LTBE - Chapter 462.1: Little Sisters Are Meant To Be Bullied (1)
The Azure Manor had been renovated by Saint Freya Academy’s administrative staff before Roel took over the space. In particular, they had paid special heed to the master bedroom to ensure that it was both classy and graceful, befitting of a Ringbearer’s private space.
However, it was starting to become a stretch to call it a private space, for a private space was defined by the absence of others.
Roel stared at the woman in a nightgown lying on his bed in a daze, not knowing what to do. Under normal circumstances, he would have headed to an empty room on the floor above to avoid trouble, but with the recent increase of residents in the Azure Manor after the recent recruitment drive, such an action might pique the suspicion of others.
Given so, there was only one choice left.
He had to wake Alicia up, sternly berate her for her inappropriate action, and send her back to the dormitory.
“You really haven’t grown up at all despite having become a Ringbearer. How could you…”
Roel made his way toward his bed to wake up the silver-haired woman lying on it, but when his eyes fell on her sleeping visage, the mild anger he felt swiftly dissipated.
Alicia was sleeping with her back against the door, her arms wrapped tightly around Roel’s pillow. She didn’t respond at all despite Roel’s approach. Her breaths remained stable and deep, and her lips moved along with her exhalations. Her little eyebrows gently fluttered a little, but she was showing no signs of waking up.
Roel knew that there was no need for her to pretend to be asleep since he could never truly harden his heart against her, which meant to say that she was truly oblivious of his return. That could only mean that she wasn’t in a good condition, possibly having exhausted herself from recent events.
How could this be? Alicia should be able to recover quickly at night under the effects of her bloodline, which means to say… mental fatigue?
Roel let out a deep sigh as he reproached himself for being too insensitive.
Now that he thought about it, this was the first time Alicia had to deal with so many people. While she had to liaise with people back when she was working as a proxy fief lord and for the military, that was different from having to socialize with her peers. It was probably hard for her to open up to those of her own age given her trauma from being bullied by her peers back when she was still a child.
Not to mention, this was a huge change in the environment for Alicia. It was only normal for her to be tired.
These realizations convinced Roel to change his mind. He let out a sigh and decided to let her have her way for just tonight. So, he made his way to the huge bed and lay down on the other end, but the mattress’ undulations alerted Alicia right away.
The silver-haired woman slowly opened her eyes and looked at him with dazed eyes.
“… Lord Brother?”
“You’re awake. I just came back. I didn’t expect you to come here. Haa, you should know that things are different now. You’re a Ringbearer too. You can’t just act as you…”
“Lord Brother, hug…”
Roel’s nagging was cut short by Alicia’s abrupt murmur. Surprised, he stared at the woman lying before him and noticed that her ruby eyes were only half-open.
She’s in a semi-conscious state?
Roel blinked his eyes in surprise, not knowing whether he should fully wake Alicia up or not. While he was hesitating, Alicia couldn’t wait any longer and started crawling toward his side. Then, she dove right into his arms and snuggled up to his chest.
“Sleep, so tired…”
“But what about your dormitory? Wouldn’t it cause a commotion if you aren’t there?”
“Juliana… is there…”
Alicia could barely let out a murmur before she fell into a deep sleep in Roel’s arms. Hearing those words, Roel breathed out a sigh of relief.
Ah. At least she left Juliana behind to handle the situation. It looks like she has at least grown more responsible.
The night wasn’t just Alicia’s home turf; the Blood Clan was particularly skilled in maneuvering in the night too. Given Juliana’s expertise in dark and illusion magic, it was unlikely that anyone would notice Alicia’s absence.
Roel gazed gently upon the fast asleep Alicia and tenderly stroked her silvery hair. He could only remember feeling a strong urge to shelter her from all of the world’s storms before he drifted off to dreamland along with her.
Not good, I fell asleep alone!
The following morning, Alicia abruptly jolted awake from her sleep. Even before her mind fully cleared up, she was already somewhat aware of the mistake she had committed the previous night, and it filled her heart with regret.
There had been increasing attention on her ever since she caused a huge commotion by becoming the only Ringbearer of the current batch of freshmen. Before she knew it, the time she had to be by Roel’s side had already been greatly reduced.
She was hardly satisfied with the trade-off at all, but there was nothing she could do about it.
She would be beneath her love rivals if she had chosen not to become a Ringbearer, and that was not an option for her at all. In particular, she was incredibly averse to the notion of being beneath Lilian Ackermann. That was also the reason why she went all out during her fight with the Ring Guardian.
Last night, she had convinced Juliana to take her position in her dormitory so that she could sneak into Roel’s room, but to her disappointment, Roel wasn’t back yet. She initially waited patiently in his chair, but his scent that lingered in the blankets attracted her. It was a calming and comforting scent to her, such that she was already fast asleep in his bed before she knew it.
Knowing that Roel would have headed to the guest room once he saw her in his bed, she felt deeply regretful for having foiled such a rare opportunity. However, she soon became aware of the warmth embracing her body.
“This is… Lord Brother?!”
Alicia slowly opened her eyes in confusion, only to lurch in shock when she noticed that Roel was sleeping beside her with his arms around her. It was just a pity that she failed to hold herself in, such that her response awakened the black-haired young man from his slumber.
Roel opened his eyes with a slight frown and found himself faced with a furiously blushing Alicia. He was initially mystified by the sight, but his mind soon cleared up and he burst into laughter.
“Good morning, Alicia. What’s wrong? Why are you staring at me with such an expression?”
“L-Lord Brother, you actually didn’t head to the guest room. I’m a little… surprised…”
“You were already fast asleep last night. As long as you don’t mess around, I can’t be bothered to find somewhere else to rest. Besides, there have been quite a few newcomers in the Azure Manor recently. It wouldn’t be good if I caused a misunderstanding.”
Roel thought that it was interesting how Alicia was embarrassed by this despite her usual boldness. It stoked his inner mischief. He reached out to stroke her hair, only to have the latter dodge his hand.
“What’s wrong? You don’t like me stroking your hair?”
“No! I-I mean, I don’t mind that, but… it’s not good for my heart…”
Alicia’s heart was still beating wildly from how they had slept so close to each other last night. It was not the first time they had shared a bed, but they had never hugged each other to sleep in such a manner. This sudden heightened intimacy left her scrambling away from Roel’s arms in a fluster.
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However, Roel wasn’t intending to stop his teasing just there.
“But you were the one who came over and hugged me last night.”
“Me? How is that possible?”
“It’s the truth. You told me that you had Juliana take care of the situation in the dormitory before diving straight at me. You don’t remember it anymore?”
Alicia found it oddly embarrassing to have her own plans recounted to her. She lowered her head to look at the nightgown she was wearing, and it only made her cheeks burn brighter.
Leinster had gotten warmer after the passing of spring, and the two of them had been hugging for an entire night. She inevitably perspired a little, which resulted in her nightgown becoming slightly see-through. She wouldn’t have been too bothered about it under normal circumstances, but she somehow found it incredibly embarrassing right now.
Her explosion of embarrassment made her highly self-conscious of everything.
“I-I’ll take a bath!”
“Aren’t you going to stay here with me for a little longer? We haven’t been able to spend much time together ever since you became a Ringbearer.”
“… Lord Brother, please stop teasing me!”
Alicia dove under the blanket under Roel’s teasing, not daring to show her face.
This situation left Roel feeling as if he had returned several years back to their childhood days. Looking at the adorable younger sister he had before him, his lips subconsciously curled into a smile. His mood also improved greatly.