Author: alyalia

After returning from going out, Ben immediately went to Cersinia. He already heard about the messenger that came from the Imperial Palace when he was away.

 

“Cersinia.”

 

Soon after, the door opened, and Cersinia, who smiled brightly, greeted him.

 

“Did you have a good trip?”

 

“Yes, I’m back.”

 

Ben set his smile specifically only to Cersinia. He was so happy because the person who smiled at him when he returned from going out was Cersinia. It was to the point where he wanted to be greedier.

 

“I heard that a messenger came from the Imperial Palace.”

 

The two sat facing each other on the sofa.

 

“Yes. Her Majesty the Empress Dowager sent an invitation for her birthday banquet.”

 

“Empress Dowager? Do you know each other?”

 

Unexpectedly, Ben was surprised by the person who sent the messenger. He thought it was Limapheus’s prank, but it wasn’t.

 

“No. I’ve never met her before. I don’t even know what Her Majesty looks like.”

 

Cersinia was also questioning that.  Why is someone she has never seen before sent an invitation to her?

 

Empress Dowager’s birthday banquet was a big event in the original novel. Verne appears in the banquet hall like Cinderella and dances with the Crown Prince. She ran away when the 12 o’clock bell rang, but the only difference was she didn’t leave glass shoes.

 

‘In the original novel, someone took the female lead to the banquet…’

 

That helper was a noble lady who often came to the female lead’s workplace. That lady helped the female lead connect with the Crown Prince. But right now, Verne’s place of work is the Grand Duchy, and there is no lady who comes often.

 

When Cersinia is confused about what’s going on,

 

“Cersinia?”

 

“Ah, yes?”

 

She came to her senses at his voice.

 

“Your expression looks serious.”

 

Cersinia was frowning without realizing it. She quickly loosened her expression and held out the invitation card to Ben.

 

“Do you want to read it?”

 

Upon receiving the invitation, Ben slowly read the contents down. A wax seal attached to the envelope and a large pattern drawn in the middle of the invitation was really officially from the Imperial Palace.

 

Ben, an external member of the Imperial family, had to attend the banquet even if he didn’t have an invitation. It was the same for nobles with high titles. But, when inviting people without a title, they sent the invitations like this.

 

“Cersinia, here it is said to be accompanied by a partner.”

 

Ben was excited by the phrase that she could enter with a partner. Because he wanted to go as her partner, not as the Grand Duke Alexdemikan Shorevarce.

 

‘No way, is it me?’

 

Cersinia, who was suddenly thinking about something at the sound of being accompanied by a partner, was shocked.

 

‘Did the lady who helped Verne become me?’

 

The exquisite timing made her suspicious about it. The invitation from Empress Dowager and the accompanying partner. It really matches perfectly.

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Ben, about the partner. Must it be a noble?”

 

If she could take a woman who is not a noble as her partner, she might really become the lady who helped Verne.

 

“Who is it?”

 

“Huh?”

 

Cersinia raised her head at Ben’s sudden chilling voice. Then she saw his burning eyes as if he were about to rip and kill someone.

 

“The partner that Cersinia was thinking of, not me. Who is it?”

 

He clenched his knuckles. He looked like a savage and brave knight waiting for the momentum to strike the enemy’s neck at any moment. Cersinia tilted her head at the puzzlement and soon burst into laughter.

 

“No. I was thinking about Verne.”

 

“…Verne?”

 

Ben relaxed his expression then. After that, his face turned red, perhaps embarrassed by the misunderstanding.

 

“Do you think I’ll go with someone other than you?”

 

His burning eyes were out of jealousy. Cersinia laughed at the appearance that resembled herself who broke the doorknob out of jealousy.

 

This is what jealousy is like. His jealousy was not ugly like the maid at that time, but lovely. She liked the fact that he was jealous about it. It was clear that she was loved by him enough day by day.

 

“Of course I want to go with Cersinia, but Cersinia may not want to go with me…”

 

His shoulders drooped.

 

“I have no one else I want to go with other than you.”

 

Ben smiled brightly that made Cersinia’s eyes blinded.

 

“I’m happy.”

 

And then he shyly lowered his head. His actions and smiles were truly harmful for her heart.

 

“Haha, ha.”

 

Cersinia opened the window with an awkward smile. Somehow, she felt hot because of her pounding heart.

 

“Why don’t you take Verne as a servant?”

 

She was troubled for a while because that was the best way. There was nothing wrong with Ben’s suggestion. Moreover, since Verne was her exclusive maid, it was right for her to take Verne as a servant rather than a partner from Ben’s point of view.

 

But Ben had no idea that Verne would be the Crown Princess. And, in order for Verne to dance with the Crown Prince, she needs to dress up like a noble lady, so how could Cersinia take her as a servant?

 

“That’s true, but…”

 

“It is common for partners to choose the opposite sex. Same-sex people become partners mostly because they’re related by blood.”

 

In the end, it was said that Verne couldn’t be taken as her partner. Then she has no choice but to take her as a servant.

 

“I see. May would want to go too. What should I do…”

 

“I will take May as my servant.”

 

“Then I will tell May about that.”

 

Either way, Verne might feel bad about going as a servant. It was clear that May would jump up and down because she was happy that she could go to a banquet hosted at the Imperial Palace, whether she was coming as a servant or a noble lady.

 

“I want to be Cersinia’s partner.”

 

He gently wrapped his hand around Cersinia. Her anxious eyes stared intently into his eyes.

 

“I don’t know. What should I do?”

 

Cersinia took a moment to joke around. A few days ago, she remembered something she had heard from Verne.

 

“It seems that the cold and blunt Master becomes a different person only in front of Lady Cersinia.”

 

Having a reputation of being infinitely cold, blunt, and merciless to others, Ben has always been a gentle sheep in front of her. Cersinia had never seen his attitude like what Verne said.

 

Ben was restless and waiting for an answer. She smiled and said at his affection that made her feel numb to the fingertips.

 

“Ben, will you go with me?”

 

The red and yellow sunset cast over Cersinia’s face. With a strong shudder, Ben’s body hardened. Her smile was prettier than any other flower and was shining brighter than any other jewel.  

 

It felt like he was out of breath. Time stood still in his eyes except for Cersinia. The sound of his pounding heart pounded in his ears. Tears welled up in his eyes as happiness overflowed. He took her hand and kissed it. It was like he kissed the hand of the Goddess that he swore his life to.

 

“Gladly.”

 

Ben vowed one more time. He can never let go of this hand. No matter what happens, he promises to protect that smile.

 

* * *

 

“Really? All of this?”

 

“As expected, they’re not good enough. Then please send this and that to the mansion.”

 

“No, it’s not like that. There are too many!”

 

Cersinia grabbed Ben’s arm and calmed him down. She was about to go out with Verne and May to match her dress for the banquet, but Ben intervened, saying he would go with her. There was no problem, so they went out together. It’s already been three months since she visited a jewelry store.  

 

“Why do you buy so many necklaces and earrings when I only need to wear one?”

 

Cersinia waved at the clerk not to wrap it.

 

“Everything goes well with Cersinia, so I can’t help but buy it.”

 

Ben threatened the clerk to wrap it up with his eyes. The clerk was in tears between the two of them. The clerk repeated the unpacking and packing several times because of the two.

 

“I’m going to buy it with my own money. So, you only need to buy the things you need.”

 

“I want to buy it for you.”

 

“Why do you want to buy it for me?” Her sharp voice headed toward him.

 

Cersinia coldly hardened her face with a fairly unpleasant feeling. If it were money, she didn’t have it as overflowing as Ben’s family, but the prize money she had won from the gambling house still remained.  She had never spent a lot of money, so she had enough money to fit her dress and accessories. She didn’t have to borrow his hand.

 

“Cersinia. Once upon a time, there was a boy.”

 

“What are you talking about all of a sudden?”

 

Cersinia stared at him at the random story.

 

“The woman took the boy who was dying of starvation. She gave him a place to call home, as well as warm food, and she gave him a name and said, let’s be together.”

 

Cersinia’s eyes widened at the familiar story.

 

“Ben, hold on. That’s…”

 

“If it weren’t for Cersinia, I would already no longer be in this world.”

 

Ben smiled softly and kissed the end of Cersinia’s long hair.

 

“So everything I have is yours. Even my breath.”

 

Her two cheeks touched by his intense eyes seemed to heat up at any moment. Cersinia turned her gaze away in shame. It felt like she was tricked. She couldn’t believe that he was telling the story of how he got help from her. There’s no end to that.

 

“Still, all of them are too many.

 

It wasn’t that she didn’t understand his mind, but she had to stop him from buying the whole store. A satisfied smile appeared on his lips at her softened demeanor.

 

“All right, I will only buy the ones that suit you best.”

 

Ben told the clerk, pointing from the first shelf to the last.

 

“All of them.”

 

Astonished, Cersinia eventually had no choice but to kick him out of the store.

 

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