Author: alyalia Editor: popcorn

Two days have passed.


In the meantime, Cersinia has never met Ben. Perhaps he was busy with work, so he hadn’t returned to the Grand Duchy. A doctor stopped by every morning to check on Cersinia. Even when she request for him not to come by since she felt alright, he replied by saying that it was the Duke’s order so he had no other choice but to come.


‘If you’re worried, you should come to see me in person.’ She grumbled inside.


Again, Ben didn’t show up today. Cersinia was spending time adapting to the Grand Duchy in her way. There was nothing she could do there.


“I wish I could continue to live here.”


May, who was sitting on the sofa in a comfortable position, said while picking up a the cookies from the tray. She seemed satisfied with her life here.


“This is not our house. We will be leaving soon.”


Cersinia scolded May to calm her down. Since it wasn’t their home, it was ridiculous for them to keep living here.


“Umm…If Cersinia married the Grand Duke, won’t I be able to stay here as well?”


“Puah, cough cough!”


Cersinia, who was drinking fragrant black tea, was surprised and choked. She kept coughing and stared at May with her crimson eyes.




“If Cersinia married the Grand Duke, I would be able to live here, right?” May shrugged her shoulders with a smirk.


“Don’t say weird things, May.”


Because of May, who was talking nonsense, Cersinia almost spat out the tea she was drinking. As she skillfully took out a handkerchief and wipe her mouth, her heart throbbed.




Cersinia frowned as May smiled with a meaningful look. May’s stare made Cersinia feel like she had been caught hiding something in her heart. Even though Cersinia did know what was hidden in her heart.


“Why are you looking at me like that?”


Cersinia grumbled. She was upset because of May’s sly stare.


“Um…Nothing! But it’s not good to be so sure about everything. You don’t know what will happen in the future,” with those words, May kept a smile plastered on her face.


Cersinia was about to say something, but decided against it. It looks like May’s head was already full of her delusions, and it was now to late for Cersinia to clear any misunderstandings. Plus what May said was all nonsense since there was nothing between Ben and herself. Even though she didn’t know how Ben felt but to her, Ben was like a sibling.




Cersinia, who was lifting the teacup, stopped her action. She remembered the scene two days ago when he said he could never let her go. The thought made her body heat up again. Especially Ben’s eyes. A blush slowly spread over her cheeks. A chilly autumn breeze blew through the open window, but she felt hot. Cersinia fanned herself to cool off her body.


“Are you feeling hot? I was going to close the window because it was cold.” May tilted her head.


Cersinia replied indifferently as usual, “Leave it open a little more.”


If May found out that she had this type of thoughts, she would give her another of her knowingly stare. She should never be caught thinking about it, so Cersinia tried to erase the memory that had been occupying her mind. Suddenly, she had a thought.


‘What kind of siblings, in the world, are like this?’


Can she really say that her relationship with Ben was like brother and sister?


‘I’m sure it wasn’t like that.’


Isn’t sibling relationships like bickering with each other? Then, their relationship couldn’t be said to be like siblings. However, there was no line drawn in their relationship.


“Then, the Grand Duke was the person Cersinia had been with three years ago? Or is he just a friend?” May asked Cersinia, who was lost in thought.


“Friend…” Cersinia muttered slowly.


When she thought about it, she had never deeply defined her relationship with him from the first time she met him until now. It just felt good to be together back then, and it was good to have someone waiting for her instead of the lonely and empty place. It was good that Ben was the one with whom she could share warmth. She just thought she liked that reason.


‘So now?’


If that was the case three years ago, what kind of relationship were they in now?


‘I don’t know. I’m so lost.’


Just thinking about it made her head hurt. Cersinia stood up with a frown.


“Where are you going?”


“I need to get some fresh air.”


Not only she felt frustrated, she also felt something heavy on her chest. She grabbed the cape from her chair hoping that she would feel better after taking a walk.


“I’ll come with you.”


“No, I’ll go alone.”


Cersinia left the room, stopping May, who was trying to follow along. She felt like she was escaping from her unanswered worries, but she tired to stop thinking about it. Even if she thought about it, she wouldn’t find a clear answer, and it would only make her heart feel uncomfortable.


Cersinia bit her lips. She knew that her feelings for Ben, which she had hidden inside, would never come into the light. But what could she do about it? How could she be greedy if she doesn’t even know the future ahead of her? It was just like back then. She overlooked herself.


She walked through the wide and long corridor leading to the garden. Each of her footstep rang through the hallway even when she was walking softly. As she walked, she passed by maids who greeted her awkwardly. As time passed, she realized how difficult it was to find the staircase since she never took a proper tour of the mansion.


Thanks to the servants, who worked hard on bringing her meals to her room, she never went down to the dining room. The only place she had been to for two days was her room, May’s room and the short corridor that connected to their rooms. If she knew this would happen, she would have asked the passing servants earlier. Now, she couldn’t even see an ant.


“Why don’t they show up when I need them…” she sighed and blamed how confident she was when she thought that she would be able to find her way.


It seemed unnecessary to go back since she had already come this far. Cersinia walked with the feeling that she will eventually find her way. She hoped that she would meet someone to ask for help.


Warm sunlight was shining through a window. The mansion’s interior looked grand and cold as a whole, but they were all antiques that gave an elegant and cozy feel when being touched by the warm light. The chocolate-colored wooden walls gleamed in the sunlight. Cersinia walked while sweeping the smooth-looking wall with her fingertips. The soft, warm touch of wood settled on her fingertips.


“I can’t believe that I’m in a mansion.”


The house Cersinia had ever lived in was a very small space that only took a few steps between the living room and the kitchen, let alone the hallway. But Ben is the owner of this mansion. It was the moment when she thought Ben was really the Grand Duke. Cersinia walked aimlessly through the crossroad and corridors. She heard a murmur in the distance.


‘Finally, a person.’


Delighted, she headed towards the sound with sparkling eyes. It was the first person’s voice she heard after a few dozen minutes.


 “Isn’t it too bouncy?”


Cersinia stopped on her track upon hearing the suspicious phrase.


“Verne, can’t I do it?”


“So only James can do it?”


A frown automatically settle on Cersinia’s forehead.


‘Wait… are they talking with Verne right now?’


Cersinia quickly stuck close to the wall. She didn’t want to be seen by them. Because Verne was the number person, she didn’t want to meet.


“I said no,” Verne’s suppressed voice was trembling.  


“Verne, do you know how much James bragged about it? He said he will never forget that hot night.”


“If you want, I can give you money. How much do you want? Are 100 shillings enough?”


“That’s right. 100 shillings is a generous amount.”


Cersinia, who was about to leave the place in a hurry, turned her head to the men’s disgusting conversation.


‘What does all that mean now?’


She couldn’t help but be angry from their conversation. As if it wasn’t enough to sexually assault someone, they also had to humiliate. She was trying to avoid Verne but couldn’t leave her in this situation, since she had been through it not long ago.


The situation where she also was surrounded by a mocking voice, but no one reached out to her. Cersinia could not pretend not to know about it. She knew how hard it was to be alone without anyone by her side. She didn’t want another victim like her. And the most important thing was that Ben’s reputation might be damaged by their disgusting behavior.


“Verne, are you there?”


Cersinia asked, revealing herself to them.



At that time, Cersinia’s eyes widened at the sight that unfolded along with a dull plosive sound.




The man standing in front of Verne groaned in pain, grabbed his nose and crouched. The two men who surrounded Verne became numb. They were bewildered by Verne’s unexpected attack.


“If you want to get fired, do it again.”


Verne raised her fist and spread her legs apart, ready to fight them. Her eyes were truly determined as if she was ready to kick them off at any moment. 

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