Author: alyalia

“I guess it won’t work. I can’t leave Cersinia alone…”

 

“You’ve already finished preparing.”

 

Cersinia urgently stopped Ben, who was trying to grab his luggage again. Shen then gestured with her eyes to ask the servants standing behind her to put his luggage back on the ship.   

 

“Just do it in moderation. Sigh… I’ll give you just 10 minutes. Now, let’s really say goodbye.” Besanio clicked his tongue at Ben, who could not let go of Cersinia’s hand, and took a few steps back.

 

Today was the day Besanio returned to his kingdom. And it was also the day that Ben went with him to Blanche Kingdom.

 

“Take care of yourself and have a safe trip. Don’t get sick, and don’t get hurt. It’s a hot kingdom, so I packed mostly thin clothes.”

 

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“I’m not okay…”

 

Ben drooped his shoulders as she replied with a bright smile. His sullen appearance was like a large dog with his ears drooping.

 

Cersinia smiled at his expression of unwillingness to go and let go of his gripped hand. No, she was trying to let it go. If only Ben hadn’t noticed, which made him hold even tighter.

 

A few days ago, she suggested this to Ben.

 

* * *

“Ben, why don’t you go on a trip?”

 

“Where do you like? Shall we go see the Polsen River, which Cersinia wanted to see before? Or should we go to the new Bazennea resort/ I’m fine anywhere, so just tell me, and I’ll prepare right away.”

 

“No. You’re going alone.”

 

“…I’m going alone?”

 

Ben blinked slowly as if he couldn’t believe it.

 

“Why don’t you join His Royal Highness in returning to the Kingdom Blanche? I think it’s a good opportunity. You have never been outside the empire and have always been with me. I think taking this opportunity to go out would be a good idea.”

 

“Yes. I understand.”

 

Unlike her worries about bringing up this story and persuading him, Ben’s response was quick.

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes. I know what Cersinia is talking about. If you need such time, I’ll go.”

 

“I see. I want you to see more and experience more.”

 

There was no point in going on a trip together. He would only keep up with her and do what she wanted. Of course, she knew he was doing this because he liked her. But Cersinia felt it this time. He needed to expand his world by being a little further away from her.

 

It would be nice to build up the process and give him time to find out what he likes. If his world gradually became filled with things other than just her, there would be nothing more she wished for. And when that day comes, ask him what he wants and likes, he will gladly share what he likes with her. They would experience it together. So in the end, she hoped they could gradually build up the things they like in their own memories.

 

“Alright.” Ben nodded.

 

* * *

“I don’t think it’s going to work. I feel uneasy leaving you alone. Why don’t we go together now?”

 

However, contrary to his bold answer at that time, Ben couldn’t take his steps off when he had to leave on the day. Plus, seeing him look at her with his earnest eyes made Cersinia’s heart waver, but she got herself together.

 

“No. You’re supposed to go alone.”

 

A month. It was a period when the two would be separated. It was their first time to be apart for this long. Since they reunited, they had never been apart.

 

When they reunited, Ben stayed at her mansion. When she went to the capital, she stayed at the grand duchy, so they were together almost every day for several years. The longest they had been away from each other was a week.

 

So, although she spoke firmly, Cersinia couldn’t help but be concerned.

 

“…I’ll be back soon.”

 

Eventually, Ben also raised the white flag. Looking at her unwavering crimson eyes, he knew she wouldn’t back down this time.

 

“I’ll be waiting here. Just like you always waited for me.”

 

She smiled and touched his cheek, and Ben eventually held her in his arms. His wide embrace filled her entire body as he bent down so much that his back was bent.

 

“Cersinia.”

 

His voice buried his face on her slender shoulders, spread out muffled.

 

“Please take your medicine well. You must also be disinfected every day. Don’t skip meals just because you’re busy. If you don’t feel like eating, talk to the chef. Since I told them in advance the potato bread would be served right away. You must at least eat that.”

 

Hahaha. Yes, I will.”

 

Cersinia smiled as she saw him worrying only about her before leaving, and she hugged his broad back. As she leaned her face against his firm chest, she could hear the sound of his heart beating fast. Thump, thump, thump. She would miss this sound, his embrace, and everything about him.

 

Perhaps because they felt the same way, the two hugged for a long time and didn’t let go.

 

“It’s good to be affectionate, but we really have to get going,” said Besanio as he checked the sign that they were ready to set sail.

 

Cersinia hid her regret and lowered her arms that were holding him. “Go ahead, Ben.”

 

“I’ll be back.” Ben let go of her with a face dripping with regret and barely stepped away.

 

“Countess, let’s not say goodbye. You’re going to see me again, right? I hope you stay healthy and well until then.”

 

Besanio was first on board the ship, followed by Ben. But even as he got on board, he turned his head several times and looked at her.

 

“Have a safe trip, Ben.”

 

Each time, Cersinia smiled and waved her hand. He must have felt a little reassured by that sight and completely boarded the ship.

 

The great anchor was raised, and the flag of Kingdom Blanche rose high above the fluttering sails. After a while, the ship announced its departure.

 

It was at the busy port. Until the ship that set sail reached the sea horizon after a long period of operation, Cersinia stood there and watched the ship moving away with her own eyes.

 

* * *

“So, if you want to ask me out on a date, I told him to speak confidently like a man and not hesitate, and he immediately asked me out. It’s really funny. But since he’s a nice person, we decided to have dinner together tonight.”

 

“…”

 

“Anyway, what do you think of this outfit? I was planning to wear it on a date, but it was a little much… Right? Cersinia?”

 

Uh, huh?” Cersinia, who was sitting on the sofa and dazed with a dazed face, turned her head in surprise.

 

“You didn’t listen to me, did you?” May crossed her arms and inflated her cheeks as if she was sad.

 

“No! I heard you. So you’re going on a date tomorrow?”

 

“No! Today! Look, it’s true you didn’t listen to me.”

 

“…Sorry.”

 

Cersinia quickly apologized. She felt sorry for not being able to pay attention to May, who came to visit her even though she was busy with her new work at school.

 

Sigh. It’s almost a month now, right?” However, May quickly relaxed as if she understood everything and asked, uncrossing her arms.

 

Cersinia nodded quietly.

 

It’s been almost a month since Ben left. They said it would take a week to get to Blanche Kingdom by ship from the empire, so it would take a week to return.

 

Because the distance was so great, she was able to receive letters once a week. At that time, she received between 5 and 8 letters from Ben. This means he spends that much money each time he sends it.

 

Cersinia laughed at the total number of letters and read them down. When she looked at his handwriting. She felt like she could hear his voice, so she liked it. Even without him, the letters were a comfort that soothed her loneliness and longing that came without warning in the busy days.

 

But that only lasted two weeks. As the two weeks passed, even when she saw the letters, her desire to see him grew even stronger. It was to the point that she kept spending a lot of her time in a daze.

 

“It would be nice for the grand duke to experience a world other than Cersinia, but if things continue like this, Cersinia will dry up and die. Are you okay?”

 

“Of course.” Cersinia smiled and nodded at May, who was worried.

 

“Shall we have dinner together tonight?”

 

“What are you talking about? You said you had a date.”

 

“That’s it. I can put it off for the next time.”

 

“No way. You’re definitely going. You had already made an appointment.”

 

“But…”

 

“I’m really fine.”

 

She barely managed to send May away, who tried to stay with her out of concern for her. With a gift of earrings prepared in advance, May looked so good in the dress she wore today.

 

Cersinia felt her mood was better looking at May like that. But it plummeted shortly after May left.

 

The sunset fell on Cersinia’s face as she sat in the living room, which had become quiet again. Her face, which had sunk darkly, was lifeless. Even though she was the one who sent him away out of curiosity, she wasn’t really okay. She missed Ben again and again.

 

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