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    Translated by Translated by alyalia
    Edited by Edited by popcorn


     

    The sky, which had been blue, was covered with dark clouds because it was about to rain. The wind mixed the scent of autumn, contained a light smell of water. Archen approached his master who looked as if he had lost his only light. His broad shoulders were drooping to such an extent that he looked infinitely small. It was an unfamiliar appearance that Archen had never seen before.

     

    “Your Excellency.”

     

    Ben, who was lowering his head like a withered flower, raised his head. His eyes, which had sunk as if they were collapsing, suddenly shone sharply when he found Archen.

     

    “How did it go?”

     

    His voice was so cold that he wondered if he was someone who had fallen into despair a while ago. Archen recited the situation he had been investigating to the master, who finally found his usual appearance.

     

    “This is the territory of Count Dexter. The suspicious person who was standing at the forefront was locked up first. It is said that he is the son of the village chief.”

     

    “Take care of it,” Ben’s words were cruelly deprived of any hesitation.

     

    Archen took a breath for a while instead of answering. Of course, he has no intention of disobeying his master’s order. However, he was worried about how the rumors would have a troll on his master, who had just taken over the title.

     

    This place was the territory of Count Dexter, so they had no jurisdiction to step up recklessly in this village affairs. In addition, Count Dexter was the vassal of Duke Kailos. If they did something wrong, it could be said that they were politically checking Duke Kailos. Thinking about the order he gave Archen once again, even if Archen tried to stop him, his master would cut it off at once.

     

    Archen recalled the woman she saw in the square. The woman who made his master angry. The woman, who had been spending time with his master for a month, remained silent even while being hunted as a witch. He was impressed to see her with her back straight and her head raised. Archen recalled the solid crimson eyes he encountered when he was untying the rope.

     

    “Your Excellency, with all due respect, I don’t think she would like it if she knew.”

     

    He left out the political reason and expressed his opinion by using Cersinia as the reason. Of course, in those words, there was also the sincerity that he didn’t want the relationship between the woman and his master to be broken. Because the woman was the person his master thought about every day for three years.

     

    “…First of all, please investigate the Count and this village so that we can deal with them at any time.”

     

    “Yes, I understand.”

     

    Again, at the mention of Cersinia, Ben’s voice changed into a softer tone. As Archen said, Cersinia won’t like it if she finds out about it. Ben’s judgment was clouded for a moment by the man who dared to threaten Cersinia. Now he just has to protect her from behind with everything ready to be solved whenever he orders. To do that, he had to have information on the culprit who instigated today’s event, Count Dexter, and this village.

     

    “Plant a child in this village as a henchman.”

     

    He was going to use a child as his eyes and ears, who wouldn’t be wary as a stranger.

     

    “I’ll take your order,” Archen replied with his head bowed.

     

    Ben turned his gaze from Archen and looked straight at the tightly closed door.

     

    “Your Excellency, are you going to tell the lady everything?”

     

    “Everything…”

     

    He fell into thought for a moment. As long as Cersinia looked at him, he could confess everything. As long as she opens the door and comes out, then looks at him. It’s okay to hate him or take revenge on him. He was ready to accept any emotion. So she can say anything as long as she doesn’t push him completely away.

     

    He was okay with that all, except for the inconvenient truth. He hated seeing when she was seeing him with sympathy again, as she did three years ago. Even if she poured out all the negative emotions, he could bear it, but if she gave him sympathy, he doesn’t think he will be able to bear that much. It was a desire that he couldn’t give up.

     

    “There is no reason for hearing to carry the inconvenient truth.”

     

    “Yes, I understand.”

     

    Archen looked towards his master, who was about to go back. Three years ago, it was he who had separated his master from her. Even though it was the order of his previous master, there was always a sense of guilt in the corner of his heart. That guilt will never be repaid even if the lady forgives him and his master. To lose one’s life while working silently for his master with atoning heart. That was Archen’s last wish and fate.

     

    “Archen.”

     

    “Yes, Your Excellency.”

     

    “I’ll be waiting alone, so go ahead.”

     

    Ben had to wait until Cersinia came to see him. He had no intention of backing down. The reason he was able to survive three years was that he waited only for this moment.

     

    “I understand.”

     

    After a short nod to his master, Archen took a step back. He was not comfortable to see his master drop his head as if he was about to collapse again. He hoped that the woman would become aware of his master of heart as soon as possible.

     

    “Cersinia…” Ben’s voice echoed through the empty yard was heartbreaking.

     

    He slowly raised his hand with gloomy eyes. His long fingers pointed toward the hardwood door. A hand filled with longing caressed the door. His caressing hands were careful. The temperature of his fingertips was cold. It was the coldness he had tasted for three years. Even though they were close, he couldn’t get close to her.

     

    There was no answer, and the tightly closed door showed no sign of opening. Ben slowly lowered his hands. He lowered his gaze and bit his lower lip to stop them from trembling. He was afraid that this door wouldn’t open for the rest of his life and Cersinia wouldn’t look at him. Thinking that Cersinia said goodbye and let’s not see each other again made him afraid.

     

    Everything was his fault. Even if it was an unwanted situation or if it was not his own will, it was his fault. Ben blamed and scolded himself.  His eyes became red with tears. At the same time, rain falling drop by drop over the dry floor spread in a circle. The tick raindrops fell with speed and quickly wet the ground.

     

    Ben’s eyes were empty. His hair, which was gently fluttering, was wet and dripping with water. The rain was getting strong enough to wet all his shrugged shoulders. Raindrops were running down on his cheeks and dripping down on the tip of his chin.

     

    “Please…” his voice was so faint that it was buried out by the sound of rain.

     

    Ben smiled bitterly and recalled Cersinia’s last appearance when she was turning around. His heart was throbbing. It stung and felt bitter as if sprinkling salt on wounds.

     

    “Cersinia…”

     

    The name that he called always made his heart ache. It doesn’t matter how much time passes. It was okay, even if it was longer than the past three years. Even if rivers and mountains change, it doesn’t matter as long as he can be with Cersinia. His eyes closed as if they were at the limit. He wished it wouldn’t be the last time he spent time with Cersinia. The rain was getting so heavy that they couldn’t see Ben’s face stained with remorse and regret.

     

    * * *

     

    Cersinia dreamed that day after a very long time. The day she promised to be with Ben at the dock in the heavy rain. Her closed eyelids fluttered open. She was distracted and couldn’t sleep properly, so she tossed and turned. When she was about to fall asleep, she stayed up again because of this useless dream. It was raining heavily outside. Perhaps she had a dream of that day because of the sound of the rain. The sound of rain echoing through the quiet house resembled the sound of rain she heard at the dock three years ago.

     

    “It’s just like that day,” she mumbled to herself and raised her heavy body.

     

    She had spent the night in a hard and humid prison the previous night, so her condition was not good. She had a cold, and her body was shivering and cold. Cersinia headed to the kitchen, shivering her body as the cold air pierced through her thin pajamas.

     

    Pitter-patter.

     

    The heavy rain, which had been falling since yesterday, was getting stronger without stopping. Cersinia lit a fire at the brazier. She wanted a cup of hot tea. She buried herself in the dining table chair while waiting for the water to boil.

     

    “I don’t know what time it is.”

     

    She couldn’t tell what time it was because she couldn’t see the sun covered by the grey clouds. But it was clear that it was still early in the morning, seeing May was sleeping, who regularly wakes up around 7 o’clock every day.

     

    Cersinia had a quiet teatime, warming herself with a cup of tea. It was the calm that came after the stormy events had passed. She spent a day clearing her thoughts, she was happy to kick him out coldly yesterday. But she can’t believe that she still cares about him being well in the midst of this.

     

    “This is serious.”

     

    Cersinia emptied her teacup and got up from her seat. She wondered if May had collected the laundry that she had hung before yesterday. She couldn’t see it outside the window, so she had to open the door and check it. When she opened the front door, the unsmooth door staggered and pushed forward. The door, which was being pushed with the squeaking sound, couldn’t be opened in half. She stuck her head out to check through the gap. Black boots soaked in water appeared in her vision. Her spine was cold. She quickly raised her head and looked straight ahead.

     

    “You…!”

     

    Ben was in front of the door, drenched in the pouring rain. He bowed his head, motionless, like a doll.

     


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