Though Saruvia has had a perfunctory smile on her lips as she moderately adjusted to her surroundings, she couldn’t stop her eyes from narrowing unconsciously—even though she knew she was being watched by other people.
This was because of the loud voice resounding throughout the banquet hall, calling a name that oddly stayed on her mind.
She belatedly realized that the person she crossed paths with wasn’t a lady-in-waiting, but the imperial tutor.
Nevertheless, Saruvia wouldn’t forget what kind of look that woman had when she was gazing upon Helios as she talked to him.
Saruvia had a hunch that the person the emperor met in those rumored secret meetings was Sera Popo, who she saw that day.
But the duke never thought that she’d meet the tutor in such an unexpected place.
“Duke Cross, are you alright”
The man beside her asked with concern in his eyes, seeing Saruvia tremble minutely.
With a forced smile, Saruvia glanced up at the man, who was holding out a hand to her in an attempt to escort her.
She didn’t know which noble household this young lord hailed from, but even at one glance, it’s obvious that he was imitating Helios’ appearance.
The man wouldn’t even be able to resemble a single toe of Helios, and so Saruvia continued to show a forced smile.
Fortunately, when she reminded herself that she was the emperor’s partner for today’s event, she felt a little better.
She gave a firm rejection towards the outstretched hand towards her.
“No, you don’t look well, Your Grace.
Shall we go and head to the doctor”
“There’s no need for that.
It was only a momentary headache.”
“A headache! By chance, is Your Grace ill again just like when you were young”
In an instant, Saruvia’s expression hardened when her childhood was mentioned.
A cold gaze was directed at the man, as if to say, ‘How dare you ask me that’ At this, the man unknowingly flinched.
“I apologize, Your Grace.
I was only worried, but I’ll stop…”
The man immediately knew that he had slipped up, and so he said this to try and make up for it.
“How very kind of you to be so concerned about me.”
Fortunately, Saruvia responded with a bright smile, and so the corners of the man’s lips went up as well.
He let out a sigh of relief.
The seductive smile paired with her narrowed red eyes captivated him.
Especially as her hair was styled in an updo while she was adorned with a red dress that suited her very much.
That’s why the man inevitably blushed.
Even so, he strangely felt chills run down his spine, so he brushed a hand on the back of his neck.
“Your Grace, if you don’t mind…”
The man’s hopes were still up, and so he tried to talk more with Saruvia.
His expectations were high, thinking that perhaps if he was lucky, he might score a dance with her.
I am here with a partner.”
However, Saruvia rejected the man with a calm voice.
Giving him no more chance to speak, she turned around and didn’t look back as she walked towards the middle of the banquet hall.
The emperor was over there, walking from the other end of the hall, perhaps a promise to have the first dance with her.
* * *
‘From a Viscounty, huh…’
Now far from the center of the hall, Aushuvel was leaning against a marble wall while reflecting on the unexpected background of Sera, who was standing next to him.
As he realized that he was mistaken all by himself, laughter slipped through his lips.
He thought she would be from a noble household that was backing the imperial family since she had entered the palace as a tutor while she was just in her twenties.
It was very foolish of him to have assumed as much.
‘There were so many clues, but I never took a closer look…’
He could now understand why Sera had never gone to a banquet before, and why she repeatedly tried to tell him that she couldn’t possibly go with him now, with that troubled expression of hers.
But no matter how much her viscount household had declined, a noble was a noble.
It’s strange enough that she could never attend any social function, even a small gathering.
Determined to find out what else he was missing here, Aushuvel called out to her.
Though she was smiling as she politely waved a hand towards the servant who offered her a glass of champagne, Sera let out a rather stressed sigh.
“How did you become the imperial tutor Usually in the Adelio Empire and even the Vaughn Kingdom, the tutors are old.”
Glancing back at him, Sera was surprised by the question for a moment, but a smile soon formed on her lips.
It looked as if she was relieved to finally tell him the truth that she hadn’t been able to tell him thus far.
“I’d say I have a penchant for teaching children.
No matter what kind of troublemaker there is out there, whenever I’m there, they’ll beg me to be their tutor.
That’s why I was chosen to work for the imperial family.”
Sera replied self-assuredly.
“You’re very confident.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment, Your Highness.”
In his disbelief, Aushuvel let out a laugh.
At just one glance, it’s obvious that she’s a woman who was very sharp.
However, he didn’t know that she wouldn’t get shy about something like this.
“You must be surprised that I’m from a Viscounty.”
Aushuvel was once again taken aback because she asked him directly.
“Can I be honest”
“Weren’t you frank with me just now”
“Well, I guess so.”
“I can guess what you had in mind, that I was able to enter the Imperial Palace because of a strong family backing, especially since I’m very much younger than the usual imperial tutor.
That’s how Your Highness must have thought.”
Sera smiled faintly at Aushuvel, then she turned her gaze.
She watched Helios walk towards the middle of the hall, where he was about to have his first dance with Saruvia, marking the start of the banquet.
Aushuvel calmly observed Sera, who continued to have a pretty smile on her lips.
Had they not heard from the twins that Saruvia was going to be Helios’ first partner to a banquet, it wouldn’t have been possible to know why he was taking these actions now.
“Aren’t you upset”
“It could’ve been you over there with him.”
Aushuvel broached the topic straightforwardly.
“You’re asking me that, but you already know the answer, right, Prince Aushuvel”
As she tilted her head to the side, Sera pouted.
If you’re watching the person you like do that, it would surely be difficult.
Aushuvel was intrigued by Sera’s calm response towards his words.
No, rather than calm, her response was more in a joking manner.
Perhaps reading his thoughts, Sera continued.
“It’s all about knowing my own place.
That’s why you don’t have to keep trying to help me out, Your Highness.”