“W…What did you say, Oppa”
When Helios told them something that they never, not one, expected at all, Rosé and Ferre both turned pale at once.
They were expecting that this day would be a happy day because their older brother visited the Star Palace early this morning, but such expectations were shattered in an instant, like a fragile piece of glass.
“No, but… Heli Oppa… That’s impossible.
Are you telling the truth”
Rosé shook her head in disbelief. No, just, tell me the truth. She shook his shoulder, but Helios didn’t deny it.
With a helpless smile on his lips, he just accepted Rosé and Ferre’s reaction silently.
“Why is she Oppa’s partner! Why! Why is Oppa and the Duke going to dance!”
“Hyung, what about Sera!”
To Rosé, it felt like her heart was about to burst out of her chest. Thunk! Rosé pushed Helios so that she could get out of his arms.
But as she took one step back, Helios tried to reach gently to her again.
Rosé was at a loss for words. Partner. She had a vague idea of what this meant, of why her older brother had to come all this way just to talk to her and Ferre about this.
Perhaps it’s also because she’s been hearing the same thing being spread around as a rumor so blatantly.
Both she and Ferre had been sneakily listening to what the maids were saying.
“Have you heard His Majesty and Duke Cross are going to be partners in the coming banquet.”
“His Majesty, who always comes to banquets only with Their Highnesses But now with Duke Cross Does this mean that she’s officially an Empress candidate She’ll have His Majesty’s first dance then”
The twins thought that this was nothing but a rumor.
Until Helios told them.
“Then Heli Oppa.
Is that person the one Oppa likes”
Rosé asked Helios with eyes brimming with tears.
Then is she the one you’re having a ren-dez-vous with”
Ferre asked him seriously as well.
There’s no one like that.”
We know that choosing a partner means that it’s the person you like!”
“Yeah! Hyung, I heard that, too! Is Hyung gonna marry that person, too”
The tears shouted loudly as abundant tears streamed down their puffy cheeks.
Even if Helios were to say the most important thing—No, that’s impossible—it was already too late.
Helios didn’t know that his younger siblings would hate it this much.
He came here for the sole purpose of letting the twins know about this decision beforehand so that they wouldn’t be surprised on the day of the banquet, but he instead became so flustered because he didn’t expect it to get so out of hand.
* * *
During their dance practice, the twins drooped weakly.
Worried about how unusually listless they were, for now, Sera drew the two children into her embrace.
Rosé and Ferre continued to hold each other’s hands tightly as they looked up at Sera, their eyes so full of tears.
“We heard that Heli Oppa has a partner to Shu Oppa’s welcome party.
Oppa told us this morning.”
So this was the problem.
Keeping in mind just how clingy the twins were with their older brother, Sera smiled knowingly.
They’re surely upset.
Since the twins were two children who very much adored their brother, Sera surmised that they’d be upset no matter who it was that Helios would have beside him.
However, the moment the children saw Sera smile, their pupils shook helplessly.
“Hyung never ever brought a partner to a banquet before, Sera.”
With a terribly weak voice, Ferre whispered to Sera as he buried his face into her skirt.
Sera patted Ferre on the head gently.
“Hyung didn’t ever have a partner before, never ever.”
Oppa was always just with us.
He never even danced with anyone.”
Only then did Sera understand what the twins were trying to say.
A small sigh slipped through Sera’s lips.
It’s not just about the partner, but the meaning behind it.
Perhaps since Helios had brought the news to them personally, it had the hidden meaning of an incoming empress.
While stroking the twins’ backs, Sera’s fingertips trembled for a moment.
Soon, however, her hands grew steady once more as she comforted the children.
Yet now her heart was the one beating frantically.
A bad side.
Without realizing it, Sera’s expression hardened, and she inevitably showed a terrible side of herself to Aushuvel as their eyes met.
At that moment, she came to realize again just how much he and Helios looked alike.
It was only natural since they were cousins.
Helios’ face came to mind.
The last time she saw him was over a week ago.
‘His Majesty went through so much just to clear up the situation when the magazine article came out.
What, if he takes me as his partner at the banquet, wouldn’t that just be like a blatant confession to everyone’
Though Sera didn’t want to admit it, her heart ached a little.
And because she had a vague idea of who the partner was going to be, she also felt a bit lonely and defeated.
Still, Sera tried to smile broadly.
Because after all, she had to do her part.
Taking Rosé and Ferre’s hands into her own, she looked straight into their eyes one after another.
“Your Highnesses, think of it like this—there’s someone you like, but then if someone told you that they can’t accept the person you like, then how will you feel”
“…I think I’ll be sad.
But why are you asking that”
As Rosé and Ferre frowned, Sera answered slowly.
“Then His Majesty will feel the same.
And no matter who Your Highnesses’ partners will be in the future, His Majesty will also accept them.”
“Sera, will you be fine with that, too”
“Of course I will.
I can’t wait to see how lovely the partners you’ll have in the future and how beautifully you’ll dance together.
I hope you’re not just saying that and joking with me, okay”
Regardless of the mood, Sera gave the perfect answer that a child’s tutor would give.
Ferre and Rosé tried to protest since they knew what ‘having a partner’ meant, but they just chose to go back into Sera’s embrace.
Though it’s true that Sera couldn’t wait to see it, there was also a melancholy expression on her face.
Aushuvel, who was watching from the sidelines, was the only one who couldn’t understand why the situation had come to this.
He glanced down at Sera as she hugged the children tightly, smiling despite her regretful countenance.
He couldn’t figure out why Sera and Heli chose to go around in circles with each other instead of just taking the easy road.
‘What’s going on Heli has a partner, but it’s not going to be Miss Sera’
Even though the two of them had yet to confirm each other’s feelings, this didn’t mean that Helios was obliged to take another person as his partner to the banquet.
Even though Sera knew her own feelings,she was choosing to stay still.
And really, with Helios, who should not be a stranger to romanticism, Aushuvel was all the more perplexed because his cousin’s behavior was just so incomprehensible.
‘Should I just help you…’