Chapter 04: Again, the villain.
[T/N: Update Schedule; I had translated about 10 chapters already in the last month, but they still need editing.
So I am trying to edit a single chapter daily and upload it on the same day, and I will continue to do so until I run out of stockpile.
But after that, most probably, I'll be able to upload only two chapters a week.
As usual, I came into Asena's room to wake her.
Keirsey was also there because yesterday, we slept together.
Asena immediately responded to my voice and smiled.
This was a smile that could only be seen in the morning.
With her eyes closed, she spread her arms out.
I tried to hold her in my arms, as usual, but at that moment—
“sister!! Stop procrastinating and get up!”
—The excited Keirsey ran and shouted.
Asena was startled, her eyes widened, and her arm was retrieved.
“Today is the day we'll go to the academy!”
“Why are you here…?”
Suddenly, Asena sat on the back of the bed and asked with a slightly stiff face.
She pulled the blanket up to her neck and took a defensive posture.
I once again opened my arms to Asena.
“Come on, Asena.
Come here at once.”
Asena looked at Keirsey and me, alternately, and said with a firm expression on her face.
Today is fine.”
“…okay? Then don’t.”
She sighed in an audible voice.
You woke up early today?” Asena asked her.
“yes! I had trouble sleeping because of excitement, but today I woke up earlier because I slept with brother.”
At Keirsey’s answer, Asena frowned.
“You slept with brother?”
“But I told you to go back to your room yesterday.”
Asena stumbled out of bed, then she picked up the kettle on the table, and started pouring tea into a teacup.
“Yesterday?” I couldn't help but ask her, but instead of Asena, Keirsey replied.
“Ah, I ran into sister in front of brother’s room, yesterday.”
When I asked Asena to confirm, her hand stopped pouring tea.
Then she stuttered a little and spoke as if making an excuse.
“How did you two meet in front of my room?”
“…I have something to tell you.”
Asena did not even look at me and muttered in a crawling sound.
I couldn’t even hear what she was saying.
I wanted to ask again, but it didn’t seem like a particularly important story, so I skipped it.
“Ah, when everyone is prepared, let’s go and eat first.
We don't have much time today; we will have to eat and go right away.”
The preparations were finished yesterday, but we had to move quickly.
It would take approximately two days to reach the academy.
We made a plan to arrive a day or so before the entrance ceremony, but it may not be enough.
So we decided to only eat breakfast and leave.
The twins nodded at my words, and we headed to the dining room.
✧ ✧ ✧
After dinner, the castle became noisy.
After I said my final goodbyes to everyone, I stood in an empty lot lined with wagons and escorts to pick us up.
The twins hadn’t come out yet, saying they had something to prepare.
I smiled and greeted Thein, who was the butler, and Lawrence, who taught me the sword.
“Thank you, everyone.
I’ll be fine.”
“Come back safely, Master.”
“Master, don’t neglect training just because you are talented!”
We shared a conversation while waiting patiently for the twins to appear.
For a moment, Thein and Lawrence’s faces hardened, and they bowed in greeting.
Looking back, I saw Grandma approaching with a kind smile.
We spoke our greetings, and once grandma acknowledged them, Thien and Lawrence also left their seats.
Grandma came over and gave me a light hug.
“Are you ready?”
Don’t forget the notes.”
“Do not worry.”
She looked at me with affectionate eyes, and lightly stroked my cheek.
“…it will be difficult.”
“You have to be stronger to withstand the territoriality of the aristocrats… I hope that the Pryster family will be your shield.”
Grandma was worried, but I didn’t think anyone would easily ignore the ‘Pryster’ at the end of my name, no matter how much anyone called me an adopted child.
Of course, the truth is, I would have to go to find out, but for the time being, alleviating grandmother’s worries was the first priority.
“Do not worry.
Even if someone ignores me, I won’t be shaken.”
When I spoke proudly with my arms wide open, Grandma laughed.
I am so proud that you are my grandson.”
She smiled, gradually hardening her face.
Then she looked around for a moment.
Of course, no one was there to overhear our conversation.
Realizing that no one was watching us, Grandma leaned over to me.
Actually, I have one more request.”
She spoke in a subdued tone.
I also hardened my expression and tilted my upper body.
“…Yes, tell me.”
“It is not a burden.
But if you succeed in this, I think it will be of great help to us Prysters.”
“…I am listening.”
“…do you know the fastest way to increase the power of a family?”
Several methods ran through my head.
How to spread fear by stepping on others, how to occupy a high office, how to take everything through war, etc…
These were the methods Asena and Keirsey followed in the novel.
But without waiting for my answer, Grandma said.
More peaceful and faster than any other method.”
“…I think so.”
“I’ve tried a lot to find your partner.
But no matter how much I talk about your charm, it’s hard to find a suitable girl.”
My origin must have been the problem.
Unless it was a really weak noble family, it might have been rude to bring out my name.
“But why don’t you go to the academy this time? You will be able to meet the young girls of many families.
There will be beautiful girls, and there will be good and wise girls as well.
It is also an opportunity to see and judge with your own eyes.”
“…Cayden, try to seduce the daughter of the great nobleman you like.”
“Oh, my grandma too.”
I was holding my breath and listening because I thought it was an important story, but my tension was gone and I smiled and stood up.
But Grandma was not smiling.
Seeing her expression, I smiled again and asked.
“…are you serious?”
“It’s true, Cayden.
It’s a good story for you too.
As I said, it’s not a burden.
It’s okay if you don’t have a favorite girl.
But… if you have someone you like and she is from a strong family, you might want to take a chance.
It will be a great help to our family as well.”
I digested her words slowly.
So, the choice is entirely mine, but if I could create an engagement relationship that could strengthen our family, it was indeed something to be greedy about.
“…you are a charming kid, Cayden.
If you put your mind to it, you will have a chance.
Also, don’t noble girls always dream about knights?”
She grinned, which, for a moment, relaxed the heavy atmosphere.
I also exhaled and waved my hands.
“…what are you both talking about?”
Suddenly, Asena’s cold voice came from behind us.
As I turned around, Asena, wearing a long-brimmed dress was walking towards us.
With her cold obsidian eyes, she took turns looking at me and grandma.
“… She's inside.
So what were you talking about?”
I glanced at grandma.
Who shrugged her shoulders as if she enjoyed our brief secret talk.
I smiled at her expression and turned around to see Asena.
“We were just talking nonsense.
Don't worry about it.”
From afar, Kirsi called me while running.
She stopped in front of me and turned around, showing off her clothes.
“What do you think? Pretty?”
I pinched her cheek.
Keirsey smiled contentedly.
Slowly, I looked around.
“…well…are you guys ready now?”
Everyone’s attention was focused on this place.
After accepting Keirsey in her arms with a smile, grandma grabbed Asena’s shoulder.
Asena nodded lightly and opened her mouth carefully to give her final goodbyes for everyone to hear.
It was a good speech.
She asked them to take care of this place while we were away and to take good care of our grandma.
After she finished her speech in an orderly manner with a dignity that I could not imitate, she gave the orders to depart.
The guards began to move from the front.
In the meantime, the three of us said our last goodbyes to Grandma.
“Grandma, we will go now.”
“Have a good trip.”
The relationship between grandma and the twins was still a bit stiff.
But no one could say that it’s not an affectionate relationship.
After a short greeting, the twins got into the carriage first.
I looked back at my grandmother.
“Grandma, I'll go too…”
I stopped talking.
Grandma’s eyes were watching me intently.
She grabbed my hand with one hand and covered it with the other and patted it.
I didn’t feel like I had to say anything.
Her whole heart was transmitted through her hands.
I smiled lightly and nodded toward her.
Grandma nodded her head and then let go of my hand.
Then, without saying a word, I got into the carriage.
✧ ✧ ✧
After a moment of gloomy parting, our carriage heading to the academy became noisy.
It was mainly because of Keirsey.
“Ah… so excited…”
At Keirsey’s bright voice, I put the conversation I had with grandma behind my head.
Riding on the contagious feelings of Keirsey, I asked with a smile.
“What are you looking forward to?”
“Meeting new friends…
How fun would it be?”
“Would anyone become your friend?” I tried to mess with her—
—and the cuteness of her determined face was worth it.
“You can make friends with anyone,” I said, and they weren't empty words.
It would have been difficult if it was Kiersey of the novel, but now Keirsey was different.
She didn’t get angry easily and knew how to respect others' feelings.
She would also say a lot of nice and caring words and she looked amazingly beautiful.
How could such a girl have difficulties in making friends?
In addition, in the novel, none of the characters, who were in the same class as the twins, had weird personalities.
Actually, only Asena and Keirsey were the problem.
But since I had rectified them… the academy life would be easy.
Seriously, the characters in the novel should bow to me as I protected them from inevitable ruins that lay in their future.
Was I the hidden hero?
Asena drew our attention as she loosened her neck.
Both, me and Keirsey, stopped laughing and looked at her.
As soon as she got our attention, for a moment, Asena looked at me once and avoided my gaze.
Even though she called us, she seemed a bit embarrassed.
I was puzzled.
It was usually impossible for her to act this way.
“Do you have something to say?”
When I asked Asena, she looked at me with more difficulty.
“…when we get to the academy… let’s be careful of the ice dukes.”
House Ice was the complete opposite of House Pryster.
Unlike the Prysters, located in the southern plains, the Ice family was located in the northern mountains.
In the novel, it was a family of pioneers, but now, as a member of the Pryster family, we would be on opposite sides.
It wasn’t that House Ice was evil or annoying.
Instead, it was a family that made many rational and just choices.
It just didn't have a good history with Pryster House.
There was no problem in our generation, but it was said that wars occurred frequently up to the generation of grandma.
But I caught Asena’s tone of voice.
We had already talked about the Ice family many times, so Asena must have more to say.
I could tell just by looking at her expression.
“What is it, Asena? Tell me.”
Come to think of it, Asena said that she came to me the night before because she wanted to say something.
Asena blinked at my question.
Losing her focus, she looked into the distance, as if contemplating something.
Finally, she took a deep breath as if she had made a decision.
Then she met my eyes and spoke in an unwavering tone as if she had been preparing for a long time.
“Brother, one order.”
those were heavy words.
Suddenly, I had an ominous feeling.
“…After you graduate, return the ‘Pryster’ surname.”
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