Stone Thrown into the Lake - Chapter 7
Whether the morning threat worked, Dew’s share was definitely prepared at the lunch table. Yvor, who sat at the front with elegant movements as was her usual habit, wondered if she should have said something only when she saw Duran awkwardly entering.
‘No, would it have been better to go and bring him in person?’
What would it have been like if they were together more than what they are now? Wouldn’t it be better to move to Duran’s place? Thoughts flashed through her mind, she couldn’t say anything.
Queen Yvor Adela, who in the past lived as a snake that possessed the king, had nothing to fear in the world. She was cold blooded, and kept her heart buried deep inside her.
For Yvor, it was normal to think of everything alone, to decide and implement it alone. For her, others were beings who listened to and followed her decisions, not those who she discussed and consulted with. Dew was the only person who was important to Yvor Adela, and she believed his ideas were the same as hers.
But now that she knew it was not true, she became the most cowardly person in the world. She was afraid of rejection. Every word and every gesture was so nerve-wracking that she was afraid to even open her eyes.
‘What if I do what I want and Duran hates me? What will Dew think if I say that I want to be with him a little longer? What would we even talk about? I’m happy to be together without a word, but what if it’s just frustrating for Dew?’
‘Can I move him to a nearby place? It won’t be comfortable to be in a separate house. What kind of room would be good? Should I give him my place? What would Dew think? What if he doesn’t like it? What if he likes the annex?’
‘Can I just ask? What should I ask? Everything I thought I would be understood without saying anything was just an illusion, but will he understand if I say it?’ She couldn’t even guarantee that conversation would allow them to understand each other better.
Yvor had apologized and she expected Dew to forgive her, but he didn’t answer. He cried with her. That small act of him holding onto the hem of her clothes was regarded to be as great as she had fallen in love.
Yvor Adela was not sure if she was forgiven, or not. It was as if she had climbed on a cloud that floated up and down. But when the cloud turned into rain, she would have nowhere to go.
Then the sound of a spoon and a fork tapping the table broke through her worry. Duran called her and he asked her what was going on, but then she bit her tongue.
This is because Duran used the biggest fork to eat his meat. The boy wrinkled his eyebrows, clenched his fists, and dipped the food into his mouth as if fighting. Every time he picked up the dishes, she heard a tapping sound.
[Editor: It’s possible he’s using his salad fork.]
After she became the king’s mistress and left for the capital, and even after she became queen, she was always around proper eating etiquette. Even King Rand II, who was desperately lacking as a king, had a certain elegance he had grown accustomed to from being born into the royal family, not to mention Sidis.
Therefore, Yvor’s first thought was, ‘Is that child turning away from me on purpose?’
So Yvor was first thinking, ‘Is that child resentful towards me and acting like that on purpose?’ Even though they were brought to the same castle as children, and never had a proper meal together. Yvor, who’d firmly believed that they loved each other, was no longer so stupidly positive. She became a little less stupid and she became more anxious instead.
She deserved to be anxious because of her upbringing in Salzmia’s. She had to learn, master, and be on guard at all times. So much so that there was not even time to sleep, making it impossible to live without perfection. She learned so much that she didn’t know anything about herself.
Her father and mother educated her to be the perfect child of a prestigious family, more than anyone else. Only the remaining names of the family were taught to her, so that they could carry their honor high. Yvor Adela thought that her younger brother would have been educated as she was.
Yvor soon knew better. Duran was unfamiliar with the tableware, as if he had never learned table manners.
The maid serving her Duran laughed. It was a mockery that was full of malice. Duran clenched his teeth. He could barely hide the intense emotions in his eyes, which were anger and resentment.
In those raw, emotional eyes, Yvor recalled those feelings that she’d seen in the grown Duran in her memory. That sharp and refined blade of hatred. That was the raw iron of hatred that had yet to be refined.
Yvor suddenly realized. If he never really learned table manners, or other manners, Duran might be thinking of this as another form of bullying.
Because it didn’t make sense that she, as an older sister, had no idea what her younger brother had learned or what he hadn’t learned. What is it if not ridicule, to invite a younger brother who does not know etiquette, to dine together?
However, Yvor was distressed. She hadn’t known. She should have, but she didn’t. She was a fool who didn’t know what her brother knew or didn’t know.
She could see Duran in the eyes of the people around her, she felt miserable. Yvor saw a small fork in her hand.
It was easy to teach Duran the right way to eat, especially easy for her.
Shortly after he was ridiculed, how would he feel at ease being taught by the employer of the ones who ridiculed him. ‘That’s not it, pick up the first one.’ She couldn’t make him feel that shame.
Instead of teaching him to pick which one, Yvor picked up a fork like Duran. After a moment’s hesitation, she dipped her bread and put it in her mouth. It was still a quiet and elegant move, but it was just as uncouth as Duran was doing.
The maid, who was laughing at him, became quiet. The ridicule towards Duran was now feelings of shock towards Yvor. Even Duran himself looked at her with a puzzled expression.
“…Dew, how’s the food?”
Ignoring those gazes, Yvor asked calmly. Duran’s hand, which had stopped for a while, moved again. He poked the thinly sliced and baked beef, dipped it in the seasoned mushrooms, and put it in his mouth.
From one to ten, it was impossible to rate in terms of meal etiquette, but the maids of Salzmia couldn’t help but laugh at them. It’s because their lord Yvor Adela, who boasts manners so perfect that it could be painted, copied it exactly.
Duran, who chewed up and swallowed the food, still looked at her with the fork.
He opened his mouth. Yvor looked at the face as if he were her most cherished treasure. Duran shut his mouth again, and shifted his gaze to the table. Yvor’s eyes followed his gaze, as if tied with a string. The string between them was pulled so tight that Duran couldn’t win and lifted his head. He made eye contact, and answered as if he had made up his mind.
Spring flowers bloomed on Yvor’s face. It was just nice to hear an answer. It didn’t matter at all to her whether Duran was slanderous or respectful to her.
However, there was frost in the middle of winter, those who froze with burning hearts and thoughts. Towards their master, an illegitimate child with low blood dared speak.
Yvor smiled like the spring sunshine. Even if it wasn’t spring, Duran felt like he was at the end of winter. He couldn’t answer and just nodded. The thawing ice flowed like muddy water, disturbing his mind.
“If there is something you like, please tell me. I’ll have it prepared for next time.”
Duran asked back. He was very unfamiliar with those words. In fact, all of them were unfamiliar. He’d be happy to speak informally, hold the same kind of fork, eat together, and…
The returned question pierced Yvor’s heart. They were so far apart that he had to ask again. Yvor replied cautiously.
“Yes, next time.”
If it’s not difficult, she could do it right now in the evening. Or tomorrow morning for breakfast, when they have a lot of time left to spend together.
After listening to her quiet voice, Duran scooped up the whole steamed, seasoned small fish and put it in his mouth. Yvor continued to wait as he chewed it thoroughly. Duran frowned, then said after a long time.
“I don’t know.”
The boy glanced at her, then added with an uncomfortable look when their eyes met.
“The most delicious thing I have ever eaten was chicken boiled in water with some unknown vegetables.”
Yvor was dumbfounded and could not respond. What Duran was talking about was food that was too vague to even be called a dish. It’s just a recipe for eating meat in a way that’s as filling as possible, since it’s been hard to find meat.
No matter how poor the family’s circumstances were, there was no way they could have been so poor. In her own life, compared to other aristocrats, she lived a frugal life. But every meal she ate was better than the wealthy commoners.
What about Duran? The most delicious food was just that?
She couldn’t stand the time when she ate and lived comfortably alone without knowing anything about him. The treatment of Duran was at a serious level, even if it was not really a thing at the Serium Castle. They didn’t even teach table manners, they didn’t give him proper food. Yvor didn’t even want to think about how they would have treated him.
Rather than helping her younger brother in such a situation, she said she loved him without knowing anything about it? Her own stupidity pierced her to the bones. It’s amazing that she could not know anything about this.
Duran told her in the past that he never hated her for a single moment, and said his life was unhappy because of her. Yvor Adela agreed. In just one day, she had become someone who hated herself more than anyone else.
How intense was her hatred for herself? She could not help but blame even Duran for one thing.
‘Why did you kill me like that?’
‘Why just like that?’
Duran, who had drowned her in the lake, was overly generous.
Yvor Adela, who forced salted fish in the tongue of the person who insulted her and threw the people who tried to harm her to wild dogs as food, could not forgive her comfortable end. She wanted to calmly take out her dead body and tear it apart.
It was muddy under her feet, like a swamp. She felt like she’d fallen into a swamp in a chair. The clear and cold water that filled her lungs when she died in the past, was an excessive luxury. Rotten fallen leaves clung to her limbs and mud pushed against her neck. Yvor Adela really wanted to kill herself. The despair surrounding her was as deep as the swamp and as vast as the sea.
Now she couldn’t even use her ignorance as an excuse. Why didn’t she know? She should have known.
She said that she loved him and that she had dedicated her life to him. She should’ve known! Was Salzmia’s prosperity really for Duran?
When she thought about it, she didn’t even enjoy what she now received as the daughter of a poor aristocrat. She should have known, should have known somehow.
‘I was the only person who could and should have helped Dew.’
Duran lowered his gaze once more when Yvor was speechless in her despair. He hesitated for a moment.
“No, this is good too. Next time also… if there is.”
Duran Craig lived 15 years believing that happiness exists only to be displayed to him and make fun of him. He hated his father, his mother, and the servants and maids who mocked him.
There was nothing to be particularly resentful about when it came to his sister, who he had only seen once when he was young. It was obvious that there wouldn’t be. However, he loathed and detested her just as much as the indescribable anger he had toward all the other unspecified living beings.
To him, she was like any other. At least that’s what Duran Craig told himself over and over again.
Don’t expect, don’t think of, don’t believe in.
Even if his half-sister was as beautiful as a princess from a picture book the first time they met. Even if the smile that appeared at first glance looked like the spring sun when she called to him, no matter how soft and tender the hands that held his own.
It had nothing to do with him, it was not given to him. It was not what he was expecting, and he would eventually be a part of that terrible world.
No matter how it looks like sweet honey, in the end it will be nothing more than poison that will kill you if you eat it.
But… Duran spoke awkwardly.
“Sister… cook whatever you like.”
She was the only one who called him Dew and said that she loved him.
If it was poison, he couldn’t help but eat it.