Chapter 23: Unknown knowledge (2)


“…So, both of you thought I didn’t hear you?”


“Oppa… that…
that’s not…”


Keirsey reached out to hold me in her arms.


I was sure if I let her hug me, my heart would surely weaken again.
Hence, I pointed to her approaching hand and signaled her not to hug me.




Keirsey’s hands fluttered in the air three-four times and then trembled helplessly.
Her hesitation was quite visible through her trembling, indecisive hands.
But I had to be more faithful to my feelings; I was hurt by her words and I didn't want to forgive her so easily.


“…I didn't mean it that way…”


Keirsey lowered her head and muttered in a quiet voice.


“….Are you saying that it is just a misunderstanding?”


I repeated her words so that she could see for herself how strange it sounded.


Keirsey’s face began to turn red.
She opened her mouth three-four times like a fish, but nothing came out.


Instead of Keirsey, who was bewildered, Asena took over the conversation.


“Oppa, Keirsey is telling the truth; it's just a misunderstanding.”


“Is that so?” I asked.


Keirsey was telling Daisy it is not good to be close to Oppa, only speaking from a political point of view.
As Daisy also said, it was really just an advice.”




I was silent for once.


Asena explained logically without any hesitation with a stiff face.


“As you know, Daisy is the eldest daughter of the Hexter family.
Of course, Daisy’s marriage will be important to her family.”




“Especially, the Hexter family is expected to experience a famine from this year to the next year, as the plague has already begun to spread in the estate.
In such a situation, the easiest way to get support is through marriage and alliance with other families.”




I remembered; there was such a thing in the novel as well.


“But, Oppa… if rumors about both you and Daisy spread like that, the Hexter family wouldn't even get to talk about marriage with other families.
So the advice was only meant to distance Daisy from Oppa.
Nothing else.”




Asena approached me one step at a time.
She slowly reached for my hand.


“So, Oppa, please don’t get us wrong.”


Having told me her logic, Asena gently grabbed my hand.
It felt soft to the touch.




“Yes.” She replied.


“…Do you think I’m a fool?”


Asena’s mask shattered rapidly.
Her expression darkened with embarrassment.


“Did you only learn how to deceive others in the political science department?”


“Ah… no…”


Asena stuttered and swallowed.


Keirsey tried to hide behind her, holding Asena’s dress tightly.


“…You made a lot of mistakes today, bullied Daisy too.
Behind the scenes, you tell others not to be friends with me…
I confronted you to get an apology, not excuses.”




I shook Asena’s hand away.
Her expression darkened even more.


“…And do you think I would not be able to tell what Keirsey meant by hearing her tone? If not, why are you making such clumsy excuses?”


If this was the first gossip I heard, I might have believed her; but this wasn't.
Knowing what the twins had to say about me, I wasn't fooled.


I quietly called her name.




My voice echoed throughout the hallway.


With a trembling mouth and eyes filled with tears, Asena whispered quietly while trying to contain her emotions.




As if she had returned to her childhood, she swallowed her tears according to her habit.


“You can’t keep deceiving your Oppa like this.”


“…Oppa… that…
that’s not…”


“Now that you’ve learned how to speak, did you think that you could just lie to your Oppa? Is that what I taught you?”


“…It’s not… how can I…”


“Asena, are you trying to make it difficult when it could have been easy?”


Asena was so anxious for a long time, she immediately reached out and grabbed my hand; It was too fast to react.


“Asena, I said not to—”


Asena shook her head with a trembling head so forcefully, I shut my mouth involuntarily.


At that moment, even Keirsey, who was hiding behind her, reached for my arm.
She hugged my left arm with all her might, wrapping her whole body around it.


Seeing my softened expressions, Asena spoke:


“…I can’t let it go.
I won’t let go until my Oppa forgives me.
Oppa, listen first.
I’m sorry.
I was wrong.
I was too scared that you'd get angry, so I started making excuses.”




Only then did her sincere apologies began to appear.


“I should have apologized first… I'm wrong… I’ll reflect on it…”


She spoke words that would not normally come out of duchess Pryster's mouth and she showed nervousness that was never revealed even in front of me.


Keirsey sniffed and was glued to my arm.
Then, wrapping her free hand around my neck, she began kissing me on the cheek and showed her usual aegyo.
Due to the height difference, she had to jump every time she fired her lips at my cheek.




“Oppa, I’m sorry.
I was also wrong.”


Keirsey, who still pretended to be bright with a tearful expression, clung to me.


My cheeks were covered with her tears and saliva.


– Puch!


“Okay, Oppa? I was wrong.
Don’t be angry, okay?”


“Keirsey, this will not work.”


I said, but even then, a smile began to appear on my face.
I wanted to be angry, but looking at their behavior, I couldn’t anymore.


It was all my fault as an elder brother.
I raised them, loved them more than anything, and even scolded them when they were wrong.
That's why I was already used to forgiving them when they apologized sincerely.
And so, even though Keirsey’s kisses looked ridiculous, the laughter began to come out.




I held back my laughter and brushed off the twins.
From their point of view, they would have only seen my face which was still hardened.


When I pushed them away, Asena’s tears ran down her cheeks, and Keirsey began to hiccup.


Though my anger had already diminished a lot, I didn't want to let the twins go scot-free.
Otherwise, they would always think that their actions had no consequences.








“Really!? Thank you, Oppa.”




Keirsey endured the irregular breathing, and Asena wiped her eyes.


They hurriedly stretched out their arms with smiling faces.


Asena, who hid her skinship even in front of Keirsey’s eyes, prepared to embrace me.


Every time I scolded the twins, I always hugged them to calm them down.
I always mixed carrots and sticks properly while dealing with them.


I did it to show them that I didn't hate them, and I only scolded them because I loved them.
Hence, I usually hugged and patted them until they were fine…


But not today.


Today, I decided to give them a warning.


This was the second time I heard them talking behind my back.
It’s not okay for me to keep getting hurt like this.
I loved them so much but my mind didn't accept being only hurt in return.


“Oppa…?” “…?”


When I still didn’t raise my arms to hug them as usual, the twins called me powerlessly.


“…” “…”


Slowly they began to close the distance even more.
But I raised my hand to stop them.


“…?” “…?”


“…Now it's Oppa's turn to comfort and tell us how much you love us,” Keirsey muttered.


It was as if she was reminding me of something I had forgotten.


But after ignoring her words with difficulty, I picked up my shirt with two fingers, sniffed them, and said:


“Asena, Keirsey, let’s stop hugging.”


“……?” “…..?”


Slowly, their expressions wrinkled.


“People say, I smell.”


One of the rumors Keirsey spread was about the smell of my body.


Seeing that Keirsey had been holding me well since then, it didn’t really seem like my body actually smelled… but it was she who spoke up anyway; so no hugs.


Keirsey made a puzzled sound with a frown on her face.




I answered without hesitation.


“I didn’t know earlier… but now I know.
So no hugs anymore.”


Their outstretched arms began to lower slowly and helplessly.
Asena tilted her head as if she had heard something strange.
As if time had slowed down, Keirsey slowly opened her pink lips.


“… No hugs anymore?…Never?”


Now we are all grown up.”


“….Forever…? Are you saying we won’t do it for the rest of our life?”


Asena reached out and tried to touch my cheek.
I gently avoided her hand.




Not forever, of course; I said so now just to let them realize the consequences of their actions.


Asena said urgently; I had never seen her act so quickly.
It was a very different voice than before.
It seemed much more desperate now.


I… I don’t understand…”


Keirsey also made excuses with a clumsy smile.


“Ahaha… the smell… I… I don’t actually care about such things…!”


I looked at Keirsey with an annoyed gaze and spoke in a flat voice.


“…But I care.”




Keirsey started to panic.
Thousands of thoughts seemed to run through her.
Then she held her breath and looked at me.


“… it is okay to kiss, right?”


“…and that too.” My tone didn't leave any room for rebuttal.
“Good night kisses and the morning kisses are also over.”


I broke the routine we had been doing for 10 years; Asena’s kiss in the morning and the kiss I gave Keirsey at night.
No matter how much we fought, we never missed this routine for more than a day.


“Understood?” I asked.
But not getting any answer I spoke again.
“…This matter is over.
Now, let’s go get some food, okay?”


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