Chapter 36

Aaron arrived at the Pietro estate and met the butler Harold first.
It was the first time he had seen him face to face since his academy break.

“Young lord, have you arrived?”
“Long time no see,  Harold!”
“You’ve become more mature.”
“Yeah, Harold has gotten cooler too.”
Harold coughed loudly, touching the bowtie around his neck.
He had rose greatly in rank since the death of the previous head butler.
His brother didn’t seem to be bothered.
In his fourth year as interim head butler of the ducal estate, Harold became strangely more loyal to Desian.
It wasn’t a bad thing, so he let his brother be.
Aaron walked cheerfully into the duke’s main castle.

“Where is the duke?”
“He’s at his private training grounds in the middle of the castle.”
“I’ll go over there.
It’s a secret from older brother.
But he’ll already know..”
Aaron passed the steps of the castle, past the stairs, and reached a huge set of doors.
Not even a small sound could be heard from behind the door.

‘Should I knock?’

Aaron worried uselessly.
Thanks to years of forced experimentation, Desian’s senses were sharper than anyone else.
He already knew everything.
If he focused his senses just a bit, he could not help but know that his younger brother Aaron Pietro was on the other side of the door.
And Aaron had no intention to hide his energy.
He spoke as he opened the training grounds door.

“Older brother! I have good news.”
“As far as I know, you haven’t finished the academy yet.”
Desian stood leaning against the wall across from the door.
He was neither panting nor sweating.
He had no sparring opponents.
He was likely constantly training alone.

“I came early! Shall we spar like we did back then?”
While sparring with Desian, he had learned his weakness that he had never thought about.

He spoke indifferently, but there was a bite to his words.
Aaron smiled brightly and walked closer to Desian.
Even though it was an indoor gymnasium, there was dirt on the floor.
This was the previous Duke Pietro’s bad taste, but Desian had not bothered to change the soil floor.

“Did you already find out that I met Citrina?”
“I knew that.”
“You don’t know what Citrina said to me.”

Desian glowered.
His black eyelashes curled down like the night.

“I want to know what it is.”
He meant he wanted to know everything when it came to Citrina.
Somehow he even had a strange appetite to chew and swallow the bones.
[TL Note: REALLY hope this is metaphorical]

“Citrina asked me to stop by next week.”
“Why did Citrina say that?”
Citrina had never asked him for anything like that.
Desian’s arms tensed.
It was somehow constantly irritating.
Citrina once asked him a question about Aaron.
She asked if he went to the knights academy.
Desian’s frowned subtly.

“I don’t know that.”
Aaron shrugged his shoulders.

“I’d like to make a suggestion.”
“Shall we go together?”
This time Desian was speechless.
Aaron smiled radiantly.
His older brother, Desian Pietro, was as transparent as ever.
For him, the only variable was Citrina Foluin.

As Aaron had guessed, Desian answered readily.
The two black eyes that met Aaron’s were entangled with an unfamiliar emotion.
The sentiment was something he had never seen in Desian.
Despite it being his older brother, Aaron was startled.
Desian’s feelings grew richer and deeper little by little.
But only for Citrina Foluin.
Was that a good thing?
Aaron liked and respected both Desian and Citrina.
His affection was based on friendly observation.
But even he wasn’t sure.

‘It want us to be a happy family, but it’s not up to me.’

Aaron respected her life as much as he liked Citrina.
As much as he cared for Desian, he hoped he would escape the evil spirit of Toloji and live a normal life.
Just as Aaron was doing now.

“Where are you meeting?”
“A week from now at Citrina’s atelier.
I don’t know why she asked to meet.”
It was a matter to consider for now.
Desian nodded with a blank face at Aaron’s words.
But Aaron could tell that his brother was deeply concerned about the situation now.
It didn’t match with the grave, earnest atmosphere, which made him want to laugh.

“By the way, older brother…”
Aaron asked playfully.
“Pretending to be sweet, pretending to be good, is everything going well?”
Contraty to his mischievous voice, he sounded secretive.
Desian nodded bluntly.

“You won’t be able to stop the rumors forever.”
“I can cut off the rumors.”
Citrina will be shocked if she finds out what you did…”
Aaron’s words trailed off at Desian’s affirmation.

“I won’t let her run away again.”
That was the reason he let her go-  so that he could approach her slowly with a sweet, thoughtful face.
Desian didn’t understand the normal human mindset.
Therefore there was a limit to how well he could pull off being friendly.
The troubled Aaron slowly expressed his opinion.

“Since we blocked the rumors, she won’t know for a while, right?”
“I hope so, seriously.”
Desian slowly turned around.
Citrina didn’t know his real intentions.
So until she had broken down her boundaries completely by growing up, he needed the perfect mask.

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