Merry Christmas! Also, VIP chapter 1 is finally out for patrons level 3+ ^^
And before going to the chapter, there’s an important information for you to know~!
Fun fact: The average length of human pregnancy is 280 days or 40 weeks since a woman’s last menstrual period.
But since Sphaela (or this story’s world)’s passage of time is different than our world, with 35 days per month. So, the time conversion of 280 days = 8 months. Please keep that in mind, and don’t be surprised when I wrote that the pregnancy lasted 8 months in this novel! ><
Happy reading and don’t hesitate to comment~
Year 970 Month 1 Day 10.
New Year’s celebration has already faded out by this time, and most of the working people have returned to their hellish—no, ordinary workplace. The same applied for the Hartmann family, with both Cyan and Cassie returning to their full-time jobs.
At this time, Altaire was already two years old. He was already at the age where he could talk—albeit with lisping and limited vocabularies. He was even more rambunctious than when he was younger, but since he was the family’s only child, he was pampered to no end—especially by the delighted daddy, Cyan.
Having a warm family on his own was what he wanted the most. As he spent most of his childhood not knowing how a father’s love was, he became nervous when he first learned that he was going to be a father, but soon, the whole family found out that he was an overdoting father.
On the other hand, Cassie still managed to do a good job of teaching some discipline to Altaire, although she sometimes gave in to Altaire’s appeal as her only son.
Whenever the two are working, they’d use Altaire as their encouragement to quickly finish their tasks with excellency.
“Greetings to Her Majesty, Queen Shaula!”
That day, it was quite unexpected for Cass to encounter Queen Shaula. At that time, Queen Shaula was 7 months pregnant, and she was expected to give birth in another month. She spent most of her time around her residential area.
“Oh, Cassie, it’s you! How are you doing?”
Around this time, Shaula had become familiar with her husband’s close aides and their family members—naturally, that included Cassie. As she moved from her faraway hometown to the capital, she had to make new acquaintances and friends from the scratch again—not that she had lots of friends to begin with, though. As such, she happily allowed (or forced!) Cassie to be more casual with her.
“Everything is going smoothly over here, Shaula-sama. How about you? Would it be fine for you to be walking around here?” Cassie asked with a concerned face.
“No problem, I feel so stuffy being confined just around my residential area, so I’ve decided to take a walk around the castle.”
“Don’t overdo yourself.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t! Actually, I’m quite nervous as this will be my first child and my first time giving birth… How did it go when you were pregnant with Altaire, again?”
Just like that, Cassie decided to invite Queen Shaula in her working room and set aside some time to leisurely converse with her. It’s been awhile, after all.
After listening to Cass’ experience, Queen Shaula took a deep breath.
“Oh well… The more I listen to it, the more unreal it feels to me… Anyway, aren’t you going to give Altaire a younger brother or sister soon?”
Shaula curiously asked.
Cassie wasn’t sure of how she should answer this question.
It was quite a long story.
First! She is an only child, despite having some cousins. Cyan is… not an only child, but due to his family problems, he felt like he was an only child nevertheless.
But then again, the situation was different since there was no known relative of the Hartmann family, so it’s not like she could let Altaire play with his cousins. Does he even have cousins? As far as they know, the previous duke of Hartmann, his wife, and their first son were already executed. As for the previous duke’s siblings…? He only had a sister, but that sister’s whereabout was unknown to all, ever since she ran away from home even before Cyan’s father was married.
So, Cassie and Cyan could totally have another child to accompany Altaire, actually.
The current condition of the Hartmann family wasn’t so good. They had to work hard to compensate for the wrongdoings of the previous generation and to develop their territory. They weren’t living in a luxury comparable to other duke houses, but they were still considered rich.
Cassie felt like she wanted to give her children the best of everything, so she wanted to at least wait until things improve before thinking of another child.
Also, Cyan was tired of being compared and bullied by his own older brother back then—so he wasn’t sure on how he should treat his children as siblings. Cassie also had no prior knowledge on how to treat a sibling, so they were still unprepared to have a pair of siblings. They were also afraid that they couldn’t love the sibling equally, or that their love towards their children would be deemed unfair.
In short—they wanted to be focused on Altaire for the time being. Perhaps when Altaire was already six or seven could they think of having another child. But they also didn’t mind even if they only had Altaire as their only child.
“Well, we’re not sure about it. We’re satisfied with how things are right now,” Cassie could only answer that.
“I see… well, since I came from a lively house with many siblings, I’d want my child to have a sibling in the future!” Shaula answered happily.
“Your first child is still inside your belly, and you’re already thinking of adding another child? You’re really something, my queen! I have to say that I’m impressed. I will be looking forward for another child next year, then?”
“Oh my, what are you saying? Having another child by next year is too fast even for me!! My body isn’t that strong to begin with, so I think I’d need to recuperate from giving birth,” Shaula almost choked on her tea.
After hearing those words, Cassie finally recalled how Queen Shaula’s body wasn’t that strong and full of vitality. She had forgotten about it since Queen Shaula was normally strong and cheerful. It didn’t seem like she was a person with a weak constitution!
The second thing that she thought was about how Shaula wasn’t actually worried of her children’s rivalry in the future. Although Shaula should mind it even more than her, as her children would have the royal bloodline. Cassie felt somewhat envious of Shaula’s carefree attitude on this matter.
Incident number one.
Not long after accompanying Shaula, Cassie suddenly felt that she wasn’t feeling unwell and the tea and the tea snacks that she just consumed were all gloriously tossed outside again.
Did I eat something weird?
She didn’t feel like overworking herself to sickness, but when she thought that it was the food or drink’s fault, she remembered Shaula whose complexion was still as healthy as she was.
Whatever, it feels better again, let’s continue to work.
Incident number two.
“Ophelia-sama, wake up!!”
Cassie woke up with a big surprise as she looked at Meredea who shook her body with a concerned expression. No wonder. It was so unlike Cassie to fall asleep at work—with her head lying uncomfortably on her desk. Normally, she would close her eyes for some minutes to avoid eye strain—but this time, she actually fell asleep because she was simply sleepy—but for what reason?
“Sorry, Meredea, I’m not sure what has gotten over me, I think I’m feeling unwell,” Cassie honestly told her reason. She even caused the young promising intern in front of her to be this worried of her—and she was afraid that her lack of control over her sleepiness earlier could shatter the young intern’s dream and high aspirations of the Royal Magician Court. Cassie was the one who saw this young intern’s talent and personally selected her.
However, Meredea showed an anxious expression instead and fussed about, “What? A-are you sick?! Do we need to call a physician to examine you?”
But her words managed to wake Cassie up.
That’s right! She possessed [Life] magic, so why didn’t she try to examine herself?
“No need for that. I will examine myself. Thanks for the concern, Meredea!”
“I hope it’s just a trivial illness, please get well soon!”
“Thanks. Just put the documents here.”
After Meredea left the room, Cassie conducted her own health examination by circulating [Life] magic essence throughout her whole body to detect what’s going on.
When the magic essence traveled down her belly, suddenly it detected something… it detected… a life?!
Cassie was dumbfounded at what she found. She immediately retracted the magic essence back and sat down blankly.
A few while later, she snapped out of her daze and thought that she might have detected it wrong and tried to perform the same examination again—only to find out the exact same result.
Not yet convinced, she decided to go out and immediately consult this with the currently stationed royal physician.
“Congratulations, Ophelia-sama! You’re about one month pregnant!”
The physician’s words were like bolts of thunders to Cass’ mind. For a moment, she became unable to think and only nodded everything the physician told her, and took the recommended supplements.
Wait a minute…
She was sure that she did the protective measures very well. She counted everything right. Nothing seemed to be the matter… ah, her sleepiness and the vomiting from earlier… now that she remembered it, she felt that she got tired more easily these days, and she became even pickier in food.
There were certainly signs. Though her period might be irregular and it couldn’t really be a good parameter—well, it was also one of the signs.
After fully comprehending everything, Cassie finally felt a wave of happiness. She will be having another child again with the man she loves, that’s great!!
The wave of happiness calmed down after her rationality kicked in.
Unlike her pregnancy with Altaire which was fully planned, this child came in unplanned. They hadn’t prepared anything. It went against their planning of waiting for Altaire to grow up more.
It wasn’t even a calm moment at their territory. Actually, it wasn’t that peaceful when they had Altaire, but… they had Altaire with the full determination of letting that child experience the ups and downs in their life, so that he could become a good heir in the future. As for the second child, they wanted the child to experience more stability in their life. It wasn’t that difficult managing one child even with busy and difficult predicaments, but managing two powerless children at once would be quite a challenge.
Will everything be all right…?
How will Cyan react?
Cassie was someone who was prone to overthinking, and if Cyan were to get troubled as well, she’d surely get more stressed.
A child is still a blessing, and she’s all happy, but she wants this child to not suffer in life!
Cassie spent the rest of the day with half-blank head. It was clear that she couldn’t really focus on her work for now, so she didn’t proceed to work more than the bare minimum and decided to leave quickly.
Incidentally, Cyan was out to manage the territory and wasn’t there at the Capicastle. They would only meet when they were both home.
“Cass? What’s the matter?”
After going home and seeing his wife’s unusual state, Cyan frowned. Normally, Cassie would be playing around with Altaire while waiting for him for dinner, but just now, he saw that Altaire was playing alone with his toys in their room. Something was clearly off.
“Cyan… you’re back. We need to talk.”
Cassie evaded Cyan’s arms as they were about to circle her body before she turned around to face Cyan with a serious expression.
Cyan’s body stiffened.
What’s with Cass’ unusual conduct? She even dodged my arms and said the deadly words, “We need to talk,” with a serious expression on her face… W-what did I do wrong?
Gulping down all of his anxieties, Cyan said hoarsely, “Sure. What might be on your mind?”
Hurry and tell him! If not, he might grow a few years older due to the mental tension!!
Due to the unexpected words that he heard, Cyan couldn’t help but exclaim in his surprise and confusion. He expected a bad news—or a scolding, but he didn’t expect to hear… a good news? He felt like he might be hallucinating.
After hearing it the second time, Cyan finally snapped out of it and realized that he wasn’t hallucinating! Could he be dreaming? He tried to lightly pinch his hand, and after feeling pain, he realized that it wasn’t a dream!
“So, uhm… I know we haven’t planned for another child and all, but since they’re already here, I think we need to—”
Before Cassie managed to finish her sentence, she suddenly felt that her body was being lifted up.
She yelped in her surprise and quickly tightened her arms around Cyan’s neck. Only then did she realize that Cyan was already standing up and lifting her up—and he turned around in a circle!!
“C-Cyan, wa-wait, stop, it’s dangerous!”
“Aaah? Mommy, Daddy, play what?”
Cassie requested in a panic, and the little Altaire who witnessed such a scene became curious and approached his parents quickly, wanting to join in his parents’ “game”.
Cyan stopped turning around and gently placed Cassie down on the floor again.
“That’s great… that’s great, Cassie! Thank you… thank you!!”
Cyan’s face immediately broke into a full smile, just like when he first learned that he was going to be a father. However, his swift happy reaction was totally in contrast to his slow reaction and “is-this-a-dream” face that he showed when Cassie told him the good news as she giggled back then.
This time around, the one who was giddy with happiness was Cyan, while Cassie was the one who felt that this was quite unreal.
The role reversal was quite obvious.
“Y-you’re not troubled since this is unplanned…?” Cassie asked with a face that clearly showed her disbelief. She figured that Cyan would be the one who will feel more anxious. After all, who was the one she had to reassure many times over when he stated his low confidence when they were first preparing to welcome Altaire?
“You’re right, it’s unplanned, that’s why I’m so happy to get this surprise! I didn’t expect that we’d have another child this quickly!!”
Cassie didn’t know whether to admire his change of stance from her previous pregnancy, or to be annoyed at him for being this carefree.
If she had known that Cyan would be this carefree and happy, she wouldn’t have to think on how she should retain her composure, as Cyan would surely be more anxious and troubled than she was?!
She was worried over nothing…?
“Mommy, Daddy, play with me too?”
On the other hand, little Altaire felt annoyed since his mommy and daddy were ignoring him and only talked to each other. He tugged on both of his mommy and daddy’s clothes while pouting.
“Alt!! That’s right!!”
Still with his happiness-brimming face, Cyan lifted Altaire so high up, and that made Altaire giggle from the sensation he felt.
“You’re going to be a big brother!!” Cyan announced happily.
“Big…? Altaire is small!” Altaire protested, but that protest only caused Cyan and Cassie to laugh.
“That’s not it. Well… you’re going to have a little brother or sister!” Cyan explained. Of course, Altaire grasped the meaning of having a younger sibling. So, his eyes shone in excitement.
“Really, really? When?”
“Let see… Since the doctor said I was 1 month pregnant, so around Month 8, perhaps?”
“How many more sleeps?” Altaire asked, since he wasn’t able to measure it based on months.
“…More than two hundred?”
“Eh, so long?!” Altaire protested again.
“Haha, wait patiently, Alt! While waiting, let’s train to be a good big brother!” Cyan patted Altaire’s head lovingly.
“T…rain? Is it fun?” Altaire wasn’t quite sure on what it meant.
“Definitely!” Cyan discarded the fact that some “training” was quite boring or tiring, and decided that it would be fun.
“Be a good big brother, okay, Alt?” Cassie kissed Altaire’s forehead.
“I will!” Altaire innocently smiled.
Due to the joyous atmosphere, Cassie set aside her worries and decided to celebrate the good news first.
When Altaire was deep asleep, it was time for Cassie and Cyan to seriously discuss things over.
Cassie decided to pour in all of her worries and insecurities. After taking a deep breath, Cyan grabbed Cassie’s hand firmly, looked at her eyes with his gentle eyes, and said, “I’m sorry if you became worried because of me, too. But you’ve proven it yourself that all my worries were all false when you gave birth to Altaire. I’m sure that this time, everything will be all right.”
“But this time around, we aren’t so prepared to have this child. I’m worried…”
“Well, even when we planned for Altaire back then, when you broke out the news to me, didn’t I also feel unprepared? Until Altaire was born, I still felt unprepared, but everything turned out fine in the end.”
“Yes, but this is going to be different, you know?”
“Mmhm. We’ll have to take care of Altaire and this child, too. But don’t worry. I know how it felt when my own father treated me and that bastard differently. I vow that I won’t ever let my children feel the same way.”
“I have never had siblings before. What if I was the one to make the mistake?”
“Well, then I will tell you and we will apologize to the child. I’m sure they would understand.”
“…What if I can’t love them equally? I don’t want any of them to feel like I don’t love them as much as their sibling.”
“That’s troubling, indeed. But I doubt that coming from you. You will surely love this child as much as you love Altaire. And I already love this child as much as I love Altaire, even when this child is this tiny!” Cyan said as he caressed Cassie’s still-flat belly.
“…You won’t feel anything right now.”
Though there were still worries in their minds—especially Cassie, the happiness they felt was still bigger than that.
“Would you like a girl or a boy?” Cyan curiously asked.
“Hmm… as long as they’re healthy, it doesn’t matter, what about you?” Cassie pondered over the question for a while, and she couldn’t decide.
“I’m not sure. I’d like to have a girl this time—a daughter that is similar to you. She would be the cutest girl ever! …But I can’t bear to imagine that I will have to let another man take her away from us in the future…,” Cyan seriously started to imagine the presence of a mini-Cassie as he smiled—but then his expression darkened in the next second.
“Fufu, another son would be nice, too! He could play a lot with Altaire. Ah, but I also want to have a daughter.”
At first, Cassie tried to cheer Cyan up, saying that another son would be nice. But then, she also wanted to have the so-called mother-and-daughter bond.
“Well, there’s no use pondering over it, so why don’t we wait?”
Some time after that…
“Cyan! I’ve found out about our child’s gender!!” Cassie suddenly broke another news to Cyan on a certain day.
By this time, her belly has already grown bigger, but it wasn’t that protruding.
“W-wait, I’m not sure if I want to know now or…”
“But we still have to think of a name for this child…”
“We’ll think about the name later, okay?”
“But I don’t want my child to be nameless for a few weeks or a few months… That won’t be good,” Cassie voiced her concern.
Cyan, who couldn’t decide on a name for his first son and only could decide after a few months pondering: “…”
Cyan then nodded, agreeing that it won’t be good to make their children nameless for a long time of period—or that it won’t be good if they decided on a moment’s impulse.
“It’s a girl!!” Cassie couldn’t conceal her smile by this time.”
“Really?!” Cyan was also excited. His eyes darkened a bit when he remembered that he still had to marry his daughter off someday, but he shook his head, not wanting to think about that distant future.
“Yes!!” Cassie nodded again.
“That’s great! I hope she takes after you a lot!! She’d be so cute!!”
When they told Altaire that he was going to have a little sister, Altaire didn’t react for a while.
“What’s wrong, Alt?” Curious, Cassie finally asked.
“Mommy, I don’t know, is it good or bad? Alt wants a little brother to play and comp… compute with, but little sister is also nice…?”
Cassie and Cyan laughed when they heard Altaire said the word “compete” wrong. This little kid, where did he learn about competing with a brother? Did he learn it from the shows that he watched and the stories that he heard?
“Silly, you can still play and compete with a little sister. She might be more delicate than a little brother, though. And you should protect her, as her big brother,” Cyan gently said.
“Yes, I will!” Altaire obediently answered, but it wasn’t clear if he fully understood it or not.
When Cassie and Cyan encountered Queen Shaula, King Titus, and their infant son a short while later, Titus was a bit sad that Cyan’s second child (which would be the same age as his son) wasn’t a boy. He was intent on making Cyan’s second child as his son’s close aide and study companion if it was a boy.
But then, an idea crossed his mind.
“Cyan, if our children grow up and seem to be close, why don’t we…”
Titus stopped when he saw Cyan’s piercing and reluctant gaze. It seemed that Cyan knew what was on his mind. So, he dropped that idea and shifted the topic to another matter. At that time, they had no clue that this topic would be brought to discussion again after their children became friends.
Shaula lightly teased Cassie on her old remarks of wanting to postpone the child and said, “We can plan as much as we want, but in the end, the gods are the one who shall decide for us! Sometimes, the unplanned things might even be the most pleasant things happening in life!”
Cyan and Cassie were really moved by Shaula’s sudden wise sentences. They agreed and nodded with smiles.
Meanwhile, the unplanned factor in Shaula’s life, Titus said with a smug face: “Are you referring to me? That’s good to know!”
Shaula only said that out of impulse, and now she regretted her words, as her face gradually turned red, just like her hair.
Then, days passed by and thankfully, everything seemed to be fine. Every turbulence could be controlled so far, and Cassie’s belly was finally protruding! Cassie could feel the child’s movement already, and Cyan would often caress her belly, too. They had settled on a name, but they were still hiding it.
“Mommy, why is your belly getting bigger and bigger?” Altaire finally asked. He thought that his mommy was simply gaining weight, but then he finally thought that it was strange.
“Your little sister is here, Alt,” Cassie said.
“What’s wrong, do you want to touch Mommy’s belly, too?” Cyan asked, as he interpreted Altaire’s intense stare on Cass’ belly as him wanting to touch it.
Who could have guessed that Altaire would suddenly cry?
“…Mommy ate little sister, hwaaaaa!!”
Cassie + Cyan: “…”
Both of them forgot to explain the details to Altaire, so they had to exert an extra effort to calm him down first, before finally explaining it to him.
Year 970 Month 7 Day 23.
“Are you sure everything will be fine?” Cyan worriedly asked Cassie.
“Don’t worry. The due date is expected to be around Month 8, after all,” Cassie tried to reassure Cyan.
Early in the morning, Cassie was sending Cyan and Altaire off. Cyan was summoned by one of the lords under his management to consult some urgent matters of the territory that was located quite far from their home. He was going to stay for at least a week. Incidentally, a certain show’s event was going to be held near the area, and Altaire was a die-hard fan of the show. Since he kept mentioning it every day, Cyan finally decided to take him together.
“I will leave Phyllo here to monitor everything, and he will report to me if there’s anything… I will also have him notify you if there’s anything on my side.”
Thus, that was how they departed without knowing that a certain incident would occur soon.
Two days later, Cassie’s water suddenly broke after she experienced some unusual pains. She didn’t even get the time to check it up or to call someone to check it for her. She was quickly rushed to the nearby hospital, and…
That was how Lyra was born prematurely. Due to the premature birth, Lyra’s condition had to be monitored and she had to receive some supplements to ensure that her body was going to be strong.
Contrary to Altaire’s peaceful birth, Lyra’s birth was even more tiring, so Cassie could only lay on the hospital bed and obediently received treatments. Niina or Chloe would sometimes take turns to help her. However, she wasn’t able to see her daughter for a few days, and it really messed her mind’s composure a lot.
At the other side…
After receiving Phyllo’s report, Cyan quickly cut everything short and didn’t have any qualm to trick Altaire that the event was also cut short. They dashed off to return home quickly, and Cyan decided to just use the teleportation service.
When they arrived at the nearby teleportation service, the weather’s condition was bad. Heck, it even stormed! As if it was Cyan’s bad luck, the teleportation service was damaged due to the storm and he wouldn’t be able to use it quickly.
Cyan raged on and really wanted to just use his own magic power to teleport himself back home, but the distance was quite far, and he had to take Altaire and their luggage along, too. Wait, that’s not the concern. It wasn’t like they could just leave the other men who came along with them here, right?
In the end, Cyan could only return home after Cassie was dismissed from the hospital. He regretted so much having to leave his wife alone when she struggled with giving birth, but luckily, Cassie didn’t resent him at all and fully understood that this was, after all, unplanned.
When they looked at Lyra’s sleeping face, they couldn’t help but sigh.
Really, Lyra. You’re full of unplanned things. Is this a sign that your life will be full of unplanned things? But that’d be fine, as long as the unplanned things in your life will be able to make you happy, just like how we feel.
From the distance, an ethereal figure was floating about, observing the happenings in the vicinity. The figure took the form of a small child, and they observed the Hartmann family with a complacent expression.
That figure—Aion then chuckled mischievously, “I’m counting on you, little one. And I also hope you will be happy.”