Author: alyalia Editor: popcorn

“Cersinia. You woke up early… Huh? There’s that person too.”

 

Just in time, May walked out while rubbing her eyes. At that moment, Cersinia’s face widened with relief. She has never been pleased by May‘s presence as much as she is today.

 

“May! Are you hungry? I’ll set food for you right away.”

 

Cersinia jumped up and headed for the kitchen, thinking it was her chance to escape. But her walk looked unnatural since she was speed walking.

 

“Pardon? But the food…”

 

May said while looking at Cersinia with a puzzled expression. She scratched her cheek and looked at the two alternately, then soon followed Cersinia into the kitchen.

 

“Cersinia, what do you mean by food? I’ve always been in charge of that.”

 

“It’s because I want to do it for you today.”

 

Cersinia roughly glossed over May’s following words.

 

“Hmm? Really?”

 

May smiled strangely and looked at Cersinia. Unaware of the fact, Cersinia took out the flour. Her mind was much calmer.

 

“When did he get into our house?”

 

“By any chance, did he stay outside the door all night…?”

 

“That’s right.”

 

“Wow. That’s amazing.”

 

May clapped her hand in admiration. Cersinia poured water into a bowl with more flour than usual since today’s meal will be for three servings.

 

“Huu…”

 

Ben, who was left alone in front of the fireplace, took a deep breath. He never took his eyes off of Cersinia, whom he had always longed for. He was anxious that she would disappear like a mirage if he let his guard down for a moment. In the past, he had seen Cersinia in the Grand Duchy. It was an illusion created by his earnest heart. An illusion that disappeared like smoke in the blink of an eye.

 

Ben stared at his hand, which had overlapped with Cersinia’s. His fingertips were still warm. As he was feeling dejected by her disappearing body temperature, he heard the sound of burning wood subtly resounding. He was about to cry in the cozy space that resembled her warmth. He clearly realized that he was by her side, whom he had dreamed of.

 

“You couldn’t even write a letter?”

 

He suddenly remembered her words. He furrowed his eyebrows. Before he knew it, a blue vein popped out from his clenched fist. He had to know why Cersinia did not receive a single one of his letters.

 

‘Who interrupted it?’ Ben’s eyes gleamed fiercely.

 

* * *

 

“It’s only until the rain stops,” Cersinia said, spreading a blanket near the fireplace.

 

Ben, standing next to her, was looking at her with disappointment written on his face.

 

“It’s no use looking at it like that.”

 

She hurriedly put a pillow on the blanket in case her heart would weaken on his face full of sorrow. The heavy rain continued all day. The rain was so strong that she couldn’t even take a step outside. Eventually, she put off everything she was going to do until tomorrow. The day was dark because of the heavy rain. Ben said he had nowhere to go, and in the end, she reluctantly spread a blanket on one side of the living room. She couldn’t let him go because of the heavy rain. Obviously, she still had some humanity, and not because she was bothered by his confession to her, she tried to convince herself.

 

“Cersinia. Together…”

 

He wanted to say, “Can’t we sleep together?” but Ben swallowed those words. If he said that, he would probably be kicked out right away, and not tomorrow. Because she didn’t fully open her heart to him. In addition, he saw her looking very bewildered today, so he didn’t want to surprise her anymore.

 

“Huh? What did you say?”

 

“It’s nothing. Thank you.”

 

Ben shoved the disappointment threatening his facial features and sat down on the blanket. His eyes were cold. He wishes he could hold Cersinia’s hands and sleep like before. It was too bad that he couldn’t do that.

 

“Then go to sleep.”

 

Cersinia turned and headed to her own room. She could feel a strong gaze on her back, but she tried hard not to pay it any mind.

 

“Yes. Cersinia too…”

 

Ben didn’t take his gaze away from her until she entered her room and closed the door behind her. He thought she would turn around at least once. But she never looked back from the moment she headed to her room. His mouth felt bitter. His heart was tingling and aching, but he swallowed the emotions.

 

“Slowly, little by little,” a sorrowful tone lingered in the quiet space.

 

He will approach Cersinia like that. Ben laid down under the thick blanket that Cersinia had touched. The blanket was as warm and cozy, just like what he had been hoping for.

 

Ben tossed and turned several times under the narrow blanket. He thought about how he could stay with her, but nothing came to his mind. Feeling frustrated, a groan came out of his mouth.

 

‘What the hell should I do?’

 

This place was too dangerous. It makes no sense for Cersinia to live in the pit of danger. But he was completely serious earlier, if Cersinia said she would stay here, he would throw off all his work and live in this village to be with her. But he didn’t want Cersinia to live in this village. Because the people here had malicious intentions toward her.

 

‘She needed to move to another village. If not…’

 

“I’m going to get rid of everything.”

 

‘Should I just destroy the village itself?’

 

It was an eerie idea, but there was nothing he couldn’t do for Cersinia. His brow narrowed in deep thought. When he thought about it, it didn’t seem like a bad idea. If Cersinia had known this, she would’ve been terrified and told him to come to his senses. Ben smiled slightly, remembering her freaked-out face.

 

Cersinia was like that. She is a good woman who cares more about what or who is around her than about herself. A person who didn’t show her power recklessly and who knows how to respect and protect those who are weak and fragile. Everything about Cersinia was good. Because she had helped Ben too. But this time it was different. He had the strength and ability to protect her. It was time for him to protect her with his own hands and capabilities. That’s why he came all the way here.

 

Creak.

 

In an instant, Ben turned his head to the sound of the door being opened.

 

“Cersinia?”

 

Ben immediately raised his upper body. He could see Cersinia opening the door and walking toward him.

 

‘Maybe she can’t sleep because of what had happened in the square?’

 

He approached with anxiety.

 

“…”

 

Cersinia was silent even when Ben called her. She was just walking, like a person who lost their sense of direction.

 

“Cersinia, are you okay?”

 

He grabbed her arm carefully, and Cersinia stumbled.

 

“Cersinia?”

 

However, there was no response. Cersinia tried to move forward with her drooping body, but she was walking in place because he caught her arm. Ben noticed that Cersinia was strange. Walking like a broken doll, her eyes were closed, and her body was as weak as a sleeping person. Not knowing what was going on, Ben got anxious. The moment he opened his mouth to call her again, he gasped and inhaled hard.

 

Thud.

 

Cersinia’s face leaned on Ben’s chest. Her body followed. Ben was dazed by her sweet and warm scent that pierced his heart in an instant. Even her breath also sounded so unfamiliar in his ears. He was worried about her condition, but his heart was constantly beating faster at her touch.  

 

‘This is driving me crazy.’

 

He tried to ignore the burning heat and managed to hold and fix her body, leaning downward. But that was foolish. Because the soft skin felt on the palm of his hand made his heart beat faster again.

 

“Cersinia…” swallowing hard, Ben called her anxiously.

 

The thirst was burning his throat, so he had to swallow dryly several times. He shook her gently, but she didn’t even move.

 

“She’s sleeping.”

 

Ben, startled by the sudden voice, hugged Cersinia in his arms. It was a spontaneous act to protect her. He turned his head while holding Cersinia tightly in his arms. May was standing in the direction where his eyes looked.

 

“What do you mean by sleeping?”

 

“Cersinia isn’t awake right now. She’s sleeping.”

 

Looking back, her closed eyes and her drooping limbs, she looked like wandering in her dream.

 

‘But how could a sleeping person leave the room and walk around? Does that make sense?’

 

Ben opened his mouth again in puzzlement, “What do you mean?”

 

Coming close, May looked pitifully at Cersinia in his arms.

 

“It’s sleepwalking.”

 

‘Sleepwalking. I’ve heard of it.’

 

The disease of walking around and acting like an awake person while sleeping.

 

“Please tell me more,” Ben’s voice had cooled down.

 

His reason, which had been all over the place by the unexpected words, had returned to its place.

 

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