Chapter 17: One Flower (1)
The next day I didn’t get out of bed and was lying in a cluttered, unorganized room.
I didn’t have the strength to get up.
I didn't even have the will to try.
The fact that the twins actually hated me seemed to take away my purpose of life.
What have I been working so hard for?
After transmigrating into this world, I lived first to take care of my orphanage siblings, and then I lived for the twins.
I did my best to be their support and all I got, in turn, were insults.
If they had acted like that in front of me, I would not have felt betrayed.
It hurt, even more, to know the truth through someone else.
– Knock! Knock!
‘Hyung, are you awake? We have to go to class.’
Eric’s voice was heard.
It was as if he was knocking lightly on the door and checking my well-being.
I didn’t answer.
I just really wanted to rest today.
When I did not respond, there was no sound for a long time.
Just as I wondered if he had left, the voice came again.
I'll go first.’
Eric gave a light greeting and left.
He was a really good friend.
Maybe it was because he was the main character.
Or maybe he actually understood my situation; Eric was also born into a weak noble family and was having a difficult life at the academy.
Although I belonged to a strong family, I was also treated on a similar level right now.
Maybe he sympathized with me and hence he was worrying about me.
Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my palm.
Still laying on my back, I raised my hands toward the ceiling – Deformed hands came into my view; My hands were still blistered and messed up with calluses cut here and there.
My hands symbolized my hard work and efforts.
Looking at those hands, I fell into thought.
✧ ✧ ✧
Keirsey waited for Cayden on the first floor of the men’s dormitory for a long time.
But Cayden seemed to have overslept today because he didn’t come out yet.
‘It’s not long before class starts…’
Keirsey looked closely at everyone who left the dormitory – Cayden’s face was nowhere to be seen.
Waiting here a little longer, the tardiness was almost certain, but Keirsey did not move.
She remembered him from last night and thought she was going to die.
From the time other women showed interest in him, Keirsey tried to become more precious to him.
She wanted him more, and not seeing him just for a day annoyed her.
If she didn’t start the day with a hug or a kiss, she felt like her day wasn’t complete.
At that moment, someone caught Keirsey’s eyes.
She called him out loud.
Though It’s been quite some time since Keirsey talked to Eric, there was a common link called Cayden between them, hence it was easier to talk to him than other strangers.
Eric heard her voice and started walking slowly.
His expression didn’t look that good.
She greeted him before coming to the main question.
“..That..can you tell where Oppa is?”
Eric did not answer, and his expression subtly hardened.
It was a strange reaction for Keirsey.
“Where is my Oppa? Oversleeping is-“
Eric interrupted her.
Considering the difference in their families, it was a huge disrespect, but Keirsey didn’t mind.
It looked like he was holding back what he was trying to say.
“…Actually, I don’t know either.
I left without checking Hyung's room.”
✧ ✧ ✧
I had a dream of the past; I remembered meeting twins for the first time.
I remembered how I made happy memories with them.
Memories, when we exchanged emotions and when we made promises.
I saw the scene when I decided to be their support.
The moment I held the sword for the first time and the moment I got on a horse.
All those memories seemed to come back to me vividly one by one.
I never even thought that this path was wrong – I felt proud that the cruel twins leaned on me, that I made them good human beings and protected them from following the path of destruction.
But suddenly, the atmosphere of the dream changed.
I began sweating profusely and it became difficult to breathe.
Asena’s voice rang first – She told me to return the Pryster surname as I was just adopted anyway…
She said she never thought of me as a brother in the first place.
As if pressed by a mountain, my body didn't move.
Next was Keirsey – Kyle’s words were transformed into Keirsey’s voice;
'Ewww you smell!!'
'Why is Oppa so crazy about women? And… why are you so incompetent?'
I saw twins laughing while watching me as I was being bullied.
‘Ah! It is fun.’ Asena said coldly.
It was not the Asena I had always known, but the Asena of the novel.
‘Did you really believe that I liked you? We're different from birth…how could I like you? I just thought you were a toy.
Hehe.’ Kirsey also said.
My feelings didn’t even matter.
I moaned, rejecting the scene in front of my eyes—
These were not twins.
They could never do that to me.
—But the reality didn't change…
Someone shook my body but I was still seeing the nightmare.
'The bond we have built cannot be so light.
no matter how evil they are.
No matter what kind of monster there is in their heart, they can’t be like this to me.' I spoke because, without that belief, I couldn’t stand it.
I opened my eyes to Keirsey’s voice.
My whole body was wet with cold sweat.
I was short of breath and my heart was pounding.
The vicious voice buzzing in my ears was fading away.
“Oppa..! Wake up..!”
Keirsey was next to me, shaking me with a worried expression.
The image of her I had seen in my dream overlapped, so I couldn't say anything for a while.
It was important to understand the situation.
When I rolled my eyes, the orange sunset was coming through the window.
Perhaps I was asleep the whole day.
Maybe it was because I had rested for a long time, and my heavy head had become lighter.
“…Drink some water.”
Someone handed me a glass of water.
With a burning thirst that I felt for a moment, I took the glass and drank it in one breath which calmed me a little.
I looked around the room.
In the still messy room, Asena and Keirsey were there.
Asena had a firm expression on her face, but Keirsey had a worried look.
She wiped my forehead with her sleeve and said, “Where are you hurting? Why are you sweating like this…!”
My eyes were trembling.
“…When did you come?”
“Just now…! I haven’t seen you all day… But what’s going on?”
Was this the same Keirsey who talked behind my back?
I couldn’t even believe it when I saw her.
She was so sweet and so cute in front of me.
But she was the cause of my bullying.
“Why is the room so messy..!”
“…Who is it?”
Asena asked coldly.
Her face was calm, but her voice was not.
“Who did this? Are they someone from the Knight's Department?”
To be honest, it didn’t make sense.
The anger they were showing right now, how could it be a lie?
Do you really not know at all who did this?
I interrupted Keirsey and spoke with a broken heart.
“—Someone was spreading rumors about me.
They think I’m starting to be ignored, so they're bullying me lately.”
They both shut their mouths at the same time as if they were caught.
I had to hold back the burst of laughter.
You know why.
Their reaction confirmed to me that Keirsey had indeed said those things and apparently even Asena had a hand in it.
My head was dizzy, but I continued.
“…I don’t know about politics like this.
I don’t know who’s behind it.”
“…if you want to catch them, you catch them.”
For me, knowing that they were the culprits meant I couldn't do anything anymore.
As in the case with Asena, I didn’t want to fight with Keirsey right now.
It would only weaken the Prysters.
My mind was also not in the right condition.
I was not ready to make big choices.
I didn’t understand anything.
After all this, I still liked them.
The memories I had accumulated made it impossible to forget them.
But how could the twins, who lived those same memories with me, do this to me?
I looked up at the twins but they slowly avoided my eyes as if they were caught.
It made me cry once again.
I looked down slowly and said, “Ah! But even if you catch them, don’t bring them in front of me.”
It was hard to hold back the sadness that erupted.
I wished they could taste the same pain even a little bit, just in case, if they had even the slightest bit of emotion.
I think you’ll hate them a lot.”
Of course… not being able to hate them was the hardest part.
The memories we made were stopping me from actually hating them.
But it didn't mean I was able to forgive them either.
It was impossible.
Asena gently grabbed my arm with one hand.
Keirsey shuddered and sat next to me.
“…Oppa, hug me.”
As if anxious, Keirsey begged.
It confused me.
In the end, I decided there could be two cases.
The first was that the twins really hated me.
They just pretended in front of me to betray me as they did in my dream to see my despair.
It could be that they hated for a commoner to have a Pryster surname.
So they just wanted to torment me.
The second was that they said those things behind my back for some reason I didn't know.
They actually liked me, but they had their own reasons for not being able to express themselves in public.
I couldn’t even imagine what the reason could be…
Was it for the family?
But I was leaning towards the second possibility more and more.
Because if that was not the case, I couldn’t explain the two innocent heartbroken girls wailing in front of me.
Keirsey was still grumbling.
Even if the second case was true, it didn't mean that their actions were justified.
My broken heart was not going anywhere.
I wanted to ask Keirsey who wanted to hug me right now – You said I smell horrible, right? So why do you want to hug me?
I really wanted to ask.
Instead, I gently hugged her.
Though I didn't hug her tightly like before, instead, I hugged her gently like friends.
After giving her a short hug, I fell onto my bed.
Keirsey tried to cling to me, but I pulled away and said, “Can you both just leave? My head is dizzy.
I need some alone time.”
“….Head hurts? …I’ll take care of you.”
Asena said, but I shook my head.
I was frustrated because I didn’t even know her real intentions.
I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I just cut her off.
My tone didn't allow any rebuttal.
✧ ✧ ✧
It was late at night when I finally calmed down.
Finally, I reached a conclusion after taking an emotional rollercoaster ride.
My head felt light and clear.
It didn’t matter what reason the twins had for betraying me.
What mattered was they indeed betrayed me; Insulting me from behind, who cherished them.
They were even going to kick me out of the family, so I decided to make my own decisions now.
I considered a few facts while deciding my future actions.
-Asena and Keirsey were my sisters.
We were together for 10 years and shared many memories, this fact could not be changed.
-I never intended to break my promise so I would indeed become their support.
Though the method would solely depend on my convenience.
-And I was a Pryster.
Yes, I was a Pryster for 10 years.
Just because my surname could be taken didn't mean my pride could be taken as well.
I had forgotten that.
‘Don’t touch us.’
The days when I pondered over our motto came back to me.
A Pryster must never act pathetic, I decided.
Right now, Asena and Keirsey were touching my feelings.
Even though I was their older brother, my heart was being dragged around in the mud.
It was necessary to reverse the relationship.
The stigma of being a commoner seemed to have influenced my behavior as well…
I always heard people became stronger in trials.
I thought something like that was happening to me too.
My heart hardened, it refreshed my head and made things clearer.
I decided not to be ignored and looked down upon anymore.
'Am I incompetent?'
'Am I going to be expelled from the family?'
I wouldn’t let you do it even if you wanted to; It would depend solely on myself if I wanted to keep Pryster behind my name.
But it was not that easy.
I would have to be in an overwhelming position if I didn't want to let the Head of the House Pryster dictate my life.
To prevent the twins from insulting me anymore, I just had to be better than them.
There were several ways.
One: Become the strongest and most reputable knight.
If I could become such a knight, any family's status would rise just by affiliating with me.
Two: Get a backer.
If I had someone with immense influence as my backer, anyone would want to have a good relationship with me.
Suddenly, grandma's words began to ring in my ears.
If I could marry a girl from a strong noble House…
No more words were needed.
Three: Get followers.
If I could gain followers in the academy, I could create my own powerful factions that would help only me.
'So which of these three methods should I choose?'
The decision was made quickly.
I decided to follow all three methods at the same time.
[T/N: And with this chapter, the mass release comes to an end.
Chapter 18 will be updated next week.
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