A dark night without dawn.
Cersinia was found in an outdoor simple training ground hidden inside the mansion. Thanks to Ben’s consideration for giving her a thick coat, it was not cold even in the cold wind. She deliberately came alone and let out a long sigh as she came here.
Her breath, which flowed from her red lips, blew out like a haze in the air, then quickly dispersed and disappeared. No one existed there except her. Only the sound of branches fluttering in the wind.
This place, which is not visible from the mansion because of the surrounding large trees, was a secret place Bet told her. It was the place where Ben was training alone, so no one could come without a key. A secret place where no one could see her and no one could come. Cersinia needed that place.
A strong wind blew with a whirling sound. The blowing wind contained a smell of oil. Cersinia looked around her. Firewood stacked like a tower around her was placed in the north, south, east, and west. Ben had prepared it in advance through Archen at her request the previous day.
Cersinia took a deep breath and immediately stretched out her arms in the empty space where darkness had descended. A small spark like a firefly lit up in the outstretched hand.
This was a kind of experiment.
Could it be that ‘she’ is taking over her body implicitly, like in the case when the warehouse is on fire?
Playing freely with the embers in her hand, Cersinia boldly blew the flame over the firewood filled with oil.
When the flames touched the firewood that had been piled high, a great fire broke out and soared high. Didn’t stop there, she set fire to the firewood spaced apart from one after another.
Once, twice, third times, fourth times.
Cersinia’s whole body was dyed red as the firewood piled higher than her height caught fire. Her body, shivering from the cold until just now, was warmed up by the flames around her.
She looked at the pillars of fire surrounding her like a magic circle.
‘She’ is a being that is inseparable from herself. ‘She’ was her alter ego and a nuisance she wanted to shake off.
Because of this power, she was mistaken as a witch and faced numerous prejudices and persecutions. That’s why she was in a hurry to hide this power so far, but she never thought of dealing with it properly.
But Cersinia couldn’t do that anymore. She had to recognize, accept, and control this power because there were people who believed in her. Otherwise, she didn’t know what she would do if the existence of ‘she’ came out again.
Cersinia looked at the burning flames with love-hate emotion.
‘It’s not easily dominated like this.’
Not only ‘she’ but also in this fire.
Now Cersinia decided to live her own life. No matter how it goes, it will be her life.
Cersinia in the original story and herself were different people. It took a full three years to realize and recognize another being in her body. The moment she recognized it, she realized that she wouldn’t do the evil deeds like Cersinia in the original story. Since she was already living a different life from Cersinia in the original story, she had to stop ‘her,’ the villainess who carried misfortunes.
Cersinia breathed briefly and showed her palms toward the flames. The flames that embroidered the black sky red swirled and turned into heat and then rushed to her.
The enormous heat was sucked in, heating her palms up. It absorbed all the fire in an instant. The flames burning the prepared firewood were limited, so it took less than a few seconds. It wasn’t dizzying as when she had absorbed the flames from the warehouse incident, but her stomach felt nauseous as if she had inhaled oil.
Cersinia absorbed the heat of the remaining three fires one by one without any signs of difficulty. She could feel the heat build-up inside her body. When she safely absorbed the third heat and reached for the fourth, she felt abnormalities occurring inside her body.
‘This is it.’
The area around her chest was hot as if she had swallowed fire, and her ears were ringing. It was the same symptoms she felt from the warehouse incident.
Cersinia measured the size of the fire he absorbed. The flames she had absorbed so far were about five times larger than her body. After absorbing it three times in a row, she felt those symptoms as she converted the flames that were 15 times larger than her body into the heat and absorbed them. She swallowed her dry saliva in tension.
‘If I absorb more heat now…’
Will ‘she’ come out?
The worries were short. It was necessary to know how much flames were absorbed as the heat had to build up within her body to wake ‘she.’
Cersinia once again reached for the soaring fire with a short breath. With the sound of the piercing wind, the tornado bent and became a red heat, absorbed into the palm of the hand, and disappeared. Her long hair, fluttering in the whirlwind, calmly fell down.
When all the fires were absorbed, darkness covered everywhere again. In the darkness, only crimson eyes could be seen.
Her crimson eyes, standing motionless, turned bloody red and then turned into their original state again and again. Cersinia felt her eyes dim, and her consciousness went away.
A voice split between the dry lips popped out. From the depths of her mind, there was a clear feeling that ‘she’ was trying to take away her consciousness. She will be completely eaten by ‘her’ if she loses consciousness. Cersinia hurriedly recalled a glimpse memory of ‘her.’ Awakened with a large amount of heat and mana, ‘she’ disappeared when Cersinia released all the heat.
Cersinia reached out to the sky without delay.
With the sound of an explosion, all the heat she had been absorbing erupted. The feast of red heat soaring toward the night sky was truly spectacular. The heat that soared high as if ascending was quickly swept away by the winter wind and disappeared without leaving a handful of smoke. Her consciousness, which seemed to disappear at any moment, returned to normal as the heat was released.
A breath of relief came out.
The ringing sound she heard in her ears and the heat that warmed her heart were burned and disappeared. She looked down at her palm with a fine mind and clenched her fist. There was no gap between the tightly clenched fists, so even the wind couldn’t squeeze in. By doing so, Cersinia realized that ‘she’ wouldn’t wake up if she released the heat in her body.
Cersinia was firmly determined. If there is even a small crack in her mind, ‘she’ will definitely appear.
* * *
When Limapheus, who was sitting in front of Cersinia, gave a signal by waving his hand, the servants opened the door and came in as if they had been waiting. The servants moved in perfect order and put all kinds of jewels on the table in front of Cersinia.
“I heard that you saved Verne.”
When the servants who had finished organizing it left, Limapheus spoke to her. Cersinia looked at him with a look at what all of these are for.
“Thank you for saving her life. This is my little sincerity.”
A little sincerity.
The Crown Prince’s little sincerity refers to more than 20 necklaces and earrings. Even the jewelry embedded in the accessories neatly placed on the red cushion looked large, making it look worth a fortune. It was to the point that Cersinia wondered if she could even touch it with her bare hands.
“Thank you, but I can’t accept this.”
“If you don’t like it, I’ll bring another design. Or, if there’s a design you want, I will order it by myself.”
“No. The jewelry looks really fine.”
Cersinia shook her head firmly. She didn’t save Verne to receive this kind of gift. It was a natural thing to do as a human being. Of course, she had no intention of rejecting the Crown Prince who expressed his sincerity in this way. Because she wasn’t a saint who only gave virtue. Cersinia refused him because she needed something more than just flashy jewelry.
“Then what do you want?”
When the answer she wanted coming out of Limapheus’s mouth, she expressed her thoughts without much consideration.
“I want Your Highness to protect Ben, I mean the Grand Duke, until the end.”
“What specifically do you mean by ‘to protect’?”
“So that he can live well without me.”
So, even if something goes wrong with her, Ben can continue to live. Protect him so he can live an endless life in the future. Cersinia will never leave his side, but there are always possibilities of something we didn’t know will happen.
“Are you saying you want to leave Alex?”
Limapheus’s face became serious at the unexpected words.
“I might get sick and leave first. You don’t know what will happen in the future.”
Cersinia just smiled because she couldn’t discuss her power and conditions in detail.
Limapheus quietly looked at Cersinia. As she said, the future is something humans can’t predict. Limapehus’s healthy mother suddenly died from an illness, so he understood what she meant. His father, the Emperor, refused to eat and drink due to that, and he could slowly return as before only after reaching the threshold of death. So he knew well that Cersinia’s request was to protect and take care of Alex as he might give up his life if he was left alone in a world without her. Because Alex, who he knows is a human being who would do such a thing.
“I promise. However, I hope that will not happen.”
“Yes, thank you. I’ll try.”
Cersinia once again gained what she wanted. She promises to overcome any problems to be by Ben’s side.
“This request is too natural, so please make another request, Lady Cersinia. If possible, please make a favor for yourself.”
Limapheus asked for another request because it was natural for him to protect Alex as his friend. It was even better if he didn’t have to owe his heart to the savior of his lover, Verne.
“A favor for myself?”
Cersinia was perplexed because she had never thought something for herself.
“If you can’t think of it right away, you can ask me to do it later when you need it.”
There was nothing that came to her mind right now, so it was nice to hear those words from Limapheus.
“Thank you for your consideration, Your Highness.”
“Then I’ll get going now.”
She stood up, following the crown prince standing up from his seat.
‘Should I ask for a title if he later becomes the Emperor?’
With such an irrational thought, Cersinia sent off the returning Crown Prince.