small one among other kids my age!”
“…Sorry for being small…”
–I lost it.
Just as I wanted to argue with Carbuncle’s words, I unconsciously triggered Iris…
She gloomily continued to eat—forcing herself to eat more than usual! Gah, Iris, no, you shouldn’t torture yourself like this!!
Yep, we were in the middle of having our lunch together. It became some sort of a habit for us. Ein would almost always join us, while Alt-nii and his friends often joined us.
Currently, Alt-nii and his friends weren’t here.
“Well, Lyra isn’t that small—she’s tall………for now. Just you wait! I heard Mother said that boys grew up late, while girls might grow up faster but their growth might stop later on… Haha,” Luca smirked, perhaps he was imagining the future where he could literally look down on me. As for now, we were around the same height—hah, I might even be a bit taller than him!
“Hmph, challenge accepted! I’m sure I will defeat you, though!” My sense of competition was tingling.
“Uhm… maybe you shouldn’t compete for that… My sisters wanted to be shorter or smaller because they wanted to be considered as cute… so you might want to reconsider, Lyra,” Kiri suddenly advised me… huh what, that Kiri, advised me?!
“Kiri’s right. Just accept your defeat now, Lyra. Better than trying so hard to grow and regret it later like Kiri’s sisters?” Luca raised one of his eyebrows.
“So what? I can be a cool swordsman! I can be a cool fighter that can even snatch girls from you!!” I didn’t think my words through.
“…Lyr, I never thought that…,” Carbuncle was surprised, but she tried to nod in acknowledgement of my—wait what?!
Iris even stopped eating and looked at me in disbelief. I could hear her inner heart screaming, ‘Didn’t we read storybooks and imagine how nice it would be to have our own true love, a charming gentleman?!’
“No, you get it wrong…”
“Uhm, hello?! Don’t shift the topic!!” The forgotten Ein tried to enter the conversation again.
All of us quieted down and our attention was shifted to Ein, who was looking a little bit sullen.
“Besides, it doesn’t matter even if Big Sis Lyra is tall and cool, even if she is not cute! If no boy wants to be with her, then I can have Big Sis Lyra all to myself!”
…And there he goes, dropping a bomb.
“Uhm, Ein… That’s another thing, you know? We’re talking about love here,” I tried to correct his thinking.
“Well, I love big sis Lyra! You’re like my own family, my own sister!”
“T-that’s why, it’s different… Eh, a-anyway, let’s move back to the topic about my own home!”
What am I doing, trying to explain love to a child?
…I’m also still a child, but at least I have a better grasp of the concept compared to my friends here. Iris might have caught my influence as we read storybooks together and she often caught me talking to myself about how nice it would be to find my true love one day…
I was kinda resuming my previous life—since I didn’t get to taste one before, I’d like to taste it in my new life—with supporting and loving family, I thought that it might not be that impossible…
Anyway, I’m still very, very young, so let’s not think about it now! It would be scary for me to be involved in “true love” matter right now!!
“My house is small. It might even be smaller than the other nobles lower in ranking than a duke—but it’s comfortable and all!”
“It’s still bigger than normal houses, though,” Iris added.
“Well, I still remember when we had a sleepover there. Aah, I’d like to do it again someday, I also want to speak with your father,” Carbuncle added.
“Sure, sure, we can arrange another sleepover~,” I nodded enthusiastically.
“I WANT TO GO TO BIG SIS LYRA’S HOUSE!” Ein suddenly raised his voice.
“…Yes, sure? You mean, you want to sleepover as well?” I didn’t quite follow his thinking, so I better set this straight first.
“Eeh… Can I just drop by for a visit?” Ein suddenly lost all his enthusiasm and asked a bit worriedly.
“Sure… Nn?” I realized one thing.
Could it be that Ein couldn’t bear being away from his parents? Or he couldn’t sleep if it wasn’t in his own room? Or did he have the habit of hugging his beloved old toy or something…?
Just as I felt that the smile on my face was about to get distorted in a villainous way…
“Oh, right… There’s a national holiday coming up soon, why don’t we all go to Lyra’s house on that day? Leti also wants to see Lyra’s house,” Luca suddenly came up with a good idea.
Right, Leti has always been curious about where I live!
“Sure, Mom and Dad will be at home on that day, so rest assured about Leti’s safety~,” I declared confidently. After all, Leti was still small—and she was the adorable princess loved by all. In order for her to come by, as a good host, me and my family should be able to protect her!
“It’s settled, then!” Ein happily said… and I imagined him growing dog tail and ears—as he was wagging his tail right now.
“I’ll have to tell the dorm manager, then,” Carbuncle said.
“Are we going to invite Harvey as well?” Iris asked—I nodded immediately, causing her to smile.
“It will be full team, then? Don’t forget to tell your parents!” I said—oops, I haven’t even discussed it with my parents… But as long as they don’t have any plan, I’m sure they will agree!
“Pardon our intrusion~!”
A voice I was used to hearing—however, it was a more mature version of that familiar voice.
Yup, once again, it was Nicole.
By this time, I’ve gotten used to meeting her. I am not feeling nervous anymore—perhaps it’s because I have already resolved myself, thinking, ‘Oh well, let’s just brush it off as coincidence—anyway, I’m just a kid. What do they have to be that suspicious about me and my connection to my past self? Yep, similar people do exist.’
Little Ein was accompanied by Nicole, his mother. They were accompanied by several escorts—the workers at their house, I think.
After I peeked here and there and didn’t see another familiar figure…
“Clyde-san isn’t coming with you?” I asked.
“Ahaha, nope, he has some matters to attend to—with the other members of the Loera clan~!” Nicole happily answered.
Eeeeh, the Loera clan belongs to Nicole, right? Nicole, aren’t you pushing too much on Clyde?
…Or is this one of your consideration, trying to make sure Clyde blends into the Loera clan more?
I can’t seem to figure out which her motive is…
“Big Sis Lyra wants to see my dad?” Ein asked.
Before I could finish my sentence…
“I’m sure Lyra is just curious,” Dad answered on my behalf, still with his usual aura of protectiveness…
But whatever, his answer was right!
“A-anyway, why don’t we come in? Everyone is already waiting inside!” I said before Dad’s oyabaka (doting parent) switch flipped.
Since there were lots of guests coming over at the same time, the guest room that I used to see as spatious—now seemed so small…
Am I ashamed of it? Well… since I was a prideful noble girl in my past life, I couldn’t say that I wasn’t ashamed the slightest bit. However, being ashamed of this meant I was ashamed of my family, so I won’t be ashamed by this.
I was thankful that “birds of the same feather flock together”—because none of the people here ridiculed me nor my family.
“Ophelia-san, there you are,” Nicole greeted Mom first.
“Nicole-san, hello,” Mom, still with her social awkwardness. It was clear enough that she didn’t know how she should react in this situation—Mom, if you don’t have your prestigious track and talent, plus how you can turn a blind eye on the other nobles—I don’t think you can last well in the noble society…
Even I found myself almost cracking under the pressure—at that time, as Reinst.
“I have something to discuss with you about—while the children are playing together!” Nicole opened the conversation without minding Mom’s short answers.
Ah well, that’s Nicole for you. Even when I was still Reinst, she was always the initiator.
“Oh? What might it be?”
“I think it’s related to some ruins you discovered years ago, I’m not sure of the significance for you, though.”
“…You still remember,” Mom didn’t even hide her surprise. But that surprise didn’t even last for a second before she nodded as if it was natural, saying, “Well, as expected of you. So…?”
“Information exchange~ Tell me any interesting matter you discovered,” Nicole smiled—this time, her smile wasn’t a familiar one. This smile seemed to carry her curiosity, her business sense, and her maturity.
…My friend of the same age already matured. Meanwhile, I became a child again.
The world is funny.
Also, it seems like it’s true. About the Loera clan being a clan of scholars, business men—and there ought to be combination of both: selling and buying information.
My curiosity to know more about the Loera clan was swelling up—I regretted not digging into it deeper as Reinst. The past me had an extreme tunnel vision, it seemed, getting so focused on my training and Mother.
Suddenly, I locked eyes with Ein.
…Right! What’s with all the hurry?
Ein—the heir apparent of the Loera clan—is here as my friend. A little brother figure.
The mysterious royal family’s descendants—Luca and Leti are both here as well.
If I’m curious about the Loera clan and the royal family’s matters, I just need to find them out slowly.
“Okay, shall I show you around?” I declared after I decided not to pay any more attention to Mom and Nicole’s business.
“Lyra-nee! Leti wants to see your room!” Leticia sweetly pleaded.
“Whoa, that’s so direct, Leti!” And a direct hit to my heart as well!
“I want to see the study room!” Ein declared.
“…Dad?” I wasn’t sure about which area I shouldn’t bring my friends in—so I asked Dad for help.
And so, Dad led all of us around the house.
Around the way, Leti and Ein spoke to me alternatively, as they both saw me as big sister figure and saw each other as little sibling rival… What a weird relationship, haha!
I felt like they were competing for me at times, and that made me feel a bit happy.
Alt-nii teased me as usual, “Lyra’s so popular, huh? Many kids like you.”
“…Some dislike me as well…,” I bitterly smiled, remembering the kids who confronted me because they were jealous that I was close to Luca—and also the kids from my previous lifetime whom I couldn’t get along with, but they were most likely already adults, just like Mom and Dad.
“Well, screw them then,” Alt-nii said carefreely.
“Haha, maybe you’re right,” I smiled happily as I felt my hands being tugged in two directions at the same time.
“I like Lyra-nee!” On my right side, Leti sweetly smiled as she hugged my arm—gah, cute!
…I could see Luca staring from beside Leti, though.
“I like Big Sis Lyra as well!” On my left side, Ein grabbed my hand tightly and said that earnestly.
Okay, both of you are all adorable, satisfied?!
The two of them seemed to notice my bitter smile and remarks, as they suddenly did the tug of war with my arms.
But after seeing me smile again like usual, they didn’t continue to cling to me—Leti was even more clingy towards Luca, her biological brother. She didn’t forget to address Kiri.
Ein seemed to be more focused on observing the surroundings at times. So during the time they didn’t compete over me, I also did a small chat with my other friends.
Perhaps it was just my imagination, but sometimes I could feel Dad’s warm gaze towards me—towards all of us, I guess?
Finally, the last stop.
It was none other than the garden.
It was also a very suitable stop, because we could chill around while gazing at the greenery.
When I was thinking of leisurely spending time like this, suddenly…
“Eh, what’s with that area?” Ein suddenly asked while pointing a certain land in the garden that was free from the plants.
“Hmm?” My mind lagged behind as I started to feel sleepy from all the wind.
“Oh, that land?” Alt-nii’s mind was sharper than mine this time.
“Yes, what is that?” Ein asked again.
“That is the training grounds. I can’t afford having my children destroy the house in the middle of their practice, can I?” Dad answered while inserting a joke.
“Training grounds? Interesting!” Ein quickly blurted out.
“So, Lyra-nee often trains there? Alt-nii, too?” Leti tilted her head.
“Yup, yup, sometimes we train over there,” I nodded.
“That makes me wonder…,” Carbuncle suddenly voiced her curiosity—her next words were something I couldn’t imagine before.
“Between Lyr and Tair, which one is stronger?” Carbuncle was intrigued.
Everyone went silent after that… so I decided to break the silence.
“Of course it will be Alt-nii! He’s my older brother! A Void user as well!” I said without hesitation.
“Rururu…?” Rurune tilted her head as she looked alternatively at me and Alt-nii.
“Heee… How do you know that?” Carbuncle asked again.
“…Eh… That… isn’t it obvious?” I asked, speechless.
“Not really, Lyra. Now, I’m curious as well!” Alt-nii suddenly decided to side with Carbuncle.
Gah… wait, don’t tell me that the situation will escalate into… [A Match Against My Own Older Brother] scene?!
“Say, what about a friendly match, Lyra?” Alt-nii suggested.
“Altaire, you are supposed to protect your little sister, not picking a fight with her,” Dad suddenly intervened. Aah, Dad, you’re the best!
“It’s just a friendly match, Dad~! It’s like sparring, really!” Alt-nii insisted.
“Well, I can facilitate that with the dragons’ special competition rule and all,” Carbuncle suddenly took out two familiar crystal pendants that I hadn’t seen after my first day of school.
“Well, if you don’t mind. As long as nobody gets hurt,” Dad yielded… Eh wait what, Dad… said OK?!
Okay… I’m nervous now!!
“No hard feelings, Lyra! Whoever wins doesn’t matter~ Besides, we can always do a rematch!” Alt-nii clenched his fist as he gently brought his fist closer to me…
I quickly clenched my fist and gently touched my fist against his.
“Ehh?! I want to join as well!” Ein suddenly added.
“Well, this is interesting…,” Luca added.
Carbuncle suddenly took a thinking posture—a posture rarely seen in her.
After a while, she suddenly clapped her hands together.
“I have an idea!”
All of us instantly shifted our gazes at her.
“First, who wants to participate?” Carbuncle asked.
Then, several people raised their hands… Ein, Luca, Kiri, Clavis, Harvey…
“Hmm… seven people including Lyr and Tair… the number isn’t even…,” Carbuncle suddenly shifted her gaze at her prey—eh—Iris.
“Little Sheep, what do you say about joining?”
“Eh?! Uhm… I don’t think I can… You’re not joining, Kuu?”
“Me joining? That wouldn’t be fair! And well, why don’t you just think of it as [Adventure] class session, Iris?” It was quite rare for Carbuncle to address Iris by her name instead of by [Little Sheep].
“Ah? How will you handle the match, Kuu?” Iris asked in curiosity.
“Big Sister Kuu?” Ein also urged Carbuncle to continue.
“Well, Lyra’s Dad—Cyan, what do you say about it?” Thankfully, Carbuncle didn’t forget to ask for consent first.
“As long as you can control things so that nobody gets hurt,” Dad said.
“Okay, then… Little Sheep, what do you say? Will you trust me and participate?”
“Trust you… Uu, of course I trust you!” Iris declared without wavering.
Carbuncle smiled—her smile seemed a bit smug, though…
“Okay, then listen carefully! This is how we’re going to hold our friendly match!”
…It seems like the situation has gone out of hand—Never have I imagined this to happen, not in my wildest dream!