Chapter 03: Midnight Twins
Even when the twins grew up, my devotion did not change.
I was still annoyingly attached to them.
Gradually, the twins began to accept me.
With time, our bond got deeper and deeper.
Six years passed like that.
The twins were 15 and I was 17.
We made many memories in those years.
Asena also became Duchess in the meantime.
Previously, Grandma had been holding out, but now she felt Asena was good enough for the position.
I thought so too.
Asena was brilliant and wise.
She showed mercy when it was time to show mercy, and showed determination when put in a difficult situation.
She grew the Pryster family in a way no one could ignore anymore.
Asena’s aegyo decreased a bit as she grew up, but the stubbornness and obsession to ruin others, or even the fragments of cruelness she showed in the novel, were not present.
I was happy every time I saw her like that.
[T/N: In South Korean Culture, aegyo means to act cute or the ability to look cuter.]
Keirsey was the same as when she was a child; She showed a lot of affection.
Who would think this Keirsy could grow up to become an infamous villain?
With her bouncy charm, she liked to joke with me, and whenever she did something fun, she led me to join her.
Asena liked to read, but Keirsey liked to go out and play.
Either way, they both look healthy, so I’m satisfied.
Grandma seemed to have the same thoughts as me.
Sometimes when I was alone, I wondered how would I have lived if grandma didn't adopt me.
When I read the novel, I thought of Prysters as a villainous House, but now I was starting to think of it as my own family.
I no longer had any bad feelings toward the Prysters.
I also worked harder to be a strong and reliable brother to the twins.
I said I would be their support with my mouth and I will fulfill my promise.
But honestly, there were not many things I could do, especially since I was a commoner, so I had to be strong to be reliable.
After all, Prysters may indeed be powerful but their enemies were not far behind.
In the end, the method I came up with was to become their knight.
Politically, there was no part where I could be of help.
Those were the things Asena and Keirsey were doing well in the first place, and it was the area where I, who was born as a commoner, could do nothing.
Grandma, who cared for me so much, also advised me not to step into politics.
I could understand her intentions.
As I said, this worldview had a strict class system and I had a clear disadvantage in politics.
So, I learned the sword every day from Lawrence, the training leader of the Pryster's knights.
Whenever we trained, Asena or Keirsey would come to watch me train.
Every time they watched me, I tried harder, and my skills improved quickly.
Though we grew up, there were still some things that haven’t changed.
Habits and routines have become a sort of tradition since childhood.
First of all, I woke Asena up every morning.
She became the head of the household and became a little more austere.
She now rarely laughed at my jokes.
One could even say she was cold.
But in the morning, like when we were a child, she showed various emotions.
Is it because no one could see her in the bedroom and she didn't have to act like a duchess? I wondered because only when we are alone, she behaves like a younger sister.
When I called her name, Asena woke up with a small smile.
Then she opened her arms to me.
I held her in my arms and lifted her to the front of the window.
Then, while going to the window, Asena, whose emotional expression had been reduced, gave me a light kiss on the cheek.
I knew it would be the only affection Asena would show me throughout the whole day, and at night, just before I went to sleep, I went to Keirsey's room.
Keirsey and I chatted for a while over a cup of hot tea or milk.
After finishing the cup and after saying good night, I kissed Keirsey’s forehead.
Then I blew out the candles in the room and left and Keirsey went to bed with a bashful smile.
It may have been time to stop these habits, but I would be sad to quit just because I was shy.
The more expressions of affection they showed, the better I felt, and even though a lot of time had already passed, Asena and Keirsey looked like children to me.
So I never addressed the matter to quit such habits.
Such a peaceful time continued to pass.
It was the year I became an adult, that is, 19 years old.
Nobles in this world entered the academy as soon as they reached adulthood.
The same academy, where the whole novel started.
There were no specific admission criteria, as they varied from family to family, but in most cases, everyone enrolled at the age of 19.
I remember looking forward to the day I would enter the academy after becoming an adult.
However, the moment I reached the age of admission, I faced opposition from Asena and Keirsey, who were 17 years old.
They told me to wait two more years.
When it was said that I was going to enter the academy first, Keirsey looked at me with aegyo, swearing, and running errands even after being depressed all day.
Then, when we were alone, she whined and begged me to postpone it for two years.
If you go in now, you will be engaged with them, and we will not see each other for a total of 4 years.
When I thought of that time, Keirsey's cute behavior would come to mind and laughter automatically leaked out.
On the other hand, Asena was a little sassy.
I remember being surprised because it was the first time she gave an order.
You can’t go.”
If you go alone, you will be ignored.
Why did you forget that I became the head of the household instead of you, brother? Do you know how much they look down on commoners from behind?
She spat out harsh words and blocked my way to the academy.
To be honest, she was right.
Even the bastards were ignored and looked down upon in this world, but I didn't have even a drop of 'noble' blood.
Everyone knew I was just adopted, after all.
…but this was something, I already knew.
I told Asena that I was prepared for such things.
She couldn’t find anything to refute.
Only then did I understand why she acted that way.
She had similar thoughts as Keirsey's.
“If I go, you'll feel lonely.”
As I smiled and spoke to her, her hardened face turned red.
And her last words were a fatal blow.
“You said you would always be by my side.”
…I couldn’t leave.
Well, waiting two years wasn’t that difficult.
I also enjoyed spending time with my cute sisters.
And two more years passed, and Asena and Keirsey became adults.
Now, finally, the time has come to enter the academy.
It was the day before we boarded the carriage for the Academy.
Before leaving for the capital for two years, we had our last dinner with Grandma.
Unlike when we first met, she had more wrinkles and had lost some weight.
However, her serious expression did not change.
Grandma gave us a lot of advice.
I nodded my head as I pondered over each one.
Asena also nodded her head with a firm face, and Keirsey sniffed and hugged grandma saying she loved her.
Grandma smiled slightly and asked me to look after the twins.
Which, I assured her not to worry.
After that, we left the room.
✧ ✧ ✧
It had been 11 years since I came to this family.
The spirit and pride of the Prysters were already deeply ingrained in my heart.
My swordsmanship training also has been going well and I was steadily getting stronger.
And to further develop this skill, I applied for the Knights Department.
Asena and Keirsey were in the political science department, following the flow of the novel.
They were the faces that supported the family, so there was no other option.
On the other hand, I was not able to show my face politically, so this is how I built up my strength.
In this world, wars between noble houses were fairly common.
It was good to think of it as a preparation for that time.
Of course, I was never in favor of wars.
But peace can only be maintained through strength.
With such thoughts, I headed to Keirsey's room.
Inside, she was smiling and preparing hot tea.
Today, I had nothing to say.
I only listened to Keirsey.
Who seemed to have high expectations.
I told her to go to sleep early because tomorrow is going to be a meaningful day, I kissed her on the forehead according to our routine and then left the room.
✧ ✧ ✧
Keirsey’s heart was still pounding.
Tomorrow was the day she would enter the academy she had been looking forward to for so long.
She was also anticipating what kind of new friends she would make.
After all, on the remote estate of the Prysters, there were no friends she could meet.
'What will the friends who gather in the capital look like?' She imagined.
If there was one regret, it was her brother, who applied to the Knights Department.
It wasn’t that she didn’t understand his choice, but she was still a little sad.
Had they been able to attend the same class, they would have been able to build many memories there.
With such thoughts, a lot of time had passed, but Keirsey couldn’t sleep.
Now, several new thoughts began to run through her head.
'This is the last time here.'
Keirsey looked up at the ceiling and thought.
'This Pryster's castle, where we lived our whole life…'
Keirsey suddenly jumped out of the bed.
The reason for her abrupt behavior was Cayden, who she could not take out of her head, no matter what.
Whenever she was away from him, her head always thought of Cayden.
The night was so long, she wanted to see him even more.
And today, Keirsey could not control herself.
It’s a fact that both Caden and she knew, but tomorrow they would leave for the academy.
If so, it’s just the last day, so she thought it would be nice to go to sleep and talk for a little bit longer just today.
Just like when they were children, both would lay in bed and would fall asleep while talking.
But unlike when they were children, she didn't want Asena to join them.
She just wanted to talk with Cayden alone.
Kiersey lit a candle and carefully left the room.
Barefoot, feeling the luxurious carpet, she headed to Cayden’s room.
For some reason, with every step she took toward him, she felt excited.
She was worried that it would be difficult to fall asleep in this mood even if they talked the whole night.
Keirsey arrived in front of Cayden’s door without realizing it.
Swallowing her saliva, she put her ear to the door for a moment.
Not hearing any sound, she knocked on the door very lightly.
'Maybe he’s sleeping,' Keirsey thought.
She was a little disappointed–
–but suddenly, she heard the sound of footsteps.
A smile spread on Keirsey’s face with a sense of relief.
It looked like he hadn’t slept yet.
“Oppa, can I come in?”
Since the night is so quiet, he must have heard such a small sound.
Keirsey waited for him to answer, but there was no response for a long time.
She had definitely heard the footsteps.
Then why was there no response?
In an instant, the door swung open.
Keirsey jumped in surprise.
What appeared inside was Asena.
As if caught in theft, Asena's eyes wandered, and looked startled.
Both of her arms hovered in the air vaguely.
It had been a long time since Kiersey had seen Asena look so upset.
Asena quickly cleared her throat, loosened her neck, and asked in a calm voice.
Why are you here at this hour?”
“Why are you here, sister?”
Both of them spoke at the same time.
“Did you come to talk with the brother because of work tomorrow?”
Keirsey peered through the open door and tried to see Cayden.
However, it was dark inside.
“…didn’t even light a fire?”
“When I came, brother was already sleeping.”
Kiersey thought they could talk, but Cayden must have already fallen asleep when Asena came.
As it was their last night in this castle, she wanted to share many stories with him.
“… Then what were you doing inside when the brother is already asleep?” Keirsey asked.
“I came here to talk again about the points to be aware of when entering the academy… But the brother was already sleeping, so I just covered him with blankets.”
“Yes, and go to bed, Keirsey.
I’m going to sleep too.”
Asena tilted her body to leave, shaking Keirsey’s shoulder.
As her face came closer, the candle that Keirsey was holding revealed Asena's face; slightly reddish cheeks and shiny wet lips.
“Sister, why are your lips so moist?”
Just as Asena brushed off Keirsey's shoulder, Keirsey moved her hand toward Asena's lips to clean them.
However, at that touch, Asena pulled her head back in shock like never before.
Then she covered her mouth and showed a look of embarrassment.
After Asena became the head of state, it was impossible to see such a big reaction from her.
Seeing Asena's reaction, Keirsey was so surprised, her heart began pounding.
Asena’s eyes blinked rapidly several times.
Then, Duchess Pryster touched her lips and said, “Oh.”
With a sigh, she wiped her lips roughly with her arm.
Then, she answered in her original voice, dryly.
“…Go to bed, Keirsey.
I am tired now.”
With those last words, she left.
Keirsey looked at Asena who was moving away.
It was incomprehensible behavior, but she dismissed it as something unusual because she was never able to comprehend Asena's mind.
Kirsey grabbed the doorknob to close Cayden’s door.
Then, she looked back in the direction Asena had gone.
She couldn’t even hear Asena's footsteps anymore.
Keirsey slid into Cayden’s room.
She knew he was sleeping, but an intangible power guided her.
She also turned off the candle she was holding.
So that Cayden would not wake up because of the light.
After silently putting the candle holder on the table, Keirsey approached Cayden, who was exhaling a heavy breath.
– Thump! Thump!
Was she so surprised earlier? Her heart was still pounding.
It was then Keirsey realized that it had been a long time since she was looking at the sleeping Cayden.
Suddenly, she leaned close to the bed and looked down at him.
They couldn’t talk, but she still wanted to sleep with him tonight.
“…can I sleep with you?”
She asked a question, but of course, the sleeping Cayden couldn’t answer.
Not hearing any denial, Keirsey leaned carefully and started crawling into Cayden’s bed.
For some reason, her mouth got wet, and Keirsey had to swallow her saliva.
Finally, very carefully, she laid herself on the bed.
Cayden didn’t wake up.
The heart, which was surprised thanks to Asena, seemed to calm down now.
Keirsey looked at Cayden.
He always looked like a sweet older brother.
Just looking at him made her smile.
And at the same time, she felt like it was a pity that it was their last night in the castle.
And she suddenly knew what to do to fill her disappointed heart.
Keirsey closed the distance between them.
Then she carefully raised his arm, who was sleeping soundly and shoved herself under it.
– Thump! Thump! Thump!
Her heart began to beat faster again.
Keirsey was puzzled.
Even though it’s been a long time since they slept together, she had never had her heart pound like this while sleeping with Cayden.
Keirsey concluded that her heart was pounding for fear of waking him up.
Like herself, Cayden would be in the wagon tomorrow and that would be tiring.
He might hate her for waking him up.
Despite the lengthy time she spent with Cayden, Keirsey was not completely comfortable with him.
She still wanted to show him a pretty side.
She still wasn't able to burp in front of him.
She wanted to look beautiful for him.
She didn’t want to be despised by him.
But today Keirsey couldn’t stop.
Even at the risk of waking him up, she still wanted to sleep in his arms.
But her greedy heart was not satisfied even now.
Keirsey suddenly closed all the distance that had been left between them.
Their bodies were stuck now.
…and her heart became much happier than she had imagined.
She was intoxicated.
Keirsey moved again, wanting to get rid of even the smallest gaps.
She slowly raised her arms, trying to cover him.
If she could sleep while hugging him like a pillow, she was really going to stop and be satisfied with that now.
But, perhaps she was too greedy because Cayden woke up with a moan.
“ah..! Brother… I’m sorry.
Are you awake?”
Keirsey was startled and withdrew her arm.
“….What are you doing here? Oh, did I drool? My lips are wet.”
Keirsey hurriedly removed the body that was attached to him.
Initially, she was greedy, but for some reason, when Cayden woke up, she was more sorry than she could have imagined.
“No… today is the last night in this castle… I wanted to talk with you…”
“…Didn’t you finish the story in your room earlier…?”
“…it wasn’t enough.”
Cayden burst out laughing.
Kirsey was also relieved by his laughter.
She was worried about what would happen if he became angry.
“…But we still have to ride the carriage tomorrow.
Let’s stop talking and go to bed.”
Keirsey sighed and raised her upper body to get up.
Cayden refused, so now it seemed like she had to go to her room to sleep without further complaints.
“You came here.
Let’s sleep together today.”
“…if you don’t like it, just go.”
Keirsey flew into Cayden’s arms, fearing that he might change his mind.
He moaned for a moment, but only a laugh escaped Keirsey’s lips.
She was so happy.
Their last day in the castle seemed perfect.
– Thump, Thump, Thump.
Her heart was beating harder.
But she couldn’t find any reason for her happiness.
She wrapped her arms around Cayden's body.
And just like her, Cayden hugged Keirsey tightly.
Keirsey’s heart was full.
it was so cozy It was as if she had returned to her long-lost home.
“…Now go to sleep, Keirsey,” Cayden said in a sleepy but gentle voice.
After answering him, she did not disturb his sleep any longer.
Soon, with deep breaths, Cayden fell asleep.
However, even after entering his warm arms, Kiersey could not sleep for a long time.
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