Chapter 01: The Villain Twins
As an adult, I didn’t have any major ups and downs.
There was no stress at work.
Since I lived alone, I did not lack money either: it was not enough to buy a car or a house, but I had no complaints.
But because there weren’t many fun things to do, life became a little boring.
My days went by normally.
Returning home after work, ordering delicious food, opening three or four cans of beer, and reading web novels became a daily routine.
But today, even reading the novel didn't feel as much fun.
The novel I was reading was an ordinary 'Academy' one.
The author gave only 'sweet potatoes' throughout the first half.
[T/N: In Korea, it is said if one eats too many 'sweet potatoes' they might feel frustrated and stifled.
The MC probably felt the same way after reading the first half of the novel.
Hence he compared the first half with the sweet potatoes.]
The main character’s name was also weird.
Yet I persevered.
But now I was getting a little frustrated.
If one considered the strong suit of this novel, it was its characters.
Whether they were the heroines around the main character or the main character’s allies, the characters were three-dimensional and interesting.
To be honest, it’s a novel that I had been reading only for its characters.
However, the villains—who couldn't find any charm in such characters—constantly smashed them.
“… ah… that’s so annoying…”
The villains were twins: Asena Pryster and Keirsey Pryster.
Between them, Asena was the older sister, and she was also the head of the Pryster House.
Both of them mercilessly trampled on the people around the main character.
As if trying to put their motto–Never touch a Pryster–into practice, they thoroughly smashed everything they wanted.
No mercy was shown.
It was as if they were born without emotions.
The author didn’t even explain the secrets of the twins.
If Asena or Keirsey ever made a move, it was impossible to retaliate, and just like that, one more character would be gone.
It was as if the author lacked the ability to write and hence used the twins to get rid of the characters that had to be eliminated from the story.
Are they devise characters for the novel?
They seemed to be used in the same way as the executioners.
Even today, my favorite character, ‘Daisy Hexter’, was mercilessly trampled on by the Pryster twins and disappeared into the back of the novel.
In the end, I took action.
‘Daisy is so cute!’
‘Gather up, Daisy fans..!’
‘I love you, Daisy, really!’
the same cheering comments were erased with tears in my eyes.
Finally, after drinking one more beer, I put my hand on the keyboard.
‘Writer, I can’t understand the villains.
To be honest, I think they lack charm.’
I pressed 'enter'.
And then, I transmigrated.
✧ ✧ ✧
I possessed a child named Cayden, who was growing up in the ‘Hexter Orphanage’.
I honestly didn’t know who he was.
If it wasn’t for this orphanage sponsored by the family of my favorite ‘Daisy Hexter’, I wouldn’t have known that I was transmigrated in that novel.
So obviously, the characters of the novel did not appear around me.
It didn’t seem like they would show up.
The Academy, the setting of the novel, was also a far-off place for me.
In this strict worldview of the class system, I was not in a place where I, an orphan and commoner, could be involved.
Only nobles can attend the academy.
The point was I, Cayden, had nothing to do with the novel.
So it’s insanely absurd.
If it was like this, I wondered why was I even transmigrated.
But that didn’t mean I was discouraged.
As time went by, I just naturally accepted this life.
Because there was nothing else I could do.
For two years, I took care of the orphanage children.
It wasn’t difficult for me as an adult.
Gradually, I was also feeling happy.
My theory is that children should unconditionally be treated with care and respect.
So I poured out my affection by loving, scolding, and playing pranks on the orphanage’s younger siblings.
To be honest, I came to like my younger siblings a lot.
Ewin, an innocent girl, Knox, who dreams of becoming a chef, Keila, who likes flowers, etc…
They gave back to me as much as I poured out my love.
The nuns looked at this with a lot of respect.
Always saying that they were so proud of my actions.
… well, it wasn’t really a big compliment to me as an adult.
Then that day came.
One day, the nun called me and took me to the interview room.
The nuns were shaking.
It was my first time seeing them behave so strangely.
Soon, we arrived in a small room.
There was an old woman inside.
“Hello, Cayden,” she said.
“My name is Liana Pryster.”
✧ ✧ ✧
I, Liana, the former Duchess of Pryster House, had a problem.
My son, who was also the head of the household, passed away.
He went away just like my daughter-in-law.
I didn’t know how many tears I shed.
I didn’t want to be seen by others, so I secretly hid in his room and cried.
Because the mighty Pryster can’t cry.
I behaved the same when my husband left me alone to take care of our son.
And now, even that son was gone.
No parent should have the experience of burying their child in the ground.
This suffering was too great an ordeal to endure without a husband.
But the Prysters could not be weakened.
The family that my husband and son had protected could not fall here.
With other families staring at us, I came to power with my wrinkled hands.
“Never touch the Prysters,” I recited our motto.
Fortunately, there were a lot of things left behind by my husband and son, so it was easier for me to protect the Pryster House.
The rebellions that had been ignited in my son’s absence were quickly extinguished, the alliances were strengthened, and more time was bought.
It had taken me three months to do all of this.
Then some things caught my eye.
Things I couldn’t see since I was too busy.
Asena and Keirsey…
Legacy of my son and daughter-in-law.
I was so busy protecting the House, I couldn’t take care of the real family.
My granddaughters still couldn’t accept that their parents had left.
They were getting thinner day by day.
The emotions they always expressed were also reduced.
Their eyes seemed to be dying.
I also tried to approach them, but it was not easy.
We didn't have a friendly relationship in the first place.
Of course, I loved my granddaughters more than anything, but I never expressed it in front of them.
It was the responsibility of my son and daughter-in-law.
When those two showered love, I wanted to show the dignity of the house.
This relationship could not be changed suddenly.
If I had known this was going to happen, I would have expressed more love… Alas, the regrets were already too late.
I didn’t know what to do with the children.
Rather, it was something I felt was way more difficult than politics.
Still, I tried harder, but another month passed and a realization hit me.
I couldn’t be their support.
The entrenched relationship was too strong.
The children never depended on me, and I started to be more vigilant.
The twins kept their faces stiff in front of me.
It seemed that it was only uncomfortable for them to be open to me, who always had a hard expression.
Thein, the House's butler, suggested that if they couldn't be open to me, then let’s find someone else.
Let’s find someone who will be a servant and a friend.
If children of the same age gave strength to them, the twins might be able to stand up.
I couldn’t help but nod my head.
It’s unclear whether the plan would succeed, but it was hard to let go.
I informed numerous employees.
To find a child in an orphanage, or in any other village, who was well-behaved and had a good personality.
A few weeks later, I received a list of children.
In the meantime, the granddaughters, who were like flowers, withered even more.
Lately, it’s been hard for them to sit down, so they’ve just been lying in bed.
I took action.
Since I didn't want to waste any time, I thought it would be quicker to go and check it with my own eyes.
The results were disappointing.
The common people can’t help it because they don’t have any education.
Many children acted according to their instincts, like wild animals.
Still, I was calculating in my head.
Eventually, I will have to approve at least one person.
It was difficult to establish an edge, but I was choosing a candidate.
And then we arrived at the last orphanage.
It was an orphanage sponsored by the Hexter family.
The first thing I heard as soon as I arrived was the laughter of bright children.
Innocent laughter and bright smiles.
It was such innocence of the children, which was hard to see in any other orphanage.
It was the look I wanted to see on my granddaughters.
I blankly lost my gaze.
At the center of the ruckus was a child named Cayden.
I watched him for a moment, then kept watching him from afar.
He became my favorite child the more I watched him.
He was caring, thoughtful, and courageous.
A few hours passed like that.
Before I knew it, I thought it was a waste to keep him as a servant or friend of my granddaughters.
He was the light that could be a guide for Asena and Keirsey.
I knew that if a child could grow up like that without parents, he would shine even more when he received the support of his family.
Although he was a commoner, it mattered little to me.
I had already erased all the other candidates from my head.
Now all I wanted was that kid named Cayden.
I visited the nuns in the orphanage and talked to them.
The nuns told me everything after hearing 'Pryster' after my name.
Cayden was more of a gemstone than I expected.
I heard many events and stories that the nuns admired.
So, I decided.
Let’s make Cayden the older brother of my granddaughters.
Even though he was from a commoner… and there will be many controversies, but Cayden was outstanding and I couldn't see my granddaughters in such a state anymore.
So I hurriedly fulfilled all the formalities.
I met him after adopting him.
No matter what he said, I was confident I would make him follow me.
I was going to listen to any request.
But on the other hand… I wondered why would he even refuse.
The Prysters were wealthy and Cayden would have a luxurious life as the eldest son.
It’s a chance he’ll never have again.
If Cayden was wise, he would accept instantly.
I have decided to adopt you.”
Then I revealed my name.
“My name is Liana Pryster.”
I told him about my family and asked if he would like to be adopted.
After telling the story of the twin granddaughters, I asked him to take care of them like the brothers in the orphanage.
His expression turned to astonishment.
… I was a little puzzled.
For some reason, he was most surprised by the name called ‘Pryster’.
Of course, I didn’t really care about that little thing.
But Cayden turned down the offer.
He said he was worried about the younger siblings who would remain in the orphanage.
He seemed to be hiding another reason…
Of course, it was not a lie that he was worried about his younger siblings.
I could tell that he was genuine.
Moreover, it was an answer that made me smile.
Leaving your back on a comfortable life and choosing your younger siblings.
How reassuring it would be if this child could become the older brother of my granddaughters.
This was not a difficult negotiation for me.
Because if he was hesitating just for his younger siblings, I just had to use that fact.
“Cayden, if you follow me, I will take care of the orphanage.”
I promised to spare no support so that Cayden’s younger siblings would not starve to death even in a bad year.
I made such a promise because I had already noticed how skinny most children in the orphanage were.
Finding food for them was easy for me and if Cayden's heart was sincere, there was no reason for him to make a different choice now –
“… I’ll go.”
–And I was right.
I smiled gently at my new grandson.
“From now on, your name will be Cayden Pryster.”
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