Author: alyalia Editor: popcorn

Cersinia was breathing lightly with her eyes closed. The blood that had covered her face disappeared, revealing her pale complexion. She was still tightly holding the hem of Ben’s robe. Her grip was so tight it seemed that even if she fainted she wouldn’t let it go.

 

“…”

 

Ben bit his lower lip hard enough to bleed. A flame soared in his heart when he saw the wound around her eyebrow, which was now closed. He promised himself to get rid of everything and everyone that hurt Cersinia with his own hands. Torturing them enough for them to beg him to end their lifes.

 

“If… If only I stopped you from going… hu, huhu.”

 

May was blaming herself. Earlier she was terrified, but she thought it would be okay since Cersinia said so. Everytime Cersinia said things would be fine they would, so May never thought she would come back in this state.

 

‘I should have held her back and stopped her.’

 

She wanted to turn back time and prevent Cersinia from going out. May blamed herself for her complacency and shed endless tears.

 

“It will be fine.” Ben said.

 

It sounded like he was talking to May and Cersinia, but he was in fact talking to himself. He was worried that Cersinia would not open her eyes. The doctor said it was because she lost a lot of energy but he still felt extremely anxious. His heart was hurting as if it had been immersed in the fire from hell, so he kept muttering like he was casting a spell.

 

‘I’m sure she’ll be fine. She’s going to wake up.’

 

He felt like if he didn’t do that then he would be falling into an abyss. Ben clasped Cersinia’s hand, which was holding the hem of his robe, with both of his hands. Her hands were still cold, but he could feel a faint pulse on her wrist.

 

‘Please, open your eyes without a problem.’

 

Ben gently closed his eyes and prayed. Hours had passed since they returned home and before they knew it, the sun was setting.

 

Knock. Knock.

 

Ben’s head turned at the sound. May, who was crying, didn’t seem to be able to check who came. So, Ben let go of Cersinia’s hand and headed towards the door. When he opened the door, a man stood in front of the door.

 

“What is it?”

 

“Are you the Grand Duke of Shorevarce?”

 

“Who sent you?”

 

They both gave each other nasty glares.

 

“Count Dexter wants to see you. I believe Your Excellency knows why.”

 

“If he has something to say, he can come find me here.”

 

“With all due respect, this is also the will of Duke Kailos.”

 

Ben’s sharp tone made them nervous, but since Count Dexter said it was Duke Kailos’s order, they couldn’t easily back down.

 

“So what?”

 

“Pardon? It was an order from Duke Kail-”

 

“I won’t repeat myself.”

 

Ben’s cold gaze frightened them so much they all swallowed dryly and awkwardly looked at each other. If they went back without the Grand Duke, the Count would scold them harshly, but they couldn’t force the Grand Duke.

 

At that time, Ben saw Archen behind them. Shortly after Archen sent a hand signal, Ben said.

 

“I will go.”

 

“Pardon?”

 

They were surprised by the sudden remark and asked back.

 

“I’ll go meet him at midnight.” 

 

“A-Are you sure?”

 

Ben glared silently at them, so they hurriedly replied.

 

“Ye…Yes, Sir I understand!”

 

They didn’t know why the Grand Duke suddenly changed his mind, but they quickly left relieved that they are still alive. When they left, Archen approached Ben, handing him a letter with the Empire’s pattern on it.

 

* * *

 

 

Cersinia came out of May’s room, who had just fallen asleep from crying. Cersinia felt guilty as she remembered May’s expression when she told her not to go out.

 

‘If I hadn’t gone out as you said, none of this would have happened.’

 

Her crimson eyes, which had a hint of regret, fluttered briefly.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

Ben approached Cersinia. After waking up, Cersinia felt fine, and the doctor said there was nothing seriously wrong with her, but Ben couldn’t help but worry. He couldn’t hide anxiety.

 

“Yes, I’m fine.”

 

Her shriveled throat made a gloomy sound. Cersinia took a seat by the window. It had been a long time since the doctor, who had been trembling next to her, was sent back. Ben’s stubbornness to keep the doctor by her side, saying he was worried, but it was shattered by Cersinia’s words that she wanted to rest quietly. Shortly after the doctor said that further stress would harm her body, Ben had been trying hard not to touch her nerves. She was so grateful for his little consideration.

 

The wound still stung and it took time to heal. It hurt as much as the emotional scars the villagers inflicted her. Like the wound, the voice still remained like reverberation. Their contemptuous eyes were also engraved in her mind. Even if she covered her ears or closed her eyes, she remembered. They turned into thorns and swelled in her chest, gradually eating her up, making her helpless without any chance of getting revenge.

 

Cersinia buried her body in the chair a little deeper. The scenery of the night in front of her was peaceful, as if nothing had happened. Just as yellow beads were sprinkled on black paint, there was nothing but twinkling stars in the night sky.

 

It was peaceful, to the point where she couldn’t tell if what happened to her during the day actually happened. Cersinia stared intently at her palm. She didn’t even feel the creepy unfamiliarity after waking up, she felt so normal that it seemed like everything was an illusion. Cersinia unknowingly narrowed her brow. Her mood got sour as she remembered the unfamiliar voice.

 

“Are you feeling sick?”

 

As if proving that all his attention were directed towards Cersinia, he didn’t miss the slightest change in her facial expression or even the smallest action she made.

 

“No.”

 

At the sharp question, Cersinia’s facial expression became blank. It felt like he caught a secret that she didn’t want to reveal.

 

“I’m just worried about you.”

 

Ben knelt down in front of Cersinia to match her eye level. The only thing that lit up the dark house was a bonfire and a small candle. Cersinia’s face, when sitting next to him, looked dark. In the depths of Ben’s heart lay endless worries. He knew that she probably went outside to clear the false accusations.

 

But judging from the dangerous things that happened to her today, he had to be thankful that she had opened her eyes safely. The image of her collapsing in his arms while bleeding will be forever in his mind. The sight of nearly losing her, right before his eyes at that, gave him such a fright that he felt like he was falling inside an endless abyss.

 

“I’m really okay.”

 

She met his eyes, who did not once stop worrying. His sincerely concerned eyes were subtly trembling. His and May’s concern greatly reassured Cersinia. It brought great comfort to her to know that there were people who were genuinely concerned and standing by her side despite the public opinion. The heavy lumps on her chest disappeared. She had to grab onto anything she could so she could get up again.

 

“Thank you so much,” Cersinia meant it.

 

‘What would have happened to me if Ben hadn’t come? I don’t want to imagine it.’

 

Ben came back after three years and stayed by her side whenever she needed him. He knew she needed him even though she didn’t show nor told him.

 

“Cersinia.”

 

Ben’s gaze soothes her torn wounds. For a long time, Cersinia endured all the hard work alone so he wanted to be of help and wanted her to lean on him. But Cersinia never gave him this chance, until today.

 

‘If she wasn’t alone, she would have told me and if she had, I would have gone with her…’

 

It seemed like she didn’t trust him enough yet and it was probably because Ben had disappeared without a word. The guilt that he always felt rushed in and hit him hard.

 

“Ah.”

 

Cersinia moved her hair to hide the wound from Ben’s gaze.

 

“It’s going to disappear soon. Don’t worry.”

 

Cersinia felt uncomfortable because she kept showing him her weak side.

 

“Cersinia.”

 

Dark purple eyes which resemble a night sky looked at Cersinia. But seeing her still not giving him a chance to become her shield, Ben’s chest throbbed and his mouth felt bitter.

 

‘It’s okay…As time goes by, Cersinia will realize. That there is someone who will stand by her side in any situation, any time and for however long…’

 

But he was still worried that she would try to endure it alone and collapse, he was so afraid that he would never see her again.

 

“I- I am afraid…that one day you’ll suddenly…disappear and that I won’t be able to do anything about it…” Ben said in a trembling voice.

 

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Comments (2)

  1. Well … Stupid you should’ve found a way … She did so much for you

    1. He wrote letters and only found out now that she never got any of them. Though I do hope it’s explained why he couldn’t have gone to her before his father died.