Chapter 09: Seriously? (2)


After finishing lunch and saying goodbye to Keirsey, I joined the afternoon class.


Sir Horslow was sitting on a chair in the middle of the training ground waiting for us to gather.


The students were returning one by one from their meal, and Judy Ice was also coming with them.
I waved my hand, but she averted her eyes hastily.
But I was already satisfied that she didn't show any signs of hostility.


I couldn’t figure out why I felt so close to her.
Maybe it was because of one reason that we were in the same boat.
Or maybe I was just excited about the person I was going to make new friends with; Just like Keirsey.


I didn't feel any guilt in being friendly with a member of the Ice family.
Yes, Grandma hated the Ice family… but that was because she had her own history and memories, that established such feelings in her.
But I didn't have such memories.
I had never suffered because of the Ice family.
Rather, it was a family that I liked while reading the novel.
So just because Grandma was vigilant and careful about the Ice family didn’t mean that my feelings towards them would automatically change.


Choosing a spot, Judy waited patiently for the class to begin.
But, I felt the class was far from starting; Not even half of the students had gathered yet.


Now was the perfect time to get to know each other.
When I looked around for a bit, I could see people crouching here and there, starting a conversation.
I took this as an opportunity and approached Judy with confidence.


“Did you eat?”




Fortunately, she answered.


“Where? I couldn’t find you at all.”


“You didn’t see me because you were having fun with your sister.”


I scratched my head shyly.


“Oh, did you see it?”


“The love you have for each other is extraordinary.
I couldn’t even realize you were adopted.”


Judy Ice looked at me.
Her eyes were a little sad.
I asked.


“…you and your siblings-”


“Of course, we can’t be like that.
We are different.”




“You said you were going to share your sadness, but you were doing well.
Were you just deceiving me?”


Judy looked at me sharply.
No… I didn't deceive her.
After a few years, I would be expelled.
But I didn't want to talk about it yet though.


“…It was not a deception.”


I just casually told her.
I didn’t know what my expression looked like.
But Judy saw my face and surprisingly did not get angry for the lack of explanation.


But it was amazing; Through a short conversation, her position within the Ice family had been conveyed.
She didn’t seem to get along well with her siblings.


It didn’t seem like the children of the Ice family had bullied her, but really…
One could never tell.


What was her childhood like? If her siblings couldn’t be friends, did someone else become her friend? Or was she still a loner?


While I was wondering about her childhood, Judy said cautiously.






“……I said something wrong.
You must have had your own problems.”


I felt relieved by her apology and unconsciously laughed.
Now I really wanted to get to know her.


I playfully shoved her on the shoulder.
Judy was pushed away and looked at me with surprised eyes.
I opened my mouth before she could say anything.


“But why do you keep talking like that with me?”




“You came as soon as you became an adult, didn't you? I think I am older than you.”


“…uh? That… so…”


Her flustered face looked so funny, I didn’t want to tell her I was just kidding anymore.


“How old are you? I am 21 years old.”


“…..21 years old?”


“I was waiting to go to school with my younger siblings.”




Judy did not hesitate to answer.
Just by looking at her face, I could tell that she was younger than me.
It seemed that she was not good at hiding her feelings.


“…..I’m sorry, Sir Cayden.
It was my mistake—“






When she spoke again with respectful words, I couldn’t hold back my laughter any longer.
Contrary to her first impression, she seemed to have a cautious personality.


Noticing she had question marks floating above her head, I clarified.


“Keep talking casually.
It would be weird to talk this way with friends.”


“…friend… huh?”


“Yes, because we are friends, let’s just have conversations like this.


In a short time, I tried to close the distance.
I didn’t even know how I could speak so comfortably.
But somehow, I didn't feel awkward with Judy.


There were people with whom one could speak whatever they wanted to comfortably even if it was the first time they met.
For me, I never thought that such a person would be the daughter of the Ice family.




Judy continued to ponder the word 'friend'.
It seemed that the answer to the question that had been raised inside my mind earlier was coming back; She was behaving as if she didn't have any other friends.
Perhaps she had been lonely.


“What are you thinking about?”


Once again, I drew her in with words.


“…I was just wondering what friends do for each other…” She replied absentmindedly.


“Just talking, giving each other strength, this is how it should be.
Don’t think too hard.”




“Then let’s do this.
Help each other whenever we need help during class.
If we need to form a group, if we need a partner for training, or if we have a request, we will look out for each other.
What do you think?”


Judy wiggled her fingers nervously.
I had said everything I could say.
If she refused here… I might have to find another way, but from my point of view, I had made every effort to become friends, only her choice remained now.


Some time passed, and I was starting to get a little nervous about this.
But fortunately, Judy nodded her head.


“……That’s good enough.”


I smiled.
“You have chosen well.”


“…I never thought I’d be friends with Prysters…”


“You really don’t know what fate has in store for you, right?”


Nodding her head, she adjusted her posture and looked back at Sir Horslow.
It looked like she was going to wait for class again, but my words were not over yet.


“So, Judy.
You didn’t tell me your age.”




“How old are you?”


Judy had a kind of personality that I didn't know why but I wanted to keep bothering her.




“Speak quickly.
We are friends now.
What kind of friend hides their age?”


Judy showed me the back of her head.


“…19 years old…..”


Again, it was a quick reaction.


✧ ✧ ✧


The afternoon class was familiar to me; Sword training.
It was also the field I was most confident about.


The classes went on this way and when everyone was completely tired, today’s schedule came to an end.
I also got closer to Judy in the meantime.
Now she even began to initiate conversations, particularly about our training.
To be exact, she had a lot of questions about posture.
In my eyes, Judy was still clumsy with her swordsmanship.
I was not saying that Judy’s skills were a mess.
It was just that I was two years older than her and hence I knew a thing or two she had not learned yet.


After the class, we stopped by the stables together to look after the horses.
‘Goldie’ was my laughing bell.
It was like a name Keirsey would give a doll when she was 10 years old.
I kept making fun of Judy with this.


Soon, evening came, and after parting off with Judy, I was on my way to find Asena and Keirsey.
I thought it would be good to end the day by talking about what happened today.
I had already started to miss them after not seeing them just for a day.
Especially Asena.
Because I saw her only in the morning, and she was not present even for the lunch.


It was not easy to navigate the huge academy.
Asking questions here and there, and looking at the signs that were erected, I walked towards the place where the political science department was.


As I walked, I suddenly remembered the days I lived in this world so far.
I was very lucky.
The fact that I possessed a commoner, but still survived so smoothly was due to my luck…
I thanked my great luck that led me to meet Asena and Keirsey and eventually we got into this academy.
Thinking about such things in front of the setting sun made me emotional.


Soon, a familiar face appeared from afar and I unconsciously smiled.




I was about to speak, but Asena wasn’t alone.


Asena, Daisy Hexter, one red-haired woman whom I recognized as student council president, and two unknown men, were all wearing stylish black clothes instead of academy uniforms; They were all student council members.
In fact, I thought the clothes looked pretty cool.


But they were having a heated conversation.
I didn't want to disturb them, but I didn't want to find them in this huge academy again either.
So instead of talking, I just quietly followed them.
It would be fun to surprise Asena after their conversation ended.


Asena was talking to a woman with red hair.
As I recalled, that person was the student council president; Lucille Hover.


Asena’s voice resounded.


“…Please don’t ask me, president.
It's inconvenient.”


“Why, Asena? Everyone talked about their—”


“—I don’t like it.”


For a moment, my body was startled by Asena's sharp voice.
She continued.


“I already told you once.
Don’t you think it’s rude to ask about someone's family affairs so carelessly?”


I knew Asena was acting coldly in front of others, but still, it was the first time I’d seen her say something like that.


Daisy Hexter came over to Asena’s side and gently grabbed her by the shoulder as if to calm her down.


I wanted to step forward, so I increase my walking speed.


If they were going to fight, I had to stop it.


“…and in the first place, I had a bad childhood.
There is no story to share.”


And at the next words, my legs stiffened.
It was as if a hand came out of the floor and grabbed my ankle.
I could tell what she was implying even if I didn’t want to understand the context.
Asena was complaining that her past was not happy.
I didn't know why these words came out… but it was a story related to me.


I felt a little sad.
I didn’t mean for her to say that she was happy thanks to me, but… not having good memories at all took away my strength.
I knew the wound of losing her parents was deep, but I thought that they were healed because of my efforts.
Was that a mistake? Had she been hiding it? I began to feel ashamed of my ignorance.


“You seem to have grown up very well for something like that, don’t you? It is hard for you to express emotions, but you have already blended well with the student council, and at first glance, you seem to be getting along well with your younger sister.
Who was she..


Lucille tried to show Asena a few positive points as if trying to relieve the awkward atmosphere.




Daisy Hexter also tried to change the mood to match Lucille's rhythm and answered on behalf of Asena.


“Ah yes.
Her name is Keirsey, she must have had a hard childhood as well.”


At Lucille's sympathetic words, Daisy began to praise Keirsey with her characteristic soft voice.


Kirsey-sama is a very kind person.
She talked to me first, because I was a little nervous.
We are already friends.”


“…Keirsry is a bright child.”


Asena also joined the conversation with a blunt tone.
But fortunately, she seemed to be starting to calm down.
Then Daisy snapped her fingers as if she remembered something.


“Ah! Come to think of it, didn’t Asena-sama have a brother too?”


My body trembled.


Looking at Asena, her head, which had been straight, was also fixed on Daisy.


“I don’t know because I haven’t seen him… What kind of person is he? I heard his name is Cay—”


“—Don't ask, Daisy Hexter.”


In an instant, the atmosphere was subdued by Asena's cold voice.
Her words which sounded like a warning were so cold that even I felt a chill running down my spine.




Confused, Daisy muttered.
She wasn’t the only one confused.
I couldn’t understand either.


Why are you reacting like that talking about me?


Where did the little smiles you always showed me go, and why are you making such a serious and cold face?


People became more honest behind the scenes.
One could freely spit out emotions and words that one had not been able to say before.
Most probably because one could say things that were deep in their heart that they couldn’t speak before because of the other person’s feelings and in fear of breaking the relationship.


So though I didn't want to believe it, but Asena, who talked about me in a place where I was not, didn't have any need to lie.
She could be honest about me more than ever.


But I suddenly had a feeling.
I thought I would regret staying here, so I turned around.
I decided to postpone meeting Asena until later.


“He’s not even a Pryster.
There is no reason for you to care.”


I tried to look away from what I didn't want to see, but it didn't mean my ears didn't hear Asena's chilling remark.
As I was running away, a dagger flew into my back at an unavoidable speed.


“He's a stranger.
Please don’t think of him as my family.”


I did not know that my Asena, for whom I poured all my love, would say such a thing behind me.


Was I the only one who thought of her as a family member? The smile she showed me whenever we met and the aegyo towards me, the sweet memories we made from childhood, and the warm hugs and sweet kisses we shared, were all these things just a mirage with no substance to back them up?


Even at this moment when I didn't think I could get sadder anymore, Asena’s words did not seem to stop.


“After two years, that person will be expelled from the family.
He was just adopted from the start, It’s not like we were blood-related anyway.”


I never thought my heart could shatter like this from mere words.
Facts that I didn’t want to hear were spoken too quickly and too suddenly.


I looked back at Asena.
It was hard to believe she was saying this.
I felt like I had to look at her expression.


Asena’s side profile was visible.
She had a stiff face.
There was not even an inch of shaking, not even an inch of hesitation on her face.


“…I never once thought of him as my brother.”


And those shocking words pierced my heart.


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Merry Christmas,


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