Author: alyalia

Early in the morning.

 

“He-Heuk!”

 

A man hurriedly left the mansion and ran.

 

“Catch him!”

 

The sound of several footsteps was terrifying, along with the screams coming from behind. The man ran with all his might. If caught, he will be decapitated and die like everyone else. He just did what he was told to live, but the result was to be killed.

 

‘It was unfair.’

 

‘It was really unfair.’

 

The man stole two letters and ran away to relieve the pain of his dead colleagues. They ordered it to be burned as soon as he received it, but it was a good thing that he kept it secretly.

 

“Don’t miss it!”

 

The chase made the man breathe in the suffocating atmosphere. He looked around with desperate eyes. He wanted to hide somewhere, but there was nowhere to hide in the open surroundings.

 

At that time.

 

The door to the very small mansion opened, and a large hand dragged the man in. The man tried to make any noise with his eyes startled, but he couldn’t speak as a hand blocked his mouth.

 

“We have to find him before the sun rises. Kill him on the spot as soon as you can find him.”

 

A cruel voice rang right outside the door. When the command was given, the terrifying sound of footsteps scattered all over the place. As the sound faded, the hand covering the man’s mouth went down.

 

“Hide here.”

 

“Who are you…?”

 

The man remained vigilant against the mysterious man who was being kind to him. It was doubtful whether this person was also the one who was ordered by the Duke.

 

“You can leave when the situation calms down. It doesn’t matter if you stay here for a few days.”

 

He didn’t respond much. He just found that man in danger and helped him.

 

“Lewis!”

 

A loud voice echoed from above the ceiling. There was a lot of annoyance in the angry woman’s voice.

 

“If you want to live, go find a woman named Cersinia. It’s the only way you can live.” Lewis said that and climbed the ladder.

 

“Huh? What are you talking about…?”

 

The man was surprised by the sudden remark. The mysterious man’s tone gave him chills as if he knew his situation now. The man was ready to run away quickly, fearing that he would be caught by someone hired by the Duke.

 

“If you’re going to find her, go to the Grand Duchy.”

 

Lewis finished those words without expression, climbed up the ladder, and lifted the ceiling. When the ceiling was opened, it was connected with another space.

 

“W-Who are you to say that…”

 

Lewis didn’t answer the question.  He just gets out of the underground with skillful movements.

 

When the ceiling, which had been opened with the creaking sound, closed, the man who was left alone slumped to the floor. Being alone in a space where no one was there made him release the tension in his legs that had no strength.

 

“W-What, what the…”

 

Of course, he had to go out because he didn’t trust this unknown place, but it was more dangerous outside now. Because people were looking for him everywhere.

 

The man crouched down as much as he could and lowered his head. He kept replaying in his mind the scenes of his colleagues being killed.

 

“Cersinia…”

 

The man mumbled the name Lewis had spoken of.

 

“I can’t die like this. I need to find a way to live.”

 

Grasping the letter he had hidden in his arms, the man kept muttering his words like magic.

 

* * *

 

“Haa…”

 

Cersinia, who was walking following the guide, exhaled heavily. She tried to return home after finishing her work safely, but she was forced to enter the palace at the sudden call from the Emperor.

 

She was getting more and more nervous as the time came for her to face the Emperor. She didn’t know what the Emperor would say, which made her feel a little scared. It was her first time going through it, so she couldn’t predict the future.

 

‘What would the Emperor think of this power?’

 

‘Will he treat me like a witch like everyone else used to treat me?’

 

‘Huu…’

 

She sighed deeply inside. Since this is something she had gone through at least once, she had no choice but to think she would be beaten first.

 

“I’ll be by your side.”

 

Ben held the restless Cersinia’s hand tightly. He could never let her go alone. That’s why he followed her. Because he didn’t know what the Emperor would do to her. So he decided to give the best protection he could. In order not to become as helpless and stupid as before.

 

“Yes.”

 

Cersinia smiled softly at him, who gave her strength just by being by her side. The two gave strength to their holding hands. As always, no matter the problem, it seemed like they could get through it if they were together.

 

“Your Majesty, Grand Duke Alexdemikan Shorevarce, and Lady Cersinia have arrived.”

 

“Let them in.”

 

As the command fell from the inside, a large door that she had never seen before opened on both sides. After taking a deep breath, Cersinia let go of his hand for a moment. Even without holding his hand, she was okay because they were already connected.

 

The two walked slowly inward through the gleaming door as if it were painted with gold. What followed inside was the red carpet on the floor of the large office, and she headed forward. At the top of it was the Emperor, seated on the throne.

 

“I see the High Sun of the Empire, Your Majesty the Emperor.”

 

“I see you, Your Majesty.”

 

The Emperor stared silently at Cersinia and Ben standing before him and slowly opened his mouth.

 

“The Grand Duke also came.”

 

The Emperor looked unhappy, but there was no complaint because he didn’t know the relationship between the two.

 

“Your Majesty, I insisted on following her,” Ben replied as if he had been waiting.

 

The Emperor was stunned by the absurdly confident answer. Now the Grand Duke was defending Cersinia against himself, the Emperor. Ben meant that it was his fault, not Cersinia’s, so don’t blame her.

 

The Emperor stuck out his tongue inwardly as he watched their passionate love. He knew well that no matter what he nags now, it wouldn’t work, so he gave up early and brought up the topic.

 

“You know why I called you this early.”

 

The Emperor’s keen gaze reached Cersinia.

 

“Yes, Your Majesty. I know.”

 

“Is the rumor true? That you have a strange power to extinguish the fire.”

 

“It’s true.”

 

“Ho…”

 

The Emperor broke into a short silence and immediately spoke again.

 

“Show me.”

 

When the Emperor gave the order, Cersinia flicked her fingers out without hesitation.

 

Fwoosh.

 

A fire broke in her hand. The fire that floated in her hand like a firefly moved freely in line with her hand gestures.

 

“…”

 

The Emperor’s eyes widened slightly. But it was just for a few seconds. As if nothing had happened, he returned with a stern and heavy expression as usual.

 

Cersinia folded her fingers. The blazing fire disappeared from her hand as if it had never existed in the first place.

 

“Excuse me.”

 

Cersinia didn’t stop there but stretched out her palm towards the candlestick on the wall. The flames fluttering in the candlestick whirled around in a small whirlwind, then it became heat and sucked into her hand. The light that had lit the wall disappeared in an instant.

 

With the heavy sinking silence, Cersinia blew flames towards the candlestick. The flame, which flew to the candlestick precisely, landed on the wick and then rose into the candle. The Emperor, staring at the candle that had returned to its original appearance in the blink of an eye, opened his mouth.

 

“Did you use magic?”

 

In ancient times, there were records of people who often practiced black magic using witchcraft. The Emperor’s gaze was tenacious as if piercing through Cersinia.

 

“No, Your Majesty.”

 

Chersinia answered firmly, but her mouth felt bitter the entire time she spoke. As expected, the Emperor’s gaze wasn’t friendly. It was the gaze she had seen many times, so she was used to it, but she still couldn’t help but feel hurt.

 

“Then how do you explain this strange phenomenon now?”

 

The Emperor’s voice rose higher than before.

 

“It’s just my power.”

 

“Power?”

 

The Emperor continued with a false smile.

 

“You’re the God’s salvation that people praise. What does that mean now?”

 

The power that even the Emperor doesn’t have. It was a remark that made the status of the omnipotent Emperor an empty shell for a moment.

 

“Your Majesty, that is absolutely not the case. I’m just a normal person like everyone else.”

 

“But your mouth just said it’s your power. I’ve never seen the power like you’ve shown me in my whole life. But you are an ordinary person like everyone else?”

 

The Emperor pointed out that there was ambiguity in Cersinia’s words.

 

“Your Majesty…!”

 

Ben tried to rebel against the Emperor, who was more childish than he thought, but he stopped at the hand that was holding his arm. Cersinia nodded her head slightly, as if not to worry, towards Ben as he looked at her.

 

She could never be pushed back here. She was grateful for his help, but she had to step up herself. She had to solve this problem on her own and be recognized for her power. Only then did she could with her own people. So from now on, she could never run away or back down. She had to be confident in everything for the sake of the life that was given to her. 

 

“Your Majesty, some people are better at talking than others, so they live by doing business. Some people are more dexterous than others, that’s why they make clothes. What would it be if it wasn’t about their power? It’s just that I am more capable of handling fire than anyone else.” She spoke politely to the Emperor.

 

The curse-like power that was hated by Cersinia. The power that can only be used by one person in the Empire. If it wasn’t for that power, she wouldn’t have been persecuted as a witch, nor would she be scared of facing a cruel death like in the original story.

 

But that power wasn’t always bad. That power could help her to protect her precious people. She realized that scary, frightening, and bizarre power could be used as a mysterious and marvelous power depending on its use.

 

“Then I will ask. From what I heard, why are you now using the power you have been hiding?” The Emperor asked with a subtle, uncovered expression on his face.

 

“Because I had someone to protect.”

 

Cersinia answered the question without further thought.

 

“What?”

 

“I couldn’t watch my people and innocent people get hurt and die.”

 

The Emperor stared at Cersinia’s crimson eyes. The unshakable eyes were as hard as a pillar. His gaze turned to the side as if he was in agony. Before he knew it, the sky was rising under the blue dawn. Under the golden sun, the Empire was shining more than ever. The flames that covered the Empire like a nightmare of a long night disappeared like a dream. And the woman standing in front of him was the one who put the nightmare to an end.

 

“I will decide later on what you have done today.”

 

The Emperor sent the two of them away. There was deep concern on his face.

 

There couldn’t be two suns in the Empire. The current people of the Empire worshiped Cersinia like a god who saved them from the catastrophe. He didn’t want the political power to be divided, but the current public opinion was on Cersinia’s side. But Cersinia’s power was a powerful force to let go of her hand. But if he tried to remove that woman, the public sentiment toward the Imperial Palace would have turned around. That woman was also his nephew’s lover, so he couldn’t handle her carelessly.

 

“That might be better.”

 

The Emperor murmured, pressing hard between his wrinkled brows. If he couldn’t get rid of Cersinia and couldn’t just watch her, there was only one way.

 

“Bring all the nobles to the Imperial Palace three days later.”

 

The Emperor’s orders spread throughout the Empire.

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Comments (1)

  1. the emporer should have gone on his fucking knees and thanked her