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Translated by alyalia
Edited by popcorn
Thick smoke and the savory smell filled the old cabin. It was neither the smell of ripening flour or boiling soup. The smell that strongly stimulated the salivary gland was the one of ripening proteins. The crimson-colored meat was being roasted on a pan. Its appearance, which had turned yellowish-brown, was delicious enough to make mouths water.
“It’s done. Please wait a moment.”
Ben, who rolled up his sleeves and grilled meat passionately, sometimes groaned with splashing meat oil, but he was doing it without making a mistake. Cersinia was going to do it by herself, but Ben insisted that he would do it. That made Cersinia worried, and she stood from her seat. It is dangerous if he gets splashed by the oil.
She watched Ben with skeptical eyes while thinking he would burn the meat. However, Ben was quite skillfully turning the meat over and cooking it, to the extent that she felt sorry for monitoring him. Cersinia was relieved and looked out of the window.
She bought the meat for lunch, but the sun was already setting. The blue sky was embroidered with scarlet colors, and the green leaves were dazzlingly colored. Cersinia fell into thought for a moment while looking at the peaceful scenery.
Why the hell was she like that? Why did she become impatient? She questioned herself.
‘Is it because I’m afraid that the Viscount will take the collateral without saying anything? Or because I wouldn’t get the money?’
No matter how much she thinks about it, that’s not the answer. But why did they search for her? It has only been a few days. If she got closer with Ben, it would be…
‘No, you can’t do that, Cersinia.’
From the moment she possessed Cersinia’s body, she vowed to live a normal life, not as a villainess. But if the novel started, she didn’t know if she would be dragged to the story helplessly. Even if she wants to live normally, it may be fate that she has her throat cut off in the end… Since the story hasn’t started yet, nothing is certain. Cersinia is the villainess in the novel and the only witch who randomly kills and burns people. It would be hard for someone to be by her side. Nothing would be better if she had more compassion for Ben. He was the collateral, and in the next three days, she would take him to the Viscount and give him back and receive her money.
‘What is the Viscount up to?’
It was clear that he was up to something since he sent men to look for her. It wouldn’t be bad to be careful.
“Please eat, Cersinia.” Ben’s voice got Cersinia out of her thoughts . Before she knew it, he put a plate on the table perfectly. He even cooked potatoes, so on the plate were two pieces of meat and two crispy potatoes.
The thick sirloin had a delicious aroma that stimulated the sense of smell. She was starving when she went down to the village to buy groceries. She’ll fill her stomach first and think about it later.
Cersinia’s mouth drool spontaneously by the meat that she hadn’t eaten in a long time. She used a knife and fork to cut the meat. Seeing that the outside was crispy and the inside was moist and bright red, it was properly cooked at medium-rare. She took the bite-sized pieces of meat into her mouth without hesitation.
‘As expected from meat…’
Cersinia felt a little happiness. As soon as it entered her mouth, the juice spread, and the aroma of the meat filled her mouth. It was thick and chewy, so it was tastier.
“Eat this too.”
Ben exchanged Cersinia’s plate with his plate of meat that is more easily eaten since it’s already chopped. He wanted her to focus on eating without much difficulty. Even though it couldn’t be called cooking, he smiled with joy as he saw Cersinia enjoying his grilled meat.
“Huh? I’m fine.”
Cersinia looked at Ben in surprise at the unexpected kindness. Ben showed a lovely smile as he watched her munch the meat.
“Just eat comfortably.”
Ben even cut the meat in front of him in half and placed it on Cersinia’s plate.
“It’s okay, I can’t eat it all. You should eat too.”
Cersinia tried to return the meat by waving her hand, but Ben lifted her plate and pulled it behind his back to keep her hand out of reach.
“If Cersinia enjoys it, I’m glad.”
Ben shyly blushed his cheeks and lowered his gaze. Cersinia, dumbfounded by his reaction, stopped eating her meat.
‘Why is he like this…’
She even forgot to swallow the meat in her mouth. Ben speaks the same way as usual, but his reaction is a little different. He is like a teenager who is shy when his first love is in front of him… Cersinia looked at Ben with narrowed eyes. Even if he looked at her for a moment, he looked as if he was trying to hide his emotions by keeping his head down.
‘There’s no way.’
She went too far. How long has she known Ben… Cersinia dismissed it as her own misunderstanding.
“Hurry up and eat it before it gets cold.”
Ben took the potato to his mouth. His ears, as he shyly munching on food, were ripe red. At the sight, Cersinia felt an unknown pain in her heart. Furthermore, she wanted to tease him about his shy appearance…
Cersinia was startled by her thought and let out a strange sound. Ben raised his head and looked at Cersinia.
“N-Nothing! Eat it!”
The moment she met his innocent eyes, her face went red.
‘Are you crazy, Cersinia? What nonsense!’
Cersinia was ashamed, so she quickly ate her food.
“Yes, eat slowly.”
She felt like she became a wolf who coveted a young boy in front of her. Her face, which was flushed with embarrassment and shame, returned to normal.
‘Is it my desire…?’
Other than that, it makes sense to think of him as her younger brother.
‘Crazy! You’re crazy, Cersinia!’
Cersinia shook her head. It was clear that she was out of her mind to have such a crazy thought. She shoved meat into her mouth. Now it was a top priority for her not to think like that again.
“Cough, cough, cough!”
She was in a hurry to eat, so she didn’t chew the meat properly, and the meat got stuck in her throat. Cersinia’s eyes widened.
“Cersinia, are you okay?”
Ben quickly held out the cup of water. Cersinia hurriedly grabbed the cup Ben had held out. His hand and hers touched at the moment, then Ben, surprised like a person with static electricity, pulled out his hand.
Water poured from the cup that fell on the table. Cersinia looked at Ben in vain, continuously coughing for the air.
“Aah, I’m sorry.”
Surprised, Ben hurriedly got the water again and held out the cup. This time, it had been properly delivered, and Cersinia drank the water at once. As the meat went down, she had a relieved face.
“I-I’m going to get some fresh air.”
Ben, whose face and ears are as red as a strawberry, ran away. Cersinia, who was left alone, stared blankly at Ben’s back.
Ben’s transparent emotions made her face burn hot. It felt like someone was tickling her heart. It was a feeling that even an ignorant person would recognize. Cersinia scratched her face in embarrassment at her sudden emotion. But it only lasts for a while. Cersinia began eating alone again. Nothing would change even if she realized her feelings. She decided not to care much. After all, Ben was the one who would be out of her life in a few days…
Cersinia kicked away the blanket that was covering her.
‘You said you wouldn’t care!’
She got angrier at the image of Ben with his red face. When she decided not to care, what happened to him at dinner was engraved in her mind. On the other hand, when it was time to sleep, Ben sneaked into the room, laid down on a blanket, and then fell asleep. His regular breathing sounds are very annoying.
‘Is this boy getting shy earlier?’
Cersinia glanced at Ben as she raised her body. It was him who was shy, but she was upset that she couldn’t sleep because she was very aware of his presence. Even her body felt hot due to thinking about that.
“Huu…” Cersinia let out a long sigh to cool off. However, the effect was insufficient. Rather, her body was heated more.
“Are you asleep?”
Cersinia, who was grumpy, grumbled. Right now, she felt like she was wrong, so she pulled her knee up and wrapped her arms around her body. Cersinia leaned her face on her lap and turned her head. Then she saw Ben’s face.
“You’re handsome. Really,” admiration leaked out of her mouth.
Ben is handsome whether she looks at him upside down, backward, or with her eyes closed. His face still looks weak because of lack of flesh. If he gets healthier, he will be handsome enough to wield the hearts of many women who are more mature than him.
“Ummm…” Ben muttered a little in his sleep. Long, neat eyelashes stretched straight under his closed eyelids. Cersinia felt the urge to touch those eyelashes.
Cersinia was startled by her crazy thoughts.
Isn’t she a complete pervert? To look at him while he is sleeping… Cersinia painstakingly turned his gaze away from Ben and lay back on her bed. If she looked further into Ben’s face, she might have really touched his eyelashes. She looked at the ceiling with open eyes.
‘Is this my taste?’
She was astonished by the emotions she was feeling now. It’s not that Ben likes her, but it was she who acted like she liked Ben.
‘Is it true that Ben likes me?’
Maybe Ben was just surprised because he had never been touched by a woman. That’s a reasonable guess. As if to prove that Ben was casually sleeping next to her. She was the only one who couldn’t sleep.
‘No, why am I like this?’ She doesn’t understand. Does she like a young handsome soft-hearted boy that made you want to protect him?
She couldn’t believe it. She always liked people who boasted that they were men because they had a thick and bulky appearance. She often thought that when she saw men with tight muscles and broad shoulders… But Ben is too far away from that.
Ben was like a younger brother rather than a man because his height was similar to Cersinia. Of course, he was handsome enough to go beyond her taste. Still, what kind of disgrace is this for her to think like that to a boy, who can be considered as her younger brother.
Cersinia buried her face on the pillow. She strongly denied it inside and was forced to close her eyes to sleep.
“Uh… Please save me.”
But at the sound of his groan, Cersinia opened her eyes again.
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