Chapter 19:

Altaire's Sixth Birthday (2)

I Didn't Even Want to Live, But God Forced Me to Reincarnate!

“Hmm, what’s wrong?” Clyde asked again, in response to my silence and my weird expression.Bookmark here

…Can I ask for a time out??Bookmark here

“Come on, just tell this uncle~”Bookmark here

I gulped. Whoa, now I’m sweating.Bookmark here

I wish life is similar to visual novel games, where I now should be able to see some options that I can pick as my answer…Bookmark here

Because I’m drawing blank here.Bookmark here

“A…”Bookmark here

Just as I was about to tell whatever pops to my mind…Bookmark here

“Huh, Lyra, Clyde, what are you two doing over there?”Bookmark here

…Dad’s voice!!Bookmark here

Ohhh, he’s coming here!!Bookmark here

My savior!!Bookmark here

I decided to run towards my dad and gives him the best jump plus hug combination I can give him.Bookmark here

Obviously, my dad is surprised by my unusual behavior. Yes, I never ran with all I had and leaped to hug him! Usually, Dad would be the one to walk quickly towards me and proceed to hug and carry me around.Bookmark here

“Uwooo, my Lyra is acting so cute!”Bookmark here

I can hear Dad’s whisper close to my ears as he cradled me in his arms. He looks slender but his arms are unexpectedly sturdy, as he didn’t even falter due to my full-speed ambush!Bookmark here

“Ahaha, hi there, Cyan-san! She was wandering off all alone, and she was so easy to spot being the only child below 6 years old here, so I thought I should be greeting her. When she turned around, I realized that she’s indeed the rumored daughter of Hartmann family!”Bookmark here

“Oh, right. Putting aside the fact that Lyra wanders off alone, I think introduction should be in order then. Clyde, this is my daughter, Alrescha Lyra Hartmann. We usually call her Lyra. Lyra, this young man here is Clyde Horace Loera.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

??????Bookmark here

Clyde Horace what?!Bookmark here

Loera?!Bookmark here

Since when…?!Bookmark here

I don’t have to use a mirror to see what kind of expression I have right now. My confusion is evident enough. This is a major fact that totally contradicts what I know in my past life!Bookmark here

Is this really a parallel world, then? There have been so many similarities I thought this was the same world!Bookmark here

“Ahaha, as I thought. Cyan-san, your daughter asked me before regarding why was I wearing Loera-themed clothes although I was from Grabberton house.”Bookmark here

“Huh? Is that so?”Bookmark here

Now, Dad is also looking at me in confusion.Bookmark here

Uh-oh…Bookmark here

“Hmm… have I ever told you about Clyde? Is that why you know that he was from Grabberton family?”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Oooooh!!Bookmark here

Dad, you sparked a good idea to me!Bookmark here

God, Thou hadn’t forsaken me yet!!Bookmark here

Thank you, little spectre of light!!Bookmark here

“Uhm… yeah, but you didn’t tell Lyra much… so Lyra… ish confused?”Bookmark here

I tried to act as cute as I can and tilted my head. They say that women or children who tilted their heads in particular angle would look cuter than they usually are… so…Bookmark here

“Khhhhh!!” Dad is somehow holding back from his usual spoiling responses. Could it be because we’re in public, and Clyde is watching?Bookmark here

“Ah, so you have ever told her? No wonder she knows! I am so surprised that it was the first thing she asked of me! And she also knew my first and middle given names!”Bookmark here

Clyde, please, please be merciful to me and stop making my dad more confused!! Bookmark here

He never really told me anything about you, and that is a given why he cannot remember he has ever told me about you!!Bookmark here

“Whoa, you really can remember all that, when I can’t even remember what I have told you! You’re so great, Lyra!” Dad patted my head.Bookmark here

Somehow… I feel guilty?Bookmark here

But I gotta shake it off and smile! Laugh!! Your big brother can laugh almost all the time, so as his sister, you should be able to do it, too, Lyra!Bookmark here

…perhaps my smile came out awkward, but whatever.Bookmark here

…Now that all the tension has left me, I can feel another sensation. Yes, I wanna pee… if I were an ordinary 3 years old, I’d wet myself at this moment.Bookmark here

Then again, a 3 year-old normal girl wouldn’t get caught up in this kind of situation in the first place.Bookmark here

“Pleased to meet you, Clyde-san!” I bowed my head in a hurry, so that he won’t see my awkward smile and doubt me again.Bookmark here

“Ah, nice to meet you, Lyra. As they said, you are really adorable!”Bookmark here

Dad’s hugs got tighter in that instant. I can feel he kinda tensed up but I can’t figure out why, since there doesn’t seem to be something wrong with Clyde’s words, except I must admit that he flattered me.Bookmark here

“Uhm, so, how did you…?” I timidly voiced my question.Bookmark here

After all, I still want to pursue answers!!Bookmark here

“Ah… it’s true that I was from Grabberton family. But, I am not the heir of the family. My younger half-brother, Domi-kun is the heir. Also, as to why I become Loera… It’s because I married the only daughter of the Loera’s main family. As they still had no heir at that time, I was adopted as the heir, so they didn’t need to adopt someone from their main family and the likes. Therefore, I adopted their surname instead, while my wife still has her maiden surname intact.”Bookmark here

In cases of a noble family only having daughter(s) as their only children, to keep the surname going, they need to have one of their son-in-laws to adopt their surnames instead. It’s not that women are never an heir to a family, but since there is a tradition that surnames are passed from males, it would be quite troubling to have a female heir. That is why most females are at disadvantages in cases of competitions to be the heir.Bookmark here

…………………………………….eh, wait, what?Bookmark here

My half-brother is married?!Bookmark here

,,,It’s not weird considering his age… but for me, it’s still weird.Bookmark here

Last time I saw him, he was still 13.Bookmark here

Last time he saw me, I was his same age half-sister.Bookmark here

It doesn’t feel so real to see him all grown-up like this.Bookmark here

And... the only daughter of Loera’s main family? Isn’t she… Cheryll Nicole Loera? Come to think about it, Clyde and Nicole were often seen together. I remember they were so friendly to each other… So, they were also close. Also… Nicole… often invited me out and talked to me, even when nobody else bothered to interact with me at school if it wasn’t for any importance. Nicole often talked about insignificant things with me… She was a friendly girl. Now I get it. She was trying to get close to me because she was interested in Clyde…? She might have thought that she should also be close to me as his sister.Bookmark here

One mystery (regarding why Nicole wanted to befriend me) has been solved, yup!Bookmark here

Domi-kun is the rightful heir of Grabberton, so there shouldn’t be any problem in marrying Clyde off to the Loera family. Instead, the Grabberton family would have a stronger connection to the Loera family. It’s a win-win solution.Bookmark here

“So, did you come here with your wife?” Dad asked.Bookmark here

“Ah, no, Nicole is busy taking care of our son.”Bookmark here

I gasped and looked at Clyde’s face.Bookmark here

What is this? Clyde, he didn’t only get married, but he’s got a son?!Bookmark here

“Oh, that’s right. Your son should be around one year old, right?”Bookmark here

“Haha, yeah. He is adorable. He takes after Nicole so much!” Clyde’s expression turned gentle when he talked about his child.Bookmark here

Uh… compared to his condition... as for me... instead of having a child, I became a child myself!!Bookmark here

If I were still alive as Reinst, would I already have a child myself at his age?Bookmark here

But that is a future that I can no longer imagine.Bookmark here

“Come and see him some time! Oh yeah, what about betrothing my son and your daughter?” Clyde said, almost jokingly. But I sensed a little glimpse of seriousness in his eyes.Bookmark here

Naturally, I was surprised at Clyde’s suggestion. At the same time, Dad hugged me closer and tighter. When I notice it, he is still smiling, but there’s something else in that smile.Bookmark here

“Lyra is still 3. And your son is still 1.” Dad said with a cold voice.Bookmark here

Whoa, hey there, Dad…?Bookmark here

I am positive he is just joking around...?Bookmark here

And that maybe Clyde would discuss the idea further if you were to accept his half-joking suggestion.Bookmark here

“Hahaha, I’m just kidding!!” Clyde laughed it off and approached us. I can feel Dad’s tight hug started to loosen. He also didn’t step back.Bookmark here

“Well, I’ll make sure to come for your debut party as well, Lyra,” he patted my head.Bookmark here

Back then, I never got to be patted by him. But now, I can tell that his adult hand is warm and comforting.Bookmark here

After Clyde has walked quite far from us…Bookmark here

“…….that Clyde! There’s no way I’d give Lyra away!!!!”Bookmark here

…Dad, you’re totally being overprotective here! In the first place, you are supposed to be marrying me off to other nobles eventually…Bookmark here

Just right at that moment, we heard the door opening, followed by a ruckus.Bookmark here

“…The king?!”Bookmark here

“He decided to attend?!”Bookmark here

“I thought he was going to be absent for this party, as well!!”Bookmark here

…eh?Bookmark here

The king himself, in flesh?!Bookmark here

Upon glancing at the source of the others’ stares, I found a young man who looks to be at the same age as Dad. His short light brown hair hasn’t changed, and his green eyes are looking more mature. He wears a luxurious golden-white suit, covered in a red robe. The royal family emblem is stitched in the middle of his chest, holding up his robe. There are also a few gallant-looking guards standing beside him.Bookmark here

Dad walked to approach the commotion while carrying me. Mom followed Dad from behind after she held Altaire’s hand and soon, we finally got to face the king.Bookmark here

“Sorry for being late, there were some urgent issues coming up at the castle!” The king said.Bookmark here

“No problem, we are glad about your arrival alone, Your Majesty.” Dad said, as he bowed down, followed by Mom.Bookmark here

“Please enjoy the party, Your Majesty,” Mom said, as she tugged Alt-nii’s hand that she was holding.Bookmark here

“T, thank you for coming Y-Your Majesty,” Alt quickly realized Mom’s signal and bowed down, as well. I slightly bowed my head down, as well.Bookmark here

“No problem, I’ve been planning to come here ever since Cyan there gave me an invitation. Anyway, do you mind if we speak alone?” asked the king, still with his casual tone.Bookmark here

does this smell like a trouble?Bookmark here

We entered another room near the hall, leaving the other nobles to enjoy the party. I notice myself getting all tensed up especially the moment the door closes. I bet the atmosphere here will soon turn tense, as well… My family must also be nervous with this development. For the king to request a private audience, there must be some issues he’d like to talk with us. Perhaps, it’s regarding the Hartmann’s governance, or other things, as I remember that both my parents are already working at the Royal Castle, in spite of their role in East territory’s management.Bookmark here

I braced myself to look at Dad’s expression. I should be able to notice if he’s tense, despite the fact that he might cover it up with his usual business smile… and yeah, there he is, smiling… but he doesn’t look tense at all…?!Bookmark here

I quickly turned my gaze at Mom. Nope, she isn’t tense as well!Bookmark here

I desperately turned around to see Altaire-nii, he’s all smiling! No sign of nervousness!Bookmark here

W, what’s wrong with my family?! Why am I the only one feeling tense?!Bookmark here

“What’s up with that grand entrance, Your Ma-jes-ty~?” Dad said in a teasing tone. He seemed a little... irritated?Bookmark here

Huh?!!Bookmark here

GWAAH?! Wait Dad, what are you thinkin—Bookmark here

“How many times do I have to tell you to cut all the formalities off when nobody is around, Cyan?!” The king seems irritated, as he crossed his legs and put one of his hands on his chin.Bookmark here

…This situation… doesn’t seem like an audience between a king and his subject or his subordinate… Rather, it’s like… a casual talk between close friends?!Bookmark here

“Hahaha, it’s my little payback for gathering the audience just now, causing us to be all formal and nervous! Not to mention the fact that we have to think and act fast before others call us as rude towards the king! This whole play of being formal in presence of others and being casual when there are no one is quite tiring, I admit.”Bookmark here

“Well, I told you there were some urgent matters coming up! I didn’t intend to be late and make that kind of entrance to the party!”Bookmark here

“Okay, okay… So, how was it? Do you need my assistance for that ‘urgent matter’?”Bookmark here

“Nah, I don’t think we need that for now. Just continue your usual work. I’ll make sure to summon you if I ever need that.”Bookmark here

“Alright then. You know you can always count on me, Titus.” Dad said as he patted the king’s shoulders. The king laughed it off and the two of them fist-bumped each other.Bookmark here

Mom and Altaire are watching the scene unfold as if it’s natural...Bookmark here

So, am I the only one left in blanks?Bookmark here

I desperately tried to make anyone look my way, so that they can see a desperate confusion on my face.Bookmark here

Luckily, I managed to get their attention, and they tried to explain the whole thing to me...Bookmark here

--Please wait for the long explanation intended to a child to end so that Lyra can conclude everything and retell the whole explanation curtly—Bookmark here

Back then, Mom worked as a Royal Magician in the Magic Court, and soon became the Head of the Royal Magic Court, where she is famously known as “The Sky Magician—Ophelia”. And Dad served under Mom as a Royal Magician… plus handling underground activities like uncovering the frauds and mistreatment especially his family did, directly under the king—who was still the crowned prince back then. Obviously, he made use of his illusion and transformation power as a Hartmann for doing his work as a spy.Bookmark here

Upon gaining the responsibility as one of the Four Dukes, Dad stopped working as a Royal Magician, but he’s continuing his work directly under the king’s order! He is the king’s trusted right hand, working as a spy countless times. He can be given the title of “The Royal Spy”!Bookmark here

As for Dad’s relationship to the king...Bookmark here

Dad has always been good friends with the current king ever since they were still teenagers, since they met at the Harmonia Academy, to be exact. That explains the king’s trust and friendliness to my dad, and vice versa. Meanwhile, Mom, as the Head of the Royal Magic Court and one of the people who needs to work directly with the king, who sometimes aids in underground missions, also become used to talking with him and soon become friendly, as well.Bookmark here

According to what they said, there are also other people who are close to the king. The king wants the people working directly with him to be friendly and close as comrades, instead of being stiff like a robot that has to watch everything they say so they won’t be charged with lèse-majesté or being a hypocrite, trying to fawn over the king.Bookmark here

Also, also!!Bookmark here

Apparently, at first, Dad refused to continue the Hartmann family’s reign. However, the king wanted no one but him to be one of the Four Dukes because of reasons (mainly because the Four Dukes are like four pillars of the kingdom so it must be important for the king to have a close relationship with the dukes), and so he skillfully manipulated the conditions and appointed Dad as the Hartmann family’s head, and continued Dad’s engagement to the Sanctuaria’s young lady, who is none other than Mom.Bookmark here

The king gained a lot of profit with this kind of setting, I see!Bookmark here

--And that concludes Lyra’s report!—Bookmark here

“So, are you going to the castle again, Alt?” The king turned over to Altaire.Bookmark here

“Yes, Your Majesty!” Alt-nii answered with a bright smile.Bookmark here

…wha? Again?Bookmark here

“Yes, as Altaire is already 6 years old, I would like to reconfirm his magic affinity and then proceed to check his mana capacity. Perhaps he would need to come to the castle more often with me from now on,” said Mom.Bookmark here

I stared in another confusion. Noticing this, Mom told me.Bookmark here

“Ah, Lyra, you’ll also come to the castle with me when you’re 4 years old, so you can get your magic tested in the Royal Magic Court. Alt has done that, too, when he was four… his result was amazing, so I want to recheck it together with his mana capacity check…”Bookmark here

“Amazing result?” I pondered. What affinity might be categorized as amazing when Mom can do the rare attributed magics?Bookmark here

“Hehe, guess what?” Alt-nii is grinning wide.Bookmark here

I reflexively hold my breath in anticipation.Bookmark here

“Surprise, the attribute that I have the most affinity with, is… Void!” said Alt-nii.Bookmark here

…ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!Bookmark here

I am very surprised that I become speechless. My face right now might be similar to the emoticon [O_O]Bookmark here

[Void] is even considered as a mythical element!Bookmark here

To think that my brother is the one possessing such an amazing element?!Bookmark here

The king and my parents talked a bit more after setting up Alt-nii’s magic test for tomorrow, mostly about their work and about past days, before they finally went out and socialized with the others at the party. The party finally ended at around 9 p.m., and obviously nobody dared do go back before the king stepped out… unless it is an emergency.Bookmark here

After a lot of mind-blowing revelations today, I feel very exhausted. If I were to wake up and realizing this was all a dream, I’d believe that right away. I just want to hop in my bed and sleep…Bookmark here

However, being a good child and remembering the pain from the tooth cavity when I was Reinst, I decided to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth before I sleep, without having the others reminding me.Bookmark here

As a result, I was praised by them. Alt-nii sulked a little because he planned on skipping his tooth-brushing routine today, and now he has to brush his teeth because his little sister did that without being ordered to.Bookmark here

Uuu, sorry, Alt-nii! But it’s for your own good! Honestly, tooth cavity is so bothersome!! Since the external surface of a tooth, the enamel, is not a living tissue, so a healing magic cannot influence the cells to repair itself, therefore we have to go to the dentist to get it fixed with another hard material as its replacement. Healing magic can actually stimulate the second surface of the tooth, the dentin, to heal, but the hard material to replace the enamel functions better to protect the teeth in the long run!Bookmark here

Not many people can use complicated healing magic, so obviously we still have doctors and dentists. I believe Mom can recover the dentin should we get a deep cavity, but eventually we still have to go to get the protective hard material to replace the broken enamel. There are also other procedures that cannot be accomplished with healing magic, such as transplanting cells to heal incurable illnesses, such as genetic illnesses. It would be so ideal to have a magic that can quickly change your genetic formation and replace the cells with healthy ones. I wonder how much mana must someone have in order to do such a feat?Bookmark here

Just a few minutes after getting a touchdown with my beloved bed, I fall asleep immediately. My brain needs a lot of time to process all these absurd information, so when I wake up the next day, everyone says that I’ve been asleep for half a day already, without being bothered by any noise they made.Bookmark here

For the first time in my life, I skipped eating a complete breakfast.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.