Chapter 10: Shhhh (1)
Asena was uncomfortable from the beginning.
The student council president, Lucille Hover, was very talkative; Her aim was for members of the student council to be friends with each other.
Asena couldn’t understand why she had to be their friend, just to do the student council work.
But she had no choice but to get along, despite the discomfort.
'This power could not be lost.'
With the power of the student council, light rules could be twisted.
For example, getting to Cayden’s dormitory whenever she wanted, skipping class to go for a walk with him, and going into a locked room with him, could only be done with authority.
In short, to be able to increase her contact with Cayden, Asena wanted this power.
So, she did her best to play along, but when Lucille asked about her past, it was an act of crossing the line Asena had set.
When someone asked about her childhood, they were actually asking about Cayden.
Her childhood was nothing but him, after all.
Cayden's efforts were like rays of hope for Asena when the whole world had nothing but darkness to offer.
Those memories were no less than any treasure for her.
She didn’t want to share her treasure with others.
Others shouldn't find Cayden's beauty no matter what.
She didn't want any fox to covet her Cayden.
Earlier, Cayden had already looked at Daisy blankly…
Even if Asena knew that Cayden wasn't the kind of person who would fall in love just by looking at Daisy's face… there was nothing wrong with being careful.
So, she decided to hide Cayden.
She didn’t even want to mention him.
“I already told you once.
Don’t you think it’s rude to ask about someone's family affairs so carelessly?”
Before they wondered any further, she shut their mouths with lies.
“…and in the first place, I had a bad childhood.
There is no story to share.”
By pouring cold water on them, their curiosity must have been quelled.
Now that Asena had said something like this, they would be perceived as insensitive if they questioned any further.
She hoped this was enough.
…But the conversation went in a strange direction.
Asena wanted to get out of this tiring place quickly, but the student council members began to gossip about her family.
At first, they talked about Keirsey.
Then, of course…
“Ah! Come to think of it, didn’t Asena-sama have a brother too?”
Asena's hardened face began to crumble.
Just mentioning his name almost broke her composure.
Unknowingly, Asena stared at Daisy threateningly, just like a mother bird guarding her eggs.
The person Asena was most wary of was, of course, Daisy.
The longer Daisy spoke about Cayden, the more uncomfortable Asena felt.
'Don’t put his name in your mouth.
Don’t even think about being his friend.
Don’t make eye contact or even talk.
Asena calmed down the countless words she wanted to spit out in her head, and managed to keep her manners and face.
But Daisy continued.
“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.” The atmosphere subsided once again.
But Asena was careful not to let her deep feelings leak out.
She took a full breath and borrowed some time to think rationally.
She actually had another goal to achieve at this academy; She had to instill the perception that she was a stranger to Cayden.
Otherwise, when Asena's dream would come true and she would marry Cayden, these so-called 'nobles' would judge and point their finger at them.
Asena herself didn’t care, but she wouldn't be able to see Cayden in pain because of it.
Even if there was no blood… people would call her marriage an act of incest.
It would be noisy to how two people from within the same family could marry each other.
So she had to work hard at this academy.
In this place where aristocrats of many families gather, she had to build an implicit perception that she and Cayden were not siblings.
“He’s not even a Pryster.
There is no reason for you to care.”
Asena decided to begin her plans with the student council.
She would make it clear that Cayden was never her brother, and consequently, he was never a Pryster.
These were difficult words to spit out for her, but she had to endure this suffering.
…Asena could not understand why there were so many obstacles in her love.
But that didn’t mean she was going to give up.
If she could achieve her dream, she would endure whatever pain came her way.
As her words continued, Daisy and Lucille’s expressions deteriorated.
It was satisfactory.
She spat out harsh words.
To make sure they would take her words seriously, she even told them she would expel him and that he was just an adopted child from the very beginning.
“…I never once thought of him as my brother.”
…Well, the last words were true.
Because she thought of Cayden as her man, not a brother.
A heavy silence hovered over them but Asena did not feel guilty.
It was Lucille who poked the beehive.
She already told them she didn’t want to talk and advised them to let her skip her turn.
It was no brainer that recklessly ignoring Pryster’s warnings would lead to trouble.
Asena took advantage of this awkwardness to make this conversation end faster; She had to go see Cayden.
She was caught by the student council and couldn’t even have lunch with him.
If she had to go on without him until the evening… it seemed like her mood would get even worse.
Today wasn’t a fun day, so she didn’t have anything to say when she would meet him, but Cayden would probably have a lot to say to her.
Just listening to his words made Asena happy.
As she imagined Cayden sharing what happened today with a smile, Asena could not stand it any longer.
An intense desire was running wild under her silent expression.
Asena bowed her head and greeted the stiff student council members.
“…I’ll just leave.
Sorry to spoil the mood.”
And she turned around without hesitation.
With the help of a topographical map of the academy that she already memorized, Asena came up with the shortest route to her destination.
✧ ✧ ✧
Was it too late? There was no one left in the training ground of the Knight's Department.
Asena bit her lip slightly; time was scarce.
Even now, the time she could be with him was decreasing every second.
Asena sped up and started going back to her department.
'Maybe he came to find us.'
It didn't take long for Asena to find Keirsey, unfortunately, Keirsey was alone.
Asena approached Keirsey, who had slumped shoulders and a sad face, representing her feelings.
“Unnie!! Did you see Oppa?”
With a frustrated face, Asena closed her eyes and sighed.
'Where did he go?'
Asena blamed herself for being stupid.
She should have made an appointment in the morning.
Cayden must have been looking for them too… She imagined her sweet Cayden wandering around because he couldn’t find them, and it greatly frustrated her.
Asena looked around.
They were in front of a wide fountain.
It was an open place where students could find each other quickly if they intended.
'Should we wait here for him to find us?'
“What are you doing?”
Someone spoke and the twins turned their heads.
At the end of their gazes stood Eric Endra.
“Are you looking for Cayden?”
'How did he know?' Asena had such thoughts but Keirsey didn't.
Keirsey nodded her head fiercely.
“Yes! You are… Eric?”
I share the room with Hyung-nim.
By the way…
Did you go back to his room?”
Asena and Keirsey asked at the same time.
✧ ✧ ✧
I lay on the sofa without energy and sighed.
‘…I never once thought of him as my brother.’
My mind was interpreting her words logically but my heart didn't even want to consider the truth.
I couldn’t believe she had said that, even though I heard it with my own ears.
I didn't think the kisses she gave me every morning were a lie.
I didn't think the aegyo and smiles she only showed me were just an act.
But as much as I believed those things, it was also a fact that my ears didn't hear wrong.
In the end, I even saw her face.
I saw the words coming out of her mouth.
So I was confused.
Had she never really liked me? Was I the only one satisfied with myself? I was ashamed just thinking about such things.
I had poured all my heart into raising the twins… If Asena was disgusted with those actions… there was nothing more hurtful than that.
Perhaps my affectionate face just looked cringy to her…
Kissing and hugging, perhaps those actions only disgusted her further.
My heart continued to throb, faster and faster to the point it hurt me.
I wondered if this was what a broken heart felt like.
…Asena was changing so quickly.
From the moment I rode the carriage, I felt our relationship changing in front of my eyes.
We, who had no problems for more than 10 years, started to change as soon as we came out.
I tried to find out the cause.
If Asena never really thought of me as a family member and hated our relationship, why was she showing her heart only now?
When I searched for it, I came to the conclusion surprisingly quickly.
Was it because of grandma? Was she pretending to get along with me for just grandma's sake? And now, without her, the hidden true feelings were gradually revealed.
I had many questions but unfortunately no answer…
Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm my confused mind.
In fact, I had the urge to go to Asena and ask her, ‘did you ever really think of me as your brother?’ But I was afraid.
I had already heard the truth so clearly.
It wasn’t a word that came out because someone asked, and it wasn’t that she was emotional.
Asena said that she never thought of me as an older brother when I was not there.
…I didn’t even know what the heck I was expecting.
Come to think of it, she had already decided to expel me from the family.
This was also a choice that represented her heart…
Gradually, my mind was leaning toward the fact that she hated me.
“…Ugh… it hurts…”
I pressed my chin tight.
I kept feeling pain in my heart.
At that moment, someone knocked on the dorm door.
I didn’t even think about who it was.
There was no space in my head to think about that.
I just got up mechanically and walked over to the door and opened it.
Keirsey was right in front of me.
“Oppa! Why are you here!”
Keirsey called me briefly with a stern tone.
Her eyebrows were nicely gathered downwards and she had a frown on her always-smiling face.
“…I’m sorry, I…”
My mouth hardened as I saw Asena walking out from behind Keirsey.
Asena still had her characteristic stiff face.
Just looking at that expression made my heart pound.
“…Oppa, have you eaten already?”
Asena asked in a plain monotone voice.
Her tone was usual and her expressions were the same as if nothing had happened.
I wondered if everything that happened was just a dream.
But… as long as I wasn’t crazy, that wouldn’t be the case.
So, now, her acting skills rather scared me.
“…Oppa, answer me.”
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