301 Be By Your Side

"Are you mad at me?" He finally mustered the courage to ask. 

Vy side hugged her brother tightly. 

"Maybe a little, or not at all," she replied with a smile, "I'm glad that you're telling me now. What do you plan on doing next?"

Lycster bit his lip, he clenched his fist tightly. Vy placed her hand on his reassuringly. 

"No matter what decision you make, I will be there to support you 100 percent." She declared, "Even if that means you decide to leave. I will give you my blessing. If you choose to fight, I will be there right by your side."

Lycster hugged his sister with tears in his eyes. Having her assurance, her support was more than anything he could have asked for. Even though they were not related by blood, he felt closer to her than his real family. 

"You don't have to carry such a heavy burden, Lycster." She whispered to her brother as she gently kissed him on the forehead.

The boy smiled through his tears, "I know, and I know what I must do."

Vy nodded. She pet Aether on the back of his head and said, "Thank you for looking out for him. You didn't have to but you did so anyway."

-I know you would be worried, so I did what I thought was right.- Aether never openly accepted the thanks, but Vy knew he appreciated it. 

The Familiar had always been quiet, but he would always come through in attempts to protect her and Lycster. If all else failed, Vy knew that she could always count on Aether to be there for her. 

He did not blindly agree with everything she did. He would question her decisions and guide her in his own way towards what he thought would be the best outcome. Vy turned back to Lycster.

She told him that Countess Lyra was going to look for her the next day. Lycster explained that he ran away from the Count and Countess, which was likely why Lyra was looking for Vy. 

The countess must be looking for Lycster through her. Seeing as the opportunity presented itself, Vy suggested that they would meet with her together. 

"Would you like to break the news to her then?" 

Lycster nodded, "Can you be there with me?" 

"Of course, anything for my little brother," she reassured him. 

The next day, Lycster followed Vy to the Bureau after breakfast. As soon as they entered, Bankster was there to greet them, 

"Welcome back Milady, welcome back, Lycster," he greeted them, "Milady, Countess Lyra is waiting for you in the Drawing Room."

Vy nodded in acknowledgement, "Is she alone?"

"Yes, milady."

When she saw Lycster, her face lit up. She placed the cup down on the table and stood up. But when she tried to get closer to Lycster, he did not move nearer to her. This made the Countess hold back and sat back down. 

Vy and Lycster sat down on the side. Vy instructed Bankster to bring them some tea and snacks before he left the room entirely. Not wanting the silence to hang in the air for too long, Vy spoke first. 

"Countess Lyra, I understand that you were looking for me yesterday after Lycster here ran away."

Lyra nodded, "Yes that's right. I would like to take Lycster back with me to the Wickerhem Estate."

The Countess was noticeably fatigued, she had darkened eye bags beneath her eyes and she had strands of hair out of place. She looked as if she had not been able to sleep the night before. Her hands were also nervously placed above each other.

Vy leaned back on the sofa, she handed over the scene to Lycster, "I think your son should have a say in it."

Lycster took in a deep breath and looked at his mother in the eye. This was the first time he had seen her in clearer detail. Her dress was much simpler compared to what most other nobles he had seen usually wore. 

Her hands were skeletal and so was her entire frame. Had his mother always been like this? 

"Mother, I like my life here with my sis…with Vyrena. And I would like it to be that way." Lycster spoke up. 

To hear her son call her his mother, was something Countess Lyra had only dreamt and prayed for. Never in a million years would she imagine her timid son would address her as his mother. 

Seeing that his mother was silent, Lycster pressed on. 

"I now remember and know what the Mission is. And I do not wish to burn at the pyre," 

Countess Lyra swallowed hard. She did not expect him to know this much.

"Do you remember what your sister wished for you to do?"

How could Lycster forget?

It was some of the last words she ever said to him. After regaining his locked memories, he never wanted to forget them ever again. In the dimly lit room, with only the light of one solo candle, he held his sister's hand in his. 

"I want you to see the world on my behalf," Lycster repeated the words he heard from that night. 

The Countess nodded slowly with a faint smile upon her face. She had her doubts on whether the boy before her was her son. Hearing him speak those words destroyed all doubts. 

She was there that night, hidden in the shadows, as she watched her daughter convince her son to leave. Lycster put the pieces together and realised his mother had witnessed that scene. 

"That night, you were there," he blurted out, "you did not stop me from leaving."

"I did not," she sighed. 

It was all part of their plan.

The Countess stood up and looked towards the window. She watched as the butterflies in the garden fluttered from flower to flower, collecting pollen. If only she could be as carefree as they were. 

She wiped her tears with her sleeves and recomposed herself, "If you wish to stay, then I will leave without you. But know this."

Putting up a brave front, she warned him, "You will be removed from the Wickerhem Family completely. That includes any claim to the nobility your family name possesses."

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