Chapter 21: One Flower (5)
The flower that she, Keirsey, and Cayden had grown fell on Daisy’s lap.
“To the most beautiful woman.”
Cayden's soft voice spread throughout the quiet stadium, and everyone woke up from their trance-like state at the words spoken by the noble knight.
The men applauded his courage to give the gift in front of everyone, and the women groaned at the envy of such a romantic gesture; Cheers and whistles, applause and excited shouts, filled the space.
Asena looked around.
She wanted to stop the bursting atmosphere, but it was not so easy.
Because even in her eyes, the image of a handsome knight in black armor handing a flower to such a beautiful girl shone like a painting.
Asena quickly looked around.
Everyone seemed to be cheering for the couple.
It was like a nightmare for her.
The student council president, Lucille Hover, grabbed Asena’s shoulder and spoke into her ear.
“Wow… you have a brave brother.”
Asena bit her lips tightly.
She had to stop this atmosphere.
She couldn't let such a misunderstanding grow.
She wanted to run to Cayden right away to ask what he was doing.
But before she could do that, Cayden turned away without any regrets.
He approached the podium he was called for the first time.
Asena’s eyes eventually fixed on what was left of Daisy Hexter.
Daisy blushed shyly with a bowed head.
Her eyes were fixed on the floor.
In Asena's eyes, Daisy's expressions looked very innocent and honest; Something which a country girl would show upon receiving a marriage proposal.
Asena looked at her coldly.
It looked like Asena was going to laugh at any second; Daisy was now mistaken.
Daisy must have thought it was a flower with many meanings, but it wasn’t; It was just a gift.
He only give her because she was pretty.
Cayden, himself had said it while giving the flower.
Anyway, Cayden had always said that Asena was the prettiest.
Asena had heard it hundreds of times, but Asena still couldn't look at Daisy, who was happy to hear it only once and was shy…
It ended with applause from everyone, and people took their seats one by one.
Asena grabbed her skirt.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
It didn’t mean anything anyway, so she should calm herself now.
…but, her anger did not die.
✧ ✧ ✧
I went back to the makeshift tent with a rapidly beating heart.
I got off Storm and calmed him a little, who was equally excited.
At first, I thought he was just a mean horse, but affection for him was accumulating now.
'Is this the bond Sir Horslow spoke of?'
“You did a great job, Storm.
Thank you, my friend.”
I stroked Storm and said thank you.
Since the lance was short, there were many times when it was really close…
I only overcame those situations with Storm’s consideration each time; Slowing down a little when I miscalculated because of short length or lowering his posture at an appropriate time…
Storm was the most clever horse I had ever seen.
My legs were still trembling.
The excitement of the battle hadn’t gone away yet.
To calm my mind, I took out a flower left in Storm's saddle pocket and took a deep breath.
Initially, I had prepared two flowers.
Of course, they were for twins.
But… I changed my mind in the middle.
'Well, it was somewhat impulsive.'
Without thinking about the consequences, I handed over the present to Daisy because that's what I felt like doing at that moment.
It was embarrassing that people responded as if we were a couple now.
It may become a difficult situation for Daisy later…
Naah, it was a gift that I gave her for being pretty.
What could go wrong?
With such thoughts, I started taking off the heavy armor one by one.
The tent's entrance was flipped like it was affected by a strong gust of wind and someone jumped in.
I was startled by the sound and looked at the entrance hastily.
At the entrance, Keirsey was standing with a stiff face.
Asena followed after her quietly.
Unlike usual, neither Keirsey called me 'Oppa' out loud and jumped in to hug me, nor did she have her pretty smile that showed her cute dimples.
Asena also looked at me with a harder expression than usual.
It was quite intimidating to see twins like that.
'Their brother became the champion and they have faces like that?'
I was confused.
If they were twins I had known and grown up with, their such expressions could only be because I didn’t give them flowers.
But If they were twins who told lies behind my back and deceived me about the lance, they might be dissatisfied because I did well in the jousting match.
'Ugh, it's so confusing…
Well, let's end this awkward silence first,' I thought and opened my mouth.
“…Oppa became the champion.
Won’t you congratulate me?”
Without taking off the last boot on my left leg, I stood up and spread my arms.
It was then that Kirsey moved.
Still, with no expression on her face, she strode closer to me.
…To be honest, I was a bit scared.
From her expression, it seemed she would throw her mask at any second now.
But contrary to my expectations, she started attacking me directly, not with words, but with her hands.
She pushed me on my chest with her arms.
It looked like she was trying to push me against the wall.
However, due to the fierce battle, my body was somewhat defensive against external stimuli, and as a result, I was not pushed.
As soon as I did not push, Keirsey frowned once more and pushed me two more times.
When I still wasn't moved because of her low strength, she started punching my chest without saying a word.
-Puck! Puck! Puck!
Her slender fists didn’t hurt, though.
But I was still confused; It was the first time she did such a thing to me.
I took all of her attacks with my chest puffed.
Hearing my voice, Keirsey’s angry expression began to appear more and more.
She still didn’t stop.
Eventually, I grabbed her hand.
She clasped her arms and struggled, yelling at me.
“Why are you ignoring me?!”
“When I was there too…! Why did you leave me alone and give her the flower?”
She kept trying to pull her arm out as she spoke.
It seemed like she still wanted to hit me.
Storm was snorting next to me as if he was having fun.
I wanted to hug Keirsey and calm her down, but I couldn’t because I thought she would run rampant again if I let go of her arm.
“…Do you want flowers?” I asked.
The answer came in a blink of an eye as if it was obvious.
Still grabbing her wrists with one hand, I reached out with my remaining hand and picked up the flower I had taken out earlier to smell and put it in Keirsey’s hair; It went well with her beautiful silver hair.
But Keirsey shook her head.
“…What does it mean now, Oppa!”
She was so dissatisfied that she was still complaining.
It looked like she was about to cry any moment now.
'You can’t congratulate me when I won.
But what is this? Getting upset about something so silly.'
“And..! It was a flower we grew together..! How can you easily present it to another woman without saying a word?”
“…You helped so I can't even take a single flower?”
When she came out like this, it was not like I had nothing to say.
The words I didn't say because they seemed silly to me poured out.
Taking a deep breath, I asked:
“Keirsey, where were you?”
“If you wanted to receive my gift, shouldn't you have supported me? You could have at least told your Oppa to be strong and that you believed me…”
“Throughout the tournament, I looked at both of you whenever I beat an opponent.
But, weren't you both sulky?”
Power drained from Keirsey’s arms.
But when I started it was best to pour out everything.
“Rather, the people who insulted me cheered me on more.”
Keirsey shut her mouth and looked down at the floor.
“You promised you would cheer for me.
Then why did you both just stand still? I think we met eyes a few times, didn’t you feel that I was waiting for your support?”
Asena and Keirsey didn’t support me to the point of being sad.
Asena waved her hand a little, could it even be called supporting me? Considering the bond we had built, this was an insufficient level.
If it were me and the twins had been competing in some form of competition, I would have cheered enthusiastically.
After all, it was only the twins who knew I was fighting at a disadvantage.
Only the twins would have known that my victory was never as simple as it appeared.
Still, they didn’t support me.
Whether it was because of any mysterious reason or because they really hated me, I couldn’t get any response from the two whose support I wanted the most.
“Didn't you think I would be sad about this?”
I really felt like I was the adopted child of the Pryster, who was abandoned – that everyone was talking about behind the scenes.
It was a really unpleasant feeling.
So I dared to give that flower to Daisy even more.
When I asked Asena, she turned her head away.
There seemed to be nothing left for me to say anymore and only a somber silence was left behind.
'What am I doing on this fine day?'
After sighing, I let Keirsey cry and sat down on the floor.
I even began to take off my armor; Whether they were sad or not wasn't my part.
Outside the tent, the unquenchable heat was overflowing.
The sounds of laughter and singing, drums and musical instruments, were heard.
It was the exact opposite of inside the tent, which was still wrapped in a somber silence.
I had vowed not to bring such a topic in front of the two of them initially, but this seemed to be unavoidable.
In the end, as much as I loved them, I had a desire for recognition as well.
It was said that men lived on recognition and women lived on love, I was no different.
As I roughly took off my gear, Keirsey sneaked up to my right and sat down.
She grabbed my hand hesitantly like a puppy and said.
She seemed to have really felt bad at my words.
There were times when I had to scold them like this.
Whether it was because I was too tolerant or perhaps because they took my love as my weakness, sometimes they didn’t seem to understand my feelings at all.
I accepted Keirsey's apology on the outside but I did not try to hide my hurt feelings either.
I shouldn’t behave like this, but sometimes I can't help but act childish.
Asena also came and sat quietly next to me—
—But she said nothing.
I also stopped acting and just sat still.
“…Just… Just because I’m so envious of her…that’s why I’m so angry…”
She couldn't even finish sentences properly and just kept making excuses while crying; tears were running down her cheeks.
Was it because her cute face was distorted because of irregular breathing, tears, and snot, or was it because she was my little sister in the end? I just couldn't see her cry like that.
I sighed and hugged her head.
She was easily dragged and fell on my lap, but Keirsey continued to weep.
“I was wrong…
It was all my mistake..”
Today is a good day, let’s stop now.”
I gently patted her on her back to comfort her.
Asena quietly murmured next to me.
“…You were great.”
Belated support was sent.
“…Is that so?” I smiled.
Asena flinched slightly from the side.
Because of disturbing incidents of the past, I was unable to understand her true intentions now.
Usually, she used to show this hesitant behavior when she wanted a warm hug.
I couldn’t fully understand her intentions now with a dull head, so I did what I felt like: I raised my hand and pulled Asena toward me.
She was also dragged without any resistance and rested her head on my shoulder.
“…Next time, I’ll cheer you, really,” she said.
It's because I was sad…”
Asena gently rubbed her head on my shoulder and a fragrant scent assaulted my nose.
We sat like this for a few more minutes.
The peace found again calmed my mind a little.
It was as if I had regained the time we had spent in the Pryster estate.
After such a long time, I finally relaxed in the peaceful, silent atmosphere.
Keirsey had already stopped crying and was resting comfortably in my lap, at that time Asena called me.
“……Then… were those flowers originally for us?”
I could feel the atmosphere that had descended heavily on my skin becoming lighter.
“…And why did you give it to Daisy?”
I shrugged; Of course, I didn't have any intention behind giving Daisy that flower.
At that time, I just felt like it.
After seeing me casually shrugging my shoulders, Asena smiled softly.
She pulled her hair behind her ear and looked into my eyes.
“…Then the most beautiful girl is…”
I also looked into her eyes head-on.
“Oh, that’s real.
Daisy was, wow! … So beautiful.”
Asena’s expression hardened immediately at my words that were uttered with admiration.
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