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“Happy birthday and congrats, Freyja and… Freyr, my rival! Don’t you think that your debut party marks the official start to our rivalry?”
The voice full of confident came from the blonde-haired figure standing in front of me and the twins right now. His blue eyes were shining brightly as usual, with the mole under his right eye standing out as always.
Next to him was an adult male with the same blonde hair as him and a gentle smile. On the other side, there was also an adult female with the same mole under her right eye and the same bright blue eyes, too.
Mmhm, Ein really took after Nicole the most. In terms of appearance and bearing, too. If only he didn’t have Clyde’s hair, one might not be able to tell if Clyde was his father? Haha!
“Rivalry… start?” Freyr tilted his head in response to Ein’s inquiry.
“Yeah, that’s right. I was Big Sis Lyra’s little brother figure before she’s got you to be her little brother. Let’s see which one of us is the best little brother for her!” Ein enthusiastically responded.
“…,” Freyr kept staring at Ein—it was apparent that he was thinking of something.
“Shall we shake hands now? As my happy birthday greeting and marking the start of our rivalry…,” Ein was in the middle of extending his right hand to shake Freyr’s hand when Freyr suddenly spoke.
“Why don’t we both become Lyra-neechan’s best little brothers? You’re older than me, so you can be her little brother and my big brother. But Alt-niichan will always be the best big brother for me.”
It was quite rare for Freyr to speak quite a lot in one go. This was one of the rare occasions. His speech was a bit faster than usual, indicating that his brain was also racing with his speech.
Ein seemed to be taken aback by Freyr’s response as he withdrew the hand that he extended just now.
“That… We can’t,” Ein hesitantly spoke.
“…Why?” Freyr tilted his head again, his expression obviously showed his confusion. It seemed to me that he had been thinking for the best solution instead of competing, so he was surprised to get his brilliant idea (based on his understanding) rejected by Ein.
“Because… there can only be one!” Ein firmly said.
“…Really?” Freyr asked.
“Really,” Ein nodded with a very convincing expression.
“…Then, you lose. I win. I’m Lyra-neechan’s real little brother after all! I’m related to her!” Freyr quickly decided as he nodded in satisfaction.
“Wha–?! That’s not how it works! Let’s not consider that kind of cheat-relation and compete healthily!” Ein insisted.
I couldn’t contain my laughter at these two little boys’ interactions.
Before, I thought that Ein would soon accept Freyr’s presence and wouldn’t try to compete with him due to Ein being the older one.
I guess I was wrong.
“Big Sis Lyra, there is no age restriction in competition. Young businessman can even triumph against an older businessman. Therefore, I couldn’t be too lenient and lose in an embarrassing way!”
That was what Ein said to me when I asked him about it. And sure enough, he hasn’t changed this mindset even until this second.
“There, there, Eine, dear. Today is Freyr and Freyja’s special day, so you should at least treat them special. Right, Lyra-chan?” Nicole suddenly spoke as she gently touched her only son’s shoulders.
I was slightly taken aback when she casually threw me into the conversation. And here I was watching the cute boys competing for me in amusement. Naturally, I knew that Ein wouldn’t do anything bad and their rivalry might even make Freyr thrive to be better (in a healthy way—I’m sure I will intervene if things go wrong).
“Right!” I immediately recovered and smiled at Nicole.
“Uuh… Okay then…,” Ein finally let it go and earnestly gave his congratulations to Freyr and Freyja.
“Happy birthday, Freyr and Freyja. I hope you will get used to noble society soon. Please get along well with my son, Ein. He’s only quite competitive and likes your big sister, but he doesn’t mean any harm,” Clyde congratulated my twin siblings and asked them to be friends with Ein as well.
Freyr and Freyja nodded at the same time.
“Uuh, they’re really cute! Look, they are a boy and a girl, yet they’re so similarly cute! I want a pair of twins of my own now!” Nicole couldn’t hide her true feelings from leaking out, as usual. As she made that remark, she moved closer to Clyde.
“Now, now, Nicole,” Clyde only smiled at his wife’s slight public display of affection.
“Mum! Am I not enough?!” Ein suddenly sulked.
“Eeh, that’s not what I mean, Eine! Ah, never mind! Eine is the best child one can ever hope for, and Eine is also the cutest, so having Eine is enough for Mum!” Nicole quickly appeased the sulky Ein as she lowered her body to give Ein a big hug.
“Mummm, not here!” Ein was a bit embarrassed when his mother rubbed her cheek against his.
“Well, you’re still eight, so don’t you think it’s okay to still be spoiled?” I teasingly added.
“I’m not a child anymore!” Ein insisted.
“Oh, sure you are~,” Nicole kept teasing Ein.
“Listen carefully, Ein. You need to treasure your childhood and enjoy being pampered while you can!” I adopted a lecturing pose and tone as I waved my index finger in front of Ein.
“See? Listen to what Lyra-chan told you, Eine dear~”
“There, there, I think we shouldn’t hold them too long, Nicole, Ein,” Clyde suddenly remembered that there were other nobles that still needed to deliver their greetings for the twins.
“Ah, you’re right. Eine dear, you can continue speaking with Lyra-chan, Freyr, and Freyja after this, okay?” Nicole quickly grasped Ein’s hand and was about to drag him back along with her when suddenly…
“Salutations for His Majesty the King, Her Majesty the Queen, His Excellency the Crown Prince, and Her Benevolence the Princess!”
Ah, it has come-! The usual thing—the arrival of the royal family~ Furthermore, all main members of the royal family are here! Perhaps it’s because of a special birthday occasion, namely the twins’ debut party.
Sometimes, it would just be Luca and Leticia or just Luca coming with their guards and maids to our birthdays. Sometimes along with the queen, or sometimes with the king only. It depends~
The other nobles quickly made a way for the royal family to come and congratulate the twins. Naturally, all my family members also quickly gathered in one place to give our bows to the royal family.
The members of Loera main family—namely Clyde, Nicole, and Ein were still standing next to us, so they quickly positioned themselves beside my family. It would be a more appropriate gesture than quickly distancing themselves from us, as if they were avoiding the approaching royal family.
Freyr and Freyja kept looking to their left and right as they seemed to be amused by the other nobles’ reactions of making ways for the royal family. Mom had to remind them to keep their focus to the front—to the upcoming royal family. After all, the twins were the stars of the party, so it would be better for them to watch their behavior from now on. I hope they will gradually get used to it.
“All rise. You can resume your activities normally, don’t mind us that much,” King Titus solemnly ordered the other nobles to stop bowing and paying attention to the royal family and us—in other words: Go and mind your own business!
Being obedient citizens and nobles, the surrounding people immediately did as what the king said.
“You pair have grown up so fast, huh? And Leti’s debut party is coming after you. Make sure to come and accompany her, okay?” Queen Shaula stepped forward and slightly bent her body to pat the twins’ heads.
Hearing that her name was mentioned, Leticia popped out from behind her mother to peek at the twins.
Uuu—Leticia looks cute too, despite wearing a simple frilly red-and-white dress in order not to steal the show from the stars.
“Okay,” Freyr nodded.
“We will!” Freyja happily promised.
Queen Shaula smiled at the twins’ affirmative response.
“Oh? You’ve started combining the family color-code with the emblem?” King Titus asked in his amusement.
“That’s right. We modified it a bit. It’s used to be blue-themed outfit with the green wing emblem. However, now…,” Dad explained as he looked at the twins.
“You’re using both the blue and green color for the outfit. Then, you added blue wing next to the green wing in the emblem. Very nice, if I must say,” King Titus answered.
“Yes… Would that be forbidden? If so, then I have no choice but to stop doing this in the future,” Dad bitterly smiled. We had much fun combining the signature color of our family for the twins—the idea that appeared because we had this pair of twins, somehow.
“I don’t see any problem as long as it follows the color code. I also don’t forbid adding other colors as long as the base color is still in accordance with the tradition. …To be honest, I don’t mind erasing that tradition,” King Titus raised his eyebrows as if he just found a nice idea.
“Your Majesty, I’d like to advise you to not do that. It’s like erasing a culture that’s been passed down from a generation to another,” Nicole suddenly added.
“Well—would it make any difference if I were to erase the custom? I think the four ducal families will still abide this unspoken rule and wear their signature color and emblem, am I right?”
“Most likely so. It functions as our identity, after all,” Nicole lightly smiled.
Well, they both have a point. It’s not like there’s any punishment if we don’t wear our signature color and emblem. Rather, we’d feel like we’re missing our identity by not doing so. Even the royal family will always wear their emblem and the finest clothes possible to show their identity in occasions like this.
“Anyway, congratulations on your debut, Freyr and Freyja. And happy birthday,” King Titus changed the topic and the focus back to the twins.
“Thank you, Uncle King!”
“Thank you, King-sama~!”
The twins cheerfully answered back. They were used to the royal family by now, after spending much time in the Capicastle along with Leticia.
“Ahem, Freyr, Freyja, pay a proper respect to the king and the queen now, will you?” Mom cleared her throat and urged the twins to at least bow and curtsey. After all, we wouldn’t want bad rumors going on about them.
The twins looked at each other in confusion, but they still obeyed what Mom asked them.
I believe Mom feels like she will need to spend quite the time to explain things to the twins later on.
“Hey, Freyr and Freyja. Happy birthday and congratulations! Help my sister out during her debut party, too, will you?” Luca didn’t hesitate to drop all the formality and casually asked as Leti’s big brother.
“Thanks, Luca-nii! We will!” Freyja quickly answered.
“Definitely,” Freyr shortly answered.
They were also used to addressing Luca the way Leticia addressed him. At first, it became a source of quarrel for the little ones, but it was all solved by saying, “We’re all one big family, can you just think of it like that and get along well?”
“You’re all close to one another, huh? That’s good!” Nicole praised as she looked at Ein.
“Well, having our children forge good relationships would be nice for the future of the royal family and the ducal families,” Dad agreed.
“It’s such a pity the Grabberton main family and the Fumitsuna main family don’t have children around Luca’s age. The age gap is quite a lot,” King Titus bitterly smiled.
“Luckily, they’re all loyal and good families,” Queen Shaula quickly added.
“Oh, come to think about it… And pardon me for asking, but this just popped in my mind. Your Majesty… The crown prince is 10 years old already. Are you going to establish a fiancee for him soon? Like, by the time he has his coming-of-age ceremony?” Nicole suddenly asked.
Luca’s smile stiffened.
“I don’t think there’s any need to do that. After all, I also didn’t have any fiancee and chose my wife on my own. Although I’d be happy to grant my son a betrothal should he wish for it,” King Titus looked at the stiffly smiling Luca with a teasing gaze.
“Say, son, you’re the closest to… my close aide’s daughter, right? What about an engagement with her?” King Titus asked.
“Eh, that is…!” I quickly closed my mouth as I unintentionally let my thoughts leaked.
Luca looked at me in disbelief at my reflex before looking at his father, “Come on, Father. We’ve talked about this before, right? She’s my rival.”
I sighed in relief.
“…Rival?” Nicole muttered as she looked to be contemplating on something before her attention was snatched by the cute son who was tugging her hand.
“Mum, Mum, I’d like to have an engagement with Big Sis Lyra, please!”
Little Ein couldn’t read the atmosphere and casually added.
“Ein… Do you know what getting engaged and married means?” Clyde asked in worry.
“Yup, it means I got to spend my time and live together with someone, right? I like Big Sis Lyra so I’d like that!” Ein happily added.
The atmosphere behind me just dropped yet another temperature. Dad, it’s cold, really!
“That’s not a bad idea!” Nicole happily added.
Uh-oh, Dad is going to freeze all of us soon…
“Come now, let’s not decide the children’s future spouses on our own, shall we? We chose our spouses on our own, so why not give them that chance, too?” Mom quickly broke the tension.
“You’re right. I think we’re all caught up in our own imaginary scenarios without taking the children into consideration, hohoho,” Queen Shaula laughed as she used her handkerchief to cover her lips.
“Yeah, I was just kidding,” King Titus added.
The adults all laughed—safe for one: Dad. I could see how pretentious his laugh was!
“Mom, Dad? Can we all go somewhere else if you adults still want to talk? Freyr and Freyja still need to greet some more nobles too,” Alt-nii quickly added as the adults didn’t seem like moving from the spot.
“Sure. Alt, Lyra, you two can take care of the twins, can you?” Mom asked.
“Don’t worry, Mom!” Alt-nii answered as he lightly tapped his hand on his chest.
“Leave it to us~,” I also reassured her.
And with that, all of us, the children were free from the adults’ talk. That included Ein, Luca, and Leticia. Also—Kiri who came along with the head of the Royal Knights, his adoptive father.
After greeting some other nobles, we quickly scanned the area to find the rest of our friends who were also invited here: Carbuncle, Iris, and Harvey.
By this time, they were already used to attending noble parties and Carbuncle could behave better than before. I believe the arrogant noble children were all traumatized or intimidated by Carbuncle—in a way or another. With that, we were saved from the bothersome nobles~
The night after the party.
It was very apparent that the twins were quite exhausted from the party, but at least they were happy~. And being cute children they were, they still insisted on seeing their birthday presents even when they were tired. How typical of children, haha!
Wait, I’m no child from the beginning so obviously I was only faking my excitement when it was my birthday and… Okay, I admit I was also excited when it came to birthday presents.
After all, who wouldn’t be happy and excited getting gifts on their special day?
When they finished their businesses with the presents, they suddenly remembered something.
“Mom and Dad…,” they muttered.
“They told you that you guys are going out tomorrow and you will be given your presents then, right?” Knowing what was on their mind, I asked.
The twins nodded simultaneously.
“I’m sure you two will be happy and excited tomorrow, then!” I concluded.
“What’s going to happen tomorrow?” Freyr tilted his head.
“Tell us, Lyra-nee!” Freyja tugged my hands.
“Hmmm… I can tell you…,” I deliberately spoke very slowly.
The twins were looking up at me expectantly.
“…Not telling!” I quickly cut their expectant look and turned away.
“Eeeh, Lyra-nee, tell us!” Freyja sulked as she tugged my hands more intense than before.
“Lyra-neechan, some hints, please?” Freyr tried to use his puppy eyes to attack me.
“No, no, no! It will ruin your surprise! Just go to sleep and you’ll eventually find out~,” I quickly added as I turned my face away from them—not wanting to have my resolution faltering due to their expressions.
“But we’re curious! We might be unable to sleep due to it!” Freyja argued.
“Yes, so, please?” Freyr asked again.
“Patience, my children. Learn to be patient~” I answered in my “old lady” tone.
“We’re not your children, Onee-chan!” Freyja protested.
“You’re our big sister!” Freyr said with a reminding tone.
“Haha, I know, I know! Anyway, you should really sleep now… You wouldn’t want to miss the surprise due to not being able to sleep, right?”
“Uuu, not fair, Lyra-nee!” Freyja still sulked. Her cheeks were so inviting—inviting pinches, that is!
“I… I can wait… I guess,” Freyr said in a hesitant tone.
“Good, then, good night~”
That night, they were not the only ones excited for tomorrow. After all, I’m dying to know the twins’ magic test results, too!!
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