Author: alyalia

“Is Countess a fool?”

 

This b*stard. Cersinia raised one eyebrow and glared at Besanio.

 

“Do you want to die?”

 

But it was Ben who reacted before her. He now spoke harshly towards Besanio without hesitation. Anyone who saw it would have thought that he was going to get rid of him. Still, Ben could be blamed because Besanio was a prince of another kingdom, but he didn’t point out his words. It seemed like Besanio felt quite sorry.

 

“The flames that trapped me. Why do you throw yourself and get hit with arrows instead of doing that?” Besanio clicked his tongue at Cersinia, who was sitting against the head of the bead, wrapping a bandage around her left shoulder.

 

“It doesn’t matter. I didn’t even push you to get hit instead.” Cersinia replied curtly.

 

Ben was surprised to see the prince being treated like that. He simply Cersinia with a nonchalant expression.

 

“And I don’t have time to think about that. Your Royal Highness may not know.”

 

Cersinia acknowledged Besanio’s words to some extent. He was right that she just had to use her ability. However, when her loved one is in danger, it is instinct that her body takes precedence over reason rather than judgment.

 

Sigh… Hey, did Grand Duke and Countess forget that I’m a prince?”

 

Besanio sighed deeply and held his throbbing head. He couldn’t reprimand her again, as he had already caused a lot of trouble, and Cersinia had even been injured by the assassins’ intrusion.

 

“So when are you leaving? The doctor told me to rest as much as possible, but I can’t rest when Your Royal Highness is around.”  Cersinia urged Besanio.

 

Hahaha. I see you’re adding insult to injury.”

 

“Did you find out who sent the assassin? Ah, no. No, don’t tell me. Because I don’t want to get deeply tangled with Your Royal Highness.”

 

“That’s too much. Thanks to your help, I finished the job well. I’ve already found out who instigated it.”

 

“That’s a relief.”

 

“I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to you from the bottom of my heart. And I’m sorry. I would be very happy if you could forgive me for my mistakes.” Besanio bowed to Ben and Cersinia.

 

Cersinia, embarrassed by his serious attitude, scratched her cheek.

 

“Tell me if you want anything. Even if I can’t achieve it right now, I will repay you when I return.”

 

“Please leave this mansion. Right now,” she smiled brightly when she said it as if she had been waiting.

 

Besanio learned for the first time that people could smile and curse with their eyes. But he had committed a sin, so it was time to bow down.

 

“Countess, I really want to help you. I’m serious this time.”

 

Cersinia sighed small at Besanio’s consistent attitude. “There’s no guarantee of success. And there’s no guarantee that it’s not dangerous…”

 

“Right. There’s no guarantee. But I promise I will do my best. At least to make up for what I did to the two of you so far.”

 

Cersinia closed her lips tightly and fell into agony. Then, she raised her head to the warm warmth she felt at her hand. A large hand was holding her hand. It was Ben.

 

“Cersinia, why don’t you try?”

 

The unexpected words made Cersinia’s eyes round.

 

“I know it was always on your mind. If there’s a way to ease your mind even a little, I think it would be a good idea to try it.”

 

Ben knew her well. He was telling her now that she’d regret not taking this opportunity later. That’s how important this issue was and the anxiety they had carried for the rest of their lives.

 

“I’ll be watching. I’ll be there for you. As always.”

 

Cersinia nodded, feeling him holding her firmly by his side. They can overcome anything together. She’s not afraid of anything.

 

“Yes. Thank you.”

 

The two smiled at each other, regardless of who said it first.

 

Cersinia then saw the expression on Besanio’s face. There was affection in Besanio’s eyes, who smiled bitterly at Ben.

 

* * *

The magic took longer than expected. Perhaps because it touched a person’s inner self, Besanio worked hard to the point of sweating profusely. After an hour of using his magic, he finally collapsed.

 

“How are you feeling?” Cersinia handed a glass of water to Besanio, who raised himself.

 

It was three hours after he collapsed. Ben, who had been waiting together, headed to the imperial palace when the emperor and crown prince called him an hour ago. Because of the assassin’s attack last night, there was a mountain of things to report to the emperor.

 

“I’m okay. What about Countess?” Besanio took a glass of water and looked at Cersinia.

 

“I don’t know. I feel like something hot has escaped from my body, and I feel a little lighter. But my ability is the same.”

 

Cersinia squeezed her hands, lighting and extinguishing the fire.

 

“I knew it wouldn’t be easy the moment I saw your abilities with my own eyes. I never thought it would be like this.”

 

Besanio stuck his tongue and wiped the sweat from his forehead. He exerted so much power that his entire body was exhausted.

 

“So, is it successful?”

 

“I feel like a fire has escaped rather than a soul.”

 

“Fire?”

 

“Yes. It seems like the danger that was expected to explode sooner or later has disappeared. Countess’s inside also became quiet. But that’s not the soul.”

 

Besanio shook his body as he remembered the energy of the hot fire that had penetrated his hand to the point of burns. If he weren’t careful, he would have really gotten burned. How powerful it is.

 

“Did you fail?””

 

There was a sign of disappointment in Cersinia’s eyes. It would have been nice if Besanio had achieved results as good as his efforts. Ben and herself would be relieved.

 

“No. It’s too early to say that. I saw the possibility this time. First of all, it may have been too hard on your body, so it would be a good idea to try again in a few months.”

 

Cersinia talked with Besanio for quite some time. How did he feel as the magic spread through his body, what was his physical condition, and when would he visit the empire again?

 

He didn’t succeed today, but Cersinia still felt hope. She hoped she would be free and not feel anxious one day. And when she became free, she would still be with Ben.

 

After finishing her story, Cersinia was about to return to her room. Still, she remembered the look in Besanio’s eyes that she had seen earlier and opened her lips. “Who are you looking at through Ben?”

 

“…”

 

Besanio’s shoulders flinched.

 

“It was heartbreaking.”

 

Haha… I got caught.”

 

Besanio turned his eyes in bewilderment. However, as her gaze persistently rested on his face, he was forced to speak. “The grand duke looks like my younger brother. Both appearance and personality.”

 

“If it’s your younger brother…”

 

Cersinia trailed off in surprise. She had already heard information about the Blanche Kingdom and found out that Besanio had a younger brother who had died long ago.

 

“Yes. He’s dead. That child has been weak since childhood and has never been outside the palace. Maybe that’s why he always looked after what others thought, without even wishing for it.”

 

“…”

 

“When that child turned 18, he had something to desire and love for the first time. It was his nanny. She was, to be exact, a maid who helped his nanny. With a 20 year old difference.”

 

Besanio’s face sank darker and darker.

 

“Everyone thought it was just puppy love. But I thought a little differently. It was the first expression of earnestness from the child who hadn’t been able to cry since his childhood. And it was because of that woman.”

 

Fiddling with the glass of water, Besanio slowly spoke again. “It may be flawed, but there was nothing wrong with her. There are many ways. But the king didn’t allow it.

 

“It could have worked, but they weren’t meant to be. There were plenty of ways. But the king didn’t allow it. The fact that the child wanted for the first time was the maid who was 20 years older than him. Moreover, it would have been better if it was his own feeling alone…”

 

“I guess she felt the same way as your younger brother.”

 

“Yes. The woman didn’t even run away at the king’s command. Maybe she realized that one way or another, she was destined to die. She just said she was sorry. In the end, she confessed her feelings.”

 

As if he was thirsty, Besanio picked up a glass of water and lightly dampened his throat.

 

“I only thought when that woman died, everything would be okay. What I didn’t know was that my younger brother’s soul was shattered the day she died.”

 

“…”

 

“And then something happened. In the king’s favorite garden, at breakfast, in front of everyone, my younger brother stabbed his own heart with a knife.”

 

Cersinia’s eyes grew bigger. Even if she didn’t see it in person, Besanio’s expression clearly conveyed the tragedy of that day.

 

“Such a timid child didn’t even hesitate even once. Even though he was stabbing his heart, he was laughing like a crazy person because he could finally see her.”

 

Besanio held his trembling hand with another.

 

“He wanted only one thing his whole life, and he couldn’t let go of it, so he broke himself in the end.”

 

“Ah…”

 

Cersinia, who had heard all his stories, now understood a little. That he was seeing his dead brother through Ben. It must have come to mind because his younger brother and Ben were similar in their blind desire for only one thing.

 

Is that why he was like that? By telling Ben that his feelings aren’t right? Is he afraid Ben will go down the same path as his younger brother? However,

 

“Your Royal Highness, Ben is not your younger brother.”

 

“Yes. I know. I know about it… Ah, I apologize.”

 

Besanio smiled bitterly. He didn’t admit it to Yanse, but it was true. He was looking for his younger brother through Ben. Maybe that’s why he was even angrier. What on earth is that feeling that they can’t let go of and end up destroying themselves?

 

“There is no way he will break down. He wouldn’t give up on himself.”

 

“…” Besanio, who blamed himself for mistakes and delusions that even children would not make, raised his eyes at Cersinia’s voice.

 

“He’s the one who came to me without giving up after three years. And now that I’m by his side, I don’t have to just sit back and watch, right?”

 

A smile of great confidence was on her face, shining brilliantly in the sunlight entering the window. Her straight, red eyes never seemed to collapse.

 

For a moment, Besanio remembered his younger brother’s face. One day, he confessed that he had someone he liked, and his eyes showed dazzling emotions. His eyes were exactly the same as hers now.

 

“Right. The grand duke always has Countess.” Besanio nodded.

 

Yes. They will meet a different ending than my younger brother. Because he came to know very well that the two of them had each other.

 

* * *

It was a week later.

 

“Grand Duke, are you going to stay up all night? Let’s get going.”

 

“Stay still.”

 

Ben, who answered the whining Besanio in a harsh manner, turned his head again. His face, looking at Cersinia, grew sad in an instant. It was to the point where he couldn’t bear to let go of his gripping hand.

 

“I have to go now.” Cersinia smiled and held his hand tightly.

 

The two were facing separation for the first time in a while.

 

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