Author: alyalia

“Cersinia…”

 

At that time, May called her name. May’s face was confused as she watched every scene because she chased Cersinia.

 

“You…!”

 

Cersinia frowned as she watched May, who followed her without listening to her until the end. She didn’t want to get caught. That’s why she purposely made them go to the evacuation site first. She became nervous that May would fear and disgusted with her as May knew everything about her now.

 

“You’re not hurt, aren’t you?”

 

May couldn’t organize her mind, but she deliberately tried not to show it. Because she remembered what Cersinia said after the fire broke out in the warehouse the other day.

 

“What if I suddenly become a bad person one day?”

 

It was only today that May fully understood the meaning of her words. The fact that Cersinia’s power is so powerful that it could hurt everyone. But as she said back then, Cersinia was a person who wouldn’t do that. Didn’t she jump into something nobody else did and save the child?

 

“Of course.”

 

Cersinia burst into relief at May’s unchanging attitude. Her anxiety disappeared as if it didn’t exist in the first place.

 

“That’s a relief.”

 

May hugged Cercinia without hesitation. It was a hug that didn’t feel any distance at all. Cersinia smiled and warmly embraced May.

 

“What are you?”

 

A voice breaks the peaceful atmosphere between the two of them. The eyes of the two turned straight to the side. As they approached, the knights surrounded them.

 

“You have to explain the situation properly now.”

 

The knights separated the two and grabbed Cersinia’s shoulder. At that moment, a loud horse’s cry rang out and stopped. Soon, very angry footsteps approached them.

 

“Take your hands off.”

 

His voice, as cold and sharp as a piece of broken glass, calmed down the surroundings.

 

“…I-I see the Grand Duke.”

 

When the knights checked the face of the approaching man, they were startled and bent their knees all at once.

 

“You dare to harm her body.”

 

Ben was ready to pull out his sword at any moment.

 

“Ben.”

 

Cersinia’s eyes widened at his sudden appearance.

 

“Cersinia.”

 

Ben, walking with a brutal aura, couldn’t think of anything when he saw her in good shape. He just ran right away to her and held her in his arms. As always, her warm body temperature dug into his arms. He felt like he could breathe now. The lump of anxiety that had been placed on his chest melted in an instant.

 

“I was worried.”

 

He buried his forehead on her shoulder, carefully and precisely hugging her soft body in case it would break.

 

“I’m really glad you’re safe…”

 

A soft arc was drawn on Cersinia’s lips.

 

May and Ben were really worried about her. Knowing the deep anxiety and worry Ben must have felt all the way to here, she hugged him.

 

“How did you get here?”

 

“I heard something suspicious happen.”

 

“Ah, the carriage.”

 

Roena, whom she had forgotten for a moment, came to her mind again. Cersiniacouldn’t tell where she went because she had already run away.

 

From the carriage accident of the fire. She had to figure out who was behind what Roena did.

 

When Cersinia was immersed in thought with a serious face, Ben released Cersinia from his arms and put the coat he brought over her shoulder. Then, with a fierce face, he grabbed the collar of the knight who had just grabbed Cersinia by her shoulder.

 

“Y-Your Excellency?”

 

Cold sweat formed on the knight’s forehead at the unexpected attitude of the Grand Duke.

 

“Do you think you have two lives?”

 

His eyes shone brightly as if they were about to bite the knight’s neck at any moment.

 

“Pardon? W-What are you talking about…”

 

“That’s right! How dare you touch the body of the Grand Duchess!”

 

This time, May, who was by her side, helped Ben.

 

“G-Grand Duchess… I’m sorry! I didn’t recognize you, and I made a mistake!”

 

At the words of the Grand Duke, the knight’s face turned white, and he immediately lowered his head with force, hitting his nose into the ground. It was a quick change of attitude.

 

Cersinia put her on Ben’s arm. As Ben’s gaze naturally turned to her, she shook her head.

 

“It’s okay. This is enough.”

 

Because she doesn’t want to waste her time on worthless things. Recognizing her meaning, Ben threw the knights he grabbed by the collar to the ground.

 

“Get lost.”

 

“…That, Your Excellency. We must report to His Majesty the Emperor about the power the Grand Duchess has shown…”

 

The knight hesitated and blurred the end of his speech. He was obliged to report to the Emperor that strange power, which he still couldn’t believe even though he saw it with his own eyes. It was the rule to report everything that happened from the time this situation was already declared a national disaster. No matter how high the position of Grand Duchess was, this was something ordered by the Emperor.

 

“It never happened,” Ben said firmly.

 

When he rode his horse, Ben vaguely saw Cersinia using her power. Hearing about reporting her power to the Emperor made his blood gush upside down.

 

“Yes? With respect, Your Excellency… that’s…”

 

“Nothing ever happened.”

 

He frowned as he watched the knight talk back to him. The knight had no choice but to shut up. He was carrying out the Emperor’s orders, but the Grand Duke himself was putting such pressure in front of him, who was only a knight and had no power to stand up to him.

 

“If rumors spread about her because of this, I will not let go of all of you.”

 

A voice loud enough to ring the sky penetrated among people. There was power in that voice. A strong power that made everyone hold their breath and obey it.

 

Everyone who made a buzz in that area froze. The knights and everyone who watched looked at each other and shut their mouths.

 

“…”

 

Cersinia was speechless. She just stared at the Empire that had become a sea of fire. Nothing has improved just because she had extinguished a single fire in the collapsed house. Rather, the flames were spreading wider than before.

 

The knights and people worked together to put out the fire, but it was all in vain because large flames were already covering Fabian Street. The embers from the flames that covered the main street of Fabian kept moving to other places.

 

‘To put out the flames, I have to absorb that flames’

 

She had to absorb the flames so that the embers carried by the wind didn’t spread further.

 

Cersinia fell into agony for a while. She was grateful for Ben’s consideration, but many people had already sawed her power. It was impossible to keep countless mouths shut. There must be a hole to leak out, and it will only be a matter of time before it reaches the Emperor’s ear. If they tried to cover it up by force, it would rather do more harm later.

 

“Cersinia, let’s go back now.”

 

Ben held Cersinia’s hand, who was in agony with a serious face. Then he led her to the horse he rode on. He could no longer put her in this place which was full of danger. Her steps that gently followed him suddenly stopped. 

 

“…Ben.”

 

Cersinia looked straight into his eyes, who were looking at her.

 

‘What would happen if I went back like this?’

 

‘Then, what will happen to this sea of fire covering the Empire?’

 

It will surely be extinguished someday, but after everything has become ashes.

 

‘Why did I finally realize my power now?’

 

The ability to absorb the fire. All of this seemed to be intertwined like fate. In the original story, it was her who set the Empire on fire. Of course, now, unlike in the original story, she wasn’t the one who started it, but she couldn’t just turn a blind eye.

 

“I think I should step up.”

 

Her unshakable crimson eyes looked straight at him, perhaps because she had made her mind.

 

“…Cersinia.”

 

Ben’s eyes shook unstably. It was something he had expected from the moment she stopped walking, but when he heard it himself, his heart was pounding faster.

 

“Would you believe me if I told you it was my destiny?”

 

“Still, it’s too dangerous…”

 

Ben knew better than anyone else that Cersinia wouldn’t take back what she had decided to do. Still, he wanted to stop her. He didn’t even want her getting involved in the slightest danger. Because Cersinia would get hurt even by the assumption that she was the one at fault.

 

“I’m sorry, but I have to step up.”

 

Cersinia looked genuinely sorry. However, not a single hesitation was shown in the eyes that were burning deeply.

 

“Everything is as you wish.”

 

Ben smiled softly as if he had lost and declared defeat. Again, it was something expected. From the moment he first met her, not once he could overcome her.

 

“I will always be by your side.”

 

Ben took Cersinia’s hand and kissed the back of it. She was the most precious thing in this world for him. He won’t go against her will. Even if it leads the two of them to a rough thorny road or even if the end is a steep cliff.

 

If Cersinia wanted to walk on the thorny road, he would get rid of the thorn by himself. While going on that thorny road, he had to protect and stay with her until the end. Because she was his destiny and all he had to protect. 

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