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    Translated by alyalia
    Edited by popcorn


     

    There was a fishy smell  filled their lungs with the sound river flowing calmly filled their ears. The moonlight, which was covered by clouds, was replaced by small lights. 

    *Step step*

    Ben was being dragged with his upper body tied up so that he couldn’t move. His steps were weak. He was worried about Cersinia but felt pathetic since he was not able to do anything.

    “Hey, walk faster.”

    The subordinate pulled the shuddering Ben strongly. The wind shook Ben’s body like a branch shaking in a typhoon. He was able to withstand it by putting strength on his feet. The subordinate glanced at Ben, who had stopped. His eyes were full of dissatisfaction. He was annoyed because he needed to work for a petty slave in the middle of the night. He pulled the rope strongly once more to relieve his anger.

    Thud.

    Ben’s body fell forward helplessly. As his upper body was tied, he fell to the floor face first.

    “Uh…”

    Ben’s head pounded. His eyes fluttered slightly with vertigo. His front teeth tingled as he hit his teeth when he fell. Ben swept his front teeth with the tip of his tongue. Fortunately, his teeth were fine.

    “Tsk… get up faster!”

    The subordinate kicked Ben. He also scolded him with all kinds of insults.

    Ben wriggled to get up. As always, everyone has treated him this way. However, Cersinia was different. She treated him like a human. She was the one who made him realize what warmth and kindness are.

    ‘I missed Cersinia.’

    He wanted to run right away and make sure she was safe. However, he is tied up. Frustrated with his powerless situation, he bit his lip softly.

    “Hey! Stop procrastinating and get up!”

    When the subordinate urged him, Ben clenched his teeth and tried to get up, but he couldn’t.  How can he get up when his arms are tied with a rope and stuck together like glue? Ben struggled with his legs, so he tried to put his head on the floor, giving it strength, but it wasn’t enough.

    “Ah, really!”

    The subordinate spat next to the struggling Ben. His face, wrinkled with annoyance, showed no signs of loosening.

    “Is he the slave?”

    The man guarding the ship asked as he walked toward the subordinate.

    “That’s right.”

    He was a friend of the subordinate. He put down the rope that is holding Ben, who was still struggling to get up. The subordinate tied him more than five times, so Ben wouldn’t be able to untie it and run away. Ben groaned as he was deeply frustrated at the fact that he couldn’t get up.

    The subordinate went further into the dock to unwind with a friend he hadn’t seen in a long time. He felt like he was wasting his time keeping a watch on a lowly slave, so he decided to come back after talking with his friend a bit.

    Ben, who was left alone, stopped struggling as if he had given up. He turned his body on the wooden floor and looked up at the sky. The sky was dark, with no star in sight. He felt like the darkness, which showed nothing, was like his future. That thought made him smile bitterly.

    A cold river wind blew past his skin. It was summer but the river was still cold. In the cold that penetrated to the bone, Ben wrapped his hands tightly. He was wondering if Cersinia’s warmth would remain. The only thing he felt was the temperature of his cold flesh, and there was no way her warmth could remain.

    A small drop of water dropped on Ben’s face. Ben’s eyes flinched at the cold droplets. Raindrops began to fall on the wooden board with a soft tapping sound

    ‘I hope it rains more,’ so that obscure his vision to find Cersinia. 

    Ben thought as he watched the transparent rainfall in the pitch-dark.

    Whether his earnest desire worked, the rain poured heavily. Ben lay on the board and quietly let the rain hit him. He felt a little comforting.

    “I hope it keeps going.”

    Rain fell endlessly, leaving nothing but his memory in Cersinia’s cabin. Ben closed his eyes as the heavy rain fell on his body.

    * * *

    The sky, which had been dark since sunset, finally sprayed rain. Cersinia frowned at the stinging rain that hit her cheek as she ran. But she didn’t slow down. Instead, she tried to run faster.

    ‘I’m sorry, I should say I was stupid. I don’t know where the desire to be together is coming from, but I just want to be with you…’

    Cersinia’s black robe fluttered like the mane of a racehorse.

    “Haa, haa…”

    She was out of breath, but thanks to the fact that she ran without a rest, Cersinia was able to reach the dock in no time.

    “Ben!”

    Cersinia called Ben’s name without hesitation. With urgency in her voice, she looked around continuously.

    “Ben! Where are you, Ben!”

    Only a few lights illuminated at the dock, so it was very dark. Cersinia frowned and focused her eyes to find Ben as soon as possible. Ben opened his eyes since he hear a voice that was heard lightly beyond the strong sound of rain. He felt like he was hearing things like before. And it sounded like Cersinia’s voice.

    ‘Cersinia couldn’t be here. She already said goodbye to me at the currency exchange.’

    Ben let out a small laugh as he was frustrated by the hallucinations.

    “Ben!”

    One more time, a heartbreaking voice broke through the rain. The sound was so clear that it could not be regarded as a hallucination. Ben wriggled and moved his body. It may not be like it, but there was a little hope in his heart. Even with the rain hitting his eyes, Ben opened his eyes firmly and looked over. A faint silhouette was gradually appearing in a dark field as if painted with black paint.

    “Cersinia?”

    Ben blinked his eyes wide. He couldn’t tell whether what he was seeing was a reality or not. If he could move his hand, he would rub his eyes. Ben moved his arms strongly, but the rope remained motionless.

    “Ben!”

    Cersinia, who was looking around for Ben, found something wriggling in the distance. She ran straight to it. As she got closer and closer through the downpour, she saw Ben lying on a board, tied with a rope.

    “Cersinia…”

    Ben’s gaze was blank as if he couldn’t believe it even when he saw her approaching him. The person approaching him with a black robe had red and long hair. Her hair, which seemed to flutter in abundance, was soaked in the rain. Even in the dark, her bright red eyes glowed brightly.

    “Ah…”

    Ben swallowed a short moan. Those warm, shining crimson eyes were the color he had been drawn to until now.

    “A-Are you okay?”

    Cersinia, who approached Ben a moment later, had no choice but to frown. Ben, was tied up with a rope and it looked like his blood couldn’t circulate properly, looked miserable. His nose was swollen with a blue bruise on the bridge as if he had been hit. His lips were torn and he was covered in blood.

    “Cersinia, is that really you?”

    Ben asked,  not believing it. He kept looking at Cersinia blankly.

    “Yes, it’s me.”

    Cersinia put her hand on the rope that was binding Ben with an answer. With the sound of the snapping, the rope broke and fell to the floor. Unlike Ben’s effort to untie the rope, the rope was cut helplessly by Cersinia’s hands. Ben looked down at his free arms with a tingling sensation in his fingertips. Soon after, he raised his head and touched Cersinia’s arm, just in case it was only his hallucination. The warmth delivered to his fingertips was real. Ben’s eyes widened, and they became teary.

    “Cersinia, are you okay? D-Did you get hurt?”

    “Pardon?”

    “He… He said he was going to visit Cersinia…”

    Ben looked at Cersinia with desperate eyes. He wondered if she got hurt somewhere. His gaze was filled with concern for her.

    “You…”

    Cersinia was furious to see Ben worried about her. She wanted to yell but couldn’t, so she bit her mouth shut. She felt that Ben was genuinely worried about her.

    “Are you okay? Cersinia, did you get hurt?” Ben asked in a trembling voice.

    Ben thought that Cersinia, who shut her mouth tightly, was in pain. His trembling hands grabbed Cersinia’s robe. As he expected, Viscount Montene must have visited her. Ben should have somehow stopped him from heading to Cersinia, but he couldn’t. Ben regretted it again and again.

    “It’s okay. I’m fine.”

    “Really?” Even when she said it was okay, Ben’s voice didn’t stop trembling.  

    To reassure him, Cersinia put her hands on the top of his hand. An ice-cold temperature reached her palm.

    “I’m really fine.”

    Ben stared intently into Cersinia’s eyes. There was no lie in her unwavering eyes. Only then did Ben sweep his chest with relief.

    “I’m glad, really…”

    Cersinia frowned as she watched Ben, who was relieved with stiff shoulders hanging down.

    “How did you-!”

    She couldn’t finish her words. It was his foolish and miserable appearance that made her choked up.

    “Cersinia?”

    Ben was a little startled when he looked at her. Cersinia took a breath for a moment and then opened her mouth again.

    “Just worry about yourself. You’re the one who got hurt.”

    It wasn’t time for him to worry about her. While she was away from him for a while, his appearance became disastrous.

    ‘As expected, I shouldn’t have let him go… But I got his paper.’

    “It’s your slave document.”

    “How come Cersinia has them…”

    His blood-stained fingerprint is stamped. Without a single hesitation, Cersinia burned down the document she was holding.

    Crackle.

    The paper, which had become as small as dust, was washed away with the rain. As if there was nothing from the beginning.

    “You’re free now.”

    Perhaps quite surprised, Ben looked at Cersinia with his round eyes. Cersinia swallowed and opened her mouth. It was her turn to talk about why she ran all the way here.

    “Ben, I’m sorry.”

    “Yes? Why is Cersinia…”

    “Because I let you go.”

    “That’s not true! Why is Cersinia apologizing for that…”

    Ben strongly waved his hand in denial. Why did she say sorry to him? She is the only warm person who has been by his side… Not wanting her to apologize, Ben shook his head vigorously.

    Cersinia smiled as she looked at Ben, who was fiercely denying it. She already thought Ben would react like this when she apologized to him… and it was right.

    “You know, I can’t predict my future. You already know, because of my power, something might happen to you.”

    Her words were cut off for a moment. Cersinia’s eyes were shaking severely. She saw her strength with her own eyes in the cabin. She witnessed vividly what had happened while she lost control for a moment. There is no guarantee that it will not happen to Ben either.

    Wouldn’t it be better to give Ben freedom and leave him out?  While she was in countless conflicts in her mind, she felt something cold on her hand. It was Ben’s hand. Ben was staring at her without saying a word. He seemed to be reassuring her that everything was fine. Cersinia gathered up her courage again and opened her mouth. In the end, the choice is up to Ben.

    “Because of my power, you may suffer too. But… if that’s okay with you…”

    Cersinia didn’t even know what she was talking about right now. She wonders if she deserves to say this to him. Her hands trembled as she felt sorry. Her gaze lost its way and wandered, eventually looking down.

    Ben checked his ears. Maybe he misheard it. ‘Is it true that Cersinia asked me to live with her?’

    His ears were fine. Because he could hear the sound of the falling rain and his beating heart very well. His frozen body melted like a cup of hot tea. What she said to him was something he couldn’t possibly say to her. He wanted to be with her, but how could he not be a burden to her? How dare he be with her when his status as a slave shackled him all his life… But Cersinia gave him freedom. She brought up the idea of living together and asked his opinion first.

    “Cersinia,” Ben’s voice trembled a little, with water around his eyes.

    ‘How can I explain this overwhelming feeling? How dare I refuse her. It’s ridiculous. She is my salvation and my light.’

    “Cersinia, please look at me.”

    Despite the friendly tone that called her, Cersinia couldn’t raise her head. She was scared of what kind of answer would come out. Ben put down his head and looked at Cersinia’s face. Cersinia was startled by the face that suddenly appeared in her sight and raised her head. Then Ben smiled bashfully as if he was waiting.

    “I want to be with you.”

    “What?”

    “Please be with me, Cersinia.”

    He wants to be with her. It doesn’t matter whether Cersinia brought it out of sympathy or compassion for him. If it wasn’t for Cersinia, his life would be meaningless.  A bright smile was drawn on Ben’s face as if spring flowers had bloomed.


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