Chapter 20: One Flower (4)


Was it really short?


I might have made a mistake.


I pinned the lance under my armpit and aimed forward.




Asena and Keirsey stared at me and asked curiously.


But I kept doing it and counted periodically.




The lance soon became heavy and the tip of the lance began to lower.


I was sure: The lance was shorter and lighter.
Because there was a difference from my original record.


If it was an ordinary knight, they would not have known it, but I was sensitive to subtle differences as I practiced with a standard lance every day.


I looked at Asena.
She still had her characteristically firm expression.


Normally, I would have thought that it was just a mistake, but I couldn't think it was a mistake this time because she had a history of talking behind the scenes.


In the first place, Asena rarely made mistakes on important things.
So personally, I felt it was intentional.


“Asena, I think this is a little short?”


I asked and focused on her expressions.


She wasn’t surprised like someone who heard something unexpected.
Instead, she swallowed saliva like someone caught doing something wrong.


Her firm face was broken, and it was colored with embarrassment rather than surprise.


She averted her gaze and looked around as if thinking of an excuse.


So, this was indeed intentional.
I, who had known Asena since childhood, could at least discern this much.
But It was a fact that came to me as a shock.


“…Short?” She asked cautiously.
“…Yes, I ordered it to be light and short.
Is this disadvantageous?”


Seeing me not answering her, she continued:


“Ah… well, we have a competition lance, so let’s throw it away and use that.”


She stuttered anxiously, trying to rectify the situation.
I could tell she didn’t want me to find out about this.


Still, I was glad she was behaving that way.
Asena, who I read in the novel, was instead proud of her evil deeds.


“I’m sorry, Oppa… I must have made a mistake.”


Still looking at the lance she brought without looking at me.
She, too, seemed to know that if this was intentional, it wouldn’t be a simple matter.




Why is she doing this to me?




Gossiping about me, telling me not to go to the jousting contest, and eventually messing around with my weapon.


Was she ashamed?


I asked her a few days ago: Do you want me to live like a dead mouse?


She said it wasn’t the case, but that’s exactly what she did.


To be honest, I was starting to get pissed off.


Did she just want me to hide inside the Pryster castle? Was she ashamed of me coming in the public?


I raised her.
I became a pillar on which I expected her to lean when she was having a hard time.
I did my best to fill the vacancy of her parents.


But she just underestimated and ignored me.
She downgraded me for being incompetent in front of people and promised to expel me.


She couldn't have any faith in me, regardless of the memories we had built up through my efforts.




I mixed my frustrated heart with a sigh and let it go.


Yeah, her actions didn't change what I was going to do anyway.
Rather, it motivated me further to achieve the three goals I had set for myself.


I gripped the lance tightly.


'I’ll show you that even with a disadvantageous lance I'm more competent than others, that I’m more suited to be called Pryster than anyone else.'


“No, I’ll use this lance,” I spoke in a confident voice.


Keirsey, who was watching the whole situation from the side, murmured.


“But it’s disadvantageous…
What if you get hurt?”


'I have to stand up from my disadvantage, so you won’t ignore me.' I thought to myself.


“Don’t worry,” I assured Keirsey and turned my head to Asena.
“Asena, do you remember what we promised?”




She asked, blankly.


She must still be ashamed that I had caught her red-handed.


“Promise, remember?”


“What promise…?”


“I asked you to cheer for me and you promised you will.”




“…watch me carefully.”


She stiffened and nodded her head.
Her eyes still couldn’t look into mine.


✧ ✧ ✧


The twins left, and I got onto Storm and put my helmet on.


Storm wasn't used to this much weight yet because it was the first time I was wearing such heavy armor while riding him.


“It’s okay.”


I consoled him and rode him around in the tent to get him used to of added weight.


Suddenly a boy poked his head inside the tent and spoke:


“Are you ready?”




“Soon, the competition will start! Make the final preparations and come out when you hear the call!”


“I get it.”


After the boy had finished speaking, he hurriedly ran towards the next tent.


I had nothing more to prepare.
I was just thinking about not being swayed by Asena's betrayal.


I didn't want to be bullied anymore, and I hated being ignored by twins even more.


But words were meaningless.
Now, I just had to show them, I just had to prove to them I was a Pryster as well.
And a Pryster could never be so pathetic.


They’d only seen me train, they’d never seen me in such a direct battle like this.
So I wanted to show them properly that my hard work wasn't in vain, and that I was not incompetent.


‘The next Knight belongs to the Pryster family!—’


As the host introduced me, boos began to pour out.
That enthusiastic booing caused me to laugh.


A hostile group was an enemy.
I first confirmed the voices of the enemies that I must press and dominate.


Being Pryster might be helpful in this regard.
In the end, it was the family of the villains in the novel.
So indeed, there would be many aristocrats who look at our family with not-so-comfortable eyes.


It was rather good.


The bigger and stronger enemy I defeated, the stronger I would look.
And the moment I succeeded and overturned my reputation, all the students in the academy would begin to recognize me.
Then the twins would have no choice but to acknowledge me as well.


'—Cayden Pryster!'




I rode the Storm and headed out of the tent.


As if the curtain was being removed, the booing sound became more and more clear.


Instead of feeling dejected, I puffed my chest and stood up to the boos.


I looked around the crowd and found Asena and Keirsey sitting with other student council members.


'Is this what you wanted? I didn’t expect anything in return…
but is this the result of my efforts?'


Suddenly, another girl caught my eye.




I’d been preparing this gift for the twins… but I changed my mind.


I remembered grandma's words.


‘If there is a child you like, don't hesitate to pursue her.’


✧ ✧ ✧


One by one, all the knights who faced Cayden were smashed.


No one could be his opponent.


No one could hold out more than once.


The son of a famous knight family, a man with an overbearing size, and a knight who seemed invincible, if he collided with Cayden, he would fall out of the horse.
It was overwhelming.


His appearance, united with a horse, was like a huge beast, and even those who booed at first swallowed up in fear one by one and shut their mouths.
They had just heard some rumors about Cayden Pryster and cursed him, but they were looking at Cayden who was completely opposite of the rumors they had heard.
So how could they continue to boo him anymore? Now there were even people cheering for him.


After responding with no indifference to all booing and criticism, Cayden was proving himself by stepping on everyone with his skills.
It seemed to show just how much effort he had put in, so the students even began to feel guilty without realizing it.


Asena's mind was also far from calm.


Every time she looked at him, her heart thumped as if it would come out of her chest at any moment.


Every time Cayden flicked Storm’s reins and dashed fearlessly towards his opponent, he took her breath away.


He was unbelievably cool, and Asena's urge for him was greater than ever.
As if in magic, she could only see him.


Nothing else made her heart feel this way.
It was the first time she had seen his wild and manly appearance.
He was already perfect, but today's appearance combined with it seemed to grab Asena’s heart.


She wished Cayden to be only hers.
Then there would be no need to put up with this urge.
As soon as the jousting match was over, she could lead him to his room to hug and kiss him.


It was a pity that she couldn’t.
She was way more impatient today.


Asena was also confused.
At first, she just wanted him to be eliminated quickly and not appear in front of the academy’s students.
But seeing him fight in person, she couldn’t.


Her hands were sweaty and her legs were shaking.
Every time he defeated an opponent that seemed impossible to win, she gripped the hem of her skirt.


If someone saw Asena now, they would think she was in great pain; Her cheeks were red like never before, and she was exhaling roughly.
It was only because of Cayden's performance that it went unnoticed.


Everyone was captivated by his overwhelming skills and confidence, and they couldn’t even think of shifting their eyes from him and seeing anything else.


‘…Unlike rumors, the real skill is good…’


‘..I knew it.
That's why I was quiet even when everyone was swearing.’


‘…that’s…that’s cool.
Isn’t he like a perfect knight?’


‘My heart is pounding…’


In Asena's eyes, these were unforgivable words, but she was already having a hard time controlling herself.
So she couldn't pay attention to those words.


In addition, Cayden looked at Asena every time he took the opponent off the horse.
His face was covered by a helmet, so she couldn’t see his expression.
But every time he turned his head, Asena’s heart seemed to drop.


It was as if he was asking for support as promised.
Every time Cayden looked at her, she raised her hand resting on her knee and waved it.
She continued her own cheering but she made sure that no one could see her.
She had to suppress the desire to shout his name to not foil her initial plans.
Just cheering for him could be seen as a younger sister supporting her elder brother, she couldn't let it happen no matter what.


Soon, the last moment had come.


The host shouted with an excited voice.


“It’s the final!”


No booing could be found.


Everyone cheered for the two knights one by one.
There was an overwhelming amount of support for Cayden as well.


Everyone was in awe of the knight who turned boos into cheers.


The host began to introduce the finalists.


“Here on the white horse! Judy Ice from the House Ice!”


Cheers poured out.


As the enthusiastic cheering gradually faded, the manager’s gaze turned to Cayden.


“Invincible! No one can stand against this knight: Cayden Pryster from the House Pryster!”


Everyone cheered even more loudly.
The ground seemed to be shaking with cheers.


They seemed to have forgotten all about the fact that he was the adopted child of the scornful Pryster family.


Cayden bowed his head on the horse and loosened his neck.


At his knightly attitude, the sound of noble girls grabbing their chests and groaning stimulated Asena.


Asena looked around and met Keirsey's gaze, who was looking at her from a seat a little further away.
Keirsey also didn’t seem to like the situation.




With that announcement, the game began.


Storm, Cayden’s horse, screamed and raised his front legs for a moment.
Everyone exclaimed in admiration at the wonderful appearance that would usually appear only in dramas.


Immediately after, the Storm shot like an arrow.


On top of him, Cayden grabbed the lance Asena had prepared, and leaned forward.


The decision was made in an instant.




Two riders passed through the middle of the wooden wall and again, Cayden did not fall.


Judy flew through the sky and a moment later crashed to the ground.


The champion of the competition was decided.


– Woah!!


– He is different!


Cayden raised his lance and looked at his fallen opponent. 


He sat on his horse proudly and waited for the loser to leave.
Even this was an act that stimulated women’s hearts.


He appeared like a noble knight; Not responding to any stimuli, not showing any emotions, he was the perfect picture of a cold, disciplined knight whose stories they had always heard.


Asena looked at him and bit her lip involuntarily.
She wanted to hug him so much.
At the same time, she felt a sense of superiority.
The other noble girls were heartbroken when they saw him.


It wasn’t something she liked, but… Asena knew that it wasn't their mistake.
Because that’s how cool Cayden was.


And that same Cayden cherished herself.
The older brother, who became the main character of this contest, loved and cared for her the most.
He was so cold and strong in front of others but he smiled, joked around, and showed his caring side for her.
That fact alone made her happy.


Judy scrambled to get up, then rode off the horse.
And at that moment, the host called the winner.


“The champion is Cayden Pryster!!”


Everyone gave warm cheers.
Asena finally gave a small applause as well.


The plan didn’t work out the way she had hoped, but she still felt undeniable happiness from Cayden’s success.


“Cayden! Come to the podium!”


Suddenly, Sir Horslow, who had climbed the podium in the center, called him.


Asena could no longer look at him.


Thump! Thump! Thump!


Her heart hurt.
She needed some time to catch her breath.


Still, with courage again, Asena looked up at him.
It was a shame to miss this brilliant moment.


And suddenly, their eyes met.




Ignoring Sir Hoslow’s call to the podium, Cayden looked towards her.
She couldn’t tell the expression on his face that was hidden by the helmet, but he was definitely looking in her direction.


Then, in an instant, he rummaged through his saddle pockets.
And what he brought out was a single flower.


She could see that the flowers they had grown in the garden had finally blossomed.


The fact that the flower in the saddle pocket was still intact clearly showed how overwhelming Cayden's skills were.


Asena inhaled a cold breath.


Even if she tried to maintain a firm expression, it was too difficult and almost impossible.


He slowly rode his horse towards her.


No one made a sound.


– Tugdug.


Hundreds of people were watching this competition, and it was so quiet that the hooves of Storm could be heard.




She waited for him with her eyes raised, trying to control the trembling sound of her breathing.


She had never been so nervous in her life.


Not even Keirsey, but he was coming straight toward her.


Asena knew this moment would be of great help to her plan.


Now that the student council members were questioning the relationship between her and Cayde, this event would be another symbolic moment.


Everyone would still be surprised if she announced that she would hold a wedding ceremony after graduation, but they would soon nod their heads when they would think of this incident.


Cayden suddenly approached Asena.


Asena carefully raised her trembling hands.


Cayden was also handing flower.


A burst of joy filled Asena’s chest.


– Ugh.


Until he passed her.




Asena looked at her hand in disbelief with petals brushing past it.


His shadow passed over her, and the bright sunlight blinded her eyes.


And at that moment, Cayden’s voice echoed in her ears, whose face she couldn’t see because of sunlight.


“To the most beautiful woman.”


But it wasn’t something he was saying to her.


Asena covered the sun with her hands and saw a single flower leaving Cayden's hand, slowly floating in the air, it fell on a girl's lap.


The same girl Asena was sitting with because she was also in the student council.


The flower was in… Daisy's lap.




Asena could not believe what had happened before her very eyes.

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