Why is Brother here? (5)
The two abrupt sentences made Aristine unable to accept the situation for a moment.
Neither of those was something she was expecting to hear.
However, things were different for the person who was causing one of the commotions.
The person repeated, and hurriedly walked up to Aristine with a solemn look on his face.
The court ladies came to their senses a beat later and bowed towards him.
His features were distinctly different from an Irugoian. A beautiful face that was both elegant and delicate.
Blonde and silver hair were said to be hallmarks of the Silvanus Imperial family. Among them, there was one man with dark blond hair that looked like honey.
Furthermore, the color of his eyes was the same peculiar shade of purple as Aristine’s.
His appearance alone practically proved his identity, but most of all, he called Aristine ‘my little sister’.
There was only one person in the world who could call her that.
“Greetings to the Prince of Silvanus.”
There was no way to know why he had suddenly appeared, but the court ladies pushed aside their doubts and greeted him first.
They also didn’t want to earn the disapproval of Aristine’s family.
However, the prince didn’t even look at the court ladies, and quickly grabbed the hand of Aristine, who was sitting on the bed.
“Pregnancy, what do you mean by that?”
His worried eyes scanned Aristine’s haggard complexion.
All things considered, he didn’t look congratulatory towards the pregnancy, so the eyes of the court ladies and Asena sank.
Aristine stared at the man for a while, with disbelief in her eye.
Soon, her lips parted. “Elder brother.”
“Yes, Rineh. It’s big brother.”
The moment she heard those words, Aristine’s face distorted, “Why…”
“I’m sorry for being so late.”
The Prince of Silvanus, Launelian. Seeing the look on Aristine’s face, he hugged her tight.
Aristine pressed her forehead against his shoulder and took a deep breath.
Who knew how long it had been since she had been held by her family like this.
Her elder brother’s shoulders were much broader than they were when she was little, and the hand stroking her back was firm.
“Let’s go home.”
Launelian whispered softly.
The court ladies, who had been silent until then, couldn’t help but interrupt after hearing that.
“What are you…!”
After the words left their mouths, they realized that they had been rude. However, they just couldn’t remain still.
Their anxious gazes turned to Aristine.
‘This is our princess consort!’
‘This is Princess Consort’s home!’
Aristine slowly lifted her head from Launelian’s embrace and looked around.
“Your Highness Hamill, I apologize on behalf of my brother for his discourtesy.”
“…No need. Considering the situation, I understand.”
“Then, will you understand my wish to happily reunite with my older brother whom I haven’t seen in a long time?”
Hamir stared at Aristine for a moment.
He was curious and worried about many things, starting with whether she collapsed because of the pregnancy.
However, he knew it was time to take a step back.
“I shall take my leave.”
After sending him off like that, Aristine turned to Asena and her court ladies.
“Everyone, please leave us alone.”
At those words, the court ladies looked more anxious. However, they had no choice but to follow Aristine’s orders.
They slowly left the room, dragged their reluctant feet behind them.
* * *
The siblings looked at each other for a while without saying anything.
The changes over the past 10 years could be seen in each other’s appearance.
“My little sister.”
Launelian reached out and cupped Aristine’s cheek.
Even though she was now all grown up and married, she still looked like a child to him.
A small child who was always full of scars and silently scanned her surroundings with an indifferent gaze.
Someone once said that her gaze was too dark and unbecoming for a child, but to Launelian, it looked purer than any other gaze.
A child who watched from afar as her father, the emperor, showered endless affection upon her half-sister.
A child who was hurt to the point that she didn’t even know how to whine or say that she was jealous, yet didn’t know how to properly hate the person who hurt her.
It was purer and more heartbreaking than anything Launelian had ever seen.
“You are as pretty as ever.”
He pinched Aristine’s cheek lightly and smiled.
Aristine frowned and pursed her lips.
He was treating a grown married woman like her as a child but still, it didn’t feel too bad.
She hesitated a few times before asking, “Why did you come here?”
He’d rather she said something like ‘I’m happy to see you’ or ‘I missed you’ or even ‘Big brother, you’re still as handsome’.
Although he felt wistful, Launelian smiled like normal, and lightly pinched Aristine’s nose.
As if he already knew his sister would say that.
“What do you mean ‘why’? My little sister is here.”
“But Elder brother……”
Aristine’s words trailed off.
However, Launelian knew exactly what she was trying to say.
Launelian hadn’t been able to return to the empire for a long time. Let alone return, he was bound in the North.
There weren’t many people who could restrict the personal whereabouts of Launelian, an Imperial Prince.
Just as Aristine was imprisoned, Launelian was sent to the North from a very young age. It was said to be for education but that was absolute nonsense.
Her two siblings were like thorns in the eyes of the emperor, so there was no way the emperor would approve of them meeting like this.
Launelian looked at Aristine’s face and patted her shoulder.
“Rineh, you don’t have to worry about anything anymore. Your big brother will protect you now.”
However, that had the opposite effect.
Aristine’s voice grew more anxious and she asked, “Don’t tell me you’re planning a rebellion?”
Launelian smiled without answering. He sighed lightly and stroked Aristine’s hair.
“Because I had no strength all this time, I let my one and only little sister suffer so much.”
“What do you mean ‘only’?”
Both Aristine and Launelian had a younger sister.
When she pointed that out, Launelian frowned.
His purple eyes, which had been full of affection, turned cold in an instant.
“That fox is not my sister. If you think about it, your imprisonment was also…”
“You can’t say that I suffered. Elder brother suffered much more than me.”
Aristine simply changed the subject.
Launelian looked at Aristine as she did that, then his expression relaxed and he chuckled.
“You can’t live in this harsh world if you keep being too kind and considerate of other.”
“You are the only one who says that, Elder brother.”
“Well, no one else needs to know that my little sister is pretty and kind.”
Launelian pecked Aristine on the cheek and opened his palm.
“I brought you a present.”
Then, in his hand which had been empty, a box with a dainty ribbon appeared.
He slid the box into Aristine’s hand.
At those words, Aristine slowly untied the ribbon.
A colorful macaron lay in the box, showing off its cute and delicious appearance.
Aristine stared at it for a while. Her mind was flooded with old memories.
“You snuck me some of this when I was little.”
“That I did.”
“It was delicious.” Aristine mumbled and picked up the macaron. “It was delicious, but after I grew up, I couldn’t really remember what it tasted like.”
There was pain in Launelian’s eyes. But he soon got a hold of his emotions and asked sweetly.
“You like it?”
Aristine bit into the macaron with a crunch.
The crispy and chewy cocoa crumbled and blended with the rich raspberry filing in her mouth.
Aristine nodded without saying a thing.
When she did that, she looked just like when she was a child and Launelian laughed.
However, the trail of that laugh was bittersweet.
Get advanced chapters on Patreon~