There were so many eyes around them.
Sera shook her head a bit more noticeably than before, with an expression on her face that didn’t suit the dress she was wearing now.
Then, all eyes were on Sera.
Still though, no one noticed why she was shaking her head with her eyes so focused, her strange behavior flying over their heads.
Already thinking the worst, Sera turned her blue eyes to Helios.
And then, she turned to Ferre, frowned heavily, then glanced sideways persistently.
With an expression that said, ‘Look at His Highness Ferre! Your Majesty, please!’
And the responding thought was, ‘I wonder what she’s trying to say.’ Helios was perplexed for a moment as he tried to think, then his mouth opened slightly with an, ‘Ah.’
He shot Sera a grin, then rose from his throne.
Helios’ voice rang softly as he called out to his younger brother.
Helios stroked the boy’s head for a moment as though he was a turtle, then he lightly carried Ferre, whose lips were gaping open as big as a carp now.
“You have to sit upright.”
Helios sat Ferre back down on his chair gracefully.
At the same time, he whispered into Ferre’s ear, and the younger brother couldn’t understand what he meant, but a bright smile dawned upon his features.
Admiration poured out from all sides at the sight of the gentle emperor who was taking care of his younger siblings here.
“It’s truly a picturesque Imperial Family.”
“His Majesty is so very kind.”
Helios now sat down again on his throne and slowly opened his lips.
“I hope you both enjoy the banquet to your heart’s content.”
It was a perfunctory greeting and there was nothing special about it, but Sera clenched her teeth tightly to press down on the urge to let out the delighted smile tugging on her lips.
Because Ferre had one hand over his stomach while the other was diligently waving at her.
‘You must be very satisfied with the compromise His Majesty offered.
I wonder what he said that you’re okay with just waving like that.’
At last, as she and Aushuvel were about to escape the crowd, he touched Sera’s arm.
Then, with a slow, deliberate grip, he held Sera’s hand.
He led her hand over to his own arm, which he bent lightly.
‘Ah! Crossing arms.
I forgot for a moment.’
She was well-versed in manners and etiquette in theory, but when trying to use her knowledge in practice, there were a few holes.
Just like right now—she forgot to take her partner’s hand.
‘I’m glad Prince Aushuvel is so good at this.
He noticed my mistake and covered for me.’
She gave a smile of gratitude towards Aushuvel, whose eyes glinted playfully towards something at the other side.
Maybe he’s not satisfied yet with this posture because he took Sera’s hand again and hitched it higher to correct her posture.
“You can’t let go, Sera.”
I keep forgetting.
It’s required to always be arm-in-arm with one’s partner.”
While holding the hem of her blue dress with her other hand, Sera turned around alongside Aushuvel.
At that moment however, for some reason, she had a sudden urge to look behind her to check Helios’ expression.
His Majesty wouldn’t have stared at my hand for a moment… I mean, it’s just the normal self-consciousness of a person towards her crush.’
* * *
“What, Miss Sera”
As she watched the people who entered, Countess Aurix couldn’t believe that it was Sera Popo.
Her gaze lingered at the woman’s back as she curtsied, but the countess shook her head because of the unfamiliar but familiar appearance.
“I had an inkling that it’s a familiar face, but… is that really Miss Sera I couldn’t recognize her because she’s all dolled up like that.
And I never would have expected her to come here as Prince Aushuvel’s partner.”
Countess Aurix murmured behind the fan over her lips.
Rumors flew off the rails at a ridiculous rate about the recipient of the dress Prince Aushuvel bought recently.
He was famous for presenting colorful gifts towards his partners every time, so the recipient of his gifts had been a hot topic in a past tea party.
And everyone continued to wonder because the woman who inevitably received the blue dress that Aushuvel bought was an unknown individual, even though rumors so easily spread.
The person wearing it now was nowhere near her guess.
But it really was Miss Sera Popo…
“What do you think, Countess Adriel I mean, about the article a while back.
When I read it, I thought that the person who was with His Majesty wasn’t Duke Cross, but actually Miss Sera.
Countess Aurix’s thoughts popped out of her lips even before she realized it.
Her eyes were still following after Sera, but Sera had already disappeared into the crowd with Prince Aushuvel.
“I couldn’t tell anyone either, but that’s also what I thought.
I mean, we all know well enough what kind of work Miss Sera is doing at the Imperial Palace, so…”
Countess Adriel looked around to see if anyone was listening, then she lowered her voice to a whisper.
“But that’s not it… right It’s easy to exaggerate things in articles like that.
About half of it is just hot air.”
“That’s right, isn’t it Of course, Miss Sera is a good person and a good tutor, but… Still, for someone who will stay beside His Majesty, the stature needed is a bit…”
Countess Adriel was reticent about something like this.
Certainly, that’s what she thought so before, but the moment she saw Sera all glammed up like this, she had a fleeting thought that she would look well together with His Majesty.
Apart from that, one of the reasons her children also liked Sera was because, ‘Teacher Sera is so pretty’.
“I also thought it’s impossible at first, but seeing Miss Sera just now with His Majesty at the side…”
“Ah… But maybe not.
Isn’t His Highness Prince Aushuvel her partner tonight”
“I guess so But I wonder how that happened, being Prince Aushuvel’s partner.”
The conversation between Countess Aurix and Countess Adriel grew longer and longer.
Watching silently at the side, Marchioness Leticia Bennett interjected once, perhaps unable to keep listening to what they’re saying.
“His Majesty is close by.
You both should lower your voices.”
As Marchioness Leticia Bennett said this calmly, the look in her eyes deepened.