Limapheus was furious when he heard a report from his aide, Eric, early in the morning.
“Why are you just telling me now!”
“I’m sorry, I just heard about it.”
The angry Crown Prince jumped up from his seat. The chair he was sitting on fell backward and made a loud bang.
“Is… Is she okay?”
“Fortunately, there’s no big problem.”
“Prepare the carriage right now!”
When Eric hurriedly left the office, Limapheus hovered around in annoyance. He can’t believe fire broke out in the warehouse of the Grand Duchy. Verne was also trapped in that warehouse. His blood soars upside down hearing that.
When he heard the news from Eric, it made him feel distant. Despair and fear dominated his mind for the first time in his life. But when he heard that Cersinia had saved Verne, he felt relieved and also ashamed.
He was upset that he found out about it when the flames were already extinguished. He couldn’t save or help Verne, who was in danger. Even though he is in a position where everyone looks up to him, he is only a fool who couldn’t protect the woman he had in his mind.
Limapheus took a deep breath and ruffled his hair.
‘It can’t be like this. I have to do something.’
He thought he would be satisfied that Verne was within his reach. But if something like this happened again, he wanted to be in a position to be involved in her safety, not just someone who only heard the news just like now.
He gently bit his molars and headed to the emperor’s palace. With a mindset to bring Verne to the Imperial Palace.
* * *
“Verne, stop crying.”
Cersinia wiped away Verne’s tears with a tissue in her hand. Her handkerchief, which she had handed over to her earlier, was soaked with Verne’s tears.
“It’s a relief. Huhuu…”
The tissue became heavy with her tears. Cersinia was simply amazed to see Verne crying nonstop.
‘I can’t believe she still has tears left to cry…’
She didn’t hate it because she could feel how Verne thought and worried about her that much. No, rather, her heart felt warmth from it.
“You’re going to lose your consciousness again. Stop crying now.”
Verne swallowed her tears and nodded vigorously.
“Aren’t you being reckless too?”
May, who was standing next to her, puffed her cheeks after saying those words.
“What if something goes wrong with Cersinia…”
May’s eyes began to watery as if she was about to cry.
Cersinia looked at Verne and May alternately with a puzzled look. One is shedding tears, and the other is holding back tears.
‘It really felt like I had committed a big sin.’
“I’m fine, so both of you don’t cry,” Cersinia said more firmly.
Knowing their feelings, it felt like she would be choked with tears if this atmosphere continued. The two lifted their heads, forcing themselves to hold back their tears. Then the three, who looked at each other’s looks, burst into laughter at the same time.
“Verne’s eyes are puffy like crucian carp.”
May laughed loudly as if it was funny.
“May, your eyes turn red like an apple.”
Cersinia teased May, who looked the same as Verne.
“I-I’m embarrassed… Stop teasing me.”
Verne wiped her tears and lowered her red face.
“No one was hurt, and everyone was safe, so that’s all that matters.”
Cersinia looked at her hand. There were reasons why she should never lose to ‘her.’
“Verne will use all the tissues here.”
“T-That’s not true, Lady Cersinia!”
Cersinia’s gaze slowly turned to May and Verne. May, who smiled brightly, and Verne, who was embarrassed as she waved her hand, reflected her eyes.
The reasons why she must keep her own consciousness. May and Verne were included in those reasons. May is already in a special position in her heart. Cersinia put Verne by her side because she was the original female protagonist… But it had been a long time since she had a heart for her.
Knowing that Verne was trapped in the warehouse where the fire broke out, Cersinia ran into it without time to reconsider. It wasn’t because she needed Verne, who was the original female protagonist. She wanted Verne to be safe, and she was relieved that Verne was safe. It was the affection she had for Verne, just like May.
Cersinia didn’t know it was going to be like this. Still, their relationship gradually became precious, just like the clothes become wet from the rain. And that made Cersinia curious. How will they react when they find out about the existence of ‘her’ in her body?
“What if I suddenly become a bad person one day?”
At Cersinia’s sudden question, May and Verne looked puzzled.
Cersinia nodded her head towards those who asked her. She knew they would never treat her the same as before because they feared her. So she didn’t know what she was trying to check. But Cersinia hopes they trust her just like Ben.
“That person would also be Lady Cersinia. Even so, I would still be by your side.”
“Me too. But I know Cersinia won’t do that.”
Faith. Trust. Something similar was engraved in their eyes.
“As far as I know, Cersinia is a person who can’t do that. That’s not like what Cersinia will do.”
May, who had seen her for a long time, added a word as if she felt something. She didn’t know why Cersinia suddenly asked this question, but she tried to reassure Cersinia. Because she could find light anxiety in her.
“Of course. I was just asking.”
Cersinia looked at them and laughed out loud.
“Ah, you scaring me for a moment!”
May swept her chest with great relief.
“Now you stopped crying, right?”
She smiled leisurely. However, her hand under the table was clenched tightly. As they said, she was a person who couldn’t do something like that. That’s because ‘her’ wasn’t herself. So she had to protect it with her hands and her precious things.
“So, who started the fire?”
Cersinia’s eyes blazed brighter than the flames. It was the first thing she had to deal with.
* * *
“Hurry up and pack!” Jonathan shouted at the three men who were muttering.
Carl, James, and Kevin were about to pack. Then James threw the clothes he was holding onto the floor and said, “You’re the one who started the fire. We didn’t get involved, so we don’t care.”
Carl and Kevin stopped packing and lifted their backs upon hearing that.
“Even if the one who started it will be punished, it will be only you. Why are you bringing us too?”
“That’s right. We aren’t involved.”
“What? It’s all because of you!”
Jonathan blushed as if he had heard nonsense and became angry. James said that it would be ridiculous to just move on. He didn’t like the fact that Cersinia or that commoner woman became the Grand Duchess and that Verne was attached to her side.
The three agreed because it was only a matter of time before they would be fired if she became the Grand Duchess, as Verne had already told her about what they did. The four of them decided to harass Verne by choosing a representative with rock-paper-scissors. Unfortunately, Jonathan was the one who got lost in it, so he followed Verne into the warehouse and had the accident. But now, he can’t believe they’re pretending not to be his accomplice.
“Jonathan, you must be mistaken. We only told you to bully Verne, not to set fire to the warehouse.”
James sarcastically teased Jonathan to the fullest.
“It was you who told us not to move on! That’s why this happened!”
“So, was there anything I said about starting a fire?”
Jonathan couldn’t hold back his anger and grumbled as he watched James, who came out shamelessly.
Jonathan glared at Carl and Kevin as he said that. Carl and Kevin quietly avoided Jonathan’s glare and stood by James. Jonathan, who suddenly had to take responsibility alone, threw his luggage at them.
“Hiik. You guys, really!”
The fire was extinguished, and no one was injured. That means Verne is also alive. In other words, since Verne witnessed himself as the culprit, she would soon point out him as the culprit who started the fire. If he hadn’t talked to them yesterday, he wouldn’t have gone to the warehouse, and there would have been no fire.
Jonathan, who had to suffer alone, screamed and became angry.
“I was trying to stay still! But because of you, because of you I’m—!”
“In the end, you’re the only culprit Verne saw.”
As if he had won the battle, James was even relaxed. Carl and Kevin swallowed dry saliva and crept behind James. They started it together, but they didn’t want to get involved in this because Jonathan started the fire. They felt guilty, but they couldn’t give up their job to make a living.
“Do you think I’m the only one who will suffer? I will tell them that all of you were on the same team as me!”
At the same time, with a shattering sound, the old wooden door flew against the wall.
The eyes of the four surprised men rushed toward the door.
“Hmm. So that’s it.”
Cersinia looked at them as she lowered her hand that had blown away the door. She had already heard everything before.
The three of them froze. Jonathan shuddered at the thought that his shoulder would be tingling again from her grip.
“I let you slide too easily before.”
Cersinia’s eyes slowly captured their faces one by one. She just let go of these people who bothered Verne because she was just a guest in the Grand Duchy, so she didn’t use much strength. Because there’s no justification to punish them. But she can’t believe this situation has come.
“I should’ve taken care of you earlier.”
She was smiling softly, but she did not hide her anger in it. Now is the time to really punish them.
“Pl-Please save me…”
Jonathan, who is quick-witted, begged.
“Everyone, come out. Don’t miss a single one.”
Her cold eyes passed them and turned to the outside.