Author: alyalia

BANG!

 

With a huge explosion, the flames that had been dangerously heating the earth spread like water from a collapsed dam.

 

“Kyaaak!”

 

“U-Uaaargh!”

 

People screamed at the thought that the flames would soon destroy the world and burn them.

 

“H-Huh…?”

 

But the screams soon turned into wonder.

 

“It’s not hot…”

 

People raised their eyes with puzzled expressions.

 

“How did this happen…?”

 

The flames that were swallowing a whole person, suddenly spreading in all directions, turned into red steam and rose up into the sky. The red steam was so weak that it was swept away by the wind.

 

“L-Look at that!”

 

When someone shouted, all eyes turned to where the flames were.

 

“Th-That’s…”

 

It was a voice that was a mixture of surprise and wonder.

 

“Cersinia…?”

 

Ben, who had been hit by the explosion all over his body, rose with a blank expression. Blood dripped from his skin, and he was swept by the shock, but there was no time to worry about it. Because there was one person who was standing in the place where the flames disappeared.

 

A person who stands upright. The woman who was early devoured by flames without mercy. It was Cersinia. She was standing there without a single wound. Her cloak and skirt of the dress were burned a little, but other than that, she looked the same as before being devoured by the flames.

 

Cersinia’s eyes, which had been closed, opened gently. They were not bright red eyes like blood, but scarlet eyes like a warm sunset in winter. She looked calmer than ever and glanced at the large flames that existed here and there.

 

There was only a brief sense of relief that she had returned. She knew clearly what she wanted to do with her power was to protect her people. That’s probably why the pure white light sent her back here. Without hesitation, she reached out toward the flames.

 

Gooong!

 

Flames that covered the Empire soared high into the air with a loud noise. Several soaring pillars of fire swirled rapidly in a spiral shape.

 

“Gasp!”

 

People screamed at the unknown phenomenon in front of them.

 

The pillars of fire, which had grown so large that they couldn’t see an end, began to charge towards Cersinia as fast as a typhoon.

 

Is this the end of the world?

 

People trembled relentlessly as they thought this moment was the world’s end. The red-haired woman, standing in front of the flames that had grown like a giant, looked powerless. No matter how much she came back alive from the burning flames, there’s no way she could stop it. Everyone thought so, except for Cersinia.

 

“…”

 

Cersinia stared at the flames that rushed towards her with a cool expression. Her crimson eyes were filled with unusual light.

 

‘I will protect you. With my own hands.’

 

She gave strength to her hand that was outstretched towards the flames.

 

Rumble!

 

A thunderous roar echoed in the sky, and the flames rushed fiercely and bent its body, just like a loyal dog recognizing its owner. The flames that couldn’t be extinguished at a glance turned into red heat. A gust of wind blew, and the heat was sucked into Cersinia’s palm.

 

Her long red hair fluttered like red flames from the rushing heat. It was like seeing her as a living flame that will never be extinguished. After absorbing all the heat, Cersinia reached out to the sky. As the red heat rose like a haze from her palms, the sun began to set in the gray sky filled with soot. Heat seeped into the black sky without a single light, like red color spreading through ink paintings.

 

“Huu.”

 

Cersinia, who released all the heat, let out a deep breath of relief and lowered her hand. The presence of the heat that colored the wide sky like an aurora rising was only momentary. The winter wind swept away all the heat, just like a mirage.

 

All the despair hanging over the Empire disappeared, and a quiet night came. The flames that had dominated the world until a moment ago vanished as if they didn’t exist in the first place. Only the black smoke rising from the remnants proves that there were flames before.

 

“Cersinia…”

 

It was a pitiful voice that was enough to make the listeners cry. As Cersinia slowly turned her head, she saw Ben walk scowling toward her.

 

”…Ben”

 

In her ear, the voice she heard in the unknown space and his voice calling her now overlapped.

 

‘Why do I hear your voice every moment…’

 

Knowing the reason, her eyes reddened. He’s someone who always makes her feel confident. The one who makes her completely as Cersinia. The man she loves.

 

Cersinia ran towards him so she could reach him, who always approached her first. Ben ran and held Cersinia in his arms tightly as if a single gap was unacceptable.

 

“Cersinia.”

 

Then with all his heart, he called her name repeatedly. Like someone trying to ensure this moment wasn’t a dream.

 

“What happened to your face… it’s a mess.”

 

Cersinia, who raised her head in his arms, wept. Her heart ached when she saw his lips bleed beneath his tear-soaked cheeks. Her hand caressed his messed-up face.

 

“I thought I would lose you forever…”

 

He raised his hand, still trembling in disbelief, and grabbed her hand that was stroking his cheek. As always, her warmth spread across his skin. Transparent tears quickly welled up under his shaky eyes and then flowed down his cheeks.

 

This is the only temperature Cersinia has. It really made him realize that she was alive and she never left him. His heart, which had been torn to shreds, was filled again.

 

“No way.”

 

Cersinia continued, gently wiping his tears with her slender fingers.

 

“There’s no way I’ll leave you behind.”

 

The only reason she can never let go is when she almost gave up everything. She looked at her only reason, who was constantly dripping tears.

 

“It was scary.”

 

Without a blink of an eye, Ben captured Cersinia in his eyes again and again. He never closed his eyes, even though his vision was blurred by the pool of tears. He was afraid that the moment he blinked, she would disappear like an illusion.

 

The moment Cersinia was engulfed in flames, he felt an indescribable pain. It was more painful than when the blade pierced through his chest. But compared to the pain Cersinia felt when she was engulfed in fire, his pain will be nothing more than a passing wind. So without hesitation, he jumped into the flames that engulfed her. Because he couldn’t stand still watching her in pain.

 

He couldn’t leave her alone in flames. He couldn’t overcome the guilt of not keeping his oath, the fear of losing her, and the guilt of living in this world without her. He wishes he could have kept her away from the beginning or had the power to put out the flames. The helplessness of a mere human that couldn’t do anything but jump in late was truly disgusting.

 

“…I failed to keep my oath.”

 

“Ben.”

 

“I really… did nothing.”

 

His gaze fell to the floor. His messed-up face contorted miserably with guilt.

 

“Ben, look at me.”

 

Even at her request, his gaze didn’t move easily.

 

“You’re not going to see me anymore?”

 

“No, it’s not like that…”

 

At her words, he hurriedly looked up. He shook his head as if it was never that way.

 

How could he live without seeing her?

 

He couldn’t even dream of a life without her. That’s why he jumped into the flames.

 

“I’ve been saved by you countless times.”

 

Cersinia grabbed his cheeks with both hands so he could no longer avoid her gaze. His dark-purple eyes, darker than the night sky and prettier than the Milky Way, shook wildly.

 

“It was you who made me exist since three years ago.”

 

Cersinia’s lips drew soft arcs. It was a smile fresher than a spring flower and prettier than a sparkling diamond.

 

“Cersinia.”

 

“Cersinia, look at me.”

 

“I want to be with you.”

 

“Please be with me, Cersinia.”

 

That day.

 

From the day he called her name on the dock. It was the turning point that made her completely be Cersinia. Because she loved the name he used to call her. That’s why she thought living as Cersinia was pretty good.

 

Ben seemed quite surprised by her sincere smile that couldn’t be dismissed as an illusion.

 

“So don’t say that.”

 

Cersinia fell into his arms again. She could feel the sound of his pounding her beat at his hard chest. Ben, who had been hardened for a moment, soon hugged her tightly.

 

“Even my last breath will be yours.”

 

He poured up his whole heart and buried his lips in the back of her neck.

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